A/N: This Fandom Gives Back one/shot was purchased by Angry Badger Girl, the woman who is single-handedly responsible for: A) Luring me into AH Twific; B) Luring me further into the Fandom web on the Twilighted forums; C) Teaching me how to use siggies and avis; D) Luring me onto Twitter; E) Inspiring me to try my hand at FF writing. So really, blame her for the nonsense you're about to read. It's all her fault.
This story is rated M for lemons. For the sake of story pacing, Edward and Bella are not going to have an extended conversation about safety or birth control. This is a fic, so we'll just assume that they are disease-free and have no need for birth control.
Things I Own: "Distracting Edbert Wallpaper" on Twitter (per ABG)
Things I Don't: Anything Twilight—it's all Stephenie Meyers'. Jolly Rancher martinis belong to the Three Olives, in tribute to my Chicago Girls: imdominating, naughtysparkle, and wisdomous. Cheers, ladies!
Thanks to my beta, Naughtysparkle, who, as always, talked me off the ledge with this one-shot, and to Wisdomous, for being a pre-reader and offering some suggestions. I love you both!!
Music has always been the key to my emotions. I tend to be a pretty reserved person, until the music starts. I can't avoid singing along to my favorite songs, especially when I'm in my car. It's been the cause of some very strange looks from other drivers when we're stopped at a red light. Sometimes, I become aware that I'm singing really loudly, and see the drivers staring at me. It never fails, I always blush ten shades of red when that happens. You would think that I would have learned by now, but no. This still occurs on a weekly basis. Likewise, I listen to my iPod while I'm at work; it is the perfect background accompaniment to my job. I conduct research at the University, so I'm always either writing or knee deep in data. The music plays, and somehow everything I'm doing falls into place. It's as if music is the oil in my well-tuned machine; without it, the system gets gummed up.
When I'm not barricading myself in my office (at least according to my friends), I do, on occasion, venture out into the big wide world and participate in life. Jake and Seth ride my ass about it constantly; it's easy for them to be so social—they always have arm candy wherever they go. Me? Arm candy? Nope. Never. It's just not my style.
Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I've never met a member of the opposite sex who appeals to me as a long-term partner. Don't get me wrong—I'm all for having a nice round of schmexing; it's the sticking together afterwards that always trips me up. I'm so sick of the insipid pick up lines I hear repeatedly (so unimaginative), and the expectation to engage in meaningless small talk with someone I would rather not be speaking to. Thus, to no one's surprise, I always leave the bar empty handed, and that's really fine by me. Not that I wouldn't mind getting some, but I prefer quality over quantity.
A buzzing in my pocket brings my attention back to the here and now. I reach for my phone to see who it is: Jake? I pull my headphones off to answer.
"Hey, I'm in the middle of writing. What's up?"
"Bella, when are you not in the middle of writing? You know I would never bug you without a reason, baby! I need your help tonight."
I do a full body grimace—even my insides participate. I don't really want to know what Jake needs me to do tonight. "Does this involve going to a bar so you can check out the new hottie?"
"How did you guess? It's sing-along night at Rhapsody and Tunes. I know how much you love crooning the tunes. Please, Bells? For me?"
He knows I can't resist The Plead. "OK, Jake. What time?"
"Do you even have any idea what time it is?"
I glance at my watch. 9:00. What the hell? "Wow, I was more absorbed in my research than I thought. I haven't even eaten dinner! Tell you what, why don't you come pick me up here, and we can grab a bite to eat. What time does it start?"
"10:30. Are you going to be presentable, or are you sporting your lab geek look today?"
"Fuck you, Jake! I sit in my office and write research all day. I go strictly for comfort. It's not like I woke up today and planned to bail my lameass friend out because he's too scared to check out the hottie on his own!"
"Me-ow! All right, point taken. I'll just have to see what I can do with you when I get there. Give me 15 minutes, okay?"
"Okay. Just buzz me when you get here. I don't want to wait for you by the main doors because the coffee dude always tries to chat me up."
"Yeah, god forbid that you should actually talk to a real, live male specimen!"
"Jake, I so do not want to go there right now! If you genuinely want me to be your escort for the evening, you'd best put a lid on your snark."
"See ya, soon, girlfriend."
"You know how much I hate that word…" My comment is wasted; Jake already hung up.
I've known Jacob Black since we were just kids. Before his Dad, Billy, was shot on the job, he and my Dad, Charlie, were partners with the Seattle Police. When Billy went on disability, Charlie transferred to Forks, and was named Chief of Police. It was closer to the Rez than downtown Seattle; I know Charlie wanted to be close in order to look out for his best friend. Over the years, Billy's wheelchair hasn't slowed them down a bit. They still go fishing every Saturday, rain or shine. They park themselves in front of Charlie's widescreen for every Mariners and Seahawks game. As if that isn't enough to keep them occupied, they've been trying to play matchmakers to Jake and me for years; I think they actually bemoan the fact that arranged marriage is no longer au courant. If only they knew, I laugh to myself.
I head for the bathroom and attempt to freshen myself up a bit. Good thing I decided to grab my supplies this morning! I brush on a coat of mascara, dab on some lip gloss, and pull my hair down from its loose bun; it's slightly wavy from being up all day, but still presentable. I spritz on some hairspray, give my hair a thorough scrunch, and I'm ready. Good enough. Hey, it's not like I'm out to impress anyone! I have on my skinny jeans and my favorite dark blue v-neck sweater. I'm definitely presentable. I feel my phone buzz in my pocket, so I grab my purse and head out to the lobby.
I run past the coffee bar guy, who starts to mumble something to me. Thank god I asked Jake to buzz me when he got here!
I hop into Jake's waiting car and am rewarded with a peck on the cheek. He checks me out, making sure I am date worthy.
"Huh, you actually clean up pretty good, Bells. I can't even tell that you've been doing whatever it is you do all day long."
"Gee, thanks, Jake. You sure know how to charm a girl."
"Aw, come on! It isn't like you make much of an effort most of the time."
"Again, thanks a lot. It's a good thing I don't rely on your compliments to boost my self-esteem!"
"So, are you going to tell me about the hottie?"
"Seth is the one who told me about this bar."
"You haven't even checked it out for yourself?"
"No, he just told me if I knew what was good for me, I would find myself at Rhapsody tonight."
"You hauled me away from my research to be your fake date for a hottie you haven't even seen for yourself?! Are you fucking serious?"
"Don't be like that, Bella! You know Seth has great taste. He's going to meet us there."
I cross my arms in front of my chest in a huff. At the very least, I will get a few free drinks out of this from Jake; that is always the price of a pseudo-date with me. I sigh deeply to myself.
Jake parks his Rabbit and we walk into the bar together. My eyes go straight for the piano. I stop dead in my tracks and feel my jaw drop.
Holy motherfucking christ!
"That's him, Jake?"
"Oh my sweet jesus, Seth wasn't kidding!"
"For the love of all that's holy, what in god's name is wrong with your gaydar, Jake?! He is so not gay!"
"Come on, Bells, he's so pretty! He works in a gay bar, for crying out loud! Of course he's gay!"
"Who, Mr. Piano Man? That guy playing piano in front of us? NOT. GAY."
"Yes, Mr. Piano Man. GAY."
"Okay, I'm going to put my fag hag money where my mouth is, baby. We're going to bet on it. Fifty bucks."
"Oh, you are so on, sweet cheeks! In fact, I'm so certain he's gay, I'm going to double your offer—a cool hundred bucks."
I grab his hand and we do an exaggerated shake.
"You are so fucking going down, Black. I can smell victory from here."
"How are we going to prove if he's gay or not, Swan?"
"Simple. We both go flirt with him and see who he prefers."
"What if neither one of us is his type?"
"If we can get him to flirt, I think we can figure out which way he swings."
"Um, Bella, this means you're going to have to actually talk to a guy, you realize?"
"I talk to you, don't I? Last time I checked, your equipment was all nuts and twigs."
"Oh, whatever! You haven't talked to a straight guy in years, Bella Swan, and you know it. You avoid men like the plague!"
"Now let's be perfectly clear here—after my disastrous adventure in dating with Mike Newton, I've been a tad shy with the opposite sex, it's true. But avoid like the plague? Hardly."
"When was the last time you flirted with a guy?"
"It's not like a keep a research journal with those statistics!"
"That's just another way of saying, 'I haven't flirted with a guy since the turn of the century,'" the asshole says in a ridiculous falsetto.
"Fuck you, Jake!" I slap him on the shoulder, hard. "You can be such an ass sometimes."
"C'mon, Bella, don't be like that. I'm just trying to get you to admit you're afraid of guys."
"I'm not afraid, Jake! There simply has been no one to pique my interest. However, Mr. Piano Man could certainly be the one…"
"Let's get a table close to the piano."
Once we sit down, I send Jake off to get our drinks, and I take a moment to ogle Mr. Piano Man. It has been a long time since I saw someone who entices me enough to want to flirt. Frankly, I am so tired of arranged dates with boring, shallow guys who are only interested in drinking beer, watching football, and getting laid. There is so much more to life, and I would rather be alone than end up with someone like that. These days, whenever I go out, it is with Jake, Seth, and the other gay boys, because they are the most fun. We always sing and dance the night away, and I have a blast.
The first thing I notice about Mr. Piano Man, aside from his ridiculously beautiful looks, is his attire. Clearly, he is a starving artist: Jeans with the requisite holes in the knees; a worn blazer with a frayed collar; a torn up t-shirt with Russian writing, complete with hand sewing to repair the holes; and on his feet, a pair of ratty slippers.
Slippers? What the fuck? Okay, make that starving, idiosyncratic artist. I remember one of my professors saying to me once that you can tell an awful lot about a person based upon the kind of shoes they wear. Worn out shoes typically mean lower socio-economic status. Only people with disposable income, in general, can afford to replace their shoes regularly.
Once I get beyond his hobo attire, his natural, unforced beauty shines through. He has the most amazing head of hair I've ever seen on a man. It's a completely ramshackled mess, but what a glorious mess it is. It looks like he got sexed up in his dressing room just before he started his set. It's a very unusual color, with striking reddish-bronze highlights that pop out in the bar's spotlights. He plays hunched over the keyboards, pursing his full lips in concentration. He closes his eyes for long stretches, which shows off lashes that are entirely too long to be wasted on a man. He has incredibly thick eyebrows, which are constantly furrowed while he concentrates on his playing. He didn't bother to shave before his set; in fact, he probably hasn't shaved for days. The scruff makes him more fuckhot, if that is even possible. His jawline is perfectly angular, topped off by a chin that Rodin himself couldn't have crafted. He has the most sublime set of hands I've ever seen. I'm amazed that I even notice them, because hands are hands, right? Wrong. These hands are a work of art. His fingers are impossibly long and thin—incredibly elegant. The way they glide over the keyboard is mesmerizing. They're incredibly flexible. In fact, they are, in no uncertain terms, x-rated. Positively pornographic. You can't help but imagine what they're capable of doing besides playing the piano. Hidden in the ratty slippers, you can tell his feet are long and slim, moving over the piano's pedals. He handles the instrument with grace and poise, and again, I find my mind heading to dangerous, smutty places.
My reaction to him is swift and sudden. While I appreciate a pretty face as much as anyone, my instantaneous attraction for him is completely unusual and unexpected. I've never, ever, not once in my entire life, had feelings like this for another person. He literally makes my insides feel like Jell-O. Just staring at him makes my heart beat faster. I'm seriously confused, and a little undone, by my visceral reaction to this man's beauty. The sensible part of my brain tries so hard to convince the rest of me that this is all hyperbole and nonsense, but the other part of my brain gives it a swift bitchslap to shut it up. Had I not known myself better, I would have been convinced that I had just turned into a 15 year-old boy. I am that affected by this man.
Imagining him playing me instead of that piano.
Suddenly, Jake walks in front of me, spoiling my daydream.
"One Jolly Rancher martini, ma'am."
"Thanks, Jake. Now move. You're spoiling my view of the scenery."
"He's prettier than a flower garden, and definitely just as gay, honey. Wait and see."
"I think you clearly have a case of denial. Your gaydar is very, very broken, sweetie," I smile widely at Jake. "Regardless of his orientation, I just have to say—did you see how big his feet and hands are?"
"Oh my god, Bella, I didn't think you had it in you!"
"What?! I can appreciate fine art when I see it!"
"So what is your game plan, sister? How are you going to flirt with him so disastrously that I win the bet single-handedly?"
"In your dreams, Flakey. In your dreams."
I talk a good talk, but Jake does have a point—how in god's name will I ever be able to talk to someone so incredibly beautiful? I'm a fairly shy person in general. In front of Piano Man? I doubt I will be capable of lucidity. There's only one solution—more Jolly Rancher martinis, STAT.
I swallow down the remainder of my drink and send Jake back for more.
"You better pace yourself; you know you don't handle your liquor very well."
"Your task is not to judge, but to get more alcohol, buster. Run like the wind, Bullseye! GO!"
Jake just grins and shakes his head. I need liquid courage; Jake can think what he likes.
Three martinis and several hours later, I'm feeling no pain. I'm bantering with Jake and Seth and we've all been staring openly at Piano Man. I'm in the midst of imagining his hands doing very naughty things, when he suddenly stops playing and heads over to the bar. I'm quickly brought back to reality. Without stopping to ponder the consequences of my actions, I head over to the bar; I'm a woman on a mission.
I slide onto the barstool next to him.
"Mr. Piano Man, I have to ask you something."
He looks a bit shocked that I've addressed him, but he has a mildly amused look underneath the surprise. "All right, Ms.?"
My intelligent response to this relatively simple question? NOTHING. Because I can't fucking talk; he's too beautiful. GAH!
A smile blooms on his face that looks suspiciously like a smirk—it's crooked, with one side higher than the other. It's also so incredibly sexy.
His liquid sex voice coos out, "Well, since you won't answer me, I'm going to start calling you Venus."
That wakes up my tongue. "Venus? Like, the Goddess of Love, Venus?"
"Yes, the way your hair is waving around your face," he stops and pulls my curls to fall over the front of my shoulders. "Then you have such beautiful, elegant curves, I can just see you, standing there, like you were posing for Botticelli himself."
I blush furiously. No man has ever paid such incredible compliments to me, and I don't know what to even think. It's unreal. This man, who is the epitome of male beauty, is calling me Venus? It just doesn't make sense!
"But Botticelli's Venus was nude—how can you tell what my curves look like?"
Did I really just say that? Really? Just where did my verbal filter escape to?
"Does that mean you're willing to show me?"
"Actually, that's what I meant to ask you when I came over here."
"You came over here to model nude for me?" He says, looking completely confused. It doesn't take long for that sexy smirk to replace the look of confusion. "I have a dressing room just in back…"
"Oh, god, no…no, I mean…Okay, just hear me out. This will only sound awful if I try to put a spin on it. Clearly, my lack of a filter is going to make things worse."
He interrupts my diatribe. "Oh, this sounds good. Hang on, let's get a round of drinks first."
Do I dare? What the fuck, you only live once.
"I'm drinking Jolly Rancher martinis tonight."
"You know, candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. Looks like you've combined the two, Venus," he says, oozing sex from every pore in his body. "Jasper!" He calls out to the bartender, who is nearly as attractive as he is. "I'd like an Oban, neat, and a Jolly Rancher martini."
"Sure thing, Ed."
"Yes, my real name is Edward Cullen. Are you ever going to tell me yours, Venus?" He holds his hand out for me to shake.
"My name is Bella. Bella Swan," I reply, slipping my hand into his.
"Bella, huh? That's as appropriate as Venus; it certainly is self-descriptive. You had very astute parents to give you such a perfect name."
I cough out a very unflattering gigglesnort. Which turns into an all out gigglefest.
"What?" he asks, obviously amused by my amusement.
"If you knew Charlie and Renee, you would know they are anything but astute! They had no idea what to name me, so they gave me my Nana Swan's middle name. They waited for about a week before they found a name."
Jasper returns with our drinks. As he sets down my martini, he gives me a flirty wink and nods in Edward's direction. "I have a good feeling about this one, Ed. You'd best hang on to her; so few of the good ones hang around here."
My reaction? Of course, more blushing.
"I don't think I've ever met a woman who blushes as much as you do, Venus."
"You know what is sad and scary about that? I'm drunk as a skunk, so usually I blush more than this, not less."
"Why, that isn't scary at all, it's…lovely," the liquid sex is still pouring from his lips. I find my vision focusing right on that specific area, making me want to do illicit things to him. "Now then, I do believe you were about to spill an incredibly fascinating secret right before our drinks arrived," he reminds me.
"Oh! That. Um, I really don't think I can tell you anymore." His expression falls and he looks disappointed. It breaks my heart, so I have to tell him the truth. I take a deep breath, then begin. "Okay, you see those two guys at the table by your piano? The ones staring at us with gaping, wide-open mouths?"
"Yes," he replies cautiously.
"They're both here because they wanted to check you out. I'm here as a fake date, so my friend Jake could pretend he was coming to enjoy a night out, and not just here for the sole purpose of watching you. We kind of made a bet about your sexual orientation. There is $100 riding on this. Not that it matters one bit, but I'd be happy to split my winnings with you if you give me a kiss. That would prove to the boys that I'm right."
"Well, which way did you bet?" The beautiful crooked grin emerges once again.
"Straight, obviously! Jake's gaydar is so off it isn't funny. I'm happy to attest to the fact that mine is 100% accurate. Never been wrong once."
"What if I were to tell you that you're wrong tonight?"
"I'd still go halfsies with you for that kiss." The Jolly Rancher martinis have now, officially, announced their arrival in my brain, which causes me to do a very unfiltered, silly thing: I lean over and put my hands on his cheeks, and follow with a kiss. On the lips. It's nothing like I expect, because this is no ordinary kiss. A chill runs through my entire body, producing goosebumps everywhere. I gasp, without breaking the kiss. As if these other actions aren't mortifying enough, the whimper that escapes from my throat seals the deal: The perfect trifecta of embarrassment. Now, just add the words to make my embarrassment complete. "Oh, fuck me! I'm so sorry, Edward. It's the martinis."
When I open my eyes, I see a look of awe on his face. Well, it's either awe, or surprise that is going to quickly turn into disgust. I watch his Adam's apple bob deliciously as he swallows hard. He turns back to his scotch and downs it in one gulp.
"I have to go back and play. I'm just about to start the sing-along portion. Will you do me the honor of joining me? It's the very least you can do after taking advantage of me sexually, after all." His face is stern, and I feel a complete pang of guilt. It doesn't last long; he breaks into a smile shortly afterwards. "Come on Venus, let's have some fun."
"Piano Man, I don't sing. Not in front of people."
"Did you forget about the martinis? They'll take care of that for you," he says, pulling me towards his piano by my wrists.
He takes a seat in front of the piano, playing a few quick scales to warm up his fingers, then takes the microphone briefly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd, we'd like to play a little tune for you. It's one of my personal favorites, and I'd like to dedicate it to a young woman who doesn't think she's seen anything good today. Ms. Bella Swan, this one's for you—and by you. Hit it!"
I stand there, speechless, while Edward plays the intro to "Danke Schoen." I'm speechless for several reasons. First, Edward just made a reference to one of my all-time favorite movies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which is comprised of epic goodness. Second, he willingly embarrassed me in front of the crowd by calling me out, causing my face to turn ten shades of red. Third, I fucking love this kitschy song, so there is no way I can possibly keep my mouth shut. Edward simply hands me the mike and grins that fucking beautiful crooked grin of his.
What the hell, I'm already wasted. Might as well have fun with this beautiful man once more before I turn back into plain old Bella Swan when the clock strikes twelve.
I grab the mike from him readily, giving him back a smirk of my own. As I start belting out the words, I begin to circle around the piano, my eyes trained solely on Edward. I'm trying very hard to trip him up, doing all kinds of crazy things that, in a sober state, would never even occur to me. I lean on the piano, so my breasts spill over onto the top. Then I deftly turn around, leaning back on my elbows, causing my boobs to pop out from their hiding place. Edward is taking this all in with wide eyes, but I can't tell if it is a look of lust or a look of astonishment. Or, perhaps, both. I work my way around the entire piano to end up at the bench. I take the pointer finger of my free hand, and I slowly trail it from his wrist up to his shoulder. Once there, I turn slowly so that my back is against his, and I glide up and down his back, so that my ass rubs against his. This movement causes the crowd to clap and cheer, complete with wolf whistles (I'm pretty sure those are from either Jake or Seth). I turn back around, so that my front is facing his back, and I weave my fingers through the back of his hair. I lean over and whisper into his ear, "I'm just getting warmed up, Piano Man." I feel him shiver in response, so I do exactly what the situation calls for—I suck his earlobe into my mouth and nibble, and notice that he misses a note or two. Then I turn my attention right back to the song.
When we finish, I see Edward pull out a handkerchief and wipe his brow, which causes me to grin like the Cheshire Cat. Success!
To my surprise, the crowd has started to chant, "MORE! MORE!" to which I'm adamantly shaking my head. Edward grabs the mike from me, responding to the crowd.
"I'm delighted that you enjoyed the lovely Ms. Swan…she has agreed to stay for a few more crowd favorites." His remarks earn him a huge stink eye from me. "Shout out your favorite Christmas tunes for her." I put my hands on my hips to express my displeasure, which causes that evil smirk to form on his face. He hands the microphone back to me, and takes his turn at my ear, whispering, "You still want to win that bet, don't you?"
Why, you evil, blackmailing, incredibly, irresistibly, handsome man. Of course I do!
He pats the piano bench, motioning for me to sit next to him. We start out with "Chestnuts Roasting," "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and "White Christmas," until my voice starts to give out. I suddenly realize that I've had my head resting on his shoulder, feeling his strong arms flex as he moves across the keyboard. I make a move to go back to Jake and Seth, but Edward quickly moves to have me stay where I am.
"Please, don't go. I'm just going to play one more before I finish for the night." I glance around the room, and realize the crowd has dwindled; when I see the clock above the bar, I notice that it is nearly closing time. Wow, that went by quickly!
I continue to lean on Edward, as he finishes his shift with a few pieces by Vince Guaraldi. Those Peanuts versions of Christmas songs are the very epitome of the holidays for me. Sweet, slightly sad, perhaps a tinge remorseful, but always tranquil and hopeful in the end.
I watch Edward as closely as I am able without his noticing. When he plays, he is suddenly a different individual. He is confident, sexy, and alive. He purses his lips in a way that draws you in, almost like a pout, and all you can think about is how amazing it must be to kiss those beauties. He bunches his brow in concentration, which adds an almost erotic component to his intensity. He closes his eyes, and you can see him feeling the music, see it moving through his body. The beauty of what he plays becomes nearly spiritual when it is bathed in his soul. His hands on the keyboard are like nothing I've ever seen. It's as if he was born to play the piano. His long, thin fingers float across the keys effortlessly.
After he hits the last note, I sigh deeply. The magic is gone, I'm starting to sober up, and realize that this incredible ride is over. It makes me achingly sad to know I will never see this incredible male specimen again, but I know all good things end eventually. My golden coach is definitely a pumpkin, and I highly doubt that a man who wears slippers to play the piano would even notice if I left my glass slipper behind, anyhow. I stand up and start to head back over to Jake and Seth. Before I make it more than a step or two, Edward grabs my wrist.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"Well, you're finished for the evening. I was going to go home with my friends. Do you need a ride?"
"No, but I was hoping you might join me for a drink. I always get one on the house after my shift is over."
"I'm not sure I should. I've already had way too much to drink, and I need to work tomorrow."
"On a Saturday? What is it that you do, Venus?"
"I'm just a researcher at the University."
Suddenly, I hear Jake's voice cut in. "Yeah, she spends 12-14 hours in front of a computer almost every day!"
"Thanks, Jake!" I respond icily. "Spoken like a true friend!"
"Aw don't be mad, Bells, he deserves to know the truth!" I slap him hard on the shoulder. Fucker!
"What kind of research is that you do?"
"I'm responsible for data analysis and interpretation on early education initiatives for low income children. It's an off shoot of Head Start."
"That sounds really interesting."
"I could talk about it for days, but I won't bore you with the details, I promise."
Wanting the boys to get lost so I could say goodbye to Edward, I give Seth a huge verbal clue. "Hey Seth, do you mind going out to heat up the car? It's freezing, and I'll be out to join you guys in a minute. Before you leave Jake, you owe me a hundred smackaroonies, I must add."
He gives us an embarrassed smile and peels open his wallet. Slapping $100 in my hand, he leans in and gives me a kiss. "Worth every cent, to see you get a kiss. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've seen that."
I roll my eyes in response. "Nice, asshole! I'll meet you in the car."
"Oh, I have no problem waiting for you, Bells. Seth's the one with the keys—"
I give him THE BITCHFACE. "Um, I'll see you later, Bella…" That's more like it.
I count out fifty dollars and hand it to Edward. "Not gonna lie, best fifty bucks I ever spent, Piano Man."
"Venus, you don't need to pay me; it was my pleasure, truly."
"No, no, a deal is a deal. I definitely owe you. Besides, I'm sure you could use the money; it's not like playing piano in a bar rakes in the loot, right?"
He shakes his head smiling, "You won't take no for an answer?"
"How about if you agree to come back tomorrow night, then I will take it?"
I pause to think for a minute. Okay, why am I pausing again?! "Absolutely. IF you let me bring along some dinner. You are so ratty and bare-boned, someone needs to put some meat on you," I say, poking at his stomach.
His eyes perk up. "Oh, you cook?"
"Yes, indeed I do. Comfort food is my specialty, as is apple pie. What time does your shift begin?"
"I go on at 10:00, but if you want to show up early, say 8:00, we could have dinner together in my dressing room."
I hold out my hand. "Shake on it, then you have a deal." His long fingers slip into my palm, and my hand feels like it's right where it belongs.
I spend the day working from home, so I have time to prepare everything for tonight's meal. I need to make sure it is easily transportable, delicious, comforting, and satisfying. To be honest, I'm having a very hard time focusing on my data tables, because the only data my mind seems capable of handling right now are facts and figures as they apply to Mr. Edward Cullen. The first data I analyze are his impossibly long fingers. I want to know exactly how long they are, then I want to know how much longer they are than the average man's fingers. I want to know what size shoe he wears. I want to know exactly how tall he is. I want to extrapolate data on his hands and feet and apply it to determine exactly how fine his junk will be.
Oh my god, what has happened to me?! I used to be a perfectly safe and sane individual; exactly when did I turn into an adolescent boy? Yeah, clearly my real work isn't going to happen. May as well give up and go to the store.
Okay, focus! Need to determine a menu; it seems like the time for my roasted tomato soup, grilled cheese paninis on brioche, and warm apple pie a la mode. I stop by the store to pick up the ingredients, and all I think of Edward. Those eyes. That jaw. That chin. THOSE FINGERS. Hmm. That might explain why I absentmindedly put a long zucchini in my cart.
While the tomatoes are roasting, I prepare the rest of the soup and slice cheese for the sandwiches. I think of what Edward's lips will look like chewing on a panini. I imagine his tongue (which I've never actually seen, of course) snaking out and licking crumbs from his lips. It slowly dawns on me that I've turned into the kind of person I tease. The lonely, forlorn, lovesick, man-obsessed woman who has twelve cats. The one who reads all the tabloid magazines while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store. The one who decorates articles of clothing with images of celebrities she loves. I used to roll my eyes at women like me. Now…I'm one of them. It doesn't bother me in the slightest, because Edward Cullen is a man who fully deserves to be worshipped in such a manner. He's one of a kind, and I will take whatever I can get of him. Truly.
I carefully pack everything into my picnic basket and check my appearance in the mirror one more time before I leave. I take extra time to curl my hair and look presentable, because he complimented my hair last night. I deliberately choose an outfit that shows off my curves, because I don't want to leave anything to the imagination. While my lingerie is sadly utilitarian for the most part, I select black panties and a demi-cup bra that helps the girls sit up and take notice. Rather, it helps the boys notice that the girls are sitting up, and they take notice. And by "boys," I mean "Edward." I take a deep breath and determine that I'm as ready as I will ever be, and step out the door, and into my new adventure.
While I felt ready to move forward with this dinner date when I left my house, I'm feeling less secure with each passing minute. All the things that will likely go wrong have been running through my head, every possible scenario, and to say that I feel panicky is an understatement. I remind myself that it has been years since that miserable date with Mike Newton, which is what I worry about the most. I've been out of the game for way too long to be of any use on a date right now. I've been hanging around with gay men for several years; saying that my cooter has seen a serious lack of action is a major understatement. This fact has me very, very nervous. What if we kiss and I suck at it? Worse, how can I possibly do anything well enough to satisfy this insanely beautiful man? I spent the day lusting after every angle of him, after all. Will I be able to speak? Worse, what in god's name will we ever talk about?
I need Jake.
I speed dial his number, and he answers. Okay, perhaps there is a benevolent spirit after all. "JAKE! I need you!!"
"Well, hello Bells. What can I do for you?"
"You know I only panic in emergency situations, right?"
"I'm going back to Rhapsody and Tunes right now. I'm bringing Edward some dinner."
"Son of a bitch, girl, you don't waste time! I have to admit, he is yummy, but you're bringing him dinner?"
"He's a starving artist, Jake. You know I can't help myself. He's like a stray. He needs to be fed, nurtured, and, possibly, loved."
"One taste of your apple pie and the man will volunteer to go down on you for the rest of his life."
"Jacob Black, this isn't the time for your fuckery! I need help!"
"All right. Start by breathing in and out, deeply. Come on, nice, cleansing breaths."
"I can't possibly breathe easily right now! My throat is constricting in panic!!"
"Bella. Settle, baby, settle. It's going to be fine. You know how many times I've told you in the past that you are any man's dream woman? I don't just say that for fun, I do mean it."
"Yes, but you're required to say that, you're my best friend!"
"I don't say it because I have to; I say it because it's the truth. Now breathe, woman! You're beautiful, insanely intelligent, funny, clever, and fun. You'll have him eating out of your hand, most likely literally."
"I can do this?"
"YES! Absolutely. Try to focus on his mind, not his looks. It will make things easier."
"That's classic, coming from you, Mr. RightNow!"
"I'm talking about a heterosexual strategy here, young lady."
"Well, I got you joking, that means it will be okay. Just remember, when you feel too nervous to think straight, breathe. It's the key to life. Breathing in and out."
"Wow, you really did pick up something from banging that yoga instructor, didn't you?"
"You don't even want to know about everything I picked up."
"You're right. TMI. Stop right there. And thanks, Flakey. You're the best. You know just what to say. I love you."
"I love you too, Bells, but goddammit, please, take this man home with you. He's perfect."
I hear myself sigh deeply. "He really is, isn't he?"
"Go get 'em, baby!"
I pull up to the bar and take a deep breath, just as Jake instructed. Surprisingly, it really does work. I feel calmer. Note to self: Remember to breathe. I briefly check myself in the mirror, then sigh; sadly, nothing is going to improve the way I look in the next 30 seconds.
I trudge my way to the bar with my picnic basket in tow. As I get to the front door, I realize that my hands are full, so I can't pull it open. I see a body approach the door from the other side, but my vision is obscured by the condensation that has collected on the glass. When the door opens, I see the bartender from the night before in front of me, wearing a wide smile. Before I can say anything, he quickly grabs the basket from my arms.
"Allow me, ma'am," he says graciously.
"Oh, thank you! I was just wondering how I was going to navigate the doorway!"
"I know Edward is waiting for you in back. I'll show you the way. We didn't have the chance to be formally introduced last night, but my name is Jasper. Jasper Whitlock."
"Yes, I remember that. Bella Swan." I can't reach out to shake his hand, since he is now carrying the picnic basket, but I give him my cheeriest grin. There is something about his manner that puts me completely at ease, and I'm no longer a nervous wreck, thank goodness.
As he leads the way, Jasper explains that he and Edward are best friends, and have been for years. I'm thrilled, but incredibly confused, when he explains how glad he is that Edward asked me to return tonight.
"It's been a long time since he clicked with anyone; since this is primarily a gay bar, he obviously doesn't get many women trying to pick him up."
I laugh out loud at that. "The only reason I was here is due to the fact that my best friends had the hots for him, so I can understand his problem."
"It's like I said last night, I just have a good feeling about you. Edward's been heartbroken for years, so just don't break it again, all right? I want to know that my faith in you is well placed."
"Jasper, I'm having dinner with him, not getting married to him. After all, who knows if he'll ever want to see me again?"
"Well, here's his dressing room. Don't forget that he has to perform at 10:00," he winks at me, as he hands me the picnic basket.
I knock softly on the door, waiting for him to answer. When I hear no reply, I knock again. Still nothing. I set down the picnic basket, and open the door carefully. As I peer in, I see Edward sitting on the counter in front of the dressing room mirror, his reflection shining back at him. He is sitting with his hands behind his back, his elbows slightly bent. His legs are stretched in front of him, crossed at the ankles. He is wearing a plain white button-down shirt, untucked. It is unbuttoned just enough for his chest hair to peek out the top. His sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, and he has a pair of worn blue jeans on. He appears to be deep in concentration, his brow furrowed, his face serious. He has the perfect amount of scruff gracing his cheeks, and his hair is as wonderfully messy as it was last night. Seeing him here, in this setting, highlighted by the lights, nearly makes me gasp aloud.
Jesusfuckingchrist he is a beautiful man!
His face remains a serious mask for a beat before he recognizes that I've entered the room. Suddenly, a smile pops up and he greets me warmly.
"Venus! You really came!"
"Of course I did! I told you that I would, didn't I?"
"There are so few people these days who keep their word, I wasn't sure if you would or not. I'm afraid the dressing room is a little bare, but it will allow us to eat in privacy, at least." We start unpacking the picnic basket together, setting things out on the table.
"I'm a very low maintenance kind of girl, Piano Man. That should be the very first thing you learn about me."
"Oh, I'm sorry, but I've already learned quite a bit about you, Bella Swan. I learned that you are an Associate Researcher with the University of Washington. I learned that you have your Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Of course, I already knew that you have a beautiful blush, amazing hair, and the deepest brown eyes I've ever seen."
I feel my cheeks burning, but I can't help myself. "How could you possibly know all those things about me? Did you google my name or something?"
"I hope you don't mind. I just needed to know more about you."
I shake my head in astonishment. I'm speechless.
"Are you angry with me?"
"No, not at all. Just…very surprised."
"Surprised that I would want to know more about you?"
"Yes. It doesn't make sense."
"Because you're this," I gesture at him with my hands. "And I'm this," I wave my hands in front of me.
"You must not see yourself very clearly, Bella, because I find you positively stunning. You're not like any woman I've seen before. You have a kind heart and an intelligent mind. Do you know how rare that is?"
"Really, Edward, I'm just a boring, single woman with mousy brown hair and dull brown eyes who spends all her time sitting in front of a computer, with the occasional exception of a fake date with my gay boyfriends."
He looks at me with a gaze of smoldering intensity. "You are wrong, Ms. Swan. Wrong. And I will prove it to you if the takes me all night."
I feel that gaze all the way to my girlie bits. Jesus, if just a stare can do that to me, lord have mercy on me if we ever kiss again!
"Well, I need to get dinner assembled if we're going to be finished before you have to perform."
"It smells incredible. What's on the menu, if I may be so bold as to ask?"
"Roasted tomato soup, grilled cheese paninis on brioche, and warm apple pie a la mode."
"We're having all that, right here?"
"Yep. I just need to plug in my panini grill and warm it up. I just took the pie out of the oven before I left, so it will still be warm. The soup is in a thermos, and the ice cream is in the cooler. This is an easy meal; believe me. I can get far more advanced if I need to."
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"You can set the table, if you'd like. The dishes are in the basket."
Once the grill is ready, I pop the sandwiches in, and pour the soup into bowls. I hear a knock at the door, and Edward moves to open it. Jasper is standing there with what appears to be a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket.
"Thank you, Jasper. Perfect timing." I see the two trade looks at one another, causing Jasper to chuckle. I hear him call out, "Don't enjoy it too much," as Edward shuts the door.
"I'm not exactly sure champagne goes with tomato soup and grilled cheese, but I'm not complaining," I laugh, shaking my head. Edward pulls the bottle from the ice, and I see it is Dom Perignon. Very expensive. I gasp.
"What is it?" he asks, worriedly.
"Piano Man, how can you possibly afford that champagne? It costs a fortune!"
He looks momentarily confused, but quickly recovers. "Well, I did make an easy $50 last night…"
"That costs a hell of a lot more than $50! Please, don't do this on my account! I don't mind drinking ice water."
"It's the least I can do after you went to so much work on this dinner. I absolutely will not let you say another word on the subject—we are drinking this champagne, end of story."
I wounded his pride, and I feel terrible. I'm so torn about allowing him to spend this kind of money on me, but he genuinely insists. How can I possibly resist?
"All right, Piano Man. I'll drink your champagne, but only if you allow me to make another meal for you sometime."
"Now that makes me feel like I keep getting the best end of the deal every time."
He hands me a glass of champagne and holds his hand up for a toast. "To your friend Jake, for delivering to me just what the doctor ordered."
"I'll amend that, by adding a toast to your friend Jasper, who encouraged you to hang on to me."
We clink glasses and smile at each other. It dawns on me that I haven't felt nervous since I walked into the bar. In fact, our conversation seems to flow effortlessly. This is nothing like any other date I've ever been on. It is carefree and fun. Edward is as charming and affable as he is beautiful. In a word, he's perfect. I'm beginning to feel the effects of the champagne, so I focus back on our meal.
"I need to get this food served up! Come on, before it gets cold."
It isn't until I see the spoon in Edward's fingers that I realize how devilishly perfect my meal choice was. Seeing his lithe fingers wrap around the spoon has a porn-like effect on my nether regions. Team that vision along with his pouty lips sipping the soup from the spoon, and I'm nearly having an orgasm just watching him eat.
"Venus? Are you all right?"
"You haven't touched your food."
Shit. Busted. "Oh, I was just lost in thought. Sorry." I quickly take a sip of my soup, and slop some on the corner of my mouth. Typical.
"Wait, you spilled a bit," he says, reaching his thumb to wipe off the soup. When he brings the thumb to his mouth to lick it clean, I very nearly moan. Does this man have any idea how insanely fuckhot he is? Because I'm getting a major girlboner over here just watching him eat soup!
He pours more champagne into our glasses, which we quickly consume. The giggles start to overtake me, and suddenly, everything we say is the cleverest joke I've ever heard in my life. He's smiling and laughing in response to my smiles and laughter, and I've never had so much fun in my life.
As he finishes the last of his meal, he half moans out a big "mmmmmm," and damn, if that doesn't make me want to jump on his lap right then and there, nothing will. It makes me so eager to find out what he sounds like when he cums.
Welcome back, folks, to the incredibly horny mind of Bella Swan, who recently turned into a 15 year-old boy!
"Are you ready for pie?"
Edward's look is hungry and eager, but I don't think the pie is responsible for his reaction. He swallows hard and says, simply, "Yes."
I cut a slice for him, and scoop up some ice cream. I have melted ice cream on my finger as a result, and he quickly grabs my finger and licks it off. Feeling his warm, wet tongue do illicit things to my finger is the last straw. I quickly withdraw my finger from his mouth and replace it with my lips. That one small action breaks open the dam.
Houston, we have a problem! Major slip and slide action occurring where the flood unleashed!
Without stopping to think about the consequences of my actions, I hop onto Edward's lap, and his hands are instantly on my ass. We're a writhing mess of passion: Moaning, humping, hands moving everywhere. Things are happening so fast, it is hard to tell whose hands belong to whom. I'm biting his lip while he is untucking my shirt, or is he biting my lip while I untuck his shirt? I quickly start to unbutton his shirt, and my hands go straight for his chest once I've accomplished my goal. I pinch one of his nipples between my fingers, drawing a lusty, "Fuck!" out of his mouth. I've never been so turned on by hearing someone swear.
In one swift move, Edward lifts us both up and moves me to the countertop in front of the mirror. He pulls off my shirt in one swift move, and I believe I hear him growl as his eyes zero in on my breasts. Hello, demi cup bra, thank you very much for your role in helping to drive Edward crazy for the girls! His hands are instantly on my boobs, simultaneously pinching my nipples and coaxing noises out of me that I never knew I was capable of making. He yanks the straps down, exposing my breasts, my nipples hard and ready for him. He cups them in his palms, quickly taking a nipple into his mouth. I've had other men's hands on my breasts before, but this is something entirely different. This is pure electricity. This is a religious experience. The second my nipple is between his teeth and he bites down, I feel it all the way in my clit, forcing me to gasp out loud. I briefly wonder if there are any patrons nearby who can hear us, then decide just as quickly that I don't care who overhears our activities. If I walk outside of this bar and get hit by a bus, I would die a fully satisfied woman. He's only on my breasts and this is already the ultimate sexual experience of my life. I will never, ever feel this turned on again. Edward Cullen has, in the span of approximately 15 minutes, completely ruined other men for me. Anyone else's hands on my body will only feel like a cheap imitation.
I feel the need to let Edward know that I'm not the kind of person who just flings myself into the arms of a stranger. "Edward," I say, pausing momentarily to gather my breath, "I don't usually do this, just so you know. Make out with random strangers, that is."
"Neither do I, Venus. I told you before, you're not like any woman I've ever met. I'm so sorry I just attacked you, but I can't help myself around you."
I let out a very breathless laugh. "I know exactly what you mean! I feel like I'm a 15 year-old boy around you!"
"I was just going to say the same thing. I guess it's a good thing we're in a gay bar then, hmm?" He gives me that fucking sexy smirk of his, and it's all over. Without a second thought, I move to unbutton his jeans. The second button down has a small pucker, like it's just begging to be unbuttoned. I willingly comply with its wishes. It's the least I can do, after all.
I slide my hand down his sizable erection, over his gray boxer briefs. God, I can't wait to feel it without any barriers. I squeeze it at the base, forcing him to groan.
In response, he slides off my pants and underwear to find my bare pussy underneath.
"God, you fucking wax?!"
I weave my fingers into his hair and whisper to him, "Does that turn you on, Edward?"
"Fuck, yes!" His fingers move straight for my lower lips, gently parting them. "You're so wet for me, aren't you?"
"No one else has ever made me feel like this, I assure you," I manage to choke out while his fingers move in and around my entrance. His thumb finally makes its way to my clit.
"Oh baby, I'm just getting started. Hold on to your hat, it's going to be a rough ride."
I do the only thing I am still capable of doing: I whimper.
While his hands lavish attention on my pussy, his tongue and lips tease my nipples. The intensity of stimulation in both areas causes me to lose focus; instead of thinking about what is happening to me, my mind switches over to pure, unadulterated feeling. I'm lost in the sensation. I have no idea of who I am or where I am—there is only sublime pleasure everywhere. I'm floating along a cloud of ecstasy. Suddenly, what can only be described as a shockwave tears through my body, with my clit at the epicenter. I'm experiencing such deep and intense contractions that I'm shocked. If this is an orgasm, what the hell have I been diddling around with up until now? Edward Cullen is clearly a god from on high who can coax out the most delicious orgasms available. Talk about magic fingers! When I finally rejoin my body back on earth, I'm panting and a blush covers my face and my chest. Edward looks at me with a mix of wonder and pride.
"I take it that met with your approval, Venus?"
I'm still trying to catch my breath. "Yes!"
"I have to admit, I've never seen a woman have such a strong orgasm before. That was really amazing to watch. You've done Botticelli proud."
I hop off the counter and head straight for Edward's boxers. "OFF!" I command. He toes off his shoes, and follows with his jeans and boxers. I slap my hand on the counter. "ON!" He smirks, but instantly complies with my request.
Once he sits in front of me, I finally have a full view of his gorgeous cock, and see that he is uncut. I've never actually seen a parka before, but I know Jake is uncut. I've heard so many stories from Jake about guys seeing him for the first time that I feel well acquainted with the mechanics of how it operates.
His cock is stunning, perfectly erect. It is thick and long. The nearly purple head is peeking out through the foreskin, glistening with precum. Edward gives me a worried glance while I take in the beauty of his cock.
"Is it okay?"
I sputter in response. "Is it okay? Edward, it is the most beautiful cock I've ever seen, and it is just inches from my face! No, it isn't okay; it is sublime!" He faces relaxes in response.
I wrap my hand around his erection, sliding the foreskin up and down easily. I remember Jake told me he never needed to use lube to beat off. I was so disgusted at the time—like I want to know that kind of shit!—but now, I'm silently thanking him for helping me out during a critical sexytimes moment. When I get to the top of his cock, I twist my wrist and run my thumb across the head, causing his hips to flex while he lets out a groan.
"Fuck, Bella…so good. Yes—just like that."
I give him a few more long strokes before I replace one of my hands with my mouth. I can't possibly fit him all the way—I'm not a carny sword swallower, after all—but the combination of my mouth and hand move along his entire length quite nicely. The sounds he's making tell me I'm hitting his sweet spot.
God, I love his fuckhot sexy talk.
"No, Venus, I mean fuck me. Straddle me, right now."
Don't have to ask twice. His back is to the mirror, his legs dangling down. I carefully crawl up on top of him, grasping his cock at the base and holding it at my entrance. I slowly slide down him; it's been a long time since I've had sex, so I need to ease into this. He's more than a lot to handle.
"Fuck, you're so incredibly tight! You feel amazing, just sliding me right in. It's never felt like this, Bella. Never."
When he's finally fully inside of me, I let a deep sigh escape from my throat. He's right; this is an amazing feeling.
"It's never been like this for me, either. So good, your cock in me."
He closes his eyes and slowly shakes his head back and forth, which confuses me.
"Is everything all right, Edward?" I ask, worriedly.
He takes my face in his hands and looks directly into my eyes with conviction. "Venus, when a man has his cock buried deep inside your pussy, you never need to ask if he's all right. I can assure you, he is most certainly better than all right. The apex of the thrust, when I know I can't get any deeper, that exact moment is the most sublime moment in life. No matter what else has happened to me, or is going to happen to me, at my deepest point in you, I am perfect. I'm experiencing the single most intensely positive feeling a man can have. So, to answer your question, yes, everything is more than all right. Now please shut up and fuck me."
A wide grin breaks out on my face, and I begin moving over him in earnest. He moves his hand between us, taking my clit between his thumb and forefinger, rubbing and pinching it with my thrusts. I hook my calves around his for added leverage. This causes my hips to flex in the right direction for him to reach my g-spot, and I let out a small scream.
"That's what I'm doing, baby. Fucking."
"I'm going…to cum."
"I'm almost there with you..."
This second orgasm bursts forth much the same as my first. It happens suddenly, yet strongly. I arch my back as I feel my muscles tense, and, true to his word, Edward is right behind me. We're looking directly into each other's eyes as we cum. I lean my forehead on his shoulder, breathing heavily. I feel Edward's arms wrap around me and we're quiet in the moment as we return to ourselves. I feel a kiss on the top of my head, which is somehow both sweet and reassuring.
As our bodies cool down, I start to feel a chill, so I move off of Edward and look for my clothes, which happen to be strewn all over his dressing room.
He has a forlorn look on his face as he sees me move to get dressed. "I'm getting cold," I explain.
"You aren't leaving, are you?"
"Are you kidding? Of course I'm not leaving! Unless…do you want me to leave?"
"No! I'm sorry I attacked you like that, Bella. I didn't mean to, you just look so good, and smell so good. It's been so long."
"I'm not sorry, and I kissed you both last night and tonight, remember? So really, I could be construed as the naughty minx, you know."
"Yes, I feel shamefully attacked and used. You've clearly taken advantage of me."
"But I brought you food, so it's only normal for me to expect you to put out, I guess."
We're laughing at the ridiculousness of our words. Once again, the rapport between us is so easy and natural, it's like I've known him forever.
"Speaking of your food, I never got any of that apple pie!"
"Well, then, get to it!" I move to put away the ice cream, grabbing it with great exaggeration. "No more of this—that's what caused problems last time, remember?"
He looks directly into my eyes, lust written all over his face. "Are you implying that you don't want a repeat??"
"No, I'm stating for the record that you need to keep away from the ice cream, because it gives you bad ideas."
"You didn't seem to think it was such as bad idea when you were riding my cock a few minutes ago, Venus." The mental image that stirs up makes my breath hitch. "And for the record, I thought it was an incredibly good idea. I enjoyed the ride." He leans in and gives me a sweet, chaste kiss on the lips.
I pull back from the kiss, determined that he will have a taste of my pie. I take a forkful and move it to his lips. "Here, go on. Try it. I think you'll like it."
He licks his lips before opening to accept my fork. When his lips close over it, I want so badly for my tongue to be in its place. Focus, Bella. Pie. Piano playing.
I hear a deep groan from his throat. "Oh my god, this is fantastic! I've honestly never tasted pie this delicious before!"
"It's a family secret. I'm in the fourth generation of Swans who know how to make it."
"If I let you and your friends into my bar for free from now on, do you promise to bring me pie on a regular basis?"
"Oh, shit. I didn't mean for it to come out like that, Bella, I'm so sorry."
"But…you wear slippers to play and ratty clothes! You play the piano in a bar! You chatted up the bartender like you're both hired help!"
"I never actually said I was a poor starving artist, you know. You made those assumptions based on what you saw. I should have corrected you, but it was delightfully refreshing to meet someone who was interested in me as a person, and not my fortune."
He runs his elegant fingers nervously through his hair, messing it up even more than it already is.
"I come from a long line of Cullens; I'm the only child and heir to the Cullen fortune. I just bought this bar as an investment, and as a place to play my piano publicly. I can't very well become a concert pianist; everyone would attribute my fame to my family name, not to me. I bought a gay bar because I was sick of all the fake women who swoon over me because of my name, not because of who I really am."
I sit in stunned silence while I listen to Edward's explanation. He's right; I did make some huge assumptions. Still, it is taking longer than a moment for the realization to sink in.
"I thought you were starving…I split my bet earnings with you."
"Do you remember how hard I tried not to take it?"
I laugh at my own silliness. "Yes, I do."
"Does the laugh mean you'll forgive me?"
"There's nothing to forgive, really. I just got lucky."
"Yes, you certainly did." When he says it that way, I blush, not realizing that I just came up with a double entendre.
"Edward?" I ask in the coyest tone I can summon.
"If I give you another slice of pie, this time with ice cream, would you show me the highlights of your piano when the bar closes tonight?"
"Yes, indeed, I will, Venus. Anytime you want."