I think you're just so pleasant.
I would like you for my own.
Lyrics from She & Him
Bella's heart was pounding in her chest as she made her way carefully towards the counter. If she didn't feel so damn unsteady in Rose's godforsaken shoes, she would have run, but as it was, she had to measure her every step and walk as slowly as possible. She was sure she looked ridiculous.
Making it to the counter, she sat gratefully on her stool, and tried to look calm and collected when she was really a jumble of emotions. Dear God, had she really just done that? Had she really pressed herself into Edward that way? And holy hell, how did she manage not to lose her control completely?
Stick to the plan, Bella, STICK TO THE PLAN!! Bella chanted this thought over and over inside her head. The plan, as designed by Alice, was so far on schedule. Too far on schedule, she realized with a rueful grin. At this very moment, Edward was either realizing that she was shamefully throwing herself at him, or he truly was as dumb as a box of rocks, as his sister believed. In which case, Bella had no clue what she was going to do, short of showing up at his house naked.
It took all of her self-control not to look up when she heard him enter the room. She stuck to the plan and pretended to be working on the order for next week. She didn't even look up upon hearing Edward clear his throat. But his words caused her head to snap up and their eyes collided like magnets.
"Game's over, boys." There was a glint in his eyes that sent a maelstrom of shivers down Bella's back.
A wave of grumbles and complaints floated around the room, all of which Edward seemed immune to and Bella barely perceived. Her eyes trained on Edward's unreadable expression. She watched as he turned and looked around the room meaningfully, "Bella has been working all day and needs to go home. So again, game over. Let's go."
Without further ado, Edward started clearing off the tables and pushing everyone out the door. Bella had no idea what to make of this new development and decided the best course of action was to stay focused on closing the shop. She ran through her nightly duties instinctively, turning off the open sign, checking the bathroom for occupants, and returning merchandise to their proper places. She wished she could take the heels off, but she knew it would break one of Alice's cardinal rules. It just meant that everything would take a little longer than normal as she was trying desperately not to fall down.
Occasionally, she would steal a glance over at Edward to see what he was doing, but he seemed to be single minded as he focused on getting everyone out of the store. She still didn't know if this was a good or bad sign, and his lack of attention towards her was causing her to believe all wasn't well. Had she crossed the line? Was Edward trying to get as far away from her as he possibly could so she wouldn't sexually harass him anymore? The thought caused Bella to blush and her stomach to churn with worry. Dear God, what had she been thinking to go along with Alice's crazy plan?
Swallowing hard, Bella waved disinterestedly as everyone made their way towards the door. She moved back behind the counter to start counting her till. A regular, a college kid by the name of Taylor, stopped to chat with her on his way out.
"Hey, Bella?" He looked nervous, his face slightly pinker than normal and his hands fidgeting.
"Uh… do you have any plans tonight?" She watched as he swallowed hard and was confused by his uneasiness.
"Oh… That's great." Bella shot him a puzzled look and he continued. "I was wondering if maybe you'd like to…"
But before he could finish, Edward's voice sounded from behind her, causing her to leap. "She's not going out with you ever. Go home, Taylor."
"Isn't that up to her?" The look on Taylor's face was defensively belligerent.
"No." It wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it. The deadly look in his eyes left no doubt in Taylor's mind that Edward meant business.
Grumbling, he put his head down, mumbled a goodbye to Bella, and left. Bella stood in shock, unable to process what had occurred, and what it all meant.
She heard a rustling behind her, and then watched stupidly as Edward went to the front door and locked it. On his way back to the counter, he shut off the front lights, leaving the room in semi-darkness. The lights from the back half of the room gave the room a soft glow. It was normal procedure at the shop, that way people didn't think they were open or come knocking at the door after hours to ask questions. However, tonight it created an intimacy which caused the hair on Bella's arms to stand on end. Her pulse quickened and she resolved to count the money in the till without looking up until it was done.
"Do you want some help with that?" Edward asked softly behind her.
Bella could feel he was close, but she refused to turn around. "Sure." She squeaked and cleared her throat noisily.
Edward chuckled softly and moved to stand directly behind her, his body bushing against her gently and sending a shiver through her own. He leaned down so that his chin was nearly resting on her shoulder, his breath was moist and warm against her neck, as his voice sounded in her ear. "What have you done so far?"
"What have I done?" she gulped. Bella nearly went into hysterics when she replayed all the things she had done tonight.
Edward swayed slightly, brushing himself against her again. "Let me rephrase that," he said smugly, "What have you counted so far?"
"Oh… um… nothing?"
"Are you asking me? Or telling me?" Bella could hear the laughter in his voice and became more flustered.
"I don't know." She whispered pathetically. Taking pity on her, Edward moved out of her way so she could sit on her stool.
"Sweetheart, why don't you sit down and I'll count the till. You've had a busy night." The endearment shocked her, and Bella instinctively twisted around quickly to get a look at Edward's face. In her rush, she had forgotten the dreaded heels, however, and her body became a twisted mess, her ankle rolling, and her feet becoming tangled. A sharp pain shot up her leg as her body pitched wildly to the side and she fell suddenly to the floor.
Mortified, Bella half lay, half sat on the ground, her eyes shut tight, as she gasped for air. How many times had she warned Alice this would happen? A helplessly nervous giggle bubbled its way out of her throat and Bella felt completely foolish.
Edward squatted down beside her, concern written on every line of his face. "Bella, are you okay?"
Opening her eyes, Bella looked at Edward in surrender. "Not really, but I think if I haven't died of shame already, I'll be okay."
Edward body shook with silent laughter as he looked down at Bella sprawled out on the floor. She wasn't just beautiful. She was so much more than a pretty face with fantastic legs and a great backside. She was witty and graceful, caring and intelligent, fun and humble, soft and brave. In that moment, Edward realized that the girl he had always dreamed about finding his whole life had been literally sitting right in front of his face for three years now, and he'd been letting her sit there, waiting on him to realize it. What a fool he had been!
Tenderly, Edward helped Bella sit up so her back was leaning against the counter. "Do you feel up to standing?"
The sudden softness in Edward's eyes mesmerized Bella, causing all sorts of tingling sensations to course through her body. She had dreamed about him looking at her in this exact way for so long, and now that it was happening, she felt overwhelmed with the gift of it. It was so much better than any day dream she had ever had while sitting at this exact counter. "Can you help me?" she asked shyly.
Without another word, Edward slowly pulled her to a standing position. The weight on her right ankle was too much, however, and she stumbled into his arms. "Just as I thought," he muttered. "Is it your ankle?"
She merely nodded. Unable to speak, Bella felt his arms loosely wrap around her waist and her head instinctively rested against his shoulder, as she leaned heavily into him.
"I'm going to move you to sit down, so I can get a look at it." Edward's voice was soothing, yet firm. Bella knew he wasn't asking but telling her. She merely nodded her head in response.
Edward's left hand glided up Bella's back, sending shock waves up her spine, as he removed his right arm from around her and brought it towards the front of his body. Bending down slightly, he placed his right arm underneath her knees and lifted her into his arms. Bella's head fell softly against his shoulder and she closed her eyes, feeling safe and protected.
Edward walked around the front of the counter, adoring the feel of the sweet girl in his arms. Thinking quickly, he realized he needed to sit her down somewhere that would give him the best view of her ankles. Stopping in front of the counter, he placed her on top of it to sit. Her legs were freely dangling from the ledge. She looked bemused, he couldn't help but grin.
"You still with me, Bella?"
"Mhmm…" she muttered, opening her eyes and giving him the most adorably dreamy look he had ever witnessed. He struggled, trying to remember why she was even sitting on the counter and had the immediate desire to kiss her, his eyes growing heavier, as he watched her worry her bottom lip between her teeth.
"Well, let's get these death traps off." His voice was a little too loud but he couldn't help it.
Kneeling down, he took her left foot in his hands and started unclasping her shoe carefully, and after setting it down next to him, he proceeded to work on the next one. Bella's right foot twitched slightly, alerting Edward that this was in fact the hurt ankle. All business now, Edward tried not to think about the fact that he was running his hands up and down Bella's very shapely, black-stocking-clad leg. "How does your knee feel?"
"Fine." Bella forced out as she watched Edward's hand run up her calf and gently under and around her knee then back down to her ankle again.
"We… uh… we need to get you out of these stockings." He looked up at her apprehensively. "I need to see if it is bruised."
Bella's mouth formed in the shape of an O, but no sound came out. Gingerly, she scooted her way off the counter and placed all of her weight on her left foot. Looking up at the ceiling, she debated her options. There was no way she could make it to the back, yet there was also no way she could pull up her dress and take them off in front of Edward.
As if reading her mind, Edward turned his back on Bella without a word, and she pulled them off as quickly as possible all while standing on one leg propped up against the counter. Standing with them in her hands, she felt awkward and looked for a place to put them that would be out of sight. "You done?" Edward asked.
Startled, Bella squeaked, "Done!" As she involuntarily threw the stocking straight up in the air, they floated down and landed on her head in the exact same moment that Edward turned around.
Edward grinned like the Cheshire Cat at the sight of Bella with her stockings on her head and her stomach once again was in turmoil. "Hm… I'm not sure that look works for you?"
Grabbing the undergarment off her head, Bella balled them up and threw them behind the counter, sending Edward a reproachful look. "Hahaha, very funny."
"I try," he said on a shrug as he lifted her back up onto the counter and resumed his spot on the floor in front of her.
Bella watched him, loving the sight of her foot in his hands and the feel of his bare skin on hers. She couldn't hold back the soft moan that escaped her lips when he once again ran his hand up her leg and around her knee, only this time there was nothing between them. "Did that hurt, honey?" Edward's voice sounded as if he was being strangled.
"No… my ankle is just a little tender to the touch."
Gaining his fraying composure and forcing himself to stand up, Edward stood directly in front of Bella as he gave her his prognosis. "You've sprained your ankle. It's slightly bruised but I'd say it's minor. Do you have a brace at home?"
Bella shook her head no.
"I've got one. You'll need to keep it elevated for a few days and iced. If the pain gets to be too much, you can take a some Advil, which would help with the swelling."
"Why, thank you, doctor." She teased.
"You're welcome, little smarty pants." Edward tweaked her nose playfully and continued. "Being that this injury happened on the job and is linked to your boss's wife having you use dangerous machinery," at this he nodded at Rose's shoes on the ground, "I'd say this will certainly be covered under workman comp. You should at least get a week off with pay."
"A week, huh?" Bella giggled as she blushed.
"And will I have to come in for another appointment?" She asked hopefully.
"Hm…" he pondered, while moving closer to Bella, his eyes half-mast and centered on her lips. "No."
"No? But why not?" She said with a pout.
"There will be no need." His hands reached for her, running slowly up her sides, his hips nudging her legs apart so he could get closer to her.
Bella was confused and couldn't hide the hurt from her voice, "There will be no need?"
"No, my little parrot, there will be no need for another appointment." Edward's hands ran up her back pulling her to the edge of the counter, his body inching closer to hers. "Scoot closer to me, honey."
Without thinking, Bella moved closer to the edge of the counter, her body now pressed against Edward's completely, her bare legs brushing either side of his hips. "But why, Edward? Why wouldn't I need another appointment?" she asked pleadingly.
His mouth moved closer to hers and he whispered against her lips, "Because I'm not leaving your side from this moment on."
Bella gasped, her knees instinctively squeezing Edward's hips. "Don't make promises you don't intent to keep," she warned.
Edward pulled back slightly, his eyes now serious and alert, as he looked her square in the face. "This is a promise I intend to keep, Bella. It all depends on what you do with it."
Swallowing all her pride, Bella wound her arms around Edward's neck, her hands seeking out his hair, gently tugging it as she pulled him closer. "I've been working at a comic bookstore for three years now, just waiting to hear you say you wanted me."
A growl emitted from the back of his throat. "Oh, I want you. There is no doubt about that."
"Then show me how much," she bravely dared him.
Grunting, Edward lowered his lips to hers, their breath intermingling, their lips an inch away from touching. "I want all of you. Your heart, your soul, and your body."
"And in return?"
"I'll give you all that I am." His voice came out as a solemn oath.
Bella sighed in surrender as tears sprang to her eyes. No sweeter words had she ever heard. Her eyes closed as her body melted into Edward's in submission. Their lips met, softly at first, but grew more urgent as their bodies strained to get closer to one another. Her legs wrapped around his waist, pulling him even closer. One of his hands caressed her back as the other burned a path to her neck. And her hands were making a tangled mess of his hair. They pulled apart breathlessly, their foreheads leaning against one another. His hands lazily caressed her back as she ran her fingers carelessly through his hair.
"I should probably get you home. You need some ice on that ankle of yours."
Bella simply nodded in response, the success of this evening bringing a goofy smile to her face.
"Can I leave you for a moment to make a call?" Edward asked, chuckling as he took in the bemused look on her face.
Reaching around Bella, Edward grabbed the cordless phone off the hook and dialed his brother's number.
"What happened?" Emmett greeted.
"Bella hurt her ankle."
Emmett's booming laughter could be heard over the phone, causing Bella to blush. Edward caressed her cheek and gave her a quick kiss along her jaw line.
"Please tell me she at least got your attention."
"There is no doubt about it."
"I can't wait to watch the videos!"
Edward scowled into the phone. "You will do no such thing."
"Oh yeah, and who's going to stop me?"
Excusing himself from Bella, Edward walked into the back room and when he returned she could hear Emmett hollering at Edward, who muttered, "Stop being a perv and listen up. I'm taking Bella home, you have to come in and do the deposit."
Emmett groaned. "But I'm already in bed."
"Too bad. Complain to Alice or your wife, they're the ones who put the shoes on Bella."
"Aw… but I bet her ass looked hot in them."
"Just what I thought." Emmett snickered. "Fine. I'll be there in a few. Just lock up the register."
Hanging up, Edward turned back to Bella. "You ready to go?"
Bella made a move to get off the counter, only to have Edward stop her. "I'll carry you out to the car. Sit tight, I'll lock up and get your stuff."
Watching as he moved around, Bella felt as if she were living out some strange dream from which she would be waking up at any moment.
When Edward returned to her, he found Bella pinching her arm. "What in the world are you doing?"
"Seeing if I'm dreaming." She smiled up at him shyly.
"It would appear I am awake."
"Well, I could have told you that." The look in his eyes made Bella's heart melt.
"Oh, how's that?"
"Because never in a million years could I ever have a dream as perfect as this."
And with that, Edward picked Bella up off the shelf and took her home.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading my little fluff fic. And please come visit me at http://supersecrettwilightblog[dot]blogspot[dot]com/ where I ramble on about all things Twilight and non-Twilight related. =) Yours truly, cutie