Hey there! Sorry for the lag in updating. This chapter was tricky for me and it wouldn't have ever been right if it weren't for kherisma and the shrew working it over, talking me through it, and smoothing it out. 3 ladies!
Thank you for reading this story even with the spotty updates. I hope you like this chapter!
Disclaimer: don't own anything in Vegas or the characters that SM created, but I do own this version of them and the city. ;)
I looked in the mirror and gave myself the once-over. My bunny ears were perched precisely where they should be, cuffs secured to my wrists, puffy white tail . . . puffy. I tossed my hair, giving it an instant boost in volume, and made sure my teeth were free of red lipstick. Everything checked out according to the Bunny standard.
I walked back over to my locker to grab my pen and checked one last time for a text before heading to the time clock to punch in. The flashing light in the corner of my phone alerted me to a message. Instantly, my heart kicked into overdrive and a wide smile lit my face.
Are you sure it's okay for Emmett and me to come out tonight?
I typed back as fast as I could. Ican'twaittoseeyoutonight.Yes,pleasecometotheclub;I'dloveit.
Anxiously, I waited for another text. I had less than five minutes before I was due on the floor and I sowanted another text from Edward, just some small way to connect with him while he was still my Edward, and not a patron in the bar.
It had been two weeks since our Saturday morning date, and I was still on cloud nine. Edward and I talked and cuddled on the couch before he went home to clean up for our date that night. We went out to dinner and ran into one of his work colleagues, and when he introduced me as his girlfriend, I swooned on the spot. We had a slight wait for a table so we went to the bar for a drink. As I stood at the bar, watching the bartender make my martini, Edward's lips gently brushed over my bare shoulder; his stubble against my skin sent a new electricity coursing through me. When he gently kissed me on the back of my shoulder, I fought against swaying. Edward caught me by lightly grasping my hips, and again, that electric surge hit me. I'd been around long enough to know what I was feeling; I was falling in love with him.
We ended the night kissing and cuddling on my couch. I was so tempted to ask him to stay the night, but Edward was a gentleman, as always, and he managed to see through the haze of building desire. At quarter after one, I kissed him goodnight at my front door. We texted until nearly three that morning, and even though I missed having him near me, I had one of the best night's sleep ever.
I had to work Monday night, but we texted until he needed to go to bed; it was so playful and sweet, but so flirty. Each text sent my heart pounding and my mind reeling. I felt giddy and happy, and clearly, the new-found feelings I was having was shared. I secretly hoped he would tell me he loved me first, but it didn't matter. I knew one of us would say it, and probably soon.
My next day off was on Thursday, and I had lunch with Edward. As usual, it was perfect. We talked on the phone that night, and I almost came out and said I loved him, but I so wanted to tell him in person. I almost did a few days later when we met for ice cream before seeing another classic movie for our Sunday night date, but our favorite waitress was lingering, and to Edward's amusement, was trying to hit on me.
We talked on the phone and texted as often as we could, and we managed to squeeze in a few extra dates before I went to work that week, too. Edward didn't seem to mind eating dinner late, so as the week started, we progressed nicely into having dinner together every night. But my favorite moments where when he was getting up for the day and I was just going to bed. His voice was so soft and sweet and it was almost like a lullaby, lulling me into a deep sleep. On the nights when I got off work early, I would text him and stay up until he was awake just to have those calls.
Edward came over again once I got off work. It was Saturday and we were both free until I needed to head into work at nine. We napped on the couch together, then watched a movie as we fixed dinner. There was something so normal about it all, as if we had always been doing this upside down schedule and had been dating for years, not weeks.
Just before he left so I could get ready for work, Emmett called and begged Edward to hit the club. He wanted to see Rose, and she was, in true fashion, playing hard to get. I assured Edward it was fine, that there simply wasn't an issue with him coming to the club, but ever the gentleman, he left it up to me. I could almost hear Emmett's excitement when Edward told him it was okay.
As he stepped out on my balcony to talk "shop" with Emmett, I debated telling Edward what I felt for him. It wasn't until he came back in and I saw the serious look on his face that I decided not to. Something was wrong. Something had happened in those few minutes when he was outside talking that changed his mood. I asked him if everything was okay, but he just offered a weak smile and told me it was work-related and it would sort itself out.
When I kissed him goodbye, I could tell whatever was on his mind weighed heavily. I wasn't sure how hard I should press him in asking. He said he was fine, but I could tell he really wasn't. He kissed me and told me again it would sort itself out and he would see me later that night.
Just before he left, he cupped my head in his hands, his thumbs brushed over my cheeks, and he whispered, "You are so beautiful."
A few weeks before, I would have blushed deeply and averted my eyes. Instead, I looked at him and quietly thanked him. He hesitated leaving, and I could only hope that he wanted to say he loved me. There were many of those moments over the past two weeks, and maybe that added to my not saying it; maybe Edward was one of those guys that wanted to say it first. Either way, the look in his eyes and the tenderness in his voice left a solid spring in my step as I headed into work.
The soft buzzing in my hand brought me out of my thoughts and a kick of excitement hit me. I looked at my messages, and sure enough, it was from him.
Then I will see you in a few. I bet you look gorgeous; you always do. See you soon my sweet girl.
And with that, I practically floated as I put my phone away, locked my locker, and hit the floor.
"Emmett, I swear you better not embarrass me tonight," I said, feeling more anxious than ever. Emmett and I were going to ThePlayboyClub so he could stalk Rosalie. Yes, stalk. They were engaged in this odd, cat-and-mouse texting game over the past week or so, and Emmett was desperate to see her again. I only agreed to go when Bella said it was okay. And here I was, riding the elevator up to the club, with one very excited, overgrown kid with a wicked crush on Busty Bunny.
"Dude! I won't! I have a rep, you know. I can't be all spaz in the club. I just want to play it cool, make sure she sees me, and in turn, make that woman want me."
I shook my head. "Really, Em?"
"Listen, man. This girl wants me; I know she does. She just needs a little push to actually accept my offer to take her out. I think seeing me again will be all the encouragement she needs."
"Damn, Emmett. Fall in love with yourself often?"
Emmett gave only a moment's pause before he said, "You told her yet?"
The steel-toed boot kicked me in the gut once again. "No. I haven't."
"Eddie, you gotta tell her! After the past two weeks, we really knocked it out on the job site. Way it looks, we have weeks left here, not months. She needs to know," Emmett heartened.
"I know, Em. I'm just . . . what if it's a deal-breaker? I don't want to lose her, Em."
Emmett turned to face me. "Bro? You'll lose her if you don'ttell her. And who's to say she'll drop-kick your ass over it? If you tell her, that is."
Again, the boot slammed into my gut. "God, it never should've been this complicated."
Emmett turned back to the door and watched the digital number increase as the elevator rose to the club's floor. "Doesn't have to be. That's all I'm saying."
He was right. Much as it pained me to admit it, Emmett was right. I needed to tell her. I needed to let her know that even though my being in Vegas wasn't a permanent thing, being with her was something I wanted even after I left. People did it all the time; they survived long distance relationships. We could do, too. But first, I had to tell her, and it wasn't going to be tonight while she was at work.
About twenty minutes later, the hostess Bunny seated us. It seems Rosalie reserved a table for us, which I thought was interesting given her PhD. in playing hard to get. The hostess made sure she mentioned Bunny Rosalie was the one that reserved the table, and Emmett gave me a shit -eating grin before he backhanded my gut. With all the confidence of a quarterback after he won the Super Bowl, Emmett sat at the table and surveyed the room, his arms stretched out on the chair back.
The image of him doing his best "alpha-male" in a room full of wannabe alphas was rather humorous, but I couldn't blame him. Busty Bunny knocked him on his ass, metaphorically speaking, and since she wasn't falling over him as most girls did, he was pulling out all the stops. It was becoming a game of sorts to see who would cave first; I had a feeling it was going to be Emmett.
Not too long after we sat down, a very tall, very blonde Bunny came over, introduced herself as Bunny Vivian, and took our drink orders: a Whisky Smash for Emmett and a Jack and Coke for me. She smiled politely and left, but not without taking a second look at Emmett. Busty Bunny had better make a move soon or Vivian was swooping in.
I kept my eye out for Bella; the anticipation of seeing her, even at work, was overwhelming. I knew we wouldn't be able to talk; hell, for all I knew, she may have to act like she didn't know me. Even with the guilt I felt over not telling her what I needed to, seeing her again would be like a tonic; it would sooth my guilt and feed my soul.
Vivian returned with our drinks, and asked only Emmett if there was anything else he needed. Believe me, even seated across from him with the Bunny's back to me, I could tell she was putting the moves on him. I was half-surprised that Rosalie didn't jump in and let her territory be known.
As it was, I scanned the room, better to avert my eyes from the overly puffy white tail at eye-level. It was at that moment that I noticed Bella, standing near the slot tables, smiling, and chatting with a small group of men. Her smile combined with her tossing her hair over her shoulder was definitely a turn on; so was the way her suit hugged every curve of her amazing body. The corset design caused the suit to cling to her body, the high-cut leg showed off her amazingly toned legs, legs I was becoming familiar with as our kissing became more and more heated. My eyes traveled up her legs, over the slight curve of her backside, then up to her bare shoulders. Much as I wanted to see the girl who cuddled against me as we curled up on her couch and watched old movies, I could only see the girl whose body was slowly but steadily becoming my undoing. Her dark brown hair sat in bold contrast to her pale, beautiful skin, and her Bunny suit made me weak when I noticed how ample her breasts looked. She was stunning in that damn suit. I tried to reconcile this goddess with the woman cuddled next to me in sweats and a tan, but it didn't completely mesh in my brain. I did know that she simplycouldn'tlook unattractive if she tried.
While I had maintained a perfect gentleman status with Bella from the start – and she deserved nothing less – I couldn't help seeing her in a new light after we fell asleep that Saturday at her apartment. Waking with her in my arms, feeling her small body contoured against mine, the warmth of her breath as she sighed in her sleep all added to my wanting to be with her. For two weeks, my guilt over not telling her about my job situation, in addition to the massive level of respect I held for her, made it easy to stop when kissing on her couch started to go in that particular direction. However, something changed today. Somewhere between getting her text telling me she was awake for the day and my coming to the club, I went from wanting to be respectful to wanting to take things to the next level – and soon.
Bella laughed at something the man closest to her said, and in response, he put his hand on her hip. Then proceeded notto move it. And neither did she. She put her hand on his shoulder, patting it in an almost a parental way, then nodded and slipped out of his grasp. It was only after she walked away that I realized I'd clenched my jaw. I was in for a long night if things like what just happened continued.
The lights of the club flashed in sync with the thumping bass around the dance floor, teams of people filled the floor swaying and grinding against each other. People filled the spaces around the blackjack tables, cheering and talking loudly. The slots were equally full of people hoping for an easy win off a quarter bet. Everywhere I looked, the club was packed with humanity, and yet, for as crowded as the club was, I could always spot Bella.
The black satin of her Bunny suit made her skin look porcelain in the dark club light. The thick waves of hair cascaded over her shoulder, only allowing a glimpse of her back. She was stunning. I watched her work her tables and smile bashfully when she bumped into someone who wasn't standing on the soberest of feet. The color in her cheeks would deepen slightly as she would apologize. As she walked across the floor, her mind clearly on drink orders and keeping mental tabs on what she needed to do, she would absentmindedly bit her lower lip. And God help me when she would lick her lips – I was a dead man. I glanced at my watch and was pissed to see that we'd only been in the club an hour. Bella wouldn't be able to leave until at least two in the morning and after an hour of watching her, I wanted to simply take her home and let whatever had been building between us happen. Either we would stay up until dawn talking, kissing and touching, or something else; I just knew I needed her. She was in my blood, and I was helpless to fight it.
Vivian brought us more drinks, right along with more schmoozing toward Emmett. Poor girl didn't stand a chance. Rose, while never actually coming over to our table, certainly noticed Emmett was there. She tossed her hair over her shoulder as she looked at him. I thought the man would die when she looked over her shoulder at him as she walked back to the bar. The game was clearly afoot with those two.
Emmett and I talked shop while we nursed our drinks. Before I realized it, it was after one and we were on our fourth drink. Emmett excused himself to hit the head. I checked my emails on my phone to make sure there wasn't any crisis brewing that would require attention in the morning. I scanned the bar, taking in the frenetic energy that was the club. People were laughing, dancing where they stood, and cheering loudly over the tables.
Emmett returned to the table, chuckling. "Dude, there is so much tail in here; it's like shooting fish in a barrel. I just got groped by some chick outside the men's room."
"Guess the drunks showed up," I muttered.
"Hey, Ed? Isn't that Bella?" Emmett said as he motioned with his glass.
I looked toward where he motioned with his glass and saw Bella. She was standing by a low, red couch, which faced another couch with two armchairs sitting between them. It was a mixed group of several men and women, but it was the two guys – one on the end of the sofa, the other in the chair – that caught my attention. The one had his arm around Bella's waist; the other was looking her up and down as if she was something to eat. I'd spent the night watching Bella playfully flirt with customers – it was a part of her job – but this was different. This was pushing beyond guys being guys and into guys being lecherous.
My blood started to boil and try as I might, I couldn't stop myself from seeing red. The one guy's hand was moving up and down her upper back over her zipper, his fingers playing with the end of her hair. The other guy hadn't taken his eyes off her chest. She was at work, and much as I wanted to rip these two guys apart, I couldn't. I kept my eyes on her, on them. I saw Bella back away slightly and place her arm on the one guy's forearm, as if she was trying to back away. I wanted to believe that I saw her somehow letting a bouncer know they were going too far. I wanted to believe she was actually pushing away from the one guy. I wanted to believe all of it. When Bella tossed her head back and laughed, I'd had enough.
"We're out of here," I angrily spat.
"What? Why?" Emmett argued.
"Because we are. This is fucked up. I'm leaving. You with me?" I stood up, glaring in Bella's direction, and waited impatiently for Emmett to reply
Emmett looked over at Bella and understood. "Sure. You head down to the car, and I'll settle the bill, okay? Edward? Did you hear me?"
Bella pat the one man on the shoulder. My heart thundered against my ribs, and I felt my lip curl into a sneer. "Fine."
Without looking back, I walked out of the club. I wandered the main floor of the casino for nearly fifteen minutes, blindly walking past the gaming floor, restaurants, and shops. My phone sounded off; it was a text from Emmett. He was still trying to get our waitress to settle the bill. Twenty minutes passed and my phone sounded again.
Great. It was from Bella.
Off early. I didn't see you, have you left already? I miss you.
If I thought I'd managed to calm down even ten percent, reading her text flew my mind into an irrational rage. My hands shook slightly as I texted her back.
Yes, I left.
I then texted Emmett and told him to hurry up. It wasn't as if a parking garage was the safest place to just hang out – even with massive security cameras and the fact that I was sure I looked as angry as I felt, and I was getting more irritated just wandering around the hotel. He replied that he was still waiting to pay. Okay, that seemed fishy. While the club was busy, it wasn't as if he couldn't flag Bunny Vivian down. Chances were he saw Busty and got to trying to woo her. I decided to text him again, telling him to move his linebacker ass already and that I was headed to the car.
Once in the parking garage, I paced like a tiger trapped in a cage. I was pissed. Pissed at Emmett for taking so damn long, pissed at the men that were sizing Bella up, and pissed at Bella for letting it all happen. I know it was irrational, but I couldn't stop it.
I'd been standing next to Emmett's car for nearly five minutes when I saw Bella walking over to me.
"Hey, you! Emmett said you would be here." She looked uncomfortable and . . . as if she was lying.
"Oh. Really?" I asked, my voice hard and cold.
"Yeah. Are you okay?" Bella approached me with her hand out. I pulled my head away from her when she reached to touch my cheek. She reacted as if she'd just burned her hand on the stove.
"Why don't you go back inside and let those jack-hats paw you some more, Bella. You seemed to like it, didn't you?" Unfair as it may have been, I hit my boiling point.
"Excuse me?" she asked, confused.
"How did you know I was here?" My thoughts were swirled rapidly, then it hit me. "Emmett wasn't really waiting to pay, was he? He was waiting for you."
Her face passed from confusion and hurt to that tell-tale look of being caught. "Yes. He's kept you waiting so I could get changed and get out of there. He said you were upset . . . ." she said before she paused. "Upset with me, right?"
I didn't answer her; I wanted to, but I was still too upset.
"Edward, I can't fix something if I don't know what I did wrong." Her eyes searched mine, pleadingly. "I have no idea what happened in there but-"
"No idea? Really? So you mean to tell me that every night that you work, you have guys touching you? Pawing you and playing with your hair? Really?" I spat out. It wasn't nice of me, but my emotions finally hit a boiling point.
"Edward," she said in a tone that was both blunt and pleading. "That's my job. I can't help what guys do in there. You know that, right?"
"So your job is allowing men, randommen, to touch you? Some job. Tell me, what separates you from a stripper? It sure isn't the clothes or the tips." Bella flinched and I felt my gut drop. As soon as I said what I did, I wanted to take back every word. They were harsh, unkind, and untrue.
"Bella, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that," I said, my voice thick with emotions. I reached my hand out to touch her, wanting to convey physically what I was feeling in my heart, but she pulled away.
Bella looked at the oil-stained concrete floor, bit her lip, and pulled her arms protectively around her. A small shiver passed over her and gutted me once more. She looked up at me, hurt deep in her eyes, the corners of her mouth nervously twitched. Then I saw her eyes grow misty. "No, you shouldn't have."
I got the wind knocked out of me, as was my feeling that I was ever good enough for her. I'd thrown a massive punch below the belt, and I was shit for doing it. "I knew coming to the club wasn't a good idea, but Emmett wanted to. Not that this is his fault; I'm the one who said what I did – and God, I wish I hadn't. I just – I get so damned protective of you, and you were just working. God, I'm such an ass. I'm so sorry, Bella, so deeply sorry."
Bella sniffed back her tears and bit the inside of her mouth; her nose crinkled at the bridge. "What happened, Edward?" Her arms were still wrapped around her, and she looked so physically hurt, but her voice was calm and compassionate.
I'd been a first class jerk, and instead of slapping me or walking away, she was asking what happened? If I wasn't already in love with her, that would have done it. Bella always thought of other people first, putting herself a distant second. She was an amazing woman, and I was lucky she didn't junk-punch me and have nothing more to do with me.
I swallowed my pride and embarrassment, and told her what I saw. She lost a bit of color as I mentioned seeing the guy's hand run over her zipper, the touching, and then her hair; how I'd hit my breaking point. I saw red, plain and simple. Instead of understanding that it was her job, not something she was encouraging, I went ape-shit jealous.
She didn't say anything for what felt like forever. I'd gone too far, I knew that. I bet she was trying to formulate a way to drop me right there in the parking lot. I searched her face for any hint as to what she was thinking, but there were too many emotions at play. I saw her get angry, pissed, hurt, confused, then sad. She looked up at me; her eyes were both pained and so completely . . . forgiving.
"Edward. I should have told you, but I didn't think – we're always watched at the club; security guys in the office with a wall of monitors, bouncers all constantly watching the club and the tables. We have these small little signs to the bouncer that a guest is getting too hands-on."
"What?" I asked, surprised.
"Yeah. I knew what he was doing, and I put my hand on his shoulder to start to move away from him. He started tugging on my hair and that was when I knew I'd need a bouncer to intervene. That's why I'm done early; they sent me home because that guy and his sleazy friend were there with a wedding party booking so it was harder to kick them out."
If I couldn't feel worse than I did . . . .
"Bella, I'm so sorry. So sorry. I just l-" I couldn't say it. Much as I wanted to, I couldn't. I wanted to kick my own ass. While my instinct was to protect her, I ended up insulting her when she was just doing her job. I'd been an ass and said some unforgivable things. No matter the thoughts I was having, I needed to own what I was feeling, and I had to tell her, as well. "I was jealous. I wanted to protect you – to protect you asmine –I mean, my girlfriend."
She took a step closer to me and tried again to touch me, I didn't stop her. Her soft, small hand cupped my cheek, and her eyes searched mine. My god, she was so beautiful. My heart stopped beating for fear she was going to slap me instead of touching me with any love or reverence. She pushed up on her toes, her free hand gently moved around my neck, and she kissed me. Her lips moved tenderly against mine, as her fingers teased the bottom of my neck. I pulled her against me; her body flush against mine, my hands on her back. As she deepened our kiss, my hand moved to the small of her back, and I lightly pressed her closer to me.
Panting, she pushed away, resting her forehead against mine. As I tried to steady my breaths, I inhaled everything that Bella was: sunshine, the smell of spring rain, and honeysuckle. She'd never kissed me like that in public before, and I knew her boldness had caught up with her. If there were cameras in the casino, I knew there had to be a bank of them for just the parking garage.
"It's okay," she said softly; her voice carried the same tone I'd heard so many times in the small hours of the morning when we were simply enjoying the quiet of her apartment. So loving and caring.
"No, I was out of line."
"You explained what happened, that's all I asked."
"Yeah." God, was she really this perfect, so forgiving and understanding?
"So, um . . . was that our first fight?" she asked, playfully, but still bashful.
"Bella, I'm so sorry," I whispered against her lips.
I moved back slightly, still locked in our embrace. "But the things I said. They were . . . mean and uncalled for. You can't possibly forgive me for that."
Bella looked at me with those chocolate-brown eyes that I always got lost in. "Did you say it to be mean? Or did you say it because you . . . care about me?"
I brushed my nose against her. "It's more than caring about you, Bella." Everything I felt for her started to burst to the surface. For a moment, the guilt I'd had earlier from still having not told her I wasn't staying in Vegas resurfaced. I needed to tell her, I knew that, but in the moment, there in the garage, with Bella in my arms, only one thing was on my heart and mind to tell her. "I love you, Bella." You'releavingVegassoon,asshole,andyou'releadingheron."I love you so much, and I'm only going to hurt you."
"No, you won't." Bella's fingers caressed my neck; her lips taunted and teased me. She trailed her hand over the buttons of my shirt, and she whispered, "I love you, too."
I exhaled the breath I was holding and rested my forehead on hers. "I'm so sorry, Bella. For how I acted and – God, for the things I said."
"It's okay, Edward."
"You are the most amazing woman," I whispered.
Her fingers slipped in between the buttons of my shirt, her nails brushed over my bare chest. "Come home with me, Edward."
"Oh, shoot. Rose is going to be home tonight."
"We could always go to my place," I whispered as I moved to kiss just under her ear.
Bella sighed. "God, yes."
I kissed along her neck, my hands stroked against her lower back and along her jaw. I moved up to kiss her, and nearly died when I felt her warm and soft lips against mine. When she broke our kiss, she kissed over my jaw to my ear, then down along the column of my neck, her hands smoothing over my neck and chest.
When she kissed my lips again, I was so close to losing my mind. She was amazing, and she was mine, and we were going to spend the night together. We both knew what was going to happen once we got to my apartment. I looked into her eyes, amazed by this wonderful woman that I'd somehow managed to find in Sin City, and thanked every lucky star that brought me to her.
Edward's jelousy really showed itself, didn't it? I really hoped you like the the update. Let me know what you think, if you would be so inclined, and leave a little review!
Thanks for reading and staying with me on this story!