Title: Closed Stacks Carrel
Name: DeJean Smith
Pairing: Edward and Bella
Disclaimer: Twilight isn't mine. I'm just taking the characters and putting them into a world I'm familiar with. Any similarity to the North Carolina Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Library on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus is purely coincidental (really!).
Closed Stacks: a collection of materials, not open to the public. Materials are retrieved by library staff and usually available for in-library use only.
Carrel: In this case, a desk within the closed stacks, reserved for faculty members doing research. See http:/www (dot) lib (dot) unc (dot) edu/wilson/wilson (dot)html (Image 27)
Thursday was Bella Swan's absolutely favorite day of the work week. It was not only because she could escape the confines of her small archival restoration lab in the bowels of the library in order to work her shift at the reference desk, but it was the day Dr. Edward Cullen would present her with his slips of requested materials. They would chat about inconsequential things for two or three minutes, and then he would disappear into the stacks and spend hours in his carrel at the end of a row of shelves, surrounded by copies of small town business guides from the early 1900s. That man was the stuff of dreams—tall, athletic, attractive and intelligent. Just the sort of man Bella felt beyond her reach.
After buzzing Dr. Cullen through the gate, Bella would document the requested materials before handing off the scraps of paper to a student assistant and return to her spot with a wistful sigh. Every week, she swore she would come up with some sort witty conversation, and every week, Bella kicked herself for chickening out and acting like an 18 year old freshman rather than the 27 year old professional she was.
Bella's best friend, Alice Whitlock, head of costuming at the local student theater, had tried to convince her to be more assertive with the object of her fascination, but Bella would merely blush bright red and duck her face. There was something to be said about the library dweller stereotype, after all.
While Alice had no idea who Bella was attracted to, she did believe her good friend to be an excellent judge of character and in all the years they had known each other, Bella had never so much as admitted finding anyone date worthy, much less 'fuck hot'—albeit the admission had come after two or three Long Island Iced Teas. Alice felt it her duty as a good friend to encourage Bella to act upon her urges (well, the exact phrase had been more along the lines of 'cut that stallion from the herd and ride him off into the sunset'). Subtlety was not a strong suit of Mrs. Whitlock. After a few more rounds at the local watering hole, Bella insisted she would soon take matters into her own hand which seemed to placate Alice for the time being.
Thursday was Edward Cullen's absolutely favorite day of the work week. Not only did Thursday afford the opportunity to escape the confines of his small 5th floor office and interminable office hours, but they allowed him a brief moment to talk with a certain dark-haired beauty at the reference desk on his way to his carrel. She was the woman men of discerning taste dreamed of—curvy in all the right places, real not plastic, sparkling eyes and a sharp wit. Every week, he swore he would spend more than two minutes with her, but like clockwork, he would present his requests for materials and retreat to the musty, dusty comfort of his carrel where he would kick himself mentally for several minutes at his lost opportunity before swearing he would do better next time and buckling down to the task at hand.
Edward Cullen liked order especially in his work areas. He was by no means OCD about it, but his bookshelves were always neat, papers were carefully filed, pencils and pens were point down in a Wile E. Coyote coffee mug his sister Alice had given him years ago that said, "Why, yes. I am a super genius." He preferred to think of himself as orderly rather than anal retentive as his last serious relationship had called him before storming out the door in a huff.
Edward lived by the motto 'every item in its place and a place for every item' which was why the subtle changes to the items in his carrel space drove him batty. First, it was a mysterious white goo dripped on one corner of the desk. It covered the edge of his calendar blotter, obliterating the quote by Thomas Wolfe. An irritation at best and easily taken care of by the use of a few Clorox wipes. Next was the appearance of something that looked remarkably like a small feather duster and a pair of white cotton gloves. Odd, Edward mused, gingerly putting aside the items before dismissing it from memory. Then came the rearranging of his desk, something that irked him to no end because he had a habit of reaching for an item without looking for it and he certainly could not do that after one visit. His books were out of order, papers shoved into random folders, and his pens half point up. It appeared as if someone had stumbled, scattering ephemera and hastily attempted to clean up the mess. This was unacceptable. But the final straw was a pair of lacy unmentionables that appeared under his chair which was cocked back at an odd angle and not under his desk as he was wont to place it.
Everything pointed to his bear of a friend, Emmett, who loved practical jokes more than anything other than his wife, Rosalie. He could see Emmett roaring with laughter as he mussed things up. It did not hurt that Emmett had taken to referring to Edward as Goldilocks, insisting it was a reference to the golden streaks that would appear in Edward's bronze hair once warmer weather appeared, but Edward took it as a hint to things amiss in his carrel. Somebody's been reading in my carrel.
Revenge was necessary. Years of experience at the brunt of Emmett's pranks attested to the fact that there was no other way to make a point with Emmett than to fight fire with fire. But Edward would need evidence. It was out of his character to make accusations without indisputable proof which with the help of a carefully placed digital camera with a motion sensor, he knew he would soon capture the strength training coach in action, thus gifting Edward with the ammunition at the ready for his reprisal.
The Thursday before Spring Break was like every other Thursday of the semester with the exception that already half of the student body of the university had scattered to warmer climes for a week of no more teachers, no more books. Bella sat at the communal desk, toying with a pearl button on her royal blue silk blouse as she began the shut-down procedures when the ping of the door counter startled her. She sighed as she checked the time—another five minutes and the doors would be locked and she would be heading home. Alone. Even the student assistants had already clocked out early (with permission, of course).
"I'm sorry, but it's almost five. The reference desk is closed," Bella murmured before looking up to see Edward, a frazzled look on his face, standing before her. Her face fell as she stood, nearly catching the heel of her pumps on the edge of her black pencil skirt. "Is everything alright?"
"Just finished a round of grading and realized I needed a book that's in my carrel," Edward huffed, obviously having run from his office to the library. "I'm leaving town tomorrow before you open."
"We…" she began before he held up his hand.
"I know you're about to close. I'll be quick."
Bella paused and gazed into his pleading eyes before nodding and reaching down to release the gate.
"I'll gather you on my way to my office, and we'll go out the staff entrance, okay? Fifteen minutes, Dr. Cullen?" Bella murmured softly, feeling a faint blush tinge her cheeks.
"Edward. And, thank you so much, Miss Swan," he grinned, grabbing her hand and squeezing it gently.
A sensation that could only be described as an electrical spark, far more intense than just a simple static shock, flew between their fingers with an audible snap. The two jolted and in unison gazed at their conjoined hands before Bella shyly pulled away and nodded with her head toward the stacks.
"It's Bella," she whispered, blushing sweetly.
With a dazzling crooked grin, Edward muttered his thanks and hurried toward his carrel. His polished leather loafers hit the glass floors with a creak and for the umpteenth time, he wondered what architectural genius dreamed of frosted glass floors. They did allow one to know if anyone approached, though. Edward soon reached his hideaway.
Aha! Something was amiss. Edward noticed a pair of emerald green reading glasses cast onto his desk and again, his chair cocked at an odd angle. He quickly glanced at his watch, figuring he had a good ten or eleven minutes before Miss Swan…Bella…joined him, so he pulled out the hidden camera and began playing what had been recorded.
Edward's eyes grew wider as the images rolled before him. A figure came into focus that was most definitely not Emmett unless he had lost quite a bit of weight, height, and become female.
A comely young woman appeared on the small two inch screen, her face just off camera. Edward cursed himself for not setting the camera's zoom feature a little further out. He perched himself on the edge of his chair, leaning forward as he tilted the view screen to discern just who it was.
The woman seemed reticent; turning her body from side to side as if making sure she was alone before relaxing back into the seat. She ran her hands up and down the arms of the chair as if trying to relax for a moment. Edward briefly wondered what it would feel like for those hands to rub up and down something else. He shook his head fiercely in an attempt to clear the image before his attention returned to the camera. He was not completely successful.
Edward watched, his jaw dropping slightly, as a delicate hand reached up and the green reading glasses that now lay before him were tossed onto the desk. He gazed in rapt silence as the same hand began popping open tiny pearl buttons, revealing more and more pale, smooth flesh.
"What in the…" Edward muttered, unconsciously adjusting himself as the figure pulled open her royal blue silk blouse, revealing what in some circles would be called a bra, though it was little more than scraps of lace caressing two perfect breasts. He began silently thanking the goddess La Perla for her great and merciful gifts.
Perhaps Emmett had been right. He did need to get laid. Or at least self-serviced.
The faceless woman lifted up slightly, lifting her skirt. She shimmied slightly and a scrap of lace that matched the bra appeared and landed on his desk.
"Holy shit," Edward murmured, quickly scanning before him for the undies, but they sadly were nowhere to be found. The memory of a scrap of black lace found under his desk a few weeks prior struck and he wondered just how many times this had happened.
The realization of what was about to happen hit and Edward's jaw dropped further open. He guiltily looked around him but he was alone. Miss Swan…Bella…would not be arriving for another few minutes. The temptation was just too great for him to resist. He had time, opportunity and thanks to Ms. La Perla, he certainly had the desire.
Edward quickly unfastened his belt and pants as a soft "Oh, yes," whispered from the woman on the recording. His eyes shot back to the view screen where he saw she had slipped one hand back under her skirt and the other inside her bra to cup herself.
"Oh, fuck," Edward mouthed, unable to make a sound as he saw the dim images roll by. His own hand slid under the waistband of his khakis. This was not going to do. He quickly unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, allowing perfect access.
Onscreen, the woman began pinching her nipple, eliciting a groan of pleasure from the viewer as well. The soft rustle of fabric, just barely audible over the creaking of the chair told Edward exactly what she was doing just beyond the frame. He swore to install multiple cameras once break was over. He had to see this goddess of the stacks in full glory.
While Edward's own hand began stroking up and down, the woman on screen released her breast, leaving it mostly exposed to him, as she moved both hands between her legs. The resulting cleavage that filled the view screen nearly knocked him out of his seat.
"God…damn…" Edward hissed, wishing he could see just where those hands were. He didn't even realize he was trying to see beyond the confines of the view screen by sitting a little taller and peering down. Without hesitation, his strokes began matching what he saw.
Mystery woman began frantically bouncing up and down as her arms moved in a desperate effort to attain her release. Her soft moans and sighs punctuated by the creaking of the chair. Edward groaned as he continued stroking himself harder and harder, completely missing the approaching tapping of heels on the glass floor a few shelves away. Fortunately, the wearer of said shoes headed straight for her office, in blissful ignorance of what was going on just a few feet away.
Edward shuddered his release just a few seconds later, his head thrown back as one hand wrapped around his quickly deflating erection, the other hand positioned to protect his dress shirt. For a heavenly moment, he enjoyed the aftershocks running rampant through his body.
"Dr. Cullen?" Bella called cautiously from her office as she flicked off the light. "Are you ready to go?"
Edward quickly sat up, nearly tumbling out of his chair.
"Just one minute!" he called, frantically looking for something to wipe the evidence of what he had been doing for the last few minutes from his hands. Edward thanked his lucky stars that a box of tissues remained on his desk, a holdover from allergy season.
"Okay. Oh! I forgot my coat. I'll be there in just a moment."
Less than a minute later Bella's pumps could be heard clicking over the glass floor, approaching Edward's carrel. She found him slightly flustered but pulled together, standing before his desk.
"Everything okay?" she smiled, quirking an eyebrow in question. "Did you find what you were looking for?"
"Not quite," Edward admitted, making a bit of a show of looking through the books on the top shelf of his carrel.
Bella glanced at his desk and flushed bright red as she spied her reading glasses. She scolded herself for leaving yet another personal item, realizing someday she was going to get caught. He noticed the slight stiffening of her spine and tilted his head at her.
"Is something wrong?" he asked.
"Um…we had a request for a title you were using last week." Bella picked up the green reading glasses and placed them in her bag. "I must have left my glasses here when I came by to check earlier today."
It did not escape Edward's attention that Bella refused to make eye contact with him. But even more importantly, he realized the girl on the camera was the woman before him. Edward smiled to himself as he gathered his briefcase.
The two stood facing each other in silence, neither one speaking, neither one moving. Bella's eyes darted from point to point in the narrow aisle between the shelves. They suddenly fell upon the camera lying on the desk. Her mind flew from assumption to assumption, wildly wondering just what had been captured on screen, had he seen it, what he thought. Regardless, Bella just knew she would never be able to look Dr. Cullen in the eye.
Edward instantly realized what was going on and quickly moved to reassure Bella.
"Before we go, I need to stop by the washroom, if you don't mind," Edward stated softly, motioning for Bella to lead the way. "You know how messy the carrels can be. Especially when you are alone, have been for a while, and don't want to be. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands." His voice trailed off, leaving unsaid what he felt did not need to be spoken.
Bella's eyes, open wide in shock, flashed to his. They softened immediately when she saw no judgment within them. Instead, she saw something she could not quite name but was very willing to learn more about.
"And then, maybe, I could convince you to have dinner with me," Edward continued. The few seconds before she responded seemed like an eternity.
"I'd like that," Bella smiled sweetly, flushing a delightfully enchanting shade of pink. Edward briefly postulated just how far down her décolleté the color flowed.
The two drifted together, closing the distance between them. Their hands drew closer and closer before Edward suddenly pulled his back, huffing embarrassedly.
"I think I need to wash my hands first," he murmured, holding it up.
"What? Oh!" Bella nodded as the light bulb went off in her head. "Yes, of course."
"And then, I'd really love to take you to dinner."
"Sounds perfect," Bella sighed, leading the way to her office.
Special thanks to Javamomma0921 and Swimom7 for pre-reading and polishing my little venture outside my normal writing box.
And thank you for reading.