Baby It's Cold Outside O/S Contest
Title: At First Sight
Rating: M (language)
Word Count: 5146
Summary: Bella, a personal assistant to Edward Cullen, has always hated Christmas. Can he show her the beauty of the season?
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters.
This hotel desk clerk can't be any more than 18 years old, I tell myself as I walk into the lobby. I take a breath and walk to the front desk. I'm so ready to get this week started.
"Can I help you?" she asks while smacking her gum. Ugh, I've always hated that sound.
"Yes, I'm checking in. Multiple rooms, under the name 'Anthony Masen'."
She looks at the computer screen and glances back at me. "And you are?"
She throws another suspicious look at me, then focuses on her screen again. I tap my foot impatiently. "Yeah, okay, I see you here. How many keys?"
"Just one for each room, please," I say with an eye roll.
"Okay, you're all set until Friday morning. Check-out is at 11am." She hands me four keys and I tuck them into my purse.
"Thanks." I turn around and walk toward the elevators. Once inside, I push the button for the tenth floor and wait. After the elevator stops, I step out and walk down the hall to find my room. 1015...1017...1019, there we go. I unlock the door, push it open just enough to throw my bags inside, and jog back to the elevator. I ride back down to the ground floor and find the side exit. Walking out onto the sidewalk, I breathe in the crisp December air. Now, I wait.
I'm Isabella Swan, personal assistant to the stars. It's really not as glamorous as it sounds. Some of my assignments look at me as if I'm a glorified slave. I suppose I am, to an extent. My job is to make life easier on whatever celebrity I'm assigned to.
I began working for the New York City branch of The Denali Agency when I was just 20 years old. My boss, Tanya, employs temporary assistants for celebrities that are only in town for a short time. Seven years later I'm one of the top personal assistants, and also the most requested. I've made quite a name for myself since I moved here; not too bad for a small town girl from Washington.
I look up and down the street as I wait for my new assignment. After tightening the scarf around my neck, I glance at my watch. It's almost 3:00; he should be here any minute.
My client for the next few days is Edward Cullen, the newest Hollywood heartthrob. He's coming to New York for the premiere of his new movie, The Last Breath. I'm pretty much his right hand lady for the week. His agent will be here, but it's not her job to attend to him; that responsibility belongs to me. I'll be tagging along with him to his appearances, and making sure he gets through most of his week comfortable and uninterrupted.
Finally, at 3:00 on the dot, a black Lincoln pulls up in front of the hotel. He steps out of the backseat, and I feel myself flush. This man is absolutely gorgeous.
His agent and bodyguard come out behind him, and he pulls his baseball cap down to further cover his face. Well, I suppose it's time to go to work.
"Edward Cullen?" I ask confidently.
"Yep, that's me," he answers with a sigh. "Do you want a picture?"
Rolling my eyes, I take my sunglasses off. "No, I'm Bella Swan. I'll be your PA for the week."
"Oh shit, I'm sorry," he apologizes. "You just look so...so..."
"Young?" He nods. "Yeah, I get that a lot. I'm 27."
He looks down bashfully. "So, you're Bella? I guess you're stuck with me for the week."
I smile at him and nod. "Trust me, I've been with worse," I say with a wink. "Now, I've already checked everyone in..."
"Wait a second," he cuts in. "I could've checked myself in. I do it all the time. The hat and sunglasses usually throw the clerk off long enough for me to walk through."
I smirk and walk toward the glass door. "Look inside the lobby, Edward." Once he's looking, I continue. "Do you see that girl at the counter?"
He removes his sunglasses, squints his eyes, and finally nods. "Man, is that chick even out of high school?"
"Barely," I reply with a laugh. "She also has a copy of US Weekly next to her computer, and your smiling face is on the cover. I'm pretty sure little miss teeny-bopper in there would recognize you in a heartbeat."
He stiffens next to me, and I give myself a mental pat on the back. Told you so, I want to say.
"Okay," he says. "Let's go in, then." He moves to open the door and I hold my hand out to stop him.
"There's a side entrance that would be better," I tell him. "That way you won't have to go through the lobby. Less of a chance of you getting mobbed."
I hear his agent giggle behind us and I turn around. "I see why you came so highly recommended," she comments. "I'm Jane, by the way."
"Thanks." I feel my face redden. "We should get going," I tell Edward.
"I'll go find someone to bring our things upstairs," Jane offers. "Why don't you two go on with Tony, and I'll catch up." I nod while Edward's bodyguard falls in beside us.
As we walk through the entrance, I try to start a conversation. "So, Edward, are you excited for the premiere this week?"
He shrugs. "I guess. It just sucks that it's so close to the holidays. I hate being away from my family this time of year."
"Yeah, I can see how that could be a problem," I say quietly.
We proceed to the elevator in silence, and once inside we ride up to the tenth floor. "Our rooms are all together," I tell him. "You're in 1017, and I'm right next door in 1019. Jane is across the hall, and Tony's room is next to hers. If you need anything at all, I'm just a door away." I pause and try to think of anything I'm missing. "Oh! I'm sure you'll need my number. Let me see your phone." After programming my number into his phone, I hand it back to him.
"Do you need mine?" he asks.
I shake my head. "Nah, I've already got it." I hear the elevator ding, and turn to see Jane walking down the hall with a bellboy. The poor kid is pushing a cart that's nearly overflowing with luggage. Jane walks up to us with her Blackberry out.
"Alright you guys, we have a little bit of time to ourselves. Edward, you have a dinner interview at 7:00 with the guy from People. The car should be here at 6:30."
"Who is the writer doing the interview?" I ask.
Jane looks back down at her phone. "Um...Jacob Black."
"Nice! Edward, you're a lucky guy. Jacob is one of the best writers at People."
"You know him?" He cocks an eyebrow at me. "How do you know him?"
"I've been a PA for seven years. I'm bound to know a few people in the business." Pausing, I begin to blush. "I also may have dated Jacob for a while when I moved here. He worked for the agency when I started there."
Edward laughs and rolls his eyes. "Great. This guy isn't going to give me a hard time because of you, is he?"
"No," I scoff. "We're still good friends."
Jane speaks up after a moment of awkward silence. "Well, I guess we should all get a bit of rest before this evening. Let's all meet out here at about twenty after six?" We all nod and grunt our agreement.
After walking into my room, I look down at my watch and realize that I still have nearly three hours until we leave. I plop down on the bed and lay back on the pillows. It only takes minutes for me to fall asleep.
I'm woken up by my phone beeping with a new email. Groaning, I sit up and look at the time. 5:30. That email couldn't have come at a better time; the last thing I need is to be late on the first day.
I grab my bags off of the floor and walk into the bathroom. After searching through my clothes, I find a suitable outfit. I put on a pair of black dress pants, a white cashmere sweater, and my black pumps. My hair still looks decent, so I just fluff it with my hand and spray on a little extra hairspray. I apply some eyeliner, a little extra blush, and touch up my lipstick. After pulling on my black plaid coat, I spritz myself with a bit of perfume, grab my purse, and walk into the hallway. I'm met by Edward, who is sitting on the floor against the wall.
"You look nice," he murmurs. He closes his eyes and leans his head back.
"Thanks. So do you." I sit down across from him and cross my legs at my ankles. "Tired?"
He nods his head. "Yeah, I didn't sleep much last night. I'm really not looking forward to this dinner. No offense to your boyfriend, or anything," he adds with a smirk.
"He's not my boyfriend," I say with a small smile. "Just a friend."
"Mmhmm." He shakes his head and leans forward onto his knees. "So, you've really been doing this for seven years?" I nod. "What, did you come here right after high school?"
"No. I waited a couple of years before moving here."
"Well, what did you do in between?" he prompts.
I shrug. "Just hung out for a while. I had a job at the local grocery store, which wasn't going anywhere. I decided that I wanted more out of life. I kind of moved here on a whim, and it all worked out. I met Tanya, my boss, on the subway one day. Things just kind of fell into place after that."
He looks at me curiously for a minute, then slowly nods his head. "Sounds like you were pretty lucky."
I smile back at him. "Yeah, I guess I was."
At that moment, Tony walks out of his room. Jane follows a minute later, and we make our way to the elevators. Once we're downstairs, we walk outside and look around for the car. I nearly jump for joy when I spot the black Escalade. I run up to the driver's side and tap on the window.
"Emmett!" I squeal when he lowers the window.
"Hey B!" He flashes me his megawatt smile, and I run around to jump into the passenger seat. Edward gives me a curious look, then gets into the back with Jane and Tony.
"You two know each other?" Edward asks once we're on our way.
"Yep." I turn around in my seat to face him. "Emmett is the only driver I trust in this city. Once in a while I'll get stuck with a different person, and they usually put a damper on things. I always try to make sure Emmett is the driver for my clients."
"What, did you date him too?" I hear Edward mumble.
"As a matter of fact, no," I respond coolly. "He's a friend, Edward. You do know what the term means, right?" I turn back around and hear Emmett snicker next to me.
"How've you been, B? I haven't seen you in a while."
"I've been good, Emmett. I had a couple of weeks of office work, so I haven't really been out. How's Rose doing?" His wife has got to be the most beautiful woman I've ever met.
"She's alright," he replies with a smile. "Sick of being on bedrest, that's for sure. The doctor says the baby could be here any day now."
"Well, tell her I said hi. I really miss seeing her."
The rest of the ride is pretty silent, with the occasional clicking of cell phone buttons. I chance a couple of glances at Edward, only to see him looking down at his phone. We arrive at the restaurant right on time, and we head inside to our reserved section. I smile as soon as I see Jacob.
"Jacob!" I wave at him and he gives me a big grin. He stands and wraps me in a hug.
"Bella, it's good to see you. It's been a while!"
"Good to see you too, Jacob. How are things?"
"Good, good. Just been busy lately. Where's the man of the hour?"
I look around and see Edward trailing in with Emmett, Jane and Tony. Once they get to the table, I start the introductions.
"Jacob, this is Edward Cullen. Edward, this is Jacob." Jacob offers a handshake, and Edward takes it with a strange look on his face. "Well," I continue after clearing my throat, "I'll put in your order, Edward. Chicken parmesan, right?"
He gives me a bewildered look. "Um, yeah...how did you...?"
"Edward, there's a reason I'm good at my job; it's called research." I give him a small smile and turn to Jacob. "Now, let me think...chicken marsala for you, right?"
"You got it," he answers with a smile. I nod and sit at the table opposite them with Emmett, Jane, and Tony. The waitress rushes over once I wave her down.
"Hey there," I greet her with a smile. "Mr. Cullen will have the chicken parm, Mr. Black will have the chicken marsala, and I'll just have a side salad. Water for the three of us, please." She writes it down hurriedly and turns to the other three at the table. I tune them out as I glance at Edward and Jacob. They're already deep into their conversation, and Edward keeps looking at me. What's his deal? I ask myself. Shaking my head, I turn my attention back to my table.
Once we've all finished eating, we pile back into the car and go back to the hotel.
"See you guys tomorrow?" Emmett asks me.
"Sure will. I think we have to be at the studio at 10, correct?" I turn to Jane for confirmation, and she nods.
"Alright. Have a good night, B."
"You too, Emmett. Remember, give Rose a hug for me."
"Will do." I get out of the car and we all hurry to the side entrance of the hotel. After making our way upstairs, we walk toward our rooms.
"Is there anything you need for the night?" I ask Edward. "Or are you good until morning?"
"I should be alright," he yawns. "Just gonna chill."
"Okay," I reply with a nod. "You have my number, though. Just let me know if anything comes up."
He shakes his head and smiles. "Have a good night, Bella." I watch in amazement as he walks into his room. I've never had a client as easy-going as Edward.
Once I walk into my room, I take my watch off and look at the time. Ugh, it's only 10:00. I don't really sleep much these days, so I struggle to find ways to occupy my night. I suppose I could break out the DVD case.
After changing into more comfortable clothes, I pull my movies out and try to decide on what to watch. Well, you can never go wrong with Harry Potter. I place The Half-Blood Prince into my laptop and settle into bed. About halfway through the movie, my phone chirps with a new text message.
Is the offer still open? Edward.
What offer? I text back.
You said to let you know if I need anything.
Absolutely. What do you need?
Um...hm. That's a request I've never had before.
Ok...come on over if you'd like. I hear a knock on the door barely two minutes later. I pause the movie and hop out of bed to let him in.
"Hey," he says sheepishly as I answer the door. "Um...is it okay for me to come in?"
"Yeah, sure." I move to the side so he can come in. He's already changed out of his clothes as well, only wearing a pair of flannel pajama pants and t-shirt. He turns to face me once I close the door.
"You look...comfortable," he comments. I look down at my outfit and immediately blush. I forgot that all I had on was a pair of boy shorts and a tank top. Thank God I left my bra on.
"Shit, sorry. I can change..."
"No, no," he blurts out quickly. "I mean, don't worry about it. It doesn't bother me." He looks around and his eyes settle on my laptop. "I'm sorry, were you working? I can leave."
"Not at all." I walk back to my bed and plop down. "I was just watching a movie."
"Mind if I watch it with you?" he asks shyly.
"Um...yeah, okay." I scoot over so that he can sit down beside me. "I hope you like Harry Potter."
"Who doesn't like Harry Potter?" he smiles. "I didn't take you for the Harry Potter type."
"And why not?" I ask as I push play.
"I don't know. You seem more like a cheesy romance type of girl."
"There's nothing wrong with a little cheesy romance. I'd take Harry Potter over The Notebook any day, though." He smirks and we lean back against the headboard. It's kind of nice to have someone to relax with at the end of the day. If I didn't know any better, I'd forget that I'm actually on a job. Once the movie is over, I close the laptop and look over at Edward.
"So, do you have trouble sleeping or something?" I ask him.
"Yep," he replies with a nod. "I may get a couple of hours a night, but that's about it. Do you need me to go?"
I shake my head. "No, you're fine. I don't sleep much, either." I look at the clock and realize it's well past midnight.
"Tell me about yourself," Edward says suddenly.
I look at him with shock. There aren't many clients that have wanted to know about me personally. "Well, um...I'm 27. I'm originally from a small town in Washington. I love Harry Potter," I add with a smile.
"Obviously." He smirks. "What do you do when you're not working?"
"I read a lot. Watch movies. I have a couple of friends that I try to keep in touch with. That's about it." I pause and look up at him. "What about you?"
"You know, you could just Google anything you want to know about me," he grumbles without much emotion.
"True," I say slowly. "I'd rather hear it from you, though."
He looks at me thoughtfully. "I'm 29. I have a younger brother, Jasper, and he's pretty much my best friend. I'm from Chicago, and Jasper still lives there with our parents. I miss them a lot," he adds quietly.
"And what do you like to do when you're off?"
"I like music," he says wistfully. "I haven't been playing much lately. I can't seem to find inspiration anymore."
"Do you like your job, Edward?" I ask tentatively.
"Yeah," he replies with a shrug. "I like it. I don't love it, by any means. It's not really the life that I pictured for myself."
"I can't imagine doing what you do," I tell him honestly. "I see what you guys go through on a daily basis, and it just boggles my mind. I wouldn't be able to handle it."
"It definitely has downfalls."
We sit in silence for a few minutes before he speaks again. "Do you have any plans for Christmas?"
I immediately stiffen at the mention of the holiday. "Nope," I say simply.
"So...you're just staying at home? Alone?"
"Hm." He looks down at his hands. "Any reason why?"
"No real reason for me to go home," I answer with a shrug. "My dad will probably spend the day on a boat, getting drunk with one of his buddies. I'm sure that my mom will be passed out in their room all day. I've seen it every year for twenty years; nothing new for me."
He looks at me with a look of sadness. "I'm sorry, Bella," he says sincerely. "Have you never had a good Christmas?"
I feel the tears well up in my eyes and wipe them away quickly. "They gave me an Easy Bake Oven one year, and I nearly went crazy with excitement. I tried to make brownies for my mom the day after Christmas." I pause as I recall the painful memory. "Mom laughed at me. She threw the brownies in the trash and locked herself in her bedroom. I put the oven away and never looked at it again." I wipe at my eyes again and look up at Edward. "Tell me about the holidays at your house. It'd be nice to hear about a normal family."
He gives me small smile and brings his knees up to his chest. "My mom always makes a huge deal out of Christmas. She has to have the biggest tree, the brightest lights, and the perfect decorations. We always spent Christmas Eve baking cookies for Santa. Even when Jasper and I were in high school, we would jump out of bed that morning and go into the kitchen with Mom. Christmas Day always includes a big breakfast, presents, and a huge lunch. It's my favorite day of the year." He looks down, and I swear I see a tear escape from his eye. "I'll make it back just in time this year, but I hate that I'm cutting it so close. I mean, Christmas is next week. Why the hell did they have to do the premiere right now?"
I shrug and lean back. "I don't think the people making the money really care about the holidays. No offense, but it doesn't really matter to me; I'll probably spend the day shut up in my apartment." I look back at Edward, and he's staring off into space. I close my eyes and try to clear my mind.
"Come with me," he says out of nowhere.
"Huh?" I ask in confusion. "Come with you where?"
His eyes light up as he jumps off of the bed. "You may want to put some clothes on." He winks at me while walking towards the door. "I'll be back in like, five minutes. Dress warmly." He walks out of the room, leaving me to wonder what the hell he's going on about.
Reluctantly, I open my suitcase and pull out a pair of jeans and a sweater. He wants me to dress warmly...what is he planning? Shaking my head, I get dressed as quickly as I can and pull my snow boots out of my suitcase. I hear the knock on the door as I'm buttoning up my pea coat.
"Coming!" I yell out as I rush to the door. Once I open it, I notice that Edward has changed into warmer clothes as well. "Where are we going?"
"You'll see," he says excitedly. "Let's go." He grabs my hand and practically pulls me out of my room. I stuff my room key into my back pocket as we jog down the hallway to the elevator.
"Shouldn't Tony be coming with us?" I ask nervously. "I don't want you to get into trouble."
Edward rolls his eyes as the elevator doors open. "Tony works for me, Bella. I'm not going to get into trouble." He walks into the elevator, and gives me an impatient look as I hesitate to join him. "Get your ass in here, Swan," he demands playfully. "I promise, this will be worth it."
"Okay," I relent as I step into the elevator with him. "You better be right."
He smirks as he pushes the 'Lobby' button. "Trust me."
Once we arrive downstairs, he grabs my hand again and we hurry through the lobby. We rush past the night clerk and guard, and erupt into laughter when we reach the sidewalk.
"I'm pretty sure that clerk recognized you," I manage to get out through my laughter. "Her jaw dropped as soon as we got out of the elevator."
"Damn. I guess I need a new hat." He makes a face as he pulls the baseball cap off of his head, and I giggle when I get a look at his hair. "What?"
"Nothing," I say with a grin. "I just kind of love your hair, that's all." I ruffle my hand through his tousled locks, which makes him smile.
"We should get a cab," he tells me while looking up and down the street. "It's freezing out here."
"Where are we going?" I ask him again as he flags down a cab.
"You really need to trust me, Bella," he replies with an eye roll. He opens the door for me and I crawl into the backseat. He climbs in beside me, and leans up to the divider to whisper something to the cabbie.
"What did you tell him?" I ask when he settles back beside me.
"I told him where we're going," he says with a wink. "How else will he know where to go?"
"You're still not going to tell me, are you?" I ask in frustration.
"Nope." He wraps his arm around my shoulder and pulls me into his side. I shiver from the contact, although his body is impossibly warm. "Just relax and enjoy the ride. We'll be there soon."
I sigh and lay my head on his shoulder. For some reason, this just feels natural. I'm sure that Tanya wouldn't approve of my getting so close to a client, but I can't deny the attraction that is building. Judging my his tight grip on my shoulder, he feels the same way.
Once the cab begins to slow down, I jerk to attention and look out of the window. I turn back to face him and see the smile on his face. "Really, Edward?" I can't help the ear-to-ear grin that has formed on mine.
"Really." He throws a bill up to the cabbie, and the two of us climb out of our doors. Edward walks around the cab and takes a hold of my hand. "Let's get closer."
The two of us hurry to get as close as we can to the huge tree in Rockefeller Center. I feel like an excited five year old as the tree becomes larger with each step we take. We finally come to a stop once we can't go any further.
"What do you think?" he asks while wrapping his arm around my waist.
"It's gorgeous," I say breathlessly. "I've lived in New York for years, but I've never seen it in person."
"My family used to come here annually when I was younger," he tells me. "It's a shame we missed seeing it lit up for the day, though." He looks down at me and smiles gently. "Can I ask you a question, Bella?"
His smile cuts straight through the cold and warms my heart instantly. "You can ask me anything, Edward."
He purses his lips, seemingly in thought, before continuing. "I know that you had a rough time growing up, so I can kind of understand why Christmas isn't really a big deal for you."
"Go on," I prompt after a few minutes of silence.
He lets out a sigh and hugs me even closer. "You're a beautiful person, Bella. I just...I think it's awful that you can't enjoy this time of year."
"That's not a question," I say as I nudge him playfully.
He chuckles. "I'm getting there, I promise. I was just...well, I was wondering..."
I roll my eyes. "Spit it out, Cullen."
"Is there anything I can do to make it better for you?" he asks hurriedly. He lets out a breath as he runs his free hand through his hair. "I know this may seem weird for me to say, but I think I like you Bella. I mean, really like you."
I stare at the tree for a moment before answering. "I like you too, Edward," I admit quietly. I turn so that I can face him, and he gently pulls me closer until we're practically touching. "I don't know why, but I feel...drawn to you. I can't explain it."
He gently brushes my cheek with his thumb and smiles. "I can't explain it, either. It kind of hit me when we were at dinner tonight. I was watching you talk to Emmett, and you just seemed so happy. Your smile was infectious; it completely changed my mood. Even that Jacob guy noticed."
I close my eyes as I lean into his touch. "I noticed you looking at me," I admit. "I just didn't know why." I open my eyes to look into his.
"You still didn't answer my question," he reminds me softly. He inches his face closer to mine until he ghosts my lips with his own. "Is there anything I can do to help you enjoy this time of year?"
"I think you know," I say as I take in a sharp breath. "Kiss me," I demand breathlessly.
Without hesitation, he presses his lips fully against mine. He tastes heavenly, a perfect mix of mouthwash and peppermint chewing gum. He smells faintly of cologne, and I take in his scent eagerly. I bring my hand to the base of his neck and hold him tightly to me. His lips mold with mine, kissing me gently and adoringly. After what feels like mere seconds, he pulls away and rests his forehead against mine.
"Merry Christmas, Bella," he whispers.
"It's not Christmas yet," I whisper back.
He chuckles and threads his fingers through my hair. "True," he says. "But even Christmas can't compare to the feeling of falling in love."
I smile as I lean into his chest. "Love?" I ask softly.
"At first sight," he murmurs.
Love. Such a simple, four letter word that holds so much meaning. I've never believed in love at first sight, but meeting Edward has changed that belief in one short day.