A/N: HOLY COW.
Yes...it's me. Well...us. Me and my collab partner. If anyone remembers us. It's been a RIDICULOUSLY long amount of time, and there is no good excuse except life. Way too much to do and never enough time, and sadly enough, this story had to take the back burner for a while.
But we're back, and up with Edward this time.
Just a little refresher: Alice and Rosalie met the guys last chapter, and for Alice and Jasper it didn't go so well. Bella was in a bind at work to find a new venue for the charity ball.
And...that's where we left it. So here we go! Back to Edward : )
"My heart beats like a drum, all night
Flesh to flesh, one to one, and it's all right
And I'll never let go cause
There's something I know deep inside
You were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man"
-Bon Jovi: Born to be My Baby
"Hey, babe," I called over the back of the couch, "what's taking so long? The movie's starting."
I heard Bella huff, which was followed by the slam of a cupboard door. "Where are the damn bowls?" she replied, "I can't make popcorn without a bowl, Edward." I chuckled, opening my mouth to respond the same second she exclaimed, "Aha! Found them."
I laughed, and turned back around, slumping down in the middle of the couch. She'd been quick to lose her temper ever since Newton had dumped a workload and a half on her. She had been busy, cranky, and a little hard to handle, but I had learned lately to take her mood swings with a grain of salt. Despite her hectic schedule, full of endless work and long nights, she had managed to save the gala by booking a nightclub that could pass as a convention hall during the day, thanks to a mutual friend she had with Rosalie.
I wished I could have been a fly on the wall when Newton found out where the new venue was. Bella still had her job, but just barely, according to her, and she was, of course, still responsible for making all of the appropriate adjustments that came with changing an entire venue on such short notice.
It was easy to see exactly why she'd been so pissed and flustered, and I was just doing my best to support her.
Bella joined me a minute later, curling up beside me with a warm bowl of popcorn and a bottle of water. I slung my arm around her shoulder, looking down at her as she stuffed a handful of kernels into her mouth.
After dating her for a month and a half, I had noticed the small, quirky things about her; like the way she tilted her head and puckered her brow when she was photographing something, how she hummed quietly to herself when she cooked or cleaned, her love for salted and buttered popcorn.
I had become aware of a lot in the short time we'd been together, but mostly, I was beginning to see how all the eccentricities and imperfections, the tiny things that made her Bella, made her perfect for me. Bella wasn't flawless, by any stretch of the imagination, but there wasn't a thing about her I'd change.
I had fallen in love with her, exactly the way she was.
"I'm cold," she murmured, tugging at the blanket on the back of the couch, "haven't you guys turned the heat on yet?"
I draped the blanket over our legs, and shook my head. "Not really, it's only the middle of November, Bella, it hasn't even snowed yet." She humphed quietly and snuggled against my side. "But don't worry," I told her with a slight smile, "I'll keep you warm."
She stuffed another handful of popcorn in her mouth, and replied, "Uh-huh, keep your hands off, Romeo, I wanna watch this movie."
I sighed, grumbling into her hair, "Fine, but after...you're mine."
She tilted her head, offering me a sweet, innocent smile before she gently brushed her lips against mine. "Deal," she replied softly.
"Oh," Bella moaned, tipping her head back. Her messy curls spilled out over the cushions, exposing the gentle slope of her neck.
I pushed my feet against the end of the couch, groaning in response. I sporadically nipped at her soft skin, causing her to constrict her knees against my naked hips. She pulled me in even deeper, holding me against her, making me bury my head against her neck in an attempt to drone out the garbled sounds coming from the back of my throat.
Her legs tightened – further and harder – and she twisted against me.
I felt her shudder, curling herself toward me, riding out her orgasm with a series of gasping, stuttered breaths.
"Edward," she whispered, "fuck-"
My heart jumped into my throat, and I pulled out of her the second I heard the tell-tale sound of a key in the lock.
"Oh-shit," I cursed, "they're not supposed to be home yet."
Bella's eyes went wide in horror, and I gazed down at her, just as stunned.
With more dexterity than I thought I could manage, I quickly yanked the thick blanket up off the floor and haphazardly draped it over us. My body covered Bella's, a sliver of space separating her hot skin from mine, and in our indecency, I hoped to God we couldn't be seen from the door. The only source of light came from the kitchen, and the TV had been turned off long ago.
Please, please, please, pleasedon't come over here.
I kept my head tucked low, my cheek tight against Bella's, and breathed quietly, listening first to the opening of the door, then a jumble of noise accompanied by a woman's voice softly saying Jasper's name.
She continued to whisper things to him – dirty things – and I shook my head minutely at another one of Jasper's conquests.
Bella stirred beneath me.
"Oh my God," she whispered, her hands firm on my chest, "that's Alice."
"It is not," I countered in disbelief, tilting my head slightly to look at her, "I thought she hated him?"
"She...does," Bella replied lamely.
I wanted to snort. "Clearly."
A moment later, I heard Alice squeal, followed closely by the sound of a door slamming shut. I cautiously lifted myself up, gazing out over the couch and toward Jasper's latched door.
"Well, she seems to be expressing that hate rather strangely, if I do say so," I commented.
Bella exhaled; a defeated, exasperated sound. "What is she doing?" she asked herself, "It doesn't even make sense."
I sighed, leaning against the back of the couch as I looked down at her once again. "She's attracted to him," I said with a shrug, "one of those love-hate types of things. Wants him, but also wants to strangle him. You know, kind of like what we have."
My tone turned mocking – it was a joke – and Bella playfully gawked at me.
"We don't have a love-hate relationship," she protested, making a cute little pout with her lips, "it's all love. You don't hate to love me, you just love me." Bella blinked, realizing what she had said, and hastily amended herself. "You like me," she corrected quietly, casting her eyes from mine.
I swallowed, so struck by her words I felt my heart constrict.
"I think I like the sound of the first one better," I admitted softly.
With my words, she returned my gaze, shifting her body beneath me. The dimmed light made her beautiful, brown eyes appear darker – like charcoal – but the emotion in them was overwhelming.
"What?" she whispered.
I sat back on my heels, gripping her hands and pulling her onto my lap with ease. The blanket was woven around our entwined limbs, tangling us together even more than we already were.
"You heard me," I replied in earnest. I reached up, ghosting my fingertips across her cheekbone before I gently cradled the back of her head, burying my hand in her hair. "You were right the first time."
She dug her teeth into her bottom lip, failing miserably in an attempt to hide her smile.
"Really?" she asked. Her voice was softer than a whisper, barely audible, and her hands came up, tentatively brushing against the side of my face.
"Mhm," I hummed, craning my neck to steal a kiss, "you're so funny...and smart." I paused, trailing my lips to the corner of her mouth. "You're witty," I murmured, placing another kiss on the side of her jaw, "and sarcastic as hell." Her breath fanned out across my cheek. "You're beautiful," I continued honestly, brushing my nose against the corner of her jaw, "and fuck...I've never met anyone sexier."
I used my free hand to grip her by the hip and pull her against me, to show her how much she affected me, and sighed in her ear, "I love everything about you, Bella. I want to tell you every day how much I love you."
She dropped her head to my shoulder and tenderly pressed her lips against the side of my neck.
"I love you, too," I heard her whisper.
I smiled, skimming both hands along her sides, and slipped them around her ribcage to feel the softness of her skin, to pull her closer. My cock pressed uncomfortably against her stomach with the movement, and she snickered in my ear.
"I can see just how much you love me," she teased.
She took me in her hand, using long, swift strokes, and I thumped my head back, moaning, "I can't help it." I looked at her through heavy-lidded eyes. "Not when my sexy girlfriend is sitting on top of me," I added, "naked."
Bella's lips curled up into a sultry smirk, and as quickly as she had gripped me, she let me go, sliding off the couch and onto her knees, taking the blanket with her. My hands instinctively found her mess of hair when she eased me into her mouth instead, and Jasper and Alice be damned, I groaned – loud.
God, I loved my girlfriend.
After what had possibly been one of the best weekends I'd ever had, Monday was a cold slap to the face in comparison; a bucket of ice water tossed on my head; a pain in the ass I was beginning to plot murder against. Of course, Tuesday was just as bad, chocked full of tech-impaired idiots on the important floors, malfunctioning copiers, and a boss-in-training I could have strangled.
Even if she was a woman.
"Edward?" Victoria – said bitch-in-training – barked.
I rolled my eyes at my computer screen, begging for another Edward to pop up.
"Yeah," I replied gruffly, straining my tired eyes toward her. She was tall, almost as tall as I was, done up in an intricate black and green dress that oddly complimented her fire-red hair. She was pretty by most standards, but her attitude…hell, it sucked.
I wanted to kick her.
"I need you to install the necessary programs onto the computers of floors…" She trailed off, gazing briefly at the stack of papers in her hands. She flipped through them before tossing a few loose sheets onto my desk. "Thirteen through eighteen," she continued, gesturing almost impatiently toward me, "get going."
When she promptly walked away – likely to inflict malice on the next employee – I sulked, sinking momentarily into my seat. I looked up, irritated, and met James' gaze across the room, lifting my brow as if to ask what the fuck?
All he offered me was a simple purse of his lips and a shrug of his shoulders.
With a sigh, I gathered what few things I needed and headed out just in time to hear Victoria scolding Jasper for slacking on something he should have done by now. I couldn't help the self-satisfied snicker that escaped me, and ducked through the door, smiling despite myself while I waited for the elevator.
I took my time with my assignment, installing programs on computers, helping out my coworkers whenever it was necessary. At one point I even agreed to create an entire spreadsheet of data for a pregnant lady – Meg – on the fourteenth floor. I told myself it was to help her out, to make things easier on her, but my motivations were also selfish.
With the way my week had started, I'd do anything to stay out of my office.
Anything to keep me away from Victoria and her never ending list of shit she seemed to be dumping on me.
I figured assisting the pregnant lady was only helping us both.
Eventually, I made it up to Bella's floor.
As soon as I stepped off the elevator, Bella herself brushed past me, briskly walking to her desk before she unceremoniously dumped a heap of papers onto it. They toppled over each other, creating a cluttered mess. She bent at the waist to pluck a few from the floor, causing the tight material of her skirt to press and stretch perfectly across her ass.
I swallowed, shifting the papers in my hands.
"Hey, Edward," Angela said to me.
I blinked, and turned to smile at her. "Hey," I replied, "busy afternoon?"
My eyes drifted back to Bella of their own volition, watching the movement of her body when she straightened and looked over her shoulder.
I heard Angela sigh, "Yep. Having our own little party up in here." I looked down at her desk, and gave her a half-hearted smile when I saw the chaos that mimicked Bella's. "I only pray we don't kill the world with how many trees this destroys."
She gathered a bunch of papers in her hands, as if to emphasize her point, and huffed when she dropped them again.
"I don't quite think Newton gives a shit," Bella said, sidling up next to me, "asshole could tear down a forest and he'd do it smiling." I rearranged my stack, transferring the papers to one hand, and draped the other over her shoulder, giving it an affectionate squeeze. "But hey," she continued, putting her hands up in defence, "it's what he wants to do. Gotta do it his way."
She muttered a few profanities under her breath, and I pursed my lips to keep from smiling.
But when I caught Angela's disproving gaze – her pointed look directed at the hand I had on Bella's shoulder – my smile faded completely.
I withdrew my arm, coughing to avoid an awkward situation.
"Well, look on the bright side," I replied, "it's almost lunch. You can take a break from...killing trees."
Angela and Bella laughed, and I smiled, moving around the desk to carefully place my folders wherever I could.
I installed the programs on the computers of their floor, taking my time – again. It was an easy enough program to install, and took almost twenty minutes total, but on Bella's floor...I couldn't seem to keep my concentration. Knowing she was so close, coupled with the memories of our weekend together, had me distracted.
After the tenth installation, and thankfully the last, I stopped beside her desk. "Done and done," I sighed in relief, "how about you? Can you take an hour for lunch?"
She tapped her pen against her keyboard, glancing up at me. Her hair was done up today, piled on top of her head in a series of waves and curls that had unravelled since this morning, brushing chaotically against her face and shoulders.
She glanced back down to the pile of ever-growing files before giving me that look I knew all too well.
"I'll grab you a sandwich."
She smiled her apologies, and then went back to the grind.
"Do we have to go in?" Bella asked the next morning.
I cut the engine and frowned. "As unfortunate as it is...yes." I unbuckled the seat belt, tilting my head. "Just think about next week," I continued, trying to sound optimistic, "the gala will be over, you won't have mountains of paperwork to do or a thousand phone calls to make."
She rubbed her hands over her face, and then tugged loosely at her fresh curls. "I guess that would be the brighter side of things," she mumbled. She closed her eyes, lulling her head on her shoulders. "I need a vacation."
"Well why don't we take one?" I suggested, "you know, after the craziness ends."
Her brows knit together in contemplation, and before she looked at me, she let a sweet smile tug at her lips.
"I think that sounds perfect," she mused. Her eyes closed in exhaustion, but her hand moved across the console, absently reaching for mine. We sat together in companionable silence for a few minutes, enjoying the peace and quiet.
"Time to return to hell," she breathed eventually, "my work's not going to do itself."
"As great as that would be," I replied with a smirk, "no...it won't." She offered me a smile that didn't quite touch her eyes in return, and I braced myself against the seat to kiss her. "Alright, let's go," I murmured against her mouth.
We walked to the elevators, passing others who were milling about the parking garage, procrastinating the inevitable just as we were. Bella pressed the button once we reached the doors, and tapped her high-heeled feet to a quiet, discordant melody while we waited.
The elevator arrived with a soft 'ding', revealing an empty space. Seeing as no one else was eager to join us on this ride, we stepped in; we were the only two people in the confined space when the doors closed.
Bella leaned forward to press the tiny button next to the 10, and when she stepped back, I snaked my arms around her waist from behind. I trailed my fingers beneath the hem of her coat, pulling her against me.
"Take a step forward if you'd like me to stop, Bella," I murmured in her ear, repeating the words I'd said to her the day we'd met, in this very spot.
She let out a cute, startled gasp before she quieted, weaving her fingers with mine, wiggling herself against me. I stumbled back until I bumped the wall of the elevator and held her close to me, flattening my palm over the high waist of her skirt.
Bella tilted her head, gazing at me over her shoulder. "I think I'll take my chances right here," she said confidently. "But I must warn you," she paused, lowering her voice, "I've done some very naughty things in this elevator."
I snickered, bending slightly to kiss her soft, supple lips. "My naughty girl," I whispered, "I like the sound of that." She hummed against my mouth, the sound content, and I tightened my hands on her waist, drawing her back further. "I want you again," I confessed, tracing a line with my nose from her jaw to her temple, "I miss the weekend."
"Me, too," she replied wistfully, "it was perfect."
When she smiled, the elevator jolted to a stop and softly dinged. Bella was quick to step away. She straightened out her jacket and combed her fingers through her hair.
"Can I see you tonight?" I asked, lunging to hold open the doors, "Dinner or something?"
She sighed, but shook her head. "Girls are coming over tonight," she admitted with a half-shrug, "drinks and dinner, gossip...something like that." Then she smirked. "Rose and I actually want to ambush Alice, though, so we'll see how that goes."
"Well...what about after work?" I tried instead, "Just for a bit?"
"A bit?" Bella repeated, brow quirked, a sly smile on her lips. She took a second to glance past me before she whispered, "And I assume that's code for: wanna fuck?"
I slumped forward against the resistant elevator door, nodding.
She mulled over my proposition for half a minute, but finally acquiesced. "Okay, okay," she relented when I began to pout, "after work. My place." She stepped forward, lightly taking my jaw in her hand, directing my gaze to hers. "You better make me forget my own name, Mr. Cullen."
I may have growled, or groaned, I wasn't quite sure.
"As you wish," I told her. The elevator pressed against me. "Gotta go, love you."
She took a step away from me and leaned against the wall.
She smiled. "I love you, too."
I reminded myself to petition Bella to begin every morning like that.
A/N: Thanks so much to everyone who has stuck with this story, or for everyone who has been patient with us. We truly appreciate it! My co-writer will be up next with Bella, and we're making no promises on when that will be. Hopefully not 11 months this time o.O