A/N: I do not own Twilight – just these crazy versions of Stephenie Meyer's characters that won't leave me alone!
Ok, so no apology will cover how much I suck. And even though my explanation is a real one, it'll sound lame. Bottom line, my laptop has gone to the great calculator field in the sky, and I haven't replaced it, ergo no way to write, unless I'm at work, where I kind of have to…work. (Funny that!)
But an update is here…and it's about time too! If you're reading, thanks for sticking with me. I'm not going to make any grand gestures about when I'll update next, but I'm back to updating on Twitter again (thank the technology gods for iPhone!) so stay tuned!
Emmett came over and ate dinner in the suite with Edward and me that night, leaving early to start going over Edward's press commitments. The two of us sat in the living area in relatively comfortable silence, watching In Bruges on the in-house movie channel.
It finished at ten and Edward stood, stretched and quietly said goodnight before heading into his room. I switched off the TV, berating myself for being so antsy about the small sliver of stomach that had been exposed when he stretched.
After cleaning my teeth I changed into my favourite pyjamas and slid under the covers of the massive bed. I set the alarm on my phone for 6am and drifted into an uneasy sleep.
As per the norm when I'm sleeping in a hotel, I woke up well before my alarm went off. I considered getting up and hitting the gym, until I remembered that I couldn't go unless Edward came along. Waking him just seemed cruel.
Instead I fished one of my trashy romance novels out of my suitcase, picking up at the point where the two main characters were describing in great detail what they would do to each other, if only she wasn't married and he didn't live on the other side of the country. Not a good idea. The blonde haired, blue eyed male in the book was replaced in my head with bronze hair and… I physically shook my head and placed the book on the floor next to the bed.
Checking the clock I was relieved to see that it was 5:30 – a reasonable time to get up. I threw a sweatshirt on over my pyjamas and pulled on a pair of socks before heading out to the small kitchen to make coffee. Once it was brewing, I opened the door of the suite to retrieve the newspaper from outside.
Nothing dramatic on the front page – that's always a good start, I thought to myself as I closed the door and settled on the couch. Dare I read the Entertainment section?
I decided I was brave and flicked through the pages until I came to the Entertainment heading. I dropped the newspaper as though I'd been scalded. Splashed across the front of the Entertainment page was a photo of Jackson Reed in handcuffs. 'Busted – Agent to the Stars Arrested'.
"Fuck," I hissed under my breath as I started reading.
At approximately 10:45pm last night, entertainment agent Jackson Reed was arrested by LAPD detectives after a six-month operation. Mr Reed stands accused of bribing a number of film companies to hire his clients, as well as having considerable debts to a number of high-profile security firms in the Los Angeles area.
I laid the paper in my lap and stared hard at the wall for a minute. Did I want to call Alice and find out if the retainer had cleared? You bet your ass I did. But I knew if there was a problem she'd let me know.
A soft knock at the door drew my attention away from the wall. I shifted the paper to the couch beside me and stood, walking across the suite. I checked the peephole to find Emmett on the other side, newspaper in hand and a grim look on his face.
I opened the door with a quiet, "Morning," and stood to one side to let him in.
He opened the conversation with an, "Ah."
I gave him a questioning look even though I was pretty sure where he was going.
"You've seen the paper." It was a statement, not a question.
I shook my head.
"It's going to kill him," Emmett said softly. "He got some less than spectacular reviews for his last film, one critic went as far as to ask who had paid the studio off. This isn't going to go well."
"Could be all three of our careers are going down the toilet," I mumbled. "I don't know if my retainer has been paid."
"Oh shit," Emmett sighed. "I was so busy worrying about him that I didn't think about you. What happens to the contract if you haven't been paid?"
I smiled a wry smile. "Well, I'm not going to leave him without any security. We'll work something out."
We sat in silence for a few minutes, jumping slightly when Edward's door opened.
Normal snarky me would have replied with, "Your career," but it just seemed inappropriate.
"Come sit," Emmett replied.
"Coffee?" I asked.
They both said yes so I got busy grabbing mugs while Emmett showed Edward the newspaper.
"Motherfucking thundercunt!" he exclaimed.
I couldn't help it – I giggled. It was inappropriate and I knew it, and that only made me laugh harder.
"What?" Edward asked, a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"Thundercunt!" I wailed, collapsing into fresh waves of laughter.
That sent both of them off, and before long all three of us were clutching our sides, slumped in our chairs. Once we calmed down a little, Edward picked up the paper again and read the whole story.
"What do we do now?" he asked, looking from Emmett to me and back again.
Emmett answered before I could. "We call a press conference. We talk to Mountain Crest and get it from them in writing there's nothing shady going on, then you front the media and let them know that you had no knowledge of Reed's misdemeanours."
"And I'm not going anywhere," I assured him. "Now that this is out there, you're going to be more popular than ever. You need me."
He raised an eyebrow. "Arrogant much?" But it came with a smile, which I returned.
"There's going to be press, fans, papps, every man and his fucking dog on your tail now. You're not going to be able to take a leak without someone knowing," I told him. "I'm actually considering calling in someone else from my company to help out."
"Let's not jump to conclusions," Emmett cut in. "I say we do something inconspicuous for breakfast, then I'll get in touch with Mountain Crest and see what we can arrange for today."
Edward got up and made more coffee while the three of us debated breakfast.
"I saw a place on the corner that sells bagels, I wonder if they're open yet?" Emmett suggested, looking at the clock.
I followed his gaze. "It's almost seven, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet. I'll go change and go for a walk – noone's going to recognise me," I suggested, rising from my seat. "You guys make a list of your favourites and I'll be back in ten."
I grabbed a change of clothes from my room then headed for the bathroom and the quickest shower in history. I yanked my hair into a ponytail and threw my pyjamas on my bed, grabbing some money on the way out.
"What are we having?" I asked as I approached the two men sitting quietly on the couch.
Emmett handed me a list and a twenty. I looked down the list and saw all of my favourites listed as well, nodding my approval as I headed for the door. "I'll be back in a bit," I said, pulling it closed behind me.
I walked down the street and into the quiet little shop, ordered our food and returned to the suite within fifteen minutes. I let myself in the door to find Emmett talking quietly on his phone in the corner and Edward reading the funnies on the couch. I placed the bag of bagels on the bench and pulled the wrapped goodies out, checking the labels as I went and passing them around.
Emmett hung up soon after I got back and he wasn't happy. "Mountain Crest will meet with you at ten, they're thinking about kicking you off the film because their association with you could bring them 'into disrepute'.
Edward laughed, a wry sound. "Disrepute? I had no idea about any of this crap!"
"I know, I know," Emmett replied, trying to soothe him. "We'll see what they say."
The rest of breakfast passed quietly, Emmett speaking only after Edward headed for a shower.
"Your friend is a lawyer, right?"
I nodded and swallowed the last mouthful of my bagel. "Yep. Rose is the best. She does all my contracts and she's helped me out of a jam or two. Why?"
"Do you think she'd look over Edward's contract? See if Mountain Crest have grounds to sack him?" Emmett almost sounded desperate.
I smiled and reached out to pat his arm – a very not-me move. "I'm sure she'd be happy to. Things are going to be ok Emmett."
He smiled sadly. "I just want things to go right for him, you know? He gets so much bad press, and I'll be the first to admit he deserves some of it, but he's a good guy. I know he was a jerk to you when we were younger…"
"…but he's changed, I can see that," I cut him off. "We'll get through this, the three of us. Get me copy of his contract and I'll email it to Rose."
"Thanks Bella. I'll be back in a while with all the stuff we need for this morning." Emmett stood and I mirrored him, following him to the door.
"Do I need to come with you guys this morning?" I asked.
"Please?" he answered. "If nothing else, the moral support would be nice."
I closed the door softly behind him and turned around just as Edward emerged from the bathroom.
"Emmett's just gone to get organised for your meeting," I told him, moving to clear the remnants of breakfast.
"I heard him asking you about a lawyer. Does he really think it's that bad?"
I paused before answering. "I think Emmett wants to get all the facts and be as ready as he can be. I don't know enough to know if this is bad or not. But Emmett and I will be here through it all – you're not going to have to do this alone."
He ran a hand through his hair and smiled at me. "Have you always been this awesome?"
I grinned back. "Yep. You were just too up yourself to notice."
Emmett arrived back in our suite a little before nine and told us he'd ordered a car. "It should be here around 9:30. Bella, I've emailed a copy of the contract to you."
I grabbed my iPhone and logged into my email account and forwarded the contract to Rose. I logged out and dialled her office.
"Hale and Associates, Lauren speaking."
I groaned internally. "Lauren, it's Bella, can you put me through to Rosalie please?"
"She's in a meeting Ms Swan, can I take a message."
This time I groaned out loud. "Lauren, this is urgent. I need her legal advice regarding my current client and I need it NOW!"
Silence. Total deafening silence. The only other time I'd yelled at Rose's receptionist she took three days off work on stress leave. I jumped a little when the hold music came on, and flinched when Rose came on the line.
"This better be important Bella – I'm a bee's dick away from securing the biggest case of my career."
"I'm sorry. Have you seen the paper? Reed's been arrested and we think Edward could be royally fucked," I filled her in.
"Ok…still not seeing how I fit into this picture," she replied.
"Mountain Crest are considering tearing up Edward's contract, his media guy needs to know if they can do that or not."
"You're with Emmett McCarty? Hot stuff!" Rose was suddenly more enthusiastic.
"Not the point Rose! I've emailed you the contract, I need to know by ten what the deal is."
"Done. Just let me get these a-holes to sign and I'm on it. Stay close to your phone."
"Thanks chicken – I owe you," I said, and hung up.
I turned to find one pair of brown eyes and one pair of green fixed intently on my face. "She's going to look at it and get back to us."
I left them sitting there and went to change for the day. Jeans, neat shirt, shoes I could run in, and my gun. All I needed.
The phone in the suite rang at twenty past nine and I answered it. "Yes?"
"Ms Swan, the car Mr McCarty ordered is here for you."
"Thank you. I'll be down momentarily." I hung up.
"Car's here?" Emmett asked.
"Yep. I'll go down and get it, and move it into the basement. You two come downstairs in five minutes. If there's a problem, I'll call you."
Five minutes later I was sitting behind the wheel of the rental car in the basement and felt a wave of relief wash over me as the two men walked out of the elevator and got in, Emmett in front, Edward in back.
Emmett directed me to the office building where Mountain Crest had arranged the meeting. I parked the car in a two hour spot across the road and pulled my phone from my pocket to check my email.
It pinged in my hand as an email from Rose landed in my Inbox. I read through it quickly and forwarded it to Emmett. "Rose is happy for you to refer to her as Edward's lawyer. She says Mountain Crest have a get-out clause in there but if it comes down to it, she can fight it because it names Edward specifically, not people he is associated with."
Emmett smiled, the first real smile of the day. "Excellent." He checked his watch. "We should go in."
"Me first," I reminded him, stepping out of the car and checking for potential threats. I walked around the car and motioned for Edward to wind down his window. "You two stay here while I go check the foyer."
I darted across the street and walked into the building, then walked out a moment later, motioning that it was ok to come in.
Emmett walked up to the reception desk and advised who he was and why we were here, and the man behind the desk directed us to the fourth floor with the customary, "They're expecting you."
We reached the office and Emmett stopped me. "Bella, you can't come in. I'm sorry but this needs to stay as professional as it can. Not that I don't think you're professional," he corrected himself, "but you know what I mean."
I nodded and smiled. "No worries. I'll wait out here unless you call me in."
I watched as the door closed.
What the fuck have I got myself into?