This is the oneshot I wrote for Fandom for Preemies. I hope you like it. More info below...
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, it belongs to S. Meyer. I'm just playing with her toys again.
This storyline is still mine though, so please no stealing or fiddling with it without my permission
Part of the Furniture
It was just another Saturday. Or so I thought as I sat looking out of the window, watching the relentless drizzle. I knew it was likely to be a quiet day. Not many people would brave the weather. Not that we had many customers anyway. At least I could stay out of sight here. I didn't have to brave the shop itself unless mum needed me. I hated dealing with people.
This was my new source of employment, working for my parents at Swan's. Well, if you could call it a job. I didn't exactly draw much of a wage but it was enough for me to keep afloat. Just about. Mum and dad had owned the store for a few years. They bought it after my father was forced to take early retirement from the Police when he suffered a heart attack. He got enough of a pay-off to be able to live comfortably, but dad being dad refused to sit at home watching television and threw himself into something new.
My parents had never been ones for luxury holidays, so they decided to have a try at running their own business. I thought this was a crazy idea at the time, but once my mother got an idea in her head there was just no stopping her. She gave up her part time teaching job and the antique store became her new passion.
For a while, the business was a roaring success. This surprised me. Being tucked down a quiet back street in Gloucester, there really wasn't that much passing trade. I guess word of mouth really did exist. All of my mum's friends rushed in to do business, then again most of them were all rich divorcees or married to workaholics so they had time on their hands and endless pots of money to waste, I mean spend.
Things had been a little quiet recently, mainly due to the economy. All businesses seemed to have been feeling the pinch. This was only the third Saturday I was here but things seemed slow. Thank goodness I had been able to stay out of the main shop floor itself. I never have been one for being in the limelight and I would certainly fail at selling anyone anything. So I got to stay in the background and try to put my business degree to good use.
My mother spent her time prowling the shop itself, launching herself onto any customers brave enough to venture in. Yep, they got the endless Renee Swan hard sell. My Dad? He liked to hide away out the back like I did; that is probably where I got it from. He much preferred to be off fishing or propping up the bar with his cronies than working in the shop."
Things weren't always like this. I left college with good qualifications and had the world at my feet so to speak. Then I made a mistake as old as the hills, I put my faith in a man. I knew working for my boyfriend's business was a bad idea. I desperately wanted to start out with a proper career working for an established company but he was so persuasive. And it was so easy. Until it fell apart and I ended up out of a job and without a place to live at the age of twenty-eight.
At least I didn't have to face the ultimate horror of moving back home with my parents. I managed to blag a room in a friend's shared flat. After weeks of traipsing around the various employment agencies there was no joy. When one of my parents' staff suddenly quit I jumped at the chance to work, even if it was here. I was fairly familiar with the business since they set it up so it wasn't all totally foreign to me. It was nice to spend some time with my parents, as until recently it just hadn't been possible. I had been so wrapped up in my life with Jacob and supporting his garage business that I had little time for much else.
The past few weeks hadn't been too bad. A little monotonous, maybe, but bearable. This was obviously going to be one of those days that just crawled by. I had finished sorting my batch of invoices and decided to go in search of something to do. I popped my head out front for a moment. The shop was empty so I ventured further in.
"Bella...just the person I wanted," Mum cried out cheerfully.
She seemed very pleased to see me. Maybe she just needed some company? The shop was quiet after all.
"Oh..." I enquired as I took a look around.
The shop seemed adequately stocked with the usual stuff. Mostly heavy antique pieces.
Not my cup of tea at all and to be honest, they added to the gloom of the dark surroundings. Honestly I was amazed anyone felt the urge to come in here. Anything I owned was functional, chosen explicitly for that purpose, usually from IKEA.
"Yes, now I hate to do this to you because I know you don't like it but I need to pop out...can you mind the shop for a while?"
Oh crap. This was just what I had dreaded. I really was hopeless at this kind of thing, but I supposed...how hard could it really be?
"Okay mum...just this once." I gave her a rueful smile. At least it would break the tedium.
"Oh thank goodness!" She exclaimed. She started talking at a mile a minute about how she needed to dash out as she had forgotten some ingredient for some recipe she was itching to try out. That was unlikely to end well. Thank goodness I was eating elsewhere tonight. In a whirlwind of activity that was purely Renee, she grabbed her coat and was out of the door in seconds.
I paced anxiously, glancing towards the door. The rain was still continuing its relentless steady patter outside. A few people trudged by, huddled in coats and under umbrellas. None of them paused to look in the window. They were more concerned with getting to where they needed to be so they could be dry. The most popular destination seemed to be the coffee shop down the street.
The shop was located opposite a rank of different Estate Agencies. I found it funny how they always seemed to flock together. You would think they would worry about the competition. I tore myself away from the window before I was spotted by any of their employees. Since I started helping here one of the agents keeps dropping in to see me. Urgh. James, I think his name was. He was a total wanker complete with ponytail. I always claimed urgent business in the back of the shop to escape him. Luckily Mum took pity on me.
I hoped this would be easy. If any customers ventured in, I could hover, as long as they didn't ask any awkward questions. I had even mastered mum's crash course in how to work the cash register. I needed to stop pacing though, as I was beginning to wear a trail in the carpet.
Five minutes went by. So far so good.
Ten minutes went by. This was getting easier all the time.
Fifteen minutes went by. I could do this. Mum would surely be back soon and I could escape again.
Twenty minutes had passed. I was standing with my back to the door, surveying an antique chest of drawers when the door opened and the bell pinged. I waited for mum's voice to call out to me but there was just silence.
Oh bugger. I decided I had better try to look busy so I darted behind the counter and started sorting through some paperwork, looking down at the work surface in front of me.
There was a shuffling of feet...then a nervous cough...then a hesitant voice spoke.
Crap! It was a customer.
I glanced up nervously. There was a man standing in the doorway. He looked as uncomfortable as I felt.
"Hi there," I called out, in what I hoped was a welcoming tone. "Can I help you?"
"Well...ummm" he mumbled, still finding the carpet fascinating. The poor chap looked uncomfortable, so I meandered over to his side to help him feel more at ease.
Now I was closer to him I could get a good look. Phew. He was obviously not one of the obnoxious Estate Agents from over the road; there was no overpowering stench of cologne and not a shiny suit or loud tie in sight. This guy was dressed casually in worn jeans and a nondescript black tee shirt. He didn't seem to be wearing a coat and his clothes were clinging damply to him. I couldn't see his face as he didn't seem to want to look up at me but I couldn't miss the shock of messy hair atop his head. It was an odd colour, not ginger but not brown either. I couldn't quite put a label on it. He was tall too, although he seemed slightly stooped with his gawky, awkward posture.
"Can I help?" I repeated, speaking softly now I was closer to him. He seemed so ill at ease and I didn't want to spook the guy any further.
How bizarre was this? I managed to find someone just as socially awkward as me?
Then he looked up at me.
Time seemed to stand still as I locked eyes with one of the most gorgeous men I had ever seen. His features were sharp, with a chiselled jaw you could almost cut glass with. He was pale, possibly even paler than me, which was a first. Oh and his eyes. I had never seen eyes like these. They were the brightest shade of green and so intense. I could just get lost in them. In fact I was lost in them and failed to notice that they were staring right back at me, just as intensely.
My brain finally acknowledged this and I felt my cheeks heat up with embarrassment. I looked away hastily. I shook my head slightly to clear the fog that had filled it and took a deep breath.
Mr. Mystery seemed to shake himself out of his funk and cleared his throat.
"Hi..umm...Miss. I'm here to collect some furniture for a Mrs. Cullen?"
Mrs. ? Oh great. Mrs. That was just my luck. A good looking guy like this would be bound to be taken. Oh wait a minute. He's talking again.
He had produced a damp crumpled sheet of paper from his pocket.
"I have the order sheet here. My mother said it should be ready today, but I could always come back another time if it's not convenient."
Aha. His mother! Hold on a minute, why on earth was I so interested in this godlike creature's marital status? I had only been single a month; what was wrong with me?
I took a deep breath and tried to act as though I knew what I was doing here.
"Let me just check for you," I replied and headed back to the counter.
I searched for any notes that Mum might have left. It was worth a try, but she was so flighty she might not have written it down at all. This was just the sort of thing that happened to me.
A gorgeous man in the vicinity and I got to look like a bumbling fool.
However, Lady Luck had decided to pay me a visit today. There was a clear note, well as clear as it could be with my mother's handwriting.
Cullen collection today, items in back room.
"Yes, this seems to all be in order. Let me just go and get it for you."
I reached for his collection docket intending to head out to the stockroom and get the stuff. Hopefully it wouldn't be too heavy. Then I read it. Damn. A collection of small tables. How was I supposed to get this out of here myself? Sods law that Dad wasn't around.
"I...I...I could help," stammered Mr. Mystery. Of course he could, that was probably why his mother sent him.
"Ok, follow me," I called over my shoulder as I led the way to our stockroom.
Oh please please let me not drop anything, trip or generally make an arse out of myself?
I opened the door and led him through the narrow corridor to the room at the back where we kept the stock. Mr. Mystery followed me closely, but not close enough to be creepy. I glanced across the room and spotted the items in question. Luckily Mum had labelled them with another collection docket as I would have had no chance of picking one type of table from another. That was the good thing. The bad one was they were on the opposite side of the room and a delicate and downright awkward dodge fest was required to negotiate our way over to them.
I sighed and started weaving my way across the crowded floor. So far it was all going so well. I could hear his cautious footsteps behind me. The rain outside seemed to have increased to monsoon levels; I could hear the relentless drumming of it on the flat roof. I was about halfway to my destination when suddenly there was a flicker, and we were plunged into darkness.
Oh shit. A power cut. Why now? And why in a room that was packed full of furniture and had no windows?
I tried to calm my breathing. Hopefully it was just a flicker and the power would be back in seconds. It wasn't. Panic was just starting to take hold when I heard a quiet voice behind me.
"Miss, are you okay?"
Mr. Mystery. In my fear of the dark I had forgotten all about him. Great, something else to worry about.
I blinked furiously, trying to make out the larger furniture shapes at least. My eyes were slowly becoming accustomed to the darkness and there was a faint glow coming from the emergency exit lighting.
"I think it's a power cut," I blurted out. Great one Bella. State the obvious why don't you?
There was a quiet chuckle behind me.
"You think?" he remarked. Oh great. Mr. Mystery was also Mr. Smug Bastard.
I tried to turn and face him, but instead ended up stumbling and bumping my hip hard in the process.
"Careful!" he called out. "Don't try to move, you'll hurt yourself."
Um yeah, too late for that one. I cursed under my breath as my hip really started to smart. Time to be brave. I was not going to cry. I looked down at my feet and tried to compose
"Hey..." There was a sudden movement behind me and then he was by my side, taking my hand.
Hmm that wasn't fair, he managed that so easily and without injury.
"Are you okay?" His voice had lost the smart arse edge replaced by concern. He was standing very very close to me; I could feel his warm breath against my ear. In an instant my skin broke out in goose bumps and I felt my nipples harden against my bra . Thank goodness it was dark. This was plain ridiculous. How on earth could just a voice have that kind of effect on me?
He had hold of my hand still and he squeezed, gently.
"Are you okay?" he repeated. He was still incredibly close, this time I'm sure I felt his lips brush against my skin. I was unable to stop the faint shudder that ran through me.
It had been so long since anyone touched me like this. Although Jake and I only broke up a month ago, we hadn't been intimate in a very long time. I thought it was just because he was tired from working so hard and we had just become comfortable with each other. Little was I to know that was not all it was. I came home early one afternoon when he was supposed to be out picking up a car only to find him having sex with another girl in our bed.
The shock and hurt still hadn't faded, even though the spark had been missing from our relationship for a very long time. Maybe this was why I was reacting the way I was now. I was just horny and going through a dry spell. That was all.
I had to get a grip on myself. This guy probably already thought I was a bumbling fool; the last thing I needed was for him to discover the effect he was having on me right now.
I just had to calm the hell down, and quickly.
"I'm okay," I tried to sound calm to reassure him, but it came out all squeaky. Of course he saw straight through me.
"Hey, don't worry," he murmured in my ear. "I'll look after you."
Oh hell. That voice and those words just about did me in. I all but melted into his arms. He slipped an arm around my waist and gently drew me to him. I turned, slowly, trying to be careful, but of course tripped over my own feet and fell right into him. He caught me easily, both arms wrapping around me now.
I could feel my cheeks burning with mortification. I didn't dare look up at him. This was so humiliating. I literally threw myself at him.
"See..." he purred softly. "I've got you. It's okay."
I could feel my heart pounding against my ribs. I could feel him. I could feel every line of his firm body as he was holding me tight. He pulled me closer still and I leaned into his chest. Hang on a minute, what was that I could feel? Something hard was pressing into me. Probably his mobile phone or something or...?
Was he as affected as I was? Surely not. What was it about the dark that brought out these feelings? I had been on the verge of a panic attack just now. Not anymore. Now another emotion was surging strongly through me.
That was what it was. Good old-fashioned lust. I was pressed up close and personal against a gorgeous specimen of a man and we were in the dark, no one else around... Did I dare?
No of course I didn't. I was far too chicken. Wasn't I?
Breathing deeply I slowly raised my eyes up off the floor and in the general vicinity of his face. The darkness was gradually becoming a little clearer as my eyes grew accustomed.
He was looking at me.
He was gazing at me. And he wasn't making any attempt to get away. Then one of his hands left my waist and gently gripped my chin. His thumb slowly stroked my cheek and he tilted my jaw upward with gentle pressure.
What was he doing?
Oh my God.
He was going to kiss me?
I waited for the lights to flick back on, for the spell to be broken, for him to laugh at the very idea.
None of these things happened.
Instead, soft warm lips pressed to mine. Soft warm lips that tasted faintly of mint. Hands were twining in my hair and lips were moving firmly against mine. I sighed gently. I hadn't been kissed like this in a very long time, if ever. I relaxed further into the kiss, reaching up to lose my fingers in the silky softness that was the hair at the nape of his neck. It felt so good. I couldn't let go.
So I went for it. I threw myself into the kiss with abandon. Forgot where we were. Forgot we could be interrupted at any moment and forgot that I had absolutely no idea what his first name was.
He didn't seem to mind. His warm tongue swept along my bottom lip, begging for entrance. Of course I couldn't refuse him. My lips parted and his tongue slid over mine. I couldn't help myself, I moaned into his mouth. This seemed to spur him into action. His hands slid down my back and cupped my bum, squeezing hard.
He groaned, loudly. Then I felt him press into me even harder. Oh my goodness. That wasn't a mobile phone. He was very, very pleased to meet me.
The kisses grew hungrier, more sloppy. Clashing teeth and tongues and panting breaths. Warm hands burrowed under my top against my bare skin. Warm hands inched higher and cupped my breasts. Warm thumbs brushed against my erect nipples.
I moaned again. And again. Warm wet lips trailed down my neck, licking and sucking and gently biting. Thank heavens he was supporting me as my legs had turned to jelly. My own hands were burrowing under his shirt, feeling his hard, firm flesh. He groaned loudly when I did this.
He felt so good. I was caught on a tidal wave of lust. I couldn't stop myself if I tried. Then he was moving. He somehow managed to sweep me up in his arms and move us to the edge of the room, near the door. At least we had some space here and I didn't fear injury. He didn't set me down though. He pushed me hard against the wall. I gripped him tightly with my legs. I wanted to get closer, needed him closer.
Finally he set me on my feet. He moved lower, his hands lifting my shirt higher. I felt his lips on my bare skin. His mouth moved higher still, hands moving my bra out of the way and suddenly there was a hot wet mouth on my nipple. Sucking, licking like his life depended on it. As for me, I was moaning like a porno queen. It just felt so good. I ran my fingers through his hair, stroking gently.
Where was this going to go? Realistically were we going to get it on out here amongst the dust and spiders?
His lips moved back up to mine. We were kissing again, hard and insistent. Tongues stroking each other. His hands moved back to my chest, stroking, kneading. I couldn't get enough of him.
Three things happened.
First the lights came back on. We broke the kiss, blinking at each other in shock.
Second, there was a voice. My mother's voice.
"Bella...Bella...where are you?" We broke apart further, still slightly dazed.
Her footsteps headed this way. I frantically righted my clothing. He ran his fingers through his hair nervously. I couldn't help but notice he still had a very obvious bulge at the front of his jeans.
If I wasn't blushing before, I definitely was now.
Third, the door burst open.
"There you are!" Mum exclaimed. "I was wondering where you had got to. And you are?"
Her beady eyes locked on Mr. Mystery.
"I was just sorting out the Cullen collection," I mumbled, my cheeks feeling like they were going to burst into flames.
"Ah, yes, I remember now." Mum was all smiles when she realised I was here with a customer, not some random guy off the street.
She took charge. Between the three of us the furniture was carried back to the front of the shop and the paperwork was signed. I stood back, blending into the background once again.
I tried to forget what had happened but it kept replaying in my head like a porno on loop.
Once back in the shop, Mr. Mystery was back to his nervous mumbling self. No sign of the confident passionate guy I oh-so-nearly got it on with in the back room.
I almost wanted to cry. The hottest clinch I had ever had and now it was over and he was leaving.
I had to do something, had to speak up. Shy Bella was back and all she let me do was murmur a quiet "thank you" and "goodbye" as he departed to carry the stuff to his shiny silver car parked outside the shop. I hoped and hoped he would say something or change his mind and dash back to talk to me at the last minute. You know, just like they do in the movies?
Of course this was my dreary life so none of that happened.
I slumped back down behind the counter, despondent. That was that then. At least I had a pretty fantastic memory for the next time I was horny in my lonely bed.
Later on as I was filing the paperwork, I noticed something odd. On the back was a scrawled note.
On closer inspection, it wasn't a scrawl, but gorgeous, elaborate handwriting. And it said...
If you want to get caught in the dark again, call me anytime.
There was a number underneath. I took it. It was now or never. I could take a leap and maybe change my life for the better, or I could go back to being part of the furniture.
I took a chance...and dialled.
Huge thanks to EMCxo and JAustenlover for their sterling work in making this presentable and to my pre readers for reassuring me it wasn't total rubbish.
So what did you think? Did you like Shyward? Or Notsoshyinthedarkward?
I am considering extending this story in the New Year, if there is enough interest so I'd love to know your thoughts.
FMLW readers Chapter 18 is well under way – I hope to bring it to you this side of Christmas – stay tuned.