"Thank you for the opportunity, Miss Swan," the Zara photographer enthusiastically shook hands with Bella after the shooting.
Bella blushed. "No. Thank you," she said humbly. She really didn't feel that great to be told that. She was still a supermodel in the making… or so she thinks. "I'm really glad you chose me to be your model today."
But the photographer ignored her shy demeanor. "With you grazing the stores and billboards, Zara sales will surely skyrocket!" she said knowingly.
Bella couldn't do anything else but laugh. It was weird getting flattered all of a sudden. And yet, it felt good.
When the photographer excused her self, Bella went to her dressing room and changed back into her casual clothes: a striped cardigan hoodie, dark denim shorts, and a pair of Converse sneakers. She stepped out of the room and thanked the crew and her co-models before leaving the studio.
She slipped on her big sunglasses and casually walked through the bustling New York streets.
She looked down at her Bulgari Tank watch every few minutes. It appeared that the shooting was finished earlier than expected.
This fact bummed Bella out because she told Edward that she was going to be done with work at eleven o'clock—and it was only ten on her watch.
To kill time, she decided to go home and freshen up—and maybe squeeze in more packing time. She already started on stuffing clothes in her suitcase last night, but she was, according to Alice, only halfway done.
Alice even told her that she shouldn't bring her old clothes. She told her that she should buy new outfits to make a good impression on the Volturi Company. Great.
When Bella got to her condo, she saw Alice lounging on the sofa. She approached her and went, "aren't you supposed to be, you know, at work?" after Alice's successful fashion event in California, she got accepted into a famous design company. So she wasn't Bella's makeup artist and outfitter anymore.
Alice lazily flipped a page of her Vogue magazine and looked up at her best friend with a smirk on her face. "And aren't you supposed to be on a date with Edward?" she asked. Bella rolled her eyes.
"Production finished early," Bella explained as she made her way toward her room. "So I'm just going to tell Edward to pick me up here."
Bella took off her shoes and clothes and changed into something date-worthy. She slipped into a knee-length dress and hopped onto a pair of espadrilles. She let her hair down and dabbed a bit of lip gloss. She stopped midway when she noticed Alice eyeing her from the door.
"You really learned a lot from me," she joked. "I told you rooming with me will benefit you."
Bella grinned and rolled her eyes a second time. "Funny," she said sarcastically. Then she sat on the foot of her bed and grabbed her phone to text Edward.
Work finished early. I'm at home.
A minute later, she got a reply. Bella smirked.
I'm on my way.
After another smile erupted on her face, she looked up at Alice. "What?" she asked—suddenly alarmed at her best friend's expression: doubtful.
Alice shrugged and began carefully. "Bella, no offense, but, are you really okay with going to Italy?" she wondered.
"Alice, you were one of the people who happily accepted the idea," Bella pointed out. To stop Alice from getting the wrong idea, she shook her head and added, "and don't feel guilty or anything. I am doing this for myself as well."
"That's good," Alice said, accepting it. "Just make sure you don't get too into this, okay? I don't want you ruining your first true relationship over your career."
Bella smiled, a hint of doubt seeping into her. "I won't. Don't worry."
The silence was interrupted by a knock on the door. Bella stood up from her bed and went to the hallway.
Just outside her door was Edward. She smiled. "Hey," she said.
He grinned and leaned down to kiss her on the lips. "Hey," he said against her mouth.
When they pulled apart, Bella stepped out of the condo and shut the door behind her. She looked up at him. "So, where are we going?" she asked.
He scrunched his face in a contemplative expression—teasing. "Hmm," he murmured. "Actually, I was hoping to take you to my favorite restaurant."
She brightened up. "Really—where is that?" she asked as they made their way to the elevators. Edward pushed the 'down' button and they waited for one of the elevators to open.
He playfully pinched her cheek—like she was some five-year-old. She did a sour face and he chuckled. "It's a surprise," he said in a sexy drawl. She scowled at that. She hated surprises.
He pursed his lips, trying to hide a forming grin. "Wait. Don't tell me you hate surprises."
Bella nodded. "Yes, I do. So if you care about your face—which I'm sure you do—you'll tell me."
He chuckled at that—and the elevator opened at the same time. They stepped inside and they were enveloped in a comfortable silence. But the mute atmosphere was immediately broken when they started talking about nonsensical stuff.
And before they knew it, they were already on the ground floor. It was Edward who noticed this. He looked up at the ping sound of the elevator. He squeezed Bella's arm and said, "We're here."
"Wow, I never saw this coming at all," Bella laughed as Edward handed her a wrapped Cheeseburger Deluxe. Edward chuckled and settled himself on the bench beside her, his Quarter Pounder in his hand. "I mean, who knew Edward Cullen loved McDonald's?"
Edward feigned hurt and said in mock indignation, "everybody loves McDonald's you know."
Bella shook her head and grinned up at him. She blushed and mentally squealed. Edward was looking at her, waiting for her to say something, while his lips were attached to his burger. He looked cute.
"Are you going to say something?" he said in amusement as he took notice of the fact that she was staring.
Bella blushed. "I'm completely incredulous right now," she admitted. "Are you saying you consume fatty foods all day and still look like that?" he shrugged, humble as always.
"I have a special kind of metabolism," he grinned as he took another bite. The fact that he could make eating a juicy, cholesterol-filled hamburger look completely seductive completely baffled Bella.
"God, you're so lucky," Bella giggled as she playfully hit his arm. Edward chuckled.
And then they started on more witty banters. This went on for quite awhile—and it ended when Edward got a message and remembered something.
"Ah, geez," he groaned, standing up. Bella stood up too and looked at him confusedly.
"What is it?" she asked. He looked at her apologetically.
"I have this thing with my brother and Tanya in ten minutes," he said. "I totally forgot about it."
Bella smirked. She knew what he was about to say. "its okay, Edward. I can totally take the train home or something." he scowled.
"No," he said sternly. "It wouldn't be gentlemanly of me. I'm taking you home. I don't care if I arrive to the meeting late."
Bella bit her lip. "Um, you sure?" she asked cautiously.
"Heck, I have to spend as much time with you as I can, right?" he smirked—but his smile didn't reach his eyes. Bella stiffened. Oh no.
Before she could control herself, she hugged him and nuzzled on his chest. After a second, Edward wrapped his arms around her. "I'm sorry," she mumbled against his shirt. "But I have to do this." She shook her head and rephrased. "No, I want to do this. It sucks that I have to leave you, but…"
She felt Edward laugh—cutting her off. "I know," he said. "I understand."
After an intimate goodbye with each other, Edward turned away and disappeared into the elevators. Bella sighed and went inside her condo. She decided to finish her packing. She didn't want to go crazy the night before her flight.
After stuffing one last shirt into her suitcase, Alice poked her head inside her bedroom door and asked, "Bella how was your date with Mister Wonderful?"
Bella rolled her eyes at Alice's choice of nickname for Edward. But nonetheless, she blushed like a total lovesick puppy. "We ate burgers is all," she said nonchalantly. The best McDonald's takeout ever.
"Burgers?" Alice was incredulous, of course. "No offense, but, aren't you two, like, supermodels?"
Bella shrugged. "Eating one burger doesn't make you gain too much weight, Alice."
Alice harrumphed. It was obvious she thought so. "So. Was your burger-run with Edward, like, fun?"
"It was," Bella smirked as she zipped up her suitcase. She looked at Alice pointedly over her shoulder and added, "Which just goes to show romance happens at any moment—at any situation—at any place." Alice's idea of romance was a candlelit dinner—which Bella thought happened rarely.
Alice shrugged and turned away. Bella felt proud of herself.
The day before the flight
When Bella got to Maxi Modeling Studio to say goodbye [and to get her tickets and stuff], she was automatically pulled into a bear hug by her boss, Max Gerard. She also got some love from her friends there.
"Oh my god, I can't believe you're leaving tomorrow!" Jessica said as she hugged Bella. Bella laughed and hugged her with the same fervor. "I'll miss you, Bells!"
"I'll miss you, too," Bella giggled. After Jessica, she was bombarded with the Erica and Valeria. Whoa. A Twin Hug
"We'll miss you, Bella!" they said in unison.
"I'll really miss you guys," Bella said, laughing. When they pulled apart, she waved her tickets in the air and grinned, "Well, I better get going."
She and Edward were going to have a date in a swanky restaurant in Fifth Avenue. She had to dress up nicely because, regrettably, it was going to be their last for a few months.
Erica nodded. Valeria grinned. They both knew about the date. "Oh. Have a nice date, Bella," Erica said good-naturedly.
Valeria arched her brows and wagged her finger at Bella knowingly. "Make it last," she said.
Bella let out another laugh and turned away, but not without telling them, "I will!"
"Do I look okay?" Bella asked as she self-consciously ran a hand on her sky-blue summer dress. Alice rolled her eyes and finished fixing her friend's hair in a curly bun.
"You look gorgeous," she said, squirting some hair spray on Bella's 'do. Just then, there was a knock on the door. "Ooh. Supermodel-boyfriend's here."
Bella turned around, walked through the hall, and opened the door. She grinned when she saw Edward leaning casually on the doorframe, his eyes glistening through messy bronze hair. He was wearing a casual button-down, dark jeans, and comfy shoes.
Bella knew it was a good idea that she wore a simple dress this time. "Hey," she breathed, incredulous that she still thought Edward was simply breathtaking. On the contrary, he really was such an eye candy.
He leaned down and kissed her hungrily on the lips. Bella found herself wrapping her arms around his neck, and her fingers impulsively knotted themselves into his hair. It was so soft…
"Sorry. There has been a change of plans," he chuckled against her lips. Bella groaned, not really hearing him coherently, and kissed him harder. She didn't know where her fiery desire suddenly came from.
"Really?" she said—a smile on her lips against his. "Then where are we going?"
"How about a normal kind of bonding time?" he suggested as he finally pulled away. Bella laughed and blushed at the same time. Edward arched a brow. "What?" he said, rare self-consciousness spreading on his face.
Bella wiped something from the corners of his mouth and sheepishly said, "I got lip gloss on you. Sorry about that."
"Well, you wouldn't want me walking around with shimmery stuff on my face and practically scream out to the world we made out, right?" he said in a teasing tone. Bella rolled her eyes.
"Let's go before Alice discovers you wrecked my makeup," she said and he immediately obliged.
Edward's idea of casual bonding time, Bella realized, was a home cooked lunch and a movie. Bella sat on the sofa and furled her feet under her comfortably. She looked around and noticed that Edward had a thing for modern style.
The condo was merely white with a touch of black and red. She noticed that abstract art and framed photographs added color to the pearl-white walls. She smiled when she saw a frame photo of a baby on the coffee table in front of her. "Who's this?" she asked, mentally aww-ing at the chubby baby's face. He was so adorable.
Edward chuckled and placed two plates of beef stroganoff and sour cream on the said table. "That's me," he admitted as he inserted a DVD into the player. "It's obvious you love it."
"Still the same cocky dude, aren't you?" she teased. He laughed as he sat beside her on the sofa and turned on the TV. Bella grinned. "Wow. Two Weeks—I like this movie."
"I knew you do," he grinned. She rolled her eyes and leaned down to get her plate. She stabbed a beef strip with her fork and popped it into her mouth. Mmm…
"This is really delicious," she groaned as she took another bite, and with a bit of the sour cream now. "Is there anything you're bad at, Edward Cullen?"
"Not sure," he wagged his eyebrows at her in a comical way. She couldn't help but laugh.
As the movie played on the flat-screen, they continued eating lunch and occasionally sipping a bit of the wine Edward placed on the table a few minutes ago.
When the credits rolled, Edward and Bella stood up to clear the plates and glasses. After placing them on the sink, Bella leaned on the counter and smiled. "Thank you for this, Edward."
Edward carefully put down the plate he was washing and walked over to give Bella a chaste kiss on the lips. When they pulled apart, he said, "You're welcome."
Bella walked with him back to the sink and suggested, "Let me help with that."
"No, Bella. You're my guest and guests don't wash dishes," he denied her in mock-sternness. She pouted but a second later, she gave up. Edward had looked at her pointedly.
"Fine," she said and sat on a stool. After a moment, she asked him, "You're going to see me leave tomorrow, right?"
Edward stiffened but continued washing the plate a second later. "Of course I will."
Bella bit her lip. "Are you going to miss me..?" she asked awkwardly. She sounded so needy and desperate.
Edward looked at her over his shoulder and gave her this sarcastic 'are you kidding me?' kind of look. "Bella, I have to be stupid not to miss you."
She nodded and looked down. She traced the streaks on the marble counter top and said nothing. She only looked up when she heard the gushing of water stop. She saw Edward place one last plate onto the dish rack and swerve to dry his hands with a towel.
Bella didn't know how they got there on the sofa, passionately making out with each other. One second, Edward was cleaning up the place, and the next, they were there, practically attacking each other with their lips and hands.
Edward was on top of her, a hand gripping at her thigh, kissing her neck.
Okay. It was a bad idea wearing a dress, she thought. I feel really weird.
A groan escaped through Bella's mouth as Edward licked her bottom lip. She slightly opened her mouth and he inserted his tongue with fervor. Soon, their tongues fought for dominance.
Alice is going to kill me when I get home. My hair and outfit are a total mess.
"I'm really going to miss this," she said hoarsely as Edward kissed her collarbone.
"Me, too, love," he replied huskily.
Then Bella's phone rang, ruining the moment. They both groaned. Bella turned her head so that she could see where her phone was and grabbed it to see who was calling. "It's Alice," she groaned in frustration. "She's probably having a hunch you're ruining her hard work."
Edward laughed. Bella put the phone down and let it ring. "Aren't you going to get it?" he asked with an arched brow.
Bella pointedly looked up at him. "What, and blatantly ruin this? No way," she said, making him laugh and kiss her again.
The next day; the airport
"Thank you for everything, Papa Maxi," Bella said as she hugged her boss one last time. When they pulled apart, she added, "I'm going to make you proud."
"I know you will," Max said in a way as if she was her daughter. Bella turned to Alice next.
"Bella, don't forget what I told you," Alice said in teasing, warning tone. The night before, Alice told Bella to bring back Italian clothing for her. Bella promised and she planned to buy them first thing.
"Don't worry," Bella rolled her eyes. "I will."
After another round of hugs and kisses, Bella ran toward Edward, who just arrived from a photo shoot, and hugged him tight. He made it.
"Thank god, I got here in time," he laughed. When they pulled apart, he casually took off his sunglasses—like Horatio from CSI Miami. Bella loved that show—and also CSI New York.
Bella looked over his shoulder and saw Chris, Cooper, and Zoe (?). She grinned. "you guys are here, too?"
"I wouldn't miss it for the world, Bells," Chris laughed and hugged her.
"Zoe, how come you're here? Aren't you supposed to be in Seattle?" Bella asked as she walked over to her former roommate in California Springs.
"Oh. Didn't I tell you?" Zoe was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. "Mister Gerard offered me a job here in New York."
"That's awesome!" Bella said as she pulled her into another hug. She couldn't believe it. Everyone was here to see her leave.
"Hey, doesn't the boyfriend deserve the most attention from his departing girlfriend?" Edward said teasingly behind her. Bella turned around, rolled her eyes, and kissed him—right in front of everybody.
After a few moments of that, they hugged each other and Edward leaned down to whisper something to her ear. "I'll be waiting for you. I love you."
Bella hugged him tighter. "I love you, too," she whispered.
Then a female voice from the speakers announced Bella's flight.
Bella put a smile on her face, using her eyes to convey her feelings to him. She gave him one last kiss on the lips and turned to go.
Italy you better be worth it, she thought and prepared to enter the plane.
Her heart beat quickly inside her as she looked at her friends—and Edward—over her shoulder. She grinned and waved at them.
When she saw Edward grin and mentally told her 'I love you' with his emerald green eyes, she let out a laugh under her breath and continued her way toward the plane.
Yes! I've finally finished a story! Thank you for the wonderful support, guys. I really appreciated and took in everything you all said. So thank you!
And now, for the news you've all been waiting for: THE SEQUEL! I've decided to post it as a new story because one reviewer pointed out, and I knew from experience, that readers tend to get lazy reading a story with so many chapters.
I'm posting the sequel as "Model Love Affair, the Second Time Around."
And here's the news I know you're going to dread: I'm going to be real slow in updating because, even though it's still summer here, I can't lounge around. I have to study because college exams are just a few months away and I want to get into the top schools—EEP! So, fingers crossed!
And I know I haven't posting disclaimers so here: I DON'T OWN TWILIGHT. I JUST OWN ZOE, CHRIS, ERICA, VALERIA, JOHANN, MONIQUE, MAX, and the other names you didn't read from the spectacular saga which Stephenie Meyer owns.