Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The words, plot and lacklustre formatting belong to me.
This is my entry for the Let the Games Begin Contest. A big thank you to AJ and the other contest hosts who've been very patient with me since fanfiction(dot)net hasn't been cooperating.
The Green Jacket
"You've got to be fucking kidding me. Come on, Emmett. This is bullshit." He buried his fingers in his hair, curling them around the strands at his crown and yanking tensely. The juvenile action would have been humorous, if it weren't for the grimace on his face and the fact that his hair was kind of pretty. I couldn't imagine him being quite as handsome if he were half-bald.
"Edward, this is business, and you know I never joke about business. We've got to shake up your game… get you out of this slump you're in." Emmett McCarty was a formidable-looking adversary - all six-foot-five of him - even when he was partially obscured by a desk. Not that he scared me. Okay, he did, a little, but when he smiled, the loveliest little dimple appeared on his right cheek and made it impossible for me to believe that he would pummel me, even if he could. He lounged casually in his ergonomic chair, his hands crossed behind his head, as if this were just another day at the office. Perhaps for him it was.
"So I had a couple of off-days... That doesn't mean my entire game is falling apart." He stopped pulling his hair to scowl at the man across from him. I'm sure he meant it to be menacing, but it was rather like a watching a tiger stalk an elephant. Emmett had size and intelligence on his side, not to mention statistics. Edward Cullen's game was in the toilet.
"The Masters is four weeks away. If you want to up your sponsorship, you've got to play to win."
"This is about the money?" Edward's sarcastic attempt at deflection made Emmet smile, and I grinned at his dimple in spite of myself.
"No, Edward, this is about your career. You've lost your focus. Your game is all over the place, and your personal life is a shambles. Do you really think you're going to court Nike's attention with public intoxication and solicitation charges?" The arrest was the latest in a list of indiscretions and had garnered Edward some bad publicity. His downward spiral began three months prior, after a breakup with his long-time girlfriend.
"The charges were dropped. And I don't see what the hell that has to do with-"
"Cut out the indignant golden-boy act. We both know those charges were just. The only reason you're not behind bars right now is because I have an excellent criminal defense lawyer on retainer."
"Fuck!" Edward bellowed, slamming his open palm against the desk. The loud thwacking sound made me gasp, and Emmett's eyes flashed to mine. I subtly nodded to acknowledge his conciliatory expression and went back to pretending not to eavesdrop.
"You've had some tough breaks recently, but you haven't been conducting yourself like a professional. To be among the top golfers in the world, you have to play the part. That means behaving yourself when you're in the public eye, and yes, maybe even a little asskissing when it comes to sponsors. There's been some interest from Adidas, Srixon and Ping. I know that you'd rather have the biggest names vying for your attention, but to command that level of sponsorship, you've got to win."
"Fine, but I don't need to pull out of Miami. I'll get in touch with James. He can help me with my swing."
"We both know James isn't coming back." Emmett's quiet voice held a subtle touch of irritation, but his face remained expressionless.
"I can make him understand. He'll come around." Edward's nervous pacing debased the certainty in his words.
"You fucked his wife. All the tea in China won't bring him back." It was all so matter-of-fact to Emmett that he almost seemed bored recounting the sordid details of his client's personal life.
"Screw you," Edward muttered.
"It's time you face the facts. You lost one of the best caddies in the business because you were selfish and reckless."
"Whatever. So I'll find a new caddy. It shouldn't be too hard." His arrogance floored me. The level of trust between a golfer and caddy could take months to build.
"I've already filled the position," Emmett announced.
Edward's brow furrowed in annoyance. "Without my say-so?"
"You've had three months to get your shit together. Your sponsors are breathing down my neck. I'm only doing what you hired me to do: look out for your best interests. Right now, you're standing in your own way."
"Fine," Edward grumbled. "But if I don't like him, I'm firing him."
"She's been retained until after the Masters. Once the tournament is finished, you can make other arrangements, if you so choose."
"She? My new caddy is a chick?" I giggled quietly as horror registered on Edward's features, mentally bracing myself for the acrimony that would follow. A female caddy was probably his worst nightmare.
"I'd call her a woman, but yes, she generally denotes a female. Edward Cullen, meet Isabella Swan." Emmett ceremoniously waved his hand in the direction of the waiting room, and I stood up from my chair. Edward's eyes frenziedly swept over me before he turned back to Emmett.
"This is a joke, right?"
Emmett shrugged and gestured for me to come into his office. "Pardon the cheesy Star Wars reference, but she's your only hope."
Once I joined the two men, I acknowledged Edward with a nod. He was even more handsome up close. From his uniquely colored eyes to the slight stubble on his jaw, there was beauty in every single one of his features. They combined in near-perfect symmetry and proportion to make one of the most magnificent faces I'd ever seen.
"You're not my caddy." He stared at me in disbelief for a few moments and turned to Emmett. "She's not my caddy."
"For the next four weeks, she's both your caddy and your coach." Emmett was cheerful but firm. We'd both expected this reaction.
"I'm not having some amateur as my caddie, let alone a skirt. Look at her! She probably couldn't even pick up my bag. I'm sorry, sweetheart, but did you bang Emmett to get this gig? Because this is just ludicrous."
"Watch your mouth," Emmett scolded.
I was used to people questioning my qualifications, so Edward's cheap shot went in one ear and out the other. His doubt would make things harder, but I had a feeling that Edward had a way of making things difficult all on his own.
"You've lost your fucking mind, Emmett." Edward glowered at his manager, his fists balled angrily at his sides.
I passed him the neatly folded paper in my hands. "This is your schedule. I expect to see you bright and early tomorrow."
"Baby, the only way you'll see me first thing in the morning is if you wake up in my bed." His self-satisfied smirk was the encore to his insult. I met his conceited glare with a blank expression and ignored his vulgar remark, sure that my silence would bother him far more than any comeback I could respond with.
"I'll leave it to you, Mr. McCarty." I turned on my heel and left the office, grinning as Edward's outraged retorts ricocheted off my back. This was going to be fun.
Yoga at six in the morning was a reach for most people, but it proved impossible for Edward. After arriving twenty-five minutes late, he chose to stand at the back of the studio, scowling in my general direction, rather than take part in the remainder of class. Once I cooled down, I went to speak to him.
"Good morning, Mr. Cullen. Yoga isn't on your schedule as a spectator sport."
"What the fuck does a golfer need yoga for anyway?" he asked peevishly.
"You need to work on your mind-body connection. Yoga offers an abundance of benefits, but in your case, it will help with stress relief and improve your concentration, flexibility, and dexterity."
"And if I don't think I need help in any of those areas?" His words hung in the air, intentionally challenging my competence and expertise. He wanted me to argue with him to prove we were incompatible. That way he'd have an excuse to ignore my advice. I had no intention of playing into his hands. If he wouldn't listen to logic, maybe appealing to his inner caveman would work.
"Then I suppose you could stare at my ass for the hour."
"As nice as it is, I don't need to get up with the sun to admire it." The sexy, lopsided grin he wore was undoubtedly the most powerful catalyst of his charms. Its appeal wasn't lost on me.
"The best time of day to practice yoga is within the two hours before dawn, the time known as brahma-muhurta. That is when your spiritual energy is highest, and both internal and external disturbances are at their lowest."
"What does that have to do with your ass?" He arched an eyebrow at me, feigning confusion to further his flirting. His playfulness was delightful compared to the insolence he'd exhibited yesterday. In fact, it was rather irresistible.
"It's the only time of the day when I'll be too busy to care if you openly ogle it." I patted my behind to hammer home the offer, turned on by the idea of him watching me.
"That's a reason to show up, but not much incentive to take part. The view of your ass from the back of the room was excellent."
His words sent a thrill through me, and I smiled, hoping my confidence would camouflage my giddiness. "Au contraire, mon cher. You'll get much better acquainted with it from that mat beside mine, and I promise that the closer you get, the more exquisite it is."
He tilted his head, a mischievous expression on his face. "Let me get this straight… Your ass is best up-close and personal, and the only time I'll allowed to freely appreciate it is before sunrise."
"That about sums it up." There was a strange energy buzzing between us. It was compelling and controlling, but I didn't want to withdraw from it. If anything, I wanted to submit to it.
"Then wouldn't sex before dawn be a far more beneficial use of our spiritual energy?" He grinned smugly, content that he'd beaten me at my own game. I admired his seductive smile for a moment, certain that I wouldn't be seeing it for a while after I made my point.
"I'll hand it to you, Mr. Cullen. You've got the whole package: looks, charisma, and talent. If a golf ball were susceptible to your charms, you wouldn't need me here, would you?"
"Just what the hell are you implying?" His angry words were forced out from behind gritted teeth, reverberating from his chest like a growl. I'd hit a nerve.
"You haven't made the cut in the last five tournaments you've entered. Prior to that, you squeaked through on the backs of other player's mistakes. Your swing is fucked up, and your accuracy is shitty. Regardless of the lies you're feeding yourself, it's not exactly a glowing accomplishment to be the unofficial champion of the three-putt. You're arrogant, unmotivated and ruled by self-pity. Where is the three-time US amateur champion who took the game by storm four years ago? The one who earned a top-ten finish in The Open last season?" He glared at me with pure hatred, but at least I'd pierced his façade. If I couldn't get behind his defenses, I'd never be able to help him.
"I don't need you." He was seething. I had to tread lightly.
"You need something, and right now, I'm the only thing you've got. You don't have to like me, but I promise that if you do the work, I'll get your game where it needs to be."
His anger faded as he weighed my words. For a moment, his eyes flickered with determination, but he quickly recovered his familiar roguish mask. "Maybe what my game needs is your ass."
"If you follow my plan, you'll be able to spend plenty of time with it." I smiled coquettishly at him. "Of course, that begins with an hour of yoga every morning."
He groaned. "So far your plan sucks."
"I'll see you on the practice green in an hour. You haven't seen anything yet."
My plan to manage Edward was twofold. First, I needed to embed fixes into his game that would that would become an innate part of his play. Second, and more importantly, I had to ensure the distractions in his personal life ceased to exist. Until he corrected the errors in his game and improved his focus, he needed to eat, sleep, and breathe golf.
Putting practise didn't go as planned. Edward was resistant to my suggestions and his attention was non-existent. He had notoriety at his home course, and I was frustrated that his thoughts were on who was watching, rather than the break of the green.
"Mr. Cullen, your putting would vastly improve if you'd keep your eye on the ball instead of on your groupies." I scowled at the collection of onlookers that had gathered around the edges of the practise area. "The D-cups are not the cups you should be concerned with."
"Ms. Swan, I'm offended… and a little turned on. I thought I was supposed to pay attention to your ass, not your tits." He waggled his eyebrows for effect.
Our communication had degraded into sexual quips again, but at least it forced his attention back to me. "If you keep playing like this, you won't have to be concerned with either. No woman wants to date a has-been."
"Who said anything about dating? I'd rather just fuck, and I'm far better at sex than golf."
Despite my curiosity with his statement, I knew I had to get Edward's head back in the game. Pissing him off seemed like suitable tactic. After taking the putter from his hands, I placed a ball at his feet and sank it effortlessly. "Maybe you should become a gigolo then. You might have better luck holing."
"I didn't realize that part of a caddy's job was to insult me," he spat sarcastically, grabbing the putter back and setting a ball. His shot went wide of the cup, in part because he was so angry with me. It took several tries before he sank one, but a single success wasn't enough for him. I'd challenged his pride, so he repeated the action until he'd holed twenty consecutive putts. From a coaching perspective, his determination and persistence were admirable. As a woman, I found them completely arousing.
Pleased that we'd finally made some progress, I gently placed my hand on his shoulder and told him we were done for the day. When he looked up at me from his stance over the ball, there was incredible vulnerability in his expression. He stared at me unseeingly for a moment, and then his liquid viridian eyes, more green than blue in colour, hardened. Whatever had been going on in his mind had retreated, leaving coldness in its wake.
"No, we're not done. I want to play a round this afternoon. You dragged my ass out of bed early. Now you have to earn your keep by hauling my bag around." He handed me his putter and stalked off toward the locker rooms, leaving me in a state of recoil. His mood swings were staggering.
It wasn't enjoyable to caddy for an angry golfer. It was another experience entirely when that golfer went out of his way to demean, belittle and ignore the advice of the caddy, just to prove a point. By the end of the three hours, I was mentally exhausted from going toe-to-toe with him.
It was clear that this golf course held too many distractions for Edward. To do my job, he had to trust me, and that was never going to happen if he was caught up in his image. If I was truly going to help him, I had to get him out of Chicago.
At dinner that night, I gave Edward my recommendation. It caught him a little off guard. "What do you mean we're leaving Chicago?"
Emmett quickly backed up my opinion. "There are too many distractions here. Bella will be better able to help you with your game if she's not fighting with your surroundings."
"There are plenty of places to disappear in Washington State. That's where I'm from," I explained.
He wrinkled his nose to express his distaste with the idea. "Doesn't it rain constantly there?"
"Leaning to play well in bad weather will improve your overall game." I smiled encouragingly at him, watching his expression waver in indecision.
"It'd be like a vacation," Emmett suggested. "No psycho ex-girlfriends. No annoying press. You can just drop off the radar for a while… get back to what you love."
His words carried weight with Edward that mine didn't. I tried not to let it bother me. The important thing was getting him to agree to leave.
"Since you're not letting me play Doral, you're probably not letting me play Innisbrook either." He was hedging his bets before he agreed to anything.
"We both feel that you should refrain from tournament play until Houston," Emmett explained.
"Can I trade Houston for Innisbrook? The Copperhead course is one of the best on the tour."
"Innisbrook is too high profile; you won't be ready." I was aiming for honest and realistic with my statement, but Edward didn't appreciate my candour.
"It's not really up to you." He sneered at me, making sure I knew that he didn't care about my opinion.
"I've withdrawn your name from both," Emmett informed him. "It's too soon after your arrest, for one thing. For another, Bella's right. You aren't ready for that level of play. Look, I know you don't put much stock in Bella's abilities, but I hired her because she's one of the best. You need to accept that she's looking out for you."
"She's given me no reason to trust her."
"I haven't given you any reason not to trust me either," I pointed out, nervously chewing on my bottom lip. His disdain was beginning to unnerve me.
"As your manager and friend, you need to put your mistakes behind you, and Washington is your best shot at doing that."
"Even if I can't stand my caddy?" Edward spoke in such a deadpan manner that I shuddered in response, shocked that I'd somehow managed to alienate him that much. It didn't even occur to me that he was kidding until I saw the corners of his mouth turn up. More than anything, I really wanted to smack him in the back of the head.
"That was cold!" Emmett's condemnation would have been more effective if he wasn't laughing so hard. I might have laughed too, if I wasn't so frazzled.
"To Washington." Edward raised his pint, and Emmett followed suit. I lifted my wine glass half-heartedly, forcing a fake smile to my lips.
"To Washington," I echoed, hoping that Edward would listen to me once we were out of Chicago.
On Emmett's suggestion that it might help us bond, Edward and I agreed to travel together. So far, all it had done was make me uncomfortable. Edward had followed me into my hotel room, despite my recommendation that he remain in the lobby. He scrutinized my things as I folded and fit them into my suitcase. The fact that he'd now seen my underwear made me feel like I'd crossed some invisible line of inappropriateness between professional and personal.
Being in Edward's loft worsened my discomfort. It felt invasive to be looking at his pictures and mementos when I barely knew him. I wanted him to open up to me and share the details of his life, not learn about it by snooping around his living room or reading about them in his dossier. The longer I stared at the nameless people in the photographs, the more I envied their closeness to him. The moment I realized that I wanted to have that same kind of bond with him, I panicked. I needed to get out of his apartment and away from him, so I could think straight.
"What's the rush?" Edward put a hand on my shoulder to stop me. I stiffened and froze.
"No rush," I lied. "I just like to get to the airport early."
"We've got like…" He glanced down at his wrist. "Three hours. I think we could walk to O'Hare and still have ninety minutes to spare."
"It's a big airport. Better safe than sorry," I said lamely.
Our flight was quiet. My attempts to get to know him by asking some questions were futile. He avoided answering or made jokes. I caught him looking at me a couple of times, but that was as interactive as we got.
Once we checked into our hotel in Seattle, I explained my plan for the next day and excused myself to my room. I thought I'd escaped him when he stopped to speak to a young woman in the lobby. Instead, he made a show of having the elevator saved for him. He seemed to enjoy the attention his over-the-top behaviour garnered him, smiling at the other occupants before squeezing in behind me.
"You look pretty in that colour of blue," he whispered, his mouth almost touching my ear. As much I knew I shouldn't be turned on by what he'd done, I was. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the attraction I felt.
His hand rested casually on my hip, contact that I thought was the result of being jammed into an overly full elevator. When he began to lightly rub my side, I realized his intention. He leaned in to whisper to me again. "Stay with me tonight."
My head was spinning. How I'd changed from an object of disdain to one of affection in a few hours was beyond comprehension. The mature thing to do would have been to ask, but I was the farthest thing from mature in that moment. I was only hormones and emotions. I wasn't even sure what I wanted to happen, only that I was afraid to ask myself that question.
I exited the elevator in silence and made a beeline for my room. Halfway down the hallway, he grabbed my wrist and spun me around.
"Tell me you don't feel it," he dared, pinning me to the wall with his hips, dragging the tip of his nose across my ear and along my cheekbone.
I wasn't ready to admit anything to him. "This isn't right. I don't want-"
His lips silenced my complaints, overwhelming and insistent in their message. Nothing he wanted was ever wrong to him. I let his kiss convince me that my reservations were wrong instead.
"Not out here," I pleaded. We'd be tomorrow's gossip headlines if we were caught in the hallway. If this was going to happen, it had to remain private.
He curled his arm around my back and led me to his room. Once the door was closed and we were hidden from the outside world, my lust exploded. My hands threaded into his hair while my tongue begged entrance into his mouth. He backed us slowly into the room. When we hit the dresser, he lifted me onto it.
I reached between us and brushed my hand along his cock. He groaned, tightening his grip on my hips. The connection between us was surreal and unfamiliar, and the force of it frightened me a little. I knew that if I hesitated for even a moment, I'd lose my nerve. I slid my hands to his belt and yanked at it. His fingers wrapped around mine to stop me.
"Always in such a hurry," he teased, biting my earlobe and pressing my back to the wall.
"There's no reason to do this slowly." As I answered, I tried to twist my hands free of his hold but couldn't.
He kissed my neck, moving his lips at a snail's pace, licking and sucking my skin as he went. "There's every reason to do this slowly."
His nose skimmed my jaw, inhaling and teasing, breathing and nudging. It was heavenly but not what I wanted.
"I need you… now." The words sounded wrong coming from my lips. Desperation and abandon weren't things I felt or gave in to.
Growling, Edward released my hands so I could undo his belt buckle. As soon as the leather strip was pulled from his belt loops, he cursed. I ignored him and worked on the button of his jeans. He swore again and stepped back from me.
"I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not prepared for this. Just give me a minute to run down to the gift shop and buy some condoms."
I looked up at him in amusement and nodded.
He ran his fingers through his hair to neaten it and kissed me on the cheek. "I'll be right back."
Without Edward there, I had time to think about my impulsive decision, and it sobered me. I knew better than to sleep with a client. Hell, I didn't really believe in casual sex. If I stayed, I'd putting my livelihood at risk for a moment of temporary bliss, and it wasn't something I could take back after-the-fact. Even if I were able to keep my job, Edward would have no reason to respect me, not when I obviously had no respect for myself.
I scribbled an apology on hotel stationary and left before he returned. Once I was back in my room, I started second-guessing myself. Part of the problem was that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I'd never felt such a strong physical attraction to someone, especially not a colleague. I needed to talk to Edward before we went any further, and I went to sleep with the intention of doing just that tomorrow.
When I tried to apologize to Edward the next morning, he changed the subject. Later, when I suggested that we should talk about the kiss, he claimed he had no idea what I was talking about. It was as if the night before had never happened, and I wasn't sure what to think. If he'd changed his mind about us, he could have said so, but to lie outrightly about what had actually gone on was just cruel. I was hurt and embarrassed by his denial and decided it was best not to bring up the subject again. I had a job to do, and that should have been my focus all along.
The Edward I'd met in Chicago disappeared in Washington. Rather than lean on me for support, he turned inward. This new, disciplined side of him took instruction better, even attended dawn yoga classes without complaining, but I missed his playfulness. He was distant and serious all the time. I longed for the rare moments when he was joyful, usually in the middle of a fairway when he'd hit a perfect shot. At least then I knew he'd found his passion for the game again, even if he was miserable the rest of the time.
Part of my job was to study Edward and pick up on the intricacies of his form, but it quickly became an obsession. There was something in the way he moved that was so beautiful, especially his swing. From the subtle shift in his weight when he began, to the complex pivot that carried his body through, he was the epitome of grace. I doubted that he had any idea what he did to me every time he swung a club, but there were days I wanted to tell him. I wondered if it would bring back his lighter, more flirtatious side or maybe force him to open up to me. He seemed dead set on keeping me at arm's length, and I didn't know how to reach him.
Eventually, I admitted the truth to myself – I'd fallen for him. Not that it mattered. Edward needed a romantic distraction like he needed another hole in the head. As far as his game was concerned, putting the brakes on our physical relationship was the best thing I could have done. For my heart, not so much.
Like always, we worked in opposition. As my feelings for him grew, he grew more distant. It was probably better that way. My position with him was temporary, and the lack of closeness between us would make the split after the Masters cleaner.
His game had come a long way since we'd arrived. He'd greatly improved the accuracy of his putting. With his new focus, he was reading the greens better and had mastered the nuances of his power, especially with short distance putts. His swing was much more fluid after we corrected the hesitation in his downswing, and a slight tweak to his grip resulted in a more consistent follow-through. Overall, his swing more powerful and better controlled.
Emmett was pleased with Edward's progress. He talked Edward's ear off about a quarter million dollar deal with Cobra to have their logo on the front of his hat. Edward held firm, refusing to change his sponsors until after The Masters tournament. It was a smart move. The dollar amounts could easily become seven figures if he played well in Augusta.
Emmett was anxious for Houston. Strangely, Edward wasn't and asked to drop out of the competition. Despite my encouragement that he should compete, he claimed he wasn't where he needed to be mentally. It was a bullshit excuse. There was something else going on, but neither Edward nor Emmett would fill me in on what it was. When Edward officially withdrew the next morning, it had never been clearer to me that I was on the fringe of his life, and that's where he wanted me to stay. We would never be friends or the something more I dreamed about. We were only caddy and golfer, and that relationship was tentative at best.
In the days before we travelled to Georgia, Edward pulled away from me entirely as he mentally prepared himself for the upcoming tournament. Not only was it the first major of the season, it would be the first time he'd competed in two months. He would have to face the press and answer questions about his game and arrest. Emmett prepared him thoroughly, drilling him until tactful stock answers were second nature. I spent my time memorizing the ins and outs of Augusta National. By the time we boarded the plane, I knew the course like the back of my hand.
Edward sailed through his interviews, fielding questions skillfully and professionally. He expertly deflected the inquiries about his personal life, aiming his responses toward his game. I was struck by his magnetism and geniality as I watched him. If only he were that warm with me.
On the first day of the tournament, Edward was extremely reserved. Paired with a relatively unknown golfer, he came through the round even. The weather had been on his side; later golfers had to contend with rain. Though he was in good spirits when we finished, he refused my dinner invitation with the excuse that he wasn't prepared to celebrate until the tournament was over.
Day two was more successful. Paul Casey, a well-known golfer from England, completed Edward's twosome. He held the coveted Nike contract that Edward was after, so I knew Edward looked up to him. Casey challenged Edward in a way that his first round competitor hadn't. He finished the day four-under-par and well situated to make the cut for Saturday.
That night, Emmett escorted me to a fundraiser that was part of the tournament festivities. Much to my surprise, Edward arrived with a date. He was blatantly lewd all through dinner, almost like he was putting on a show. My feelings for him aside, he was at a crucial point in his comeback, and this was a horrible time for a distraction. It felt like he was thumbing his nose at everything we'd been working toward. I stayed long enough to appease Emmett but ducked out as early as was polite.
I was hurt by Edward's behaviour and worried that he'd lost his focus. Nothing I did helped to alleviate my concern. At midnight, I decided to go talk to him. I needed reassurance that his head was in the game.
"What the fuck do you want?" he demanded in a growly voice, rubbing his sleepy eyes with the heels of hands. He was wearing only pajama pants, and it was obvious that I'd woken him.
Distracted by his bare chest, it took me a moment to speak. "I'm… I'm sorry. I thought you'd still be up, since you'd had a date."
"My personal life is none of your business." He scowled at me, already irritated.
"I wasn't implying it was my business, only that I thought you'd be out late entertaining. But since we're on the subject, you picked a hell of a time for a fling. I expected more from you."
"Oh, that's rich. You had your chance, sweetie. You don't get to say that I can't be with someone else..."
"This isn't about being with someone; it's about focus. Your mind should be on golf, not on fucking someone."
He glared at me; the yellow flecks in his eyes like tiny, angry flames. "You have no idea what's on my mind, Isabella. Now leave me the fuck alone and let me sleep. Like you pointed out, I have a big day tomorrow."
He closed the door quietly and left me standing in the hallway. I wanted to bang on his door and demand that he talk to me, but I knew it wouldn't do any good. He would never open up to me. The only place he wanted my help was on the golf course.
When we met in the lobby the next morning, it was clear from the purplish circles under his eyes that he hadn't slept well. We were a matched set - it was well after three before my eyes finally shut for the night. I suspected that our conversation was at least partially to blame for Edward's pissyness, so I sucked up his mistreatment the best I could.
It was luck that Edward was matched with Steve Stricker for the third round. At forty-four, Stricker had an ease about him that seemed to calm everyone around him. In an ironic twist of fate, his caddy was female - his wife, no less. Having another woman around forced Edward's manners whenever she was in earshot. I watched Nicki interact with her husband, envious of the connection between them. It was something Edward and I would never have.
Instead of taking my advice, Edward followed Stricker's example, and it paid off for him. He finished the round three-under, leaving him at seven-under-par for the tournament.
I didn't bother asking him to dinner. It was clear that he didn't want to be around me. I ordered room service and took a long bath, before going to bed early.
On the final day of the tournament, Emmett informed me that the twosomes had been reassigned due to an unexpected dropout. Edward was now matched with Aro Volturi, an Italian golfer whom he did not get along with. If that wasn't bad enough, Aro had recently hired James, Edward's old caddy. The development was potentially disastrous for Edward. This new pairing would make it extremely difficult for him to stay focused. Today's round was critical to his career. He was poised to enter the leaderboard, and a top-ten finish in the tournament would demarcate him from his past, not to mention define his career. I had to do something to keep him from blowing it.
I headed Edward off outside the locker rooms. He took the news of Aro and James tacitly, quietly dismissing me so he could warm up. I wasn't fooled by his unnatural calm; he was scared shitless. It was my job to get him through the round. I just had to figure out how.
While Aro and Edward were being announced, James and I stood off to right of the tee. James seemed cold and detached, not that I blamed him. I'm sure being around Edward was difficult for him. Edward was careful not to make contact with anyone, not even me.
Aro began with a drive that carried well past the bunker at three hundred yards. Edward's fell short, forcing an uphill shot for his next turn. I quietly gave him my club recommendation as we reached his ball. Edward ignored me, more concerned with showing up Aro than anything else. His second shot pulled left and landed in a sand trap. After putting too much spin on his chip, he two-putted and took a bogey on the opening hole.
As we walked to the second tee, I tried to distract him by making light of the fact that the holes had been named after trees and shrubs. Edward grunted his disinterest at me.
The second hole was the longest of the course, and Edward was in good shape on the apron of the green after two power hits. Outwardly, he appeared confident, but I noticed a tiny tremor in his hand once Aro's chip landed a mere five feet from the cup. James noticed it, too, and smiled smugly at his foe. Edward needed to stop concentrating on Aro and play the game for himself, especially before he realized that James had picked up on his nervousness. To shift his focus, I needed to get his attention, and the only way I'd ever been able to do that was through sexual innuendo.
I whispered my thought close to his ear. "It would be a shame for you to blow this putt because you're daydreaming about kicking Aro's butt. Need I remind you that you're supposed to focus on my ass?" Edward pulled back from me with a shocked expression. I smiled and continued. "Correct your stance for a downhill lie, and you might just one-putt the hole."
Edward adjusted his hat and stared into my eyes for a moment, searching for something. His head swivelled around to survey his putt before he turned back to me and murmured, "I thought I was only allowed to appreciate your ass before dawn."
It took him two putts to sink his ball, but he still managed to birdie the hole.
The third hole was a short par-four. Edward played it safely, opting for a good position on the fairway for his second shot, rather than trying to drive past the bunkers. After a well-placed approach, Edward's ball was nestled safely on the green.
My advice was simple. "The green runs right to left, and the pin placement is wicked today. Use a soft touch."
Edward's reply made my knees weak. "Hearing you use the word wicked does bad things to my body, especially when you've already encouraged me to fantasize about your ass. Soft touch, you say?"
With his second birdie, Edward was one-under-par for the day and had broached the first page of the leaderboard.
After parring holes four through six, Edward began the seventh with a power drive that landed dead center in the fairway. Using his wedge, he steeply pitched his second shot, missing an eagle opportunity by only two feet. When I removed the flagstick from the cup, Edward couldn't resist making a crack.
"I'd like to see you wearing that flag and nothing else." His sexy, lopsided grin was back. I wasn't sure why our exchanges were keeping him focused, but he was playing one of the best games of his life.
"I need a clarification on flag placement," I whispered, playing along. "It's kind of small. You'll have to be specific about which part of me it's supposed to cover in that scenario."
"Certainly not your ass. Maybe your ankle… or you could tie it in your hair. That way it wouldn't cover any of you."
I blushed while Edward sank his third birdie-putt.
Accuracy was the key to the eighth hole - an uphill par-five. I cautioned Edward about his approach, as we neared the ball for his second shot.
"Avoid the left side if you can. There is mounding there that will make your putt a real bitch."
"I rather like mounding… well, your mounding."
I looked down at the traditional baggy, white coveralls that all caddies at the Masters wore and giggled. "You can't even prove I have mounding in this getup."
"Isabella, is that a challenge?" It was clear he took it as such, even though I hadn't intended it to be one. The seriousness in his tone and the way he held on to the "a" at the end of my name made me shiver.
With a grin on his face, Edward avoided the mounding and two-putted for his fourth birdie of the day.
After a par on the ninth, we headed into the toughest trio of holes on the course. Despite the harassment from Aro and James, Edward managed to par the tenth after hooking his tee-shot into the trees. It was probably just to spite them, but I was glad they weren't getting to him.
Edward hit a perfect fade off the eleventh tee. When Aro lost his ball in the left water hazard, Edward took my advice to lay up his second shot short and to the right of the green. Parring the hole was so much sweeter when Aro earned a double bogey.
I could sense Edward's restlessness as we reached the twelfth hole - the most famous par-three in golf.
"I hate Rae's Creek," he muttered, more to himself than me.
Edward's trepidation was understandable. The despised tributary separated the narrow, thirty-foot green from the fairway entirely. A bunker in front and two at the back further protected the target. It was a hole that could steal the championship from a player.
"Any advice?" Edward asked quietly.
"Well, anything short is going to end up wet. The green is firm, so it's going to be difficult to hold. If I were you, I'd use your seven-iron. Ignore the pin and aim for the middle of the green. At worst, you'll overshoot and land in one of the back bunkers."
"What about the wind?" he asked, his voice so hollow that he sounded fearful.
The winds at the twelfth were fickle. They could swoop in unexpectedly and force a seemingly well-shot ball into the creek. They'd treated Edward to a double bogey yesterday.
"Wait for the flag to blow and pull the trigger." He stared at me with wide eyes. "You can do this," I assured him. "Pretend we're in yoga class and focus your mind on the task. Don't let it wander ahead or fret. Block everything else out. There is just this moment and this hole."
"What do I get if I make it?"
"A green jacket." I grinned, knowing how much it would mean to him to win today.
He smiled and stepped toward the tee, but returned to me after only a step. "I don't suppose you're wearing those sheer blue panties under those coveralls, are you?" I blinked dazedly at him. "I was hard as a rock just watching you fold those."
Edward parred the twelfth by two-putting his stellar tee-shot. He finished six-under for the day, with birdies on thirteen, fifteen and sixteen. His last shot on eighteen was one I'd never forget. When his five-foot putt dropped into the cup, Edward secured the championship with a final score of thirteen-under. With his putter thrust out horizontally in front of him, his other fist pumped into the air. It was a moment of pure and unadulterated jubilation, and I was so proud of him.
Seconds later, he gathered me into his arms and spun me around in a joyous hug. Once he put me back on my feet, he spoke softly into my ear as officials and photographers started to swarm. "This is all because of you. I couldn't have done this on my own. That green jacket would mean nothing to me without you. It's as much yours as it is mine."
"Congratulations, Edward. I'm so happy for you."
"Be happy for us. Now that I've found you, I'm never letting you go."
Before I could ask what he meant, Edward was pulled away to do interviews and hand in his winning scorecard. Later, I watched the TV monitors as Phil Mickelson slipped the famous green jacket onto his shoulders in the Butler Cabin, and then again with my own eyes during the public presentation on the eighteenth green.
With Edward's time in high demand, I went back to the hotel alone with his words echoing in my head. I knew he was probably referring to me staying on as his caddy, but I wanted his sentiment to mean something else entirely. As foolish as the thought was, I wanted him to want me - the woman - not just the caddy.
I thought back to our first night in Seattle and wished I could take it back. The strength of our connection had frightened me then, but now, I longed for it. I wanted another chance to explore it, to show him how I felt and let him love me. Now that the tournament was finished and our professional relationship was over, there was nothing standing in our way.
I owed it to myself to be honest with him. If I explained that I pulled away out of fear, he might be willing to forgive what I'd done. Of course, it was dependent on whether or not he still wanted me. To find that out, I had to reach out to him.
After a couple of hours of anxious waiting, I wandered down to his room to see if he'd gotten back. He didn't answer when I knocked, but the door was unlocked, so I went inside. I heard the shower running and saw that his clothing was laid neatly on the chair. Inspiration hit me, and I knew exactly what I needed to do.
When he emerged from the bathroom, I was waiting for him, wearing his green Masters jacket, the blue panties he'd asked me about, and nothing else. I coughed subtly to alert him to my presence and waited for him to spot me. He was rubbing his hair with a towel when the turned toward me, open-mouthed in shock.
"What are you doing here?"
"I needed to talk to you," I explained softly.
"Sure thing. Just let me go change." He looked down at the towel wrapped around his waist and back up at me.
"You don't have to get dressed on my account." The fact that he was naked under that towel suited me just fine.
"I see you've made yourself comfortable." He smiled, scrutinizing the way I'd wrapped his jacket around my body. I let go of the lapels, watching the sexy smirk slip from his face when my skin appeared.
"You did say it was my jacket, too."
"It is. I dare say it looks better on you than me." He walked over to me and pulled me to my feet, spinning me around to admire it. The jacket opened further, revealing the panties he liked so much. He went wide-eyed for a moment, and then reached out for me, smoothing his hand over my belly and along the waistband, almost in disbelief. "These are just... wow."
I giggled. I couldn't help myself. It was satisfaction, nervousness, anticipation and probably a hundred other emotions. "Is it better seeing them on me than watching me fold them?"
"So much better." He smiled in approval. For a few seconds, he stared into my eyes, and then his face became serious. "What did you need to talk to me about?"
I tried to read his emotions, but I couldn't tell what he was feeling. "Isn't it kind of obvious?"
"I don't want to jump to the wrong conclusion." His voice was wary. "I'd rather hear you say it… out loud."
It was now or never. I swallowed hard and jumped in with both feet, before I lost my nerve. "I came to finish what we started four weeks ago."
After a moment of hesitation, he whispered, "I don't want what we started for weeks ago."
"That's… fair." Feeling rather ridiculous, I stepped back from him and wrapped his jacket around me to cover up. I scanned the floor for my shoes, planning to make an escape.
"Wait." He reached for me and pulled me into his arms. "I want so much more than one night."
"You do?" I blinked at him, shocked.
"Why is that so surprising to you? I told you as much, after we won."
"I thought you meant you wanted to keep me as your caddy," I admitted sheepishly.
"I want to keep you… in whatever capacity I can have you."
"Oh, Edward." I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him, overjoyed by the confirmation that he wanted me in his life.
"That's Mr. Cullen to you," he teased, charming me with his best smirk as he made light of how a respectful caddy addressed a golfer.
I playfully pushed him back onto the bed and straddled his lap once he sat down. My hands slid into his hair of their own accord. I pressed my body against his, needing to feel his skin next to mine.
"Kiss me, Mr. Cullen."
His lips were soft at first. Gentle hands framed my face, as his mouth delicately tested and pecked. It was like the first breath of air after being under water for too long – lingering desperation mixed with momentous relief. I wanted more… needed more. I snaked my tongue out and traced his bottom lip. He moaned softly and pulled back a little, whispering about how he'd dreamed of kissing me like that. Our tongues slid and pressed together, mingling breaths and tastes. It still wasn't close enough for me.
I leaned away from him and began to slip his jacket off, aching for more contact with his body.
"No. Leave it on," he demanded in a low voice, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me firmly against him.
"Fine, but let's hurry this along." My hint was purposeful, knowing that Edward would take issue with what I wanted. He wasn't the only one with demands.
"You're always in such a rush," he teased, letting his lips meander my neck, tickling and arousing every place they touched.
"Moving slowly didn't turn out very well for us the first time. Besides, fast and furious can be a lot of fun." I whispered my message close to his ear, intending to distract him. While I spoke, I took one of his hands and slid it into my panties, letting him feel how ready I was for him.
"You're so wet." His observation came out with a repressed groan that made me even more impatient to have him.
I stroked his cock and ground my hips down on him. "And you're so hard. Whatever shall we do?" I asked sarcastically.
"I love that smart mouth of yours." He yanked my panties aside and let his fingers explore. As good as they felt, they weren't what I wanted inside of me.
He was resisting me on purpose, being playful and exerting himself over me to see if I would push back. Our power struggles seemed to be his comfort zone. I didn't want sex to be about that for us. I wanted a dose of pure Edward, walls down and heart open.
"I need you." My voice was hoarse, laced with the emotion that I'd suppressed for the past four weeks. I reached for his towel and unwrapped him, hoping my actions would convey what my words weren't.
He grinned at my enthusiasm. "We don't have to hurry. Let me love you slowly… appreciate you the way you deserve."
I smiled at his sweetness and kissed the tip of his nose. "My patience was gone hours ago, Mr. Cullen. I need to feel that connection to you - the one that's so powerful it could swallow me whole. Can you give me that, please? There'll be time for slow and adoring later."
Without another word, he reached toward the nightstand and took a condom out of the drawer. Watching him roll it on almost did me in; so incredibly sexy. When I lifted myself off his lap and he positioned his cock between us, my thighs shook in anticipation. I sank down on him slowly, savouring the friction and fullness. His fingertips dug into my hip when I stilled, a quiet hum of approval vibrating from deep in his throat. I waited for his grip to relax and began to move my hips, losing myself in the feeling of him inside of me. Maybe it was how long I'd waited to feel it or simply because I thought I'd never get to have him, but the sensation was otherworldly. He wrapped his arms around me and held me tight as I rolled my hips, teasing and pressing, loving and giving. I wanted to be closer to him, still. I wanted to crawl inside of him and never leave.
I sank my fingers into this thick hair and tugged gently. He moaned and thrust up to meet my hips. I whispered my secret to his greedy ears, sharing my long-standing desire to pull his hair like I'd seen him do the first day we'd met. Edward admitted there was something he'd wanted to do since the first day, too. He lay us down on the bed, keeping my body on top of his. His strong hands held my arms behind my back, using them to brace my body against his chest while he thrust up into me again and again. I gasped in pleasure, overcome by the sensation and intensity of his actions.
Our connection was whirring inside me - controlling and overwhelming - threatening but not quite ready to explode. We were almost close enough. Just a little further to go.
Edward rolled us over, pressing my body into the bed with his, lending me his weight to make our connection even more tangible. His fingers kneaded my breasts, exciting and teasing, pleasuring and taking.
"So beautiful," he murmured.
"Kiss me." I was begging, but I wanted every connection between our bodies that he would give me.
His lips covered mine, not gentle but considerately offering what I needed: his raw passion. His hands pressed my legs open, hips pushing, burying his cock even deeper.
My eyelids fluttered, and I fought to keep my eyes open, watching his beauty above me. I was near the edge. I had what I needed - all of Edward, in every conceivable way he could give of himself. His thrusting was desperate, pleading for my release.
"I love you," I whispered, relinquishing, letting the waves of pleasure crash over me. The honesty made my climax even sweeter.
Edward followed me, his whole body tensing as his orgasm took hold, my name like a whispered prayer on his lips.
We collapsed, tangled up in one another, trying to catch our breath. Edward rolled off of me and pulled me against his body, connecting us as closely as he could, and we snoozed. When I woke up, Edward was staring at me. He reached out and gently stroked my face.
"Did you mean it?" he asked softly.
"Yes… " My confession was timid but sincere. I wouldn't have said the words if I didn't mean them.
"I knew I was in trouble the first moment I saw you in Emmett's office," he whispered. "It's why I didn't want you as my caddy; I knew I'd never get to have you in my bed."
"That night in Seattle… I didn't realize… The connection between us scared the shit out of me, but you never wanted to talk about what happened. Why?"
"Sometimes imagining that you can have something is better than knowing you can't." His words made my heart ache. I never meant to hurt him.
"Is that why you were so distant in Washington… because you thought I didn't want you?"
"I was a fuckup when you came into my life. I hoped if I could prove to you that I was a better man, that maybe you'd give me a second chance."
"I handled myself wrong that night. I'm sorry if I made things more complicated."
"Hey, don't say that. If we'd spent the night together before you were ready, it might have ruined our chance to be together. If I have a future with you, then everything we went through was worth it."
"Do you want a future with me?" I asked shyly.
He hooked his fingers under my chin and forced me to meet his gaze. "Are you seriously asking me that?"
"Well… you haven't said how you feel… exactly." I felt vulnerable asking, but I needed to hear the words.
He stared into my eyes, all traces of humour gone. "You're under my skin and in my heart… probably in every cell of my body. I can't imagine my life without you. You're the reason I want to get out of bed in the morning and the one I want to come home to every night. I want forever with you."
"You could have just said you loved me," I teased.
He rolled on top of me, grabbing my wrists and holding my arms above my head. "You are the most stubborn, fascinating creature I've ever met, and you're stuck with me. A woman who can put me in my place and loves golf must have been made for me." He pressed his lips to mine to seal the deal. "Now, if you don't mind, you promised me time to adore you, and I have an ass to appreciate."
"Already with the demands," I quipped.
"Shut the fuck up," he said with a laugh, kissing me again - sweet, open-mouthed kisses that held the promise of happiness. I sighed contentedly and gave into him, wrapping my legs around his hips to hold him to me. He kissed along my jaw line, down the column of my neck and across my collarbone, slowly making his way back up. Once his mouth was at my ear he whispered, "I love you, Isabella."
A/N: Thanks for reading. If you'd like to check out the other contest entries, you can find the link to the C2 at the contest page: http:/ /www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/u/2719275/Let_the_Games_Begin_Contest
Au contraire, mon cher. – On the contrary, my dear.
The Masters – one of four major championships in professional golf.
Srixon, Ping, Cobra – Golf equipment manufacturers
Caddy – A person who carries a player's bag and clubs, and offers advice and moral support.
Cup – the hole on the putting green
Putt – the act of hitting the ball on a green
Putter – the golf club mainly used on green for striking the ball.
Doral – aka The Doral Golf Resort and Spa and is located in Miami, Florida. Home of the Cadiallac Championship.
Innisbrook, Copperhead – aka Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, located in Palm Harbor, Florida (near Tampa Bay). It has 4 separate golf courses, one of which is Copperhead. Home of the Transitions Championship.
Green - the area of short grass surrounding the hole.
Downswing - the motion of swinging a club from the top of the swing to the point of impact.
Follow-through - The part of a golfer's swing after the ball has been struck.
Augusta National – aka Augusta National Golf Club. Located in Augusta, Georgia. Home of The Masters Tournament.
Par – the standard score for a hole or course. The hole par is calculated using the number of shots needed to reach the green plus two for the putting. The round par is equal to the sume of all the hole pars.
Even – Having a score equal to par.
Under par – reaching the hole in fewer strokes than par. In a tournament, scores from four rounds are added together for a total.
Round – eighteen holes of golf.
Leaderboard – a board that displays the names and current scores of the tournament leaders, usually the top ten competitors.
Drive – A shot from the tee area.
Bunker – aka sandtrap or hazzard – it's a depression filled with sand; intended to make the game harder.]
Chip – a short, high shot, typically played from very close to and around the green, that is intended to travel through the air over a very short distance and roll the remainder of the way to the hole.
Bogey – One over par for the hole.
Double Bogey – Two over par for a hole.
Birdie – One under par for the hole.
Eagle – Two under par for the hole.
Pin – aka as flagstick. A flag that marks the hole on the green.
Fairway - The playing area between the tee and the green, does not include hazards.
Tee – The area where you play the first stroke of a hole.
Approach – A shot intended to land the ball on the green.
Fade - A shot that, for a right-handed golfer, curves slightly to the right, and is often played intentionally by skilled golfers.
The Green Jacket – a tradition given to the winner of The Masters. A green sport coat.