ENTRY FOR THE CURVACEOUS AND BODACIOUS BOMBSHELL FIC CONTEST
Story Name: One Bartender, Shaken and Stirred
Penname: GrayMatters and Iadorepugs
Genre: All Human
Pairing: Edward and Bella
Total Word Count: 8056
Summary: Edward Cullen owns the popular nightclub Eclipse, where image is supposedly everything. When plus-sized girl Bella Swan is drafted into helping out at Eclipse, what will they both learn about images?
Disclaimer: We don't own Twilight - who knew! We also don't own Human League - but we actually did know that. We do like to think we own our own plot, so please be nice and don't copy or translate, because both of us get really cranky, and you don't want to deal with either one of us when we're cranky. Trust us. Really.
"Alice, what the hell do you mean 'I took care of it'?" I recognized that male voice instantly. Edward Cullen, whom I had been secretly crushing on for the past two years, was yelling at my best friend Alice Whitlock, and for some reason, the anger made his velvet voice sound even sexier. I paused outside with my hand on the doorknob, not so sure that I wanted to interrupt this particular conversation.
"I mean I took care of it, Edward," Alice said calmly. "We need a new waitress on the evening shift. I hired another waitress for the evening shift. Bella Swan starts tonight. End of story." Alice's no-nonsense voice—that very same tone that had convinced me to take this temporary job in the first place—usually brooked no argument. I bit my lip nervously, waiting for Edward's reaction.
I didn't have to wait long. I heard a noise that sounded like an open hand slapping on the bar top. "Damnit, Alice! You know that I'm the one that hires the new help. I demand a certain look for the staff at Eclipse, and Bella isn't..."
Alice cut him off. "I know all about your look Edward, but as your partners, Jasper and I have a say too. And frankly, as your assistant manager, I have hiring authority as well. Our other waitresses are overworked and threatening to quit if we don't hire someone soon, and you're simply waiting too long to make a decision. Bella is available right away, and she is starting tonight. Deal with it."
I felt my anger rise when I heard Edward talk about the 'look' he wanted for Eclipse. I knew it all too well. After all, I'd spent enough time here with Alice and Jasper to know the kind of waitresses, and girlfriends, Edward preferred. Super skinny, supermodel types with perfect figures. There was definitely no way I fit the cookie cutter look those girls sported.
It had taken me some time to embrace the woman I was, because I was not one of those women the media found socially acceptable a majority of the time. And I knew it really wasn't the fault of women who were more model-like, just as it wasn't my fault I was built the way I was. I definitely had my share of curves compared to most women my age. I would have been revered in the 1940's and 1950's as a sex goddess, and that's the way I chose to look at myself. I could really rock a pair of jeans, and I looked damn hot in a bustier, and you had to have some flesh on your bones to pull that shit off. Despite the fact that I was considered plus sized, I was healthier than most women my age. I exercised, I ate right, and I took really good care of myself, which was more than a lot of women could say.
I was torn away from my thoughts when I heard Edward raise his thoughts again, his tone sarcastic. "Really, Bella is available right away? Because every qualified waitress I interviewed is gainfully employed and needs to give two week's notice. If Bellais available right away, she can't be qualified then, can she?" He asked smugly.
I saw red at his insinuation, and I pushed the door open with a bang, marching into the room, my heels clacking across the floor and bringing their attention to me. I stopped two feet in front of Edward and crossed my arms below my breasts, and I knew that my eyes were flashing fire at him. "Actually, Bella is available because she is on summer break from her regular job as a high school English teacher. And I am willing to bet that I'm every bit as qualified as any of the rest of your wait staff here at Eclipse."
I took a deep breath, glad that I was pissed, otherwise I would be drooling as usual at the sight of the Greek God in front of me. He had to be one of the most handsome men I'd ever seen, with reddish-brown hair that was messy and wild, combined with lush emerald green eyes that studied me speculatively. He was tall, over six feet, with broad shoulders and muscular arms that were showcased by the black tee shirt he wore. But no matter now good looking he was, I didn't appreciate his attitude towards me when I was here to do a favor for him.
I didn't miss his head to toe perusal of my form, especially the way his eyes stopped and lingered on my breasts, well displayed by my favorite v-necked tee shirt. He arched an eyebrow at me, which would have been sexy as hell if I could have ignored his irritating attitude. "Bella," he said with a nod, as though we were being introduced for the first time instead of having known each other for the past two years through our mutual friends. "So why do you think you are just as qualified as any of my highly trained and experienced Eclipse staff?"
I held up my right hand and started counting off my years of waitressing experience. "My father owns Swan's Bar in Forks, where I worked from the age of sixteen to nineteen. During my undergrad and graduate studies at University of Washington, I waitressed and tended bar at Breaking Dawn in Seattle. And for the past two summers, I've helped my friend Laurent out at Nomads when he's needed help behind the bar."
"Nomads," Edward hissed, his teeth clenched as he repeated the name of Eclipse's biggest competition.
"So despite the fact that I may not fit Eclipse's image, I believe I more that fit your qualifications. I can start tonight, or I can walk out that door. It's no loss to me, but I'm damn sure I'm the best offer you've got. It's up to you, Edward," I said, my tone just as caustic as his.
Alice was standing behind Edward with a huge smile on her face and a look of unadulterated glee in her eyes. Edward, on the other hand, stood before me with narrowed eyes and pursed lips, looking as though he had sucked on an entire lemon, his arms crossing his chest which only emphasized the muscular build of his body. Focus, Swan!
"Your qualifications are indeed impressive, although you're right about your image," he said, and although I knew he was right, the fact that he chose to remind me stung nevertheless. I wished that I hadn't come straight from the gym in my sweats and that I had been dressed better. Not that he had ever noticed before anyway. "But I'm willing to give it a shot. He turned to Alice. "Can you find her something that will match the uniforms, and walk her through the routine for tonight?" He turned back to me and focused those fuck hot green eyes on me. "All right, let's see how things go tonight. If I think you can handle the crowd, and if our customers are receptive, we'll talk about putting you on the schedule. Fair?"
"Fair," I agreed coolly, letting my eyes flick past him disdainfully. "Alice, shall we work out the wardrobe?" I asked, knowing that she already had the perfect outfit picked out for me that I was going to rock tonight. I couldn't wait to show the high-and-mighty Edward exactly what I could do!
"Edward, you're such an asshole," Alice said, rolling her eyes and ignoring him when he started to sputter in indignation. She stepped around him and linked her arm with mine, leading me down the hallway to the right of the bar, squeezing my forearm in reassurance. She knew that despite my bravado I would be feeling a little rattled by the experience. "Right this way, Bella."
Once we were in the office, Alice shut the door and started giggling hysterically. "Bella Swan, I fucking love you! No one has ever spoken to Edward Cullen like that before, and I got to witness it! Wait until I tell Jasper, he is going to love it!"
"Alice, are you sure about this? I don't need the money, and God knows I don't need the aggravation of working with Edward if he's going to be such a dick about it," I said, jerking my thumb toward the door. I really didn't need to work. I made good money teaching and I relished my summers off, but without sounding immodest, I was a damn good waitress, and I enjoyed the work. The patrons at every bar and club I had ever worked loved me, and I was usually the most popular waitress among the management, staff, and clientele. I could have my pick of establishments to work at, and my friend Laurent even told me I could manage Nomads for him this summer if I wanted to.
"But Bella," Alice protested, her voice sad, "I told you what a bind we're in. Eclipse is going to lose its evening staff, all of our waitresses are threatening to quit because they're so overworked. We're so busy in the evenings since our college staff went home. We really need your help. Please, stay. C'mon, you know you want to prove Edward wrong. Not just about your experience, but about his image for Eclipse as well," she said with a sly grin, holding up a garment bag.
I never could resist a begging Alice, not from the moment we met in junior high and she pleaded with me to be her friend on her first day in a new school, and certainly not now. And I definitely couldn't resist the challenge of rubbing Edward Cullen's perfect nose in his inaccurate assumptions about both my waitressing abilities and my image. I grabbed Alice's garment bag. "All right, fairy godmother, let's get this makeover rolling. It looks like I'm working tonight."
I checked my watch with irritation, wondering when the hell Alice and Bella were going to exit my office and join the rest of the staff out in front of the bar. Alice damn well knew that I liked to give the staff a run-down of the night before opening the doors at five, and here we were, ten minutes before opening, and they had yet to grace us with their presence. We had a very busy evening ahead of us tonight, with several parties booked along with the usual Friday night crowd, and we were still down by two waitresses and one bartender. I was pitching in behind the bar tonight, all the better to see Bella fall on her ass. I was still pissed at Alice for overstepping her authority, and for bringing Bella of all people into the bar. Not that Alice had any idea how I felt about Bella, but she should have at least asked before…
I saw movement coming down the hallway and called out to them. "It's about time, ladies. We're going to have a full house tonight, with two bachelor parties, an office party, a twenty-first birthday party, and a fraternity reunion. Plus we'll have our usual Friday night, end-of-the-week crush. Any volunteers to cover any of the special parties?" Jessica and Lauren offered to handle the bachelor parties, which didn't surprise me at all. Angela spoke up for the office party, and Victoria spoke for the birthday party.
"What's the fraternity?" Bella asked from behind Alice. Even though she stood well over a head taller than Alice, she was standing in the shadows and I couldn't see how Alice had dressed her. I hoped that Alice made sure that Bella's cleavage was on display and then shook my head. I shouldn't be thinking about Bella's cleavage, or anything about Bella. She didn't like me any more than I liked her, that had always been the case, and clearly that hadn't changed.
"Remember my old fraternity Bells?" Jasper called out from behind the bar.
"No shit? Any of the old gang gonna be here?" Bella asked, turning to Jasper with a smile.
"You know Emmett, he never misses a party, he and Rose will be here. Some of the others as well."
"Cool. I want the fraternity party," Bella said.
"Well Miss Swan, with you being the new person, I'm afraid you'll have to wait your turn to make a choice," I said in a smooth voice, realizing too late I sounded just like the asshole Alice had accused me of being.
"Puhleeze," said Bree, one of the younger waitresses. "Like any of us want those geezers and their wives." She blushed when Alice cleared her throat in an annoyed manner. "Sorry Mrs. Whitlock."
I sighed to myself and pinched the bridge of my nose. Sometimes managing a bar was like herding cats. Bella spoke up, "Do you want Laurent's number, so you can call him and find out if I can handle the fraternity?" My eyes shot up to see that she had stepped out of the shadows and my irritation at her comment was instantly replaced with shock. What had Alice done? Was I hallucinating now, or was this truly my fantasy...and my worst nightmare...come to life? I swallowed quickly and focused on finding a response to her query, not looking at her in that outfit. Snug black jeans that showed off curves that I wanted to bury my…I shook my head to clear my thoughts.
"That's quite all right Miss Swan, we don't need to drag him into this. If you are so certain you can handle a trial by fire, far be it from me to deny you. You can have the fraternity party."
Bella didn't respond, she just gave me a raised eyebrow and a smirk. I had thrown down the gauntlet and she looked more than pleased to answer to the challenge. Alice leaned over and whispered something in her ear and Bella giggled and smiled back at her. Christ, that smile made me want to do dirty things to her…okay, wait, everyone was staring at me waiting for any last minute instructions.
"Alright, you all know what to do. Let's get to it." Alice pointed out a couple things to Bella while Jasper went and officially opened us for the night. I was walking to the bar when I felt a smack on my shoulder. "Ow, Jesus." I turned to see Alice glaring up at me. "What was that for shrimp?"
Alice rolled her eyes and punched me again in the shoulder. "That's for continuing to be an asshole. And you can't hide from me. I saw how you looked at Bella that brief second before you hid your feelings that were all over your face."
"I have no idea what you are talking about." I waved my hand dismissively at her as I went behind the bar.
Alice leaned over the bar and stared me down, which was impressive since she was at least a foot shorter than me. "Someday Edward, I will remind you about tonight, and you will be eating crow." She pointed one finger at me, "You cannot hide from me and you know it." With a little huff she spun and walked off.
Jasper chuckled quietly next to me. "She's right you know."
"Fuck, don't you start in too. She's imagining things." I quickly glanced to make sure we had enough glasses to start out the evening. Anything to keep my eyes from getting a better look at Bella…..Miss Swan. Fuck. Fortunately our usual Friday night crowd started showing up and Jasper and I were too busy behind the bar to really talk anymore.
Bella, not surprisingly, chose to put her drink orders in through Jasper. Despite my resolve not to watch her, I noticed Bella had absolutely no trouble keeping orders straight as she worked the regular crowd until her fraternity party showed up. She could carry a drink laden tray without spilling a drop. And that smile that had caught my eye earlier, it never left her face. She was honestly having fun out there…..and the customers saw it too. She was quick, efficient and friendly, and her tables never seemed to wait long for their drinks. Her patrons laughed and smiled with her like they had known her for years instead of mere minutes, and I watched many of the men cast appreciative glances at her as she walked away from them.
"Edward." I looked up to see Bella with a drink order, since Jasper was occupied with Jessica. "I need two rum and cokes, one dirty martini shaken, and a sex on the beach."
I nodded and started working on her drinks without looking at her. "Night okay so far Miss Swan?"
"Absolutely. I'm having a blast. You have a great crowd." I glanced at her as she tucked a stray curl back into her ponytail and leaned up against the counter, her full breasts on display in a way that made my mouth water. Look away, Cullen! Her shirt was this blue strapless bustier with black lace accents. She somehow made it look innocent and sexy at the same time. I mentally smacked myself again. There was no place in my head for the words sexy and Bella in the same space, at least if I didn't want to fuck up every drink order that came my way.
I loaded her tray. "Good." She gave me a little smirk and disappeared across the floor to her table. I couldn't help myself as I watched her hips sway as she walked. What the fuck was wrong with me? I scowled, angry with myself for being distracted by the sight of a pretty girl in a pair of tight pants. I was surrounded by pretty girls all the time, why was I letting this one get to me all of the sudden? I noticed Bella look over her shoulder toward the bar, and her smirk faltered a bit when she met my scowl before she disappeared into the crowd.
"Aaaaannnd the asshole reappears. What the hell is your problem with Bella anyway, Edward?" Alice demanded from behind me. I turned to find her standing there with her hands on her hips, her eyes dark with anger.
"I don't have a problem with Bella," I denied, and I didn't even sound convincing to myself.
"I don't think I believe you, Edward. She's an amazing waitress, and an even better person. If you'd just give her a chance..." Alice arched an eyebrow at me and then smiled hugely. "Oh my God, you want her, don't you Edward? You're attracted to her, and you don't know what to do about it."
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about, Alice," I denied hotly, running my fingers through my hair.
"I knew it!" Alice yelled triumphantly, pointing at my hand. "You're the worst poker player I know, and your hair is your tell, Cullen. So are you going to man up and do something about it?"
"Fraternity party is here! C'mon babe, let's go see my brothers!" Jasper interrupted, and I was grateful when he grabbed Alice's hand and pulled her into his arms. "You and Riley got the bar, Edward?"
"Yep. You guys have a good time, let me know if you need anything," I told him.
"We'll be fine, we've got the best waitress in Eclipse handling our party," Alice said in a superior tone with a glare at me. "We're not done here, Edward – not by a long shot."
I knew that I looked good the way Alice had dressed me tonight, and I felt so much better than I had when I had stepped through the door in my ratty post-workout sweats. I normally took pride in my appearance, and after Edward's comment about my 'image' I had taken great satisfaction in my transformation for the evening. I was dressed in snug fitting jeans that showed off my ass and a deep blue bustier that put the girls right on display. I preferred having my long brown curls down around my shoulders, but that was a no-no when I was working, so I allowed Alice to pull my hair into a high pony tail. She fixed my make up just perfect, with a dark smoky eye, color on my cheeks and lips, and shimmer on my shoulders and cleavage that would catch the lights of the club.
No matter how hot I thought he was, my first impression that Edward Cullen was a dick to work for was reinforced when he was giving out the evening assignments. I was thrilled to hear that Jasper's fraternity brothers, and some of my own college friends, would be in Eclipse tonight, and I offered to take the fraternity party that no one else seemed to want. Edward, however, had to act like someone had rammed a stick up his ass and give me some bullshit line about how everyone else got to pick first. Remembering his sour reaction to my friendship with Laurent, I snarkily offered to call him for a reference. Edward recognized the challenge for what it was, and from that point, it was on.
I was impressed with Eclipse. The staff was friendly and definitely knew what they were doing. I went to Jasper for my bartending needs, wanting to avoid Edward, although I knew that he was watching me. I expected nothing less. I was watching him too, and I had to reluctantly admit that I was wrong about him being an ass to work for. He had the full respect of his staff, which was not easy to earn, and he knew his clientele. He greeted many patrons by name, especially the numerous females who came to the bar in droves to order drinks and flirt with the bartender. He always had a ready smile for those pretty girls.
I was working my ass off, my tables all the way across the room, but I was having a great time. The customers were all very friendly, and I had been hit on several times tonight. I smiled and joked with the men and turned them down very gently like I always did. I knew I was already having a great tip night, and the fraternity party hadn't even started yet. I grabbed the order from one of my tables and headed for the bar, noticing that Jasper was tied up with a double order from Jessica. I squared my shoulders and walked up to Edward's side of the bar, determined to play nice. "Edward!" I called out. He turned to look at me, and I gave him my drink order.
I tried not to notice or be offended that he didn't look at me at like he did the other waitresses as he filled the drink order. He asked me how my night was going, and I told him I really liked the club. He gave me a small smile and said, "Good," as he loaded my tray, and I smiled in return, hoping that maybe this was a turning point for the two of us. If we were going to be working together this summer, I hoped that we'd at least be able to get along. As I walked way, I looked back over my shoulder toward the bar and almost stumbled at the scowl Edward sent in my direction. I guess I had misread the smile at the bar. Obviously he couldn't stand me. Clearly this was going to be my one and only night working at Eclipse.
I checked my tables one last time before bringing Bree around to introduce her to my customers. To my surprise, each table cashed out to make sure I got my tips before opening a new tab with Bree. I left my tables in her capable hands as I entered the room where the private party was being held.
"Bella Swan!" a familiar deep voice yelled, and I felt myself being lifted off my feet and swung in a circle by a bear of a man with curly black hair, bright blue eyes and the most adorable dimples framing a devastatingly handsome smile that I hadn't seen in far too long.
"Emmett McCarty!" I yelled back, laughing and gasping. "Aren't you a sight for sore eyes. Where's that wife of yours?"
"I'm right here, if this gorilla will put you down long enough for the rest of us to get a squeeze in," said the stunningly beautiful blonde at his side.
"Rosalie, it's so good to see you," I said, hugging her.
"You too, Bella. Jesus, you look hot tonight. I wish for the thousandth time I could pull off a bustier like you could. We are so dancing tonight. James is going to shit himself when he sees you, and Alec too."
"Actually, Rosalie, I'm not here..."
"Miss Swan, can you please get the first round of drink orders?" A smooth, velvety voice with an undertone of steel spoke close to my ear. Edward lowered his voice for my benefit alone. "I believe I'm paying you to serve the guests, not to socialize with them."
I felt a blush heat my face, a habit I had suffered as an adolescent but had grown out of...or so I thought. "Of course, Mr. Cullen," I answered with mock formality, flashing him a mental fuck you. "What can I get for you Mr. McCarty, Mrs. McCarty?"
Emmett actually snorted. "Mr. McCarty? You wanna get me something, Bells? You can get this asshole outta my face is what you can get me. Who the hell is this tool anyway, ordering you to get the drink orders?"
"This is my boss, Edward Cullen, Jasper's partner and one of the owners of Eclipse. I'm here as your waitress tonight. I was trying to tell you that. So seriously, what do you want to drink?" I said, trying to diffuse the tension.
The look on Emmett's face was comical, and I just had to giggle. "C'mon, Em. This is how I met you guys in college, remember?"
"Oh shit, Bella, he's gonna..." Rose said, but Emmett interrupted.
"You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you," he bellowed, completely off-key, singing that horrible Human League song from the eighties that he always sang when I reminded him of how we met and became friends back in college.
Alice, Jasper and I all started laughing as Rosalie tried to silence her husband, while Edward stood there looking at us as if we were all lunatics. I attempted a serious face, cracked up, and then tried again, unnerved by Edward's stare. "All right, what does everyone want to drink? Let me go grab the first round and some pitchers, okay?"
I was relieved when everyone placed their orders and I was able to escape to the bar, where the other bartender Riley quickly filled the orders. Edward returned to his station at the bar as well, filling drink orders for the other waitresses as he seemed to keep a closer eye on me, to make sure I wasn't socializing, I thought nastily. I made sure to be friendly but professional with the group, keeping their drinks filled and turning down their invitations to join them. As the night progressed, my fraternity group was the rowdiest of the bunch, leaving Bree to lament about her bad luck in not choosing 'the geezers.' I gratefully accepted her assistance, because no one could drink like this group, and I was running myself ragged trying to keep up with them.
Another thing that continued as the night progressed was the flirtation. I had dated several of Jasper's fraternity brothers in college, never seriously, but we'd had a lot of fun. And it seemed that the greater the level of alcohol consumed tonight, the more persistent the passes became. At first it was just flattery, over-the-top compliments and pretty words. Then it was subtle touches—a hand on my arm, a tug on my pony tail, an arm casually slung over my shoulders for a moment or two. When it came from Emmett or Jasper it was nothing. When it came from one of the single guys or someone I used to date, it was something different that I wanted to avoid altogether. I was usually pretty good at it, but the room was crowded and a few of the individuals were pretty determined.
On one occasion in particular, I was coming back from the restroom and was cornered by James, who I dated for about three weeks during my junior year. I broke up with him because he was a little too handsy, with me and with several of my friends. James was drunk as a skunk and trying to back me up against the wall. I was pushing against his chest as he attempted to grope my ass when suddenly James was the one pressed up against the opposite wall, a strong forearm against his neck holding him in place.
"No one touches my…one of my waitresses, got it scum?" Edward snarled, his face inches from James's, his eyes almost black with anger. Jesus Christ, angry Edward was hot! "Bella, are you okay?" he asked, his eyes concerned as they met mine.
"I, uh…yeah?" I asked, trying not to drool at the sight of the rippling muscles beneath Edward's tight black tee shirt. "Edward, you're choking him," I said as James slowly turned purple.
"Serves him right," Edward muttered, releasing James. "Get the hell out of my bar," Edward growled at him, and I felt a rush of desire at the commanding tone in Edward's voice. He doesn't like you, Swan—chubby chicks aren't his thing! I tried to remind myself, obviously in vain as my heart thudded out of control at Edward's proximity. I frowned at myself for even thinking of him like that when I knew he'd never think of me the same way. Between that depressing thought and the adrenaline crash of my encounter with James, I felt tears fill my eyes, and I tried to blink them away.
Edward's eyes narrowed again as he looked at me. "Bree's covering you, right?" I nodded, not knowing what it was he wanted from me. "All right, my office, now!"
I felt like such an ass for embarrassing Bella in front of her friends, but as it had always been over the past two years, my jealousy had gotten the better of me where Bella Swan was concerned. When I walked into the room and found her in the arms that huge hulk of a guy, I lost it. She was so freaking happy to see him, bestowing a smile on him that she'd never send my way, that I stormed over to them, not even paying attention to the blonde she started talking to next. I stood right behind Bella, inhaling her scent and almost looking down her cleavage from behind, and caustically reminded her that she was there to serve the guests, not to socialize. The venomous look she shot me made her thoughts clear, and I felt like shit for drawing the wrong conclusion.
I couldn't help but continue to watch her. I had spent the last two years wishing I'd had the balls to approach her, but not knowing how. She was everything I had ever wanted in a woman—beautiful, smart, sarcastic, funny, and sexy as hell—and that made it impossible for me to speak with her. I flirted with customers every day and had meaningless conversations all the time with bar patrons, but when it came to the one girl I was truly interested in, I was tongue-tied and unable to speak or express my feelings. I knew after the screwed up way I had treated her tonight I would never have the chance to be around her again. I resolved to stay out of her way for the rest of her night, so that she could at least enjoy the rest of her shift before she quit on me.
Bree came up to the bar with an order from the fraternity party. "Bella is so sweet," she gushed. "She asked me to help her with the private party and said she'd split the whole tip with me, even though she's done most of the work until now. She just wants me to cover while she takes a break and uses the restroom. And she's so much fun to work with. Oh-emm-gee, Edward, you so have to keep her!"
I just nodded and smiled as Bree continued to sing Bella's praises. I watched as Bella brought a tray laden with empty glasses and pitchers to the bar before heading down the hallway to the staff bathroom. I noticed a tall blonde man from the fraternity party following behind her a minute later, and I quickly finished filling Bree's drink order. "Hey Riley, can you hold down the bar for a while?" I asked.
"Sure thing, Edward. Things are starting to wind down a little. Take a break," Riley answered, filling a drink order for Angela.
I wandered toward the hallway, lurking to see what tall, blonde and creepy was doing. I heard Bella exit the restroom, singing along with the song blasting over the sound system. I saw her do a little shuffle dance, and my mouth went a little dry when she shook her bottom. Unfortunately I wasn't the only person that noticed.
"Bella, baby," the tall blonde slurred, moving forward. "God, you are so fucking hot tonight. I want you just as much as I did in college."
"Yeah me, and Rose, and Alice, and all my other friends. Sorry James, I wasn't interested then, and I'm not interested now. Please let me by," Bella said firmly.
"Awww, don't be that way, baby," James said, stepping forward and forcing Bella to step back until her back was against the wall. Her hands shot up to his chest and went to press him away, at the same time that his hands reached for her ass.
I didn't even remember moving, but the next thing I knew I had James up against the opposite wall with my arm against his neck, his feet almost off the floor. "No one touches my…" I almost said girl, but caught myself at the last minute. "One of my waitresses, got it scum?" I pressed even harder, enjoying the sound of him struggling for breath. I heard Bella gasp, and I turned to her, worried that he'd hurt her. "Are you okay, Bella?"
"I...uh, yeah?" she said, sounding unsure, and at her tone of voice I pressed a little harder on the fucker's windpipe. "Edward, you're choking him."
"Serves him right," I muttered, releasing James. He coughed and sputtered, looking at me with equal parts anger and fright...well, maybe more fright than anger. "Get the hell out of my bar," I snarled at him, smiling smugly when he almost ran for the door. When I turned to Bella, she had tears in her eyes, and the smile dropped from my face. "Bree's covering you, right?" I asked, and she nodded. "All right, my office, now!"
Bella squared her shoulders and raised her chin defiantly at me, but turned on her heel and walked back to the office. I followed her through the door and then closed it behind us, locking it surreptitiously—we didn't need any interruptions for this discussion.
I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and handed it to Bella, then motioned for her to sit on the sofa. "Bella, I'm sorry if you're upset that I threw your friend out tonight," I started.
"Are you kidding me? Do you think I like being mauled in the hallway?" she asked me, her tone affronted.
"I know he's a friend of yours from college," I said.
"No, he's an acquaintance from college. I don't like to be manhandled by anyone, Edward. I get to choose who touches me, when and where. Just because I'm a fat chick doesn't mean that I'm starved for affection," she almost snarled at me.
"Whoa, where the hell did that come from?" I demanded, absolutely floored. I had never heard this vivacious, self-confident woman speak about herself this way before.
"Edward, I'm neither blind nor stupid. I see the women you surround yourself with in this bar. They're all thin and pretty. I heard you talking with Alice. You've got an image for Eclipse, and Bella's not..."
"Bella's not someone I want people looking at that way," I finished for her. "That's what I was going to say before Alice interrupted me. Bella, working in a club, which I never knew you did before today, is a tough job. My waitresses are hit on all the time, and the men can be relentless, as you know with your encounter with James. Yes, the women here wear skimpy clothes, but that's actually their choice, because it increases tips. But..." I stopped. Did I lay it all on the line here? "But I didn't want you to be in skimpy clothes."
"Yeah, I know," she said, and tears were in her eyes again. "You didn't want me fucking up Eclipse's image."
"No, Bella! That's not it at all!" I said, running my hand through my hair in agitation. Could I make her understand without risking my feelings? She looked so miserable that I couldn't stand it. I knelt before her. "I can't stand the thought of other men seeing you looking like this."
"Looking like what? Edward, are you on crack or something?" Bella asked me, looking so bewildered and adorable that I started to laugh.
I rose so that I was on my knees, my face level with Bella's and I reached out and cupped her face with my hands, my thumbs wiping away her tears. She gasped, her eyes going wide as she looked at me. "Looking so lovely that I can hardly breathe. So beautiful I can't even think. So sexy I can barely concentrate. Bella," I breathed, leaning forward, rubbing my nose against hers, our breath mingling. I could taste her sigh as she leaned toward me, tilting her head to the side as our lips met.
The flavor of Bella exploded on my lips, and I groaned, opening my mouth to taste her more. Her tongue was there to meet mine, just as eager, and it was her moan that sounded this time. Bella scooted closer to me, her fingers in my hair, tugging gently as our lips explored each other. I had Bella in my arms, finally.
Our kisses started gentle but quickly grew in intensity. When Bella broke away, gasping for breath, I took the opportunity to press kisses along her jaw, nuzzling her neck and taking her earlobe between my teeth to bite lightly. She swore beneath her breath and shivered in my arms, and I grinned against her neck, kissing and sucking lightly as she gasped and groaned my name.
Bella's hands roamed my shoulders, arms and back. She alternated between gently massaging with her fingertips and scratching with her nails, which felt so fucking good. My nerve endings were on fire with each touch she bestowed upon me. When her hands wandered to the waistband of my jeans to tug at my tee shirt, I lunged up to kiss her again, hissing in pleasure as her fingers found the bare flesh of my back.
I ran my fingertips over Bella's shoulders and collarbones, enjoying the feel of her squirming under my light touch. "Ticklish?" I asked her in a husky tone. She giggled and nodded. I moved my fingers lower so that they were tracing patterns on the upper swells of her breasts, and Bella shifted on the seat, arching her neck so that her head fell back, granting me full access to the elegant column of her throat. I leaned forward and licked a long line down her throat to the center of her cleavage and along the top of both breasts, and we were both breathing hard by the time my tongue was done tracing the lace at the top of the bustier. Bella reached down and took my hand in hers, leading it around to her back where the hooks were. "Are you sure?" I asked her, not wanting to rush things.
"Yes, please," Bella breathed, her fingertips tracing my face. "I want to feel your lips on my skin, Edward."
I groaned and kissed her hard, wanting to kiss her everywhere. I sat back and quickly pulled my shirt off, anticipating the feel of her warm skin pressed to mine. Bella's eyes widened in what I hoped was appreciation as she looked at me. "Like what you see?" I teased?
"You're fucking beautiful," Bella said, reaching out to stroke my chest with her hand...all the way down to the waistband of my jeans where I was straining against my fly. Bella licked her lips, and I felt my cock twitch in response.
I rose to my knees again—I just couldn't stay away from those lips. The feeling of our tongues battling for dominance as I unfastened the hooks of her bustier just added to the sexual electricity building between us. When the last hook gave away, Bella clutched the garment to her chest with both hands, and I slowly pulled back. "Show me, please," I said, my voice husky.
Bella kept her eyes downcast as she peeled away the fabric, and if I could have come from the sight of her body alone I would have. Bella's breasts were perfect, large, high, and firm, with pebbled pink nipples that I couldn't wait to nibble and suck. She had a small waist that flared into wide hips that I wanted to grab hold of. My cock was aching and leaking, and I had to reach down to adjust myself against my zipper. "Jesus Christ, Bella, you're the one who's fucking beautiful," I swore reverently. I reached out to cup one of her breasts, which overfilled my hand and spilled over my palm. I lifted it and brought the nipple to my mouth, moaning at her taste as I slid her into my mouth and over my tongue.
Bella cried out as my tongue and teeth plucked at her peak, while my fingers worked its twin. I alternated between her breasts until Bella was writhing on the couch, calling my name and panting. I could worship her breasts alone for days.
Bella's fingers were twined in my hair, tugging insistently to bring my face back up to hers. I groaned loudly when her bare breasts met my chest, the feel of her tight nipples against my chest felt so fucking good. Bella scooted forward even more, wrapping one of her legs around my hip and pulling me so that I was laying half on top of her. When we were situated on the couch, Bella beneath me, she wrapped her other leg around me, and I found myself in the cradle of her legs, my cock pressed firmly against her center, which I could tell was hot and wet even through two layers of denim.
"Edward, I want you so much," she sighed, running her nails up and down my back as I circled my hips against hers, both of us groaning and sighing with pleasure at the contact of our bodies. "I've wanted you for the past two years," she confessed.
"Me too, sweetheart. I'm so sorry we wasted all that time," I groaned when she grabbed my ass and pulled me tighter against her. I could almost feel her sex throbbing against me, and I reached between us for the button and zipper of her jeans. "Ohhh, fuck me. Black lace?"
"Mmm hmm. I always wear pretty lingerie when I'm around you," Bella said with a giggle. "Just in case, you know."
"Well, from now on I'll always expect pretty lingerie from you," I growled in response, kissing her passionately at the same time I slid a finger beneath the black lace to make contact with her clit. Bella cried out, her legs going slack and parting wide to accommodate my exploration.
Bella reached for my jeans, and my cock almost sighed with relief when she released it from its denim prison. With both hands she pushed my jeans and boxers down to my knees, then used her feet to shove them down the rest of the way. We both laughed when my jeans got caught on my shoes, and I thought how wonderful it was to laugh in the middle of lovemaking. I had never done that before, and it just felt...right, somehow.
After I took off my shoes, socks and jeans, I removed Bella's as well, and then spent a moment studying the goddess on my couch. I had removed the ponytail from her hair and her dark curls were spread out wildly over the cushion. Bella was all soft angles and lush curves, and I wanted to get to know each and every one of them.
Bella must have read the intent in my eyes. "Not this time, Edward. Please, I need you so much," she said, reaching for me. I fell into Bella's arms, my lips seeking hers. My hands ghosted over her breasts, her hips, her stomach, her thighs, and down her legs. Bella lifted her knees so that I was cradled between them, our bodies as close as they could be without being joined.
"Are you sure?" I asked her again, praying she would say yes, but knowing it would be okay if she didn't.
"Yes. Please," she said, lifting her hips so that I could slide home. We both groaned at the sensation as I filled her. I wanted to remain still and stay there forever, but the demands of our bodies took over. Soon I was thrusting deep within Bella as she cried my name, one of her legs thrown over my shoulder while my face was buried in the bounty of her breasts. The way her body surrounded my cock with tight, moist, warmth as her arms clung to me overloaded my senses. She came hard with my name on her lips and my fingers on her clit, and I followed her into the same post-orgasmic bliss moments later, too weak to keep myself upright as the final tremors shook my body.
I lay spent in Bella's arms, shivering occasionally as she stroked my back from shoulder to waist with her fingertips. I pressed tired kisses to her neck, collarbones, chest—anywhere I could reach without having to exert too much effort.
"So, Edward," Bella said conversationally, stroking my hair.
"Yes?" I said sleepily, pressing another kiss to her breast, fascinated by the way her nipple puckered. I snaked my tongue out to touch it to the tip, smiling when Bella shivered this time.
"Does this mean I can keep the job?" she asked, and when I looked up, she was grinning playfully at me, that same smile that had nearly knocked me on my ass earlier tonight. I loved it.
"Sweetheart, you can keep anything you want, as long as I'm part of the deal," I told her, crawling up towards her.
"Sold," Bella whispered, wrapping her arms around my neck and pulling me down to her for another kiss.
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