First & Ten Chapter 6

BPOV

There was something surreal about watching the man you were going to be spending the evening with on TV. On the one hand, I could appreciate him as an athlete; throwing perfect spiral after perfect spiral, commanding the field, unflappably calm. On the other, I could see those gorgeous green eyes, narrowed in concentration, that clenched jaw, a stray strand of wild hair blowing in the breeze when he was sitting on the bench going over plays with his quarterback coach; he was incredibly hot. How could either one of those people, both actually, be spending the evening with me? I didn't quite know how to wrap my head around it.

I tried, really tried, to watch the game as if it were any other football game, watching the adjustments at the line, assessing the formations, mentally cataloging the play calls…but always my eyes were drawn back to him. Number Ten. Perfect Ten…what did he see in me?

Of course, even if it weren't for my sudden inability to focus on anything other than Edward Cullen, I still wouldn't have been able to truly appreciate the game, not with Alice sitting beside me, bouncing on my couch excitedly every time Jasper was shown or his name was mentioned. I loved Alice, truly, but she knew nothing about sports. She kept yelling at the defensive back covering Jasper. "Hands off my man! Rip his head off, Jazzy!" No matter how many times I tried to explain the concept of coverage and what was legal and what wasn't, she just didn't listen.

"I don't understand why that guy is allowed to slam my Jazzy into the ground and he can't do the same." She crossed her arms and glared at the TV, a mutinous expression on her face. She looked absolutely adorable, positively swimming in one of Jasper's jerseys that she'd "borrowed" from his closet.

"He can on interceptions," I pointed out for the fifth time. "And he can engage him when blocking for the running back but he can't just slam him down on the ground."

"Why not? That big guy did it to Edward. Don't you want to get in there and kick his ass?" I shook my head but I couldn't deny her words. When Freeney sacked Edward I felt my hands ball into fists and true fear washed over me until Edward got back up. That was a completely new experience for me when watching a game. I'd never been emotionally invested in this way before.

"Of course you do…what if they mar his pretty face?" A look of horror washed over hers. "I can't have it! I'm going to make him a better helmet…there has to be something that covers the whole face. He could wear something like Iron Man wears." I got a mental image of Alice handing Jasper some giant metal helmet with tiny slits for him to see out of and laughed so hard I nearly fell off the couch. She huffed and poked me in the side but I saw her lips twitch and soon she was laughing with me.

When I finally caught my breath I grinned at her. "Jasper's been playing football for a long time and you seem to like his face well enough. I don't think you need to worry. Besides, if he did get a scar, he'd probably look sexy." Edward had one; a small line on his right jaw that I knew came from a helmet to helmet hit in college. It was beautiful and I wanted to lick it. Damn, I hope I didn't tell him that.

Alice sighed. "He would look sexy, no matter what. He's beautiful, my Jasper." Her eyes got all dreamy and I prayed she wouldn't tell me whatever was going on in her head in that moment. I'd seen him shirtless and it had been a nice enough sight, but I didn't need more.

My attention was caught by the action on the screen again as Edward sidestepped a blitzing linebacker and let loose with a long pass, the ball sailing right down the middle of the field and into Jasper's waiting arms. He juked the cornerback and ran into the end zone untouched. Alice shook herself out of her stupor and started yelling for her man, hopping off my couch and doing a crazy touchdown dance, which involved her shaking her ass and throwing her hands up like the refs did to signal the call. I giggled at the sight and she yanked me up to join her, both of us shaking our asses as we watched Edward and Jasper give each other chest bumps on the sideline. "That's so hot," Alice whispered, reaching over and tugging on my hand. "Did you see that?" Of course I'd seen that and she was right, it was pretty hot.

We sat back down to watch the fourth quarter. The game was tight and Peyton Manning was moving the ball well against the Card's defense, closing to within a touchdown. Edward calmly took the field and I knew he had to just keep the ball moving and eat up the clock so Manning didn't get a chance to tie the game. He never needed much time to do it, anything longer than a minute was plenty for him.

I watched in awe as Edward led his team methodically down the field, picking up first downs almost effortlessly. The clock ticked away as he changed calls at the line, surprising the defense by throwing for a first down and then coming back with a running play that picked up chunks of yardage. I breathed a sigh of relief when the clock hit two minutes and the network cut to commercial.

"How can they just cut away? It's almost over right? Are we going to win?" Alice demanded, clutching my arm, her light blue eyes wide with excitement.

"Yes, it's over. Edward just needs to take a knee and they'll run out the clock now."

Alice bounced again and dashed into my room. "Where are you going?" I asked nervously. She'd come over ostensibly to watch the game but I knew it was only a matter of time before…

"I'm getting your clothes out for your date," she called back, her voice muffled by my closet. I bit back a groan and flopped back on the couch. My irritation melted away when the game returned and I watched Edward down the ball. He took off his helmet and I felt ridiculous fluttering at the sight of him, glowing with triumph and sweat, as he congratulated his teammates and headed toward the sidelines.

The FOX reporter, Pam Oliver, thrust her microphone in his face and asked him about his thoughts on winning the first game of the season. I rolled my eyes at the inanity of that question and at her breathless tone as she moved as close to him as was humanly possible without mounting him on the field. Skank. I told myself it was okay to feel that way because I had always hated her, even before she was inches away from the guy I was going to be going out with in a couple short hours. She had a habit of flirting with players, to the point that I couldn't even watch her interviews anymore. I was going to this time, though, because I wanted to see him.

Alice came into the room and wrapped an arm around me as we watched Edward, looking so utterly gorgeous it should be illegal, answer her stupid questions like the pro that he was. He didn't bat an eyelash at the flirtatious tone, nor did he respond to it, just giving her pat answers and flashing one of his patented crooked smiles at the camera before jogging off the field. God he was stunning. Mine. Uh, not quite yet but one could hope, power of positive thinking and all that.

"Why didn't they talk to Jasper?" Alice demanded, her lip poking out in a pout.

"He'll get asked questions in the press conference, they usually go to the quarterback on the sidelines and then the coaches and other players after the game," I told her reassuringly.

"But I want to see him looking all sweaty and hot in his uniform!" She frowned and then shrugged it off with a smile. "I'll just have to go to the next game and jump him. They'll let me watch from the bench, right?" I shook my head and didn't bother shooting her down on that front, mainly because while I knew it wasn't likely, if there was a way, Alice would find it. "Let's go, you need to get ready."

I didn't resist as she tugged me into my bedroom. "You know we're just eating at his place, right? I don't need to wear a dress and…" I cut myself off when I saw what she'd laid out on my bed. It was simple, it was me and it was definitely not what I expected from Alice. I picked up the black jeans, red tank top and white button down and raised an eyebrow at her.

She flung herself down on the bed and grinned at me. "His team colors! You thought I was going to make you wear Fendi to eat dinner at home? Please, give me some credit. We'll save that for the first time he takes you out for real."

"This is for real," I told her softly. Wasn't it? I'd asked myself that about fifty times since Friday morning.

Alice hopped off the bed and wrapped her arms around me. "Of course it is! It's actually the perfect date for you two. No sluts to interrupt, no fans wanting autographs…Jasper doesn't get as much of it as Edward does but he does get some attention when we're out. Our best times are when we're alone. Now you and Edward get that chance. And that's why you're wearing this…it's you plus it's his team his colors. He'll love it! Get in the shower!"

She pushed me toward the bathroom and I hurried through the motions of getting ready, cutting my leg twice when I shaved, which freaked me out but then I reminded myself that no matter how gorgeous he was, I was not going to sleep with him tonight so he wouldn't see my cuts anyway. If that's what he wanted, he'd picked the wrong girl. If that's what he wanted, he would have gone home with Boobs Magee the other night, not spent the evening at home watching game tape. This was true. I was being an idiot.

I bandaged my cuts and emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel. Alice handed me a black push-up bra that made me look like had more cleavage than I did and a pair of black string bikini underwear. "Just in case," she responded to my unasked question.

"I'm not sleeping with him."

She rolled her eyes and laughed. "I know you're not, but these will make you feel sexy and powerful. You'll know what you have going on under your clothes and he won't, but I guarantee you he'll be wondering." Great. I snatched the underwear and slipped it on underneath my towel and then let that drop as I put on the bra. I slid into the black jeans and pulled on the red tank top, layering the gauzy white shirt over it. I started to button it up but Alice knocked my hands out of the way and tied the shirt ends together instead. "Casually sexy," she murmured in approval. She gave me a shove and I fell back onto the bed in surprise as she ran out into the living room.

"Now, you're going to wear your black sandals with this so we need to do your toes." She came back in with a bottle of nail polish, bright red nail polish. She sat on the bed and went to work on my feet while I lay there daydreaming about Edward. It'd been ages since I'd had my nails done, since I'd had reason to. "Perfect." She sat back and smiled at me. "Do you want me to do anything with your hair or makeup?" I shrugged. How much was too much? I didn't want him to think I was some girly girl when I clearly wasn't. Plus he'd already seen me at my personal worst and hadn't been scared off so wasn't it better that I be myself?

Alice just waited patiently while I worked it all out in my head. "I don't think so?" It came out as more of a question and she grinned.

"Okay, you look great anyway and you're one of those annoying women that looks better without makeup than with. I should hate you. Why don't I?" I nudged her with foot and she caught it and glowered at me. "Watch out or you'll smear!" She bent over and slid my feet into the sandals, careful not to ruin her masterpiece. She smiled in satisfaction and patted my knee. "You look great."

I did, for me, but did I look great for him? He was used to models and actresses, not normal girls like me, with bony knees and second toes that were longer than big toes. "Alice, why would he be interested in me?" I finally voiced the question that kept creeping into my mind the closer I got to the date.

Her eyes narrowed and she thumped me on the leg. "Bella Swan! I don't want to hear you doubting yourself. A better question would be why wouldn't he want you? You're smart, you're pretty, you're funny, you're sarcastic, you have great taste in friends…" I laughed as she struck a modeling pose with her hand behind her head and her cheeks sucked in. She giggled with me and then put her arm around me. "You're the best person I know. He'd be a fool not to want you and from what I know of Edward, he's no fool."

My cell phone buzzed on the night table and she bent over to get it. I hit accept to see the text message and smiled when I saw it was from him. Bella, I'm finally on my way home. I can't wait to see you. Is it seven yet? I showed the message to Alice and she snorted. "See, I told you! Now stop second guessing yourself and just be who you are, Bella. He can't help but like you."

I hugged her and thanked her for all she'd done. I knew she wanted to go be with Jasper but here she was supporting me because she knew I would be nervous. To go from not dating at all to dating Edward freaking Cullen was quite a leap and I hadn't come down to earth to yet. With each quick phone call or text message I felt like I was floating higher and higher and I rather liked the resulting feeling of being free and lighter than air. I wondered what would happen if he kissed me tonight?

Alice got off the bed and pulled me up with her. "Are you going to be alright?"

"Yes. I'm nervous and that's not going to go away until I get back home probably but I'm fine. Thank you for being here with me."

"Hey, I needed you to teach me about football anyway. I'm going to impress Jasper with all my new knowledge on blitzens and rumbles."

I laughed until my sides ached, tears running down my face while Alice stared at me in wonder. It's a good thing I wasn't wearing makeup after all. "Blitzens and rumbles? Reindeer and fights? I can see how fighting fits with football but where did the deer come from?"

Alice frowned. "Well, what is it then?"

"Blitzes and fumbles," I told her, biting my lip to try to keep from another jag.

"I like my way better," she said, flashing another smile and then dissolving into her own fit of laughter, which set me off again. "It'd be cool if they had reindeer out on the field, Jasper could ride one into the scoring zone!"

"End zone," I gasped. "It's called the end zone."

She threw up her hands in frustration. "All these terms! You score when you cross that line right?"

"Yes."

"Then it's the scoring zone! Plus he'd look hot riding some animal, like a horse."

"Okay, Alice, whatever you say." Jasper would get a kick out of her enthusiasm for learning the wrong terms at any rate.

"Time for me to go get ready for my own hot date." She waggled her eyebrows at me. "You call me the instant you leave his place, no matter what time it is, preferably at 10 AM." I swung at her and she danced out of my reach. "Hey, just saying, have some fun for once!"

"Not all of us are as comfortable with falling into bed with perfect strangers as you are," I reminded her, smiling to show I was teasing.

"Maybe, but I know right away whether a guy is worth bothering with. Why put in all that effort if you're not compatible in bed?" She grinned as we made our way back to the living room. Great, another thing to worry about, as if I didn't already have enough on my mind. She stopped and hugged me again. "I'm teasing, Bella. Edward will be totally hot in bed, you can just tell. So no need to rush." I started to ask how she could tell but she was already out the door with one last "Call me," thrown over her shoulder.

A glance at the clock told me it was time to start heading over to Edward's so I took a deep breath, gathered my bag and tried to calm my leaping nerves. He's just a regular guy. Sure he is. Shut up. I locked my door and squared my shoulders. I could do this. It was just one date, not the end of the world.

Xoxoxoxox

Come on, Bella, just ring the doorbell. He already knows you're here, for crying out loud. I'd been surprised to find an intercom system at the entrance when I arrived, which only showed how drunk I was on Thursday night when I came here with Alice and Jasper. I hit Edward's apartment number and his smooth voice came over the system, telling me to come right up. Now here I was standing outside his door like an idiot, taking more calming breaths. Dating sucked and I was no good at it in normal circumstances and this was about as abnormal as it could get. He's probably watching you through the peephole, drama queen. Get on with it.

I raised my hand to press the bell and the door opened, confirming my suspicion that I'd loitered in the hallway too long. He looked even better now than he had on TV, with his hair slightly damp from his shower and curling slightly over the collar of his blue polo shirt. He wore blue jeans that probably cost more than a month's rent for me and his feet were bare. Holy hell, he even had attractive feet. How was that possible? Feet were probably the ugliest part of the human body, well, except for the penis. Somehow I suspected even that would be attractive on him though. Why don't you try to find out, tonight? Ahh, the pervy teenage boy was back. Lovely timing.

Edward smiled and held out a hand to me. Shit, was I supposed to bring something? Wine? Flowers? Candy? Was I the guy in this scenario? Why didn't Alice tell me to bring something? Some friend she was. I stood there like a statue and Edward continued to reach for me, eventually taking my left hand in his right and tugging me gently inside. I feel that mysterious zing at his touch again and I didn't want him to ever let me go.

"Bella, it's good to see you again. Would you like a glass of wine?" Alcohol was definitely a must seeing as I was already wondering if his penis was as attractive as the rest of him. Then again, it was liable to make me say or do something embarrassing, so maybe not.

He was leading me down the hallway into the living room, where a giant flatscreen TV dominated the wall in front of the couch. The couch, the couch was…"This is Jasper's couch!" I sank down onto it and felt my body immediately enveloped in comfort, the black leather so amazingly soft it was like sitting on a cloud.

Edward chuckled. "Actually, I got mine first. My mother designed this place. Jasper loved it and asked her to get him one of his own."

"Tell your mother I'll give her my first born child if she tells me where to get one." Child, sex, sex with Edward…shit, Bella, great line of thought. "I mean…I really like it. It's the most comfortable couch ever."

Edward sat down next to me and picked up a remote, flicking some buttons and making the stereo come to live. Soft instrumental music flowed out and I felt myself relaxing a bit more as the music washed over me and the couch molded to me. "Jasper mentioned that you refused to sleep in his other bedroom after you sat on the couch. I was hoping you'd like mine just as well."

"I like you more," I blurted and felt my face get red at the huge smile that came over his face. "I mean, your couch, that's what I like more."

He cupped my chin in his hand and ran his thumb over my cheekbone. "I'm hoping you like me more, as well." He looked at my lips and I felt my mouth go dry. Was he going to kiss me now? I just nodded dumbly and bit my lip and he smiled ruefully and released his hold. I missed his touch instantly. "I should get you that drink. Wine? Beer? Water? I think I have some soda too…" he broke off, looking at me expectantly.

"Water's fine." I needed a clear head.

He flashed me another smile and went into the kitchen. I glanced around and smiled at the family pictures on the wall; Edward in his Trojan uniform, his arms around each of his parents, Edward in a suit, God he was gorgeous in a suit, again with his parents, all three of them holding the Heisman trophy he'd won. Well he won two, actually, junior and senior year, so I wasn't sure which one it was. He came back in and handed me a glass of water and I gestured at the picture. "Where do you keep them?"

He looked embarrassed and ran a hand through his hair as he sat back down next to me, a little closer this time. I could feel the heat from his body next to mine and I resisted the urge to reach out and touch him, though I badly wanted to. "They're at my folk's house. I don't know…it seems weird to display them here I guess? They've got a whole room of stuff from the time I started football through college, it just seemed to belong there."

I tilted my head and studied him, the messy hair, the bright green eyes, the long, muscular form. How could someone that looked like he did be so humble? I didn't get it. "Come on; don't tell me you're not proud of what you've accomplished. Why not show it off a little?"

Edward smiled and shook his head. "Of course I'm proud of it but that's the past. I'd rather focus on what I have yet to do than what I've already done. When I win the Super Bowl, I promise I'll put the ring on display."

Finally he sounded more like I expected him to. "When you win?"

He shrugged. "No point in playing if I don't believe that I will."

"Some people play for the money, the fame, the glory."

"I'm not some people. I play to win, period. I would play for free if I had to; so long as I had a good team around me that I thought could make it to the top with me." His eyes burned with passion and I knew every word he spoke was the truth.

"It's nice to see that you love the game and don't think of it as a job."

"Some people do, I suppose. They're the ones that inevitably find themselves out of one, though. They don't have the hunger and someone younger who does have the drive comes along and wins their spot, by trying harder and caring more. I'll never lose my starting job because I lose the passion; someone better than me may come along or an injury may derail me, but I'll never stop caring about my team and winning." The conviction in his words made me all tingly inside and before I could stop myself I was leaning into him and placing a kiss on his lips.

He gasped in surprise and I started to pull back but his hands found my shoulders and he held me to him as his lips pressed against mine more firmly. I felt the shock of that all the way down to my toes and I held onto his forearms so I didn't sink to the floor because I suddenly felt boneless. We kissed for some indeterminate time, just lips, no tongue, but it was still the best kiss of my life to date. He pulled back and gave me that lopsided grin that he'd flashed the camera at the end of the game today.

"If that's all it takes to get you to kiss me I can happily start quoting some of my coach's halftime speeches." I turned red again and he cupped my chin in his hand. "Don't be embarrassed, please. I've thought about kissing you ever since I first started talking to you at the club. I'm glad you put me out of my misery because it would have been all I thought about through dinner." I flushed, this time with pleasure.

He gave me a quick peck and then took my hand and pulled me to my feet. "Dinner should be about ready, I had it warming in the oven." He led me down the hallway into a formal dining room. I smiled when I saw the cherry table, the places already set, next to one another on the long length of the table instead of across from one another. Crystal candlesticks held long white tapers and a slim lighting tool sat next to them.

"It's lovely and something smells good." That was the truth. I'd been so caught up in Edward that I hadn't noticed the aroma coming from the kitchen. "What are we having?"

Edward pulled my chair out for me and I slid onto the lovely suede seat as he released my hand and lit the candles. "I got us filets from Fleming's." My mouth immediately started to water. Fleming's was the best steakhouse in town and I'd only been there once with Alice on my birthday.

"Fleming's doesn't deliver, though," I pointed out.

He chuckled and ran his hand through his hair again. "For me they do."

I rolled my eyes. It must be nice to be Edward Cullen in this town. "Well, lucky us then." He grinned and disappeared into the kitchen again, taking our plates with him. He came back moments later with the steaks and baked potatoes and slid one in front of me. He left again and came back with a bottle of wine and a salad. "You've got all your bases covered, don't you? What's for dessert?"

He chuckled and poured the wine before sitting next to me. "Wrong sport, Madame Journalist. I'm embarrassed for you." I socked him in his left arm and he gave me a mock glare. "You're lucky that's not my throwing arm. As for dessert, you'll have to wait and see." I wanted him to be my dessert but thankfully I didn't stay that out loud. Or you could be his; that would be even better.

Edward dished us each a bowl of salad and passed me butter for my roll and potato. I couldn't help being impressed at his organizational skills and I told him so. "Always be prepared." I bet that means he has condoms. Damn it! Shut up! I am not sleeping with him. You just keep telling yourself that. We'll see what happens when he gets those hands on you. You see them, wrapped around that wine glass. They'd feel great moving over your skin…

"I'm not sleeping with him." Oh holy crap, I did not just say that out loud! Edward's fork clattered as it struck the plate when he fell out of his hand and he turned to pierce me with that green gaze.

"What?"

Crap, what do I do? What do I say? "Jasper! I'm not sleeping with Jasper. I know I joked about it but I wouldn't do that, just so you know." He stared at me for a solid minute before picking up his fork and spearing some salad almost angrily. I swore I heard him muttering something about "seeing you naked" but that was probably just a hallucination.

"I, uh, never thought you were." He shoved his salad in his mouth and chewed. We both ate in silence, trying to recover from my verbal diarrhea yet again. I cut my steak and took a bite and let out a low moan of pleasure as the flavor exploded in my mouth. I closed my eyes and chewed reverently for a moment before swallowing. When I opened them, I found Edward's eyes locked on my face intently.

"Um, what?" So I just nearly had an orgasm at his dinner table, what was so wrong with that? It's a good thing I got my kiss before dinner because he was likely to usher me out the door as soon as we were done eating.

"I've never seen anyone," he paused, searching for the right word. "Enjoy their food quite so much."

I was so mortified. I put my knife and fork down and started to push away from the table. "I should go."

"What? Why?" His hand shot out caught mine before I could rise.

"Because I do nothing but make a fool of myself in front of you; first by getting all territorial at the club and acting like a bitch, then hungover at Jasper's and now here. Wrong sport again but three strikes, Bella's out."

His eyes narrowed and he turned to face me, his knees brushing along my thigh. "First of all, I like that you got territorial at the club. Second, you did not make a fool of yourself any of those times, including now. I never know what's going to come out of your mouth, Bella, but I like it, even when I don't understand it. I'm interested in you and whatever goes on in your mind. I know you don't want Jasper, you're not the type of person that would do that to a friend and I like that about you. I like the way the food made you sound and I hope to hear that sound from you again in another capacity someday." He looked rather shocked by his own verbal vomit but he didn't let go of my hand. "Please, don't go."

He likes me, he really likes me. Which just goes to show that Edward Cullen is not that perfect after all, since his taste is quite flawed. I wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth though. I scooted my chair forward and tried to pull my hand free from his. He held it for another few seconds before letting go and facing the table again. "You're weird," I told him, cutting my meat and taking another bite, this time without the porn soundtrack to accompany me.

"I'm weird?" His eyes sparkled as he waved his fork at me. "I think we've established that you're the weird one."

"Yes, but you want me to stay, despite my weirdness, so that makes you weird too," I told him, logical as ever.

He laughed and raised his glass toward me. I lifted my own and clinked it against his. "To two strange strangers finding one another."

I giggled. "That works." I took a sip of the wine and went back to eating. "This is really good. Do you think you could use your connections to have them deliver me lunch at the paper every day?"

Edward shook his head emphatically. "Are you kidding? Do you think I want you make those noises around Buddy and the boys? No, that's just for me. I'll send you bread and water for work."

"That's big of you, Cullen. You're a real prince." I grinned and scooped up some baked potato. "You can keep your bread and water; I'll stick to turkey sandwiches."

"As long as they don't have that effect on you." I bumped him with my leg and he smiled at me. "What's it like, working at a newspaper?"

I thought for a minute before answering. "Not nearly as glamorous as I once imagined. I sit at a beat up desk with an old box monitor and spend the majority of my day looking up stats and compiling facts. Phones ring, people type, staff meetings…what I do doesn't set the journalism world on fire but I like going out, watching the games, talking to the players."

"You cover high school sports? All of them?"

"Mostly, yes. Right now it's football and wrestling, though I far prefer the former."

"Of course, it's the best," he said matter-of-factly.

"I can't help but agree. It's fun, too, talking to high school players. They're not jaded; they're still completely excited by the game. I guess you know all about that."

"I do. I love it, it's in my blood." He paused and looked at me for a moment, as if debating saying something. "You've been on my mind since Thursday night." I felt pleasure fill me at his words. "And I thought of you Friday while we worked out and Saturday during down times and Saturday night when I was here alone." I was going to melt into the carpet if he kept talking like that. "And this morning, you were still on my mind. But when I stepped out on that field…it was all football until the final snap." I could have found that insulting if I wanted to but I more than understood and frankly his mind should always be on the game when he was out on that field.

He smiled sweetly. "Right after the game, I was in a rush to get the hell out of there and get home so I could spend the evening with you. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that the game is everything to me when I'm playing but when I'm not, other things capture my interest." He took a sip of wine and licked his lips. I thought about attacking him but I'd probably knock my wonderful food on the floor and I had already pushed my luck enough tonight.

We ate in companionable silence for awhile and I pushed my plate away, somehow managing to eat every bite. He grinned. "I love a woman with an appetite. Do you have room for dessert?" Depends, are you on the menu? Shut up.

"I don't know…" I had done plenty to damage myself in his eyes yet he didn't seem turned off by me. Was I pushing my luck by eating like a pig too? His supermodel ex probably nibbled on a lettuce leaf and went to puke it up right after a couple bites.

"It's chocolate lava cake," he told me, watching me intently, probably thinking another moan would erupt from his words alone. He wasn't far off either but I managed to refrain.

"You had me at chocolate." He let out a deep laugh and took our plates to the kitchen. I felt kind of silly having him serve me but he seemed perfectly content with it. He was back minutes later, bringing with him one steaming hot chocolate cake piled with ice cream, melting in pools around it.

"I thought we could share." He scooped some of the cake and ice cream and raised it to my lips. I opened and let him slide the gooey dessert in my mouth. Again, my eyes fluttered closed but I didn't let out the moan that wanted to erupt. I licked my lips and opened my eyes and found his face very close to mine.

"Sexy," he murmured. I reached out and touched his hand, taking the spoon and scooping some dessert for him. I repeated his movement, raising the spoon to his lips and feeding him. He was right, it was sexy. I felt heat start to spread through my body and I wanted very badly to ignore myself and throw caution to the wind and just sleep with the man. If he came to his senses and kicked me to the curb, I'd always regret not being with him.

He took the spoon and fed me again and this time I let out a tiny moan, more at the thought of sleeping with him than from the chocolate. His eyes got darker, almost black as he leaned in and kissed me again, this time his tongue seeking entry into my mouth as he dropped the spoon and wrapped his arms around my waist, drawing me closer. I was wrong earlier…this was the best kiss ever. He tasted like chocolate and vanilla and some spicier flavor…cinnamon maybe. Whatever it was, it was heavenly.

I wound my arms around his back and let my hands dive into that thick, beautiful hair finally. His tongue moved against mine expertly, using just the right amount of pressure as his hands moved up and down my back, sending shivers down my spine. I enjoyed the sensation as I felt intense desire start to well up inside me.

I pulled back reluctantly and Edward's eyes opened as we both struggled to catch our breath. I wanted nothing more than to kiss him again but if I did, I wouldn't have the strength not to leave and I really didn't want to rush this, no matter how much I wanted those hands on me. "I should get going." I said it reluctantly but I congratulated myself on saying it at all. I had to be at work early tomorrow and it was getting late.

"Yeah, I suppose you're right. Let me walk you to your car."

"You don't have to," I started to protest but he shook his head and helped me from the table.

"My mother taught me better manners than that." He slipped on a pair of shoes and took my hand as we walked to the door and held it while we waited for the elevator. "Can I see you again, Bella?"

"Yes." I couldn't get the word out fast enough and I blushed at my eagerness but he just smiled and squeezed my hand gently.

"We're in Seattle next weekend and I really don't want to wait two weeks. Can I see you during the week? We have a pretty light load on Monday and Tuesday." He wanted to see me again that quickly? I did an excited dance in my head, thankfully just in my head.

The elevator came and we stepped in. Edward hit the button for the parking garage and turned to look at me. "I'd like that. How about Tuesday? I can make you dinner this time."

His grin flashed. "I didn't make it this time."

"No, but it was still great. The best meal I ever had." I was talking about more than the food and we both knew it.

He raised my hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. "I'd love to taste your cooking." My mind started whirling when he said taste and I wished he would taste more than my cooking. Too soon, much too soon.

The elevator opened and I led Edward over to my car. "This is me," I told him, embarrassed at my mom-mobile. He didn't bat an eyelash though, kissing my hand again before drawing me in and pressing his lips to mine in a soft kiss.

"Drive home safely and call me when you get there, okay?" I was touched by his concern and I kissed him again, a little longer this time. He pulled back and brushed my hair away from my face. "I'll talk to you soon and see you on Tuesday."

He helped me into the car and closed my door, watching as I started it and lifting a hand as I pulled away. He wanted to see me again. Edward Cullen was coming to dinner at my place; at my tiny little apartment with its ratty furniture and sporadic air conditioning. He doesn't care about that, Bella. No, he didn't. He liked me for some inexplicable reason. Tuesday night…should be interesting.


A/N So I hope the date was worth the wait!

I'm up for some more awards (you guys are fantastic, you know that right?) Taste of Innocence was nominated for 4 Vampies and Sacrificial Lamb for one. This story has a nomination at The Gloves for Best Alice, which pleases me because I think she's a lot of fun and I'm thrilled others do as well. Edward has got to watch out for Blitzens! Those reindeer are deadly :)

Same time, another date. What might Bella spout inappropriately next? I never know! Thanks for reading!