Chapter 1 – 7 and 18 – last is betad.
Chapter 8 – 17 is NOT betad. English is my second language and when I started posting this fic, I didn't know about PTB and their wonderful beta's. Please don't send me hate mail! ; )
A huge thank you to two of the best Beta's ever: Adt216 & Pain Jane from Project Team Beta. You guys have been extremely encouraging and just absolutely amazing!
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters associated with them.
"Miss Swan?" I step into her office, wearily glancing at the narrow back of the bane of my existence as she stands facing away from me.
"Mr. Cullen." She stiffly turns her head in my direction, indicating to the chair opposite her imposing desk.
I can't help but wonder what I did wrong this time. My mind filters through the possibilities, barely noticing her endless legs, scandalously covered by a form-fitting, black skirt that reaches her knees and ends in fuck-me, peep-toe stilettos…OK, I ogle them, but fuck it, those legs are amazing.
The silence in the room would be considered charged if I was not intent on ticking off each and every meaningless task she assigned to me over the past week.
Dry-cleaning dropped off, picked up and hung neatly behind her office door…just like every other week. Done.
Meetings scheduled for the coming week programmed into her Blackberry…just like every other week. Done.
Latest manuscripts copied, bound and stacked in her pigeon hole…just like every other week. Done.
I run through the list, ticking off the tasks I have become quite accustomed to and now perform with great efficiency. If I wasn't nervous as hell about the meeting she requested with me less than five minutes ago, literally feeling the sweat run down between my shoulder blades, I would probably be pondering the reasons why I still do this job. I have my honors degree in English lit. for fuck's sake, and I'm well on my way to completing my first novel. But I'm not mulling over this at all, leaving it for later, when I meet up with Emmett for beers at our local watering whole. Instead, I'm feeling the tell-tale signs of panic settling in my abdomen.
The fucking coffee!
I nearly grunt in frustration but know to keep my mouth shut. No need to show her my state of turmoil.
I know I should have turned around and corrected the order from Starbucks this morning. But I was running late…due to my incessant flirting with the girl behind the counter for the last couple of weeks. And I honestly didn't think my anal-retentive boss would notice that the milk in her latte was full cream instead of two percent.
She's going to rip me a new one. I feel my shoulders straighten now that I'm sure this will be one of her lectures about pulling my head out of my ass.
"Mr. Cullen," she states in a voice that would be considered husky if it wasn't attached to the leader of all ice queens this side of the Pacific. "I'm sure you're wondering why I called you into my office this late on a Friday afternoon."
She moves to stand behind her desk, her perfectly manicured hands resting on the back of her chair.
"Yes, Miss Swan." I feel like I'm back in fourth grade, being scolded by my art teacher after I lodged a huge ball off play dough in Jane Volturi's hair. My art teacher, however, did not smell of honey and cinnamon, but rather a stale form of beetroot.
"Considering that it is almost five, I won't keep you long," she remarks, keeping her chocolate brown eyes on mine steadily. "I'm sure you have somewhere to be, seeing as it is Friday."
I don't know what to say to this.
Yes, Miss Swan. I actually have plans to get shit faced with my friend over at a seedy bar that would probably not meet with your standards, and hopefully, if all goes well and I don't drink too many beers and jaegers, I'll wake up tomorrow morning between two soft, pink thighs of some nameless, faceless beauty.
Instead, I give her a tight-lipped smile.
Miss Swan clears her throat and looks down for a second.
"I actually wanted to discuss something with you of a more personal nature," she proceeds, keeping her eyes focused on an invisible spot on her desk. Okay, now I am officially freaking out. Of a personal nature? What the fuck?
"Miss Swan?" I cringe as my voice croaks on her surname.
"Mr. Cullen," she says once again after taking a deep breath. "I need a favor. I would like to say that it's your choice whether you wish to comply or not, but I won't as I don't want to consider the possibility of your refusal." She looks up at me then, and I immediately notice that she has her game face back on. This woman…demon…is certainly not one to be fucked with. There is a reason why she is a senior editor for one of the country's most successful publishing houses at only twenty eight. "My parents are coming to visit me. They are actually arriving on Monday. I will not presume that you actually care about the following information. Believe me, I'm not exactly comfortable with sharing any of this with you, but I have to tell you at least some of it if I want you to accept my proposition."
I nod, not even attempting to hide my obvious confusion.
She stares at me pensively for a moment, and I am once again faced with the reality that she's an extraordinarily beautiful woman. From her heart-shaped face and delicate features, to her creamy skin and long, thick, brown locks that are now pulled back into a loose knot at the nape of her slender neck. She is nothing less than exquisite. I hate her.
"My parents are, for lack of a better description, small town people." She pulls me out of my musings, and I blink at her a couple of times. I hope my tongue isn't hanging out of my mouth at the rate I am staring at her pert breasts, covered by some kind of creamy silk blouse. Even though the blouse is designed to be formal, it is does nothing to hide her curves - and I have a very active imagination. I lift my eyes to hers guiltily and nod to indicate that I am still listening. "Though I am certainly not proud of it, I have to admit that I may have withheld some information regarding my personal life from them. You see," she proceeds after shifting from her left foot to her right, her posture stiff and uninviting as usual, "after years of enduring her constant nagging regarding my, um, personal life." She falters, and I am nearly knocked off my chair as I notice a slight blush tinge the apples of her cheeks? I finally decided to just omit certain truths."
"Certain truths?" I'm becoming annoyed with her vague description of fuck knows what.
"Yes. Certain truths." She repeats my question like I'm a toddler. "You see, I may or may not have given them the impression that I am in a long-term relationship."
My eyes narrow at her as the confusion just further engulfs me. Why on earth is she telling me this? What the fuck does her sex life have to do with me? I couldn't care less whether she is some dominatrix in her spare time, screwing some overpaid loser, or whether she spends her weekends knitting. Yes, she is sexy as hell - one would have to be blind not to notice that, but she is also the biggest pain in my ass and has absolutely no regard for human emotion, probably because she's immune to any of her own.
I remain silent, secretly starting to enjoy her obvious discomfort.
"Mr. Cullen?" I swear to all that is holy, if she calls me Mr. Cullen one more time I'm going to sock her one. "How long have you been working at Breaking Dawn?"
"Almost two and a half years," I deadpan. She knows exactly how long I've been working here as she's been taking up every moment of every day since I was appointed as a junior editor.
"And…would you say that you probably know more about me than anyone else in this office?"
I don't have to think long before I answer seeing as Miss Swan hardly communicates with anyone else besides me, a fact that is already a running joke amongst my peers in the office. "Probably."
"What is my dress size?" She asks, and I wonder if it is a trick question. My mother taught me a long time ago that women do not appreciate their weight being discussed. "You may answer me, Mr. Cullen." Miss Swan sighs impatiently.
"You're a size four."
She nods curtly. "And when is my birthday?"
"September thirteenth. But you hate being reminded of the day. I don't know why…" I trail off as I notice her frown at me before looking down. Oops…sore subject. Maybe my mother was wrong all this time. It would appear as if age is a far more taboo subject than weight. I dig my hands into my untamed mop of hair, a nervous habit I picked up from my father.
"Can you tell me what I prefer for lunch?"
"You prefer the salmon salad no avocado but you sometimes indulge yourself with , Miss Swan," I ramble before throwing my hands up in surrender. "At the fear of sounding rude, may I ask what this is all about? I don't understand how this has anything to do with your parents, and I honestly don't understand how this has anything to do with me."
Miss Swan scoffs, and I notice that she's biting the inside of her cheek. She probably doesn't appreciate my candid question. Our working relationship, if you could even call it that, is mostly based on her giving instructions and me giving one word answers.
"I need a boyfriend, Mr. Cullen," she grounds out through tight lips.
I stare at her slack jawed, opening and closing my mouth, realizing that I probably look like a complete idiot. "I'm sorry to hear that, Miss Swan, but I still…"
"You, Mr. Cullen," she practically growls. "I need you to be my boyfriend." Her knuckles turn white as she massages the taut skin stretching over her forehead in frustration.
"Excuse me?" I'm sure that she's finally going off the deep end. Did my boss, the bitch I could hardly stand to face, just ask me to be her…boyfriend?
"I need you to pretend." She pauses for emphasis. "To be my boyfriend, Mr. Cullen. Starting this Monday."