Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot of the Twilight Saga are the property of Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The storyline of People like us is mine.
WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS BDSM
At the end of Chapter 58:
Bella's smile spread even wider, "Yay for me!" She said.
Edward rolled his eyes, "Now you sound like Alice," he growled and picked Bella up as he strode to the bed.
He put her down next to the bed and grinned at her, "Want to make out like teenagers and then fuck like bunnies?" He said and he whipped off his towel.
Bella burst out laughing as she scooted onto the bed.
"Come here Thumper!"
PEOPLE LIKE US
Bella woke up on Thursday morning to be greeted by 'Domward'. As her eyes fluttered open, she looked up into the bottle green gaze of her Dom and her heart had begun pounding like crazy, when she saw that he was wearing only his broken faded 501's. She knew what that meant.
"Isabella, sit up." The Voice had spoken and Bella brushed her hair from her face as she sat up in bed, letting the covers fall to her waist.
Edward sat down and looked at her, as if he was searching for something. He must have been satisfied with what he saw, because her breath caught at his next words.
"You are to be collared immediately. You will remain this way for the next twenty-four hours. You will be naked during this time. When you are in the kitchen, you may wear one of my shirts only. You hair will be braded. There is one last thing," he said and Bella watched as his eyes darkened perceptibly.
"You will be bound once you have had your shower this morning. You have fifteen minutes to shower and present yourself in my playroom. Do you have any questions before I collar you because once this collar is in place, the only words that you are permitted to speak freely are your safe words. Otherwise, you are to remain silent unless I ask you to answer. Now, do you have anything to say or ask?"
Bella was staring at him open-mouthed.
What the fuck? He knows I am not a morning person and that I need my fix of coffee before my brain kicks in…wait what? He's going to 'bind' me. With what! How?
Edward frowned at her, "I'm waiting Isabella!"
Bella replied without thinking, "hang on! I'm thinking! What…"
Edward's dark scowl and the square set of his jaw stopped her words.
Shit, silly, silly Bella – you are going to end up with a flaming ass if you don't watch your mouth…
She tried to backtrack quickly, "sorry, Sir… I only meant that I'm still waking up. Can I please have some coffee? And how will I cook if I am bound? Bound to what? Can't I talk at all?"
Edward shook his head slightly and once again, Bella fell silent.
"Firstly, do not question how or why I'm binding you. You will be able to move freely and you may have coffee if you can drink it in …" he glanced down at the bedside clock, "thirteen minutes and shower!"
"Can you collar me quickly, please?" She asked and without waiting, she turned her back and lifted her hair.
The next moment, Bella found herself lifted out of the bed and on the floor in front of Edward.
"Do not tell me what to do, Isabella! Take your shirt off." Edward said.
Bella quickly obeyed.
He attached her heavy heart collar and lifted her chin to look at him.
"You can choose how to start your day with a shower and sucking your Master's cock or a cup of coffee. This will be your only choice today. Answer."
Cock or coffee? Are you even kidding me? How will I choose between my two favorite things, cock… coffee… shit!
Bella loved her coffee! She immediately lowered her eyes and answered "I would love to show you how much I appreciate you taking time with me, Master. May I please suck your cock?"
Edward narrowed his eyes as he stared down at her, "are you just saying that or do you mean it? It is a privilege to suck my cock, Isabella, not a right. Do you deserve it?"
Bella closed her eyes and sighed. She knew that she was 'out of practice' from her submissive mindset. It had been a while since they had played together.
"Master, I'm sorry. You are right. Your submissive does not deserve this. But she does want to please you so much. Please forgive her and let her have the opportunity to show you how much she loves you and how much she desires to please you." Bella's words were spoken so quietly that Edward had to lean forward to catch them.
Bella very seldom spoke in the third person. It was never something that Edward had required from a submissive before and although most of Bella's submissive friends spoke that way to their dominants or when they were collared. Bella had only used it herself on a handful of occasions, usually when she was being sincere and was trying to convey her submissive state to Edward with more than just her gestures.
"Go and shower Isabella. I will meet you in the playroom in ten minutes. Do not be late." He said and with that, he left the room.
Bella slumped forward.
What the fuck just happened?
Bella jumped up and hurried into the shower. She had imagined that they would dabble a little in the playroom, perhaps enjoy a little role-play, but this was definitely not what she thought would happen, but then again, Edward very seldom did what she thought he would.
Edward was her Master and she trusted him implicitly with every aspect of her being. He always took time to plan their scenes and seldom did anything in the playroom completely impulsively. When Bella had asked him about his reasoning for not being more impulsive, he had explained that impulsiveness could lead to making mistakes, which could hurt her or cause mistrust between them.
Bella knew that Edward checked the first aid kits in the house on a regular basis and she often teased him that the first aid kits in their home was enough to stock a small hospital. There was a small kit in the master bedroom, the kitchen, and gym as well as the extensive one in the playroom. Bella had also noticed that Edward had a first aid kit fitted in her studio, along with an intercom that had an SOS button that went to the gatehouse and the security staff quarters.
As Bella washed her hair and conditioned it, she could feel herself sinking into her submissive mindset.
She got out as soon as she was finished and hurriedly dried herself and towel dried her hair. Once it was braded, Bella made her way upstairs and she knelt outside the playroom door.
She had no idea if she was late, but above all she wanted to prove to her Master that she was worthy of pleasing him.
As she knelt on the hard wooden floor, she realized that for the first time in weeks she had no other responsibility than to please her Master. Nothing existed outside of that.
Time stood still.
There was only Isabella and her Master.
He was her world.
He controlled every breath that she took, Bella felt her emotions lifting, and she felt freer with each passing minute.
"Crawl to me, Isabella." His voice surrounded her.
And so it began.
Bella crawled to where her Master sat in the armchair.
"Kiss my feet." Her soft lips scolded his feet.
"Unzip my jeans and take me deep into your mouth." Bella's small hands shook in anticipation.
"Use your hands." His balls tightened
"Suck harder." Her tongue paid homage to his cock.
"Swallow everything." He stroked her throat as she swallowed his hot cum all the while murmuring words of encouragement and love. "You are so beautiful as you swallow, Baby. You make me feel so good. I love you, Little Girl."
Bella felt his words washing over her, wrapping her in peace and calm.
She could do this. She could please Master.
"Thank me." Edward ordered and Bella's response was soft and filled with love and gratitude.
"Use the bathroom and then come and stand in the middle of the room." Her feet slapped the floor as she hurried to do his bidding.
It had been Edward's plan to remove all of Isabella's choices. He gave her instructions for each activity, so that she was not required to think or reason. Only to obey!
Edward had realized that Bella needed to be unburdened so that she could deal with the sale of her art, and how that would shape her art in the future. This had been a concern for Edward in the beginning when he realized that each piece of art that Bella had created up to that point, besides the housewarming gift for Rosalie and Emmett, had essentially been for her and of her life.
They were a very personal testimony of her memories, hopes, dreams and desires.
She had painted her pain, isolation, rejection, and love into each stroke. Now they were going to strangers who perhaps wouldn't see them for what they were.
Edward knew that in the future, Bella would be able to create works without them breaking her heart, but for now, she had to mourn the loss of her creations, that she had held dear and found solace in until she had met him.
With that end in mind, Edward had plan each moment of what they would do this day. He was going to help to unburden her mind, body, and heart.
He tied her up in an intricate pattern of Shibari, so that her arms were bound behind her. He wound and patterned her breasts, torso and hips with intricate knots and twists. He even decorated her with ropes from the apex of her thighs, down each leg to end at her ankles. He used the softest rope he had and after a call to Stanley he applied a special powder to her body, so that she would not be marked with friction burns over the course of the day.
Edward threaded rope between Bella's legs, after he had tied a series of knots so that a small knot was directed over her clit. Another, larger one was pressed gently into her entrance. Before Edward tied the last knot, he lubed up a large plug and he spent long minutes teasing Bella's little hole until she pushed herself back onto his teasing finger impatiently.
That had earned her a pinch on her bottom, before Edward had begun the exercise of stretching her back passage.
When he swapped his fingers for the plug, he had taken a long time to make sure that it was secure and that Bella was not in any pain or major discomfort. He knew that it had been some time since he had taken her this way.
At last the black plug was all the way inside her and Bella clenched and relaxed her muscles around the plug gently so that she could get used to it.
"Tell me, Isabella."
"I'm green Master. It feels so good I am so wet. It's been a while and I haven't been using my plug every day, Sir, I'm sorry." Bella said.
"You know that is your choice, Isabella, however we spoke about this and you said that you wanted to do this regularly. We agreed that you would use your plug no less than three times a week as part of your maintenance. I don't want you forgetting Isabella. Now, if you are in any discomfort – any whatsoever, you are to safe word immediately! Do you understand?" Bella could hear the displeasure in Edward's voice.
"Yes, Master, it won't happen again."
"Five swats, Isabella."
Her punishment was dealt with swiftly and Bella welcomed each stroke of his hand.
Edward took his time.
In-between tying her ropes, Edward fed Bella fruit, nuts and pastries.
He gave her sips of juice and water, making her nibble, or lap the water from his palm, like a deer.
He watched in delight as she giggled when the cold water dribbled down her chest. Her mood was light-hearted and he could see the joy brimming in her eyes as he teased her with a bit of melon before he stole it from her lips and kissed her afterwards.
Two hours later and endless meters of rope, Edward had finished. He stepped back and looked at Isabella.
"Breathtaking, Isabella. What is your color?"
"Green Master" she said.
"Walk over to the spanking bench and climb up." Bella didn't hesitate.
"Good girl, I am very pleased with you, Isabella. Now I am going to reward my Little Girl. Would you like me to reward you? You may answer." He said as his hand skimmed her back and the only part of her not covered by a knot or rope, her plump cheeks.
Bella answered truthfully, "if it pleases you, Master"
She tried not to wiggle on the knot over her clit too much. Edward had placed a gentle kiss on that little nubbin before he grinned at her and his wonderful fingers secured a knot that pressed ever so gently against the small bundle of nerves, but as she lay with her legs spread open and the knot rubbing gently, Bella could feel her stomach muscles begin to tighten and she felt her body tense up.
She did not want to disappoint her Master. Not today!
Edward felt her muscles tense up.
"Are you close to cumming, Isabella? Answer"
"I'm getting close Master, I'm sorry."
Edward was quick to sooth her, "no, Sweet Girl, its okay. I will be very pleased if you will cum for me. I made that knot for you to enjoy, Little Girl, not to torment you. You are so wet, my Love. Your pussy looks so… inviting; do you think that you can cum like this? Hmmm? Let go Little Girl."
Edward's fingers stroked her parted lower lips over the rope, the knots rubbed lightly and Bella pressed herself against them as her climax built up and she cried out as she let herself go.
Edward gave Bella a light spanking, which made her cum again. Her body was flushed as he instructed her to dismount.
They took a break, and Edward untied the rope between her legs and arms to give Bella time to recover. She used the bathroom as instructed and then she made her way downstairs to prepare lunch after Edward told her exactly what she was to prepare. Bella kissed his feet when he allowed her to have a mug of coffee.
Edward made sure to keep Bella on a very short 'leash' that afternoon. He fed her from his plate before he carried her upstairs to use the bathroom again and he wrapped her in a soft blanket in the subs room for a short rest.
Upon being woken up, Bella walked up to the playroom, but this time Edward only bound her arms. Bella once again, pleasured her Master with her mouth; Edward held her head still as he fucked her beautiful mouth thoroughly until he came undone as she suckled on his cock, milking it for every drop that he could give her.
Bella smiled as she licked her lips and thanked her Master for his gift.
She was bent over the table, legs spread wide apart and Edward removed the plug, but not before she had been given release with a vibrator held to her clit as he worked the plug in and out of her ass, making her scream in ecstasy.
Edward was hard again and he was thrilled because he knew that he would last a long time. He lubed himself with gel as he spread Bella's lower lips with the thick vibrator with the rotating head that Bella loved.
He eased into her ass as he slipped the vibrator inside her pussy.
Bella was beside herself with the sensations that her Master was evoking inside her body.
Her ass was filled with the hot length of his cock as the artificial veins of the fluorescent blue rotating cock was pushed into her waiting heat.
Bella could feel her passage clenching around the vibrator, already she was anticipating the movement from the top which would have her coming in seconds as it filled her and then swiveled around to nudge and stimulate her g-spot.
Edward kept up their playtime for hours. Long after he had fucked her ass and her mouth, he untied her and pounded his cock into her waiting and eager pussy. Bella's nipples had been clamped as well as her clit and every stroke of Edward's cock, meant a tug on the chain that he held in between his teeth.
At last he ran a bath and they lay there until the water ran cool.
A refreshing warm shower was followed by a full body massage, after which a catered dinner was delivered and Edward fed Bella as she sat on his lap in the den.
Edward ended the evening by making a pallet up at the foot of their bed, where he bound Bella's hands together and she was tethered to the bed. He tucked her in and gently kissed her mouth.
Bella was asleep almost before her head hit the soft comforter.
The next morning, Bella crawled to the bathroom and back to the bed, where she was treated to Edward licking and sucking her to orgasm before he climbed up her body and made love to her.
She cried in gratitude as he removed her collar and they spent the remainder of the morning, packing for their trip.
Bella stared out of the window as the private jet began its decent into Los Angeles or specifically into the Santa Monica Muni Airport.
Bella turned to Edward as she felt him tighten her seat belt and they shared a smile. Edward picked up her hand and brought it to his lips.
"You okay, Baby?" He asked.
Bella nodded as a blush tinged her cheeks. "More than okay, thank you. If I were any more relaxed, I'd be on the floor!"
Anderson cleared his throat discretely, "Mr. Cullen? The transport is ready for us upon landing, Sir."
Edward nodded, "thanks, Andy."
Anderson shot a warning look over to Brian Halverson, who was looking out the window and smirking.
Fucking assholes! Anderson hated it when Halverson was right. Hal had told him the night before that there was a bet going on back at the office that Edward Cullen would be calling him 'Andy' by the end of March. Brian had bet big in favor of Edward. Already Bella's nickname for him had spread to almost the entire Cullen clan, with the exception of Emmett, his boss, who surprisingly was not a joker at work or anything relating to work.
Anderson looked across the small cabin to where his former 'charge' and her fiancé sat with their heads together.
They had been almost inseparable for the past two days. Anderson had received a call from Emmett the previous afternoon, asking him to retrieve Bella's truck from the private parking lot of Dr Banner-Jones.
Anderson found it puzzling, but he had been given no further explanation until he had walked into the kitchen of Maggie and Reggie.
Maggie had just told him that Bella had become ill during a session the previous day. Anderson knew that something was wrong because Bella didn't have a session with the doctor on Wednesdays. Her usual session was on Thursday mornings. Maggie saw the genuine concern on his face and she had assured it that the 'young people' just needed some time together.
Anderson was no longer Bella's fulltime, personal bodyguard, he no longer lived on the property; he divided his time between his three-bedroom luxury condominium in the city and Sausalito, when he was needed. He had checked Bella over as discretely as he could when she and Edward had made their way out to the SUV earlier that afternoon.
He was relieved to see that she looked happy and rested with no indication of anything being wrong with her. Nevertheless, he couldn't help himself from getting her verbal confirmation.
"Good afternoon, Bella. I collected your truck yesterday, are you feeling better? Maggie mentioned that you weren't feeling well." He spoke quietly as he opened her door for her.
"Hey Andy. I'm much better thank you. I have had the best doctor in the world taking care of me." She said as a pretty pink blush colored her cheeks.
Bella took off her sunglasses and smiled at him as his eyes made a quick assessment of the truth of her answer.
She looked doe eyed back at Edward, who smirked and winked at her, making Bella blush even more and she dipped her head and climbed into the cab.
Anderson could see that Bella was speaking the truth and he really didn't want to know what Edward had done to make her feel better, he was just glad that she was suffering any effects from whatever the problem had been.
Anderson didn't try and hide the fact that he felt so protective over his part-time charge. Bella Swan had become very important to him. She was like a younger sister to him. Anderson was an only child, but he could imagine what it would feel like to have a sibling.
He looked out of the window as the pilot made his final approach.
Edward gently stroked the soft flesh of Bella's midriff that was exposed by her shirt. They were both dressed casually in jeans and shirts. He dropped a kiss onto her silky hair and he smiled at her sigh of contentment.
It's amazing what two days of loving can do, he thought, hmm, okay, loving and a little playtime… he mentally corrected himself and smiled at the upcoming surprises that he had in store for Bella.
Bella sighed with contentment at Edward's gentle caress.
Bella sighed again as she turned to kiss the corner of Edward's mouth.
"Have I told you how much I love you?" She asked him quietly.
Edward smiled lovingly at her, "you have, but I never tire of hearing it."
Edward had told Bella that morning that they would not be home until after the Easter weekend and her father's wedding.
Bella phoned Alice, who was happy to offer to transport their extra luggage for the weekend as well as their outfits for the wedding to Cullen Crest.
Bella was excited to learn that she and Edward were going to be travelling via private jet to Los Angeles and then they would be driving down to San Diego. From there they would fly directly to Napa.
Bella was excited about her father's upcoming wedding. She hadn't spoken to Sue in a couple of days, but she knew that Sue was taking everything in her stride as she usually did.
She and Charlie were planning on staying in a luxury hotel for their wedding night and they had decided that they would wait for a while before they went away on honeymoon.
Bella had phoned Esme to check which hotel she recommended, they had eventually decided to stay in the area, and Bella had booked them into the Villagio Inn, a quant hotel that catered for newlyweds and honeymoons, just outside of Yountville, that Esme recommended.
Bella was brought out of her musings by the sound of the plane touching down on the tarmac.
Edward had a word with the pilot and he confirmed that they would pick the four of them up in San Diego the following Thursday morning.
Bella held onto Edward's arm as they made their way out of the plane, "I can't believe that we are going to spend the next six days together! What are we going to do in all of that time?"
Edward laughed but he kept a tight hold on Bella as she walked down the steps to the waiting SUV.
"We can do whatever you want to do, Baby! I've made some arrangements but the rest of the time is ours. We are going to take our time and we can spend a couple of days here in Santa Monica, and I thought that we could drive down to Venice Beach as well. Then we can decide where we want to look for a place for the few months that we will be down here. After that, we will take a slow drive down the coast to San Diego. I've booked us in at the Fairmont Miramar here. We are staying in a private cottage, so we don't have to worry about any intrusions." Edward explained as Brian drove off to the hotel.
Bella nodded. "That sounds good. I don't want to spend the entire night tomorrow at the show and I told Arielle that if she ever makes another scene as she did last time, I would kill her! I know that she was only trying to do the right thing, but I explained that, that was not it!"
Edward pulled Bella closer to his side. "I know that, but I am really proud of the way that you talked yourself down from a full on panic attack. I am so fucking proud of you, Baby! And I am going to be by your side tomorrow, okay?"
Bella nodded, "thank you, Love. Maybe we can go out afterwards for some dinner or something?"
Edward smiled, "I already made a reservation, and before you freak out, I wanted to treat you because you deserve it, so you need to dress to be photographed, okay?"
Bella frowned, "why, where are we going?" She asked suspicious all of a sudden.
"I made a reservation at Spargo Beverley Hills and I've invited a few friends that you haven't met and the food is really good." Edward said as Bella groaned.
"Edward, Ali says that that place is just one of those places people go to see and be seen! It'll be like eating in a fish tank! And which 'friends'…" Bella made inverted comments with her fingers as she arched her eyebrows, "…are we eating with? I thought you didn't have any other friends here. Not that bitch publicist of yours I hope, or her wimpy husband, who should actually get his balls back sometime, so, who else do you know here in L.A?" Bella quipped sarcastically as she let out a mocking laugh.
She was surprised to see a look of annoyance and disbelief shadow Edward's face. "You know what? Maybe for once I want to want to take you out and show you off, but I didn't realize that you were such a social snob! And as for my 'friends', as you put it, you have never asked me about anyone else in my life. I know that this may come as a shock to you, but I do actually know other people and I would like to introduce my fiancée to them! Fuck!" Edward shook his head in exasperation and turned to look out of the window, without giving Bella a chance to say anything.
She wasn't some trophy that he carried around on his arm! As Bella was about to open her mouth and blast him, she happened to look into the rearview mirror and she saw caught Anderson looking at her and for once it wasn't with amused indulgence but disapproval and even a little bit of disappointment.
Bella could feel her cheeks turning pink and she dipped her head so that her hair hid her face.
It's like some secret boys club! Bella thought as she chewed on her bottom lip; I just wanted to spend some time with Edward. She had a feeling that she had let both Edward and Anderson down somehow, but she wasn't sure how.
She sneaked a look at Edward but he was staring out of the window, hidden behind his aviators. Bella watched a nerve tick in Edward's jaw and she knew that he was angry with her.
The SUV swept into the driveway of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Bella looked around and she was charmed by the elegance of the older hotel. Anderson opened her door and helped her out of the car without making eye contact with her. Bella shifted uncomfortably on her feet as she waited for Edward to get out and join her.
While Anderson attended to their luggage, Brian accompanied them to the hotel reception. Although Edward was ever the gentleman; making sure that she walked in front of him; holding the door open for her, he didn't touch her, or look at her.
The Manager came forward and greeted Edward warmly as the desk clerks stood to one side, blushing as Edward smiled and greeted everyone. Edward spoke quietly to the manager regarding some arrangements that he had made, but Bella couldn't make out what they were talking about and she stepped away for a moment to look around. The lobby exuded peacefulness. The understated luxury and style gave one a sense of tranquility.
Bella felt Edward's hand at the small of her back and she looked up only to find that he was staring straight ahead.
"I've booked us into one of the private garden bungalows; I hope it meets your approval." He said in a cold and disdainful tone.
Bella nodded and frowned slightly, "that's great, thank you." She said quietly while her mind was working overtime.
What was wrong? What had she said that made him so upset? He knew that she didn't have time for Heidi and not much more for Felix. She didn't know that he had other friends outside of his family and the tight circle of friends back in San Francisco, so what the fuck was his problem? She wasn't a social snob.
The garden suite was private, surrounded by a beautiful little garden with a view of the beach. Bella walked over to the French doors that opened onto the tiny patio and garden. She turned to look at Edward with a smiled that faded as she took in his brooding gaze.
Her eyes dropped under his scrutiny.
"This is beautiful." She said quietly, all the while her inner voice was shouting at her to find out what was wrong and to fix it!
Bella's pride kicked that idea to the curb – fuck that! She thought to herself as she drew herself up and stared defiantly at Edward, but she was going to challenge him to find out what his problem was.
"Edward, what the …" she began but he interrupted her when he put his hand up.
"I don't want to fight with you. I have a meeting to go to in Town. I took the liberty of booking a spa treatment for you, as well as a wax. You can change it if you don't want it. I will see you later."
They stared at each other for a moment without saying anything. Bella bit her lip to stop herself from crying like a baby. She didn't trust her voice and so she just nodded and turned away before he saw the sheen of tears that she could feel threatening to spill over.
I am not going to cry!
Edward shook his head at her stubbornness and he walked into the bedroom where his clothes bag was laying on the bed. He showered quickly and dressed in the dark grey suite. He put on a white shirt and then put the jacket on. He left off the tie; this was L.A.
He ran his hands through his hair and walked back into the sitting room. Bella was still standing at the patio doors. He knew that she had heard him walk into the room by the way her body had tensed up.
He opened his mouth to speak, but decided against it. He didn't have time to hash this out now! With another exasperated sigh he put his sunglasses on and opened the front door and left.
A moment later, the front door closed. Bella stood still as she heard Brian and the porter putting their luggage in what she assumed was the master bedroom down the short hallway.
Someone cleared his throat behind her and Bella turned around. Brian was standing just inside the door.
"Do you want to tip the porter, Bella?" He asked quietly.
Bella felt a blush color her cheeks again. Edward normally took care of these things. She hurriedly opened her purse and stared across at Brian.
"I don't know how much?" she whispered, feeling so embarrassed that she didn't have a clue what to do.
Brian stepped forward and took a couple of bills from her hand. "This is just fine." He said quietly.
Bella nodded and stepped away to hand the money to the porter.
He smiled and tipped his hat as he thanked her and left.
Bella turned to Brian. "Thank you, I didn't know… Edward normally…" she could feel herself getting flustered and she became more embarrassed.
Brian stood by quietly not quite sure what to do. Anderson should fucking be here to deal with this!
Brian shuffled towards the door, "it was no big deal, Bella."
As he put his hand on the handle, Bella spoke again. "Um, Brian? I have an appointment at the spa this afternoon. I will check what time, but I was wondering, should I tip the attendant the same as I would at a normal day spa?"
Brian hesitated for a few minutes as he thought about her question. He realized that Bella was not used to the new world that she was living in and without one of the Cullen's to guide her, she was lost.
"I would think that a twelve or fifteen percent tip of your bill should be sufficient Bella. They will probably charge the service to your suite, but you can add it on when you sign the bill." He said quietly.
Bella nodded. "Thanks. There's a lot that I need to learn, obviously." Fidgeted with the infinity bracelet on her arm, just feeling it there soothed her frazzled nerves.
"No problem. Do you want me to escort you across to the Spa?"
Bella shook her head quickly, "no, that's fine. I will be fine, thanks."
Brian wasn't sure, "you've got my number, if you need me?"
"I do, and I don't think that Edward will be too long…so thanks." She said.
"You have your key card?"
Bella smiled and rolled her eyes this time, "yes, Mother"
Brian nodded and left, making sure that the door was closed and locked.
Bella sat down on the cream sofa and looked outside. It was really beautiful and quiet and she wondered how much it cost to look at this view for one night.
Suddenly, Bella gasped.
She knew why Edward was so upset with her! He was forking out all this money for their hotels and flights, entertainment, and she hadn't once had to put any money out in payment of anything!
He must think that she was really ungrateful, because all he wanted was to take her out and introduce her to some people and she couldn't even do that! Instead, she was carrying on like a toddler, throwing a temper tantrum!
Bella looked around for a phone, writing pad and pencil – she had some work to do to fix this. Bella found the hotel directory and she phoned the Spa. She found out what time her appointment was and also asked for the prices of the treatments that Edward had ordered. Her head spun when the dismembered voice on the other side rattled the prices off to her.
Almost three hundred dollars! Shit!
She cancelled two of the treatments, knowing that she really didn't need a neck massage and a pedicure, but she kept the waxing and Indian head massage. She also told the receptionist that she would settle the bill when she went for her appointment.
Bella fired up her laptop and checked her bank balance. She knew that she would be earning some good money once the art exhibit was over, but she was worried about her bank balance until then.
She needed to take care of some of the bills for the hotels and flights for San Diego and New York. She also had her credit card that she only used to keep it in service, but she had never actually used it to pay for a major expense.
Bella stared at her bank balance. She would never have enough money to spend even on accommodation for her and Edward! She could book into a Holiday Inn or even a small B & B, but she knew that Edward would never stay in such a place.
That cursed inner voice asked her if she had even thought to ask him! Bella ignored the voice.
Instead, she spent the next half an hour checking the internet and making calculations in her head.
Bella's head was spinning as she walked down the pathway to Exhale Mind/Body Spa. She doubted if anything would sooth her mind, but what the hell! She was paying for it.
Edward was pissed off! He sat scowling in the back of the SUV as Anderson wove his way into Los Angeles to meet with the executives of Pebbles Studios. Aro was meeting him there as well.
They had some details to iron out and Edward had been looking forward to getting together with a couple of his former classmates from Berkley that had moved across the continent in the past two years and they hadn't been able to coordinate their calendars so that they would all be in the same place at the same time.
Ben Carmichael, who still hated his nickname of Toggle, and his wife Tia had moved to New York, where he took up a position at the much sought after Juilliard School of Music as a Technical Assistant after he had graduated from Berkeley with Edward and the other member of their trio, Peter.
Peter, a.k.a Peter Perfect, North, and his long term girlfriend, Charlotte had moved back to L.A. and had become a very popular session musician on keyboards and base guitar as well as being a part-time composer.
The three men had kept in contact with each other and Edward and Peter had been talking about Peter assisting Edward on the Sound track of the movie.
Edward had graduated top of his class from Berkley with a Masters Degree in Music Composition, where as Peter and Ben had gone on to obtain their Doctorate.
Ben and Peter had heard all about Bella after they had both demanded to know why 'Viking', their nickname for Edward, hadn't told them about her and they had to read the news of his romance on the Internet!
When Edward had been making arrangements for him and Bella to be in L.A. for the opening, Ben had I.M'd him to let him know that he was going to be in town for a meeting with one of the Faculty Professors at UCLA, Edward had immediately made plans to see both him and Peter and their other halves.
He didn't think that booking a reservation at Spargo Beverley Hills was going to be such a problem and he hadn't anticipated Bella's reaction at all. He was so proud of her and the success that she had achieved and he had been looking forward to yes, if he was honest, showing her off to his two friends who had always teased him, that if they had to wait around for his cast offs, they would never have gotten laid!
He had always said that he was waiting for someone special, and although neither of them knew of his lifestyle or shared it, they had known that Edward was different.
Edward realized that he and Bella had never really spoken about their college lives. They had only glossed over it as they talked about other experiences.
Anderson brought his attention back, when he had cleared his throat several times.
"Yeah Anderson, what is it?"
"Mr. Cullen, we should be at Pebble in the next ten minutes."
Edward thanked him quietly and he put the blow up out of his mind as he made notes on his Blackberry for the meeting.
He greeted Aro warmly but rolled his eyes when Aro asked about Bella. "Humph! Some things are better not to talk about!" He said with a wry grin.
Aro raised his eyebrows, "oh come on! Trouble in Paradise! I don't believe it for a minute!"
Edward just shook his head and changed the subject.
This meeting was important as Edward was accepting a huge responsibility by agreeing to arrange the entire sound track and almost one hundred percent of the composition of the original music. It was his job to make sure that everything to do with the music of the movie was perfect; lyrics, original score etc was his responsibility.
Aro put his hand on Edward's shoulder as he saw how tense the younger man was. He wondered if he had an argument with Bella earlier that day because of his nerves or if his nerves were because of an argument between the young lovers.
"Whatever it is, I'm sure that it will blow over, Edward." Aro said kindly.
Edward nodded, "I hope so, she's nervous enough with this road show exhibition. Are you coming tomorrow night?"
Aro nodded, "it's all that Lucida has spoken about for the past week! She had been bragging to all of our friends, so I'm afraid that Bella will be inundated with blue-haired old biddies, fawning all over her paintings!"
Edward laughed, "I'm telling your beautiful wife what you called her! She is the furthest thing from a blue-haired old biddy!"
Before Aro could answer him, a long legged blonde receptionist that had been eye-fucking Edward since he walked in, crossed over to the two men and informed them that 'they' were ready for them.
Aro grinned teasingly at Edward as they watched the blonde woman swing her hips as she led them down the plush hallway. Edward rolled his eyes at Aro and flipped him the finger.
Edward and Aro were shown into the impressive boardroom where about ten executives sat.
Edward ran his hands through his hair as he sat down. Time to get his head into this.
The meeting ran much longer than anticipated and when it was over, Edward was asked to accompany the head of Pebble Studios, Aaron Payot, Aro and the Executive Producer, Des Elliot to dinner.
Edward knew that Bella would be waiting for him, but he also knew that he could not turn this invitation down. He excused himself to make a phone call, but was disappointed when Bella's phone went straight to voicemail.
He left a short message, telling her that he was running late and was going to dinner with 'Studio people' and Aro and that he would see her later. He quickly dialed Anderson's number, told him what the situation was, and asked him to bring the car around.
He cursed softly as he turned to face the men waiting for him. "Right, we can go now," he said with a wry smile.
Aaron Payot told Edward that he had booked a table at The Bazaar, one of the hottest new restaurants in Los Angeles. Edward smiled, but inside he was groaning, because he knew it was going to be a long evening.
Edward followed the limo to the SLS Hotel. He tried to phone Bella again, but only got her voice mail message again. He was getting even more frustrated as time went on and at Anderson's suggestion he called Brian.
Edward slammed his phone down on the seat next to him. What the fuck!
Bella had apparently gone to the Spa without Brian and he hadn't seen her since she had left!
Edward asked Brian to tell Bella, when he saw her that Edward was being delayed and that she was to not wait for him for dinner.
He scowled out of the darkened window, staring unseeing at the passing traffic and people making their way home from work. He felt ill at ease and unsettled and he knew that it was because Bella wasn't with him and that they were not talking to each other.
The car pulled up outside The Bazaar and Edward huffed at the amount of press standing outside.
FUCK! This is just what I need tonight!
"Anderson, walk me in, I'm not in the mood for these fuckers tonight!" Edward said as he adjusted his shirt.
Anderson flashed him a smirk in the rear view mirror. "Just don't hit anyone, Mr. Cullen" he said as he opened the door and walked around to open Edward's door.
Edward ignored the shouts and flashes of the cameras as he walked quickly to the entrance of the restaurant.
The others were waiting for him as well as the head chef of The Bazaar, who introduced himself as Andre.
The Bazaar was even worse than Edward had first imagined. It was loud and noisy, with the young and the beautiful of Hollywood and Los Angeles pressed into the seating area. Aro's amused gaze met Edward's horrified one as a young, very beautiful woman slithered up to the four men and asked in a breathy tone, if she could be of service to them. Her large brown eyes lingered on Edward for a little too long.
Bella enjoyed her visit to the Spa, despite the fact that she was not in a good mood. She found herself relaxing in the quiet and tranquil atmosphere. The staff was wonderful, they encouraged Bella to take full advantage of their facilities, and she ended up enjoying a sauna and a complementary rub down as well as a refreshing shower afterwards.
Bella sat in the changing rooms and sipped the glass of mint-flavored water as she took her time to smooth some vanilla and honey lotion onto her skin. The small basket of products that she found on her towel held shampoo, conditioner, a single applicator of exfoliating gel for her body as well as a facial mask, which she had used in the sauna. She had listened to Edward's cold voice message and she had realized that there was no hurry to rush back to the cottage and so she had taken her time and she had enjoyed herself.
It wasn't always fun to rush around from one thing to the next. She enjoyed the novelty of relaxing and just pampering herself. When she was ready, Bella opened the large purse that she had stuffed fresh clothes into, and she dressed in pretty blue cotton boy shorts that had tiny daisies on them, a matching bra, and a pair of dark blue yoga pants, a grey tank top, and a dark blue hoodie. She put on a pair of grey dancing shoes. She had blow-dried her hair with her fingers and it lay over her shoulders.
Bella walked to reception, where she asked to speak to the manager. She was shown into his office. The middle-aged man smiled at the beautiful young woman, who had checked in with Mr. Cullen. Mr. Harris prided himself on knowing as much about his potential VIPs that he could and he had read that the couple had recently become engaged. He looked down at the exquisite ring on Ms. Swan's finger and he smiled.
"Ms. Swan, how can we be of service to you this evening?"
Bella smiled, and she quickly looked at the name on the desk, "Mr. Harris, I was wondering if you could change the billing of our cottage? I would like to settle our accommodation myself."
Mr. Harris nodded, "yes, of course we can do that for you. If you give me your credit card, we can swipe it right now and then the final account will only take minutes to finalize."
Bella smiled as she handed over her credit card. She was determined to show Edward that she didn't expect a 'free ride' from him. Her inner voice tried to ask her if this was the best course of action. Bella told it to fuck off.
Mr. Harris printed off some paperwork for Bella, including the cost of the rates for the cottage and the twin room for Anderson and Brian.
"You are checked in for two nights, with breakfast included, so that will be One Thousand, Four hundred and Twenty Seven Dollars per night for the cottage and Three hundred and Eighty Nine Dollars for the other room." Thankfully, Mr. Harris was looking at the sheets of paper in his hand and he didn't see Bella's eyes go as wide as saucers or how she bit her bottom lip to keep from gasping aloud.
She dipped her head down to hide her face and mumbled, "that's great, thanks."
Inside Bella was screaming - Are you fucking kidding me? Almost FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR TWO NIGHTS?
Bella could feel herself breaking out into a cold sweat. A quick calculation told her that she would be able to afford this and then about four days of the accommodation in San Diego and then she would be out of money! She needed to talk to Riley.
All the relaxing that she had done over the past three hours disappeared. Bella took a deep breath and forced herself to relax. She looked up with a smile.
"Thank you so much for your assistance Mr. Harris." She smiled and held out her hand. As she walked out, she asked Mr. Harris where the closest auto teller was. He smiled and directed to the gift shop.
Bella withdrew three hundred dollars so that she would have some money to tip people and to pay for dinner and for personal emergencies. There was no way that she was eating in the restaurant if the prices of the rooms were anything to go by!
She made her way back to the cottage and she saw Brian waiting outside for her.
"Bella! Thank God, Edward was trying to get hold of you! He was upset that you wondered off on your own. Have you called him?" Brian bombarded her with questions as she unlocked the cottage door.
Bella put her bag down and turned to face Brian. "I tried to call him, but his phone just rang. He said that he was going to dinner and that I shouldn't wait for him." Bella said.
She needed a drink! She eyed the small liquor cabinet but thought better of it when she thought of the prices that she would most likely be charged she grumbled to herself and turned to Brian.
"Brian, have you eaten yet?" She asked suddenly.
Brian shook his head wearily. He could see that something was wrong with Bella but he didn't know what. He wished that Anderson were there for the tenth time that day.
"Not yet." He said slowly.
Bella nodded, "good! Do you feel like taking a walk along the Santa Monica Pier with me? We could maybe pick up something to eat along the way. I've never been and I would love to see it."
Brian was frowning, "don't you want to wait for Ed…"
Bella shook her, "it sounded as if he would be hours still, come on Brian, please? There must be a shuttle or something. We can take a cab..."
Brian sighed, "okay. Why don't you go and change into something a little warmer? It can be quite chilly on the pier at night."
Bella nodded and she hurried down the hallway.
As she changed into a long sleeved t-shirt and a warmer hoodie, Brian quickly made a call to Anderson.
"Yeah" Anderson growled.
"Anderson, it's me."
"I'm heading off to the Pier with Bella. She..."
"What? He is not going to be pleased..."
"What the fuck do you want me to do? Hogtie her to the fucking sofa? She is hungry, bored and a little bit pissed off, so I am taking her to the Pier, because she asked me to. We will take a cab there and back. Tell him if he asks." Brian said and Anderson smiled as he heard the protectiveness in his voice. Bella seemed to have that effect on many people.
"Okay. Just look after her, for fuck sake!" Anderson snapped and he ended the call.
He was tempted to go and disturb Edward but one look into the dining room where they were sitting and Anderson decided against it. There were now three young, sexy looking women sitting at the table.
Edward looked ready to kill someone as a girl with dark, almost black hair reached over to stroke his hair. Edward jerked his face back and his mouth moved in harsh lines as he almost bit out his words to the girl and the table at large.
Aro smirked and the other two execs looked suitably ashamed as they shook their heads. The three girls got up reluctantly and left the table.
Anderson picked up his newspaper again.
Brian turned as Bella walked out to meet him. She was wearing a pair of skinny jeans, a pair of sneakers and an over sized hooded sweatshirt.
"I'm ready." Bella said and she picked up her purse.
Bella hooked her arm through Brian's as they made their way to the cab pickup point. "So, Brian, have you ever ridden the Carousel...?"
It was after 11 p.m. when Edward finally tumbled into the back of the SUV. He was tired and a little tipsy. However, not enough to take any of the women up on their offers, just enough to not feel so agitated with Bella any longer.
He wondered what she had done that evening. She had sent him a text message earlier on in the evening to say that she had received his messages and that she would see him later, but he hadn't replied and she hadn't send any more messages.
In spite of their argument, Edward was looking forward to seeing his friends the next night. He knew that once Bella met them, she would like their easy-going personalities.
He looked over to Anderson, "Andy, have you heard from Bella or Brian tonight?"
Anderson took a deep breath, fuck! He had been hoping to avoid this conversation. "Um, yes, I did. Bella is fine, Mr. Cullen, Brian is with her…" he mumbled, half hoping that Edward would drop it.
Edward nodded and closed his eyes. "Good…" he said.
The rest of the drive was quiet. Anderson hoped that Brian and Bella had made it back and that Bella was fast asleep when Edward returned.
If luck was on their side.
He should have known better!
Edward opened the cottage door and he stood on the threshold for a moment. He could feel that she wasn't there.
"Wait here" he growled at Anderson as he stalked down the hallway and into the empty bedroom. He saw evidence of her having been home. He could smell a new fragrance in the air, mixed with her special 'Bella' smell, but she was nowhere to be found.
Anderson was already dialing.
FUCK! Halverson's phone went to voicemail.
He walked down the hall to the bedroom. Edward had thrown his jacket onto the bed and his hands were fisted into this hair.
"Where the fuck is she?" Edward barked out.
Anderson "Halverson is with her…"
"I don't give a rat's ass if the entire Marine Corp. is with her, where the fuck is she?" Edward glared at him.
"Um, I'm not sure if they are still there…"
"Where Anderson? Edward snapped.
"They were going to the Pier… that's the..."
"I am well aware of where the Santa Monica Pier is, Anderson! Phone him and check that they are safe, he doesn't need to tell her that I'm checking up on her, I just want to know that she is safe!" Edward said. His eyes fell on one of her shoes lying on the floor.
He felt his anger seep out of him. He couldn't do this. He couldn't act as if he was her father. He wasn't. He was her fiancé and if she didn't want to come home then they had bigger problems than her going to the fucking Pier with her bodyguard!
"Bella is a big girl; I can't tell her where she can or can't go to, unless she puts herself in danger. She has Brian with her, so we know that they will be fine." Anderson wasn't sure if Edward was talking to himself or Anderson.
Edward closed the drapes and turned to Anderson. "That will be all Anderson. Don't worry about calling Halverson tonight. You turn in. I will let you know if our plans have changed tomorrow. Isabella will be here for the show and she may stay or go on to San Diego alone, I'm not sure. Good night." Edward said quietly as he began to unbutton his shirt.
Anderson could see that he looked tired and defeated more than anything else. "Mr. Cullen? May I say something?"
Edward nodded and Anderson rushed on before he could stop himself, "Bella loves you more than anything in the world, Sir. She makes mistakes, but that's just because she doesn't know, or she isn't sure and she doesn't always use her verbal filter. Don't jump to any conclusions…"
Anderson was cut off by the front door being slammed into the wall, followed by the sound of someone falling, or something hitting the ground accompanied by manic giggles and muffled curses.
Anderson jumped across the doorway instinctively to protect Edward.
"Babyyyy, Oh my Baby…. My sweet babyyyyy… you're the one..." Bella's way off key voice was belting the old sixties song out as it sounded like she was hopping around the sitting room.
Edward rolled his eyes at Anderson as he pushed the bodyguard out of the way. "The only thing that will be a threat, Andy is her breath and the size of her hangover tomorrow!" Edward quipped as he walked into the sitting room.
Bella was lying on the floor with her feet up in the air and she was trying to catch her right foot to take off her sneaker.
She was humming under her breath and she narrowed her eyes at the offending shoe.
"Come here you sneaky little bugger. Sneaky sneaker! HA! Hey… um, Briiiii-briiii, I got me a sneaky sneaker. Say it fast, sneaky sneaker… neakyyyy nicker…. Oomph…" Bella made a grab for her shoelace, missed and rolled over into the small coffee table, which she apologized to… profusely.
Anderson and Brian had made themselves scarce. Edward pushed away from the door frame and made his way over to where Bella was currently wedged between the coffee table and the sofa.
"Isabella? Are you stuck Baby?" He asked quietly as he sat down in an arm chair.
"EDWAAARD! BABYYYY! I sang you a song… do you want to hear it? Babyyyyyy… Myyyy sweet Baaaabyyyyy…" Edward pressed his finger over her swollen lips.
"Shh! Thank you Love, but you can save your singing for another day… now, are you stuck?" He asked patiently.
Bella's stared up into his eyes. Her focus was a little fuzzy, but she concentrated on the deep green color of his eyes.
"Edbed, you are so beautiful… I'm sorry that I SUCK as a girlfriend, um, Fi…fee….fez – oh fuck! That other thing…" Bella was confused. Her mouth was numb.
Edward brushed her hair out of her eyes, "fiancée?"
"Yeah… that one… I'm a bad, bad one of those… I love you, Eddie." Suddenly her over bright eyes filled with drunken tears and she wiped her nose on the back of her hand.
"You should leave me… I'm not good enough, but I'm gonna fix it all, I promise… I'm gonna use all my money to pay for stuff and then you won't hate me…" Bella said as she continued to cry large crocodile, noisy tears.
Edward nodded attentively as he picked her up off the floor, he had no idea what she was talking about, "shh, it's okay, Baby, I know you are going to fix everything, but why don't we get you into bed now and you can fix it all in the morning, okay?" He said as he held back a laugh.
Bella licked her lips as she tried to focus. She kicked her legs enthusiastically, "yes, let's get me to bed! I can do lots, lots of things for you Edderd… I love you… Bri-bri taught me how to tip people today… isn't that cool? I never tipped anyone before, but I got money from the um, um… from the small thing… ATM! And now I can tip people, so I don't feel stupid anymore…" Bella gave him a sloppy kiss on his cheek, but she missed and Edward got a resounding wet sucking kiss in his ear.
He hurried to the bedroom and lowered Bella to her feet. What the fuck was she rambling about? Edward shook his head to clear his ringing ear and set her on her feet just inside the room.
"Woooow the room is spinning! Don't move so fast! I need to go to the…" Bella turned and walked into the closet. She turned to him with a very confused expression.
Edward patiently guided her to the large en-suite bathroom. He unzipped her jeans and pulled them down together with her panties as Bella slumped backwards and closed her eyes.
Edward left her to do her business as he pulled the covers back off the bed and pulled out one of his shirts for her to use. He fetched a bottle of water from the small fridge and put it next to the bed, before he looked inside his toiletries bag and shook out two Advil. He heard her humming in the bathroom and went to see what she was doing.
Long after she finished and the toilet had flushed, Bella sat on the toilet swinging her legs and humming to herself, until Edward walked back inside the bathroom
He took off the offending sneaker and quickly undressed the lower part of her. He coaxed her to sit up so that he could pull off her hoodie, T-shirt, and bra.
Bella grinned up at him and wagged her finger at him, "naughty, naughty boy… so pretty… Eddie, I don't feel well…" and with that, she lurched off the toilet and spun around to empty her stomach contents into the bowl.
Edward grimaced and held her hair back as she retched over and over until she rested her hot, damp forehead against the cool rim. She kept trying to swat his hands away.
"Leave me! Just let me die here." Bella whispered.
Edward shook his head, "no, come on, let's get you up and into the shower, you will feel much better"
"Nooooo" Bella whined and Edward wasn't surprised to see that the crocodile tears were back.
"Come on, Little Girl, it's going to all be okay," he cooed as she nodded with deliberate movements.
"Kay" she said as she wiped her nose with her arm.
Edward wondered how much she had to drink. He wanted to kill Brian for allowing her to drink like this, but then he reminded himself that Brian was Bella's bodyguard, not her babysitter.
After lots of protests and grumbles, Edward finally managed to get Bella to stand up while he turned the shower on, thanking his lucky stars that it was a double shower. He pushed her inside while he stood guard and he pulled his clothes off before he climbed in behind her.
Bella was suddenly miserable as she stood under the lukewarm water, with her hair hanging in her eyes. Earlier that evening she and Brian had taken a cab to the Pier where Brian had been quiet, but good company, allowing Bella to play games, and they even went on a couple of rides.
They had come across a small 'Tiki' style eatery and pub, which boasted a small food menu and a large cocktail menu. They were informed that it was happy hour and all cocktails were two for the price of one which was on special at just Five Dollars on top of that; it was karaoke night and lots of locals had come down to have some fun.
Bella had never been one for cocktails, but she needed something after the horrible way that her day had ended and so she ordered a Long Island Iced Tea (which she found out later had almost no tea in it) and an Alabama Slammer, (because she liked the sound of it!). Bella had caught the eyes of some college students and they had begun buying her drinks, before she was persuaded to get up on stage and sing. Brian had noticed that a couple of people had taken photos of her with their cell phones.
Bella looked like an angel, had a body to tempt a saint, but she was tone deaf! Not that the young men that were ogling her long legs or the sliver of skin that she showed as she waved her arms in the air minded. The applause after her performance was deafening.
Brian had sat sipping cherry colas as Bella had downed an array of drinks. Only his dark glare kept the young men away. She got up to order another round of drinks and had landed on the floor before Brian had finally made an executive decision. He had slung Bella over his shoulder and had walked out of the bar as she found her singing voice once more.
He found a cab quickly and was more than grateful when they pulled up outside the cottage. He knew that he was going to be in shit with Edward, but at least Bella was safe.
Once inside, he had take one look at Edward's thunderous face as Bella fell over and he had turned and left swiftly.
Anderson was right behind him, "what the fuck were you thinking Halverson? She is completely off her rocker! How could you let her drink like that?"
Brian turned to his friend, "this is bullshit, and you know it! She is an adult and she is a client, not my fucking sister! My job was to stay with her and keep her safe and I did that! You are getting too close to her Anderson, and that's your problem! Edward needs to sort his own fucking house out! It's his fault that she was drinking in the first place. Do you know that she didn't even know how to tip the porter? Or the people at the Spa? She is out of her depth and Edward just left her fucking hanging today!" Brian was sorely tempted to go back to the cottage and tell Cullen just that but the warning look on Anderson's face stopped him.
"Not tonight, Brian. If he asks you tomorrow, tell him what you know. Otherwise leave it be. Come on; let me buy you a drink." Anderson clamped his hand on Brian's shoulder, he chuckled at his colleague's groan, and they walked to the hotel bar.
Bella knew why she had started drinking that night and it scared the shit out of her! Over the past months, she had learned that Alcoholism was a hereditary disease and that fact scared her. She had spoken to Paul and even to Charlie about her fears. They had both assured her that although she was not immune to the disease, as long as she coped with stress, pain, and unhappiness in other, more constructive ways, she need not fear having a drink or two.
Edward lovingly dried her body and hair and he dressed her in one of his button down dress shirts and sat her on side of the bed.
He handed her a bottle of water and two headache tablets.
Bella sipped the water, while Edward finished his own ablutions in the bathroom.
The events of the previous day swirled around in her head until she wanted to scream! She saw her phone flash a message and she saw a text from Alice.
Geez B, you sure know how to party alone! www.hollywoodsfinest.com
Bella got up as quietly as possible and she grabbed her laptop and headed into the sitting room.
She felt her heart sink and her still tender stomach lurched as she looked at the less than flattering photographs of herself and the ones of Edward on their separate night out. She looked drunk and skanky, while Edward looked … like a God.
What the fuck was I thinking?
She knew that drinking was no way to cope with problems and she knew firsthand what happened to families where one partner drank and she would never do that to Edward. Bella knew that she was nothing like Charlie, but he had begun drinking because he knew that he couldn't make Rene happy. He knew that he was going to lose her long before she ever packed her bags and emptied the coffee jar of their housekeeping money. He knew that it was over long before she had left her five-year-old daughter crying on the stairs.
What if I can't make Edward happy? What if I get too absorbed in my art? What if he gets bored with me? He already wants to 'expand our circle' of friends, is that his way of saying that I bore him? I know nothing about his world! I don't even know how to tip a fucking porter! What if I'm just like Charlie?
The errant thoughts didn't make too much sense to Bella's still foggy brain but nonetheless she felt fear rise up in her chest.
STOP IT! This is not you talking! This is the booze and the fear talking! Edward loves you…
Edward walked back into the bedroom, expecting to find Bella sleeping, but when he saw that the room was empty, he walked down the passage and saw her sitting in the darkened sitting room, staring at her laptop screen.
"Hey." He said quietly. He saw her jump guiltily.
"What are you looking at?"
Bella began to shake her head, but then she sighed and turned the computer towards him.
"You might as well see my 'proudest' moment," Bella said.
Edward glanced at the screen briefly before he looked back at Bella.
"That's nothing Bella! It will be old news tomorrow. Come on, let's go to bed, Baby," he said.
Bella was shaking her head vigorously. She was still drunk enough to feel brave enough to forget her filter and her overwhelming need to protect him for once.
"No. Nononono. NO. No, I need to tell you that I'm paying my way, well our way from now on. I'm not going to be a burden to you any, long, long… any more. I'm paying for our stay here and then I'll pay for New York, if you are going to be with me, otherwise I'll go alone and stay at the Y". Bella said proudly. Her speech sounded perfect to her and she only forgot a few words.
Edward stared at Bella as if she had lost her mind.
What the fuck? Again with the money thing!
"Bella, what are you talking about? This is about money? I'm… I'm speechless!" Edward said.
Bella nodded, "I know!" She said proudly.
"That's what I thought and then I thought about it some more. I don't want to be a drunk like Charlie and to drive you away, Edward. And I don't want to be like Renee who only stuck around long enough to fuck up our lives and then she left as soon as someone better came along! If you want to take me out to show me off, then I'll do it… I'll be your show pony. But if you are bored with me…."
She shook her head sadly and pulled her mouth down dramatically into a comical sad mouth pose, "well, I can't do anything about that. I don't want to pull you down with me here. What if I am like Charlie? A drunk in waiting!" Bella snorted at her little joke. She swayed alarmingly as she giggle snorted again.
Edward felt sick. Where the fuck was all of this coming from?
"So do you want to hear about my day?" Bella piped up suddenly.
"Tell me all of it, Baby." Edward said.
He quietly listened to her tell him about how she had reacted to his dinner plans, followed by her having the 'epiphany' about their money and how she had drank until she puked.
"So have I fucked up so badly that you have no words?" Bella asked.
Edward ran his hand across the back of his neck and he chose his next words very carefully as he watched her force her eyes to stay open.
"You know what? Why don't we get some sleep and we can talk again in the morning?"
Bella nodded, "hmm? Okay. I'm tired, Edward…" she broke off as she yawned.
For the second time that night Edward stood up and picked Bella up. She wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I love you," she whispered.
Edward kissed her forehead, "As I love you too"
Bella patted his shoulder. "Good. That's really good, coz I think I really fucked up this time"
Edward chuckled, "no Sweetheart, let's get you in here… there we go," Bella held out her arms and he climbed in behind her, tucking her into his body.
"Sleep now, my Bella. It's all going to be okay." He whispered again her soft hair.
"Hmmm" Bella sighed and her soft snores soon filled the air.
Edward forced himself to lie next to her and relax. He had no idea that she was harboring all these crazy ideas!
Where the fuck did they come from? I know where they come from, they come from her fucked up parents who did a great fucking job making her believe that she is a worthless nothingness!
FUCK. MY. LIFE!
What the fuck do I do with all of this? Sleep, I really need sleep before I deal with this. God, doesn't she know that I love her and she can have every single cent that I own!
For the next five hours Edward drifted in and out of sleep as Bella talked in her sleep. Normally Edward expected some of her nonsense ramblings and he had learned to ignore them, but he was so upset by what Bella had revealed in her drunken confessions that he listened as she mumbled, tossed and cried.
"Edward… hmm…" she rubbed her thighs together; leaving Edward in no doubt as to what that dream was about.
A couple of hours later, although it felt like mere minutes Edward awoke to Bella crying in her sleep.
"I'm sorry… so sorry… Edward don't leave… I'm not like them…" Bella turned her face into the pillow as Edward pulled her into his arms and held her as tightly as he could.
"Sssh Bella Love, I'm here, I'm not going anywhere. I am right here. I'm not going anywhere, Baby… please sleep now!" Edward felt his own eyes tear up as he listened to her soft cries.
Bella drifted off to sleep again, but Edward lay awake for the rest of the night. Bella fell into a deep sleep and Edward got up quietly.
After a refreshing shower, he dressed in a pair of his old jeans and one of his U2 t-shirts. Edward stood next to the bed, gently brushing Bella's hair off her face. She lay with her legs tangled in a sheet that lay over the curve off her ass. During the night, Bella had become hot and she had mumbled incoherently as she had sat up in bed and pulled his shirt off before she flopped face down into the pillows again. He leaned down and gently kissed the side of her cheek before he padded barefooted into the sitting room.
He called room service and placed an order for a large continental breakfast for two and a carafe of coffee, in a flask with a pitcher of juice on the side.
He sat on the patio and watched the dawn break. The breakfast arrived and in spite of his anxiety, Edward heard his stomach rumble. The waiter wheeled the trolley into the small dining area.
Edward dished up for himself and he felt much better once his stomach was full.
He sipped his second cup of coffee as he checked his phone and saw that it was just after six. He couldn't wait any longer, dialed Paul's messenger service, and left a message.
A few minutes later, his phone vibrated. It was Paul.
"Edward? Is everything okay?" Paul's voice was amazingly awake and full of concern.
Edward told him everything that had happened the previous night.
Paul listened quietly and waited until he finished talking.
There was a quiet knock on the front door and Edward silently ushered the waiter inside.
He signed the bill and added a generous tip.
"Well, what do I do now?" Edward asked.
"First of all, you are doing a great job Edward. None of this is your fault. You just need to keep doing what you have been. Keep her talking. Keep pushing her to get to the bottom line. With Bella, it's complicated, as you know."
Edward chuckled "you're telling me"
"There are so many layers. She feels inferior to you. It doesn't matter how talented she is, she feels like she isn't good enough to hold your attention. Now before you say anything, just think about it. Her parents lost interest in her almost as soon as she was born. She never sought to be in the limelight because she didn't think that she had anything to offer anyone. Yes, she is making great strides in this area. Her self-esteem is a hundred times better than it was, but she is not there yet. These things take time and Bella wants to be whole now. She expects to be over it all, now that she has talked about it. It takes years sometimes to come to terms with some things."
Edward growled, "I just get so fucking mad at her parents! They have no idea what damage they have done!"
"I know that, and you have every right to be angry at them, but don't misdirect your anger at Bella. She doesn't need to carry that burden as well. Have this conversation with Charlie or if you ever have the opportunity, Renee. Keep a level head on you today, okay?"
Edward pinched the bridge of his nose. "Yeah, I hear you. Thanks Paul. I'll call you again."
"Anytime, Edward. You two are due to come and see me when you get back."
They ended the call and Edward poured himself another cup of coffee as he sat down to eat. He needed to get his head together for the morning ahead.
Bella woke up.
I'm dying. I really think that I am dying! I will never become an alcoholic, no way! No how!
Bella pushed the hair out of her eyes and looked around.
Edward's side of the bed was empty and cold.
Bella sat up. There was a cold glass of peach juice next to the bed. She drank more than half its contents before she swallowed the two Advil that had been placed next to the glass.
"Thank you Babe." She muttered.
As Bella showered, segments of the night before came flooding back to her.
Drinking, even more gross!
Singing – ohdearGod!
Telling Edward about paying for their trip! WAIT! WHAT? Shit! Did that really happen? Please say it didn't happen! Did she say all those things to him? Shitshitshit!
Maybe he was drunk as well and he won't remember, Bella thought.
She finger dried her hair and pulled it up into a loose bun after she threw on a tank top and a pair of yoga pants.
Finally she couldn't delay the inevitable any longer and she quietly opened the door. Edward was sitting in the sitting room, reading a best seller that he had being trying to read for some time.
He looked up and smiled when she walked into the room.
"Morning Baby, come and sit down. I ordered breakfast for you and there is coffee."
Bella smiled and walked over to kiss his cheek, "I really love you so much!" She smiled and sat down on the sofa opposite his chair.
She poured a cup of coffee from the flask and hummed happily, as she filled her plate with croissants, cheese, cuts of meat, pickles, and fruit.
Edward smiled as he went back to pretending to read, although he watched her from over his book.
Bella cast a few anxious glances at him, but when he didn't say anything to her, she relaxed and enjoyed her breakfast.
She wondered if she had just dreamed the conversation. She had some wild dreams and last nights were really odd. She remembered dreaming that Edward was leaving her and she was crying at the top of the stairs.
But just as he was about to leave, his arms were around her and he was whispering that he would never leave her and that she was safe.
Bella smiled to herself. That was a good feeling. She had felt his heart beating strongly in his chest against her back and his lips were brushing her ear.
She looked up and caught Edward staring at her.
"What?" She said blushing suddenly.
Edward smiled and shook his head, "you look as if you are having some happy thoughts over there. Care to share them?"
Bella laughed, embarrassed, "I was just trying to work out what was part of my dreams last night and what was real." She ran her hands through her hair before she looked up again into his bright green gaze, "I am so embarrassed about last night, Edward! I'm so, so sorry about it! I remember looking at a website – oh shit! That was real, wasn't it? Ali sent me a message…" Bella groaned and drained her cup.
Edward laughed, "don't worry about it! So there is a picture out there of you that is less than flattering, so what? There are plenty of them out there of me and Jazz and fuck, more than half of Hollywood, Baby! No one gives a fuck, seriously, don't worry about it."
Bella shook her head, "Edward, my father's cronies in Forks reads that shit and they will show him and Sue and Seth. That will mean that I will get a lecture from him or her or both of them on the dangers of drinking with an alcoholic in the family! Shit!" She said sharply.
Edward was literally biting his tongue to stop himself from lashing out at Bella about her parents. He wanted to wring their necks!
He decided that there was no time like the present to have the difficult conversation that they had to have.
"Bella is that what is worrying you? Do you think you will become like Charlie?" His voice was quiet and calm.
Bella gasped as she stared at him over the table.
"What? No! Where did you get that idea?" She asked, trying desperately to hide her shock at hearing him say the words.
Edward sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees as he kept eye contact with Bella. Her brown eyes were large with shock and … what looked like fear.
"From you, Baby. You said some things last night that we need to talk about."
Bella began to shake her head "I was drunk… I didn't know what I was saying, I didn't mean any of it!" She stumbled over her words in her haste to reassure him; all the while her head was reeling.
What an idiot! Me and my big fucking mouth!
"So you didn't go and see Mr. Harris yesterday to tell him to bill the cost of our stay to your credit card?" Edward asked.
Bella felt her cheeks get redder than ever. She could feel the heat coming off them. "No, um, I did that…" she stared at Edward for a long time waiting for him to respond in anger or with impatience.
But he did none of those things. Instead, he stood up and walked over to where she sat. He picked up her breakfast plate and put all the dishes onto the trolley before he wheeled it out of the front door.
When he came back, he sat down in front of her on the table and he picked up her left hand. His thumb brushed over her engagement ring.
Bella felt herself grow pale. Did he want his ring back?
"Do you know what the different cords of the band mean? Did I tell you?" He asked as they stared down at her ring.
Bella shook her head, "no" she whispered.
"Nana said that they meant that a thin rope or cord could break under pressure. So could two, but three is almost impossible to break. No matter how much pressure is put on the cords, they will hold, unless they are deliberately cut or severed." Bella nodded.
Finally Edward raised his head and tipped her chin to look deep into her eyes.
"I love you Isabella Marie Swan. We have a three-strand relationship. It is so much stronger than you think it is. It will hold under the most immense pressure. I am sure of it. Unless we cut it! I don't want to cut it, Bella. Don't hide from me anymore. I know that this is really difficult for you. I am here! I am not going anywhere. You will have to kill me to get me to leave you." He gently brushed a stray tear off her cheek.
"Now, do you want to talk to me?" He asked.
Bella nodded, "yes, we need to talk."
Edward smiled, "come on." He said as he pulled her to her feet.
He led her out to the small garden and Bella saw that there was a blanket spread out on the grass.
Edward lay down on his back and beckoned to her to follow.
"When we were kids, sometimes, Emmett, Alice and I would lie in the garden and look up at the clouds if it was a day like today." He said conversationally.
Bella lay next to him and looked up. White puffy clouds dotted the sky. Bella felt herself relaxing as she felt Edward's body next to hers.
He reached over and took her hand.
"I heard every word that you said last night Baby. Lets break this down into bit size pieces, okay? Now, first of all, let's talk about money."
Bella groaned. Edward smiled and bumped her shoulder with his. "Come on, you need to put on your big girl panties today. Tell me what's going on in your head about our money. Yours and mine."
Bella took a deep breath and she explained how she had been feeling from the first time that she realized just how much money Edward had. She explained how she felt inferior about not being able to pay for all their activities. She also felt guilty because half of the time she hadn't even thought about payment for some of the things that they had done.
Edward listened carefully and he waited for her to finish.
"Okay, let's look at this bit by bit. First of all, as your Dom, part of my role is to look after you, physically, emotionally and financially, right?"
He waited until Bella nodded. "Yes."
"Good. Now, when we go out, or we go away, I pay because I am your partner, fiancé and future husband and I have the money to do those things and to give you those things. I understand that you want to contribute, so why don't we agree to this: You can pay for when we go out to dinner sometimes if you want to and you can buy your clothes and cosmetics, except for you submissive outfits – those are mine to choose and buy as well as your lingerie, seeing as I ruin most of them? Save the rest of your money for now, how does that sound?" Edward waited to see if she was going to be reasonable about this or if she would react emotionally.
Bella was quiet for a while as she thought about what he said. Finally she sighed.
"Okay, but what about this weekend? I already spoke to Mr. Harris and all…" she bit her lip.
"Why don't you take that money and I'll put some money with it and we can give it to Charlie as a wedding present. We could book them a honey moon to take later when Charlie and Sue can get away, like over the summer when school's out?"
Bella turned over and she smiled at Edward, "that's a great idea! Really?"
Edward nodded, "and the rest of your money you can save and you can use some of it to put towards the wedding if you like…"
Bella sat up and stared down at him, "you really have given this some thought…"
Edward nodded as he wound a strand of her hair around his index finger and pulled her down so that he could kiss her gently on her lips.
"I have. I have listened to you, Bella. Money does not make you a better person. Money does not make you more valuable to the people that love you. Money is a tool, a means to an end. If you have it, it is your responsibility to look after it without throwing it around. Who you are inside here," he touched her chest, "that's what gives you value and worth, to me, or your dad, or your friends, it's who you are inside." He pulled her down again and kissed her for a longer time. He let her go when they needed to breath.
"So, are we cool with this money thing?" Edward asked.
Bella nodded. "Yeah."
"So you are not going to freak out if I want to buy you all the items in the Agent Provocateur catalogue?" He asked mischievously.
Bella's eyes went wide before she narrowed them and mock glared at him, "what websites have you been surfing, Mister?" She growled.
Edward laughed, "relax Baby, I have lived with Alice, Rosie, and my mother for a long time! My father taught his boys right!"
Bella laughed for the first time in over a day. "Yes he did. Remind me to thank him next time I see him."
Edward nodded, "okay, now about going out tonight, I can't believe that we have never spoken about Peter and Ben. So I met Ben on the first day that I moved into the dorms at Berkley."
They lay on the grass for over an hour as Edward told Bella story after story about his wild college years. They laughed a lot as they swapped stories about their college lives. Finally Bella shivered and Edward sat up, bringing Bella with him. He settled her in his lap and wrapped his arms around her.
"Baby, these two men are really close to me and I want you to meet them, because, hell yeah I want to show you off to them, but I want you to know them and I want them to know and love you. There was no other motive here. We have all done well for ourselves and when we do get together, we always tend to really splash out and treat ourselves. It's not about the venue, Bella, it's about the people." Edward brushed Bella's hair back over her shoulder.
"I don't care where we meet, Baby and if it makes you uncomfortable, then we can…"
Bella put her fingers over his mouth. "No, no. I want to meet your friends, Babe. I'm so sorry about what I said! I don't know why I said that stuff. I would be honored to go to dinner with you tonight; I just hope I have a dress." Bella said. Edward grinned and Bella looked at him suspiciously, "what now, Cullen? Spill it!"
"Alice packed you a couple of outfits." He said unrepentantly as he shrugged.
"Damn pixie! God, I love my sisters-in-law!" She announced.
Edward laughed but he pushed her to stand up as she shivered again.
"Come on, let's go inside."
Edward ordered lunch while Bella put on a sweater and she made a pot of tea in the small kitchenette.
After they had enjoyed a quiet lunch, Bella received a call from Arielle regarding the show that evening. Bella told her that she would be there later and she made her promise that there was not going to be a fanfare about her and Edward's arrival.
Edward held out his hand. "Do you want to lie down for a while? There's one thing more that we should talk about…"
Bella nodded hesitantly. She had an idea about the topic that was going to come up.
They watched each other as they got undressed to their undies and T-shirts and the climbed into the large bed. Edward pulled Bella into his arms as he propped himself up against the headboard.
"Bella, what's really going on with you? This is not about me wanting to take you out to dinner with some of my friends…"
"I'm afraid," her words were quietly uttered almost as if she was afraid to say them.
"Okay; of what?" Edward probed.
"Of not being good enough … of not being enough to keep you … I keep hearing my mother's voice in my head telling me that I'm clumsy and stupid and that no one wants a scraggly girl like me! I'm scared of being like Charlie. What if I start drinking to hide…" Bella whispered before a sob rose in her throat and cut off her words.
"What else? Come on, you know that there is more, what else is scaring you?" Edward pushed harder.
Bella didn't answer for a moment before she said; "I'm scared of becoming too dependent on you for my happiness, okay? What if you leave me and then I will be left just like Charlie with no way to get happy, no family, nothing…"
"So keeping a part of yourself back is less risky? Is that fair to me? Making yourself crazy by suppressing this stuff is better than talking about it?" Edward's heart was pounding in his chest as he spoke.
"Yes, it is less risky and no, it's not fair! I told you, I'm no good…" Bella said as she wiped her tears away with her fingers.
"Bella?" Edward spoke after a moment.
"I'm scared too. Look at me, please!" He waited until she was looking at him and she saw the tears in his eyes. "I can't promise you that I will be on this earth forever. But I can promise you that I will love you every day that I am here. No matter what happens Bella, this is it for me. I don't want or need any other woman. I have found the other half of my soul." Edward stopped talking as she turned to sit on his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he felt her warms tears seeping into his shirt.
When they were both more in control of their emotions, Edward continued.
"The only way that you will realise that I mean what I say is by living with me every single day. But you need to give me your whole heart Baby. You need to let me in here." He put his hand over her chest and spread his fingers. "I want to know that you are all in this too. If you leave me Isabella, my life won't be worth living. I cannot make you happy Baby; you have to be happy on your own. With yourself! You know this, you have come so far with Paul and when the old insecurities creep in, you need to talk about it! Don't hide it away and hope that they go away! Talk to me! Talk to Paul! Please Bella, promise me. Promise me that you will commit to this relationship just like I have."
Bella stared at Edward in wonder. "I love you so much, Edward. I promise that I am committed to our relationship a thousand percent. I am yours and only yours. I wake up every day and thank my lucky stars that you love me. And it is hard to believe, but I do believe it, Edward Anthony Mason Cullen, loves me! You are my Master, my lover, my best friend and my husband to be! I can't wait to be your wife. I promise that I will not run and hide any longer." Bella said passionately and with conviction.
Edward rolled her onto her back as he hovered over her. His eyes were almost black, his face a fierce mask.
"Love is messy, Bella. It is risky and scary. You have to decide if you love me enough to take that risk. No one can guarantee you happiness, but do you want to live without me for the rest of your life just because you were frightened to love me too much? I am ready to take that risk, Bella. I am your Master, but Baby, you own me just like I own you." He growled out.
Bella pushed her body up to meet his hard one, "nothing would be more painful to me than life without you. I want to take that chance with you Edward Cullen, because you are worth it. You are so worth it!"
"You'd better fucking believe it Baby, because I am going to be reminding you of that for the rest of your life!" Edward said fiercely before his mouth covered hers and his hands pulled her tank top up and over her chest.
No more words were spoken for a long time in the bedroom.
That evening as Bella was getting dressed in the gorgeous short and slightly retro black and white dress that Alice had packed for her, she thought about one last topic that she needed to broach with Edward that night.
When she had finished doing her hair, makeup, Bella put on the impossibly high sandals, and she found Edward in the sitting room talking to Brian and Anderson.
Bella blushed slightly when she greeted the two men quietly.
"I'm sorry about last night, Brian," she said. "I put you in an uncomfortable position, and that was wrong of me. It won't happen again."
Brian scratched his neck as he shuffled his feet. "No need to worry about it, Bella."
"Well, I just wanted to say 'thanks' for watching my back."
Bella looked up as Edward opened the front door.
"Are we ready?" He asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be!" Bella retorted. He smiled and put his arm around her waist.
"Well you looked far too gorgeous my Love! Brian and Andy will have their work cut out for them tonight!"
The drive to the gallery was quiet. Bella sat tucked up against Edward. Just before the car began to slow down outside 'Artiste!' Riley's Los Angeles art gallery, Bella turned to Edward.
"Um, Babe? Please don't let me drink tonight! I just want a soda or water, nothing else, okay?" She fiddled with his lapel nervously.
Edward stared down at the top of her head. He ignored the fact that they had come to a stop and that there were paparazzi standing around the car. He spoke up without taking his eyes off Bella.
"Can you guys give us a moment please?" He said quietly.
Anderson and Brain got out of the car and began to move the clambering crowd back behind the control ropes that had been put out.
Edward touched Bella's cheek as she continued to look down.
"Hey! Look at me! That's better," he said as Bella reluctantly met his gaze.
"Bella, you are not an alcoholic! You don't have a drinking problem. You had a really shitty day and you drank too much and too quickly and you mixed all sorts of things together, it's no wonder that you were flat out on your ass! Baby, listen to me, trust me, okay? Trust yourself! You are a smart, beautiful and talented woman Isabella Swan and you are not your father or your mother! Do you believe me, Baby?" He stroked her jaw with his thumb gently.
Bella nodded, "yeah, you are right. I am not my parents! Thank you for being here, Edward." She said.
Edward flashed his signature crooked smile, "are you kidding me? Where else am I going to be? I belong right here, by your side. Now, come on, the sooner we get in there, the sooner we can leave!"
Bella took a deep breath and smiled as Edward reached out and opened her door.
The flashing bulbs almost blinded her, but Bella was careful to not look straight into them. She waited for Edward to follow and she smiled as she felt his arm pull her into his side.
Edward was charming as he chatted with members of the press, he made sure to remind them that he was not the main attraction, Bella and her art were. A reporter asked Bella if she had painted Edward, Bella laughed and glanced up at Edward through her lashes as he smirked down at her. The cameras exploded around them as the press captured the moment. Bella shrugged and quipped; "now that would be telling!"
The press loved it. Edward smiled at her, "told you, last night was nothing."
Once they were safely inside, Edward steered Bella over to Aro, Lucinda, and her friends. Bella greeted them warmly and within fifteen minutes, she had them all eating out of her hand.
Edward stood back with Aro as he watched Bella weave her magic without even knowing what she was doing.
Aro nudged his shoulder, "pick up your mouth, you're drooling, and it's pathetic!"
Edward rolled his eyes and grinned, "I can't help myself; she has bewitched me and I love it!"
Aro looked at Edward closely. He was glowing, but then again, so was Bella. Aro watched as the lovers caught each other's eye. Bella smiled briefly at Edward as her cheeks turned pink before the gallery manager whisked her away.
Aro smiled as he saw how Edward moved when Bella moved. It was as though they were invisibly connected. Every now and again, Edward would pick up something in Bella's body language and he would stand next to her, or touch her in some way. She would relax and Aro could see how her flagging spirit would spike again, when Edward was next to her.
After an hour, Edward could see that Bella was feeling anxious and self-conscious about being in the spot light. She had begun to fidget as she talked and several times in the past few moments she would look around for him. More people had crowded around her and Edward could see Bella stepping backwards.
He cursed under his breath and in the next instant he was across the room, shouldering his way to where Bella stood in a corner.
His eyes were dark, his face grim as he put his arm around her waist.
He turned to the crowd of people that wanted to hear what Bella had to say, and he forced himself to smile at them, "I'm sorry, but we have to leave. We have a prior engagement tonight, I'm afraid. You know what it's like…"
The gathering parted as he led Bella towards the door, where Brian and Anderson were waiting for them.
"Brian, can you barrel us to the car, while Anderson gets it started?" Edward asked.
They nodded and went into action and it seemed that only a moment later Edward and Bella were sitting in the back of the SUV as it sped away to Spargo, Beverley Hills.
Edward held Bella's hand and rubbed her cold fingers.
"Are you okay, Baby?"
Bella nodded, "yeah, thanks for getting me out of there, it just got a bit too much for me in there…"
Edward kissed her forehead. "It's perfectly okay, Bella."
Bella was surprised when they pulled up outside the famous restaurant. No one made a fuss of them and she and Edward waited until the hostess turned to greet them.
Besides her blush, which gave her away, the hostess was discreet and for once, she didn't try and hit on Edward, for which Bella was most grateful.
She led them to a table in the back of the room, which was made semi-private by the clever use of plants. One side of their table looked out onto a beautifully lit outside seating area. Bella looked at the four people sitting at the table, a medium height sandy blond man stood up as he caught sight of her and Edward.
Edward chuckled, "Toggle! It's good to see you, Man! You need to lay off those Grays Papaya's hotdogs my friend," he teased.
Ben glared at him, "just because you have plastic surgery to cut away your fat rolls, Floppy!"
Bella laughed as Edward growled at his friend.
A tall dark haired man with glasses and long hair that was tied into a ponytail let out a chuckle as he joined the one-armed group hug that they were doing, ignoring all the other patrons.
"Peter Perfect! Damn, son, you should cut your hair with scissors and not a butter knife!" Edward jeered.
Peter didn't hesitate, "I would Floppy, but you use all the fucking mirrors on the West Coast and there are none left for the little people!"
Bella smiled at their antics but turned her attention to the two women who were smiling back at her.
"Hi, I'm Bella." Bella said shyly.
"The small exotic looking woman smiled at her warmly, "I'm Tia Carmichael, and that cuddly bear there is my Ben."
Bella shook her hand just as the other woman with strawberry blond hair held out her hand, "I am Charlotte, Peter's girlfriend, he's the throwback hippy looking one!"
Bella laughed and she turned to look at the three men who were obviously fond of each other. Edward looked up and grinned at her, "Peter, Ben, this is my Bella. Bella these two miserable specimens are my two best friends outside of my brothers, Peter North and Ben Carmichael."
Ben stepped forward and gave her an awkward hug, while he blushed the entire time. "Hello, Bella." He sat down next to his wife.
Peter stepped up and rubbed his hands over his floral silk shirt, "you certainly are Bella; aren't you?" He winked at her before he took her hand and bowed over it to kiss it gently.
Charlotte rolled her eyes and grinned at Bella, "don't mind him, Bella; he suffers from a very misguided ego!"
Peter put his hand over his heart, "I'm crushed" he said as he pouted, but he moved to sit next to his girlfriend.
Edward shook his head as he held out Bella's seat. Once she was seated he sat down.
"Now do you understand why I keep them a secret? I would lose all credibility if word of our friendship goes out!"
Bella laughed along with the rest of the table, as Peter and Ben hurled insults at him.
That set the tone of the evening.
Bella barely had time to look around because she was kept entertained by the company at the table.
It was easy to see why Edward stayed friends with these two men. They made it easy to slip into being 'normal'.
Edward was very happy to announce at dinner that he wanted to work with both Ben and Peter for the movie score.
They celebrated with champagne, except Bella ordered sparkling grape juice for herself.
Everyone noticed and asked if there was a little 'floppy' inside. Bella blushed as she admitted that she had indulged too much the night before.
Peter laughed out loud at that, "she is carrying on our tradition of partying before the party, Cullen!"
Edward explained that often during college, they would have one too many before a final, which had the odd outcome of them always receiving an A or distinction for their post-binge work!
Bella was sorry to see the evening end, but after all their phone numbers were swapped, she and Edward headed back to their last night at the hotel before they headed down to San Diego.
Tia and Ben made them promise to get together with them when they were in New York the next month and Charlotte was thrilled that she and Edward would be moving to L.A. within the year for a few months. She and Bella made arrangements to meet up and look for a temporary home for her and Edward. She was an estate agent and when Bella told her that she loved what little she had seen of Santa Monica and Venice Beach, Charlotte said that she would begin looking for places to lease.
After hugs and loud goodbyes, Bella sighed as she snuggled next to Edward in the back of the car.
Bella was thinking about the evening and she couldn't believe that she had given Edward such a hard time about meeting his friends. She felt so foolish for doubting him! She knew that they were growing and changing and she just marveled at his patience and tenacity for the way that he pushed through and keep his good humor throughout her melt down.
Edward noticed that Bella was quiet on the drive back to the hotel, but he didn't break the silence. He knew that Bella needed to mull things over in her mind before she settled down and he was encouraged by how Bella had responded to his 'intervention' that morning.
Once they were back at the cottage, Edward stayed outside with Brian and Anderson for a few moments to finalize his surprise arrangements that he had made. He was excited and everything was in place. He just hoped that Bella liked it.
When he got inside, he found Bella in the shower. He undressed and joined her, opening the shower door quietly. Bella smiled when she felt his front against her back. She pressed her ass against him and she giggled when Edward's hands shot out to grip her hips.
"You are asking for trouble, Little Girl." He hissed into her ear.
Bella shivered in delight, "oooh brave words, little Sparky, but the question is can you deliver?"
A sharp smack landed squarely on her ass, which made her squeal.
Edward's hand pressed gently on the space between her shoulder blades, so that she was leaning against the wall and her pink ass was sticking up in an inviting pose as he rubbed out the sting with his other hand.
"I've told you before, there is nothing 'little' about either Mr. Cock or me," he growled.
Bella's giggle turned into a moan of pleasure as Edward rubbed the head of 'Mr. Cock' against her suddenly dripping pussy.
"Oh… fuck… you're right… please… fuck… nothing smalllllll…"
Edward thrust his staining dick deep inside her aching core until his balls slapped against her clit.
Edward had to pause for a moment to stop himself from cumming. The heat from her dripping core scorched him as her muscles sucked him even deeper.
"Fuck, Bella… your pussy is so tight… I could stay here forever! Push back… fuck… yeah just like that… so good…" he held her around her stomach while his other hand found her half hidden clit. He rubbed it gently in contrast to the way that he was pounding deep inside her.
"Edward! Harder Baby! Fuck me harder! So close… fuck, Babe... I'm so close!" Bella was moaning as she felt herself beginning to fall over the edge.
"Edward… I can't hold it any longer."
Edward felt his balls begin to ache with the effort to hold his climax back. He pinched her clit between his fingers, while his other hand slid down and he scissored his fingers around where they were joined.
"Feel that? Give me your hand."
Bella took one hand off the wall and she put her hand over Edward's. Their fingers wound around the base of his cock as it slid deep inside her.
"Can you feel that? That's my cock fucking your cunt Baby. I love you, Bella. Can you feel me loving you? Cum now, cum for me, Baby!"
Bella reached further down and she squeezed his balls as she began to cum all over his cock.
"Edward! I love you! I fucking love you, Baby! Edwardddd!"
"BELLA! I'M CUMMING BABY!" Edward shouted as he felt her small hand squeeze his balls as they tightened and his cum shot deep inside her as her pussy milked and convulsed around his cock.
Edward rested his torso over Bella's back as he struggled to regain his strength. His legs felt as if they were made of spaghetti.
Bella panted as she rested against the shower wall.
Edward stood up and noticed that Bella was beginning to shiver. The water had long since cooled.
"Fuck! Sorry, Baby! Let's get out of here."
He switched off the water and pulled two warmed, fluffy towels off the rails. He wrapped one around her body and he used the other one to dry her legs briskly. He handed Bella another towel to wrap around her hair, while he quickly dried himself off and wrapped a towel around his hips.
In the bedroom, Bella pulled a pale blue see through baby doll on, but she left off the matching thong panties. She towel dried her hair and walked back into the bathroom to brush her teeth.
Edward's eyes almost came out of his head when he saw Bella's ass barely covered in the see through blue fabric.
"Jeez Bella! Are you trying to kill me?" He was standing at one of the double sinks just having finished shaving so that he didn't have to do it in the morning.
Bella looked up with big innocent eyes, "what are you talking about?"
Edward narrowed his eyes at her, "you are playing with fire, Missy."
Bella grinned, "again with the wild claims, fire smire! Maybe a spark, Sparky!"
She was running before Edward threw the razor down.
After a fifteen minute tickle fest, Edward lay across the bed on his back, while Bella rested her head on his stomach as she stared up at the ceiling.
"Thank you for loving me like you do."
Edward began to protest but Bella stopped him, "no, I mean it. Please just let me get this out. Here's the thing… no one has ever and I mean ever loved me or supported me or believed in me the way that you do. Ever."
Bella sat up and then she knelt next to his shoulder so that she could look down at him.
"It's a scary, wonderful, intoxicating feeling. You are my champion. But you don't smother me. You let me make my own mistakes, like tonight, you didn't hover over me, but when I needed you, you were right there!"
Edward smiled as he reached up and tucked her drying hair behind her ear.
"I like your friends. They care about you a great deal and I'm sorry that I made such a fuss over this."
Edward braced himself on his elbows, "I'm not sorry about what happened this weekend at all. We have learned a lot more about each other than we knew before today. I understand more now when you get panicky about money and you understand me when I want to spoil you a little or a lot. I'm glad that we have been able to weather this little thunder storm."
He curled his hand around her neck and brought her lips to meet his.
"I love you so much, Baby." He said against her lips as Bella threaded her fingers into his wild hair.
The next morning Bella was surprised to see some boxes in the sitting room when she came through from having her shower and packing their bags, while Edward settled the bill.
Bella stared at the boxes with suspicion. Edward had insisted that she wear jeans with a long-sleeved T-shirt that morning, although the weather was quite warm.
She pulled her hair back and braided it down her back.
Edward opened the door and Bella felt her knees grow weak at the sight of Edward in scuffed boots, faded black jeans a T-shirt and a leather jacket.
Edward put his sunglasses on his head and grinned at her.
"Hey, Baby, are you ready to go?"
Bella nodded, "yes, but what's all this?"
Edward smiled as he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the side of her neck.
"These are vital to our journey. Open those two boxes over there."
Bella was curious and she opened the large white box first.
"Edward! What's this?"
Edward smiled as he came forward and pulled the leather jacket from the box.
"Try it on, it should fit."
Bella tried on the black leather jacket. It fitted perfectly.
He smiled, as he took in her long legs in her low-rise jeans, that she had teamed with a simple purple T-shirt. A tiny sliver of skin showed as she pulled her arms through the sleeves.
Edward nodded and zipped up the leave zippers.
"You look so fucking beautiful." He said roughly.
Bella pulled Edward closer by his lapels, "so are you?" She said as her eyes glowed with passion and love.
Edward nodded to the other two boxes. "Open that one..." he said as he reached for the last box.
Bella opened the box and pulled out the black leather driving gloves first before she uncovered the full face motorcycle helmet that was glossy black with a red stripe down the center.
Edward nodded and Bella's fingers closed over a pair of aviator sunglasses.
She looked at Edward with a puzzled look, "you know how to ride a bike?" She asked.
Edward was pulling on his own gloves. His helmet was black with a green stripe.
"Sure I can Emmett, Jazz, Carlisle and I all have bikes at the farm, why?"
Bella swallowed thickly, "you just don't seem like the … type, you know"
Fuck me. He is so hot!
Edward smirked at her, "I'm glad that I can still surprise you, baby. Come one, Brian and Anderson will follow in the SUV with our luggage and Emmett insisted that they accompany us."
Bella took one last look around before she stepped outside.
A huge motorcycle sat in front of the cottage. It was black with red, green and white stripes on the tank.
"You like it?" Edward spoke from behind her.
Bella turned around with a grin that spread across her face.
"I most definitely like!"
Edward chuckled and turned to Brian and Anderson, "so we will see you down there?"
Anderson nodded, "don't try, and lose us!"
Edward picked Bella up and sat her on the back of the bike before he climbed on and the next moment the engine roared to life.
Bella gasped as a flood of her juices seamed to leak out of her.
Edward turned his head and his dark eyes caught her look of lust.
"Ready to ride with me?" He asked.
Oh you have no idea how ready I am to ride you! "More than ready!" Bella answered.
"Hold on then, here we go!"
It seemed as if the next minute they were flying Santa Monica Boulevard on their way to San Diego.
In the end, it took them three days to reach the Omni Hotel in San Diego.
Edward stopped in obscure seaside towns and villages. They lay on the beach for hours talking.
They made love on the motorbike along an old deserted road, where Edward pulled into suddenly and before Bella could react, he was spinning around and pulling her shorts off before he lowered her onto his insatiable cock. Bella screamed into his shoulder as he pinched her nipples under her knotted denim shirt.
Edward had found out of the way places for them to stay. Small inns and Bed and Breakfast places where people did not give him a second look. They explored beaches; odd shops and they bought T-shirts at almost all of the touristy towns. Making love became a need like eating or sleeping. Edward was never satisfied and neither was Bella.
As Bella stood just inside the modern gallery, smiling at an elderly couple that wanted to commission a piece of art for their living room, Bella looked up into the smoldering green eyes across the room.
She got his message loud and clear.
I want to leave so that I can fuck you hard and fast.
Her answer was relayed in her eyes as she nodded slightly and bit her bottom lip deliberately: I want you inside me NOW!
Edward smirked and turned away to glance outside.
Bella growled in her chest, startling the couple, who left shortly afterwards.
An hour later, she had had enough! Edward had teased her with his shouldering glances, seemingly innocent touches and whispered words that tickled her ear and made her drip with need.
She bit out a goodbye to Arielle and Bella said that she would see her in New York for the final showing.
With that, she grabbed Edward's hand and pulled him outside and to the car.
"Whoa Baby, what's the hurry?" He asked with a sly grin.
Bella swung around and hit him in the chest, and then she gripped his black T-shirt in one hand as she pushed him against the car and she leaned in close to hiss into his ear, "you are a tease! Moreover, you are shameless. You know that we are leaving for Napa tomorrow and that the place is going to be crawling with parents and siblings and guests and there is no way that we can do anything, so I want to get my fill of you in while I still can, so let's get moving!"
She let him go and walked to the back door where she pulled it open got inside and slammed it shut again.
Edward closed his mouth as he looked up at Anderson and Brian, who were still standing with their mouths hanging open.
Edward could feel his cock swell and he was sure that he grew taller as he puffed out his chest.
"You heard the lady, let's get moving!"
He knew that the weekend ahead was going to be eventful and entertaining.
Hi – I hope you enjoyed this chapter – believe me these two went completely off script with this chapter! I sent Fee an emergency SOS on Wednesday with what I had written of the chapter and she got me back on track – thank you my Aussie Queen!
I have to share a comment that Fee made regarding the outtake that I wrote about Carlisle and Esme. This was my line– Esme raised her eyes to his, "good girl, I'm going to release your clamps, but I want you to lie down first. Can you do that for me, Pet?"
My wonderful Beta put the following comment next to the line - and I quote "No fuck off you nasty man for not allowing me my release… I really would not be good in this life style. I would have blown my top by now! He would have had a fist to the jaw!"
You crack me up girl, you really do! I have not done much reading as I spend my time writing but I must say Fee has given youall some great recs for the week.
Next up – it's wedding season – and Emmett will be taking part in the Easter Egg hunt (heaven help the kids)!
Love you all so much,
Hi Everyone, I have not recommended anything to you all for a while. I have a few new ones for you that I have enjoyed reading.
Politics and Prejudices by damsell - Bella Swan, speech writer to Senator Carlisle Cullen, has moved to Washington D.C. where she quickly has to learn to navigate the political arena which seems more akin to a gladiator arena than she expected.
Edward Masen, Chief of Staff to Senator Aro Volturi, has grown up in the world of politics and it has left him jaded to the nature of people in D.C.
When these two players in D.C. politics come together sparks fly, but can Edward overcome his prejudices to let Bella into his heart? Will Bella's inexperience in dealing with the dog-eat-dog world of politics lead to her downfall as well as the downfall of those that have put their trust in her?
The Vineyard by EricaNoelle180 - France 1830 - After the betrayal and death of his wife, Englishman Edward Cullen is bitter by love. But when he meets a tradesmen's daughter who was everything his late wife wasn't, Edward finds himself giving his heart to a woman who he, in the past, would deem improper. With duties of society and burdens of the past pushing them in all directions, will the two lovers be able to give themselves everything their hearts desire?
Rebel Child and a Preacher's DaughterbyRandom Girl- Bella is the daughter of strict Baptist preacher, Charlie Swan. Charlie accepts the position of head pastor at Forks First Baptist Church, and moves his family from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington. This uproots Bella, along with her cousin Jasper who lives with them, from the only home they have ever known. Bella is going through a lot of hard times on her road to self discovery.
Her mother is dead and she doesn't really have many friends besides Jasper. Her father is very protective of her and doesn't let her have a normal teenage life. She desperately wants independence so she can find herself in the world. With the help of Jasper, her new love interest bad boy Edward Cullen, and her new friends at Forks, she just may be able to figure who she really is, before her father brainwashes her into believing she is something that she's not.
I hope you enjoy them like I do, I have a few more but I shall leave them till next time. Have a great week everyone and thank you for supporting the Queensland Australian, at this time. There is a lot of clean up that is still being done. So thank you again.