Hey everyone! So thank you all for choosing to read this story. If you like Bella and Carlisle stories, please check out my story "When I said Forever" and its sequel "When You Tell Secrets". It has been a while since I did an all human story but I'm really in the mood for a mafia story. So I am not copying ugly betty when you learn of Bella's occupation, I merely like the idea and I think it will fit with the story. Please read, enjoy, and review!
Six months prior…
Another shot another blur, people just move too fast these days. Well, at least they do in New York City. As Bella refocused the lens the professional Canon she was using she let out a frustrated sigh. She thought of the million and one things that she had to get done for work, but no, her boss had been arrogant enough to ask her to do this mundane task. This wasn't even her job to do, but she had to listen to her boss. She was an editor for Runway, a fashion magazine. Currently she was scouting for models. The feature she was writing was about normal people being fashionable, and not having to have a personal stylist to look good. The thing is, even if she was making a generalization, the majority of people who shop on Fifth Avenue have personal stylists.
She focused the camera on a man about to pass her by on her side of the road. He was rushing through the street not caring that the sidewalk was right next to him, but most importantly he was gorgeous. His hair was a mess of bronze, and it was sex hair. He was pale with bright green eyes. He was Adonis in the flesh. He was a model. She turned to get the perfect angle and snapped the picture. Amazing. The man looked up after she took the photo. He looked surprised to say the least. Then he really looked at her and he was pleased.
Bella never considered herself beautiful, nor fashionable. The not thinking she's fashionable part was ironic because she worked for a fashion magazine. For her it was more about getting the chance to show her writing. She was a short woman with a good figure and nicely sized breasts; of course she didn't think so. She thought she paled in comparison to most women. Her wavy chocolate brown hair had natural auburn highlights. What caught the man's eyes the most were her large chocolate doe eyes. He stepped up onto the sidewalk and moved towards her.
"Did you just take a picture of me?" He asked.
His voice deadly serious and a bit irritated.
"Yes, it's for my work."
"And that would be?"
His eyebrow raised in suspicion.
"I'm an editor for Runway magazine. Unfortunately my boss has given me the task of taking photos of people to show that you don't have to be a fashion expert or have a personal stylist to be fashionable. You just happened to be very put together and I needed a guy. I can delete it if you want. I mean I know that some people really don't like to have their pictures taken. But I really need-"
She stopped herself there. She had been rambling. She always rambled in the presence of beautiful men. She should know better than to ramble, years ago he had punished her for that. The man smiled and shook his head.
"No, it's all right. Bosses can be like that sometimes, making you do things that your job doesn't require. I know it makes you feel like shit, because the task is beneath you. And I take it as a complement that you thought I looked good." He smiled crookedly and Bella thought it was one of the sexiest things she had ever seen. "I'm Edward Cullen by the way." He extended his hand to her.
She shook his hand with a smile.
"So Mrs. Swan, could I possibly interest you in dinner tonight?"
Bella's heart leapt out of her chest. She couldn't believe that someone so beautiful was asking her out on a date.
"I'm flattered, Mr. Cullen. I would love to go out to dinner with you tonight. And please call me Bella, Mrs. Swan is my step-mother."
Edward chuckled. He liked that this woman had a sense of humor.
"Well then, call me Edward, Mr. Cullen is my brother."
She smiled. Things were about to get interesting. Of course, she didn't know that.
Today was not Bella's best day. Work was driving her insane. All she really wanted to do was go home and Edward come over. But that wouldn't be the case. Her boss Jessica was the biggest bitch in the world and was having her running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Of course today there was a huge photo shoot going on in the studio. She was currently panicking in the elevator that wasn't moving fast enough for her. The people in there with her probably just thought she was a freak, not that they were wrong. Just then her phone buzzed and she answered. It was Edward.
"Hey, Babe." She chimed.
At least she had something to brighten up her day.
"Hey, Beautiful. How are you?"
"Busy, stressed, and pissed off at my boss, the same as every day. No one bothered to mention to me until this morning that there was a photo shoot today. Jessica made the fucking decision at one in the morning and mass texted us all. I've been running around doing a million things and now I'm finally getting to the shoot because I have to do a million people's jobs at once. It really sucks be an editor/ assistant."
"Aw, Baby. I'm so sorry. I wish there was something I could do to help."
"Just hearing your voice helps, but you could kill Jessica for me."
He chuckled and she didn't understand. He still hadn't told Bella his family's secret. He knew he needed to because they were pretty serious. But his secret wasn't one to be taken lightly. The question was more how to tell her, for he was afraid of rejection.
"Will you be too tired to meet my family tonight? I'm sure they'd understand. We could pick another night."
He wanted her to say she couldn't come. He knew that his family would be disappointed in her for not telling her the family secret yet.
"I will be fine, Edward. I'm excited to finally meet your family. You tell me so much about them that I feel like I already know them."
"Bella!" Rosalie yelled when the elevator doors opened.
She was a model, tall blonde, brown eyed, and beautiful. She had curves in all the right places. She hadn't a clue that Rose would be doing this shoot.
"Hey, Edward. I have to go. Rose is here though as one of the models so I think I'll be fine. I can't wait to see you tonight."
"All right, Beautiful. I'm glad that Rosalie is there, at least she isn't one of those stupid models that doesn't know what she's doing and then Jessica gets mad at you when the pictures are bad. And I can't wait to see you tonight either. Bye."
Bella snapped the phone shut and shoved it in her pants' pocket.
Rosalie ran to Bella and enveloped her in a hug.
"Hey, Rose. I didn't know you were working on this shoot."
"Neither did I." Rosalie groaned dramatically. "My agent called me at fucking four in the morning and told me I was doing this shoot."
"Blame Jessica. Everyone is pissed at her for this."
"Will do. God, you're stressed you need to get some of that sexual tension off on Edward."
Bella blushed and moved on to the next topic.
"What are you wearing for the shoot?" Bella asked.
"Don't you change the topic on me, Missie. You have been dating that hunk for six fucking months and you haven't fucked him yet."
Bella didn't want to have this conversation, not now, not ever. Rosalie knew exactly why she and Edward had been together. Edward only knew the reason slightly. He just thought she wasn't ready or that she was waiting for the L word.
"I'm not ready for that, Rose. You know that. I don't want to talk about it. I don't have time to talk about it. End of discussion."
She stormed off with her file folder in search of the photo shoot director.
Rose followed after her.
"Some has a stick up her ass."
"No. Someone is overworked and underappreciated with a bitch for a boss."
"Ok, maybe you are right."
"I'm glad you see things my way. Besides, I'm meeting Edward's family tonight."
"So let me get this straight. He hasn't told you he loves you. He hasn't fucked you. But you're meeting his family. Are you sure he's not gay."
Bella laughed. Sometimes Rosalie's humor was actually funny.
"He's not gay, Rose. We respect each other's space. We have fun. It's simple."
"And you call that a relationship?"
Bella sighed in frustration. Rosalie never gave up.
"Look, Rose. I know it's not your thing, but please don't push it. I'm happy."
Of course Rosalie didn't buy that. She knew Bella too well.
"Happy." She scoffed.
Bella turned around with pleading eyes. That's when Rosalie knew she had to stop pushing.
Rosalie was marvelous in the photo shoot as always. She never took a bad picture. Bella wished she could be pretty like Rosalie, but the confidence she once had was shattered years ago. She shook her head and focused on Rosalie. Every man wanted her. Rosalie was a goddess and every straight man lusted after her. Rosalie was happy, and Bella was as well, or Bella at least told herself she was. Shit happened and Bella had been through a lot of shit in her life. Therapy only made her capable of functioning in society once again and actually have friends. Rosalie had been through all the shit with her. Rosalie the one who gave her the confidence to get out of the bad situation she was in and to grow stronger again. Bella found her healing in her work because it gave her something to work for.
Edward paced back and forth in his office. He was debating whether to tell Bella his family's secret now or let her meet his family and then tell her. If he waited it wouldn't be fair to his family. They would have to keep the secret from her and possibly lie to her. He didn't want that. If he told her now when she was stressed from work she would be freaked out and possibly not come to meet his family, and worse, break up with him. It wasn't fair to her that she didn't know.
"Who am I kidding?" He groaned. "I mean what am I supposed to say. Hey, Bella, I forgot to tell you by I am a-"
He was cut off by a knock on his door.
"Edward." It was his little sister Alice.
Bella was all Edward could talk about ever since he met her. Alice was beyond excited to finally meet her.
"It's open, Alice." Edward replied as he tried to compose himself.
She bounced in, perky as usual. She was such a pixie.
"Are you all right, Edward? I could hear you pacing from next door. What's going on?"
He let out a sigh and then leaned against his desk as he ran his fingers through his messy bronze hair.
"I haven't told her yet." He confessed.
"Told her what? The I love you part or the other part?"
"I swear you are dense. You and Carlisle both."
Edward glared at Alice. He did not like to be compared to his brother. They never really got along, but because of the business they were in they had to. He hated working for his older brother.
"Don't compare me to him. Compare me to Emmett, fine, but not the devil."
"Look, I'm just trying to help. Why did you invite her over if she doesn't know the secret about our family?"
"I don't know. I just wanted her to finally meet you all. I wanted you to finally meet her. I figured if you all met then it would be easier to tell her."
"Look, it's your choice, but please make the right one."
Edward huffed, like that was really any help.
When the doorbell rang Bella nearly jumped.
"I'll get it!" Rosalie yelled.
Rosalie was also Bella's apartment mate. Rosalie got home late and woke up after Bella left this morning and that's why Bella hadn't known about Rosalie doing the modeling gig for Runway. Rose had helped Bella get dressed for dinner, hopeful that Edward would man up and speak the forbid L word already so Bella could get over her fears and get rid of her sexual frustration. She opened the door to reveal a warmly dressed Edward in black slacks, a grey sweater, and a black wool coat. It was extremely cold outside and so she ushered him inside.
"Hello, Rosalie." He said with a smile.
"Hey, Edward. Bella will be out in a minute. She's almost done getting ready."
He nodded. Rosalie saw something different in his face tonight. There was something very serious about his entire demeanor that bothered her.
Just then Bella came out of her room looking fabulous. She fabulous green dress that went to her knees and had thick straps a v-neck, paired with knee high black leather boots, a black leather belt, and a black leather jacket.
"All right, I'm ready." She announced with a brilliant.
Edward closed the distance between them instantly. He wrapped her in his arms and lowered his lips to hers.
"You look ravishing, Bella."
"Thank you." She murmured as blush spread across her cheeks.
"Shall we get going then? My family is impatient to meet you."
"Have fun you two." Rosalie called out as she went back to her bedroom.
Bella let out a nervous breath and then they left her apartment.
They were gathering at Edward's penthouse. Bella had been there only a few times. They mostly went out or were at her apartment. She never asked why, as if afraid she would be in trouble if she did. As they made their way to the dining room Bella felt her heart race. She was beyond nervous at this point.
"Don't be nervous." Edward tried to soothe her. "They're going to love you."
Right on cue Alice came bounding through the entryway and pulled Bella into a tight hug. She was strong for such a small woman.
"Bella! Oh I'm so glad to finally meet you. Edward has told as all so much about you."
She pulled back from the hug.
"I'm guessing you're Alice. It's nice to meet you, too."
Alice smiled widely.
"So you have talked about us." Alice said with a smug smile to her brother.
There seemed to be more meaning in the words than Bella understood. Edward wanted to strangle his sister right now.
"Alice, don't overwhelm our guest. Not everyone likes being jumped by surprise even if you are just hugging her." Bella barely made sense of the words for she was far to lost in the voice that had sounded them.
She had never heard such a lovely sound as this man's voice. It was rough but loving at the same time. Then the god appeared before Bella's eyes. He was incredible, divine, and extraordinary. His eyes were crystalline blue. His hair was blonder than blonde. His skin was pale and his features were mature. He was kind looking but he had a definite hardness to him. She could tell that this routine was not normal. She couldn't take her eyes off him. He was beautiful even more so than Edward, and she didn't even think that it was possible until now. The man wore pinstriped black dress pants with a white button down, and his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. He was also wearing an apron. The look on Edward's face told her that this was much more uncommon than she could understand.
"Please excuse my sister, Bella. She means well." The man said with a wonderful smile.
Then he really saw her for the first time. He wasn't looking when he smiled but then he really looked at her and he swore that his heart stopped. She was beautiful. No, beautiful wasn't good enough. Bella was the perfect name for such a gorgeous woman. He hadn't a clue how someone like his brother managed to catch someone like her. Then again, Edward was the favorite, and so it shouldn't be a surprise.
"Oh, I didn't mind." Bella said with a smile.
"Carlisle, I'm surprised to see you in an apron. I would have thought you would see yourself too good to do something as lowly as cook for others. This is so unlike you." Edward spoke up to ruin the moment.
The way his girlfriend and brother were looking at one another did not go unnoticed by either Alice or Edward.
"I'm full of surprises, Brother. Now let's not start this here. We have a guest, and a beautiful and special one at that." He then looked at Bella. "It's nice to finally meet you, Bella." His voice was softer and even sweeter than it had been mere seconds ago. His eyes genuinely sparkled.
"Go ahead and get seated at the table. Dinner is almost ready and Jasper and Emmett are already waiting."
Edward nodded, but looked at his brother suspiciously. Carlisle was being too nice.
Edward led Bella to the dining room and pulled out a chair for her. She sat down and smiled at him. When his brother entered the room Edward bent down and kissed Bella, as if to warn Carlisle to back off. Carlisle rolled his eyes at his brother's childish games.
"So this is Bella." A booming voice interrupted.
Bella looked up to find a large man sitting down at the table.
"Yes. Bella, this is my brother, Emmett. I know it's hard to believe but he's my baby brother."
Bella couldn't believe it.
"Yeah, I know. Everyone goes into shock when I tell them I am the youngest Cullen. They always think it's Alice."
Bella laughed softly. When Carlisle heard that sound it warmed his heart.
What the fuck? He thought to himself. Since when does anything warm my heart? Since when do I covet my brother's girlfriend? She's just a woman for fuck's sake! Why do I care?
He brushed it off and went about his business. Jasper then came into the kitchen to help him. Alice had picked a good man. Jasper would be a wonderful husband.
"Are you all right, Carlisle? You seem puzzled."
Jasper was extremely insightful. It was as if he had this sixth sense about people's emotions.
"It's nothing, Jasper. It's probably just work related."
Jasper knew what that was code for. Though he was confused as to why he was being discreet. Surely Bella knew about the family business.
Of course Jasper would regret his decision during dinner. Everything was going perfectly until Jasper asked what Bella thought about Edward being a mobster. For someone reason Bella knew it wasn't a joke. She paled and thought she was going to pass out.
"Oops." Jasper sank down in his seat. He looked at Carlisle. "I'm so sorry."
Carlisle shook his head.
"It's all right, Jasper. I was under the same impression."
"Alice, you didn't tell them?" Edward hissed.
"Oh, so now I'm to blame. This wouldn't have happened if you'd grown a pair and told her."
Bella put her head in her hands and groaned.
"Just stop fighting." She groaned.
"Bella, I-" Edward tried to start.
"Look, Edward. I don't care that you're part of the mafia. That's not what bothers me. What bothers me is that you kept this big of secret from me for so long. I mean if you haven't told me this what else haven't you told me."
"Oh come on, Bella, it's not like you don't keep your own secrets. I mean you wont tell me about your past which is part of why you wont sleep with me."
That pissed Bella off and he regretted his words instantly. She burst of her chair and headed for the door.
"At least let me take you home." Edward pleaded.
"Fuck, no. I'll walk home."
"Bella-" Edward protested.
Carlisle got up from his seat and went out to where Bella was.
"I'll drive you home, Bella. It's much too cold and dark for you to walk. I couldn't live with myself I let a woman walk home at this hour of the night when it's freezing."
Bella looked up at Carlisle and saw how genuine his words were.
"Thank you." She whispered softly.
"You don't have to thank me, Bella. It's my pleasure."
She reached for her coat but Carlisle got it first. He held it out for her and helped her into it. He then grabbed his own coat and led her outside to his car. He held the door open for her and then she climbed into the passenger side of his Mercedes. He quickly walked around to the driver's side and started the car. He turned up the heat to make sure she stayed warm.
"I'm really sorry about all of this." Carlisle murmured.
She looked over at him and blushed.
"It's not your fault, Carlisle."
"My brother means well. We don't see eye to eye, but I know he wasn't keeping it from you to hurt you. And I'm sure what he said to you was merely in defense because he felt vulnerable. That's very common for him."
"You sure are being nicer than Edward ever made you sound."
"He and I have never gotten along. He was Dad's favorite. He thought he would become Mafia Don, but I'm older and so I got the title when Dad passed away. Of course I had to earn it, and becoming capo di tutti capi, boss of bosses, was the biggest honor of my life. I was sure Edward would get it because Father loved him best. But on his death bed he told us that his eldest son, me, would become Mafia Don of the Cullen family."
Bella's eyes widened, but not in a bad way.
"That's quite the honor then. And I guess that explains the tension between you two."
"As much as my brother and I don't get along, I want him to be happy. Being a Mafia Don means I have to be tough, but even I have a heart. Talk to Edward. I'm sure you can still salvage your relationship. He's genuinely a good person."
At that moment Bella didn't want to salvage her relationship with Edward. She had an urge to reach across the consul and kiss Carlisle. She wanted to rip off his clothes and ride him. She wanted to feel his dick inside her.
She sighed. Carlisle was just, she couldn't think of a word to describe him properly. Something had changed. She couldn't so easily go back to Edward. And it seemed that the drive was over much to soon. He parked in front of her apartment complex and got out of the car. Then he ran around the front and opened her door for her. He offered her his hand and he helped her out. It was freezing cold and so they hurried inside to the lobby.
"Thank you for driving me home, Carlisle." She murmured.
He took her hand and gave it a squeeze.
"Anytime, Bella. If you ever need anything. A friend to talk to, help of any sorts, I'll always be here."
He had no idea why he was speaking in such a loving tone, but all he wanted to do was kiss her speechless. Her phone then fell out of her purse and Carlisle reached down to pick it up. Instead of handing it back to her he put it in his number and sent himself a text.
"Now if you ever need to contact me I'm just a phone call away." He said with a smile.
She blushed and then stood on her tiptoes.
"Goodnight, Carlisle." She whispered and then pressed a kiss to his cheek.
He put his hand to his cheek as she walked away. There was an awful pain in his heart due to the loss of her presence. This could not be good for him. He could not afford to fall for someone. He was a Mafia Don. But it was too late. She had already pulled the trigger on his heart.