Stephenie Meyer owns everything Twilight, I'm just trying my hand on writing.
A/N: *groans* I don't know why I'm posting another story. But I just gotta. :)
CHAPTER 1 Bella Swan, Reporter
Am I ready for this?
The biggest exposé of my career is about to go down.
It's seems like I've been after Edward Cullen since the beginning of time. The motherfucker is as slippery as an eel and if my suspicions are correct, just as slimy.
His club in downtown Seattle, simply called X has been on my radar for some months. My sleuth sense suspect illegal activities and yet no one seems to be able to catch him or his cohorts.
Tonight, as I give myself another once-over, will be the night where he goes down along with his cronies. This is my vow.
What do I have against the man? Well, nothing really. I'm just a lackey in Seattle News, looking for the next big exposé —or as what I would call it, my meal ticket. Not that I needed the money. Let's just say I'm a silver spoon fed brat with a fat inheritance making baby interests in the bank. I don't need the job but hey, people have got to have some hobbies, right? Well this is mine. My father, retired owner of about thirty Déjeuner Inns from east to west coasts, had always been after me to get some purpose and direction. Let's just say, he wasn't happy when I told him this was mine. Investigative Reporting.
But I'm not there yet. I'm still a gofer slash go-see girl. And that's why I cannot screw this assignment up. I need Edward Cullen's ass on a silver platter.
As slippery as this man is, it's nothing compared to my tenacity and perseverance. I hounded his assistant almost every day, stalked Mr. Cullen outside his club, and finally finagled myself an invitation under the pretense that I'm just another prospective waitress looking for a job. And though it wasn't easy, a rather large withdrawal from my trust fund account was what it took to buy off his assistant.
And so now I'm in like Flynn.
Ignoring the flutter of excitement slash nervousness settling in my tummy, I pluck my purse from the coffee table and head out of my condo without looking back.
I need to ace this interview.
Trouble with a capital 'T' is walking towards me.
I've never seen one single picture of the man. And my stalking wasn't a success at any rate. So of course, this vision of hotness strutting my way is as unfamiliar as say, the first woman he'd ever fucked. A three piece suit which probably costs as much as Alice's Birkin tote, covered this fuckable trouble.
I gulp noisily and wipe my mouth in case I was drooling.
He's about six three, 195 pounds of pure muscle. With my three-inch heels, I'm lucky to reach his chin.
And what a lovely, sexy chin this man has. I'd like to sit on his face to test drive it. Gah.
"Mr. Cullen," I extend my hand, "I'm Izzie, possibly the best waitress you'll ever hire." I say with much gusto. I flash what I hoped was my seductive smile.
He touches my hand and praise be, Jesus! I'm throbbing. Every-fucking-where.
Note to self: Do not forget why you're here.
He smiles lopsidedly with an impish quality. Like a naughty boy with a secret but he's not willing to share—or a cat who ate a canary.
"Izzie?" he asks. Kind of weird, like he knows my real name and he's trying to catch me in my own trap. "And what is your last name, Izzie?"
He still has my hand clutched tightly in his own, but now he's stroking it with his thumb. I'm feeling it everywhere…especially down there; pleasurable tingle that is starting to feel uncomfortable.
Note to self: Change panties. Stat.
I want to clench my groin, rub my thighs together, and ease the fire burning in my loins. I need to get laid.
"Black—Izzie Black, Mr. Cullen." Oh please let go of my hand, I beg telepathically.
He pulls me closer, our chests almost touching. Oh God…he smells divine. Aphrodisiac. His eau de cologne should be bottled; Axe body spray, eat your heart out.
I can usually control my level of horniness. But tonight and with this man, it's virtually impossible. Hello, my name is Bella Swan. It's been two years 30 days and 18 hours since I had sex. But hey, who's counting right?
"Tell me, Izzie. What would a beautiful woman like you be doing in a place like this?" he breathes his question in my ears. Fuck.
I step back; he follows.
I clear my throat and answer him as professionally as possible. "Well, Mr. Cullen, I can bullshit you and tell you that I think working for your company will be a life changing experience but I can already tell that you're a man who can smell that funk from a mile away. So how about I don't waste your time and tell you honestly that I need the money?"
He smiles again. Panty dropping, makes-you-come-where-you're- standing kind of smile. Whoa, cowgirl.
"Welcome to X, Miss Black." Yikes. I cringe as I hear my ex's last name. Fucking Jake. Story for another day. He lets go of my hand and swaggers his way towards the office.
I stand where he left me and watch his ass sway in a manly way until I realize I don't know when I'm supposed to work. Palm to the forehead.
"Uh, Mr. Cullen?" I stop him.
He turns around and pockets his right hand.
"When do you want me to start?" I try not to stammer and ignore the rush of Bella-goo in my knickers.
He looks at his Bregeut, a wristwatch that costs more than my car, and answers, "In an hour, Miss Black. Don't be late." He walks away, taking my porn materials with him.
Slap a hat on me and call me, Sue.
I'm in deep doo-doo.
Okay. The thing is, I have no patience with men. As a matter of fact, and this should come as a surprise, I hate men. They're only as good as the dick they carry in their pants. Does that make me a cynic? Well. Yes. Jake, actually was the one who turned me into a men-hating, ball-busting, hater of the opposite sex. I think that's the primary reason why I haven't had sex in a long time. I get more satisfaction with Bert than I've ever had with any real men. Bert is eight inches, fat as a cucumber in girth and pink. Bert is my dildo. I'm woman enough to admit that though Bert does whatever I tell it to do; I'd still rather have a smoke than wash Bert with soap and water after vigorous, satisfying sex.
Anyway, the men in this establishment are your stereotypical males. You turn them loose in a joint where nothing is taboo and hedonism is a religion, you have yourself a platform for a feminism revolution.
That actually didn't make sense.
"Hey cupcake," ancient grabby-hands is unpleasantly rubbing my ass cheek. "Can you give me another Glenfiddich on the rocks, please, sugar?" I grab his webbed, wrinkly hand rather tightly and slap it down the table.
"Why, sure snoochums," I leave him with a botoxed smile and grimace as I head towards the bar.
I don't know how many nights I can stand to work here, to be honest. I need to find out what's in the basement of this upstanding establishment and get the hell outta dodge. I cannot be groped every fucking night just for a story. I have a feeling I'm going to spend a lot of time in bleach water bath after every shift.
And my fucking feet are killing me! Don't even get me started about the uniforms. Black skirt, four inches above the knees, black fishnet stockings and a top two sizes too small. My lady lumps are exposed for everyone's ogling pleasure. Oh dear. If daddy could see me now, he'd be even prouder of his oldest daughter. The shoes! Three-inch stiletto heels and Bella Swan do not mix. Bella Swan on three-inch heels and a tray of alcoholic drinks is a disaster. But so far so good, I haven't had any mishaps yet. Knock on the wood. But I swear the next dick who grabs my ass will be wearing their drinks faster than I can say 'pervert'.
"Hey, Eric!" I yell at the bar tender over the din of some pulsing music. He's kind of cute. With short blonde hair and studious glasses, I could put a cape on him and call him Clark Kent. He smiles shyly and steps closer to the counter. "Can I have another Glenfiddich on the rocks?" I smile back flirtatiously.
"Sure thing, Izz." I'm starting to dig my alias. Once upon a time, my younger sister couldn't quite say Isabella. With her missing front teeth, she took to calling me Izz, only it sounds like 'ifff'. Years later, I'm still Izzie.
I love Alice. She's my firecracker of a sister. You know the kind that if you try and hold tight in the palm of your hands, the result is nothing but a violent, bloody explosion. She's like that. You can't tie her down or try to suppress her personality. She's flighty, kind and just the best sister anyone could ask for. Anyway, I miss the whore. I haven't seen or talked to her in almost two months. I'm starting to worry. She's away saving the world from one fashion disaster to another. She works as a consultant for LeBeau Designs Inc. Last I heard, she was in Italy shacking up with Georgio. I know right? Fabulousity.
"Here you go, Izz." I snap out of my emo reverie and take the drink from Eric. I say thanks and walk cautiously slow to where grabby-hands sit.
To my dismay, Sex on legs is sitting with gramps. Fucking perfect.
"Here you go," I say, resisting the urge to dump the drink on him. I try to avoid his seeking hands but fuck; he's fast for his age. His hand slaps my ass with a bit more force that I just about topple down on his lap had I not reach out and hold on to the back of the banquet seat he was sitting on.
"This your new girl, Edward?" grabby hands asks. I take his sticky hand and made a conscious effort to twist it.
Gramps whimpers then laughs.
"Oh-ho-ho she's spunky! I love her Edward!" The man cannot be discouraged, apparently.
"Sorry about that, Miss Black." Edward apologizes. His eyes are twinkling with amusement. "This is Carlisle Cullen I, aka my grandfather."
Oh. Okay then. "Senior, how many times do I have to warn you about molesting my staff?" he reprimands gramps. "I cannot afford another expensive sexual harassment lawsuit, okay?" he says, as he looks at me with genuine apology.
"Nice to meet you, gramps," I say. "Listen, can I give you a piece of advice?" I wait for his response.
His bushy eyebrows rise.
"I have a black belt in Tae-kwon-do," I declare in serious tone. "The next time you grab my ass, I'm beating the shit out of you."
I turn my back on them without waiting for a recrimination.
They laugh. As if I didn't just disrespect an elderly.
I shake my head and decide to do my exploration of the club.
There really is nothing shady looking about it. The place is decorated minimally in black, chrome and glass. There are no private rooms or even hidden niches where anything illegal can occur. There's three floors altogether. The first floor is a lounge; dimmed lights, candles on the tables, settees that are connected from one to the next and goes around the room. The second floor houses the club. Electronica and Techno shit blares on the speakers, flashing lights that can induce some serious epileptic episodes, but no chairs or tables. The whole floor is a big ass dance floor. The third floor apparently is where Mr. Cullen lives. So that's definitely off limits. Unless I can procure an invite. I snort. Highly, unlikely.
The basement is where I suspect stuff goes down. I've been told that it's a wine cellar and storage of some sort. But I can smell something fishy.
Fishy, apparently, is Lauren.
"Hey, Lauren," I stop one of the servers. "I'm going to take a fifteen, is that cool?"
The bitch rolls her eyes and sigh. "You better be back by eleven twenty seven on the dot." She struts away mildly annoyed. Whatever.
I took off my shoes and just about had an orgasm from the relief. My feet are blistered and achy. You gather up all the criminals in the world, give them a pair of three-inch heels and let them stand for the whole day without break and I guarantee you instant reform. They'd think twice about robbing the next In and Out burger joint.
I start to walk on barefoot towards the stairwell when someone grabs me from behind.
So of course my natural instinct was to try and remember any self-defense moves. I lied when I said I'm a black belter. I tried to learn the art of Karate. But being queen of spazz and all around klutz, I think I was responsible for having three instructors hospitalized within a week's time. So that's that.
I freeze my body up and throw my hand down my attacker's nether region when his arm blocks mine.
"What are you going to do with that hand, Miss Black?" oh shit.
"Uh…Mr. Cullen," I croak. "I suggest you step back and let me go this instant or we will get to know each other very well and you haven't even bought me dinner yet, if you know what I mean."
He chuckles in my ear.
He kisses my ears and I'm drowning in my panties. Well, he didn't really kiss my ears. I think maybe it's just because his mouth is there.
I have to remind myself why I'm here…again. Three months of planning, stalking, and here I am willing to get molested by the same man I'm trying to bust.
He turns me around without stepping back so that our chests are again plastered against each other. My nipples are hard as pebbles. I hope they don't poke a hole on my top or things are going to get embarrassing really, really fast.
"Where do you think you're going, Miss Black?" His hands are still on my arms, rubbing them slowly as if he's trying to warm me up.
"I'd really appreciate it Mr. Cullen if you'd stop calling me that," I couldn't tell him that the name gives me the twitch. "Izzie, or Izz is good."
I pull his hands off me and back as far away off. China will not be far enough.
"As you wish…Izzie," there's that tone again. The one that tells me he's completely amused. "So tell me where you're going." He backs off and pretends to straighten his tie. I'm suddenly mesmerized by his fingers. Long, tapered, clean. It's freakishly long that I start to wonder if it will reach my uterus. Focus, Bella! I scold myself.
"I'm looking for the staff room, actually," I fib.
"Follow me," he says. He doesn't even question the fact that the first thing they showed me was where to stash my belongings before a shift.
My heart starts to hammer when I notice that he's actually taking me downstairs.
This is it. My big break.
I don't say anything while I follow Mr. Cullen. I wait for him to change his mind but he just keeps going. Down the stairs, rabbit hole and what not.
We're standing in front of the door at the bottom of the stairs; some stainless steel, vault looking door with a keypad.
Huh. Never thought of that. How the hell was I supposed to get the code?
He punches a series of numbers with his long fingers. The door hisses open on its own, I crane my neck to his right—to his left, but his footballer-ish of a body is blocking my way.
He looks down on me with sparkling eyes, waiting for me to say something.
"What's in there, Mr. Cullen?" I ask in a high pitched tone. I clear my throat and looks up at him expectantly.
"That, my dear Izzie, is private and confidential information." He says.
I narrow my eyes into slits. Why did you bring me down here then?
"Why did you bring me down here then?" I voiced the question in my head.
"I can show you what's back here…for a price."
Motherfucker. I calculate how much I have in my savings. I can always withdraw some more money.
"Are you forgetting I'm poor, Mr. Cullen?" Without my heels, I'm staring at his chest. Good Lord. I can't look at him in the eyes. I'm scared he can see right through my lies.
"Of course," he grins. "But I'm not talking about money, Izzie."
Well, hell's bells. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Is he propositioning me?
"Are you propositioning me, Mr. Cullen?" I finally look him in the eyes to check the severity and seriousness of what he just said.
"Think about it," he prods. "How much do you want to know what's back here? How much are you willing to pay?" he continues with some dangerous glint in his eyes.
I try a different tactic.
"Nah. That's okay," I smirk. "I'm not that curious." I turn my back on him and started to walk up the stairs.
"Miss Black—" he calls out.
I double back and halt my progress on the stairs. I prop my hand on my hip for more effect, feigning boredom.
I find the door completely open with his arms spread open in invitation.
Well, color me happy and call me Ginger. This is just way too easy.
I trek back down to where he's standing, waiting for him to slam the door close again. But nothing happens. He waits patiently for me to walk in.
Slowly, like a cougar on the prowl, I glided inside the door.
What did I expect to find?
A big orgy?
Leathers, whips, chains, wax?
What a big crushing disappointment to find nothing but rows upon rows of wine bottles in a room that has concrete floors and walls.
My shoulder slumps.
This fucking sucks.
My feet are killing me. My head is throbbing from cigar smoke. The case that I've worked on for months is officially dead in the water.
But something occurs to me.
"Mr. Cullen," I begin. "Why the security door if all you have down here is your wine cellar?"
He doesn't answer and simply walks away. He opens a drawer in an island in the middle of the room and takes a pair of white gloves out.
He dons them on and picks a bottle in one of the shelves.
"1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild," he says quietly. "I bought this at an auction for a hefty price of $114,000." He puts the bottle back and picks out another one. "Shipwrecked 1907, very old and could fetch a price up to $275,000." He goes on about a whole shelf which contains about 75 bottles of wine priced at fifty grand each. The man is seriously pretentious with his wine.
I'm still bummed out.
"So you see, Izzie," he says when he's done. "The cellar alone is insured for fifteen million dollars. Why would I not put a Fort Knox kind of security? If someone robs me of my collection, I can't replace them. Most of these bottles were blown individually by artisans in Italy. Those alone aren't cheap."
Blah. I space out.
All I could focus on was the fact that I'm going back to work on Monday still at the lowest wrung of the totem pole.
Maybe my father was right. Maybe I need to just concentrate on the family business. After all, my Dad still holds the majority of the shares and he did say he'll hand them over to me in an instant.
"Miss Swan?" Cullen calls out. Wait. What?
"What did you just call me?"
"Miss Black," he says. But his eyes won't look into mine.
Alarm bells are ringing inside my head. He pulls off the white gloves and shoves them back in the drawer, all the while ignoring me.
"No, that's not what you called me." I insist.
He blows a deep breath and walks around the concrete top island. He stands with his back leaning against it.
"Okay," he starts. "I know who you really are." He finally looks at me; his ears red.
"But—but—how?" I stammer.
"I know your father," he continues. He throws me a cautious look, as if he's waiting for me to explode. "I know what you do for a living and I'll wager my wine collection that I know what you're doing here."
After the initial instinct to smash his delectable head on the concrete wall has passed, "You know me?" I ask with a chill in my voice.
He's as still as a statue; his eyes boring into my face.
I unfurl my body and stand as tall as I can.
"Well then," I say. "Mr. Cullen, I quit." And walk out of the door.
"Isabella!" he shouts.
I ignore him and continue my ascent. I'm faster without my shoes so I find myself outside of the club in no time.
The blast of cool air is a welcome relief. I need to calm down before I go back in there and gather my things. Put all these fuck ups behind me.
Note to Self: Quit job and die.
I shouldn't be mad at the man. After all, it was his ass I was trying to bust. But I'm just so mad at myself. I'm such a fucking failure, I swear.
Why can't I be more like Alice? Talented and so sure of herself. Me? I can't even decide what to have for breakfast in some days.
I lean against the wall behind the club and ignore the urge to reach for my cancer sticks. I don't know why I do this to myself. I've not have a smoke since my divorce to Jake was finalized but I chose to carry a pack with me all the time like some torture device. Right now, it's burning a hole in my purse in the locker room.
The door opens and out comes Mr. Cullen.
He stands beside me under the awning and copies my stance.
"What were you trying bust me for?" he asks after a few seconds.
"Something. Anything," I shrug.
It's so tiring not to have a sense of accomplishment in anything. It's like running forever without any destination in mind. Days like these, I think I'm better off pulling a Paris Hilton or something. Waste my life by blowing my inheritance on stupid shit; like Pepto-Bismol pink outfits on a puppy the size of a rat.
I turn his way and give him one last ogle. "Anyway, thanks for giving me a chance." I reach my hand out to shake his.
He looks down on it for a few seconds then pulls me to his chest.
I yelp. "You have got stop doing that." I say against his tie. His arm sneaks around my waist and pulls me closer.
"Here's what's going to happen, Isabella," he starts to say in his I'm-man-hear-me-growl tone. "You're going to walk back in, gather your stuff and walk back upstairs." He proceeds to slip a set of keys in my front pocket. "When you reach the second floor, keep going to the back until you reach a door." He grabs my ass and squeeze. "The combination to that door is 1,9,0,1. Open it and you'll find another set of doors. The keys I just gave you are the ones to use." His other hand creeps up to the back of my neck. "Wait for me up there," he leans down and devours my lips. My right leg instantly hitches around his thigh; the throbbing returns with a vengeance. The man smells and tastes like creamy vanilla icing.
I rub my front on him like I'm some dog humping his leg.
Whatever left of my dignity is all gone.
His hand at the back of my neck reaches down to my tits. He palms me and squeezes me like a stress ball. I whimper.
I'm going to fuck this man.