A/N: Edited version of the o/s. Must read it again. I apologize for the inconvenience. The rest is coming out soon.
Thanks to magan bagan and kyla713 for beta'ing. Thanks to charmizane for her observations and cross-references.
Disclaimer: Twilight and Indecent Proposal are not mine. They are property of their respective authors.
Oh, how I fucking hated fundraisers.
Two thousand dollars for a filet mignon, Cristal, and awfully boring people.
I didn't care about the two thousand dollars, or the food and drinks. That wasn't my problem here. No, my problem, my internal conflict was regarding the people who attended these events. They did it to keep up their 'Good Samaritan' façade—but they had ulterior motives. They were newly rich, ungrateful, bastards who only came and donated copious amounts of money so they could blend and mingle.
Those ulterior motives—I would have understood a couple of years ago. I would have been amused by them, but not anymore.
I was tired of Seattle's social rules.
I was tired of turning one way and looking at gold diggers or cheating housewives flirting with me. Flirting with the idea of the status and fortune I possessed. I was tired of men trying to be my friends because of the connections and power I had. I was tired of being alone, of having trust issues concerning who my real friends were.
Tired of being alone, period.
I snorted in sarcasm. I had been very foolish in my younger years. I used to spend quite a lot trying to buy friends, to have people love me and worship me. I'd waste ten thousand dollars on a night at a club and diner just so I could have whomever I wanted on my table drinking from my bottles of Belvedere. At the time, that had been enough, it had made me temporarily happy, but somehow, I got tired of that shit.
I had been immature and didn't really allow anyone to know me for who I was. It was only at night—drunk, and at parties—that my so-called friends looked for me, and I for them. Now, every single activity pertaining shallow highs like those were pointless in the real scheme of things.
Upon realizing this, I had turned over a new leaf.
The first incident that made me realize that life was much more than getting drunk and spending money had been when my unique real friend, Emmett McCarty, found the girl of his dreams. Rosalie Hale was an extremely gorgeous blonde woman, whose father had been my father's partner. She came from a good and respectable family—she had the whole package.
I had known Rosalie since we were kids, her father always looking out for me when my parents passed away. He was my godfather, my friend, and he was a good man. That's why, on one of those crazy nights, I introduced Rosalie to my best friend. They instantly had a connection; it was the perfect match. I couldn't be happier for Emmett.
But also, I couldn't be couldn't be more discontent with pathetic existence.
I started dating numerous women, all beautiful, sophisticated, but I couldn't find that connection. There wasn't one. On some dates, the woman would be too presumptuous. On others, she would be too interested, but not in me.
Only in my money.
And so this was why I was alone at this fucking Black and White ball. Alone and politely listening to Jessica Newton blabbing. Unfortunately, I had to present the check and couldn't or wouldn't send someone on my behalf, because this is what people expected of me—to appear, to be seen, and to socialize.
"Edward, I heard you just got back from Dubai," she said seductively.
"Yes," I replied curtly, but politely.
"Were you alone or did you take someone with you?" she impertinently asked.
I wanted to roll my eyes, to tell her to mind her own business, but I didn't. Wasn't her husband looking for her? Perhaps, he was staring at Lauren Mallory's new tit job.
Fuck, these people were ridiculous.
"No, I went with my friend and his wife," I said courteously.
Dubai had been a trip I hadn't planned on. Emmett and Rose were attempting to have a baby, so they had booked the flight. When they saw I was working twenty-four hours a day, and that I was supposedly depressed—as they put it—about my life, they invited me to come along. I hadn't wanted to, knowing that I would disrupt their timing, but they insisted. They really were such great, true friends.
But these people… I wanted to leave this place, run and never see their faces again, but it was inevitable; they were either clients, friends of my friends, neighbors, or they were just part of Seattle's inner circle.
"Jessica, if you'll excuse me," I said as she opened her mouth. I needed to remove myself from her presence before she started questioning me further. I set my empty champagne flute on a waitress' tray and grabbed another one, drowning its contents in one gulp.
Walking through the black and white whirlpool, I made my way to my table where Emmett and Rosalie were sitting.
"I really want to get out of here," I said as I sat down in my empty chair.
"Go ahead man, I'll give the check if you want to," said Emmett.
"No, no. Of course I won't leave," I said. "I think I can handle it for one night. Thanks man."
It was then that Rosalie sat next to me, placing her hand on my shoulder. "I told you to invite Tanya. She's lovely."
Rose had insisted I ask her friend, Tanya Denali, to the gala, but I was not comfortable bringing a stranger to these kinds of events and showing how much I would be donating.
"And I also told you how I felt about that," I sighed.
"She's not a stranger. I wouldn't have suggested inviting her if I didn't know her well," she reasoned. I knew she was telling the truth. "Besides, her father owns half of Alaska. She would not be interested in that."
"I know, I know. Maybe on some other occasion." I was annoyed, everything felt mechanical, mundane. There was no meaning to my life anymore. I just woke up every day, went to work, had dinner alone, and went to sleep. Then the cycle would start all over again the next day.
But as I was thinking about this, something changed.
Since the first instant that my eyes landed on her, walking through the crowd, I knew that I'd found meaning to my pathetic existence.
She was the epitome of natural beauty; the object of my desire.
She had chocolate brown hair tied in an elegant and elaborate bun that accentuated her heart-shaped face. Her eyes were a deep hazel color, her nose was straight, and her lips were full and a bit unbalanced. She was wearing a silky black dress that showed every curve of her perfect body and brought out the smooth, pearly white of her skin.
To my eyes, she was beautiful in a unique way.
But, the only thing that I didn't like was that a frown was visible on her forehead.
Upon feeling my penetrating stare, her eyes locked with mine. Fuck, she had caught me staring at her. I had wanted to observe her reaction, but too embarrassed by my actions, I averted my gaze elsewhere.
I didn't know who this woman was, but I was definitely finding out.
"Rose, who is that girl? The brunette over there," I asked her, since she knew almost everyone. She looked in the direction I nodded and an annoyed expression appeared on her face. She had been watching me.
"Well, Eddie, don't get your hopes up. She's taken," she said, already knowing that I was interested. Rosalie knew me so well. And she also uttered the words I was dreading.
A wave of disappointment washed over me. I pushed that thought aside and insisted, "Who is she?"
"I don't know her personally, but I know she's Isabella Black, married to Jacob Black." She rolled her eyes. Fuck, she was married. She was someone else's wife. A wife. "And she helped organize this event."
"How married is she?" I needed to know even though it was wrong.
"Wait, isn't Jacob Black's company having financial problems?" asked Emmett, suddenly interested in our conversation.
"Who knows," I sighed, not caring about her husband's company, but about the fact that she was forbidden territory. The possibility of getting to know her, of touching her, talking to her was evaporated. I wasn't used to feeling this way. I usually had everything I wanted when I wanted it. Why was this impossible? It's not like I could pay for them to get a divorce.
I looked at Isabella again. A tall dark man—I assumed to be Black—took her hand and dragged her towards the exit. They were clearly arguing over something because he seemed to be talking fast, moving his hands frantically as the frown appeared on Isabella's face again. I got the feeling that she was reluctantly going with him.
Suddenly, I was overcome with the need to follow them, to see what was making her so uncomfortable. I took out a cigar from the pocket inside my jacket. As I exited the ballroom, I saw that they were still arguing behind a column.
I lit my cigar, took a deep drag, and exhaled the smoke. I wanted to smoke it after dinner with a much needed glass of Cognac, but it was my excuse for coming outside. What a waste of a perfectly nice cigar; they only made this kind for Fidel and for myself. But I really needed to hear what was going on with this Isabella.
At this stage of my life, not many things interested me. I had everything money could buy, but I was looking for something more. Something difficult to obtain; a challenge, a motivation, something to look forward to. Isabella interested me in so many ways. She intrigued me; her appearance was exquisite. Something was telling me that this was it—Isabella was the answer I had been looking for.
I needed her, but how could I get her?
I stepped near the column so I could hear their conversation. However, their voices were loud, proving my theory right—they were arguing over something.
"Jake, please just give it back," Isabella pleaded desperately.
"Bella, it's our only shot," he reasoned with her. I wanted to see their faces, but knew that they would notice me eavesdropping on them. I hated being nosy, and above all else I hated gossip, but this was my only chance to figure out how to get nearer. "I owe a lot of money."
"You don't owe shit! Listen to me, Jake. There's nothing they can do to you, to us. We don't need to do this. We—we can escape!" suggested his wife. "We can disappear, get out of the country. Just for God's sake, give it back."
What the fuck?
What was she talking about? What were they planning to do? This was a private conversation, but I didn't know if I liked what I was hearing or if it was something more serious that I should report on.
"It's not that easy, Bella. These people are dangerous—powerful," Black said, trying to convince her. "If they want to hurt us, they will. Believe me, this is our only shot. "
"I know it's not easy. But what about the police?" Her eyes were teary at this point. She looked frustrated, hurt, but oh so fucking gorgeous. I felt the need to comfort her, take her away from that asshole that was making her angry.
"What about them?" he asked.
"You cannot keep this a secret forever," she sighed. "What will you do when the police catch you?"
What secret? And what had he taken that needed to be returned?
What could poss—fuck!
Was he doing what I think he was? Was he keeping the donations? I had to find out, I needed to talk to him. He was going to regret it. This was wrong on so many levels. This was not good; this money was meant for special children.
"I know, Bella, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. I'm tired of this whole mess." He was exasperated, pulling at his hair, looking at his wife. "You know I regret everything I've done. I dragged you into this, and... and it's killing me."
It was at his words that she started to sob. I couldn't take it anymore. This was too private, too intimate and as much as I wanted to be involved in this with her, to hold her hand, to know exactly what was going on, I couldn't. I didn't fucking know her, for God's sake!
Putting out the cigar, I returned inside and went directly to the rest room. I splashed my face with cold water.
Jacob Black had better listen to me.
An hour and a speech later, Rosalie and I were walking through the crowd of people, greeting friends and acquaintances. I asked her to come with me so she could scare off undesirable people.
Jacob Black and another man were talking in hushed voices. This was it; I needed to talk to him about what he did. I approached them. As they saw me coming near them, they stopped talking. The other man immediately excused himself.
He looked at his friend's retreating back. A second later, he acknowledged my presence.
"Mr. Black, I don't believe we've been introduced, yet." I extended my hand. He looked at it for a second before shaking it. His grip was firm, but his hand was sweaty. He clearly was nervous. "I'm Edward Cullen, and this is my partner's wife, Rosalie McCarty."
"Mr. Cullen, Mrs. McCarty, it's a pleasure to meet you." He shook Rosalie's hand, too. Just as I was about to open my mouth and ask him to step outside with me, his beautiful wife approached, looking between us and forcing a smile at me. My heart skipped a beat, in spite of the false gesture. "Mr. Cullen, this is my wife, Bella."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Cullen." She extended her hand, and I brought it to my lips, kissing the back of her hand gently. My lips lingered on her soft skin, my eyes looking intensely into hers. Rosalie pinched my back and I released Bella's hand. There was an awkward silence as I looked at Isabella, who was blushing a beautiful shade of pink. Black shifted uncomfortably in his place, but was oblivious of my slip.
Fuck, how I wanted her.
I cleared my throat, making up my mind as I spoke. "Mr. Black, I was wondering if we could talk outside for a minute." I reluctantly turned to look at the man standing in front of me and added, "Alone."
His jaw clenched, and he nervously looked at his wife. Isabella's eyes widened and I knew what they were thinking—they'd been caught.
Without further ado, I ordered, "Follow me."
He stepped away from his wife and we walked outside the ballroom while Rosalie stayed behind with Isabella.
When we were behind the column where I'd seen them earlier, I halted.
"I know what you're doing," I said straightforwardly. "And I want you to listen carefully. This is something that you don't want to do. This is bad for your business, your reputation and that of your wife."
"Wha—what?" he stuttered nervously. He was playing the innocent here. "What are you talking about?"
"You are making a big mistake here, Black." I ignored his question because we both knew what I was talking about.
"I—I don't know what this is about," he stuttered again. "If you'll excuse me, I want to go look for Bella."
I rolled my eyes as he attempted to move past me. I stopped him with my arm. He brusquely pushed my hand aside, making his way back, but stopped as I said, "However, today is your lucky day."
He remained silent, turning around and looking at me expectantly. "You won't call the police, will you?" I smirked as he admitted his sin.
"No. We don't want to make a scene tonight, wouldn't you agree?"
"So, it is my understanding that you are in need of money, correct?" I was craving for information, something that would let me know more about the Blacks—about her. I needed to be involved, to be nearer, I wanted to be part of her circle, her life, and this was a challenge for me. My new amusement.
But, who was I kidding? I wanted her body, I craved her prohibited presence. This crazy part of my desire for her was hungry to know all I could about this gorgeous woman. I was just an opportunist, sticking my nose where it didn't belong. I knew she was married; there was no way that I could have her.
"Yes. And we don't have liquidity at the moment," he answered. I clenched my eyes shut. What the fuck was I thinking? This is not how Carlisle and Esme raised me, but also this was stronger than me. Stronger than anything I have felt.
"You know I am a business man. I seek opportunities everywhere I go." Blood was rushing quickly through my veins, as if I were about to seal a multi-million dollar contract. "Then, I have a rather interesting proposal to make."
"Let's hear it," he said.
"I can give you one million dollars, in cash— right now," I said, taking out my phone, ready to make the call.
He gasped at what I said, and his jaw hit the floor. This amount of money was nothing to me. He recovered quickly and said, "What's the catch?"
I sighed. I had to do this.
"I want to borrow your wife tonight," I said bluntly.
His eyes widened and his jaw clenched, his knuckles white as he tightened his fists. Was he going to hit me? Had I been out of line in front of this man without morals and values? After all, he was willing to steal the money from children. Was lending me his wife worse than being a thief? Stealing the money would harm hundreds of kids, whereas lending me his wife couldn't harm anybody. It was just sex…
"You son of a…" Black trailed off. He inhaled deeply and, again, composed himself.
"Well, is that your final answer?" I was ready to take another course of action. Fuck morals and values.
"One million isn't enough," he said through gritted teeth, and I realized that he was actually considering my offer. Usually, I knew how to read people when doing business, but this was a very unorthodox negotiation. Feelings and bonds were at stake; this obviously wasn't my specialty.
"How much is it that you need?" I wanted him to accept my offer, willing to go higher.
"I need three million dollars."
"Hmmm… a majority of people don't see that kind of money in their entire lifetime." I said, laughing sardonically. I was willing to go as high as he wanted, but the revenue also had to be proportional.
"I know, but one million isn't enough. What's the use of… this, if I won't be able to pay my debts," he said, looking me directly in the eyes. "Plus, I wouldn't accept your offer without my wife's consent."
"Fair enough," I said, accepting his terms and figuring out a way to seal the deal. "How about three million dollars for a weekend in Vegas, then?"
His eyes widened again, I knew he was distressed but I was being reasonable. Three million dollars still meant nothing to me, but he really needed the money. I could always smell success while doing business with desperate people. I just had to hope that his wife would agree to these terms.
After several seconds, he finally spoke, "Okay, I think that's fair. I just need to ask her." Uneasiness showed on his face, as if he had swallowed a particularly bitter bite.
I took out my business card and handed it to him. "Give me a call. I want an answer by Monday morning," I said, leaving him behind me.
I was sure he had practically accepted my offer. I knew too much about them, and it was their way out of escaping and stealing. I was their only way out.
But some part deep inside of me felt disgusted with my actions. Or perhaps his actions were worse than mine. After all, he was willing to loan me his beautiful wife.
What a jerk.
"He is something else, isn't he?" asked Rosalie McCarty, looking at the retreating backs of my husband and Mr. Cullen.
I wanted to say yes, but this was not the time for engaging in conversations with this intimidating blonde. Edward Cullen was certainly a very handsome man, but he was also taking my husband outside—to talk, he had said. Did he know something?
I settled with a vague, "I guess so…"
"Just… stay away from him," she said, her gaze menacing and dangerous. I frowned, unsure of what this was about. What was her problem? We stood together, an awkward silence lingering in the air as people around us enjoyed themselves.
I knew I shouldn't give her the benefit of my words, but her comment bothered me. "What are you talking about? I just met him. I don't have any interest in knowing him."
I wanted to get away from her and stop discussing this man. He made me nervous.
Earlier that night, when I caught him staring at me, I felt flustered; my stomach dancing nervously, because he was a very attractive man. His gaze was intense and penetrating; something about it had beckoned me to look at him—no harm in that. But seconds ago, when his lips touched my skin, I knew something was off. I got the impression that he was interested in me. I didn't know why he would be, but I couldn't help but feel the heat radiating off his skin. He made me uncomfortable for some reason.
God, I really wanted to know what was happening outside.
"Every woman here, both single and married, wants to impress him, be with him," she said, and I really didn't know what she was getting at. But what Rosalie was saying made sense. I've heard that he was a very good and suitable prospect for marriage—or for more.
I forced a smile. She was getting on my nerves. "Are you among those women?" I asked, challenging her.
Rosalie laughed cynically and rolled her eyes.
"Of course not, sweetie. He's like a brother to me," she said as if she were talking to a seven year old.
"So? What are you getting at?" I asked rudely. I didn't care if I offended her. I was not in the mood for this. I was really worried about Jake at that moment.
"It amuses me to see the effect Edward has on women," Rosalie explained. We remained quiet for a couple of seconds, and then she spoke again. "But what amuses me the most is how a plain, married woman could have such an effect on a man like Edward Cullen," she said cryptically.
I was about to say something when Jacob appeared, Mr. Cullen nowhere to be seen.
"Bella, we're leaving now," Jake said angrily. I shouldn't leave like this, as I was co-hosting this event, but I didn't care. I was too nervous; this was a nightmare that I wanted to end. Besides, Claire would take care of everything for me.
He grabbed me roughly by the wrist and dragged me—for the second time that night—toward the exit. He was making me anxious. Had Mr. Cullen done something to him? Did he really know? Had he threatened Jacob?
Once outside, Jacob asked the valet for the car. My husband was awfully quiet and I didn't like it.
"Jake, say something," I pleaded. He just looked at me, teeth clenched.
The car arrived. I stepped inside as Jake closed his door. He pressed the gas pedal, and we were on the road.
"Baby, talk to me," I begged again, once we were on the highway. I was worried and scared. Had Mr. Cullen called the police? Were we flying out of the country tonight?
"Jacob, talk to me. You're worrying me," I pleaded for the third time.
He stopped at the red light and turned to look at me. I could tell he was upset and pensive.
"He knows," my husband whispered.
I gasped and felt like throwing up. One of the most powerful men on the West Coast knew about Jacob's plan. Had he threatened him? And how did he find out? I just hoped that he had mercy on my husband, on us. I blinked, tears sliding down my face. The red light was illuminating his worried face.
Fuck, why was money so problematic? Always wreaking havoc in my life.
"What did he say?" I asked, worried. "Is he going to call the police?"
The red light turned green, and he pushed the gas pedal.
"No, he won't."
I sighed in relief. "Then, what did he want?" I asked. The suspense was killing me.
"He made an offer." I could see Jake's jaw clenching.
"He'll give us three million dollars," he said.
My stomach dropped. That amount of money meant that Jacob and I wouldn't have to leave the country. That much money meant that nobody would hurt us. That fucking miraculous sum of money meant that we could return the stolen money to the correct account.
"But there is something else, Bella." He sounded gravely serious.
My hands were sweaty. "What—what else?" I asked nervously. I wanted out of this nightmare. Tonight had proven to be a tough rollercoaster ride.
"He asked for something in return."
Of course he would. "What did he want?"
He remained silent for a couple of minutes. I looked at the road in front of us. The suspense was really killing me. He started to decrease speed so he could enter the parking lot of a Safeway. He stopped the car and turned it off. The place was empty.
"Why are we stopping here?" I asked. He twisted his body so he was looking at me.
"I just think we have to make a decision right now," he said, looking at me closely.
"What does he want?" I asked, knowing that this so called 'decision' was what the tycoon wanted.
"He'll give us three million dollars if…" he trailed off.
"If what Jake?" I asked anxiously.
"Fuck, I can't even say it," he said desperately, running his hands through his hair and pulling at it. I grabbed them, placing them on my lap and holding them there.
"You can tell me," I encouraged. He turned to me with a sad expression on his face.
"He'll give us three million dollars if …you spend the weekend in Vegas with him," he said it, and again, my stomach dropped.
My eyes widened. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. He was buying me for a weekend? And it was our only way out? And my husband was okay with it?
"Did you accept the of-offer?" I asked, my voice cracking. My heart skipped a beat as I waited for his answer. I shut my eyes.
Please say you didn't, Jacob, because if you accepted, it will break my heart.
Please say you didn't go behind my back and seal the deal already.
"No, I didn't Bella." I exhaled in relief. However he continued, "But I didn't refuse it, either."
I sighed, closing my eyes again. A tear rolled down my face. I released his hands.
"I told him that we would discuss this together. We have to give him an answer by Monday," he explained. "I told him that if you agree, we'll have a deal."
He was breaking my heart with each word he uttered. I wanted to shut his mouth, but he didn't stop talking.
"You know I wouldn't force you to do something like this, Bella. I... I love you so much, and if you agree to do this, it— it will kill me to know you are with another man, a better man, a man that is richer... a man that is everything I'm not..."
"Shut up!" I screamed, cutting him off. I could not stand this anymore.
"If you don't want this, we can escape to Mexico, just like you wanted," he said, and I could see that he was crying. His eyes were bloodshot, and his cheeks were damp.
I knew deep down that I didn't really want to leave the country. I was just trying to prevent my husband from committing a crime. But now that we were presented with another possibility—another door— as painful as it was, I knew it was the answer to all our problems.
I also knew that, despite the nature of the proposition, Jacob wanted me to accept Mr. Cullen's offer. It was breaking my heart, but I had to be reasonable; three million dollars would save us from all our trouble and I could make that possible. Freedom was in my hands; I could save my husband, my marriage—the only thing I had.
"Jake, I've never been with another man." I voiced one of my many fears as tears poured freely from my eyes.
"But it's our only way out. We can give that charity money back," I explained. And then I couldn't speak anymore because I started to sob uncontrollably.
Jacob took me in his arms and placed his lips against mine. I straddled him and started kissing him frantically.
That night we made love in the parking lot of a Safeway.
On Monday morning, Jake made the call…
The call that would change everything.
Mr. Cullen agreed to transfer half the money once I set foot on the plane, and the other 1.5 million at the end of our weekend. Jacob agreed to those terms.
Friday morning couldn't come fast enough. I was dreading that day, but I knew I had to find the courage in me and face our only reasonable option.
I was at our house, just like Jacob told him I would be. He said that the car would pick me at half past nine. I didn't have to bring a suitcase with me, just my necessities, such as toothbrush among other things. So I just packed my toiletries, and, of course, I took off my wedding ring.
Jacob couldn't stand being in the house that day, so he left to who knew where. I actually got angry at him, because as I was waiting, I felt lonely.
I snapped out of my thoughts when I heard someone knocking at the door. I took a deep breath and grabbed my small bag and purse. I thought Mr. Cullen was going to be waiting for me at the door, and I wanted to throw up, but I was surprised when a woman with short, black spiky hair stood in front of me.
She was wearing a black suit and looked impeccable, making her appear very professional. She pulled her sunglasses up to her head and looked at me.
"Hello, Mrs. Black, my name is Alice Brandon, and I'll be traveling with you."
"Hi, Alice." We shook hands and I followed her to the limo. Once inside, she offered a kind smile. I returned it, but it wasn't genuine—I was too nervous and scared. However, she radiated an aura of trust and comfort, so I tried to relax. Everything was going to be okay.
When we arrived at the hangar, the chauffeur opened the door for me and took my bag. I stepped outside of the car and gasped. In front of me was a huge private jet.
"Pretty impressive, huh?" asked Alice beside me. I couldn't find words so I nodded in agreement. "Wait until you see the inside."
We made our way to the plane. When I entered, I was blown away. It was as if I were in a big, luxurious, contemporary apartment. It didn't look like a jet at all. Everything was made of leather and mahogany. Artwork decorated the walls and surfaces. Alice plopped on a couch.
"Mrs. Black, make yourself at home," she said, beaming at me. I returned the smile and sat down in front of her.
"Please call me, Bella." Mrs. Black was making me feel old, and it was reminding me of Jacob. I couldn't think of him without crying.
"Okay. Bella it is," Alice said as her eyes traveled up and down my body. I felt self-conscious at the lack of enthusiasm I had put into my appearance today. I was wearing a pair of jeans and a polo shirt.
"Alice, where is Mr. Cullen?" I asked, trying to distract her from the way I was dressed, but regretted my question because I was dreading his presence. But, at the same time, I was wishing he was there so we could get this over with.
"He'll be arri—" Alice was cut off as we heard his voice.
He was giving directions to his personnel about something. as he entered the plane. If I'd been impressed with his vehicle, I was more impressed with its owner.
He was a man of another world. Back at the ball, I noticed that he was a very handsome man, but as several things that required my full attention that night, I hadn't fully appreciated the extent of gorgeousness that this man possessed. I was sure I wouldn't be able to form a coherent thought in his presence.
I stood up from the couch to greet him.
However, when his eyes landed on me, a beautiful crooked grin adorned his features. He was wearing khaki pants and a polo shirt, too.
"Isabella, I'm glad you are here," he said, making his way towards me.
As we stood in front of each other, he took my hands in his own and gave them a gentle squeeze. He leaned over me and placed a tender kiss on my cheek. I inhaled deeply, intoxicated by his scent, my heart rate increasing at his close proximity.
My knees gave out, and I plopped down on the couch again. He chuckled at my reaction and followed suit, sitting beside me. He sat too close to me for my liking. I felt nervous in his presence, and it was either because he was extremely handsome, or because of our current situation.
I realized I hadn't uttered a word since I saw him, so, clearing my throat, I said, "Nice ride, Mr. Cullen."
Of all the things I could say, I said the dumbest of them all.
He chuckled again. "Thanks, Isabella."
There was an awkward silence. Then I noticed that Alice was still there, so automatically, I turned to look at her. Mr. Cullen saw this.
"Isabella, you already met Alice. She's my assistant and my dear cousin. Once we land in Vegas, she'll take you shopping while I attend to some business."
I liked to shop, but not with money that wasn't mine. Did this mean that the money I spent at the malls would be taken from the three million?
He must have seen my face because he asked, "Don't you want to go shopping?"
I had to make my terms clear.
"Mr. Cullen, first of all, since we are going to be sharing some kind of intimacy over the weekend, you can call me Bella," I stated.
He smirked, nodding his head in understanding.
"Second, I'd rather have the three million dollars intact. I don't want to spend it on clothes. So no, I don't want to go shopping," I made myself clear.
He laughed again, and I wanted to roll my eyes. I ignored him and continued, "And last, as much as I welcome Alice's company, I don't need a babysitter; I won't run away," I finished.
He stopped laughing and took my hand in his again. "Okay, Bella… now I want to say something too," he said, looking into my eyes intently. "First of all, call me Edward."
"And you won't spend a dime while being with me. Alice has a company credit card, and she will be paying for your clothes with it. Besides, you need to go shopping. I clearly remember saying that you didn't need to bring a suitcase," he said with finality, and I couldn't help but notice that he didn't address the babysitter issue. Maybe he thought Jake would be waiting for me at some funky hotel.
I nodded, lowering my head and looking at my lap. The rest of the flight passed in the same fashion. Edward took out his laptop and began working on something. Alice played with her Blackberry, and I stared at my surroundings. I was feeling relaxed at that instant.
Maybe it was because the situation hadn't sunken in yet.
Maybe I was going to be nervous the moment that Edward and I were alone. A shiver ran through my body. Throughout the entire week, I hadn't let my mind wonder about this, but now that I was on his plane, I knew it was inevitable—I was going to have sex with Edward Cullen.
Now, I was nervous. I felt something heavy in the pit of my stomach, and it started churning. I wasn't okay with the idea of having sex with another man, even a man as beautiful as Edward.
Jacob was my everything, and although we constantly had problems—him spending more money than we had, making business deals with the wrong people, me neglecting my household duties, waking up in the afternoon and not having anything ready for dinner. In spite all of those things that defined us as a couple, he was very dear to me. He was my husband, my protector, but also Jacob had influenced me to make this decision. He hadn't forced me, but he had suggested it.
I resented him…
And I also resented the man sitting beside me.
What gave him the right to buy his way through life?
Had there been others before me?
I'd been to Vegas before, but never like this.
I was overwhelmed.
As we arrived at our destination, a chauffeur picked us up and took us to the Bellagio. On the way to the hotel, Edward opened a bottle of Dom Pérignon. We had merely a sip, and he discarded it as if it were Coke.
In the hotel, the manager—along with five bellboys—greeted us. They took Alice and Edward's luggage, and led the way to our suite. Edward and I were going to be staying in the Chairman Suite, for which I was grateful, because it had one master bedroom and one guest room. Alice would be staying in the Salone Suite.
When I entered our room, for the millionth time that day, I was very impressed. It was a beautiful, luxurious apartment. It was contemporary, with browns and blues that contrasted brilliantly. The suite had the two bedrooms, a small foyer, a lofty living room with a fire place, a dining room for eight people, a solarium, a small office, a bathroom for two—this actually made me nervous—a tub, and a massage room. Edward Cullen only bought the best of the very best. I guessed I could say I had just entered into that category.
As I finished looking through the place, I realized that we were alone. I didn't feel nervous yet because Edward was behaving like a true gentleman. He even let me pick my room, and of course, I picked the guest room. Maybe this wouldn't be too bad after all.
I heard the bell ring. I made my way to open the door, but a butler came out of nowhere and beat me. Alice was standing in front of me, smiling mischievously, purse in hand.
She took me to all of the stores in the Bellagio. I cringed when I saw that there was no Banana Republic. Only names like Dior, Prada, and Bottega Veneta adorned the walls of the spectacular hotel. Alice was in her personal paradise, whereas I was in my personal hell.
Even though it wasn't my money, I couldn't justify spending five hundred dollars on a pair of Dior shoes, but Alice insisted. And throughout the entire day, she insisted a lot. She bought me everything that crossed her path. I knew I wasn't even going to use half the stuff, but she bought them anyway; I didn't have any clothes to wear.
Just as I thought we had finished, she took me to Caesar's Palace. I refused to get out of the car, so Alice made a deal with me. I had to visit just one store at the Forum Shops. I agreed to this, but when I realized where she was taking me, I regretted it.
She took me to La Perla.
I wanted to die of embarrassment and nerves as a tear rolled down my cheek. She even said that Edward requested I go into this store.
In the end, she bought lingerie for me.
At around six, Alice said I had an appointment for hair and makeup. The hairdresser and the makeup artist were waiting for me at the suite. They did my hair in an elegant and elaborate hairdo, while my makeup was natural.
Alice clapped her hands and showed me what I would be wearing tonight.
I gasped at the beautiful silky blue Elie Saab gown. The bodice was draped around my torso, an asymmetrical strap across it, and the lower part of the dress flowed freely. It was beautiful. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I actually saw a woman worthy of a millionaire's affection.
As I stepped out of my room, I saw that the dining room was decorated, and that instead of eight chairs, there were only two. A violinist was playing in the background. Everything looked nice, but what took my breath away was the man waiting for me.
Edward was wearing a tux and he looked… I couldn't find words to describe him. He was smiling that crooked smile. As I stepped closer to him, I saw that he was looking intently at me, his green eyes darkening with lust.
The feelings that went through my body at that instant were a swirl of contradicting emotions. On one hand, I felt nervous and repulsed—this man wasn't my husband. To him, I was only a new toy, his latest acquisition. On the other hand, he had been a perfect gentleman, a very good looking gentleman that treated me like a princess living in a fairy tale.
These contradictions were making me feel guilty. For both parties—Jacob and Edward.
"Bella, you look…" he said, his eyes running over my body. "So fucking beautiful."
My heart stopped at his words. I closed my eyes, muttering, "Thank you."
I opened my eyes again; there was a frown visible on Edward's face as he pulled the chair out for me. I sat down. He followed suit.
"Did you have fun today?" he asked as the waiter poured champagne in our glasses. "I apologize for not taking you to the mall myself, but I had a very important meeting."
"No problem," I said shyly, forcing a smile, trying to please him. "Yes, we had fun. Alice was so excited, it was cute."
"She loves to go shopping," he said, amusement written all over his face. "Where did you guys go?"
Dinner passed comfortably. It was easy to hold a conversation with Edward. He was very interesting, listened to every word I said. I noticed that champagne was always present and I was glad, because it was easing me slowly, but effectively. I needed to feel comfortable enough to proceed with our agenda.
Dessert was soon in front of us and I was feeling good. Jacob was at the back of my mind for the moment. I was forgetting about the stressful life we had lead these past months.
"So, what are your motivations, Bella Swan?" Edward asked, smiling. I couldn't help but give him a genuine smile of my own.
"Well, let's see…" But I felt a hole in the pit of my stomach. What were my motivations? What was the thing that pushed me through life? What was it that dictated my every move?
He noticed my change of attitude, the smile disappearing from his face as well. "Sorry."
He hadn't done anything wrong, so trying to save our moment, I faked a grin and asked, "Clearly I am a bit boring, so let's move forward. What are your motivations, Edward Cullen?"
He looked relieved. "Well, work is a pretty important part of my life."
"So, you are so boring, too," I teased.
"Well, you didn't let me finish." His expression was playful. But as he continued, it became serious. "I also want to build a family of my own."
The violin was still playing in the background. My glass full of champagne.
"That must be nice," I said. "Great motivator."
As we finished dinner, Edward dismissed the others. Now we were completely alone.
Tension was palpable, as we both knew what was coming.
He stood up, kneeling in front of me and taking my hands in his own. "You are—God, you are just too… perfect."
He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. My breathing was harsher, his close proximity making me nervous and excited, the alcohol in my blood spreading a warm feeling all over my being.
"I am far from perfect," I whispered.
"No, from the first moment I saw you, I knew you were."
I closed my eyes. He was so wrong. I wasn't perfect in anyway, Jacob knew this.
He continued talking. "I had this crazy desire to talk to you, get to know you. This… this had never happened to me."
I didn't doubt the honesty of his words.
"Shh, don't say anything," he said, placing his finger against my lips. "Bella, we don't have to do anything you don't want to, but… I want to touch you, I want to make love to you."
At his words, my heart skipped a beat.
At that moment, I wanted it, too.
He was the perfect one, but he was… he was not my husband. I couldn't do this, not if he was giving me the option to decline—and he was. Edward was giving me the power to choose. How easy would it be to just say yes?
But… Jacob. Even if he didn't know I had this choice, I would feel bad with myself for accepting. Why did I want to have sex with Edward Cullen? Was it the alcohol in me? Was it the good time he showed me tonight? Or perhaps because he treated me like a queen?
My shoulders started shaking uncontrollably, and tears began flowing from my eyes. Edward was at my side in a second. He crushed me against his warm body, his arms wrapping protectively around me. I didn't return the embrace; my limp arms rested at my sides.
I knew I had to say no.
"I-I can't… I've never been with an-another…" I couldn't even finish the sentence.
As I said this, Edward's embrace grew stronger, and he nuzzled against my neck.
"Shh… it's okay," he spoke softly, his lips brushing against my neck. I shivered at the touch.
"I-I'm so-sorry," I stuttered, placing my hands on his shoulders.
After a brief moment, my tears subsided. We broke apart as he took my hands and looked at me pleadingly. "I have one request, though."
I nodded, removing my hand from his and wiping my tears.
"Please stay with me. Let me hold you… I don't want to be alone tonight."
I nodded. It was the least I could do.
After agreeing to sleep in his bed, we went to his room. I didn't take in the details—I was too overwhelmed to worry about such things. The moment turned a bit awkward as he started unbuttoning his shirt and loosening his tie. For a moment, I thought he was going to take his clothes off, but he just discarded his belt, shoes, and tie.
I stayed still, looking at him. I didn't know what to wear to bed; everything that we bought today was too provocative for the innocent occasion. I opted to remain with my dress on; I didn't care if the fabric wrinkled or if I was uncomfortable. It was better than wearing some expensive lingerie.
Not knowing what to do or how to act around him, I followed his lead. He pulled the covers off the bed and lay down, patting the spot next to him. I smiled shyly as I crawled into bed with him. We lay on our sides as he took my hand and placed it against his cheek, his face smooth and perfect.
Champagne was still buzzing through my body, making me feel heavy and relaxed. I looked into his penetrating green eyes. He was watching me intently, as if trying to decipher my thoughts. I smiled—he was so beautiful. I was a coward for not speaking my mind, but it didn't matter anyway, I was married.
He smiled back, whispering, "You're so beautiful." I liked that Edward wasn't a coward—he was so confident of himself.
I nuzzled into the pillow; I didn't know how to react when he said those words. I felt his fingers running through my hair, pulling the pins away from it. Once again, I looked into his eyes, my hand mimicking his, daring to feel his bronze strands between my fingers.
His gaze became more intense, drawing me in. I shifted in my spot, moving closer to him. He followed my lead and closed his eyes. There was a barrier between us, a line that separated our sides and suddenly, I wanted to cross it. I desperately wanted to touch him, to close the gap between us, to kiss those full lips.
I wondered if they would feel as soft as they looked. If they would consume me as I wanted them to. How his hands would feel on my bare skin. I craved him, I wanted him to make love to me, but I had already made up my mind.
However, this was more intimate than anything I'd ever felt. Our close proximity, lying in bed with our clothes on, touching our faces, looking into each other's eyes, our figures illuminated by the lights coming from the window. The only sounds were our breathing, fingers gently caressing were our only actions.
I continued gazing at him until I closed my eyes, trying to fall into a peaceful slumber. The sudden feel of his strong arm around me, making me realize he had crossed the unspoken barrier.
I couldn't fall asleep anymore.
I looked at the alarm clock on the bedside table. It read 2:38 a.m.
Edward was now peacefully asleep, his arm still wrapped around me. His hair lay on his forehead, my fingers gently pushing it away from his face.
He was the most handsome man I'd ever met.
His eyes closed, eyebrows full and masculine, his straight nose and perfect cheekbones. He was truly beautiful. But what I still craved at the moment were his lips against mine, showing me affection, making me feel good.
I ran my fingers over his face, outlining each contour of him until they rested on his lips. They were soft and warm. What if I…
If I kissed him, would I be able to stop? Would I cross the unspoken line? Would the kiss mean that I was granting him access to my body?
Would we be able to stop at a kiss?
Did I want to stop with this kiss?
The answer was no.
I wanted to kiss him, to touch him, to uncover every inch of his body, to make him feel good, to fulfill the fantasy that brought us to this point.
To this moment.
A moment that I needed to live.
I knew that I would feel guilty knowing that I had the choice to decline sex and yet, initiated this encounter. But I couldn't help it, I wanted him, wanted to discover this with Edward.
I looked once again at his chiseled face, taking in his serene smile as I closed my eyes and leaned into him. My heart was pounding, waiting to feel the contact of his skin against mine, but just as I was millimeters away from my destination, I saw his face.
No, I wanted this.
I would need to learn how to handle the consequences, but I wouldn't regret my actions tonight. I was tired of living and regretting. I wanted to live in this moment, with the man that was lying next to me.
Pushing the face of my husband to the back of my mind, I closed the distance between us.
Edward's lips were as soft as I had imagined, his breath fanning over my face as I placed a tender kiss upon his skin. I placed another, and another, until I felt his lips responding to my caresses. His hands cupped my face, pushing me away gently, his eyes dark and confused.
"Bella?" he whispered, his voice raspy with sleep.
"Edward… just kiss me." He looked at me, a bewildered expression on his face as I begged, "Please."
He closed his eyes again, his thumb caressing my cheekbone softly. I leaned into him, knowing he was waiting for my consent, for my response. His lips touched mine gently, giving me tentative kisses, my chest expanding with a swirl of emotions. I could kiss his sweet lips all night, but I needed more.
Soon, my hands found themselves tangled in his hair, our kisses deepening. My tongue ran swiftly over his lips, wanting to devour him, to consume him slowly and rapidly at the same time. After what seemed like several minutes, we pulled apart—our air supply was running short.
I took in his appearance once again, wanting to see if anything had changed. His eyes were heavily lidded with desire, his breathing was deep, and his lips were curled. It made me smile as I lay next to him.
"What brought that on?" he asked, his fingers running over my arm. It tingled in a good way.
"You looked so beautiful in your sleep," I voiced my truthful thoughts. He chuckled shyly. He was just too… perfect. "Your lips were calling to me…"
Without thinking twice, I kissed him once more, this time straddling him. He was surprised, his lips motionless, but after a second, he responded. His hands hesitantly ran along my sides, the dress bunched up between us.
"Bella, I want to… I want to touch you," he whispered against me, afraid of pushing me into something I didn't want. I smirked—this man was definitely something else.
"Do it, please—touch me."
"Are—are you sure?" His chest was heaving with need, but his voice was thoughtful.
"Yes, I want you to." That was invitation enough.
His arms wrapped around me, pulling me toward him and crushing me against his body. I sought his lips for the millionth time, his hands running over my backside, blindly looking for the zipper of my dress. Once the task was done, I eagerly pulled it over my head, the silk floating around us, the blue chiffon hiding the beautiful man from my eyes.
As I discarded the garment to the floor, I felt self-conscious from my lack of clothing—the blue strapless bra and silk panties the only scraps of fabric on my body. I usually felt empowered in this state of nakedness, but not with a man like Edward. However, I knew I had nothing to worry about as I looked in his eyes.
His head was on the pillow, his hands resting on my hips as his darkened green eyes took me in. He licked his lips, his hungry gaze intense—my confidence returned. Leaning toward him, I pulled at his hair, placing a kiss on his forehead, his cheek, his earlobe, and finally his jaw.
I sucked the spot where his neck and jaw met, earning a deep groan from the sexy man underneath me. I smirked. His hands rested on my hips, playing with the elastic of my panties, his fingers pulling tentatively at them. My hips bucked at the realization that they were so near to that spot that was tingling with desire—for his touch.
My lips descended, nibbling and sucking the skin of his neck, my fingers finally fumbling with the buttons of his white shirt. I placed wet little kisses on every inch of skin I uncovered, my nails also running over the smooth texture of his chest.
When I finished unbuttoning his shirt, I placed more kisses on his navel, my hands finally running over his clothed thighs. His shirt followed my dress' fate, leaving his torso naked to my eyes. His head was thrown back as I continued running my hands over his legs, deliberating on my next move. He was so fucking perfect, I didn't know how to continue. I wanted to take my time enjoying this man, but I also wanted to consume him with raw need.
As I went for his zipper, my hand swiftly brushed against the bulge in his pants. He groaned, "Fuck… did you feel that?"
"Mmhmm…" I smirked as he took my hand, placing it over his hardened length.
"That is what you do to me." His voice was hoarse, his eyes alive with fire as I stroked him over his clothes. I leaned over him, placing an open-mouthed kiss over his cock, my warm breath passing through the black fabric.
I unzipped his slacks, Edward lifting his hips as I dragged the offending clothes down his body. I moaned as his erection sprung forward—he was beautiful and just… too perfect.
"God, Edward," I said, taking him in my hand, feeling him heavy and smooth under my touch. I lightly stroked him. He watched me as I caressed him, his hand resting on my thigh, his fingers running over me. Pre-cum was oozing from his tip, making it easy to glide my fingers over him.
"Fuck, Bella," he hissed as I leaned over him once more, planting a sweet kiss on the tip before enveloping the head with my lips. The hand that was not touching my body, instantly cupped my cheek, his knuckles caressing me. I worked his cock, my tongue sliding over his length, my hand stroking at the same time.
"I want to taste you, too," he said. "Turn around."
I looked at him, never taking him from my mouth. I realized that he was watching me intently, taking in the sight of my lips wrapped around his cock. I smirked and shook my head as he licked his lips. As much as I wanted him to taste me, I needed him to fuck me. He groaned and pulled me toward him, our lips crashing.
I felt him against my stomach, my hand sneaking between us as I continued to stroke him. He groaned in our kiss, his hand fumbling with the clasp of my bra. Once he rid my body of it, his hands went to my naked breasts, my nipples brushing against his chest was pure bliss. He broke away from me, his eyes taking in the sight of my naked torso.
I squealed as he flipped us over. Trapped underneath him, his mouth instantly enclosed around my hardened nipple, his hand working on my panties, pushing them away from my body. Once completely naked, he was on his knees, his eyes traveled over my body. "You're so fucking beautiful."
I closed my eyes. Feeling him nudge my legs apart with his knee, I spread them for him. His finger tentatively touched me—all wet and aching for him.
"Edward, please," I begged, opening my eyes and seeing him stroking his cock as his finger slid inside of me. I bucked my hips at his touch, his thumb rubbing over my clit. I knew he wanted me fully ready, but I already was.
"What do you want Bella?" he asked, teasing me with his words and his actions. I arched my hips, meeting his finger as he stroked himself at the same pace. I loved how he looked like that, touching himself at the sight of my nakedness.
"I want you—I want you inside…" I groaned as he slid a second finger, stretching me, preparing me for him. My hands were desperately clutching at the sheets. "Edward, don't fucking tease and do it."
He groaned, withdrawing his fingers away from me, positioning himself, and resting his weight on his elbow. I tugged at his hair as he neared me, our lips meeting as he guided his cock inside of me. We groaned against each other as we became one. He arched his hips, his length creating an amazing friction with every thrust. I clutched at his shoulders, his tongue teasing against mine, our movements frantic as he fucked me.
"You feel so good," he whispered against me, his hand kneading my breast.
I moaned, meeting him thrust after thrust. He possessed me, made me feel sexy and beautiful. I was mesmerized by his every movement, his every muscle flexing, his every sound, his smell, his body covered in sweat. He was truly wonderful.
He glided in and out of me, our hips moving together. His hand hitched my leg, wrapping it around his waist, the angle hitting deeper, better. I moaned, his pace increasing, and I knew I was almost there—almost. Edward felt it too, sliding his hand between us, his fingers brushing against my clit.
"Do you like it?" he asked. I nodded against his neck, my nails digging into his skin. He continued fucking me, kissing my neck, nibbling gently at my skin, whispering incoherent thoughts in my ear. I hitched my other leg around him. I wanted to feel this way forever, but I also wanted to reach our climaxes.
Edward touched me again, pinching me and this time, making me come undone around him—his name on my lips. Wave after wave washing over my body, clenching around him as he whispered my name over and over.
"Oh, fuck… Bella," he hissed, thrusting frantically, following suit as he emptied himself inside of me. He gradually ceased his movements, his lips brushing against mine. As he finally stopped, he was about to roll onto his side, but I held onto him. I still wanted to feel him over me, our legs tangled with the sheets. His heavily lidded eyes tired, a satisfied smile on his face as he lay on top of me, supporting himself on his other elbow.
I caressed his hair, my fingers playing at the nape of his neck as I heard a contented sigh.
"Thank you Bella," he said, nuzzling into my neck, smelling me and cherishing this moment.
A moment I was never going to regret.
Sunday afternoon came too quickly for my liking.
We were in Edward's car, parked in front of my house. I turned to look at him, an involuntary tear rolling down my cheek.
"So, this is it," I said.
He closed his eyes and sighed. "Yeah, this is it," he whispered.
I never imagined that our farewell would feel like this. We had an amazing weekend, we shared who we were, we laughed, I cried, and we got angry at each other—but always full of passion and life. I had found this wonderful man in undesirable circumstances and it was hurting. If only we had found each other at a different time…
Just as I was about to rapidly get out of the car, he grabbed my wrist.
"Bella wait!" he said, pressing me against his body. I inhaled his scent one last time. He cupped my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes. I could see a swirl of emotion in them; I liked and hated them at the same time. We leaned toward each other, and our lips met for one final kiss.
A kiss that I would never forget.
As we parted, I saw that his cheeks were damp with my tears. I dried them with my thumb.
"Bella, I have something else for you," he said, reaching for a small satchel in his front pocket.
Edward took out a thin golden chain with a crystal heart charm attached to it. It was beautiful. He took my wrist, placed a gentle kiss on my skin and strapped it around it.
"Edward, I can't accept this. You've already given me too much," I said, looking at the beautiful shiny crystal.
"Please, keep it as a reminder of our weekend," he said, placing another chaste kiss on the inside of my wrist. I couldn't deny him anything when he looked at me like that. I hugged him one last time and stepped out of the car, closing the door behind me.
Jake came running towards me, and I stopped myself from wanting to look back. He crashed aggressively against me, hugging me with all his might. And that was when I knew that everything was about to change—because I would never forget how Edward's hands felt on my body, how wonderful his presence was in my life.