All recognizable characters and likenesses belong to Stephenie Meyer
A huge thank you to Kelly, vanilladoubleshot, for betaing this for me and listening to me blabber on about everything and nothing. Thank you for telling me this story was a good idea :) Also, hello to everyone who already alerted me from my preview on lion_lamb. *waves* hello!
This story is going to be M. The rating says so, but just a fair warning, it will earn it's rating; this is not a story for minors or anything like that.
Enough of me, enjoy! :)
A slight brunette slipped quietly from her apartment, careful not to wake her roommate. It was very late, or very early depending on whether you were starting your day or ending it. The sky was still dark and slightly murky in the predawn, a faint band of light visible on the horizon of the sleeping city.
She made her way down the front stairs, mentally checking that she had everything she needed. She paused on the sidewalk and glanced back at the apartment door, trying to remember where she had left her note for Rosalie. The note stated that the brunette would be gone for the next week with her new boss, and she would return on Sunday evening. It wasn't technically a lie; more of a lie of omission, a half truth.
She started up the sidewalk once more, adjusting the heavy bag on her shoulder and glancing at her watch; she was desperately hoping she would make it to the Pearl District by 4:30. There was supposed to be a car waiting for her on the next street over that would take her to the Benson Hotel. She had taken a little too long this morning to get ready and was now pressing herself for time. But, she wanted to look good for her new boss. She wanted -- no, needed -- this to work; she was taking the biggest chance of her life.
The brunette rounded the corner and saw a dark car idling with its lights on. She prayed silently that this was her transport to the Benson, and wouldn't instead be taking her to a dark road near the river. But, she knew God would not hear her, not with the dark path she was about to follow.
The air was crisp and she could see her breath as she pulled her coat tighter around herself. She approached the car warily, the urge to flee coursing through her.
A car door opened and an older gentleman emerged from the driver's seat.
She breathed a sigh of relief. She knew that voice.
"Alistair, good morning."
The older man, Alistair, smiled at her and rounded the front of the dark town car, reaching for her heavy bag.
"You are very nearly late, my dear," and he winked and smiled as he shouldered the bag and walked to the back door, opening it for her.
"I know, and I'm sorry. I was a little behind this morning, will we be late to the Benson?" She was nervous now. She didn't want to leave her new boss waiting. What kind of impression would she make then? Arriving late to their first encounter, what would he think of her?
"You happen to be in luck, little one, Mr. Cullen's red eye flight was delayed slightly departing Chicago, and you will be arriving before he does at the Benson. Luck seems to be on your side."
He smiled kindly, fatherly and her and she lowered herself into the car. It was warm inside and she snuggled herself deep into her coat to warm her bones. She heard the trunk slam and saw Alistair coming to take the driver's seat once again.
"Are you nervous?" He asked as he fastened his seatbelt and turned the heat a little higher.
"Yes, quite a lot actually." She wasn't going to sugar coat it.
"Don't be. It will be fine."
She didn't feel comforted though. She knew Alistair was speaking from experience, speaking of the ones who came before her. They surely had been nervous too, inexperienced in this sort of arrangement, and Alistair had told them in his kind voice that it, this impending endeavor, would be fine.
She sighed as he pulled out into the street and headed towards the Benson. She rested her head against the window and watched Portland slip by in the early morning.
When the elevator doors opened to the Grand suite, Bella's mouth dropped open in shock. She knew that Mr. Edward Cullen was a very wealthy man, but she had no idea what that sort of wealth meant. The room was vast and everything seemed to glisten. It was spotless and pristine, there were even vacuum lines visible in the carpet. The suite was warm and welcoming, full of warm browns and soothing taupes that were enhanced by a small gas fireplace burning in the corner. There was a handsome Baby Grand that monopolized much of the den area, and Bella smiled realizing the reason for the name of the suite. The lid was down on the piano and a small vase of orchids sat on top.
"Isabella," called Alistair, snapping Bella out of her wonder. She must have been staring for quiet some time. She glanced to her right and found Alistair waiting patiently for her by a closed door. He beckoned with his hand and she turned and started toward him.
She unbuttoned her heavy coat and went to place it over the back of one of the sitting chairs near the door before Alistair stopped her.
"Mr. Cullen is very particular about how his house is kept. He likes things very neat and tidy. A rogue winter coat might set him into a tailspin." He winked and smiled before folding her coat over her arm. "Now, come. I want to show you the bedroom."
He pushed the door open to reveal a large bedroom with an equally large bed. The warm color scheme had continued, with a dark bed frame with a large headboard, topped with a warm coffee bed spread. There was a large sliding glass door with the curtains drawn, revealing a balcony with a gorgeous view of the still sleeping city. There was a dainty desk next to the armoire, with an expensive looking computer sitting on top of it. There was also another, smaller vase of orchids. Bella wondered if they held any significance.
"The bath is through the far door, if you'd like to go inspect it. I wouldn't get too attached to that bathtub however; you aren't staying here long."
Bella turned. "Does Mr. Cullen have another business trip so soon?"
"No, but we are moving to the Benson Tower on Thursday, it's just a few blocks from here. We are one of the first to be moving in."
"Oh," Bella replied dumbly. She didn't know what else to say. She wondered how long it would take to get accustomed to this lifestyle of moving from expensive penthouses to even more expensive apartments like it was nothing.
"I'll go hang your coat. Mr. Cullen will be home shortly, so I'm going to order breakfast; what would you like?"
"Eggs, over medium with sourdough toast."
Alistair nodded. "Don't be too long, there are some things that I need to discuss with you before Mr. Cullen arrives home." And with that, he pulled the door closed behind him quietly.
Sighing, Bella stepped more fully into the bedroom. She trailed her fingers along the edge of the bed, feeling the soft duvet against her fingertips. She tried not to let her mind wander to what might happen in this bed tonight, not wanting to be flushed when she went back out to speak with Alistair. This was going to take some getting used to, but she was determined to do everything she was supposed to. She needed him to like her enough to keep her around for a while. She needed the money desperately to pay off her college loans, and this had sort of fallen into her lap.
Sighing again, Bella peeked into the bathroom and wanted to moan at the sight of the bathtub. It was large enough for probably three people and had jets lining the sides. She hoped the one at the new apartment would be as nice.
She made her way back out to the living area to see Alistair waiting for her at the dining table, a cup of tea in front of him.
"Sit," he invited, pushing the cup of tea toward her.
She walked around the table and sat down across from him, accepting the cup. She slid her hands around the mug to warm her fingers up.
"I know you have been briefed on the majority of your duties and expectations, so there are just a few things that I need to go over with you. Mr. Cullen would normally be the one to do this, but as he is running behind schedule, it would be best if I get it out of the way."
Bella nodded and took a sip of her tea.
"As you are aware, in corporate situations, you are posing as Mr. Cullen's assistant. Aside from the information you are given, you are not to ask him about his job. You will be given all the information that you need prior to any meetings or social events, and you will need familiarize yourself with the information incase you are questioned. Mr. Cullen is very private, and any information he chooses to share with you is the only information he will share with you. In social situations, you are Mr. Cullen's date, nothing more nothing less. You are also aware that you are given an allowance?"
Bella's head was kind of reeling but she nodded, encouraging Alistair to continue.
"You are to accept the allowance with no questions. A few in the past have complained it was too much or too little, and they have not been here to spend it. The allowance is currently set at five thousand per week, and you are to spend it however you like. Mr. Cullen will pay for any additional clothing, etcetera that you might need for social events or trips. He may make a decision to increase your allowance, should he choose, but he will never lower it below the five thousand. Are you with me so far, my dear?"
Bella nodded once more and raised a shaky hand to sip her tea. Five thousand per week? She had no concept of that amount of money.
"Good. You have followed your pre-rendezvous instructions, I assume, and you are currently on birth control?"
Bella bit her lip to hide her embarrassment. "Yes, the brand that Mr. Cullen requested."
"Excellent. I doubt I need to elaborate much on this portion of the agreement, but you must be prepared to have sex with Mr. Cullen at anytime, unless you have your period or you have taken ill. And you are to share his bed every night that you are with him. He will have further instructions for you that I am not privy to."
Bella too a deep breath and closed her eyes, nodding. This was the part that she would have to get used to the most. She could do it, it was just part of her life now.
Alistair patted her hand and she opened her eyes. "It will be fine," he repeated before continuing.
"There will be trips where Mr. Cullen does not require you accompaniment. You are free to stay here, or rather at the Benson Tower, when he is not home, or you may return to your own home for the duration of his absence. As long as you return before he does, there is no issue. Are there any other questions?"
"No, I think you've covered everything."
He smiled. "If there is anything you think of, please don't hesitate to ask. Any more intimate details can be addressed to Mr. Cullen."
"Oh, I do have one question."
She smiled a bit sheepishly at him.
"Where do you stay?"
He laughed warmly. "I have a room on the floor below this one. There is a phone in the bedroom that is linked to one in mine should he need me at any time. That's usually the case wherever we go."
"You didn't accompany him on this trip, though. Do you usually go everywhere with him?"
"Yes, usually. But I had to stay and collect you this time."
Bella smiled and ducked her head before finishing her tea. She was a bit relieved that Alistair didn't stay on the same floor with them. She didn't think she could bear it to see him in the mornings knowing he had heard them the night before. She heard a ding from the elevator, pulling her from her musings and she hoped it was the room service because she was starving.
Alistair stood and walked toward the door as it opened. It was not room service.
Edward Cullen stepped off the elevator wearing a crisp black suit that looked a bit ruffled from traveling. His hair looked to be in the same state. His eyes looked tired, but he smiled at Alistair as he walked past him, patting him gently on the shoulder before he entered the dining room.
Bella sat frozen as his eyes fell on her. How should she greet him? How should she address him? She should have asked more questions.
He narrowed his eyes a fraction before he opened his mouth.
"Isabella?" He asked softly, raising an eyebrow. She nodded and he bit his lip before nodding his head in return. He removed his laptop bag from his shoulder and set it on the table, his eyes lingering on her for a moment longer before he turned and headed back toward the elevator, his hand going into his pocket. She saw a third man standing by the door, the bellhop, who was unloading several pieces of luggage from the elevator. Mr. Cullen shook the man's hand and she heard him thank the bellhop before he turned to enter the elevator to retrieve one last bag.
She took a deep breath and tried calm herself. She was a bit taken aback by his presence. He had been handsome in his pictures, but she wasn't sure they had done him any justice. That, coupled with that fact that he really did exist threw her for a loop. There was a difference between seeing someone in pictures and finally seeing him, fully realized in front of you.
She heard the elevator chime once more, and she glanced up to see Alistair and Mr. Cullen walking back toward her. She took another deep breath, hoping to come across a little more coherent in this second meeting. She stood and smoothed her blouse.
Alistair smiled at her when he saw her standing. "Little one, you don't have to act like he's the king, standing before he enters a room," he chuckled.
Bella's eyebrows knitted; now she just felt stupid. This was starting well.
But Mr. Cullen saved her from embarrassment, stepping forward and offering his hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Isabella."
She stared for a moment before she put her hand in his.
"Thank you, Mr. Cullen, but please call me Bella. Only my mother calls me Isabella, and that's usually when she's angry with me."
He looked at her, and smiled softly. "Bella. Well, if you insist I call you Bella, I must also insist that you call me Edward. Mr. Cullen get tiring after a while."
Bella smiled in return and dropped her hand.
"Alistair, will breakfast arrive soon? I would like to get a bit of rest before it gets too late and the day is shot."
"Yes, it should be due at any moment. I ordered it not long after Miss Swan and I arrived."
"Good, I'll just get changed."
He turned and started toward the bedroom, closing the door swiftly behind him. Bella let out a breath.
"That wasn't so terrible, was it?" asked Alistair. "He's not a monster."
Bella nodded absently, her eyes still on the door to the bedroom.
She heard the elevator chime again, and was relieved that room service was finally here. She might be a little better with food in her stomach. She sat the dining room table once more.
A young boy, no more than seventeen wheeled the food cart into the dining room, with Alistair not far behind him, telling him where to part it. Bella smiled at him and he flushed before retreating back to the elevator without a word.
"He's a bit shy," Edward's voice startled her as he came to sit where Alistair had been seated during their discussion. He was dressed in a Dartmouth t-shirt and a pair of basketball shorts. It was a drastic change from the business suit.
"Oh, I didn't mean to startle him."
Edward shook his head as Alistair handed him a cup of coffee. "He only works on the weekends and I'm fairly certain he doesn't like to come up this high in the hotel. I've only gotten him to speak to me a few times and I'm sure a beautiful woman smiling at him was a bit more than he could handle." He took a sip of his coffee and reached for the newspaper Alistair had lay next to him.
Bella bit her lip. He thought she was beautiful.
"Has all of the furniture been delivered to the townhouse, Alistair? Have you heard?"
Alistair came around Bella and placed her breakfast in front of her. She had never been so happy to see food and began to eat.
"Yes, I received word just last night that the last of it had been delivered and installed. It will be ready on schedule for you and Ms. Swan to move in on Thursday."
Edward lowered the paper and glanced at him. "Is it ready today? Would we be able to go over and take a look at it?"
"I don't see why not. I can make a few phone calls to check, however."
"Please. I'd like to take Bella over for a tour after I've laid down for a few hours. Jet lag is obnoxious. Would you be interested, Bella?" He spoke to her directly, his green eyes gazing at her face.
Bella had not been expecting to be addressed and she had a mouth full of egg and toast. She swallowed hugely before nodding. "I would love to," she choked and panted a bit as the food did not slide down smoothly. Edward grinned.
"Alistair, I think Bella might need something to drink. Smaller bites next time, hmm?"
She nodded as Alistair brought her a glass of of orange juice and she drank gratefully.
The rest of breakfast was quiet. Edward finished his eggs benedict and toast before he stood and stretched.
"Bella, I have something for you, if you will come with me."
She stood and followed him to the bedroom. He walked to the bedside table closest to the door and opened the top drawer. He pulled out a long white envelope and handed it to her.
"Here is your allowance for this week. Inside this envelope is a debit card, attached to an account containing four thousand dollars. The remaining thousand is in cash inside as well. While I lay down, you are free to go shopping to pick up any clothes you think that you might need, as well as anything else you desire. There is a place directly across the street where I have an account with a personal shopper named Alice Whitlock. She will be happy to help you should you require it. I also have a separate unlimited account at La Perla, which you are free to use, aside from your allowance. Alice would be more than happy to help you there as well. Do you have any questions?"
Bella turned the envelope over in her hands before shaking her head.
"No, thank you." She glanced up and him and he was smiling at her.
"Thank you. I look forward to our time together." His thumb and forefinger gripped her chin and he placed a gentle kiss to her cheek, before he pressed another soft kiss to her mouth.
His lips were soft, and she was disarmed slightly by his kiss. She hadn't expected him to kiss her so soon. But, his lips was gentle and chaste against hers; a greeting of new friends.
"Please return by eleven. Alice will not be across the street until eight, so you are free to do what you please until that time. You may lay down with me if you choose. Hopefully by eleven, we will be able to head over the Benson Tower and look at the apartment. I think you will like it. The view is breathtaking."
Bella couldn't help but feel quite taken with Edward already. The way he spoke was so eloquent; his words made her feel warm. He was handsome and seemed kind and gentle. She wondered why a man like him needed an arrangement like this.
'"I'll lay with you for a little while." She wanted to lay in that vast bed with him and watch the sun rise while he slept next to her.
He smiled. "All we are going to do is sleep. I'm far too jet-lagged for anything else to happen at the moment. Would you like to change? I don't think those clothes will be very comfortable to sleep in. Or shop for that matter."
She nodded and moved away from him. She stopped short and glanced around the room.
"I don't know where my bag is," she realized aloud. She hadn't seen it since Alistair and her had entered the penthouse.
Edward walked out of the bedroom and she heard the men speaking from the dining room. He returned a few moments later, producing her large duffel.
"You may change in the bathroom if you feel more comfortable there."
Bella smiled and was glad he wasn't rushing her. He had known from her application that this was her first arrangement of this kind, and she was grateful he wasn't pressuring her despite that.
She bent over and pulled a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt from the bag before going to the en suite. She changed quickly and glanced at herself in the mirror. She frowned; she definitely planned to utilize the La Perla account. There was no way she would go to bed like this at night.
Entering the bedroom, she found him laying near the middle of the bed, on the side closest to the door. She walked to the bed and slipped under the covers, scooting toward him as graceful and lady-like as she could manage. His hand found her hip under the sheet as she moved and he pulled her toward him gently, her back against his chest. She wondered fleetingly how she could feel so comfortable with a man she had only met 45 minutes ago, but she just assured herself that she was doing what she was supposed to; she was being what he wanted her to be, what he was paying her to be.
"I set you an alarm for eight, if you fall asleep," he murmured as she got comfortable.
She settled into the soft bed, resting her head against the down pillow. Edward settled in, too, tucking himself close to her, and draping an arm across her waist. She could feel his breath in her hair.
"You smell like wildflowers," he stated, his voice soft and sleepy. She smiled to herself and nuzzled the pillow as she glanced out the window. The sun was beginning to rise and she let herself drift off to sleep as the city below awoke.
I'm about to go start writing chapter 2 right after I post this, so look for that soon. If you want to keep up with what I'm doing or when I'm posting ect, you can follow me on twitter liioncub. I look forward to seeing everyone over there!