Summary: Bella is married to crooked District Attorney Riley Biers, but when a certain annoyingly cocky but sexy FBI agent enters the picture to investigate her husband, she finds it difficult to ignore him. Classic Good vs. Evil. Could Edward be her hero?
Title: Intrigue and Intimacy
Song Used: Crazy for This Girl by Evan and Jaron
Lyric Used: She's got me thinking about her constantly but she don't know how I feel
"Fuck my life!" Bella screamed at the top of her lungs.
It wasn't like anyone would hear her from where she sat at her very large table in her very large apartment in the very large city in which she lived. She was alone… again. No big surprise, really. She was used to it by now. No sense in complaining.
Her husband was the acting District Attorney of New York City and he was attending to his work at the very late hour of seven o'clock that Tuesday evening. And just how many nights a week did one need to stay this late? Apparently, all seven of them.
Bella sighed, picking at an invisible pill on the tablecloth, pondering the state of her marriage. She wondered how things had gotten to this point—where she spent all her evenings alone while her husband did God knew what with only God knew who each evening. She sighed again, thinking back on the last eight years.
When they'd met, Riley Biers had just turned thirty, being five years her senior, and he'd just won a huge case for his law firm of Clearwater, Black and Volturi. To celebrate, he'd bought an elegant and very extravagant townhouse after his checking account had been properly padded with his rather colossal proceeds from winning the suit.
Bella had just opened her interior design firm and had already built up quite a distinguished clientele. Riley had been referred to her by a now-mutual friend and he'd pursued her from the minute he walked in for his appointment. She'd been occupied with her new business, but he'd persisted—she could tell he was used to getting what he wanted—until she finally went out with him. After that, she'd been carried along in a whirlwind courtship, and, convinced that she was in love, agreed to marry him. Riley was handsome, charming and certainly seemed to have been in love with her at the time.
The first three years of their marriage had been incredible. They traveled abroad, they were present at every event all the DINKs were attending and they seemed to be madly and wildly in love with each other. Bella never knew her life could be so amazing.
Until it wasn't.
In their fourth year of marriage, Riley decided to apply to be an assistant district attorney. One of the partners at his firm had endorsed his application to the office, and because Riley obviously flew under a lucky star, he got the position. Two years later, he decided to go for it and run for the office of District Attorney itself. To show how much she believed in him, Bella sold her business to help him campaign, being the supportive wife she was, and, much to Bella's surprise, he'd won. She was pretty sure he'd secured the women's vote because of his good looks and had gotten everyone else's because of his overall appeal… or it could've been that teensy little fact, unbeknownst to her, that he'd had the Mafia's support, pretty much sealing his victory. Either way, his high-profile job required her to behave a certain way which, lately, more often than not, made her want to scream.
So, there she was. The wife of New York City's handsome and charismatic DA, sitting forlornly at her dining table screaming her head off in the townhouse she'd decorated and had now come to hate.
"Aren't I just the picture of etiquette?" She had to snicker. Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, you need to remove the stick up your ass, right?
She rose and went to get ready for the benefit dinner she apparently would be attending "stag" that night unless her husband decided to show up by some bizarre happenstance.
Her auburn hair coiffed, makeup done, she attired herself in the Versace gown she'd be wearing which was stunning—one-shouldered, with a slit up to "there," in dark, emerald green charmeuse. She put on her diamond and emerald choker then left the townhouse.
"Hello, Harry," she said to her driver.
"Hello, Mrs. Biers. You're looking mighty beautiful tonight," Harry replied.
Bella blushed. Harry was simply a sweetheart of a man. "Thank you, Harry. You're awfully kind."
He smiled then pulled away from the curb taking her to Capitale, the venue for the dinner. Tonight's bazaar would raise money for cancer awareness, a topic dear to Bella since both of her parents had succumbed to the brutal disease.
Taking a deep breath, she entered the building, plastering a smile on that was only appropriate for a DA's wife to wear—a DA's wife who was alone, as usual—and took her seat at a table with all the right people, eating all the right food and palavering over all the right topics.
Riley actually showed up halfway through the dinner, kissed her cheek, told her she looked beautiful, then proceeded to hobnob around the room, leaving her, once again, alone.
Her cell phone rang and she excused herself from the table, finding a back hallway quiet enough for her to talk.
"Hey, Rose. What's up?" she said to her sister as she answered her phone.
"Bella. Where are you?"
"The Capitale, why?"
"Oh! I forgot about the dinner tonight!" Bella could hear her niece and nephew in the background arguing while Rose told them to "scoot."
"Yes. Another dinner. So, what's going on?" Rose was older than Bella by two years and was married to Emmett, also an attorney who was very successful but not nearly as ambitious as Riley was. Rose also had the life that Bella had always dreamed of—two adorable kids, a happy marriage and a perfect two-story house in a fantastic neighborhood.
"Are you sitting down?"
"No, Rose, I had to leave the table. It's so loud in there I'd never be able to hear you. What's going on?"
"Okay. Now, I'm only telling you this because I love you and you're my favorite sister."
Bella chuckled. She was Rose's only sister. "What?"
"It's bad, Bells."
"I mean, it's something I don't want to tell you, but I feel you need to know, but I'm afraid to say it."
"Damn it, Rose. Keep on torturing me, why don't you? Jesus. Just tell me, already!"
"Well, God, this was much easier to say before you answered. Alice! Give Jasper his truck back now before I whip your butt!"
Bella jerked the phone away from her ear at her sister's screaming at the kids. Life at Rose's was always clamorous. "God, Rose! Warn me next time you're going to verbally abuse your children at 8,000 decibels! Now, tell me."
Rose blew out a breath and Bella knew Rose's bangs had just flown up onto her head. "Okay, sorry. Well, Emmett met with a couple clients today in Atlantic City, at that one casino, you know, one that Donald Trump owns? Jasper! Damn it! Em! Can you come get the kids, please?" Bella giggled when she heard Alice, who was four, in the background gasping, announcing that Mommy had said a bad word. "Okay, sorry. I'm back."
"So, Em was in Atlantic City. And?"
"He saw Riley. He was with someone."
Rose was silent for a few beats. "Bella! He was with another woman!"
Bella snorted. "He's got all kinds of female associates, Rose. What's the big deal?"
"Em said they were kissing, Bella. Then they rode the elevator up to the rooms."
Was a stomach even physically capable of dropping out of one's body and splatting on the floor, because if it was truly possible, that's what Bella's did that very moment. Now, she'd suspected as much of her husband, he'd been so distant for the past several months, hell, years, even, but life is kind of strange sometimes, isn't it, fooling you into believing things are not really the way they are.
"Oh, Bella. I didn't want to be the one to have to tell you this, but Em and I both have been suspicious of Riley for some time now, we just didn't want to say anything until we knew for sure."
"No, Rose. Em must be mistaken about what he saw. I mean, I know our marriage hasn't been 'all that' lately, but Riley would never do that to me!" She leaned against the wall for support. She whispered, "He wouldn't embarrass me that way."
"Bella. We've heard from several people that he's got quite a few women he's been seeing," Rose said softly, knowing she was hurting her sister but needing her to realize what was going on with her husband.
Bella went from being shocked to fuming. Riley had made a fool out of her and in front of everyone at that. "What the fuck, Rose? You've known this and haven't said anything to me? I can't believe him! That son of a bitch has humiliated me for the last time!" She knew she was speaking very loudly, but there was no one around to hear her, and she honestly couldn't have cared less if there had been.
In the meantime, Special Agent Edward Masen, FBI, had made his way back to the other side of the corridor to take a call from his supervisor. He'd just hung up when he heard a woman yelling and decided to make sure she was okay. He came around the corner and came up short upon seeing the single most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes on, stopping within five feet of where she leaned against the wall, facing him. She was on the phone but held her forehead in one hand and looked down as if she were hearing bad news. Her long, auburn hair was pinned back at the side with a diamond clip, and the dress she was wearing clung to her, showing off all her gorgeous curves. She appeared to be getting more upset as she talked. As he stood staring, she looked up, and upon seeing him, frowned at his eavesdropping in on her conversation, he supposed.
"Just a minute," she said into her phone then held it against her chest. "May I help you?" she asked haughtily, her deep brown eyes glaring at Agent Masen as she scowled.
"No. I, uh, just heard you and came to make sure you were alright." He took a couple steps toward her.
Even though she was so pissed off at the moment, this man's looks were not wasted on her. He looked to be maybe a few years older than she was. A dark blue suit covered his muscular six-foot plus frame, and he had the most unruly burnished hair, which she assumed got that way due to his running his hand through it as he was doing now. His eyes were almost the color of her dress and they looked sharply at her, his concern apparent in them.
"I'm fine," she stated flatly, coming out of the reverie this gorgeous man who'd been listening in on her call had thrown her into. "You may leave now."
Masen drew his head back with a snort at her dismissing him. He raised an eyebrow at her as if to ask if she was really suggesting he leave like she owned the place. No, this was his gig and he wasn't going anywhere. He'd been back in the corridors the entire evening keeping an eye on his subject, and if anyone would be leaving, it would be her.
When he didn't budge, Bella huffed then put her phone to her ear, turning her back on him. "I can't talk right now, Rose. I'll call you later, okay? Bye." She turned to face the agent again. "Just what is your problem?"
"I wasn't aware that I had one."
She looked at him incredulously. "Oh, so eavesdropping is just in your nature then?"
He chuckled. "Pretty much, yeah." His eyes twinkled at her and his mouth rose in a crooked little shit-eating grin that she wanted to slap off his face.
"I don't think I've ever met anyone so rude," she said, arms akimbo.
Edward's eyes traveled down her body then back up taking in all her beauty. God, she was something else. "You probably haven't, I'm sure."
The electricity that was flowing between them was unmistakable and neither moved from where they stood, both too stubborn to "give in" to the other. And if staring contests were considered a professional sport, a lot of money would've been laid down in Vegas on this one by now as to who would blink first.
"Who are you and why do you think you're so privileged to listen in on people's private conversations?"
"FBI, ma'am. Special Agent Edward Masen." He smirked.
Huh? Why was the FBI at this function? It was her turn to pull her head back in confusion. Then she laughed. "Right. And I'm the Queen of England. Like I'm supposed to believe that. You're just trying to find an excuse for being nosy."
He took a step toward her. "I don't make excuses." He was right on top of her now, looking down at her, invading her space, pretty much pinning her against the wall.
Bella swallowed roughly, realizing that the attraction she felt for this man was undeniable. But then she shook herself out of the silly spell he'd cast over her and jutted her chin out. "I don't know who you think you are, Mr.… FBI Agent," her fingers did air quotes there, which made him snort again, "but you've got the wrong woman if you're trying to pull the wool over my eyes." She looked up at him trying to be all aloof even though her heart was pounding in her chest. She stared at his lips wondering if they were as soft as they looked.
"Swan. Bella Swan." Why had she given him her maiden name?
"Miss Swan, as an agent, I'd never do anything to lead you astray." His eyes burned into hers making her breathing speed up, that stupid grin of his showing up again.
And that's when she got really mad, realizing he was teasing her with this little power play he'd been using on her.
"Oh! Who do you think you are? Get out of my way!" Her hands went to his chest as she pushed him away from her and she tried moving past him.
He caught her around the waist, pulling her flush with his body which made her gasp. "You could get ten years in prison for assaulting a federal officer, you know." He couldn't help himself as his lips came down hard on hers and he pulled her closer.
Bella hadn't known what had hit her when their lips collided, but damn it if she didn't adjust quickly. She and Riley hadn't slept together for months much less kissed passionately, and she was totally consumed by this handsome stranger with his lips on hers. A soft moan escaped from her as their tongues tangled together and his strong arms held her.
Edward was totally lost in her. She felt so good. And while he hated pulling away, he knew he had to; he had a job to do. As he moved back, he felt a sting across his face.
She'd slapped him!
"Add ten more years to that prison sentence!" Bella huffed, turning on her heel and stomping off back to the ballroom.
Edward stood there rubbing the side of his face as he watched her walk away, knowing he'd earned her ire. He chuckled, thinking what a firecracker she was. He was definitely intrigued.
"We're moving in on illegal campaign contributions he's received," Unit Chief Carlisle Cullen informed his agents.
Edward looked at his supervisor like he was nuts. They all knew Biers was guilty of so much more than something as simple as receiving unwarranted funds.
Carlisle sighed. "Look, right now it's all we've got to go on. We know the Mafia's involved, so if we can trace some of the illegal funding back to them, it might get us closer, then we can nail him on other activities."
They all knew District Attorney Riley Biers was crooked. There'd been several cases called to the FBI's attention in which the DA had excused or given lesser sentences to offenders that they knew were linked to the Mob. It was just a matter of making a case before they could take action.
Carlisle flashed some pictures of Biers on the screen. "Here he is with Tony 'The Snake' Gravano who's been linked to the Vitale family as one of their soldatos. This is Vincent Vitale, capo, having lunch with Biers and his wife. Here he is with…"
Edward froze. The woman in the photo was the one he'd seen at the benefit dinner, the one he'd kissed. Holy shit. She was Biers' wife? Mrs. District fucking Attorney herself. He groaned. All he'd thought of the past five days was this woman.
"Holy fucking Christ," he muttered, running his hand through his hair wondering how the hell he hadn't known. "Goddamn it."
"You okay, man?" Tyler Crowley, his partner, asked.
"Yeah. Yeah. I'm good."
"Biers will be attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new cancer center downtown that's opening next Tuesday. Masen and Crowley, I want you two there. We don't want to call too much attention to ourselves, but we do want Biers to know that we're on to him. Don't worry, we'll get him. We just have to be patient. In the meantime, he's supposed to be at the Trump National today meeting Senator Call for dinner. Why don't you two put in an appearance there, also? Alright, gentlemen, you've got a country club to get to. " Carlisle nodded at Edward then left the room.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Biers. Your account has been frozen."
"What?" Bella looked with disbelief at the bank manager she'd asked to see after she'd tried withdrawing some money earlier. "Why?"
"I'm not sure, ma'am. The note here says it's been ordered by the FBI." He looked at her apologetically.
Oh, God. The man the other night, Agent Masen, said he was with the FBI. Was it really true? What the hell had Riley been up to?
"Okay, thank you." Bella turned away trying to maintain her dignity as she departed. She called Riley but of course he was in a meeting, so after getting into her SUV she called Rose.
"Rose…" Bella burst into tears.
"Bella! What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"Y-yes." She sniffed. "Our bank account has been frozen by the FBI."
"What? Oh, God. What has Riley done?"
"I don't know, but I intend to find out." She sniffed.
"I'll call Em and see if he's heard anything about what's up, okay? You still have your other account, right?"
"Yes. But, Rose, what if they've seized it, too? What am I going to do?" Bella panicked.
"Em and I can help you out. Don't worry. You have no idea what this is about at all?"
"I don't know." Bella thought for a few seconds; she'd already told Rose about the FBI agent at the benefit dinner. "Wait. When I was at the club for lunch the other day, Lauren kind of joked about Riley being friends with Salvatore Vitale, asking how I liked having Mafia money on my side. I told her I didn't know what she was talking about and she just cracked up at that like I was lying. You think Riley's mixed up with the friggin' Mob somehow?"
"Shit. I'll call Em and get back with you. If you can get into your other account, withdraw it all before they find out about it. You can deposit it in one of ours for safekeeping."
"Thanks, Rose. Call me back when you hear anything."
Bella drove to her bank and withdrew without a problem, thank God, the hundred and fifty thousand plus she had in her account that was under her maiden name. She called Rose who gave her an account number at another bank so she could deposit it there. Rose told her that Em had been in a meeting, so she didn't have any new information for her.
Driving home in a daze, Bella felt as if things were so out of control. She hadn't had a chance to talk to her husband about his alleged indiscretions. She'd been sleeping in the guest bedroom since hearing from Rose that Emmett had seen him with another woman. Shitty thing was, Riley hadn't even acted upset that they were sleeping apart. As a matter of fact, he also hadn't even bothered coming home the past two nights, calling with some weak excuse that he had a lot to do and would be sleeping at his office.
Even with all this going on and as confused as she was, Bella had allowed herself to think about FBI agent Edward Masen, and oh, Lord, how she'd thought about him. Besides her crumbling marriage, he'd been the only other thing on her mind the past week. When he'd kissed her, she knew she hadn't felt that much passion since, well, ever. She'd even dreamed about him, waking herself as she called out his name in the night.
And now that she knew the FBI was involved because of something Riley had done, she needed to know why. She suddenly became very scared wondering what was going on. She thought about calling Agent Masen to see if he could explain anything to her. Yeah, sure, he'd just spill it all to her just like that. She chuckled at her stupidity. All she could really do was hope that Emmett may have found something out. She sighed as she pulled up to the townhouse, going inside to get ready for dinner at the club, preparing herself to put on her feigned I'm-the-happily-married-wife-of-the-District-Attorney look for the next two hours.
When Edward and his partner arrived at the club, they strategically positioned themselves at the bar for maximum viewing of Biers. Like Carlisle had told them, they wanted Biers to see them, let him know he was being watched, make him a little nervous. A fairly large crowd was there, made up of several bigwigs known around the city. From where the agents sat, it would be easy to keep an eye on Biers.
The minute Biers arrived, Edward perked up, watching for his wife. Bella, she'd said her name was, which was perfect for her. She was beautiful. But the DA came in alone and Edward couldn't help but feel disappointed. Biers talked to several people along the way as he followed a host to his table where Senator Call and his wife were already seated. Biers shook the Senator's hand and did the little side-kiss thing to the wife. Edward saw Biers looking at him in recognition, nodding at him as if he were someone important, someone who could do something for him. Edward just smirked and shook his head at the pretentiousness of it all. He looked at Tyler and knew he felt the same way. Biers had no idea who they were yet, but he was politician enough to want them on his side… in case they were campaign contributors.
Ten minutes later Bella came in, being led to the table by the same host. When Edward saw her his heartbeat sped up. He couldn't help being attracted to her; something about her just drew him in, leaving him feeling totally helpless. Her husband and the Senator both stood when she got to the table, Biers pulling her chair out for her. She smiled weakly at him then smiled more widely at the Senator and his wife. God, she was gorgeous.
Throughout their dinner, Edward kept an eye on her, checking out her body language. He'd been trained to watch for signals, and from the way she'd positioned herself to her husband, it didn't look good, for Biers, that is. She hadn't kissed him when she'd come in and as she talked at the table her body was always leaned away from him; never once did she move into him. And wasn't Edward a bastard for enjoying that immensely.
Bella excused herself at one point, needing a break from the superficiality and obsequiousness going on at the table, courtesy of her husband. She'd figured out halfway through dinner that Riley was seeking to run for the Senate, his unctuousness toward Senator Call making her want to throw up. She headed toward the restroom to take a breather from it all. On her way out, she did a double take, noticing Edward sitting at the bar watching her. She sucked in a deep breath of surprise, thinking she'd never see the handsome agent again, and her heart raced, making her look away and mentally scold herself for reacting this way since she was a married woman.
But when she glanced back at him and saw him smirking at her, she was furious. Was he following her? Stalking her? She got angrier remembering how he'd been so cocky the night of the benefit dinner, listening in on her phone conversation, not bothering to apologize. And he'd taken the liberty of kissing her without her permission. Even though the kiss had been something she'd fantasized about many times the past week, she was still annoyed and her face flushed as she moved toward him. She wanted to smack that smug look off his face.
"What are you doing here?" she hissed at him as she approached.
"I'm enjoying a drink with my friend. What are you doing here?" He couldn't keep from smiling at her as he ran his hand through his hair. When she was angry like that, she looked so fierce, her eyes flashing, and she became more than stunning.
"I-I'm having dinner." Suddenly, she felt like a fool. What else would he be doing there other than having a drink or a meal? "I'm sorry. That was very rude of me." She looked at him meekly.
"It's not a big deal, Bella."
Oh, God, he'd remembered her name, and that honey-smooth voice of his caressed it, making it sound so sensual as it rolled off his lips. Oh, his lips. She could still feel them on hers, so soft yet firm. She caught herself staring at his lips now. Ugh! She mentally chided herself again. How ridiculous was it this that this man made her mindset become like that of a damned romance novel.
"Well, I apologize again, Agent Masen. There was no need for me to act so abruptly toward you. If you'll excuse me." She nodded at Tyler then walked away feeling like such an idiot. She'd been embarrassed about her reaction toward him and had taken it out on him. Jeez, I'm such a bitch.
Edward chuckled as he watched her walk away. She was something else. He excused himself from Tyler and walked in the direction she'd gone.
He just couldn't help himself. He'd seen her staring at his lips, so he knew the attraction was mutual. He'd been thinking about her constantly and she didn't know how he felt and he just had to tell her. From some bold place inside that was driving him, he found himself at the door to the women's room. He knew it was crazy, he couldn't explain any of it, but he had to talk to her. He turned the handle walking inside seeing her standing at the vanity putting on lipstick.
Bella gasped when she saw him standing there, the look on his face so intense with… desire?
"What are you doing here?" she asked warily as he turned the lock on the door. Click. She stared at him, not wanting to but absolutely thinking of all the things they could be doing behind that locked door.
He moved toward her, making her back up against the counter. "I needed to tell you that the minute I laid eyes on you, I knew you could be the one, Bella," he said quietly.
Bella blinked and her throat locked up, leaving her speechless. Was this for real? This stuff only happened in movies, didn't it? She was so blown away by his words and it took a second for her to realize she'd moved her hands up his chest pushing his suit jacket off his arms. It fell to the floor, but she didn't pay it any mind because she was so caught up in his eyes. So green. Piercing hers, blazing with passion.
She was frozen, her hands back resting against his muscular chest. She could feel his heart beating wildly under her right hand. "Edward…" She shivered as she looked into his dark eyes; it was the first time she'd called him by his name. But he cut her off, leaning down and seizing her lips with his. Her hands moved of their own accord up over his round shoulders and into his hair, that messy shock of bronze that she'd pictured herself tangling her fingers into several times over the past week. This was so surreal to her, as her fantasy became true.
She felt so good in his arms. So right. Perfect. He held her closely to him, his lips still on hers, one hand under her hair at the nape of her neck, the other caressing the small of her back. He didn't want to let her go. He'd thought of doing this very thing for days. And now that he had her in his arms, he didn't know how he could be without her.
But of course, all good things must come to an end, and their kiss ceased, with him smiling down at her and her looking up at him, terrified about what she'd done.
"Edward. I-I'm married." She was so ashamed. She was no better than her cheating husband.
"Bella." He brushed a finger over the side of her face. "Do you love your husband?" he asked, looking down at her.
"I can't do this! I can't. Oh, I'm horrible. I'm so sorry." She was suddenly all business as she collected her lipstick into her clutch. "I've got to get out of here." She headed toward the door.
"Bella, wait. Please." She stopped and turned to him, hardly able to look him in the eye. "Please take my card. Listen. Your husband is in trouble."
She looked at him in shock. "What kind of trouble?"
"Something that could hurt you, and I don't want that to happen. I can't tell you any details, just, please, just take my card and call me if you need me."
She nodded taking his card and putting it in her little purse then left the ladies room, going back to her table. Edward put his jacket on then waited a few seconds before walking out, meeting Tyler at the bar.
"Do you feel alright?" Riley asked Bella when she got back.
"You're all flushed like you have a fever or something."
"Oh, well, it was a little warm in the ladies room. That's probably what it is."
After dinner, they walked outside the club saying their goodbyes to the Senator and his wife.
"Riley, we need to talk," Bella said, looking up at him as she waited for Harry to bring the car around.
"Not tonight. I'm, uh, staying at the office again."
"Riley, I know what's going on," she replied, her eyes narrowing at him.
"Look, here's Harry. Have a good evening, dear." He kissed the top of her head and held the door for her to get in, shutting it then walked to his Mercedes.
Edward and Tyler had hung back, but now came out and got in their car, following Biers to one of the higher-priced apartment buildings in the Carnegie Hill area, watching as he went inside. They didn't know of any of the Vitale associates who lived in these particular apartments, so they assumed one of his mistresses lived there. There wasn't any need for them to make any further inquiry.
"Staying at the office, my ass," Edward mumbled and Tyler looked at him curiously as they drove off.
"I'll be there but it won't be for you," Bella said into her cell phone. Riley hadn't slept at home one night the past week. If that wasn't flaunting his affairs in her face, she didn't know what was.
"I don't give a shit what your reason is, just that you show," Riley replied.
"Why are we even still married, Riley?" Bella sighed.
"Because it looks good on my resume, Bella."
Bella sat there stunned. At least he was being honest. "Wow."
"Just fucking, wow."
"Bella, you should've known five years ago that my career came first. I thought you understood that. The first three years of our marriage were for you. Now it's my turn."
What? "You're serious. You divvied up our years? When's my turn again? God, and here I always thought marriages were supposed to have something to do with, oh, I don't know… love?"
He snorted. "Ask the Clintons about love. You're so naïve, Bella."
"You're saying you don't love me then. Have you ever loved me?" Part of her was relieved because this gave her an out, but the other part could only feel numb from his blasé attitude.
He paused. "I want to tell you 'yes' but I don't want to lie to you."
"See you in an hour."
After hanging up, Bella sat, stupefied. She knew she hadn't been in love with Riley for a long time. It was just hard hearing him say those things out loud. It also stung a little knowing he wasn't in love with her either but she knew it was just her ego talking.
"And, once again, fuck my life," she mumbled, getting up to get ready for the ceremony.
"He just arrived," Tyler said into his wrist mic.
"Got him," Edward answered back. He and Tyler were situated on either side of the cancer center so they could keep an eye out, and he watched as Biers made his way through the crowd, shaking hands with the VIPs, cheesing it up like crazy. What a schmoozer. When Edward caught sight of Bella, he felt his stomach knot up. God, she was beautiful. He watched every move she made, studying her. She, too, was shaking people's hands or hugging them, but she, unlike her husband, seemed truly genuine.
Edward watched as Bella walked to the front, taking her place at her husband's side. Concentrating on her body language again, he could read right away that she wasn't happy with her husband, which was what he'd figured from observing her at the country club. And he also knew from her look of surprise when he'd given her his card that she had no idea with what Biers was involved.
The ceremony went off without a hitch, the mayor cutting the ribbon, which commenced the opening of the center. Edward and Tyler mingled their way down by Biers, in case he hadn't seen that they were there. When Biers noticed them, he leaned over to a man near him, talking then nodding toward them. The man looked at Edward and Tyler, his eyes going big, immediately recognizing them for who they were (they'd investigated this particular man's company last year), and he informed Biers who looked at them, worry flashing over his face for just a second before he cloaked it, his normal insouciant expression appearing once again.
Good. He knew. Now he'd either become really sneaky, eventually giving himself away, or he'd get cocky, flaunting his connections in their face but not giving them reason to move in. Yet. Edward was curious to see which way Biers would go.
A smile appeared on Edward's face as he turned to face the owner of the voice. He'd know it anywhere, as he'd been that preoccupied with her. "Yes, ma'am." He grinned down at Bella, removing his sunglasses.
"I'd almost think you were stalking me if you hadn't said anything about Riley the other night."
"And would that really be that bad a thing to happen?" he teased.
She blushed, giggling a little. "No, actually, it wouldn't be that bad at all." She smiled shyly up at him.
And that reply boosted his ego about eight billion points. He couldn't believe she was flirting back. Damn. This woman practically owned him on all levels.
"Well, it can definitely be arranged." The arrogant smirk was back.
"I'm leaving my husband," she blurted, looking in his eyes for his reaction. Then she realized she must've seemed very presumptuous in telling him this. "I-I mean, not that I expect anything, it's just that we, well, you know…" she trailed off, her face flushing an incredible red as he looked down at her. She turned to leave, mortified, knowing she'd looked like an idiot for even postulating that this man, an all but complete stranger, would be interested in anything more than the couple of trysts he'd had with her.
He grabbed her arm, turning her to face him, leaning down and whispering in her ear. "That's the best news I've heard in a long time. I'd like to take you to dinner when you're free. Use the card to call me." He winked at her, moving his hand down her arm to clasp her hand, squeezing it then put his sunglasses back on and walked away.
"I want a divorce, Riley," Bella said into her phone. She'd left the ceremony and was back at the townhouse. Riley was in transit back uptown to his office.
"Bella, I can't talk right now," he replied, greatly annoyed.
"How about I make dinner tonight and we can talk then."
"I've got a lot I need to get finished. I'll be sleeping at the office again."
"I'm not stupid, Riley. I know you're having an affair. Emmett saw you in Atlantic City."
"And just what did Emmett see?"
"He saw you kissing another woman. And it's okay. I'm over it. We already confessed that we don't love each other, so just give me a divorce, and we can move on."
Riley knew that a divorce would screw up his political aspirations. No way in hell was he giving Bella a divorce now… or ever. "Not going to happen, Bella. I'd never get elected to the Senate if we divorced, so you're just going to have to deal with it."
She'd been prepared for this, and she knew it wasn't going to be easy. "What about your involvement with the Mafia? That's certainly something I didn't sign up for."
"You don't know what you're talking about. So, just keep your pretty little mouth shut and continue living in the gorgeous house I've provided for you, wearing all the designer clothes you've bought with my money. Can you do that, sweetheart?" His tone was biting. He'd been caught and he knew it.
"If I have to get proof, I will. Of your affairs. The Mafia," she deadpanned quietly.
"Goddamn it, Isabella! You don't want to stick your nose into something you know nothing about. People get hurt when that happens. You watch yourself."
"Are you threatening me?" She gasped. What had happened to the man she'd fallen in love with eight years ago?
"I'm just telling you to be careful, baby. Wouldn't want anything to happen to my girl. I've got to go." He hung up.
Bella sat at the dining table, twisting Edward's card around and around in her hand, tapping it on the table, thinking about her options. She'd known she was unhappy; she just hadn't let herself "go there" until recently. Looking at things now, she realized she and Riley had been nothing more than glorified roommates for years.
She thought about Edward. It wasn't like he'd be a rebound because she wasn't in love with Riley. She actually wasn't even in a relationship with him for that matter, so there was nothing to be rebounding from. She decided to call her attorney in the morning to seek his counsel on filing for divorce. She also decided that she'd need to be on her own for a bit, but she could definitely see Edward in her future.
"Brought you a coffee," Tyler said, setting a cup on Edward's desk.
"Mmm," Edward grunted back.
"What's on your mind, man?"
Edward sighed. He and Tyler had been partners since graduating Quantico fourteen years prior, so they were aware when something was up with the other.
Tyler wasn't stupid. He knew Edward had something going with Biers' wife. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." And that was all he was willing to share. He wasn't just a little upset. He hadn't seen or heard from Bella in three weeks. He had no idea what was going on, even with all his security clearance he couldn't get any answers, but she hadn't been at any functions with her husband since the ribbon-cutting ceremony. In the meantime, he and Tyler had been hot on Biers' trail the same as usual, but no Bella.
The thoughts that filled Edward's head kept him awake at night. What if she'd changed her mind about leaving Biers? What if she hadn't wanted to have anything to do with him in the first place, that her telling him she was leaving her husband was just that, telling? He knew he'd pretty much been the aggressor and she'd been an unhappy woman, so for her, he might've just been a means to an end, something to get her out of her unhappy marriage. And it wasn't like she'd actually said she wanted to be with him in the first place. All she'd done was inform him of her plans to leave her husband, but that didn't mean she wanted him.
"I'm just an egotistical son of a bitch," he said to Tyler, snorting humorlessly.
"Angela calls me that all the time," Tyler replied.
"Guess that's why you and I get along so well."
"Bella? Where are you?"
"I've moved out."
"I see that. That wasn't what I asked." Riley paced back and forth in the living room, downing another shot of Hennessy. He was pissed that she'd gone ahead and left like she'd said she was.
"Riley, let's not do this. It's over. We both know this."
"It's over when I say it's over, Isabella. And since when did you grow some balls?" He snorted. His wife was a beautiful woman, no doubt about that, but she'd surprised him with the gumption she'd shown the past couple of weeks and now by leaving him. He didn't know she had it in her.
"It was over long before either of us needed to say a thing, Riley. Neither of us has been happy for a while."
"Bella, I need you. Please come home. I want to make love to you, show you that I care."
Bella laughed. "Right. You care so much that you're sleeping with other women."
"They mean nothing, baby. Nothing at all. You're the only one I love. The only one I need."
"No, I'm not. Well, yes, I kind of am." He chuckled. "It's because you've left me and I don't know what to do. Bella, come home so I can show you that I love you, so I can have you on the dining table. I want your long legs thrown over my shoulders so I can eat your hot, wet pussy and make you scream. Just like we used to do."
Bella shuddered. At one time, Riley had been a decent lover, but thinking of even one of his hands on her now disgusted her. No telling how many other women he'd played out that same scenario with. "No, Riley. It's over."
"I want to make you come, baby. I want to slam my hard cock inside of you, make you scream my name. Don't you want me anymore?" he whined.
Bella sighed. There just wasn't any reasoning with a drunk. "We'll talk next week, okay? My attorney will be sending papers to you. Please understand."
"I'll tell you what I understand. There's someone else, isn't there?" Riley's voice was clipped now and she could hear the anger in it.
"No. There's no one." That wasn't entirely true, but it wasn't like she was leaving Riley for Edward. She just wanted out. And how did she know that Edward really wanted her anyway?
"You aren't strong enough to just leave on your own. I know there's someone else and I will find him. He's a dead man, Isabella."
"Keep talking. I'll have plenty to use against you in court."
"You're taping this?"
"You bet I am."
"You cunt! I'll kill you, too!"
Bella shook her head, hanging up on him, turning off the recorder. She looked around the apartment she and Rose had roomed together in years before. Bella had kept the place, not wanting to sell since it was rent controlled. She'd also gone to the little apartment many times over the past six months when she'd thought of leaving Riley. He had no clue she'd kept it, so she knew she was safe for a while. Before her marriage problems, she'd almost forgotten she even had it since the payments were automatically deducted from her separate account. She went into her bedroom looking through the closet and laughed at some of the clothes she'd left hanging in it. Sweatpants that said "Juicy" on the butt. She grimaced and shook her head. And Crocs? Oh, dear God. She wondered what she'd been thinking.
Her phone rang, so she went back to the bar in the kitchen to answer. Rose. "Hey."
"What the hell, Bella? Riley just called here cussing up a storm. What'd you say to him?"
"Nothing. I just told him he should be getting papers next week."
"He's had two weeks to think on this. Why's he so upset all of a sudden?"
"Um, bipolar, maybe? He's called every night since I left. That's ten days in a row now."
Rose chuckled. "Think I'm starting to see a pattern. At least he's consistent. You doing okay?"
"As okay as I can be. I'm going to have to get a job, you know."
"Yeah, I thought about that. Would you want to open your own place again?"
"Possibly. I'd have to let things calm down, though. Riley would probably try destroying it with the state of mind he's in right now."
"Oh! I just remembered! I've got a friend who needs a designer. Want me to give her your number?"
Bella perked up. "Yes! That'd be awesome, Rose. Thanks."
"Any time, little sister. Have you called the FBI guy yet?"
"No. I just want to be on my own for a little longer. Mend some of these broken pieces of my life back together, you know? Get my independence back."
"I totally understand. Okay, call me if you need me." Rose was worried about her sister but knew Bella was doing what she could to get her life back and to stay safe for now. She'd already offered to let Bella stay with her, but Bella was afraid of leading anyone to the kids.
It was his day off, and Edward was hitting the weights hard. He was pissed. Aggravated. Dejected. In his thirty-six years, there'd only been one other woman he'd put himself out there for like he had Bella, which had been a fucking fiasco, and now he felt like a dumbass in doing so a second time.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right, man?" Tyler said lying on the bench and positioning his hands on the bar with way too much weight on it, ready to try to press it.
"You have no idea," Edward mumbled, walking over to spot him.
Tyler lifted the bar, lowered it to his chest then got stuck, not being able to extend his arms back up. Edward chuckled and helped him with it, racking it.
"Damn it. I thought I was ready." Tyler had gotten surgery on his shoulder six months before for an old football injury.
"Always trying to push it," Edward said, laughing.
"Yeah, well, so? Fuckhead."
"Nice comeback. Damn, you're always so diplomatic."
"Riley should've gotten the papers," Bella told Rose over the phone.
"You haven't heard from him?"
"Not yet. I haven't heard from him in a couple days, which kind of scares me. I've seriously been sitting here waiting for him to call so he can tell me what a fucking bitch I am, how I broke his heart." Bella rolled her eyes.
"Wow. Cynical much?"
"Well, don't let him talk to you that way, Bella. You don't have to put up with that, you know."
Bella sighed. "I know. God, he acts like he owns me. Like I'm a piece of property and someone's trying to take it away."
"Emmett said Paul's the best divorce attorney he knows. Just keep recording everything for him so he can build your case. I promise, Bella. Everything's going to be okay."
"I hope so."
After hanging up with her sister, Bella spent about ten minutes cleaning the kitchen… again. She was clearly avoiding something. It'd been a month since the cancer center had opened, since she'd seen Edward, since he'd told her to call him so he could take her to dinner. Finally making up her mind, she grabbed her phone to call him for the thousandth time, but this time, she actually let the call go through.
Wow. That voice. "Um, Edward?" she squeaked.
Oh, God, he'd forgotten her. Calling him had been such a bad idea! And before she could stop herself, she hung up. Great. Her phone rang a few seconds later. She let it go to voicemail then smacked herself in the forehead when she realized she said her name in her voicemail message. Could she be any dumber? The phone rang again and she answered it feeling like a nitwit.
"Bella? Are you okay?" Edward sounded worried.
"You scared the shit out of me! You called then hung up. Then I got no answer when I called back."
"I'm sorry, Edward. I, uh, just felt stupid."
He laughed his sexy laugh, sounding relieved. He was so glad to hear her voice. "Enlighten me."
She explained how she was afraid he'd forgotten her, which made him laugh even more.
"Bella, like I could ever forget you. God, you're all I've thought about since I first saw you."
She couldn't help the huge smile that graced her face. He just had a way of making her feel so wanted. "I feel the same about you."
"I haven't seen or heard from you in a month. I was so worried about you."
"I moved out three weeks ago. Riley's been less than cooperative."
"I'm sure." He hesitated, not knowing if she'd want to see him but then decided to go for it because he'd waited for so long to hear from her. "I want to see you, Bella. That dinner I promised you? Are you busy tomorrow night?"
She felt her heart clench up. It'd been years since she'd gone on a real date. She'd thought a lot about whether she wanted to take this step with him. But hearing his voice helped her decide. "No, I'm not busy."
He could hear the smile in her voice. That was good. She deserved to be happy. "Can I pick you up at eight? And dress casually. I feel like I'm losing my identity in a sea of suits."
She laughed then gave him directions to her apartment, excited for her date the next evening.
The next night at eight on the dot, great, he was one of those guys, she heard a knock at the door. She looked through the peephole seeing it was Edward and she had to push back the nervous giddiness that fluttered in her stomach.
"Hi," she said when she opened the door. Holy smokes. He had on a white untucked button down over a t-shirt, sleeves rolled up to his forearms, and faded blue jeans, his hair in its trademark state of being a gorgeous mess. He was trying to kill her with his sexiness.
"Hi," he said, leaning down, giving her a quick peck on the mouth. After the kiss, she stood with her eyes closed for a few seconds too long, sighing deeply, before she noticed what she'd been doing and opened her eyes. And now she was embarrassed to death, apologizing all over herself. Edward chuckled, taking her all in. Tight, dark blue jeans, a pretty camisole top over a tank top and high-heeled boots. He leaned down giving her a deeper kiss. "You're stunning," he said then handed her a bouquet of wildflowers.
"You are, too," she blurted, her face instantly turning red. "And so are these flowers! Thank you!" When he smiled and pushed a lock of hair behind her ear, she realized he was still standing in the hallway. "Oh! Come in! Sorry. Would you like a drink?"
"Sure. What've you got?"
"Not a whole lot." She chuckled. "I've got Oskar Blues beer, it's my sister's favorite, leftover from when she helped me move, Maker's Mark, and, uh, bottled water. That's about it," she told him as she got a vase out of the kitchen cabinet, filling it with water.
"Maker's Mark it is. Where is it? I can get it myself."
She pointed toward the bar and watched as he took a glass out of the cabinet, raising his eyebrows at her to see if she wanted some. She nodded while arranging the flowers in the vase then walked over to him, placing the flowers on the table on the way, stopping to admire them for a second. He pulled out another glass then the bottle filling their glasses half full.
She loved watching him. He moved so smoothly and looked so comfortable, making himself at home. He handed a glass to her. "How about a toast? To us?" He smirked at her, the same smirk that before had made her want to smack him, but now it just made her want to feel those full lips of his on her.
"To us," she murmured as they clanked their glasses together, her eyes still fixed on his mouth as she brought her glass to her lips.
Without thinking, Bella set her glass down and tugged on his shirt collar, pulling him down to her, smashing her lips to his, mouth ravishing mouth, tongues twisting together. When they came up for air, Bella apologized for being so forward. Edward laughed at her, cupping her face and giving her one last kiss. "Don't apologize. I like it when you're 'so forward.' I just thought we'd take this kind of slow since you've got so much going on right now."
How sweet was he? She smiled and brushed her fingers over his well-defined jaw, sighing again at how handsome he was.
"You are too cute. Ready to go?" he asked.
They left the apartment, taking a cab to a little dive of a barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn that Edward had been to before. The atmosphere was comfortable and the food to die for. They drank beer and talked about where they grew up, their families, where they went to school. Bella laughed at Edward's stories about his college roommates and his eyes got a little misty when she cried, telling him about both of her parents passing.
Before they'd left her apartment, Bella had thought she might get some information about Riley, but she found herself too caught up in Edward to even ask or care for that matter.
The air was charged in the cab on the way back to her apartment. Their attraction for each other had grown much stronger in just the few hours they'd talked. Edward loved the way she moved her hands so animatedly when she talked and she loved that he didn't take himself so seriously, laughing at himself and the silly things he and his friends had done growing up. She leaned her head on his shoulder and he held her hand, moving his thumb in tiny circles over the back of hers.
He walked her to her door, kissing her goodnight, telling her he'd call her the next day. After going in, Bella took a shower then went to bed, dreaming of green eyes, sex hair and a strong jaw.
Edward and Bella texted at various times for the next two weeks. They talked on the phone each night about any and everything, learning each other, always being the last voice the other heard before going to sleep. They had lunch several times, and upon seeing each other, they fell a little bit harder each time.
Edward texted Bella during the third week:
—What're you doing?
—Testing paint colors : )
—Yeah? Sounds intense
—You bet it is. One wrong brush stroke… and that's all she wrote
—Oh, baby, I love when you talk about stroking to me
Bella cracked up. He was rotten.
—You are SO bad!
—What? Moi? Nah. I'm good, baby… nothing but good
Gah! He definitely had a way with texts.
—What are YOU doing?
—I miss you too…
—Can't wait to see you this weekend
—What're you wearing?
—OMG You ARE bad! You're such a guy!
—Jeans and a t-shirt
—I'm serious… you'd look good in anything… in… nothing…
Bella blushed. It was getting harder and harder to resist sleeping with him. She knew he said they should take it slow, but slow really wasn't doing it for her anymore.
—That can be arranged
Edward gulped. She was always doing this to him. She'd play all coy and then throw something out like that at him.
—Soon, Special Agent Masen
—You're killing me
—Not meaning to… I need you alive for what I'm planning…
Holy mother of God. How the hell had she flipped this so fast?
—See you soon, sweetheart
—Not soon enough, baby
Since Bella had taken the job for Rose's friend she'd spent a lot of time going over swatches of wallpaper, paint colors, crown moldings, etc. She was in heaven. She was so excited to get back into what once was her passion. She dropped by Rose's on her way home to tell her about it.
"Oh, my gosh! You should see the colors she's chosen! It's going to be fabulous!" she gushed to Rose who was bathing Jasper and Alice. Bella sat on the side of the tub telling about how she'd contacted her old suppliers and how they still remembered her.
"Aunt Bewwa! Awice spwashed waddah in my face!" three-year-old Jasper whined.
"I'm sorry, buddy. Here, let Aunt Bella wipe your face off, honey." Bella dried his face and got rewarded with a huge smile.
"Now me, Aunt Bella!" Alice stuck her face out to be dried off.
"Oh, let me take care of that, princess!" Her niece and nephew meant the world to her.
Rose took Jasper and Bella took Alice to put on pjs. Bella read them both a story, giving Rose a break for once then tucked them in giving each a goodnight kiss before shutting off their light. She went to the living room to talk to Rose and Em for a bit. Emmett told her they'd been spot-on about why the FBI was investigating Riley. He said Riley, amongst other things, had accepted illegal funds from the Vitales and it was only a matter of time before they closed in on him and that he was glad she'd gotten out when she could.
On her way home, Bella felt relieved. She, too, was glad she'd gotten out when she had. She was excited to move forward, work on opening her own business again, and to see where she and Edward were heading, knowing she was already falling in love with him. Her phone rang.
"I was just thinking about you," she said, smiling.
"So, does that mean you're calling this ridiculous divorce off then?" Riley replied.
Bella's face instantly dropped, her smile disappearing. "Riley."
"Who did you expect, my love?"
"I, uh, thought Rose was calling," she lied.
"Uh huh. If you're seeing someone, Bella, I'll find him… and it won't end pretty," he warned.
"Riley, you can't control me anymore."
"You might not understand how much power I have, but everyone else does. You'd better watch yourself."
"Is there a reason for this call other than to try to intimidate me?"
"Yes. I wanted to tell you that we're having dinner tomorrow night with the Clearwaters. They're very instrumental in funding my campaign for the senatorship. I expect you to be there, Bella, as a good wife should. Don't fuck this up for me."
"I'm sorry, Riley, but you'll have to take one of your many sluts. I'm busy."
"I'm warning you, Bel—"
She hung up on him. How dare he think she'd go anywhere with him. Her phone rang again.
"I told you, I'm not going! I'm sure one of your whores would be more than happy to—"
"Edward! Oh, I'm sorry. Riley just called…"
"I gathered." He chuckled. "You okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine, thanks." She sighed. "He's going to run for senator and wanted me to go to dinner with him and one of his big contributors. The man's delusional."
There was a marked silence.
"Bella—" he began.
"Edward, I know what you're thinking. I'm not overwhelmed by any of this. I want you in my life. I think I might even be falling in lo—" Oops. She scrunched up her face, her lips a tight line, wondering what he'd say now that she'd just blabbered that nice little bit of info.
He chuckled again. He loved that she got nervous when talking to him and just said what was on her mind. He knew that he was falling pretty hard for her, too. He just wished Biers would stop fucking around and let her go. "Bella, I was going to ask if you wanted to have dinner tonight. But while we're on the subject, I think I'm falling in 'lo' with you, too." He cracked up. He joked with her only because he'd already told her his feelings for her, just this side of those three little words.
"Very funny," she said, laughing with him. "Dinner tonight? What did you have in mind?"
"How about I come over and cook for you? I make a mean chicken enchilada dish."
"Sounds good. I've got dessert. I've missed you. I can't wait to see you."
"I've missed you, too. See you at nine?"
"Mmm. Oh, my God, this is delicious." Bella moaned after taking a bite. "It's almost… orgasmic." She smirked at Edward.
He raised an eyebrow at her, all "Don't even tempt me." Their flirting had been pretty hardcore the past three weeks, and Edward was about to rescind his "taking it slow" clause.
After they finished, Bella served dessert. She'd baked a chocolate cake the day before using her mother's special recipe. Her mom had always joked, telling her and Rose that that's how she'd gotten their father, with her chocolate cake. Bella snickered as she set Edward's plate in front of him.
Edward took a bite of his cake and was impressed at how good it was, telling Bella he loved it. She sat down in her chair, swiping some frosting from her piece with a finger, looking at Edward as she put it in her mouth, sucking the chocolate off.
It was too much.
His hand went behind her neck pulling her to him as he crashed his mouth to hers. He groaned as she kept moving forward and straddled him on his chair. His fingers dug into her ass, his thumbs on her thighs as he pulled her closer.
"I want you so bad," he murmured, kissing her again, tasting the chocolate in her mouth. He moved his lips down her jaw to her neck, her shoulder.
"Make love to me, Edward," Bella whispered, feeling his erection under her as she ground herself against him causing a growl to come from deep inside him.
He stood, her legs wrapping around his waist, and carried her into her bedroom, laying her down gently, their lips still connected. He pulled away, looking down at her. "Beautiful. You're so fucking beautiful, Bella," he said and she saw the dark need in his face.
They undressed each other slowly, kissing and caressing every bit of skin that became exposed. His mouth went to her breasts where he suckled on her nipples making her cry out as her back arched, her fingers twisting in his hair. Gliding down, he placed soft, hot kisses across her taut stomach, kissing each hipbone, worshipping her body with his mouth. He moved to her center, his lips grazing over her making her gasp and writhe beneath him. His mouth on her felt amazing, better than she'd ever imagined. As he entered his fingers inside her, his tongue licking, then mouth sucking, she felt the burn inside, a light sheen making her skin shimmer in the dim light from the hallway.
"Oh, God… Edward." Her voice was shaky as she gasped, feeling herself getting closer. No one had ever taken such time to arouse her before, make her feel so good, so alive.
He moved his fingers inside her, touching places that were making her come undone. "That's it, baby… talk to me."
And just hearing his smooth voice threw her over the edge where she came utterly and thoroughly apart, shattering to pieces right there under him, around his fingers, as she cried out his name.
He moved back up, making sure to ravish her with his lips along the way, finally reaching her mouth where he kissed her so deeply it took her breath away. He brushed a piece of hair away from her forehead where it clung to the moisture that glistened there.
"You are gorgeous," he whispered, his breath hot in her ear, as he entered her slowly, allowing her body to adjust to him.
Bella gasped at his filling her so fully, her fingernails digging into his back. As he began moving she felt that he was taking great care to go slowly, being gentle, but she could sense that he needed to go harder, faster, having waited so long to be with her. She met his thrusts, encouraging him to be more forceful, and he picked up on it right away, moving more roughly in her, driving into her powerfully until they came together, both crying out as they held tightly to each other.
They lay there breathing heavily. She had never been more satisfied while being made love to, and she felt a glow within her entire body. Not sure how he was feeling, she looked up at him through her lashes, seeing that his eyes were closed, his face looking so relaxed.
"You okay?" he asked, opening his eyes to look down at her.
She smiled. "More than okay."
Her arms behind his neck pulled him down for a kiss.
"God, I'm crazy for you, Bella."
She pulled him to her once more, kissing him deeply, and as he grew hard inside of her again she gave herself up totally and completely to him.
Edward stood outside Bella's apartment door resting his forehead against it. He chuckled. "Bella, I'm sorry. You weren't fat when you were little. You were just a little… beefy, is all." He waited for her to open the door. "Bella, please."
She opened the door but had the chain latched. She looked through the door crack, glaring at him. "Please, what, Edward? You think I'm fat!"
He snorted and she slammed the door in his face. "Bella! I don't think you're fat now! I think you're gorgeous. Perfect. It's just that when you were thirteen, you were kind of… burly."
They'd been seeing each other steadily for the past two months. Bella's divorce had all but gone through, though Riley still refused to sign the papers, the FBI was closing in on him, and Bella and Edward were pretty much head over heels in love, though the words hadn't yet been spoken.
Except for this little glitch of adolescent Bella in all her butterball glory causing them a problem, things had been great. But that evening she'd shown Edward an old photo album and when he'd asked who the fat girl was, which pissed her off plenty because it'd been her, she'd told him to leave. He'd been perplexed that she'd gotten so upset, a typical male not knowing the delicate psyche of the female ego, and was now paying for his colossal blunder, experiencing their first fight.
"Bella… c'mon. I'm sorry. Please let me back in. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."
Bella leaned her back against the door, knowing it was stupid that she was behaving the way she was, but he'd hurt her feelings! All her life she'd had to put up with Rose being the pretty one, the slim one, and hearing him say something about her size just, well, hurt!
"It was baby fat, Edward. It just took me a little longer than most girls to grow out of it, is all."
"I understand, baby." He smiled sheepishly at one of Bella's neighbors walking down the hallway who gave him a dirty look. Probably thinks I'm some pervert trying to break in. "Look, I had bucked teeth and acne until I turned seventeen. I wasn't thinking. I'm really sorry." He was out of ideas and thought he'd just go home. "I love how you look, Bella. I," he cleared his throat, "I love you." Annnd that wasn't really the way he'd planned on telling her, but what's a man to do. When he got no response, he sighed and started down the hallway when he heard the chain latch being released and her door click open.
"What'd you say?" She stared at him, a whole lot of shock on her face.
He turned around and walked back slowly toward her. "I said," he held her face in his hands, looking into her dark eyes, "I love you, Bella. I think you're the most beautiful, amazing, wonderful woman I've ever met."
Two tears spilled down her cheeks. She took his hands and led him inside. "I love you, too, Edward." She smiled at him, tiptoeing up to kiss him.
"So, you forgive me for calling you fat?"
"I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to call you that, you know, fat."
"Shut up and kiss me."
Two weeks later, Carlisle had called Edward into a meeting. "Anything you need to tell me?"
"Not sure what you want me to say," Edward answered.
"Does the term 'conflict of interest' mean anything to you?"
"I talked to Deputy Director Jenks today. He knows about you and Biers' wife. What the hell were you thinking?"
Shit! "Carlisle, this was so unintended. I mean, yes, I was attracted to Bella, uh, Biers' wife, from the start, but I never meant to fall for her."
"Look, Jenks has some kind of goddamned soft spot for you, I guess. He said they're not going to file misconduct charges but you're off the case. You lucked out."
"Jesus." Edward ran his hand through his hair. "I'm sorry for putting you in that position. It wasn't my intention."
"You're on the Tanner case with Uley now. And stay away from Mrs. Biers until we have an arrest."
Fuck! "Thank you, sir. Should I, uh, talk to Jenks?"
"I wouldn't advise it. Now get the hell out of here."
Edward was pissed, but he knew all along he'd been guilty of malfeasance. He just didn't know how to be with Bella and do his job, too. He called Tyler. "Hey. Yeah. I just talked to him. Sorry, man. I know. Yeah, with Uley. Keep me informed, will you? Thanks." He drove home wondering how Bella would take it that he had to stay away from her until they nailed Biers, which could be God only knew how much longer. His cell phone rang. "Hello?"
Damn. This wasn't going to be easy. "What's up, baby?"
"Heading to the market. Come to dinner tonight? Seven-ish?"
"Yeah, I'll be there. I love you."
"I love you, too! Bye!"
Edward got to Bella's apartment a little before seven but she wasn't there. He went in with the key she'd given him wondering where she'd gotten held up. When she hadn't shown twenty minutes later, he called her but got no answer.
He paced around the living room afraid to leave because he knew as soon as he did, she'd show up because she'd gotten caught in traffic or the likes. He hoped that was the case and that her phone had been dead, that's why she hadn't called back. She'd call if she was going to be late, though. She'd find a way. Shit! He called her every few minutes, leaving messages for her to call him.
Forty minutes after he'd gotten to her apartment, he finally got an answer on her phone—a deep, male voice.
"Who is this?" Edward asked the man, feeling the anger building inside himself, wishing he could send his fucking fist through the phone to knock out the asshole on the other end of the line.
The man replied, "Someone you don't wanna mess with. If you're wondering where your girlfriend is, you might wanna check Presbyterian. And I'm warning you. Next time, you'll have to call the morgue." He hung up.
Edward was out the door in a heartbeat, running to his car. He arrived at the hospital, and once inside asked about Bella. She was in surgery. Seemed she'd somehow slipped and fallen over the railing of the second story in her townhouse, landing on the floor below, breaking her leg and was bleeding internally.
What the hell had she been doing there? She knew better than to go there alone. Edward died a little inside thinking about her not making it through surgery. He clenched his jaw wanting to scream. He knew Biers was behind this and the fucker was going to pay. He walked outside and called Tyler, letting him know what had happened, and as he was talking, Biers walked up smiling smugly at him.
"Get here now, Tyler," Edward said, a dark edge to his voice, and hung up. "Something funny, asshole?"
"Not in the least," Biers replied. "Why are you here, Special Agent Masen?"
Edward just stared at Biers, concentrating on not beating the shit out of him. "You did this," he hissed.
"Well, if you're thinking of implicating me in this incident, I can tell you that I was at my office when it happened. I've got over thirty witnesses. Excuse me. I must go check on my wife."
Edward stayed outside the hospital, fuming, fucking furious, knowing that if he went inside, he'd kill Biers. When Tyler arrived, he went inside after talking to Edward, calming him down a bit. He came back out telling Edward that Bella was out of surgery and doing fine, or as well as could be expected. Once Biers left, Edward went to see her, ready to flash his badge if there was a family-only policy. Tyler waited outside her door.
Edward almost lost it when he walked in her room. A full cast was on her right leg and all kinds of things were sticking in her, an IV was hooked up, and ominous beeps filled the room. She looked so tiny and frail lying there. He walked to her bed, leaning over her, brushing her hair back.
She stirred, turning slowly to look at him, still groggy from surgery. "Hey, baby."
Swallowing roughly, he grabbed her hand, bringing it to his lips. "Baby, do you know what happened?"
She started to talk when one of her surgeons came in to check on her. He told her she was lucky, that things could've been much worse. Edward followed him outside the room, showing the doctor his badge so he and Tyler could get some information.
"She's really okay?"
"She sustained some heavy internal bleeding. Her spleen is bruised, but she'll recover from that okay. Oh, and she was four weeks pregnant, but she lost the baby."
What? Edward felt his heart seize up after hearing that. She'd been carrying his child? Oh, God, and she hadn't told him. He looked at Tyler in a daze. Tyler put his hand on Edward's shoulder to steady him and thanked the doctor.
Edward tried to talk but he couldn't.
"It's okay, man. I'm sorry," Tyler told him. Edward nodded and went back in the room.
"Hey, sweetheart. Do you need anything?"
"I'm so tired."
"Who did this, Bella?"
"He wore a mask…"
Edward bent down, kissing her cheek, and left the room after he knew she'd fallen asleep. He called Carlisle, barely able to keep himself together, telling him what had happened, that he knew Biers was behind it and he requested someone be assigned to watch her room. Carlisle agreed. An hour later, Carlisle called Edward back telling him and Tyler to come in as soon as the other agent got there.
"We've got him," Carlisle told Edward and Tyler, finding it hard to contain his excitement. "Big Joey Falcone flipped on them. Said he didn't like women getting hurt. He called thirty minutes ago. Gave me everything. Said he'd go state's witness if we'd protect him then send him to some tropical island after he was finished testifying so he could 'bone some hot Polynesian chicks.' Go pick Biers up."
"My motherfucking pleasure," Edward said.
When he wasn't at his townhouse, they found Biers at Rao's eating dinner with Salvatore Vitale. What luck. Cowardly bastard tried sneaking out the fire exit when he'd somehow been tipped off that they were there, but Edward was waiting for him out back.
"Leaving so soon?" he asked Biers.
"What the fuck do you want?"
"Your ass to rot in prison for the next twenty years."
"Not happening, asshole." Biers swung at Edward, missing him entirely as Edward easily dodged his fist.
"Oh, God, you've made me so fucking happy," Edward said at his now green light to hit back as he busted his fist into Biers' jaw, savoring the crunch it made as Biers screamed like a girl as he fell to the ground. "Get your ass up, motherfucker," Edward hissed. Biers stood up, and made Edward's goddamned life as he swung at him again. Edward came in with a left hook smashing Biers' nose and watched with a modicum of satisfaction as blood spewed everywhere.
Tyler cuffed Biers, loading him into the car he'd driven around.
Biers was charged with three counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions, his sentence would probably be commuted on these charges, but he was also up for a term of a minimum of ten years for conspiracy to commit murder. It wasn't much, but it was a start. The FBI knew they could work on the rest of Biers' alleged illegal activities while his trial was underway.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Edward asked Bella about the baby. It was her fifth day in the hospital, and he'd finally gotten the courage to broach the subject.
"I wanted to wait to make sure. I'm sorry you didn't know. But I was scared you'd be mad." She looked apologetically at him.
"Baby, why would I be mad? I love you. I'd love to have a family with you."
Bella's face brightened, the most it had in all the days she'd spent there. "Really?"
"Really. And as soon as you're better, I think we should start working on it right away." He kissed her forehead and held her in his arms until she dozed off, finally sleeping peacefully, feeling safer than she had in a very long time.