Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight saga or its characters. That right belongs to Stepheanie Meyer. I also do not take any claim upon The Wizard of Oz, Napa Valley, wineries, vineyards, iPhones, Dane Cook, symphonies, etc.
"…next up we have Michael Newton. Michael here is the number one veterinarian in Napa Valley. He loves animals, but he especially connects with dogs and runs a kennel from home. We will begin the bidding at five hundred dollars and top off at ten thousand. Do I hear five hundred?"
Pulling at the tie around my neck, I slowly began to back further away from the stage. That uncomfortable, sinking feeling settled at the pit of my stomach. "I cannot believe I am doing this."
"Keep muttering, Dickward. Why don't you add 'there's no place like home' while you are at it."
"You are a genuine ass, you know that, Emmett?" Growling, I finally undid the tie—which felt more like a noose—threw it at the floor, and grabbed another glass of scotch. My little brother stared at me and laughed. Bringing up my childhood fear of The Wizard of Oz and his favorite nickname for mewas something he never failed to let go.
"You ain't in Kansas anymore, bitch," drawled the voice of my long time friend and brother-in-law. Despite not being part of the family for more than three years, Jasper Fucking Whitlock managed to play tag-team with Emmett every chance they got to make my life a living hell. Then again, I wasn't much of a saint.
I needed to get the hell out of this place. This whole debacle was a big mistake. I never should have fallen for Alice's pouting and begging, but the moment she picked to ask seemed all too convenient for her. With my pants around my ankles and my wife's luscious legs around my waist, I would have succumbed to anything. Needless to say, I was in desperate state to get laid. It had been far too long, but now that I think of it, the whole thing seemed conspiratorial.
Why did I answer the phone? Don't ask because quite frankly, I don't remember.
"Sold! For $4200…"
My stomach churned as a dose of guilt was injected straight into my bloodstream—or maybe it was the three glasses of scotch—I do not know. "This is so wrong…I'm not going to do this."
"Afraid the wifey is gonna hand your balls to you, baby boy? She already signed your permission slip, Eddie."
"I do not need her to sign a permission slip," I retorted, scathingly. We trusted one another, and I told her because I wanted to, not because I had to.
Emmett snorted. "You got her drunk off a few glasses of Merlot and then told her. Jackass."
"At least you have nothing to worry about. You know Rosalie is not going to let some cougar or kitten snatch you up." Adding under my breath, I muttered, "Because she threatened every woman earlier."
"Exactly. These balls are safe," he stated bluntly, grabbing his sac to emphasize his point. Emmett liked to talk with his hands. "And only belong to my smokin' wife."
"Next up we have Edward Cullen!"
Oh hell no.
As I backed away, I felt a rough push, causing me to stumble towards the stage. Can we say, awkward? Snickers from both Emmet and Jasper came behind my back, but I just flashed a smile while the crowd applauded.
Turning to Alice, she worded her thanks which I returned with a nod. "Now, ladies, we have a real treat for you tonight. Not only is Edward my handsome brother," she trilled into the microphone, her eyes dancing at the success of her Charity Benefit, "Not only has he provided tonight's wine, but he also owns and runs nearly thirty-five percent of Napa's vineyards. As a bonus, he runs his own wineries!"
Really, Alice? Must your further goad the drunken, grabby crowd? Ugh. Some redhead with fangs for teeth just winked at me. This is going to be one helluva night.
"Highest bidder not only wins a night with Edward but also a date on the riverfront for the Napa Valley Symphony in Veterans Park, a favorite pastime of his. We will start the bidding at five hundr—Oh! We have a bid, do I hear a bid of seven hundr—ladies, let me breathe!" Alice exclaimed, her laughter echoing with the audience.
Her infectious smile got to me, and I found myself smirking, which was a big no, no. Cougars and kittens alike were in uproar with bidding. The intensity of the white, hot spotlight got to me, and I could feel myself sweating bullets underneath the Armani suit Alice had sent over. Play cool, Edward. Dazzle the crowd. It is for a good cause.
"Four thousand!" cried Raggedy Ann with fangs, bent over the table, giving everyone an eyeful of her fake breasts. I have visited the Silicon Valley, thanks, but I'd rather pass Go and collect my two hundred dollars.
Chuckling at my joke, I continued to stare out at the crowd, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. A yell of fifty-five hundred rang, and I inwardly air-pumped my fist for beating out Newton. Not like it was such a big victory. Who would prefer being humped on the leg by Newton—not the dogs—over being wined, dined, and cultured by me? No contest.
"Sixty-two hundred!" shouted the voice of a burly man in the back.
I may have just thrown up a little in my mouth.
Emmett and Jasper roared with laughter, and I could not help but turn and glare. The muscular fellow blew a kiss and guffawed when I caught his stare. Those bastards must have paid him off.
"—seventy-six hundred! My, my. Everyone loves to help out for a good cause, but I think we could all help out a little more—oh! Eight thousand dollars!"
W—o—w. Were these people confused? It was not as if I was going to divorce my wife and slap a ring on their fingers…nor was I an escort. This ride is closed, girls.
"Did I mention he is a terrific dancer? And those fingers, c'mon, all the girls in high school bragged about what his fingers could do—Edward is a skilled pianist." Alice winked at me and giggled with happiness as yet another bid came in.
My sister was laying it on thick, but damn, did she have to pimp me out? I feel so dirty…so cheap!
Okay, maybe not cheap.
Another round of bids came in, even a pity bid from Ma, and we slowly came to the ten-thousand mark. At one point, the redhead harlot screamed 'time-out' to call and see the current balance of her check account. Sorry, sugar, no dice. This ain't baseball.
Covering my mouth to hide the grimace forming on my lips, I could not help but turn away from the audience and close my eyes. It was the moment of judgment. Who would I spend this unlucky evening with? Please, God, don't let it be Fangs…or the burly man. Save him for Emmett! Rosalie only threatened the women.
"Ten thousand dollars, sold! Come and claim your prize!"
A chorus of no echoed throughout the ballroom, even screams for the redhead banshee, as Alice closed the bidding. I did not even hear who put in the last bid.
It was now or never. Sighing, I faced the stage with a smirk, but my jaw dropped in shock as I stared at the woman advancing towards the stage. She mirrored my smirk, an act so ineffable to a woman like her, for her skin glowed alabaster like that of an angelic halo. A midnight blue gown—and fuck if I paid attention to the intricate beading or designer—clung to the curves of her body. The tasteful cut went just above her bound, sumptuous breasts, but the slits of the gown ran up both legs to her mid-thighs. Her long, brown hair was piled upon her head in soft curls, and she stared at me with innocent eyes.
My pants were feeling pretty uncomfortable now.
Slowly, I descended the stairs to meet her half way, while Alice introduced Emmett to the stage. Before I took another four steps, my sister closed the bidding at ten thousand. A smug Rosalie strutted to the stage to claim her husband. I felt Emmett's hand clap onto my shoulder as he looked at the woman who won me. He gave her a once over before whispering Good luck in my ear.
Shrugging off his hand, I stepped forward and smiled. Before I could speak, she held out her hand and said, "Hello, Mr. Cullen. I am Isabella Swan."
I waltzed into the ballroom, noting the fine decor, and thanking God that I wasn't tripping over these damn heels. That was the last thing I needed. Breaking my leg while buying a date with a man. Hah.
Greeting the passing staff, I mingled with investors, genuinely asking about their families. Mrs. Weber informed me of her daughter giving birth to twin boys. I made a memo to send Angela a congratulations basket and a bottle of vintage Dom Pérignon. Lord knows the woman could use a drink after nine months sober. Cheers to you, Ang.
"Next up we have Edward Cullen!"
I moved to my table in the back and grabbed my paddle.
I watched as he stumbled on stage, his cheeks flushed from either embarrassment or scotch, and flashed a smile to his audience. The women up front swooned and gushed about his sex-appeal as if they were some preteens at a U2—or whatever the hell people are listening to—concert. The commentary went on about his attributes to the benefit's wine selection and his real estate endeavors. His glorified bronze hair glowed under the spotlight, tousled and messy from running his hands through it out of habit. Green glass eyes stared back, hesitant, masked with confidence. Once the bidding began, nearly fifteen paddles went up simultaneously. Amateurs. These people were complete suckers.
Bidding eased off a bit once some fire crotch screamed four thousand clams. Wow there, Missy, you should not be bending over like that. Your girls are playing peek-a-boo with the audience—well hello, knockers!
It was hard to refrain from a chuckle as the muscle-man put in his bid of six thousand two hundred. More power to you.
People continued to shriek with delight at the added commentary of what his fingers could do, and the bids came rolling in once more. Time passed—along with drinks—and we were coming to a close. Fire crotch had the audacity to cry time out when things were not going her way. Edward fidgeted near the end and paled.
He bit his lip in an adorable manner and turned to face the golden stage curtains. His hands balled into tight fists once someone made a bid of nine thousand five hundred. Right in the middle of the woman's bid; I lifted my paddle and stood up. Walking towards the stage, I said "Ten thousand dollars."
"Ten thousand dollars, sold! Come and claim your prize!"
Grinning, I deposited the check in the drop-box, my heart racing at a rapid pace as he turned around to face me. Shock was evident on his jaw dropped face. Thrilled by his appraising eyes, I slowly sauntered towards the stairs, demurely gazing at him with a smirk. I turned briefly, giving fire crotch one last prim look, and watched as Edward stepped forward and smiled.
Before he could speak, I held out my hand and greeted him, "Hello, Mr. Cullen. I am Isabella Swan."
Cocking an eyebrow, he brought my hand to his lips, ghosting my knuckles with a kiss. I shivered at the contact, and his smirk returned. "Pleasure. Please, call me Edward."
"You looked a little nervous up there, Edward."
"Would you not be apprehensive yourself? Standing in the spotlight as people bid on you like a piece of meat," he said, his eyes dancing with mirth.
Rolling my eyes, I sneered, "But if it were women being objectified, you would have no problem."
"I plead the fifth."
"I cannot complain though. It was done for a good cause."
"A humanitarian, are you, Edward?"
"Of course. I do my part. Aren't you one as well, Isabella?"
Flashing him a knowing look, I corrected him. "Bella. Call me Bella."
"Vain, aren't we?"
"Do you always ask questions?" I asked, sardonically, humoring his rash behavior. "And I will let you be the judge of that."
Tapping a finger to his chin, he circled me, like a shark hunting its prey. After a minute assessment, Edward grinned like a fool. "Judge says you are rightfully given the name Bella."
"Gee, you are a real swell guy, Eddie!" I squealed sarcastically in my best, cheesy tone. He winked, and I could not help another eye roll. "C'mon, Casanova. You owe me a night at the Symphony. Now, what will we be viewing?"
"A tribute to Beethoven, Mozart, and Debussy."
Offering me his arm, he asked, "Shall we go?"
"We shall, good Sir!"
We did not bother with the remainder of the auction and exited the building. Edward handed the valet his ticket, and within ten minutes an Aston Martin appeared before us. I laughed as he opened my door, eyeing the car. "Ostentatious much?"
"A little," he sniffed, closing my door and going around, settling himself in the driver's seat.
Buckling my seatbelt, I leaned into the seat and sighed with comfort. A fresh scent of leather and cinnamon tickled my nose. I slid my hand over the smooth contours of the car's finely stitched material and center console. His arm rested against mine, grasping the gearshift, pulling it as he drove away from the benefit. Electricity crackled in the air, through our veins, and tension was as thick as Edward's head.
The world blurred past us from the windows, and I began to think. Back in my college days, I mocked men who drove fancy cars like this, wondering why in the hell a fat, balding man felt the need to buy a red Lamborghini to squeeze in. To me, I thought only insecure, middle-aged, douche bags bought luxury cars to make up for their lack of personality, appearance, or—as Dane Cook would put it—his cash and prizes. His package. His cock.
Observing Edward, I found that my hypothesis was incorrect. He had quite an interesting personality, one that you had to adjust to, but I was not a walk in the park either. I was the cynical bitch of the West, and damn proud of it. His appearance, if one could not tell by the rapid bidding at the auction, was also not an issue. Edward was, of course, gorgeous, inside and out. Lastly, by the large tenting of his dress pants, I could tell he did not have a problem down under.
As said college girl, I also did not have much of an opportunity to drive in cars like these. Sure, a Mercedes here and there, and a BMW, maybe a Lexus, but an Aston Martin? Forget about it! Although, I am sure whatever Edward drove it would seem fuck-me-hot. He could be driving a soccer mom Volvo SUV, and he would look like Vanna White presenting a phrase on Wheel of Fortune. Without the dress. And he wouldn't be a woman. I think I've had way too many dirty martinis.
We arrived at the river front in minimal time and took our seats. The concert was ten minutes away, sparing Edward and me small talk.
"So, Bella," he started in an eager tone. "Is it safe to say you are part Italian?"
"Playing this card, are we?" I asked, though acquiesced to his question. "Yes, I am part Italian, and before you ask—no—I am not one sixteenth and all that jazz. I am a quarter Italiano. Mom is a half-breed."
He chuckled at my elaborate explanation, nodding along with my words. "Interesting. Have you ever been to Italy? It is lovely."
"Yes, actually. I backpacked through Europe the summer before attending the University of San Francisco to get my B.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry."
"What a surprise. I attended UCSF for a B.S. in Chemistry as well!" Edward gasped, feigning shock. He chuckled again at my annoyed look and rested his hand upon the arm rest, scooting closer to me. "I own a few small vineyards in the Tuscan region. I just purchased them."
"Really?" That actually did come as a surprise. "When did this happen, and who is going to run them?"
"I will travel there every four months." The curve of his jaw tightened a little bit, his tone of voice turning cautious. "However, I myself have relatives in Italy who are more than happy to keep an eye on the vineyards. I did learn the business from them."
"Must be hard on the family," I said, sliding my arm on top of his, curling my hand over his fist. He surprised me by slipping his fingers through mine, holding my hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Family comes first."
Beaming, I leaned forward to whisper in his ear, giving him an eyeful of the girls. "Good answer." The curtains opened to reveal the orchestra, and I sat back, listening to the opening of Debussy's Trois Nocturnes III.
As much as I loved classical music and despite the fact that Debussy was a favorite of mine, having Bella in a close proximity beat the orchestra out hands down. Stalker mode kicked in, and I found myself staring at her for the duration of the concert. She was absolutely stunning in this little blue number. Following the generous peek of her breasts and a breathy response in my ear, she stared at the stage as if everything were perfectly normal.
It has been one long week.
Exactly seven, yes, count them, seven days since I last had sex.
And Bella was definitely not helping with my—uh—situation. Throughout the rendition of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, she would cross her legs causing her dress to ride up, resulting in a very hard and happy me. I really didn't mind ogling the flesh of her thighs. Not. At. All.
Bella raised an eyebrow at my endeavor, her lips pursed with amusement.
She stood up quickly and turned her back to leave.
"Please don't go!" Begging seemed to work in the past; women loved men who would sacrifice their pride for them.
"But the curtains have closed, Edward. Unless you live here, I think we should be leaving."
"What?" Sure enough, people dispersed and were making their way home. I shamelessly stared at Bella throughout the whole concert with less than chaste thoughts. She giggled at the comprehension on my face, waiting for me to follow.
I grabbed her hand, twirling her into my embrace, noticing how she shivered from the chilly spring wind. Her head leaned against my chest, sighing with contentment, as we walked along the river. The water rippled, reflecting the dark hue of the sky and its scattered group of stars and constellations. Moonlight guided the paths of wanderers on the riverbank. Dim, glowing lights of the Napa River Inn appeared from across the vast body of water. The Historic Napa Mill was a booming attraction for tourists in the spring and summer.
The intimate setting was an incentive for the wedding. The ceremony was held two hours before sunset out in the gardens, and the reception was by the river. Canopied lights shone upon the event, and I could still feel the warm, summer air as my bride and I shared our first dance. I thumbed the band on my left ring finger and grinned.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
"Nickel for a kiss?" I teased back.
She lifted our clasped hands and kissed my hand, earning a hearty laugh from me. "Don't waste your money, pretty boy."
"How about I take you home?"
"Someone's in a hurry to get—"
"C'mon, Swan." Dragging her back to the car, I shook my head at how bold this woman was. We chatted the whole way home, past Quent Codair Fine Art and The Framery, through the winding path through the main vineyard, and to the security gate. Punching the code, we finally arrived to the Tuscan styled two story house. I pulled in to park in the driveway, opened Bella's door, and unlocked the door to the house.
Flipping on the light switch, I looked around to find Bella missing. I walked through the hallway and into the kitchen, only to hear a bout of giggles coming from the cellar. Pulling out the wine glasses, I watched as she reappeared and handed me a bottle of aged 1985 Romanée-Conti. Like the first time.
I poured the wine into both glasses, savoring the sight of the liquid's rich burgundy color, smiling at the memory it brought. Picking up the glass, I saw that Bella propped herself upon the counter, and accepted the glass as I handed it to her. She fumbled with the stereo remote until soft jazz played. The dim lighting and flow of the music mixed with the spring wind brought in through the windows.
Her eyes closed at the ambiance, a soft moan spilling from her lips, and I could hardly contain myself. She raised the glass, breathing in the wine's aroma, and sighed contentedly. Before she could taste the sweet liquid, I leaned into her body, standing in between her legs. My nose skimmed the flesh right above her breasts, up the skin of her collarbone, nuzzled the crook of her neck, and finally stopped below her ear, kissing the spot that had her panting. "Careful now, beautiful, wines like this need to settle for at least twenty minutes—"
"—to let the tannins breath," she whispered back, her chest heaving with anticipation.
I grabbed her face between my hands and crashed my lips upon her. She was frantic and needy, matching my own desire as she pressed hard against my body. Her hands ran through my hair, gripping and tugging, causing a tiny growl on my part. Gripping the curve of her ass, I pulled her closer to my body, grinding my need into her core. We both moaned at the friction, and my eyes rolled to the back of my head as her legs wrapped around my waist. This position seemed all too familiar.
We stared at one another, lust mirroring lust, panting with want. "I missed you," I admitted, resting my forehead against hers.
"Missed you too." Her lips brushed mine and then pulled back. "You didn't think I would make it, did you?"
"No, and I hated the thought of having to take out some kitten or cougar."
"Or man," she added.
"I am going to kill Emmett and Jasper."
"Actually, Rose planned that. She texted me during the concert while you were scouting the view."
"And what a view it is." I stared deep into her eyes, the same pair of eyes I saw when I vowed to God that I would love her for the rest of my life. It was hard to believe that we have been married for five years. "So this whole thing was a set up?"
"More of a surprise—everyone knew. Why else do you think I would agree with you going out with some floozy? If anyone, that floozy was going to be me."
"You clever little minx." Supporting her in one hand, I grabbed the bottle of wine, glasses dangling in Bella's grasp, and made my way to the bedroom. Gently, I sat her on the bed and began removing those heels from her feet. "How did you possibly manage to arrange all this—a reenactment of our first date? Aren't I supposed to do something like that?"
She bit her lip as my hands ran up her legs, gripping her thighs, and disappearing under her dress. "Well, um, Alice…oh…helped since she a—ahhh—organized the benefit…God…so I had her call—"
Staring at her in disbelief, I stopped using my skilled fingers, only to receive a pout from my wife. "You had her call?"
"Umm before we had sex…"
"It was you who answered the phone!" Now I remember. Bella was propped on top of the dresser, her hands accidentally sliding against my iPhone as it rang, feigning innocence as she apologized and handed it to me. "Huh. You lied to me and I actually believed it."
"And? You got me all liquored up before asking if you could do it," she said, undoing the cuffs of my dress shirt. "You look really sexy without a tie, but don't you think you should have worn one to the benefit?"
"I did, but I couldn't get it right. Only you can tie them for me."
"Too bad I have to stand on a damn stool to even tie it on you. Reaching kind of makes me sore."
"I know other things that can make you sore." A wry smirk plastered on my lips. "So how did it feel dating a married man, Miss Swan?"
"Nuh-uh, this is my roleplay. You weren't married in this one. I just bought you at an auction."
"So I was just some cheap, tawdry whore?"
"Cheap? I paid ten thousand dollars for you, and you should be used to being a whore. After all, you were one the first twenty years before you met me—oh—cheater!"
Grinning, I slid her panties down her legs. To the victor goes to the spoils. "Sorry, my hand slipped, Mrs. Cullen."
"I am so sure, Mr. Cullen." Her eyes were glazed with heady lust as I continued my ministrations. She let out a breathy moan and murmured. "I didn't put out on our first date. You wined and dined me for a few dates before anything happened."
My hands slid up her thighs, bunching the fabric above her waist, my stubble scratching lightly against her skin. She shivered at the contact, mewling, neither denying nor accepting my advancement upwards. Cupping her sex, I smiled at the beautiful flush that ran from her chest to her face. "Well, technically I wined you, but as you said, the tannins must breathe for ten more minutes. Now, however…" Growling, I spread her legs a little more and continued, "…now I'm going to dine."
Authoress Note: Hello ladies and gents. After learning of the disaster that happened in Haiti, MsKathy sought out help to earn money for those who need it. In an honest and hardworking effort, MsKathy organized an event to aid those who are in need in Haiti. Learning this, I wanted to do my part to help with their efforts. Whether you donate a lot or a little, it is all part of one, huge contribution. Show your support and extend a helping hand. In times like these, we really need to reach out and join as one. After all, things like this can happen to anyone.
Bless the people in Haiti and all of you.
Special thanks to TwilightMundi for her awesome beta skills. I owe you!