Are you ready to start 2019 off with a ROAR?! Put on your Thanksgiving pants and get ready to dig in. Bella is in the kitchen getting ready to feed her lion. Will she be able to satisfy his hunger?
HappyMess: You are the Beamo in my Seoul.
*Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight…I'm just a girl that over plucks her eyebrows.
Here we go again crawlin' through the kitchen oh ho ho hum. I bet you got what it takes to get me into a living room position. Ooh and baby someday soon. I will take you there, promise me the moon and then he found a hallway that went all the way. Ooh yeah, such a pretty mess, he made such a pretty mess on my dress, ooh yeah such a pretty mess, oh such a pretty.
I've never cooked Thanksgiving dinner before, but I wasn't worried. How hard could it be? Growing up my Grandmother never cooked. Instead of sitting around a table eating turkey and stuffing we spent holidays watching her musician friends jam in back alley clubs. Not exactly traditional, but I wouldn't trade those memories for the world.
I wanted to give Edward a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. He probably hadn't had one in quite a long time, if ever. Okay and maybe I wanted one too. Jasper worked holidays at the casino and Angela spent them with her family, so it was the norm for me to be alone.
Yikes and I never minded it. She would get a top dollar can of cat food and for me a turkey dinner to go from the pub down the street. No matter where I lived there was always a pub down the street.
I made sure of that.
Jazz was always down the street as well. That had been a given in my world. In the last few weeks Jasper and I came to an understanding. If we didn't talk about Edward we wouldn't get into a heated fight, so we didn't talk about him, at all.
It seemed to be a pattern, because that's pretty much how it went with the gang at work too. Let's just say our boss wasn't winning any man of the year awards in their book.
Hell, they actually had a book and from what Angela told me there had been an edit to it after Emmett got fired. I didn't ask questions. Honestly, I debated about whether or not to tell Edward about the book several times over the past few weeks.
But how could I betray the gang like that?
I couldn't. So I continued to stick my head in the sand about it, which was totally out of character for me. What harm could it do though? It was just a silly little book about a lion that roared too loud.
It sounded kind of cute.
Edward hated the word cute and lord knew no one would dare use it when referring to him.
Stubborn, arrogant, impatient, and hot headed were a few words that came to mind when thinking of my boss. Cute would be the last word I'd ever use to describe him.
Over the past few weeks I developed new words for him though, words like playful, funny, protective, and passionate. No one saw that side of him, except for me, he made sure of that. It certainly hadn't been easy to get to this point with him.
He made me work like hell for it, but that didn't bother me. Edward was worth it. That may sound cliché, but it was the truth.
Which was exactly why I stood in his driveway with a truck full of groceries ready to feed the man a meal he would never forget.
Thanksgiving never had too much meaning to me.
I did my best to be thankful all year long for all the love and friendship I had in my life. This year I wanted Edward to have something to be thankful for, something he couldn't put a dollar amount on.
A priceless memory.
Before I even reached the bed of my truck several of Edward's staff appeared, eager to help. They wouldn't let me lift a thing, upon their boss's orders no doubt. I didn't want to push it and get them in trouble, so I thanked them and headed into the house.
Nadia greeted me at the door with a bright smile on her face. "Welcome back. We've been looking forward to seeing you again. How's your ankle?"
I returned her smile. "I'm doing much better, thank you. No more crutches." I shuffled my feet to show her my progress.
"That's great," Nadia said while carefully monitoring the staff as they moved around us. "Mr. Cullen will be here in a moment. I just let him know you arrived."
"I'm making Thanksgiving dinner for him," I told her, as if she couldn't tell by the ten bags of groceries I showed up with.
"Yes, I heard." She beamed at me happily.
"You did?" That surprised me since Edward wasn't one to talk to his staff, or anyone really.
She nodded. "He gave Carmine, our chef, the day off and instructed the rest of the staff to follow your every command when you got here."
"Is he serious?" My eyes widened. "You're all working extra hard today because of me?"
"No, not at all." She shook her head. "We were told to leave after you finish cooking. I don't think he's ever been here without staff to serve him. You must be quite competent in his eyes."
I could tell she wanted to say more but held back. She couldn't hide how delighted she was though. Nadia liked Edward despite his harsh demeanor, which was a rarity.
"I don't know about that." I waved off the thought. "His standards are so high; no one could ever reach them."
"Oh, I'd say you climbed pretty high." She smirked knowingly. "I won't take up anymore of your time. Would you like me to walk you to the kitchen?"
"No, don't be silly. I remember where it is. Thanks, Nadia."
"My pleasure." She smiled at me, her eyes filled with warmth. "If you need anything at all please don't hesitate to ask me or any of the other staff for assistance." She did a slight bow and walked away.
Although I hadn't been back to his house since the weekend of the charity ball, Edward and I spent a good amount of time together over the past few weeks. He took me to a few of his favorite restaurants, extravagant fine dining establishments with world renowned chefs.
The food looked so much like art I felt guilty eating it.
I hated to admit it, but there was something to be said for five-star cuisine. Cooking, like any other art form had complexities to it that I seriously overlooked. The chefs meticulously gave attention to every minute detail.
As usual, we negotiated a give and take arrangement. I took him to a few of my favorite restaurants as well, not surprisingly they were the complete opposite of his. I brought him to hole in the wall, cozy, little mom and pop places with worn, creaky floors and mismatched silverware and dishes.
The food looked nothing like art, but it was cheap and tasted like heaven.
His snobby nose lifted high before we even got in the door to each place, but I managed to get him to admit nachos were more than a pile of slop. The man had never eaten nachos before.
In the end, we preferred our favorites, but sharing them with each other was what mattered to me. It brought us closer together. We didn't need to like the same things. God knows Edward and I did not like the same things. Somehow it just worked for us.
I didn't question why.
Edward's kitchen had everything a top chef could ever dream of. The staff were busy unpacking the bags as I walked in. They quickly finished up and scurried away. That had to stop. I mean, I knew Edward demanded it. He made damn sure you respected his authority.
I wasn't Edward though. If I had authority, I would want a community of equals around me and not a staff of petrified servants.
Since I knew they were bullied by their boss into treating me like a princess I wasn't sure how to approach them. It was a different dynamic than at the office.
There were rumors that we were dating after he carried me into the building, but thankfully they quieted down, and things went back to their version of normal pretty fast.
No special treatment there, thankfully. Mike certainly didn't treat me like a princess. Though I probably wouldn't deter Edward from bullying him into it, just the thought of it caused an evil grin to appear on my face.
"Don't you look devious, Ms. Swan." Edward's arms wrapped around my waist from behind. He lowered his lips to my ear. "Should I be concerned?"
"Of course not. Have I ever done anything to harm you?" My hands covered his on my stomach. "Intentionally," I added quickly, before he could recite his ridiculous list of things that weren't even my fault.
"Injuring someone unintentionally doesn't count?" He asked while spinning me around to face him.
"Obviously not." I held his hard gaze.
He backed me up into an island at the center of the room. "Not true."
"What?" My eyes narrowed. "Of course it's true. If I didn't do it intentionally it's not my fault."
"You're still fully responsible, regardless of intent. Nothing will ever change that." His harsh words and stiffened demeanor gave me the strong impression we were no longer talking about me.
My hands reached up to cradle his handsome face. "Did you hurt someone unintentionally?"
"Don't." He shook his head.
"Don't what?" I lowered my hands.
"Ask that." His cold stare leveled me. "You won't like my answer."
"Who said I had to like it? I'll still like you." I smiled up at him.
His brow drew in. "You don't know that."
"That's true. I don't, because you won't let me in. You still can't trust me?" I searched his face and got my answer. Had we really made any progress or was I deluding myself?
"You're trying to fix me. That needs to stop," he warned in his I am your boss tone of voice.
The man was impossible. He really was. I inhaled and released a deep breath and decided to start over. My plan to give him a priceless memory remained in full effect despite my instinct to continually debate everything he said.
"I'm sorry," I didn't say the words often, but when I did I meant them. "I promised you I wouldn't push or try to blow your walls down. It's just hard for me to see you in pain and not try to do something to help." I paused. "Since I'm a healer."
That got me a faint smirk. "So you keep saying."
"How about this, promise me when you deep down in your gut trust me enough you'll let me into your darkest parts. I promise you that I'll be there, anytime, day or night. I can wait. I'm a very patient person." Actually, I had little patience for most things in life, but this would be an exception.
He thought my proposition over. "I promise to never lie to you. I promise to protect you from harm. I promise to be intimate with only you." His eyes darkened. "But trust and love I cannot promise you. Don't wait for something that will never happen."
I held a hand up. "Wait one minute. You can't possibly know that. Trust and love are earned. In your eyes the bar is set so high you can't fathom anyone reaching it." My finger tapped his chest. "Don't underestimate me, Mr. Cullen. I've been told I'm an excellent climber."
He grabbed my hand before I pulled away. "There is no bar. It doesn't exist."
"Do you care about me?" I asked casually, as though I already knew the answer.
"Yes," he said point blank, no hesitation.
"Would you ever intentionally hurt or deceive me?" I moved in a little closer to him.
"No," he answered honestly.
"Well, I feel the same way." I squeezed his hand. "My gut is telling me not to let go, so I'm not letting go."
He remained silent a moment, watching me intently. "As long as your gut isn't holding on to something I can't give it. I'm not sure you fully understand."
"You won't let me fully understand," I pointed out the obvious. "What I understand is that you care about me and won't lie or deceive me. Let me tell you something, that's a hell of a lot more than any other man has ever given me. I'm not going to ask you for more than that."
He pulled me in so quickly I yelped, drawing me close enough that our noses lightly touched. His fiery gaze locked onto mine, doubling my pulse.
"I don't want to hear about other men," he warned.
"Are you sure?" I asked innocently. "Because I can tell you some pretty crazy stories. Like this one guy I dated, he used to- "
Edward cut me off…by biting my lips. Hard.
"Ouch!" I shot him a hard glare. "What the hell was that?"
"That was a kiss." He smirked devilishly.
My fingers touched my lips. "That was not a kiss. You bit me."
The smirk widened. "I get rough sometimes. You told me you liked it."
"I said I liked your dark side, that was not dark, it was painful." The man bit me like a sandwich for Christ's sake.
"That's why it's called dark. It can hurt you. I didn't realize you were so fragile." He leaned in and gave me a few light pecks as soft as a feather. "There. Is that better?"
"I am not fragile," I huffed. "Trust me, I can handle your dark side."
"We'll see," he taunted. "So far you're pretty wimpy."
My jaw dropped. "Oh, you will regret those words. You're not the only one with a dark side you know."
He laughed. "Don't tease, Ms. Swan."
"I'm not teasing. I'm just as dark as you, if not darker," I warned with a menacing tone.
"That is highly doubtful." He grinned wickedly.
"Always underestimating me." I matched his snide grin. "By the end of the night you will beg me for mercy."
"I don't beg," he said sternly, angered at the thought of it. "Ever."
"Oh good." I kissed his hardened lips. "It will be your first time, that will make it more meaningful."
"The only begging tonight will come from these lips." He tapped my mouth with his fingertip. "Now you've made it even more appealing to me. You really shouldn't have done that."
"Not scared." I pulled away from him. "I'll have you eating out of the palm of my hand." I clapped my hands together and looked around the room before returning my eyes to his. "I've got work to do."
After shooing Edward out of the kitchen, I finished unpacking the bags. I kept my menu simple; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and string bean casserole. For dessert, apple pie ala mode.
Come on, who needed a chef to do this? I googled the recipes, it literally gave me step by step instructions.
Rolling my sleeves up I got right down to business. Thankfully I did a lot of prep work the night before. Angela is a fantastic cook. She said it came naturally to her. Many times I watched her create dishes. No recipe at all, winging it on the measurements.
Angela was not a winging it type of girl outside the kitchen. Her usually fearful and anxious demeanor disappeared once you put her in front of a stove, sort of like a musician that's quiet until you gave them a stage and microphone. I'd seen that time and again.
I had a theory. We all have creative vibes inside us. Most people feel a calling to express it early in life. They know their path and tap into powerful energy when they follow it. Other people sort of wander around unable to find their path. Nothing feels quite right to them. Until you find ways to express your creative vibes your soul is unsettled.
For as long as I can remember music had been my clear path. I had friends on that path that guided my way. It felt like home. As I got older, I learned something very important.
You can't fully live life on just one path.
There are many paths just waiting for you to tap into new and unused creative vibes. Massage therapy became a path for me. I never expected it be so enchanting. There had been no calling to it. Fate led me to it quietly, which when you think about it made complete sense. Silence and massage therapy went hand in hand.
As I prepared Edward's meal I wondered if cooking could be a new creative path for me. It would make sense. I was a giver. Being able to give comfort and joy to others always called to me. People loved to eat. Perhaps feeding people would be another way for me to tap in. One thing was for sure.
I needed music.
Silence in the kitchen didn't feel right at all. I pulled up a playlist I created over the weekend and cranked it up. My hips swayed as I danced to the beat, singing Brown Sugar along with the Rolling Stones. Call me crazy, but the first thing I did was massage the huge bird. I couldn't help myself.
If Angela could make up her own rules in the kitchen I could too. I needed to get in a zone. Music and massage therapy had never let me down. Call me crazier, but the turkey had energy. I felt it in my fingertips.
Time to tap in and see where this path would lead.
Presentation was key. Since I wanted a traditional Thanksgiving, I wore a pale pink vintage dress with ballet flats. I kept my makeup natural. I wiped my brow as I stood over the cooked turkey.
The kitchen looked like a bomb hit it. Almost every ingredient I used was splattered across my apron. My hair started out in a neat ponytail high up on my head. I batted away one of several large pieces that kept dropping down into my flour splotched face.
Angela never looked like that when she cooked.
The meal itself looked just as sloppy as I did. The pictures that went along with the recipes looked nothing like what I had in front of me. Maybe the pretty dishes would magically transform my ugly duckling meal. Edward's staff set the dining room table for me with precious fine china that was probably worth more than my entire apartment building.
They were so eager to help me. I should have taken them up on it. Hell, I probably should have let Edward's chef prepare the meal, but I wanted it to be homemade for him by someone that cared. Shouldn't that be more important than silly things like being visually appealing...or edible?
I hadn't tasted any of it yet. But I did know one thing, If this meal tasted the way it looked I would be hearing words like; rubbage, foul, and unacceptable very soon. Edward wouldn't sugar coat it for me. Damn his honesty. I fiddled with the strings on my apron as I thought about that.
I don't know why I felt so nervous. This was a gesture of goodwill. I should have had a plan B though damn it, damn it, damn it. I always had a plan B.
Why the hell did I send the staff home? Oh right, because I didn't want to waste their holiday watching me dance around massaging a turkey.
Closing my eyes, I inhaled a deep breath.
"Don't panic. Don't panic," I reminded myself, chanting over and over.
Wow! Cooking turned Angela into a free spirit and it turned me into a nervous wreck. How freaky was that? I needed to get myself together.
Step one, make myself look sane. The flour child look I had going on screamed unstable. The food I could make presentable in the gorgeous china. Edward would never see it's battered past.
I let out a small sigh of relief, feeling a little better already. As I made my way across the huge room, I even managed a confident sway of the hips. Why did I worry? I totally had this.
A cocky grin began to spread across my face.
The door swung open just as I reached it. Edward froze in place taking in the destruction that surrounded him. His head tilted to the side and then his laser sharp gaze slid over to me.
"What have you done?" His eyes darted from me to the room several times, a deep frown on his face.
"Isn't it obvious?" I smiled bright, batting my lashes at him, hoping to distract him with my charms.
"Yes." He took a few steps closer to me, frown still etched on his face. "You destroyed my kitchen."
"Please." I waved him off. "Stop being so dramatic."
He reached into his pocket and whipped out his cell phone.
"Who are you calling?" Based on his angry expression I would guess the police.
"Nadia," he replied unlocking his screen. "I need my entire staff to return to work immediately."
"NO!" I lunged forward and grabbed the phone out of his hand. "Don't be ridiculous. This is just a little mess. Hardly noticeable at all."
"There's string beans on the ceiling." His eyes rose above us.
My eyes glanced up and then back to his. "If I had a dollar for every time I heard that..." I'd have a dollar, I finished the sentence in my head. "Do you know how many kitchens have food on the ceiling?" I asked smugly.
"One." He answered bluntly. "Just one."
"Well, doesn't that make you special then." I dropped his phone in my apron pocket.
"It makes me irritated," he took a step closer to me and I took a step back, "displeased," he moved in another step and again I stepped back, "violated," his heated glare held mine as he stepped forward once more and I stepped back against the counter.
His arms came down on either side of me, trapping me there.
"This is what a home cooked meal looks like." I matched his heated glare. "Stop being such a snob."
"I can assure you that this is not what a home cooked meal looks like." His gaze roamed the room before returning to mine.
"You are so unappreciative," I huffed at the nerve of him. "I've been slaving over that stove all day." My eyes shot over to the demolished stove and back to him. "A simple thank you would be nice."
A small grin appeared on his face. "You want me to thank you for wrecking my kitchen?"
"Cooking is an art form, Mr. Cullen. You might see a wrecked kitchen, but to others it is a creative explosion," I managed to say with a straight face. We both knew I wrecked his damn kitchen.
The place was a complete disaster, but I couldn't let him call his entire staff back to work on a holiday.
"Creative explosion?" He repeated my words as though he couldn't possibly have heard them correctly.
I nodded my head confidently.
Edward let out a deep sigh as he lifted his hands to cradle my face. "You are a complete mess." He wiped the flour from my cheeks.
"A mess for you," I politely reminded him.
"Oh so you did this for me?" His brow rose.
My eyes rolled hard. "Of course I did it for you. You have no idea how much time and effort I put into this meal. Do you think it was easy?"
"I think you should be banned from kitchens." He leaned in real close. "Everywhere."
"Oh really?" My eyes narrowed at him as my hands flattened on the counter behind me.
He nodded with a pompous grin on his face.
My flour covered hands shot up to his face, swirling my fingers around as fast as possible, wiping that smug grin right off his lips.
I couldn't stop giggling. He looked like a ghost, a really pissed off ghost. Even his eyebrows were white.
He drew me in tight against him. "You think you're funny?"
My laughter answered his question. I could barely breathe. He grabbed my hands away from his face and pulled them behind me. Leaning forward he arched my back over the counter.
"How many kitchens have you destroyed?" He asked his lips practically touching mine.
"Just yours," I panted out, still catching my breath.
The palm of his hand cradled the back of my head, which hung back so low it almost touched the counter.
Edward lifted my face up to his and slowly kissed me like I was the most precious thing in his world. I knew his rough side quite well, but his softer side began making brief appearances. It never failed to sweep me off my feet.
His mouth tasted like flour, as did mine no doubt, but somehow that added to the moment, raw and sensual. Spontaneous. My heart raced in my chest. He had full control. A part of me craved that with him, only with him.
I craved the push and pull I had with Edward. As much I enjoyed tormenting him, little did he know how much I enjoyed his forceful reactions.
Somehow, I managed to lift my legs up and wrap them around his waist. His free hand reached behind me and spread out across my lower back, holding me exactly where he wanted.
My hips went right to work.
His hard groan against my lips only spurred me on more. Edward's softer side had left the building. He gripped my ponytail firmly and pulled it back, exposing my neck. Hot ragged breath swept over my skin. I opened my eyes feeling his hard stare on me.
He really did look like a wild animal at times. I had nothing else to possibly compare it to. I would give anything to know his thoughts in those moments. No one had intrigued me like this man.
I swallowed deep. "Are you hungry?"
His fiery eyes stayed on mine. "Famished."
My hips grinded against him one more time before I reluctantly lowered my legs to the floor. He did not seem happy about that. The frown on his face made me smile. I couldn't help it.
He had so many pieces to his puzzle. He went from wild animal to pouty little boy in the blink of an eye. How dangerous was It for me that I absolutely adored every part of him?
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not the first course." I slid out from under him and pulled my skirt down from around my waist.
"And they say I'm cruel." He shot me a heated glare.
"You thought I would make it that easy for you? What kind of girl do you think I am?" I pressed the palm of my hand to my chest, feigning dramatic shock.
"Oh, I know exactly what kind of girl you are," he taunted, with a sinister grin. "The kind that destroys my kitchen and then assaults me with flour and feminine wiles."
He still had flour all over his face, not that it dulled his handsome features in the slightest. He looked incredibly sexy. If anything, his disheveled appearance only added to his sex appeal.
Me on the other hand, I was a train wreck.
"Feminine wiles?" My flour covered eyelashes batted at him. "Can I help it if you lose all self-control when you're near me?"
He reached into the bag of brown sugar beside him. "Very observant, Ms. Swan. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling a lack of self-control right now." His hand raised out of the bag with a big heaping clump of sugar.
"Don't you dar-" I was cut off by a mouth full of sugar. It splattered across my face and down my neck.
His sly grin was pure evil.
"Oh you messed with the wrong one!" I wiped as much of the sugar from my angry face as I could.
Edward brushed the sticky sugar from his hands. "I'm not afraid of you." He used the words I said to him when we first met, mocking me.
"You should fear me most of all," I threw his words back at him in retaliation.
"Oh I think I can handle it." He arched a brow at me, smug smirk on his face.
"I would sleep with one eye open tonight if I were you, Mr. Cullen," I warned in a serious tone.
"You plan on sleeping tonight?" He shook his head slowly. "Highly unlikely."
"Is that so?" A ridiculously large grin crept across my face. He made me smile wider than I thought my mouth could go. It was almost painful.
"Unless you can't handle it." He looked me over. "You might be too fragile."
"I am not fragile." My hands flew to my hips. "Trust me, I can handle it. Bring it on, Mr. Flintstone."
"Don't call me that." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "It's disturbing."
"If you think that's disturbing perhaps you're the one that can't handle me," I taunted over my shoulder as I headed for the sink. "Go wash up. Dinner will be served in fifteen minutes." I turned to face face him from across the room.
Edward's eyes widened. "We're eating this?" He looked around at the visually unappealing food surrounding us.
"Of course, we're eating this," I huffed at the nerve of him as I washed my hands. "I've been cooking for you all day."
He threw me a disapproving scowl. "I'm not an easy man to please, Ms. Swan. Your culinary skills appear to be dangerously lacking."
"You can't make that decision until you've tasted it. Never judge a book by its cover. You of all people should know that." I dried my hands on a towel. My face was still sticky, but I would deal with that later.
"Perhaps." He glanced over at my pitiful looking mashed potatoes. "The cover of this book is horror. I'm quite sure what we'll find inside."
I stormed across the room and shooed him out of his own kitchen. The nerve of him. How ungrateful. He just didn't know what a home cooked, traditional holiday dinner looked like.
Standing there in the middle of the room I rolled my eyes. Horror story. He had no idea what he was talking about.
Could he be more of a snob? I mean honestly, what made him so sure my culinary skills were lacking?
Before I could finish that thought a clump of string beans fell from the ceiling, landing right on top of my head.
The staff set the table for a king. The crystal goblets, priceless monogrammed china, and sparkling silverware were all so stunning. Every last detail on the table was perfect…until I put the food on it. Who ever said a meal had to look appetizing?
Edward strolled into the room fresh from a shower, hair still damp and his face cleanly shaven. He took in the feast before him as he slowly approached. He attempted to mask his disdain. I knew that took great effort on his part.
Lord knew I was not a perfectionist. My grandmother raised me to be a free spirit. Life was meant to be lived fully in the moment, not dragged down by fear and self-doubt. Whatever fate threw my way I always welcomed without trepidation.
Except right now.
I didn't realize how much this meal actually meant to me. It was just a silly holiday. Why would I even care? Yet, my stomach coiled in knots, I broke out in a cold sweat and my breathing became erratic.
How the hell was I going to feed Edward with hands shaking like Jell-O?
Edward sat at the head of the table, glancing around at what had to be the worst meal he had seen in his entire life.
"You don't have to eat it," I blurted out, as though I was saving him from certain death.
His green eyes locked onto mine. "Come here," he commanded.
My legs made their way over to him. Normally I would huff at his bossy attitude, but I let it slide. Honestly, I couldn't even think straight. A million anxious thoughts bombarded me in the few seconds it took me to reach his side.
"I'm sorry," I apologized with such deep remorse it caught me off guard. My pride had left me high and dry.
Edward leaned back into his chair. "Now I'm definitely concerned. What did you do?"
I shook my head, swiping a strand of hair behind my ear. "I wanted you…us to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and I ruined it." Good lord, were there tears in my eyes?
"Have you tasted it?" He asked calmly.
My eyes rolled. "Look at it." I glanced at the table and cringed. "Like you said, it's a horror story. Do you really want to know how this story ends?"
He reached out and grabbed my hand, pulling me down onto his lap. "As a matter of fact, I'm fascinated as to how this story ends."
My eyes slowly raised to his. "Don't mock me." I pouted like a five-year-old.
Edward brushed the hair off my shoulder and lowered his lips to my ear. "I don't care about the food. You are the most delicious thing I've ever seen," he whispered, seductively.
My face broke into a girlish grin. "You really are quite the charmer."
"If I recall you told me I was a lucky man." His arms wrapped around my waist. "Because you keep your promises." He paused expectantly.
"Fine," I dragged the word out and released an anguished sigh. "If you insist. I really hope you're not that hungry."
"Oh, I'm hungry." His strong gaze held mine.
"Down boy." I tapped his lips, leaving my finger pressed up against them. "Are you ready to get lucky?" I teased flirtatiously.
He drew my finger into his warm mouth and bit down…hard.
"Ouch!" I pulled my finger away and shook it in the air. "I am not part of this meal."
His brow furrowed with disapproval. "That's unacceptable."
I leaned down and kissed him gently. "You are such a brat." He scowled at me as I got up off his lap.
I grabbed a plate off the table and put a little bit of everything on it and by little I mean minuscule. The plate had just enough food to keep my promise. No need for more than that.
Edward's watchful gaze stayed on me as I made my way back to him and placed the plate down before him and then returned to his lap.
"Am I dieting?" He looked down at the itty-bitty portions and then back to me.
"It's just a sampling." I lifted the dish closer to his face. "Do you seriously think this meal is going to meet your standards?"
Edward glanced back down at the plate, which held the most unappealing food known to mankind. "It's highly doubtful," he answered honestly.
I picked up the fork and let it hover over the plate. "What would you like to try first?"
"Turkey," he said as he wrapped his arms around my waist.
"Your wish is my command." I jabbed a piece of turkey with the fork.
"Good to know," he said as I raised the fork to his lips.
He opened his mouth, hesitantly wrapping his lips around the fork until I pulled it away. He chewed slowly. My eyes dropped not wanting to see the look of disgust on his face.
"How strange," his tone sounded genuinely perplexed.
My eyes raised to his. "You don't' have to pretend to be surprised, but I appreciate the effort," I laughed.
"Give me another bite." He looked down at the plate baffled.
I brought another piece of turkey to his mouth and watched him chew it with great concentration. He swallowed it and his eyes locked on mine.
"Plot twist," he said with a smirk on his face.
"What do you mean?" Now I was the baffled one.
"It's delicious," he lied, straight to my face.
"Oh please, you said you would never lie, Edward. Be honest. I can handle the truth." I didn't' mask my annoyance.
"Why on earth would I lie to you about turkey?" He snapped back at me, equally annoyed.
"Because you don't want to hurt my feelings," the second the words came out I realized how ridiculous they were.
He shot me an 'are you serious' brow arch.
"You're not lying." My eyes widened in shock. Then I remembered his odd food preferences, like cockles and lavender bread. His taste buds were unusual to say the least.
I picked up a small piece of turkey and popped it in my mouth. My eyes grew even wider and I stiffened as I chewed the meat.
How the hell could something that looked so wrong taste so right?
"It is delicious," I said more to myself than Edward.
A wise ass grin appeared on his face.
"Can you believe it?" I squealed with a bright smile on my face.
"Not really." Edward glanced down at the sad looking bird on the table.
"How did that happen?" I stared at the turkey as though it could answer me. "You see." My face swung to his. "It's true. You can't judge a book by its cover. It doesn't matter how horrible the outside is, there can still be goodness inside." I beamed at Edward with delight, hoping he understood the true meaning of my words.
"Perhaps," he nodded slowly. "Or the outside can be attractive and the inside ugly and vile." His gaze darkened as his hard stare held mine.
I brushed his cheek with my hand. "You are attractive inside and out." I knew he didn't believe me. I also knew the likelihood that no one had ever told him that. I wanted him to hear it.
"I thought I was a snobby fat cat?" He argued, making light of my compliment.
"You are," I reassured him. "I never said you were perfect."
"I'm not lucky either, because I'm still hungry." He glanced down at the plate and then his eyes met mine. "I believe you promised to feed me a full meal."
"Do you want more turkey?" I let the fork hover over the plate.
"Mashed potatoes," he said, the brave man he was. They looked even worse than the turkey.
"Are you sure?" I asked hesitantly.
He nodded in response.
"Okay, here goes," I scooped up a little bit of the saddest looking mashed potatoes ever created and fed it to him. This time I kept my eyes on his as he chewed and swallowed. His expression gave nothing away.
"Those are the most disgusting mashed potatoes," he shot them a glare, "I've ever seen and yet they taste exquisite. How is that possible?"
"It's a natural ability," I bragged. "Anyone can make food that looks appealing. There's nothing special about that. How many people can cook a 'surprise I'm ugly on the outside only' meal?"
"Just one," he said. "You cook the ugliest food on earth."
"Oh stop," I waved off the compliment with a bright smile. "I wouldn't go that far."
He glanced down at the plate and then back to me. "I'll go further. If there is life on other planets your food is uglier than anything they could concoct."
That made me laugh. "It's uglier than alien food?"
Edward nodded. "Without a doubt."
"I've got skills. What can I say?" I shrugged with a cocky grin. "You haven't tried my string bean casserole yet." It was the ugliest of all. I scooped some of the green slop up and raised the fork to Edwards lips, which promptly clamped shut.
His head shook forcefully.
"Oh come on. Close your eyes and take it like a man," I taunted him.
Edward's eyes rose up to mine as his lips slowly parted. I stuffed the fork in and pulled it out lightning fast. His mouth closed and he hesitated before chewing a few times and swallowing.
"Well?" I asked impatiently.
"Unbelievably spectacular," he admitted. "Truly unbelievable."
"I like my cooking to have a wow factor," I explained with pride. "Expect the unexpected."
"More like expect the impossible," he said looking at the plate with confusion.
"Predictable is boring." I shrugged.
"You like surprises?" He asked with a gleam in his eyes that should have concerned me.
"Why don't you surprise me and find out?" I matched his wicked gleam with a sly grin.
He liked that. I had become good at reading his body language. Scowls and frowns were obvious of course, but Edward had so much hidden beneath the surface. The darkness inside of him had a playful side to it.
All men have a little boy hidden away. Jasper's came out when he was sick. Since we grew up together it was like seeing an old friend return. Of course, he would never admit it.
Edward's little boy though, he was naughty. Something told me if I could get him to come out to play it would be a very enlightening experience. A complete game changer. If I were being honest, his twisted inner child taught me something.
I had one too.
There had been small clues from the moment we met, but the closer we got the more I felt it. His naughty little boy called my inner child out to play and she sure as hell wasn't sugar, spice and everything nice.
Edward didn't lie, he was hungry. I fed him a large plate of food which he devoured and then he fed me a full plate in return.
Just as I was about to clean up Edward stood with me still cradled in his arms and walked away from the table.
"Where are we going?" I held on tight as he headed out of the room.
"That's a surprise," he whispered in my ear, menacingly.
Considering I was on crutches the only other time I had been there I hadn't see much of the house. Edward maneuvered us down the long halls. My brain worked double time trying to figure out where we were going.
"Are you taking me to your bedroom?" I asked as we rounded a corner and headed for a staircase.
"Is that where you want me to take you?" He paused a moment as though he might abruptly change his plans.
"It just seems like the most logical place." My curious eyes landed on his.
"Is that how your dates usually end, in the bedroom?" He continued up the staircase at a brisk pace, considering he had me in his arms.
"Only the good ones," I laughed at my own joke, sometimes I cracked myself up. I didn't do one night stands or casual sex. He knew that.
"I'll keep that in mind." Edward paused at the top of the stairs and turned to the left, opening the large door in front of us.
The room was dark enough that it took a few moments for my vision to adjust to the lighting. The first thing that stood out was the jumbo size movie theater screen at the front of the room. There were several rows of plush seats in the center.
"It's a movie theater," I announced.
"Always so observant, Ms. Swan," he teased as he kept walking further into the room heading toward the front.
"Are we watching a movie?"
"We are," he replied with that wicked gleam that always spelled danger.
"WE'RE WATCHING PORN!" I yelled out.
"Such a dirty mind." He tsked at me judgmentally.
"Me?" That made me laugh. I pointed to his striking green eyes. "You gleamed at me."
He finished walking to the head of the room and sat down on a plush looking sofa.
"I don't gleam," he stated harshly, thoroughly offended.
"Are you kidding?" I snorted in his face. "You give the most wicked gleams I've ever seen."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Edward removed me from his lap and placed me down beside him on the cushy couch.
He stood up and walked away.
"So moody," I grumbled as I sat there contemplating what sort of movie Edward would want to watch. Horror? Texas Chainsaw Massacre perhaps. No, he wouldn't have the patience for the moronic characters.
Oh no! We were going to watch a boring movie about wealthy people screwing over poor people. That's probably a feel-good film for him. I stretched out for the long nap ahead of me. There was no way I was staying awake for that.
Edward returned just as I was about to nod off. He stretched out beside me, draped his arm across my shoulders and pulled me in close. It felt good. Very romantic. Come to think of it the mood was very romantic, cuddling on a cushy sofa together in his private movie theater.
"WE'RE WATCHING A CLASSIC ROMANCE!" I screeched like a fifteen-year-old girl. He cringed at the high pitch. Why the hell was I so excited? I didn't even like classic romance films. But the fact that he wanted to watch one with me felt like a breakthrough.
I cuddled in closer and rested my head on his shoulder as the movie began. I hadn't seen many romantic movies. Honestly, they weren't my style, predictable and corny. They never play out like real life, but the fact that Edward wanted to show his softer side to me meant a lot.
A few seconds into the opening scene I realized it wasn't a classic romance.
"Is that Bruce Lee? I asked, pointing at the screen.
"The one and only," Edward replied with a boyish grin.
"We're watching a Bruce Lee film?" I sat up to get a closer look at the screen.
"What else would we possibly watch?" He yanked me back down onto his chest by the back of my shirt. "I thought you were a ninja?"
"I am." My eyes rolled at how obvious that was. I had proven it to him several times. "There's no romance in this movie?"
"You've never seen Enter the Dragon?" He stiffened.
"I don't think so." My eyes flickered to the screen and back to his. "I can't remember."
"Oh, you would remember." He quipped.
"What's so great about Bruce Lee?" I yawned obnoxiously. "He kicks people. Big deal."
"You can't be serious?" He shot a hard glance my way.
"He holds no interest to me," I said dryly. "It's just…. background noise." I threw his words about music right back at him.
"Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light." He replied without even taking his eyes from the screen.
"I'm walking in darkness?" I laughed "You are the King of Darkness. "I pointed to myself. "I am the Princess of Light."
"Not the Queen?" He asked, still not removing his eyes from the action before him.
"No way." I shook my head. "Queens are too stuffy. Princesses know how to party."
"And that's what's important to you?" His eyes drifted over to meet mine. "Knowing how to party?"
"Don't be so judgmental." I moved in a bit closer. "In the recipe of life partying is a very important ingredient."
"That depends on what kind of life you're cooking." He was back to watching Bruce kick ass on the big screen.
I leaned back and focused my eyes on the screen also, deciding to give the movie a fair chance. It's what I hoped he would eventually do with music. Though honestly how interesting could watching people kick each other for two hours really be?
"You can blink now?" Edward said as the credits rolled.
Probably for the first time in two hours.
"How does he do it?" The man moved like a…like a ninja. I mean clearly my definition of what constitutes a ninja was way off.
"Kicking people for two hours?" He leaned back further into the cushion behind him.
"Are you serious? He did way more than kick people! Every single move was precisely executed!" The words flew out in a rushed string of excitement. "The way he moves his body is an art form. It pumps you up just seeing it. You know?"
"Yes, I do know. The fight scenes were a bit distracting with you attempting to match his moves. Your sound effects though were quite impressive." He mockingly made a Bruce Lee sound effect and karate chop.
"Mocking me is not wise," I warned him.
"Oh really?" He paused with his arm still in a karate stance. "What is the Princess of Light possibly going to do about it?"
My eyes narrowed. "You think I can't take you on?"
He shrugged. "Highly doubtable."
Before he could finish the last word I pounced on him. Arms flailing, legs kicking. My Bruce Lee sound effects louder than the music playing as the credits rolled.
"Take that King of Darkness!" I managed to catch him off guard and was feeling pretty good about it for the few seconds it took for him to respond.
Then I was lying on my back.
He looked down at me shaking his head and tsking.
I fought for my freedom with no success.
"Who is the Master?" he had the audacity to ask.
"I AM THE MASTER!" I declared in a mighty battle cry.
"You really shouldn't have said that." His eyes got that wicked gleam to them that spelled trouble.
"OW FUCK! "I yelped and crunched my face in pain.
Edward released my hands immediately and before he could ask if I was okay I went in for a tickle attack.
He keeled over on his side and attempted to push me off, but I held firm. I straddled him and pulled his hands above his head.
Panting heavily onto his lips I said. "When will you ever learn? Light always wins over Darkness."
His features hardened, but to my surprise he stayed silent.
"Hmmm..." I tapped my finger against my chin. "This is how it's going to work. I give you a command and you follow it. It's very simple."
His brow rose in curiosity.
"No speaking," I warned and again he surprised me by remaining silent.
What started out as a joke turned into much more. The rush I got from dominating this man, not just any man, but this man was intense. I didn't spend a single second analyzing that. I stayed locked in the moment and wanted to see how far I would take it, how far he would let me take it.
"There are just two rules," I ground down on his lap. "I take what I want. You love it because you want to please me."
His eyes met mine. Edward and I have had heated stares, but this was at a whole new level.
Did he like this?
Based on the firmness of his lap I would say he really liked this.
My eyes ran over his body as though it was my own possession. The man had a beautiful body.
"Take off your shirt," I commanded just before releasing his hands.
He leaned forward and paused a moment, then reached down to his waist to grab hold of the bottom of his shirt and raised it above his head tossing it behind me.
"Good Boy," I praised him.
"Is that what you want Bella… a good boy?" That wicked gleam in his eyes returned so strong it actually sparked me.
"Is that even possible for you?" I ran a finger down his chest, leaving my gaze locked with his.
In a flash I was on my back looking up at a very naughty Lion.
"Absolutely not." The burn from his stare heated me to the core. "I thought I already told you there's nothing good about me."
"I don't' believe that." He was too stubborn to ever admit it.
"Says the girl who labeled me King of Darkness." His face hardened. "A name I fully intend to live up to."
"If you're trying to scare me it won't work," I warned. "I like your dark side."
"I'm actually curious to find out if you do." His eyes scanned my face intently. "I'm not a soft man."
"So no cute little pet names whispered in my ear while you gently make sweet love to me?" I widened my eyes in shock.
"I'd rather spew filthy, demented words in your ear while I violate every inch of your succulent body." He explained calmly as though he were talking about the weather. "I can be quite rough…with those willing."
"Have there been many willing?" I absolutely hated the thought of him being sexual with anyone other than me. I had experienced jealousy before, but this was something completely different. This felt territorial.
"Does it matter?" He shrugged.
"Yes, I don't like the thought of you being sexual with anyone else," I admitted. I wanted to keep honesty between us.
"There has been no one like you," he said, looking unguarded for a brief moment.
"We haven't even been intimate yet. How do you know that?" The man was being honest with me. I had been single long enough to know when I was being fed bullshit.
He let out a heavy sigh, "Because…I like you." This confession seemed disturbing to him.
"Awww and you said you weren't going to be soft." I pinched his cheek.
He grabbed my hand and held it tight against his face. "Do you want the truth?"
I nodded. "Always."
He took a few moments to think over what he was about to say. "Liking you has enhanced my urges."
I pulled myself up closer to him, so that our faces were inches apart. "That's exactly how it should be." I kissed him, unable to resist his soft pouty lips. You've honestly never had sex with someone you liked before?"
He ran a hand through his hair. "I don't like people, so no. Definitely not."
Does it make me an awful person that in that moment I was extremely happy to hear that he didn't like people…except me. That should make me sad for him and on some level it did, but I felt thrilled to be special to him.
"Do you want me to be honest?" I asked in a serious tone.
"Yes, I expect complete honesty," he stated firmly.
"I'm glad you only like me. It makes me feel special," I couldn't hide the smile on my face.
"You have incomparable value to me." He kissed me deeply, nothing like the soft peck I gave him.
I wrapped my legs around his waist and was just about to grind down when he pulled away.
"But I will never love you," he pronounced as though it was crucial information, apparently to him it was.
"Why do you feel the need to keep telling me that?" I eyed him carefully. "Is it to remind me or you?"
"It's for clarity." He cleared his throat. "Sometimes lines get blurred."
"You always color in the lines. I remember." He made sure of that.
Edwards eyes zeroed in on my chest. He had a way of shooting the most intense gazes and saying so much without uttering a single word.
"My turn?" I teased with a flirty smile.
"If I had my way you would've been naked from the moment you walked through my door." He reached out to unbutton my shirt, but I slapped his hands away.
"So impatient, Mr. Cullen." I brought my fingertips to the top button of my dress and slowly undid it, I did the same with the second one, dragging it out even longer. Having him so enraptured by my every move was incredibly intoxicating.
I should have known better than to tease a lion.
Before I got down to the third button he pounced, grabbing the bottom of my dress in one fell swoop and pulling it up over my head in a flash, leaving me lying there in my bra and panties.
Just as he was about to pounce on those I caught him off guard by grabbing his pants by the waist. I had them unbuttoned and unzipped before he had a chance to react. I stripped his pants off him almost as fast as he stripped off my dress.
I expected to find boxers.
"Did the maids forget to do your laundry?" I asked taking in his naked form. I could stare at the man for hours, talk about an art form.
"I don't care for boxers when I'm around you," he said with a casual shrug.
"I don't care for boxers when you're around me either." I flashed him a naughty smile.
His eyes darkened as they raked over my barely naked body from head to toe.
"Are you going to pounce on me again?" I stretched out myself as an offering.
"Would you like that?" He licked his bottom lip in anticipation.
"Only one way to find out." Before I could even finish the sentence, his hands were on me and my bra and panties were halfway across the room.
This man had skills.
His hands went straight to my bare breasts.
"Perfect," he said to himself or to them I suppose. He did have a strange habit of talking to my boobs.
He gripped one firmly as his eyes shot to mine. "Tell me what turns you on."
"I don't need hearts and flowers," I reassured him. "I just want you to completely be yourself with me. That will turn me on the most."
"That can't happen." his fingertips circled my nipple in the most mesmerizing way. "But I want to know what kinds of fantasy's go on in that mind?"
"Wait." I sat up straighter. "Why can't you be yourself? I want to have sex with you. Not some watered-down version of you."
He let out an irritated sigh and for some reason glared at me. "Raise your standards, Bella." His hand dropped from my breast and he leaned a bit away from me.
The sudden chill in the air gave me goosebumps.
"What the hell does that mean?" I glared right back at him. "Is it so wrong that I want you to actually enjoy sex with me?" I let out a dry laugh.
We sat there glaring at each other. Fully naked. Heated in a new way now. I wanted to smack the crap out of him.
"You don't tell a man that you want him to fully be himself sexually when you have no idea what that would mean for you." His voice was now a low growl.
"Do you want me to fully be myself sexually with you?" I crossed my arms and watched his eyes shoot down to my breasts before slowly returning to mine.
"That isn't the same thing." He said in a calmer, almost flustered voice.
"Oh really?" What if I'm into golden showers?" I gasped. Oh shit. He's probably into golden showers.
"I'm not into golden showers," he replied as though he could read my mind. "But if I were? Would you still want me to completely be myself?"
"If that was what truly turned you on I would definitely want you to…. not piss on me. Ever. I'm all for exploring kinks with you, but that one is a definite hard limit for me." I held my palms up in defense.
Perhaps he had a point. Maybe I should get some more information before telling him to be himself completely. The fetish world was no joke.
"I'll keep that in mind." He nodded with a small smirk on his face.
"But you have a kink, don't you?" I moved up on my knees and sat on the back of my heels so I was a bit higher than him.
"Always so inquisitive." He ran his fingers through my hair and let them slide down the arch of my back.
"Tell me?" I asked sweetly.
He shook his head. "It's irrelevant."
"Have you done this kink with other women?" Good lord he was a dom. He had to be. He probably had an army of sex slaves.
"Do you want the truth?" His fingers lingered on my ass. Total distraction.
"Duh...I always want the truth. You don't to need to ask that." My eyes rolled at the obvious.
"It's a selfish pleasure that I usually have full control over." He pulled his hand away.
"Usually? So your control sometimes slips?" Edward always chose his words so carefully.
"Just once." He actually looked guilty, which I had never seen before.
"Is she still alive?" My heart pounded at the thought. But I mean what could possibly make this man look guilty? He made people cry on a daily basis.
"Does it matter?" He curled a lock of my hair around his finger.
"Yes, it fucking matters! Are you serious right now? If you think you can go around killing people as a sexual fetish and I'm going to be okay with it you've lost your damn mind." My hands waved around wildly.
"Well then you'll be happy to know she's very much alive." The naughty smile that crossed his lips at the thought of her suddenly made me wish she was dead.
"Are you still attracted to her?" I tried to act indifferent, but who was I kidding?
"Insanely." He nodded. "Some might say obsessively," he added, for no damn reason. Why wasn't he with this tramp if he wanted her so badly?
"I hate her," I spat out like a bratty child. I hadn't planned to say it out loud, but he wanted honesty, so there.
"She's very...likeable actually." The way he enunciated the word as he held my gaze confused me.
"But I thought you only like me?" The vulnerability in my voice made me want to smack myself.
Edroar kissed my lips lightly. "I do."
"Are you saying you lost control of your fetish with me?" I smacked my lips together, loving the taste of him on them.
"Must you call it a fetish, Bella?" He cupped my breast and gazed down at it longingly.
"Well. That depends on what it is. Are you going to make me guess?" By the time I finished my sentence his mouth had latched onto my nipple.
His warm lips scattered my thoughts. Oh, the things this man could do with his mouth. I took his silence as a yes, he was going to make me guess.
"Ummm...you're into scolding me, bossing me around, saying dirty things…" My brain went numb at that point. I think my mouth kept rattling, but I have no idea what I was even saying.
Then he bit down...hard, so hard my eyes watered.
My fingers threaded into the hair at the nape of his neck as I whispered, "Fuck me! You're a biter."
My mind flashed back to those deep bite marks I woke up to in New York. He thought it would scare me.
Edward's dark side didn't scare me, now that I knew a little more it excited me. I wondered just how dark he would go. One thing I knew for sure...the King of Darkness would be begging me by the end of the night.
Okay, so it might not be a traditional Thanksgiving, but I was going to give him something to be thankful for.
A priceless memory.
Next up…SEX! Can Bella make Edroar beg or will she be too fragile to handle the King of Darkness? I really wanted them to get hot and heavy in this chapter, but they were so damn chatty during dinner and the movie. But it is coming! My plan is to write shorter chapters and finish their story this year. I know I have had this same plan before and failed. I promise to keep trying and never give up. I'm so grateful to you guys for hanging in there this long. The journey has been long and full of madness. We still have lots of good times ahead. Happy New Year everyone!
That's all for now folks. Let me know what you think…it just might fuel a creative explosion.