Whist Night

I'd wrestled mentally with myself and Edward's indiscretion all afternoon until Angela exhaled in frustration. "Miss Bella. How am I ever to get this beautiful thick hair tamed and placed if you can't be still?"

"I'm sorry." I groaned "Its just…..never mind."

"Is there something troubling you Miss?" Angela asked, concern in her voice

"Yes. No. Yes. I can't…." I stuttered and then trailed off.

What on earth was I doing allowing a man I'd acquainted only a week ago to kiss me? And so passionately! But the feelings that overtook me when he did. How did he have this effect on me?

Thinking about the kiss caused me to feel all warm and breathless again and I shifted, uncomfortably. Angela let out another protest and I resolved to think of it no more this evening.

I peered tentatively round the door of the dining room. Most of the family were still standing and so I padded as softly as I could into the room and hovered in a corner by a large candelabra, doing my best to avoid Lady Cullen, who was, at this moment berating a servant about the table layout.

Edward looked in my direction as he entered and I blushed deeply as he smiled at me, my gaze drawn immediately to his full lips.

I sighed inwardly and took my place at the table. Conversation was light and mostly focused around Rosalie, who seemed determined to make herself the centre of Edward's attention. That was, in between meaningful glares at me.

Edward glanced at me frequently but I could not hold his gaze whenever our eyes met, shyness overwhelmed me and I had to look down, blushing.

Following dinner I was shown to the game room by one of the servants who kindly pulled my chair out and ensured I was comfortable at my designated table before going to fetch me a glass of wine. I looked around the huge room in amazement. There were so many people here, the atmosphere hummed with conversation. I searched unsuccessfully for familiar faces. Oh who was I kidding? I searched for Edward, but couldn't see him.

There were four gentlemen and one lady I did not recognise already at my table and I smiled tentatively at them. The lady eyed me speculatively; the gents did not break their conversation to bother looking at me.

How rude!

"Good evening Miss Swan." I jumped as the voice that had addressed me, went straight through me making me shudder. I spun on my chair and recognised the man standing behind me as the idle socialite Emmet had told me about. The way he regarded me as he sat down set me on edge.

"Good evening." I replied quietly "How did you know my name?"

"Her ladyship requested that I accompany you this evening" He said with a smile in Lady Cullen's direction. His smile was lopsided and bared his teeth making it look more like a leer.

"My Name is James Masen." He said holding his hand out for mine. I placed my hand hesitantly in his and he lifted it to his mouth to place a kiss on the back of my hand. I shuddered as his lips touched my skin.

Totally the opposite of what I felt when Edward's…Stop it, stop it, stop it!

This would be a long evening

A servant came to sit at the table and began dealing the cards. I did my best to concentrate on my hand and ignore Mr Masen. He looked at me often, staring at me for far longer than was necessary. I shifted uncomfortably, trying to put as much space between us as I possible could.

As the evening wore on I became more and more frustrated with Mr Masen's inappropriate advances. Every time I reached for the deck he did so at exactly the same time, ensuring our hands touched. The final straw came after one such incident, he leaned closer to me, brushing my ear with his lips "You smell so good I could eat you."

I gasped, standing abruptly. "Please excuse me." I said curtly to the table at large and stalked across the room.

Not certain of where I was going I found myself at a large set of glass double doors and stormed outside onto a long balcony. I walked to the edge, braced both hands on the wrought iron railing and closed my eyes, breathing slowly, allowing the sound of the waves on the shore to calm me.

I opened my eyes and looked out to sea, the annoyance I felt ebbed away and was replaced with confusion as I gazed on a black shape on the water offshore. I stared at the black spot allowing my eyes to focus in on it. I frowned.

What would a large sea faring ship like that be doing so close to the shore on this particular stretch of coastline?

"Bella? Is everything alright?"

I whirled to find Edward standing behind me. "That Man, Masen, I couldn't bear to sit near him any longer. I fear his intentions are less than honourable."

Edward's expression hardened and he glanced behind him, back into the game room. I stole a quick glance back at the bay but couldn't find the black shape I was looking for.

Bother

I looked back up at Edward. "What did he say to you?" He asked a hard edge to his voice. I explained and Edward made a strangled growling sound. "Perhaps I should inform Mr Masen that he has no right to put his hands or lips on my fiancée."

"That will not be necessary Edward thank you. I made my feelings about his advances perfectly clear." Edward exhaled noisily but appeared calmer.

I turned to the railing again, my stomach was doing back flips over his protective reaction and reference to me as his fiancée.

Stop it Bella. Just, stop it!

Edward offered me his arm. "Come, play cards with me." He suggested

I smiled up into his beautiful green eyes and took his arm. I noticed Lady Cullen hurry from the room with a glance back over her shoulder as we re entered.

Now what's she up to I wonder?

I had no time to worry as Edward pulled my chair out for me and I realised I was seated next to Rosalie.

Wonderful

I was sure Rosalie perceived me as a threat to her courting Edward and this was why she spent so much energy shooting death looks in my direction. I sighed and picked up my cards

After this afternoon she had every right to think that…..Stop it Bella. I wont tell you again!