I decided to take a walk home from Edwards after he'd kicked me out. I was so utterly exhausted from trying to figure him out. Emotionally drained was putting it mildly, and quite frankly I was done. No mentally stable person asks you to ask them something person and then tells you to leave.
And it was the way he'd asked me to ask him something personal. Like he like was asking from inside an onion, begging me peel back his layers. Well, guess what? That onion had stung my eye one too many times now and it was time to move on and concentrate on myself.
I was overtaken with hunger about half way to my loft so I stopped into a local bakery. As soon as I walked in I noticed none other than Mason, the client that Edward had just ripped out of my roster. I inwardly smiled, ready to change that situation. Ok Swan, time to put your game face on.
Mason was an extremely attractive man. He was in his early 30's with tan skin and a muscular build. His prominant, huge blue eyes were his best feature flattered by his dark brown hair and first only to his flawless smile. I'd made sure he had that smile, I'd scheduled the appointment.
He was standing in front of the counter biting his full lip and staring at the menu in deep concentration, wearing a black tight tee and loose ripped jeans. If only I didn't have that "I don't sleep with my clients" clause in my mental agreement. I took a deep breath and walked over him in.
"Mason! How have you been? Emily called with the news, you're leaving us?" I put my hand on his arm, and gave him the eyes that had made any guy I've ever encountered melt.
"I, uh, I actually just wanted to talk to you about making some changes in my direction. I don't like the publicity my name is getting, being tied to Leah Cooper and all" he shuddered. I tried not to laugh.
"You know I can take care of that in a matter of a few phone calls don't you? It's not a problem at all. There's a photo of you from a hospital benefit that will be in place of the tabloid photos of you and Leah by tomorrow, mark my word." I smiled. Very smooth Swan, if I did say so myself.
"Well then I guess that's settled. No paperwork was filed so I see no reason to drop your firm..." he smiled back, his eyes sparkling. His eyebrows went up then, as if he'd just gotten an idea.
"I'll stay under one condition, Isabella."
"Of course, what do you need?" I asked anxiously. I couldn't wait to get back at Edward with this client steal. Emily never said who Mason was leaving us for, but I knew it was SCPR.
"It's not what I need, it's what you've been denying me for nearly a year now. A date." he stated, staring at me. "I have that press tour next week in LA, you're going to be with me, so we might as well add some pleasure to the business trip." he coaxed.
Oh hell, why not. He's gorgeous and it wouldn't even look out of place to be seen out in public with him.
"Sure Mason, I can't see how dinner could hurt." I shrugged and smiled.
"Perfect. I'm starving and you must be too sinec you walked into this bakery. Unless you were stalking me." He mocked, chuckling.
"I am starving." I insisted, joining his laughter.
"Two croissants and coffee?" he offered, and I nodded back. It was such a relaxing evening, one I desperately needed. Not once did I think of Edward, and Mason and I slipped into a flowing conversation that lasted over an hour.
Alice was waiting for me in the living room when I got home. I wasn't sure why, since she and Rose had been giving me the cold shoulder. It pissed me off big time, since I'd never once judged them for any of their choices.
"Why are you sitting on the couch with no magazine in your hand and no TV on, Alice?" I asked, monotone.
"Waiting for you to get home. Bella, I'm sorry. I wanted to apologize. I've been thinking about it, and it isn't my place to judge. I turned my back on you when you needed me the most. Rose feels the same way, she'll probably be calling you later today." she cast her eyes down, and it was clear she felt remorse.
"Alice, you've never done this before, I don't understand what made you two team up against me? Usually it's for my benefit."
"We just thought you were smarter than to go back to Edward after his track record with you. I mean, think about it. You haven't known the guy very long at all, and what we all do know of him is just bad news. He's like the damn flame and you're the moth." She sighed.
"Well, you don't need to worry about that. You know my motto, fool me once. I've done being made a fool of. For good." I saw hope in her eyes.
"Yes, I'm done with Edward. Done trying to make something out of nothing. Oh! And I got a client back from his firm to mine." I smiled devilishly.
"That's my girl! I do want you to meet Jasper though. Oh Bella, he's such a great person. He likes you already and he's just…perfect. I think I'm falling in love with him. Don't look at me like that I know it's only been like a week. But when you know, you know." She shrugged, and I then noticed that she was glowing. Well, her mood was about to get even better.
"Oh hey Alice, are you planning on bringing Jasper?" I asked. Her eyes turned skeptical.
"Bringing him where…?"
"Los Angeles. We leave next week for Mason's press tour and your tiny sexy ass is coming with me! We need to get the hell out of this city!"
Alice ran up to me and gave me a huge hug, before pulling back and looking at me.
"For fucks sake Bella, why do you smell like cologne?" she asked, eyeing me. The thing that made my stomach feel queasy was that it wasn't Edward's cologne she smelled.
Rose called later that evening. She and Emmett had spent a few days working through things before coming to an agreement to treat each other as equals. I wanted to tell her I was happy she'd decided to tear the pants she wore in the relationship in half, but the conversation was going well.
"So you're really done trying to make it work with Edward?" Rose asked.
"Yep. I mean, there really isn't anything more I can do. I don't even have it in me to fight or be angry any more." I sighed.
"Well, I think it's for the best, and I'm really glad we had this talk. Bella, I swear I can't wait to be the treacherous three again in Los Angeles this time!" she squealed.
"It's going to be epic. We get to stay at the W, and have rooftop parties! It's going to be just like college Rose!"
"I'm still a bit nervous leaving Emmett to go to a game alone. I know, I know he's an adult. I just feel like I need to be there to give my death stare to those trashy groupies." She chuckled.
"I think you're making a huge step in trusting him Rose. He's never given you any reason not to, and you two are in love. You'll still be in love 1,500 miles away for a few days." I shook my head. "Alright, Ali is running around picking out our clothes for the clubs, let me go make sure she doesn't plan on making us look like hookers." We shared laughter.
"Alright girl. I love you, and tell A I love her too. See you guys at JFK in 4 days!" she screamed.
"So we're all ready?" I asked Alice. I'd hoped so, she had 5 suitcases packed for 3 days. I shook my head in disbelief.
"Yes, I'm pretty sure we are ready. Shoes, clothes, accessories, makeup, and everything else we'll buy there. Damn TSA not letting me bring my makeup remover and favorite shampoo!" she quipped while checking things off of her checklist. Yes, Alice had a checklist and a clipboard. Only her.
"And Rose still doesn't know Emmett will be surprising her?" I asked.
"Nope! He's being so good at acting like the game wasn't rescheduled, too! Have you talked to Mason yet, are his seats near ours?" she asked.
I'd made sure we'd all had a section together in first class. Alice, I, Jasper, Rose, and Mason. Emmett would be flying in a day later, which actually might be for the best since there were only two bathrooms on flight and I'm pretty sure Alice and Jasper could possibly be taking up one for a while.
"Yes, Alice, Jasper is seated next to you." Because I knew that's what she was inadvertently asking me.
She beamed. "Oh honey I meant Mason too. I can't wait to dress you for your date with him!"
"It's not a date" I tried to convince her, but even to my ears it sounded feeble.
"Right." She smiled.
The truth was, I was very nervous about Mason. He made me nervous, this whole dinner thing made me nervous. Being next to him for a 6 hour flight made me a tad nervous. But my nerves were trumped by the burning in my stomach. The burn of excitement.