Title: How to Enjoy the Holidays
Summary: During a raging holiday party, a storm strikes and the lights go out. Fumbling through an unfamiliar, pitch black house, Bella bumps into a tempting stranger in the dark…
Disclaimer: I own nothing, exempting the general plot. I'm making no profit off of this.
Author's Note: Yes, I did closet sex again. It's just so much fun!
I was invited to Rosalie Hale's Christmas Extravaganza, the invitation said. I was surprised, to be honest. And I hate surprises. True, I was the pop star's personal assistant, but she knew how I felt about parties. I would have ignored the sparkling, exotic invite if she hadn't added a special note for me inside.
It threatened, Come to my party or you're fired!
I groaned inwardly. I would call and beg off, but Rosalie wasn't due back from her vacation with her fiancé, Emmett, until the day before the party, Christmas Eve. That was two weeks away.
I had been given a holiday bonus, plus an early vacation, if I kept an eye on her house and fed their dog while they were away. That was why I had not expected to have any employer responsibilities until after the holidays were over. I had been basking in the lengthy break. Unfortunately, it seemed I would have to put in my appearance for whatever twisted reason Rosalie had in her head.
A party with the rich and famous. Most people's dream fantasy: my most acute nightmare. I was shy, a constant introvert. I tended to hover nervously around the punch bowl (or open bar) until I had wasted enough time to politely leave. If there was nothing to drink, I would pull out my Blackberry and pretend to be too busy to act sociable. I was happier with a small group of friends than with standing room only torture. Mingling was like a curse word in my presence.
I had originally planned to spend Christmas Eve cleaning up my apartment. My parents were both coming from Washington to visit me in California. They were staying at a hotel since my apartment wasn't big enough for me to even put in a table (Christmas dinner would be served on the coffee table). I would have to clean the day before instead, which wasn't a real difficulty, but…I didn't like to change my plans around.
In fact, I didn't like to vary from my schedules or habits at all. That was why I made such an excellent personal assistant. I was spectacular at staying on task and on time. I was not keen on surprises. I will blame the burning of Rosalie's invite on that odd attribute I have. Surprises, especially bad ones, were not welcome in my life.
I might also use that as a reason I do not have a boyfriend. They like spontaneity. I am about as spontaneous as a sloth - an OCD sloth, perhaps.
So it is understandable, with all my peculiarities, why I arrived at Rosalie's party slightly nauseated, slightly terrified, and slightly pitiful. I had attempted to look my best, calling in Rosalie's costume designer to give me her fashion opinions. Alice and I worked together often, thanks to Rosalie's varied tastes for what she wore to perform on stage. I was thankful that, given how busy Alice was, she was willing to point me in the right direction for the party. She was going to be there herself, so I was relieved to know someone else there, aside from Rosalie herself.
The party was held at Rosalie's swanky getaway home. Not the one I had access to in the city; this one was about an hour outside of town. She used this house when she needed a break from the paparazzi or needed a good place for a party. I was surprised I hadn't been involved in the planning of the event, to tell the truth, but Rosalie was more than capable of doing things herself. Honestly, I was probably just paid to help.
I was unfamiliar with the layout, so that alone made me nervous as the valet took my car. I glanced up at the dark, grumbling sky above. It was unusually warm for this time of year, and thunderstorms had been stirred up. One was about to release a glorious downpour on the house, as I knocked on the door. I hovered beneath the overhang, not wanting to get rain on my new dress. My black dress was all the fashion, my heels more expensive than any other pair I owned, so I felt confident I could at least look the part of a high society person.
Rosalie greeted me at the door, "Bella! So glad you came! Now I don't have to fire you!" she laughed.
I smiled back weakly. "I'm happy to have job security."
"I know you hate parties, Bella, but I have someone I want you to meet, actually. That's why I threatened your job to get you to come."
My eyes narrowed. "Is this the new agent you were talking about last month?"
She laughed again - loudly. I thought Rosalie might have jumped the gun on the cocktails before I got here. "No, silly, I mean a guy. You didn't get a boyfriend since we last spoke, did you?"
I wanted to lie and say yes, just to avoid the inevitable awkwardness that was about to happen to me. "Well, no, but I am perfectly capable of finding a man on my own…"
"I'm sure you are," Rosalie said offhandedly, "But he's perfect for you. Perfect. After speaking with him for just a few minutes, I knew you two had to meet."
I considered this. Rosalie had never tried to set me up before, so she must sincerely think we would go together. "Okay. What's he do for a living?"
"He's…an actor," she said distractedly. Another guest had arrived. "I'll introduce you two once I'm finished here. Most of the guests are straight ahead, on your left. I'll talk to you later, hun," she said.
Dismissed, I paraded down the hall. I turned a corner, passing a crowd of women who were surrounding a man. I could only make out his copper colored hair; the swarm was so thick around him. I had to elbow my way past one of the women just to get to the main room.
The main room was exquisite. Rosalie had clearly hired a professional decorator. She had garlands, a few classy strings of Christmas lights, and even the food was gorgeously put together. It was beautiful…except for the mass of people mixed in with it. I swallowed, peering around for someone I knew.
"Bella Swan," a giggly voice called to me. I slapped a fake grin on my face as Lauren Mallory waved at me. She was one of Rosalie's backup singers/dancers. She seemed to be under the impression that I was her personal assistant, too. I was nothing of the sort, so she was usually hacked off at me. I may be shy, but I had a backbone. Almost.
"Merry Christmas, Lauren," I said. "Are you enjoying the party?"
"No, not yet. I heard Edward Cullen was coming, but he has yet to make an appearance. I bet he's not coming. I would have gone to Taylor's party if I'd known he'd be a no show," she whined, throwing names around left and right.
"Did Rosalie say she invited him?" I asked, surprised an A-list celebrity like Edward Cullen would make his way so far out of the city to attend a Christmas party. Rosalie's name had some pull, but I didn't think that much pull. So far, I had seen some famous individuals speckled throughout the party, but none like Edward Cullen, who would no doubt be Sexiest Man Alive next year.
Fame diggers like Lauren wouldn't be able to resist the temptation of Edward Cullen.
"She did," Lauren affirmed. "He's apparently a fan of our music," she said. I resented the way she said our music, since Lauren could be replaced lickity split, but Rosalie actually wrote, played, and sung most of her songs.
"Then I'm sure he'll show up."
"I thought you would know," she continued. "You're the assistant, after all. Didn't you have to plan this whole thing?"
I shook my head. "Actually, Rosalie did this by herself. I was on vacation."
"Oh," Lauren wrinkled her nose. "Hm, I wonder why she invited you - since you had nothing to do with the planning."
"I don't know either," I said stiffly. "I could think of better ways than to spend my time surrounded by fame whores and the general fake populace of Hollywood."
Lauren gaped at me. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me."
"Bella," she said, a polished sympathetic expression on her face, "Just because you're jealous of beautiful people like me, is no reason to get resentful. Especially at Christmas time. We can't help it we're famous." She flicked her hair over her shoulder.
Unbelievable. But she didn't stop there.
"I know you don't have a man in your life, and you certainly can't set your sights on someone like Edward Cullen, like I can, so I understand your…bitterness," Lauren said, sickeningly sweet. "I am sure that a man will come along who will understand your kind of lifestyle. It's okay to be boring and predictable. We can't all be as exciting and interesting as me, for example."
Not about to take anymore abuse, I turned on my heel, in search of Alice. I thought I spotted her heading toward the hallway I came from earlier. I ignored Lauren's attempts to get me to come back.
I hated when Lauren did that. Yes, it was something she did often. She seemed to know all my weak points to jab sharp objects at. I was boring and predictable, I wasn't as glowingly pretty as all the shopped up women in Hollywood. I worked in the business, but I was still an outsider. Lauren was only too happy remind me.
I took a step into the hallway just in time for the lights to flicker once, twice… before finally giving out to pitch darkness. I had forgotten about the storm, and it had been impossible to hear over the loud music playing from the floor below us. With the music off, all I could hear was panicked voices exclaiming, laughing, or screaming in the darkness.
Frustrated, I reached for my purse, to use my cell phone as a light. Only, my purse was mysteriously missing. Had I even brought it into the house? I remember handing off my keys to the valet. I must have forgotten to grab my purse out of the passenger's seat.
I sighed despairingly, grappling my way blindly through the hallway. I was just going to leave. Rosalie wouldn't fire me. I am 98% sure. Maybe 90%. I took several cautious steps, bumping into a small table.
I heard a few voices further down, one was shrilly asking, "Edward? Edward! Where did you go?"
I smiled sadly to myself. Edward Cullen had come, but just as Lauren said: he wasn't in my league. I just hoped he wouldn't consider Lauren to be in his league.
The hallway was puzzling. I remembered making one turn, but I could not recall how far to walk. Where was the door? I also began to vaguely wonder when the lights would turn back on. It was the holidays; undoubtedly it could be awhile until the electricity returned.
My left hip found a doorknob, rather painfully. I decided to see where it led. If it was the bathroom, I might hideout there until the lights came on.
I opened the door, and shut it behind me. I was shocked to find that I had unknowingly bumbled into a closet, as the various hanging objects I felt told me. Despite the lack of an audience, I flushed in embarrassment as I rushed to open the door. It didn't budge.
"What the hell?" I hissed, rattling the knob again.
I freaking hated surprises.
I thought I was in luck, when, only moments later, someone came to my rescue. The darkness prevented me from seeing them, but someone threw open the door and shut it abruptly, ignoring my protest, "Don't shut that door!"
The door slammed closed.
"Sorry, sorry," a harried, male voice apologized. "I'm hiding from - a woman. She wouldn't take no for an answer, so…"
"You're hiding?" I guessed.
"Exactly." He paused. "Are we in a closet?"
"I'm afraid so." I heard him jiggling the door knob.
"It…didn't open for you from the inside, did it?"
"I'm afraid not."
He fiddled with the handle some more. "Well, I suppose we can wait until the lights come on, don't you think?"
I found myself laughing at the hopefulness in his voice. "You just want to hide from that woman."
"Precisely," he said, chuckling. "You don't mind?"
"I guess not. I was hiding, too."
"From a man who wouldn't take no for an answer?"
"I wish," I admitted. "No, just…people in general, a rude backup singer in particular."
His warm body moved passed mine as I heard him sit on the floor. "Why don't you tell me about it," he suggested. I heard him pat the floor. "Join me."
"I…" This was exactly what I had wanted to avoid: talking to people I didn't know. I was pleased, however, that the darkness gave me a confidence I didn't usually have around people. "Okay," I answered. I slipped out of my heels, before hiking up my dress so I could sit. It's not like the man across from me could see.
"Tell me about the rude backup singer. I love wannabe divas. Is she a wannabe diva?"
I laughed. "Oh yeah, she's that. She seems to be under the impression that because I am Rosalie Hale's personal assistant, I am also her personal assistant. On top of that, she thinks I am utterly beneath her since I do not sing or act for a living." I cringed as I belatedly thought of something. What if my closet buddy was a Lauren type? I didn't think he was. He sounded…kind.
"That is the biggest downfall of this industry," he said, his voice filled with passion. "Forgetting that we're human, that others are human, and believing that we are entitled to everything just because of what our day job is."
I smiled. "I agree. Though, there are many celebrities who go against the stereotype. Rosalie is one of them. She actually invited me to this party to set me up with someone. An actor!" I giggled. "She means well, but…"
"You don't like actors?" I heard a strange catch in his voice.
I froze. "You're…an actor, aren't you?" My cheeks were rosy warm.
"Maybe," he said softly.
"It's not that I don't like actors on principle. I would simply prefer to date someone…outside of the industry. Maybe a nice, rich doctor."
The man across from me laughed with me. "You just described my father. I would introduce you, but he's still happily married to my mother."
"The good ones are always taken," I said, putting a tragic lilt to my voice.
I felt a cool hand on my leg. "Are you saying I'm not good?"
I gasped. His hand had sent a shot of heat up my leg, making another part of me much, much hotter. Suddenly the mood in the room when in a completely different direction, from two strangers chatting, to two strangers sharing some advanced flirtation.
"I d-don't know. We just met," I said, breathless.
His hand crept higher. "I think we know each other pretty well. I'm an actor. You're a personal assistant. We both know Rosalie, who I hear is a great judge of character…" He drifted off, as his voice lowered. "We both have a habit of hiding from people."
I moaned as his fingers traced their way around the edge of my panties.
"I…I don't know. I don't do this kind of thing." My mouth was being far more logical than the rest of me, which was encouraging his every move. It was happening so fast…
"What kind of thing? Hiding in closets? Talking to men you haven't been properly introduced to?"
I whimpered as he leaned over me, pressing me into a pair of shoes. "Fooling around in a closet with a guy – whose name I don't even know," I whispered.
"I prefer anonymity," he said. "It's more real." Then his mouth flawlessly found mine, even in the blackness of our closet. Rosalie would kill me if she knew what I was doing on her shoes. That was the first reason not to do this. Then a whole list of them flowed out of me as we kissed. I didn't know him, at all! I could ask his name, but somehow…I knew that would end this wonderful moment immediately.
It was such an out of character thing for me to do. I hadn't ever slept with a guy who I hadn't dated for at least three months. I was Rosalie Hale's plain, dull, personal assistant; I kept things organized, orderly, and punctual…
Making out with a stranger in a closet was not something that Bella Swan would do.
Lauren's haughty voice rang in my memory just at that moment. Maybe if I was more exciting and interesting…
Well, I'll show her exciting and interesting.
I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer. His breath was delicious. I mean, give me some more of that what did he eat for dinner? I quickly became oblivious to the shoes digging into my back, the people milling around outside our hiding spot, the fact that anyone could open the door to discover us, and that I still had no idea who I was making out with.
"You're beautiful," he whispered, hoisting my legs around his waist.
I smiled into our kiss. "You can't even see me."
"I can tell. You're beautiful," he repeated, holding me against him tighter.
I could feel a large something pressing into me. I tried not to gurgle incoherently at the intense wave of arousal that sizzled through me at the contact. "Oh god."
"Mhmm," he agreed. "We need fewer clothes."
I found no disagreement with that statement. My hands crammed between our bodies to get access to his jeans. I unbuckled his belt and undid the zipper, carefully. He growled as my hand freed his cock. Holy shit, it had to be the best cock I had ever held in my hand – or maybe it was just the lack of sight. I was so much more aware of every touch: the smoothness, the heat, the drop of arousal on the tip. God, even his fantastic scent of male was better inside the, thankfully large, coat closet.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" I asked, as he helped me pull my panties down my quivering legs.
"How could this not be a good idea?"
"Well, do you have a condom?" I continued, ready to throw caution to the wind in all ways but one. I needed safe sex with strangers if I was going to forego all my other typical behaviors.
"I do have one, thank you Jesus," he muttered. "Merry Christmas from a crazed fan. Though I think she wanted me to use it with her."
I giggled quietly, then I squirmed against him, ready to continue. "So we're going to do this?"
"Do you really want to stop now?" he asked, dismay coloring his voice. I think I felt him twitch against my stomach.
I took a moment to try to tap into the woman I was fifteen minutes ago. The one who hated surprises, did nothing spontaneous…but I found her in a melted pile of goo at the feet of a man with extremely talented hands. She was lost in an abyss of pleasurable insanity.
"No, I don't want to stop," I said finally. "I want you to fuck me."
"Shit," he groaned. He hiked my dress up even higher. I heard the crinkling of a wrapper and the sounds of him sliding the condom on. A moment later, he pushed inside me. "God, yes," he said reverently. I let out another moan as I felt my body opening to accommodate him. "You feel –"
"Amazing," I finished. "Ungh, please." Every little movement seemed to make me feel fuller and fuller. "Don't stop, don't stop," I pleaded.
"You feel so good, so good." He gripped my hips, pulling my even closer against him. Every movement sent me further into a mess of physical heaven. My mind was in an equal mess. What was I doing? How had this happened? It escalated so fast, one minute hating the party, the next I'm participating in illicit activities in a pop star's hall closet. On Christmas Eve! But this man…whoever he was, was helping me relax and enjoy the freedom of spontaneity. I was able to forget my long list of inhibitions, if just for that moment, and have the best sex of my life.
"I don't want to stop…but…" He let out a pained sound. His hand went to my clit, giving it a few choice flicks. That was all it took. I came, his cock still slipping in and out of me. I reached out for something to hold onto and found his thick, silky hair. The sensation was too much for him. He kissed me hard, our teeth clacking together as he fell into his own orgasm.
I thought that afterward I would feel cheap and used. Not at all, I felt…unlimited.
"Wow," I said.
He pulled out of me, making me squeal. "Shh," he laughed. "I'd rather not be caught with my pants literally down."
I laughed with him. "And I wouldn't want to be caught until my dress is…back down." Idly, I worried it was wrinkled beyond repair.
"Hmm," he kissed me again. "I rather like your dress up." His fingers climbed up my sides.
"Pull your pants up," I scolded lightly. We went to work, rearranging ourselves into presentable positions.
"Where should I put the condom?"
"Uh, gross. And I don't know…Can you hide it until you find a bathroom?"
I heard some swishing sounds. "Okay, it's hidden," he announced.
I smiled from my position on the floor, curious as to where he had hidden it. I didn't have much time to think about it, since I had found my shoes, but not my panties. There wasn't much on the floor, save for a few pairs of shoes. I felt nothing but carpet under my hands. No underwear.
"Are you stepping on my underwear or something?" I asked, giving up the search.
"Or something," he said, his voice riddled with guilt.
"What do you…" I trailed off. "You didn't."
"I might have."
"You used my underwear to hide the condom."
He laughed. I started laughing, too. The situation was beyond the normal realm of holiday party etiquette. "I didn't want it getting all over my pocket," he said through his laughter.
We managed to catch our breath from laughing, when logic started to return to me.
"Do you want to wait for the lights to come on to call for help?"
"Uh," he nervously stepped away from me. "I might be able to get the door open."
I started, realizing that a man would have a easier time with a tricky door knob than a weak armed woman like myself. "Then why didn't you let me out earlier?"
"I didn't want that crazy woman to find me," he confessed. "I just lucked out that I was trapped with the most attractive woman at the party."
I was more than annoyed. "Don't try and flatter your way out of this. Open the door and let me out." I was on a roll tonight, I wasn't about to let some self-absorbed actor get the best of me twice. Tricking me into staying in a closet to seduce me? I wasn't going to hang around him a minute longer.
"But – "
"I'll see you later. If you're lucky," I taunted as I stepped out of the door he had easily opened for me. I think my exit would have been more dramatic if I hadn't had to leave like a zombie with my hands out in front of me to keep from running face first into obstacles. I didn't hear him follow me, I was disappointed to note.
I was near the front door, when I found Alice. She had a flashlight and was chatting with her boyfriend, Jasper, in an alcove.
"Bella!" she exclaimed. "I've been looking for you all night."
"Sorry," I said. "I got held up by a self-absorbed actor." Maybe not that self-absorbed, but self-absorbed enough to keep me locked in a closet to serve his own purposes.
"Oh, yuck," she sympathized. "Don't let that ruin your evening."
"I won't. I just need a bit of a breather before I head back to the sharks," I said. "You know how I feel about parties."
Jasper laughed. "You'd rather lose your Blackberry than willingly attend a party."
I shrugged. "This one isn't so bad." At least I had gotten great sex out of it.
Above our heads the lights began to flicker, before they beamed back into life. The whole house erupted into cheers. I glanced down to see if my mystery guy had left the closet. It was cracked open and empty. Disappointed, I gave Alice and Jasper my full attention.
It wasn't until a half an hour later that we moved to get drinks. That's where Rosalie found me; on her arm was Edward Cullen. My eyes widened. He was even better looking in real life. His copper locks were more sex haired than I had ever seen them. And his crooked smile was to die for. I was excruciatingly aware that I was commando underneath my dress.
"Edward, this is my personal assistant, Bella. She's the one I wanted you to meet." My heart tripped in my chest. Rosalie was trying to set me up with Edward Cullen? How much had she been drinking?
"Hello," I said shyly.
"Hello, Bella," he said shortly. That voice…so different than how he sounded in his movies. Yet, eerily familiar…
"When I met Edward a few months ago, I knew you two just had to meet. You would be perfect together. Here's why," Rosalie said, putting her hands on her hips. "You know what this man did during the black out?" She jabbed an exasperated finger into Edward's arm. "He hid out in my hallway closet! Can you believe it?"
I felt a blush spread across my face, before it all drained down to my toes.
"You invited one too many of my fans," he defended himself.
She threw her hands into the air. "It sounds exactly like something Bella would do to get out of talking to people."
Edward looked at me and winked. I felt sick.
I hate surprises.