Thank you very much to my beta Nina, aka WriteOnTime and to DragonsExist for her help. Lots of love and gratitude to you both.
I don't own Twilight, I just love a good cause.
TNGUSPOV: Chapter One and a Half
"Thank you for stopping by, Dr. Cullen," says Mr. Jenks as he firmly shakes my hand.
"Yes, and thank you for handling all my business affairs so promptly," I reply. "Please, call me Edward. I ask you to every time," I add with a smile, as I take a seat opposite his desk in his large corner office.
"You're welcome, Edward. The lease was signed by your tenant last week, and the property manager did a walk-through with her yesterday," he says, handing me the lease agreement.
"Wait, did you say 'her?'" I ask, looking over the lease.
Technically, the brownstone belongs to me, but the paperwork says Masen Holdings, LLC. It's the name of the trust I created when I inherited my grandfather's estate. God knows I didn't want to put my last name on it.
I don't even like getting into the details of the trust or managing it in any way, which is why I talk to people like Jenks and hire accountants and property management companies to handle the leg-work for me.
"I'm sorry, sir. I wasn't aware you had a preference for a male tenant. I would've instructed the property manager accordingly. Although, there may have been legal ramifications…" he explains nervously.
"No, no, Jenks. It's fine," I answer quickly. I'm just taken by surprise that a single woman would want to live in a tiny brownstone apartment by herself with no one around except a complete stranger upstairs.
Probably some matronly spinster with a huge knick-knack collection. Too bad. Would've enjoyed trying to knack some knickers.
"In any event, the property management company has arranged for her to make the monthly rent payments to them. In turn, they will transfer the funds to the trust—minus their costs, of course—on a quarterly basis," he says, lightly tapping his fingers together. I just nod my head and stuff all the paperwork into a manila envelope.
"It's a shame about Mrs. Masen," he says, looking away from me.
"Yes, well. Becoming executor on her behalf was a long time coming," I reply stiffly.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?" he asks.
"Yes. Stop calling me 'sir,'" I say with a laugh.
"Very good, sir. Excuse me, Edward. Oh, lest I forget. I wanted to inform you that I have secured the private vault you asked for. All your family's belongings—papers, family heirlooms, and the like—have been inventoried and securely put away. And of course, anything of value is fully insured," he relates.
It's a relief to hear that all the Masen relics that were in storage in Chicago since my grandmother was moved into a home six years ago are now somewhere under my control. I think I'd rather lose a limb than go through any of it, but at least I have it and know that it will always be somewhere safe.
"Thank you again, Jenks," I say as I rise from my seat.
"As always, it's a pleasure," he replies, nodding his head and standing to say goodbye.
I get into the Volvo and exit the parking lot of the massive business complex that makes up some of the biggest law firms in Boston—Masen Law being one of them. Jenks is a semi-retired senior partner who only leaves his golf game when he gets a call from me. I hate the way he kisses my ass. It only makes all this even more unpleasant. I didn't make him rich. My grandfather did.
As I make my way across town, I wonder about my new neighbor.
"I hope she's hot…or at least has a nice rack," I say to myself as I drive myself to work, where another long shift awaits me.
Thirty-six hours later, I hear voices coming from the downstairs apartment as I enter the foyer of the brownstone. The new tenant must have moved in while I was at the hospital. I hear what sounds like a young woman's voice talking strangely. It must be deliberate, but the sound is muffled thanks to the door. I can almost make it out.
Thank you, mummy…
I shrug my shoulders and head up the stairs, not bothering to close or lock the door behind me. Jessica left me a ton of voicemail about going out for drinks tonight. I regret ever giving this woman my phone number. She's an alright lay. Nothing especially spectacular. So, this time, I text her to come and meet me here so I can fuck her and then call her a cab.
I spend a minute or two on my couch, eating some cold pizza I had in the fridge. I scroll through the messages on my BlackBerry before taking a shower.
"Makenna…no thank you, you suck at…sucking," I say with a snort. Worst. Blowjob. Ever.
"Charlotte…classless. You swear like a sailor when a guy bangs you. Disgusting," I say with a shudder.
"Carmen…Dios Mio. That hand-job almost killed me. Sore cajones for a week," I mutter, cringing reflexively.
"Bree…if I had to listen to you tell me your pussy 'belonged' to me one more time," I sigh, shaking my head emphatically. "I look at pussy all day, and I don't want yours, trust me."
I stand up from the couch with a yawn and a long stretch, eager to shower, get lucky in a supremely uninspiring way, send Jessica off in a cab, and pass the hell out. I walk toward the window and see movement from outside, a few feet from the front stoop below me. For a second I'm afraid that Jessica, impatient yet mindless thing that she is, has already shown up.
That's when I see her.
Prettiest long brown hair, tiny waist, little hands…waving goodbye to a departing taxi.
"Please walk up the stoop, please walk up the stoop…" I chant to myself, hoping she's not just a random pedestrian, but in fact, the new tenant.
When she disappears from view and I hear the front door that leads to the foyer open and shut loudly, I smirk.
I take a shower and finish toweling off. I have my boxers in my hand when I could swear I hear someone.
"Hello?" I hear a feminine voice call out.
Expecting Jessica at any minute, I assume it's her.
"Yeah, come in," I reply.
I make my way down the hall and into the living room, ready to give Jessica a nice preview, when I see the profile of that sweet face I spied from the window. She's inspecting the books on one of the many shelves I have packed full of medical textbooks. Her finger lightly tapping on her chin and her head tilted to the side, she's completely lost in thought.
And I'm mesmerized.
She doesn't appear to be my type at all. I mean, I can already tell she's too serious and altogether too uptight for my liking. Her clothes alone are enough for me to keep fishing: a tee shirt that's three sizes too big and ratty sweatpants cut off at the mid-thigh.
But there's a lightness to her expression, so soft…innocent? I can't stop looking at her. In fact, a slow sting of annoyance overtakes me because she won't turn toward me completely so that I can see her entire face.
"Hello, can I help you with something?" I ask, my impulsivity and impatience winning out.
There's only one problem. I'm so distracted by her that I realize only after I've gotten her attention that my boxers are still in my hand and not on my body. Right at this particular moment, however, I really couldn't care less. I should be embarrassed, but I'm not.
She looked right at my package.
It's the transformation of her face. Extraordinary. She goes from lost in thought, to startled, to aroused, to adorably mortified in the time it would take for me to snap my fingers.
But I see it all, every detail, like it's being played back in slow-motion.
And her eyes. Jesus Christ. Chestnut brown, wide, lovely, perfect.
"Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod," she says over and over, turning her head away and pressing her hand against the side of her face to shield her eyes. "Um, whoa. You're, uh, extremely…naked?" she stammers nervously.
Her hand covers her eyes and she turns her head away, but I can see her blush so deeply. It's fucking magical how pretty she is.
"Yeah, just got out of the shower. What can I do for you, Brown Eyes?" I ask as I step into my boxers.
"Uh, yeah, sorry to intrude, Mr…um…Mr. Naked Guy, but I live downstairs and…you know? Never mind," she replies. She turns to leave, but with her eyes covered, walks right into the wall. I can't help but bite my lip to stifle a laugh when she mumbles a little 'ow' sound to herself.
"Well, Brown Eyes, if we're going to be neighbors and all, we may as well be…neighborly," I offer. "Come on now, I don't bite—unless you're into that kind of thing," I add, hoping my charm will entice her to take that hand off her gorgeous eyes.
But it doesn't. In fact, she seems more nervous.
"I'm having problems with my WiFi, I'm wondering if you have yours set up in such a way that it's interfering somehow?" she tells me in one long, continuous breath. "Sorry, I can't be more specific than that, I'm not very good with computers," she stammers.
"Hmm," I say, pretending to concentrate. Perhaps if I joke with her, she'll relax. "I believe I have a very technical way of solving this problem. Hang on," I add with a chuckle.
I quickly run into my office, switching my internet router off and then back on again. When I return, I'm disappointed to see that she still has her hand over her eyes. They're way too pretty to keep covered, and I'm becoming frustrated that nothing I've said gets her to uncover them.
"I think I fixed it," I say. "The old 'power off, power on,' trick," I explain.
"That was quick," she says with a small laugh—a pretty laugh. "Thanks, um…Mr. Naked Guy," she adds.
I'm now frustrated and perplexed. I even got her to laugh.
WHY won't she look at me?
"You know, Brown Eyes, I got dressed about ten minutes ago," I offer, hoping the direct approach does something.
"Oh," she says simply. Her mouth makes a little puckered shape, and if I look at it for much longer, I may be tempted to steal a kiss from her. I don't even care if her eyes are covered when I do it.
She finally opens her eyes and turns her face toward me again. Her expression is sheepish, wide-eyed. I must have truly taken her by surprise, judging by how bashful she looks. I wait for her to offer me a quick 'thank you' and be on her way back to her own apartment.
And then she does the last thing I'd ever expect.
Those heart-breaking brown eyes check me out from head to toe. Frankly, I'm fascinated by her studying me—I can't stop watching her watch me. When her gaze finally reaches my face, I can't suppress a smug smile of satisfaction.
"You see something you like, Brown Eyes?" I ask.
She clears her throat when my teasing makes her aware of the fact that she was completely ogling me without being aware of it.
How does a nerdy, yet sweetly innocent-looking girl, not realize she's letting her eyes and mind wander all over a strange man's body?
"Sorry, Mr. Nay..." she says before I interrupt her.
"I'm Edward," I tell her, offering her my hand to shake.
"I'm Bella," she replies, letting me take her small, soft hand in mine.
Once again, she gets lost as she stares at me—at my hand this time.
"Piano," I inform her.
"Excuse me?" she asks, snapping out of her daydream.
"My fingers. I play piano. I have since I was five," I explain.
"Are you a musician?" she asks. She tilts her head at me, adorable in her horribly-veiled attempt at flirting.
"Yes, but not by trade," I answer. "I'm a doctor—I'm finishing up my residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital."
"Are you a surgeon?" she continues.
"Not exclusively, though I do perform surgical procedures. I'm a gynecologist," I explain.
She mumbles something about not being surprised. I sense her sarcasm but choose to ignore it, even though…I'm mildly turned on by it. Frankly, I'm not used to women teasing me. Not with words, anyway.
"Sorry, Brown Eyes?" I ask, hoping to get her flustered again.
"How'd you know my eyes are brown? I've had them covered until a minute ago," she asks. It appears I haven't embarrassed her, but made her irritated.
And it fucking turns me on.
I give her my signature shit-eating grin.
"Trust me, Brown Eyes, you didn't close them that fast."
"Yeah, okay, well, thanks for that. Bye," she says, shaking her head and leaving my apartment with an indignant huff.
You're the prettiest angry girl I've ever seen.
It suddenly occurs to me that I'm not especially in the mood for Jessica's company right now, easy lay or not. That pretty little mouse downstairs has distracted me and I don't know why. Jessica, with her huge teeth and generous breasts that bounce when she's on top of me, makes for a pleasant enough way to pass the time.
Sighing, I once again take a seat on my couch and lean my head back, my neck against the back edge. When I close my eyes, my brain replays its footage, over and over, of Bella's face and how she reacted to my presence when I walked into the room—an intoxicating mixture of chaste curiosity, yet completely earthy and wanton desire. I'm no fool. That's a far bigger turn-on than pair of bouncing tits.
I pick up my phone and text Jessica.
Sorry, have to cancel. Called back to hosp for emergency c-section. I'll be in touch.
I spend the rest of the night watching TV and fall asleep thinking about the most perfect pair of brown eyes, the lovely face they occupy, and the feisty girl who's now my neighbor. I also can't resist thinking about what it would take to watch her breasts bounce while she's on top of me.
Now that would be something worth looking forward to after a long shift.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoying this little peek inside TNGUS's mind when he first met Brown Eyes. :o)
A kind reviewer just reminded me that I forgot a really important part of my a/n!
DUN DUN DUN!
We didn't know this before, but yes, he owns the building. But Bella already owns him. And we already knew that. Until next time, friends. ::MWAH::