Okay, so a new story! I'm so excited about this. I haven't forgotten about Underneath It All, unfortunately, I just haven't been inspired lately (or in like, the last 5 months) to write anything for it, so my apologies. But I've been playing with this idea for the last week, and I've finally decided to put pen to paper and write it. Plus, there's not much else to do during a 4-hour drive.

Of course, Twilight and all the characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.


We had been sitting in the car in silence for over half an hour now. Outside, the narrow sidewalk had a few people walking around, but inside, it was quiet. I leaned back in my seat and focused on the bane of my existence outside. Finally my driver, evidently bored with waiting, asked the question I had been pondering for over a week now.

"What's the plan, Mr. Cullen?"

I glanced at him, then looked outside again. Normally I didn't like anyone asking questions of me, but Tyler had been with me over three years, and I considered him something more than an employee. And in this case he was right. Delaying the inevitable was pointless.

"I'm going in," I replied, opening the door of the towncar. Seeing this, Tyler's eyes bulged and he leapt out of the driver's side, hurrying around to my door. This was part of why I liked him. Even after years in my employ, he still took the job seriously. I couldn't abide slackers in my organization. They were what brought a business down.

He finished pulling open the door and I stepped out, buttoning my suit jacket and smoothing a nonexistent wrinkle from my sleeve. It wouldn't do to face my adversary as anything other than immaculate.

I nodded my thanks to Tyler before crossing the street. It was a quiet road, with few cars passing by. It was my intention to change that. There was just one thing standing in my way.

I stopped in front of the narrow townhouse that was causing me so many problems. Painted a dove grey with weathered navy shutters, it was a bit historic looking. Luckily for me, it wasn't actually historic. It had been built 30 years ago, and the original owner had kept it for 28 years. He had then sold it to my current problem. The new owner. She had replaced the old man's jewelry repair business with a bookstore. A bookstore that she was refusing to sell.

I stood outside the bookstore for a moment. I couldn't understand why this woman was so attached to the place. I grudgingly conceded the building could be considered charming, but in the half-hour I had watched the place, I had seen one person go inside, and emerge 20 minutes later empty-handed. The store couldn't be turning much of a profit.

I exhaled gustily, unsure why I was even stopping to consider the matter of the store's profits. This place had massively delayed my plans for the city block. Everyone had agreed to sell months ago. Everyone except the ridiculous bookstore owner. Since then, I had sent numerous agents of mine to the store, prepared to cajole, threaten, bribe…whatever was necessary. But they had all returned to me with the same story.

"She's not there. She's on a buying trip in Europe…a Caribbean vacation…family emergency...The girl working there says she'll give her the message, but she never called us back."

Over and over, different excuses, same result. No one I had sent had even met Isabella Swan. I had almost started to believe she didn't exist.

So here I was, forced to take matters into my own hands and come to the store myself. I pushed open the door, unintentionally announcing my arrival with the tinkling of a bell. I looked up, seeing the small piece of metal attached to the door's frame. So much for the element of surprise.

Then again, there wasn't much chance of that anyway. The counter where the register sat was right in front of me, though there didn't seem to be anyone manning it at the moment. I stepped up to it and realized that in fact there was someone there, as a most pleasing sight met my eyes. A young woman knelt behind the counter, her back to me, sorting through a box of books and muttering to herself. I cleared my throat, but she didn't look up. Instead, her voice floated to me, clear and lilting, as she said, "Give me one moment, I'll be right with you. Feel free to look around until then."

But since the store itself couldn't provide me with any contact information for its owner, it was of no use to me to investigate it. Instead, I remained at the counter, surveying the woman behind it. In a most objective way, I examined what I could see of her figure – slim legs, the upper half covered by a tan skirt, lean arms, clad in a burgundy sweater, narrow feet in a pair of suede flats, pale, clear skin, shiny dark hair. It had been almost a month since I had terminated my relationship with Jessica, and I was growing restless with vapid society beauties, none of whom could fully satisfy me. My sexual desires required a long-term relationship; unfortunate then, that I had had to end things with Jessica before I had found someone else I was interested in.

Not that that person was this girl; certainly not. She was far too young for me. But still, I was bored and on edge, so I traced the lines of her figure over and over, until she finally turned around to face me, a pleasant smile on her lips.

"What can I help you with, sir?"

It became overwhelmingly clear to me in that moment that I really needed a satisfying sexual encounter, and soon. Hearing her smooth, angelic voice had me hardening beneath my pants, and I was grateful that the counter concealed my lower half from her. I shifted a bit on my side as she waited patiently for my reply, dark chocolate eyes wide and her rosebud lips slightly parted. Well, at least a voice like that didn't belong to an old hag, that would have been truly horrifying.

"Sir?" she prompted, her dark eyebrows knitting together in confusion as I continued to stare at her. She self-consciously tucked a lock of hair behind her ear as we stood in silence.

"Sir?" she asked again, as I groaned inwardly, feeling myself become fully erect beneath my pants. Hearing the word 'Sir' come out of her mouth again, fuck. All at once, I could picture her naked, kneeling before me, all that pale creamy skin revealed to my gaze, her dark eyes bright as she gazed up at me, waiting for my command, and-

"Sir? Sir? Is there something I can help you with?" her voice was becoming cross by now, and I imagined what I'd do the next time she spoke to me that way, picturing her bare bottom upturned across my lap. With the cold calculation that had always been an integral part of me, I made a decision. This slim, dark-haired girl would be my next submissive. Finally. Fuck her age.

"Yes," I said in response, hearing my voice come out in a croak. I cleared my throat quickly; after all, I certainly wasn't going to approach this girl like a nervous virgin. I was the farthest thing from a virgin. "There is something you can help me with."

She stared at me expectantly as I reminded myself, business before pleasure, always business before pleasure. "I need to speak to the owner of this establishment. My name is Edward Cullen." I withdrew a business card from my pocket and laid it on the counter, smiling coolly as her eyes grew wider.

"Edward Cullen?" she asked shakily. "But you've always sent other people before…" her voice trailed off, almost as if she were afraid to reveal too much of her thoughts to me.

"Indeed I have," I said silkily. Here I was in my element. "But Ms. Swan is proving unnecessarily stubborn about my acquisition of this property, so I came to do some persuading myself. Where is she?"

The girl's eyes flashed as she crossed her arms in front of her, preparing to do battle. I calmly smirked back at her. There was nothing I loved more than a good fight. Well, almost nothing.


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