This was an ordinary Monday. I walked in the office my hair up in a tight ponytail, my expensive heels clicking on the marble floor with each step. I was dressed from head to toe in a cream colored outfit that I dare say probably cost more than most people make in a month, probably two.
I smirked as I walked through the glass doors and slid into the cool, smooth leather seat. Jasper sat a latte in front of me as he turned his chair to face me. I inhaled the rich aroma deeply it smelled like heaven.
"Thanks." I said slipping my Prada shades off and taking a sip.
"You're almost late…again." He chastised me running his fingers through his blonde wavy hair. I chuckled looking over his attire. No doubt Dolce and Gabbana it looked nice on him and I knew my brother, he has no taste in clothes. Rose must be dressing him again. She hates when he mismatches. I crossed my legs with a smile.
"That part of my beauty dear brother."
He raised a knowing eyebrow as our boss Esme walked into the room. Her smile lit up the room. Her caramel hair was flowing down her shoulders loosely and she was dressed in a light blue dress that fit her perfectly. She looked stunning but then she always did. Esme had class, but we had Rose who was our resident clothes expert. You have to look the part right?
I had been working for Esme for about six years now. I grew up knowing everything about the law my father was police chief. My mom left when I was four and my little brother Jasper was three. I pretty much raised Jasper until he found the computer. While he went all computer geek and learned the ins and outs of everything to do with computers I perfected my social skills. I didn't like staying home so I learned at an early age if I took classes I would be out of the house. I took dance, all types of self- defense, and gymnastics. I was very athletic and in the end it led me to where I am now. I'm good at what I do. You may ask what I do it's quite simple actually I give the people back what they want most. When the law can't bend the rules I step in.
I found out a long time ago when my father died an important lesson. The law can't handle most things even when the truth is staring them in the face. I handle that part for them and I don't look back. Jasper is my eyes and ears. He has the brains and comes up with all these cool gadgets for me. Esme, she is the funding. She approached me with money to spare and funds the whole thing, thus we were born. She has had one agenda from day one Carlisle Cullen. I have never asked why that was her one requirement.
She stood at the end of the table and began to speak.
"As you know I've been working on finding a way to bring the Cullen empire down for years. We've been buying pieces of various companies he owns little by little for five years now. It's not enough I need more Intel."
I never knew what her obsession was with the Cullen's but she hated Carlisle with a passion and every since we had joined forces she has been hell bent on bringing him down. She tossed a file at me. I opened it and raised an eyebrow.
"Edward Cullen?" I said as soon as I saw the bronze haired devil. His green eyes gazing back at me. I had never met him but knew of him. Cullen's oldest and he was quite the player so I hear. She sat down in her seat.
"Yes, Carlisle is obviously high profile and if I know him as well as I once did " I noticed a pained look go across her face.
"Well let's just say you'll have to fool them both."
I knew she and Carlisle had a past. A long one what I didn't know is what exactly had happened. I knew they were together for a long time and no one knew exactly the details. All we knew was she wanted everyone to think she was dead and he hurt her badly. He must have really loved her because sources tell me he didn't sleep around. As far as I knew Carlisle hadn't had a steady relationship since her. She refused to tell me the details as of yet. It must have been really terrible. I had done a little research on my own.
"Esme." I closed the file. "The Cullen's aren't stupid. They will be a hard one to deceive I thought that's why we have been going about this initially this way."
She grinned, "Yes, but someone has been buying stocks the last 5 years. Edward knows he's been checking. You see I've been watching him watch you. He's been tracking us my dear. It's been a perfect little set up and he's falling right into place. Your details are in the file what he knows. Only he doesn't know who you are. If the first plan doesn't work he will fall into place as a second option."
I twisted my lips.
"What is plan one?"
She tossed me another file. I opened it in shock.
"Carlisle?" I said not knowing how to react.
"Carlisle will be plan one. He is tougher because you can't manipulate him like Edward he's older and wiser." She said calmly.
I looked up at her.
"I think with the right training from me you can change his mind. It will take time but I know how to make him bend." She smirked, "And when he bends you will make sure to tighten the rope."
I turned to Jasper knowing he's been in on this and he simply smiled and shrugged.
"Great so you two have been working together on this." I shook my head and hit him. "Traitor."
Esme giggled, "He's been doing a very good job. Shall I remind you that you were the one who brought him in after all." She leaned back.
"Now I have the perfect idea for our little Edward, one I know he won't be able to resist." Her eyes brightened. Esme was fixing to be very naughty.
"Do tell." I asked curious to what she was up to now.
"Edward's used to getting what he wants. He has been tracking you true, but he has no idea what you look like or anything we didn't want him to know. We made sure of that. The best way to get him is to be unattainable if we need to progress to that point. He is after all such a playboy."
I didn't like the sound of this it was already getting way more complicated than I liked my jobs to be. I liked them smooth and easy get in and out not all of this throwing around human emotion crap. What's the point? It just makes the work messy and I don't like messy. It leaves loose ends.
"Carlisle will be your bait he won't press you, so I know you'll be safe and it will drive Edward crazy that you are with him." Esme said finally clasping her hands together with a grin.
"Yeah, one detail left out. He doesn't date….remember? How am I going to walk in and suddenly after all these years change his mind?
She grinned, "As I said maybe if you reminded him of someone he used to date… if you reminded him of me."
I knew most of Esme's mannerisms I had been around her enough. I knew how she dressed how she walked and talked. It wouldn't be too difficult. It was just shocking she would ask. I knew Esme could be cruel but wow that was cold. She laughed and I raised an eyebrow. She leaned closer with a wicked grin.
"So what do you say?"
"What did he do to you?" I asked watching her face. I had to wonder what would make her hate this man so much. Her beautiful smile faded and she sighed.
"It doesn't matter what do you say?"
"What can I say? You're the boss." I answered.
It felt wrong but I would never deny Esme her revenge. She had been plotting it since the day I met her. She had never once asked anything like this of me. How could I now tell her no now? It's the one thing she has lived for. Since we met when she was broken and healing it was always Carlisle. I knew he had broken her beyond repair but I didn't know how or why.
"It's risky to play them both Esme." I said tapping my fingers on the desk.
She shook her head.
"No, start with Carlisle use Edward only if you have to but keep him interested."
"Easier said than done you know I like in and out. You're asking me to do the relationship thing. Not only that you are asking me to bait a man who hasn't dated since you and convince his son I'm sweet and innocent as well. Edward may not even be interested in me." I frowned leaning on my hands. I could just feel trouble coming. She smiled.
"It won't be hard. I promise you it will be an easy sell. Look at me."
I did and she knelt to me.
"Just be yourself and relax. It's the only way this will work it's why I chose you. You are the best at your job I have ever seen and you always win. This is no different so you have to act a little you can do this. Just think of it as a mini vacation and Edward as a game play with him like chess. I know you like a challenge and Bella he will like you."
I hope she knows what she's doing. I don't like this at all but I nodded. The next few days she went over crucial details with me that Carlisle would notice. I memorized each detail. They were things like the way I held a cup that only he would notice. I just hoped this worked we were going to try it in an open restaurant so if it failed we could try again at another time that was more intimate.
Esme dressed me in a dark blue colored form fitting dress that hit just above the knees. It was sleeveless and had an open back. She matched it with a small purse and a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps that matched perfectly. I wore my hair down and parted to the side in large waves. I sure hoped this worked she was putting a lot of effort into it.
I looked in the mirror.
"I hope this works." I said admiring the classic look it reminded me of the 40's. She smiled.
"It will trust me he loves this look."
The door opened and James groaned.
"I don't like it boss she shouldn't be going in without some sort of protection."
Esme sighed turning to face him.
"We already discussed this she will have her hands, I can't have her armed it's not appropriate. She has to be innocent and besides Carlisle isn't going to hurt her."
"You trust too much." He barked.
"You trust to little." She said back.
She leaned to my ear. "It's time Bella go with your instincts it has never led you astray."
I inhaled deeply as the car pulled up to the curb. I wasn't ready for this, but it was time and I had done my homework. I had done far more dangerous jobs but they were just that. I never had to interact with my subjects on this kind of level.
"You ready?" Jasper asked from the front seat watching me in the mirror. I wish I had my brother going with me.
No, I'm not ready. Usually I would be but that's being myself. I can be myself any day but pretending to be someone else make's me nervous. There are too many what if's involved. I can do this I just keep telling myself repeatedly.
I looked up at Jasper and he winked.
"You'll do fine Bella. You look beautiful."
"I'm ready." I said trying to convince myself.
"I'll be watching from outside."
" A lot of good that does if he decides I'm toast." I mumbled.
"No worries Bella. James is on point relax."
I looked up. I couldn't see James, but I knew he was up there and if he was I knew I was safe. James never missed.
I made my way into the restaurant and was seated two tables over from Carlisle and his two companions. I suppose it was a business meeting. He seemed to be engrossed in conversation. I hadn't taken the chance of putting an ear piece in it was too risky. Luckily fate stepped in for me. The waiter tripped and spilled water on me and all heads turned including Carlisle. How fortunate I did nothing at all. Nice.
The waiter was apologizing profusely as I stood and said it was ok, gently patting his arm and purposely making my way past Carlisle's table and to the restroom. I knew he saw me though I didn't look at him. In the bathroom I got one text it simply said bingo. I smiled to myself making my way back to the table. As I approached his table this time I allowed myself to look. He was looking back at me and the two men with him before had disappeared.
I have to admit the man was handsome. I don't really go for older guys but if I did he would be on the top of my list. Esme sure had good taste. I broke eye contact and sat down remembering exactly how she said to drink. I could feel his eyes on me. I felt like they were burning into my skin.
I smiled to myself before I looked up. I knew it was him. I looked up slowly to meet his green eyes, the same green as Edwards. He tilted his head.
"I don't believe we've met yet you seem so familiar to me. I'm Carlisle Cullen." He extended his hand. I looked at it for a moment and then shook it.
He nodded kissing my hand. Wow, I feel like I'm in an old movie.
"It is a pleasure to meet you Bella Masen, may I?" He gestured to a seat.
"Please, it's lonely eating by myself." I took a drink of my wine and looked him over quietly. He was wearing a light grey suit with a dark blue tie. He had a white shirt underneath. He was well built, it was apparent he kept in shape.
"Tell me about yourself Isabella." He began. "What is it you do?"
I noticed the name change but didn't correct him.
"I invest…basically. My father passed away a few years ago and I sort of took over his business when I finished college. It's quite interesting really. I never thought I would like it. I did it for him…." I looked down at my lap appearing sad. "When he passed away I realized it was more interesting than I thought it would be."
"You must miss him." He said touching my hand lightly. I looked up meeting his eyes. He was sincere. I smiled sadly.
"I do, very much every day."
"I'm sorry for your loss. It is good that you enjoy the business world now. Maybe one day my son will feel as you do. He doesn't seem to appreciate it right now."
"You have a son?" I acted surprised. "I should have known you were married but you look so young. Your son can hardly be in his teens."
I know I said it in jest but really the man looks thirty. He is gorgeous not to mention his face looks so young. His skin is so smooth with very few lines on his face. I hope I age that well.
"You do flatter me Isabella. I'm not that young and I'm not married, but since I am sitting here shamelessly flirting with you how old you?"
I swallowed a sip of my wine.
"Mmmm a woman never tells does she?" I leaned over and whispered. I hoped he was biting.
"Besides I've told you way too much for a man I just me already, I do apologize I normally don't talk so much."
I bit my lip and ran my finger over the rim of my wine glass.
His eyes sparkled and he smirked pulling his chair closer to mine, and leaning to my ear so only I could hear him.
"Please forgive me for being so bold, but I like you Isabella and I haven't been attracted to anyone in a very long time. I want to know the beautiful woman I'm trying seduce isn't a child acting like woman although..."
I felt my body shiver as he leaned back and his penetrating eyes looked me over.
"I highly doubt you are." He placed his warm hand on my knee. I could feel the heat radiating up my thigh. This man could be dangerous. Seduction definitely was a game he played and played well. This is why you don't play with older well educated men, especially gorgeous men.
"Now, how old are you?" He asked again. Crap, Crap, Crap! I was going to kill Esme! This is not how this was supposed to work! She told me that…..oh just wait. I'm going to pull every single strand of her hair out one by one for doing this to me. She probably thinks it's funny.
I met his eyes. I controlled my breathing. I would not let him think he had the upper hand that's what he was used to, not this time buddy. He's probably used to girls falling all over him. He is after all a Cullen.
I rested my hand on his knee squeezing it. I can return to favor let's see him shake a little.
He smiled closing his eyes for a moment probably thinking how to form a sentence. He opened his eyes meeting mine I noticed they were notably darker.
"I'm having a dinner tonight Isabella. Would you like to be my guest?"
I wasn't sure I had my message across. I wanted him to understand I wasn't biting unless I caught the fish.
"No, I'm afraid I don't want to do that." I answered looking him straight in the eyes. He looked at me oddly and I leaned closer trying not to get too close. I didn't want to push this too far but just enough to keep him going.
"I want to be your date." I said bluntly.
He chuckled and grinned.
"You do speak your mind." He looked down at my lips.
"So I've been told." I replied leaning back in my chair before he had other thoughts. He nodded.
"So be it. I'll have my driver pick you up early. I'd like to chat if that's suitable?" He leaned back in his chair and slid his phone from his pocket.
"I need your address Miss. Masen."
I smiled. This was going to be a very interesting night indeed. After he left I finished my lunch and headed to the office. Esme was grinning but I threw my purse at her.
"This is not funny! You said he wasn't going to make a move on me!"
She tried to stop laughing.
"I'm sorry I didn't expect him to. I've never seen him…I just…" She laughed again.
"Ok, so you go be molested by him."
She raised an eyebrow.
"No and you won't either, your job is to coax him for information."
"Oh that would have been easier if Mr. doesn't make a move wouldn't have."
She smirked and sighed.
"How can I get information if he's…" I shook my head.
Esme leaned beside me slipping her arm around me.
"It's simple really. Edward will be checking you out and dad will busy with business. You simply give Edward the access he needs to question you. Get him interested in your life you know how to catch the fish honey and reel him in slowly."
I sighed, "What about papa fish? At the end of the night he might want desert."
She shrugged, "So give him a strawberry but no cream. He act's a certain way but trust me alone….he's a perfect gentleman. He won't push you into something you are not ready for."
I glared at her.
"So you said before, but he doesn't seem to be following your rules."
"He hasn't changed that much, so let's find you a dress for tonight. The idea is keep him busy and get Edward interested. One of them will give you information just don't push it too fast."
I shook my head. Why am I not looking forward to tonight? I'm not liking anything that seems to be going on with this deal. I felt like Esme's barbie doll and I am being sent into a place I am not comfortable. She pulled one side of my hair back with a sparkly comb. I'm sure they were real crystal's knowing her. She even drug Rose into this one. Rose is one of our fellow op's and the fashionista as one would say. She dressed us and handled clothing special details and equipment in clothes. No one would mess up her clothes or else.
She dressed me in this Roberto Cavalli cream colored halter gown that was simply gorgeous and matched it with Rene Caovilla crystal snake pumps. She put a tracer on it but again was very careful with any other wires because of who we were dealing with. We all knew we had to be very careful especially until they trusted me.
"You know Esme it's not to late to drop this." I said as she dressed me. Her eyes met mine and narrowed.
"We are not dropping this. I've worked too hard for this, I want it done." Her voice was sharp and I nodded. I've never seen her so determined. She walked out and Rose looked at me.
"You look perfect."
"What did he do to her?" I asked mainly to myself.
Rose looked at the door and back to me.
"I don't know exactly what happened I know he broke her heart." She said in almost a whisper. I nodded and turned.
"Yes, but why come on to me if I remind him of her?" I asked.
James leaned in and Rose smiled.
"See ya." She disappeared quickly.
James's toned body was dressed in his ever present black T-shirt with black military pants. He had his gun tucked into the back of his pants. He reminded me weren't playing in the little leagues anymore. We hadn't been in a while. We had been lucky no one had gotten hurt. We were careful.
He smiled walking in the room.
"Cinderella and the ball." He teased. I frowned.
"Hardly." I turned putting my things in the new purse. I felt his arms around me on the table and turned. He was close to my face and I reached up brushing a stray hair that had fallen from his ponytail.
"Bella why do you keep playing the games?" He questioned.
"It's my job."
"Playing with people's emotions?" James asked.
I looked down.
"I don't know what you want me to say."
"Yes you do." He said then lifting my chin. I met his sea blue eyes and shook my head walking around him. I knew what he wanted but I couldn't do it. This was a game too dangerous to be played. It compromised everyone involved it could cause mistakes on too many ends of the deal. It's a no win situation.
"I won't do it. I can't compromise our fate." I said knowing what his reaction would be.
He turned and walked out saying nothing. Esme leaned in.
"I'm sorry." She said and I looked up. I knew she must have heard but what could I say? I wasn't in love with James. I mean maybe in time there could be something but right now there were just too many variables. My life was chaos and simply put I was in a business that didn't allow for much of a love life. I didn't really want one all you ever did was get hurt anyway.
"No worries, men just cause pain right." I said as I ran my hand over my dress.
"Let's do this."
His car picked me up and I arrived at his house. It was the lap of luxury which I expected. I was surprised however when he opened the door, I expected butlers and such. He took my hand and kissed it.
"Can I offer you something to drink?"
I noticed the large bodyguard to the right by the stairs and I looked back at him.
"Oh, um…what do you have?" He must have realized the man distracted me and laughed.
"Don't worry this is Emmett. He won't bother us."
Emmett smiled and surprisingly it was a genuinely friendly smile. I wasn't used to that not in a guard. I felt his hand on my back and he led me to the bar.
"Isabella?" He turned gaining my attention from his lovely home.
"I'm sorry. Your home is lovely."
He leaned on the bar closer to me, his face almost to mine.
"Well I do hope you will be visiting it more often." I smiled and brushed my hair back like Esme taught me and noticed he backed off looking out of sorts.
"What would you like to drink my lovely?"
"It has to be clear." I pointed to my dress and he chuckled.
"Champagne it is." He handed me a glass and took my hand. "Please allow me to show you around."
"Mr. Cullen?" I heard from behind me.
I turned to see Emmett. He was holding a detector. I smirked and set my glass down raising my arms. I could hear Carlisle sigh.
"I'm so sorry Isabella."
"It's ok." I whispered. I smirked when it beeped at my waist. Rose had been extremely smart with her idea of placement. Emmett and Carlisle both eyed each other. I looked at them.
"Oh, right. You want to see. I'm not dangerous I promise you."
I slid my dress up to reveal my panties, the sides having silver hearts on them. Carlisle quickly pushed my dress down and Emmett apologized. I chuckled, Rose is so smooth. Carlisle emptied his glass quickly and poured him another one.
"I am terribly sorry Isabella. He is just doing his job it won't happen again."
I smiled touching his flushed cheek.
"It's ok, really. I wore them for you after all." I said looking to the floor acting shy. I am so good. Do they give awards for this?
I felt his hands on the bar beside me, his face close to mine.
"Isabella?" He whispered huskily. I looked up and saw the blazing fire in his eyes. Ok maybe I shouldn't have said that last part. He does look hot when he's wanting something. His lips slowly came down against mine. I was expecting a rough passionate kiss. What I got was a slow, soft lingering kiss. He was the total opposite of what I expected. He was tender and he took his time. When I thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen he released me with a gentle smile.
"Come let me show you my house."
His house was amazing to say the least and I didn't miss the way he was looking at me as he showed it to me. We finally stopped outside by the pool. It had a beautiful water fountain flowing into it and I enjoyed the gentle sounds the water made as one stream flowed carelessly into another.
"The design is beautiful." I whispered to myself admiring the pool. It was then I felt his hands on my waist from behind and got nervous.
"Yes, it was inspired by a very beautiful woman you remind me of her." He said softly. I swallowed hard and didn't know what to say. He took the glass from my hand and set it on the nearby table returning to his previous spot.
"What…what happened to her?" I questioned.
He sighed into my neck. I felt his warm breath and bit my lip.
"The guests will be here soon Isabella. I would rather talk about us than the past and what was."
He turned me in his arms and pulled me closer. I was stuck, I had to play this out or else Esme would not get whatever it was she wanted with his company. It wasn't torture he is a handsome man but he seemed very sweet. I don't know why but I didn't like doing this to him. He seemed to love her.
"How did you know to call me Isabella?" I questioned.
He chuckled twisting my hair around one of his fingers.
"I didn't. I suspected and you didn't correct me and so it seems I was correct. I like it much better than Bella."
"Why?" I asked curious now.
He stroked my cheek.
"While Bella is beautiful just as you are it should be reserved for special intimate moments…" He let his voice drift off and I swear I couldn't breathe. He met my eyes again and I knew it was coming I could tell by the way he looked at me.
"I won't deny I want you Isabella, but I will not force my will upon you. What is it you want?" He asked and I stood floored. What am I supposed to say to this? Crap, crap, crap!!!
I so needed Esme right now. He smiled running his thumb over my lips. She told me this wouldn't happen and how should I respond….strawberries and not the cream right?
"Are you frightened?"
"A little." I answered.
He ran his hands calmingly up and down my arms.
"I would never hurt you, but if you are afraid then we should wait. I am in no rush."
I wanted to say something but what could I say? He was giving me the get out of jail free card. I was supposed to take it and run right? Wrong I had to keep him on the hook for now I have to keep him interested.
What would Esme do??? I kept trying to drill my head for something she would do, finally I pulled back taking his hands and leaned on one of his large pillars. He followed me and when I placed his hands on my hips he smiled.
"What are you thinking?" He questioned.
Reaching up I gripped his hair and pulled his lips to mine. The man could kiss. I certainly was not prepared for that. Esme and I would have to converse later. W-O-W. To think he has a child my age….scary thought. I never expected this. I thought it would be like the kiss before but no…it was different more intense. He was no longer gentle but urgent and strong, this kiss was deep and full of longing.
He moaned pulling me tighter to him with his right hand, his left hand resting on the pillar. I gasped when his lips fell to my neck.
"Bella." He whispered arching my back to him to allow him more access to my flesh.
"And make sure it's on time!" I heard a male voice and footsteps say loudly and then it all froze. I had a feeling it was in reaction to me and Carlisle.
Carlisle gently released my neck and looked at me apologetically. He turned.
"Edward, you're here."
"Yes." He said and he sounded ticked. Well so much for getting noticed Bella you certainly made your entrance. I was still behind Carlisle and he had not seen me yet.
"I wasn't expecting you to actually be on time." He said calmly.
"So it would seem. Who's with you?" Edward asked irritated.
I touched his arm and he turned.
"Carlisle maybe I should go. I don't want to start…"
He touched my hand.
"No, no you aren't starting anything come here." He slid his arm around my waist.
"Edward, this is Isabella Masen." What a way to be introduced to my other target. This wasn't good at all.