Diablo darted off my lap and started barking like a deranged mongrel with fangs flaring, eyeballs bulging, and tongue hanging sideways out of his mouth. I stood from the couch, letting him roam wild and free, as I threw open the door, knowing exactly who stood behind it.
"Bella! Aaack!" Alice shrieked as she almost fell into the bushes trying to dodge Diablo's assault. I felt a little disappointed when I didn't see any shredded clothes or blood spewing. He merely launched a verbal attack. I needed to work on his dog training, specifically the 'attack', 'kill', and 'maim' commands.
I stepped back, opening the door wider and Alice barreled past me at top speed. She reminded me of a female Speedy Gonzales, as she screamed with Diablo chasing after her. The faster she ran, the more worked-up he got. I couldn't help but snicker as I watched her run around the couch several times with him hot on her heels. Finally, she jumped on my sofa and held her big, giant purse in front of her like some kind of flimsy shield.
"Alice, good grief, get off my couch with your filthy shoes," I yelled over the crazed barking and screaming.
"Get him away from me," she screamed back, pushing her bag towards him defensively. Diablo lunged, grabbed one of the straps in his mouth, and started tugging as hard as he could. He backed up and shook his head back and forth, growling ferociously. Alice tried pulling it away from him, but it seemed he had developed lockjaw.
I grabbed him up and yanked on him to try to remove the strap, but he still had a death grip on it. "Let go," I shouted and shook him a little. Finally, the strap dropped from his mouth.
With him in tow, I took off towards the kitchen to put him in his crate. I heard Alice yell out from behind me, "I hate that dog," causing me to break out into a fit of giggles.
"Good boy," I whispered as I kissed Diablo on the head. My level of evil knew no bounds.
I went back into the living room to find Alice inspecting the damage to her bag. "You owe me a new one," she shouted angrily.
"I'll write you a check."
I turned and started up the stairs and she followed behind. "And we're going to finish our conversation about Rose whether you like it or not," she said in a loud voice.
I flopped on my bed with a huff. I did not want to talk about Rose. When I had called her the other day about the impending doom of our friend with the announcement of her upcoming nuptials, Alice had sweetly told me to mind my own business and to stay out of it. We ended up in a shouting match, me accusing her of not loving Rose and her accusing me of being a pushy bitch and butting into a situation that was none of my concern. So I hung up on her.
We eventually made up later that night, both of us agreeing to disagree, but I was still mad at her.
"What's there to talk about?" I said. "I can't just sit around and do nothing when I think my best friend is making a rash decision that could impact the rest of her life. What kind of friend would I be if I did nothing? Like you…"
And let the fighting begin…
"But you said yourself that she only told him yes, and that she wasn't planning on getting married like tomorrow or anything like that. So that'll give her more time to get to know him and to make sure she's making the right decision."
"Yeah, but what if he suddenly says, 'Hey, babe, let's run off to Vegas tonight in my Cooter Intruder?' And don't act like that couldn't happen because you have not met Emmett yet. The guy is insane."
"Then she'll be married. And they'll honeymoon together in the Cooter Intruder," she said with a laugh. "And she'll have to live with her decision. But it's her life and her choice. She's an adult, a very smart one at that, and very capable of making her own decisions."
"So you'd just stand by and let her make a bad choice and not say a single word about it?"
"Yes. Because how do you know if it's a bad choice or not?"
"Because it is," I shouted.
"That's your opinion, not hers. And it's her decision, and not yours. And you know she's going to do whatever she wants to do anyway whether you say anything to her about it or not."
I sighed heavily. "I don't know. I just can't not do something."
"What if you do something and it breaks up your relationship with Rose?"
I crossed my legs on the bed and stared at her for a long moment. "I hadn't thought of that."
"Well, you need to think about that because it could happen," she said with a smile as she sat down beside me.
I sat there for a moment before I sighed again. I reached over and hugged her. "I'm sorry for being such a pain in the ass this week. I love you, my friend."
"I love you too. Now are you ready for me to glamorize you for your hot date tonight?"
"Let the glamorizing begin…" I said with a laugh.
Alice had found me a dress. The dress, with the jaw-dropping price tag and the jaw-dropping neckline. A stunning wrap dress in a shimmery dark blue with flecks of shiny silver weaved into the silky material. It clung tight, outlining every small curve I owned, and that plunging neckline showed off pretty much all of my small cleavage. Alice let me borrow a chunky silver necklace, and found me a pair of incredibly sexy silver peep-toe platform heels to go with it.
After an hour of intense hair and make-up, I stood in front of Alice. She had refused to let me look in the mirror. "You look exactly like her," she said, smiling.
"Who the hell is Rita Hayworth?"
"You don't know who Rita Hayworth is?"
"Famous movie star from the '40's?"
"Nope. And how old are you, eighty?"
She laughed, and turned me towards the mirror and I just stood there, not even recognizing my own reflection. I don't know how she did it, but my hair looked thick and wavy, just like a movie star from an era gone bye. "Oh my god," I mumbled. "My hair looks incredible."
"Like it?" she asked.
"Yes…" but then my eyes trailed down to that slinky dress. "I can't do this," I muttered, feeling naked with a tint of blue.
"Edward is going to flip when he sees you. You look amazing."
I sighed heavily and turned to the side, checking out my butt. "I don't know…"
"You look dynamite."
"Dynamite? Who says dynamite? Earlier it was the '40's and now it's the 70's. What has gotten into you?"
She started humming a BeeGee's song and showing off some of her 70's dance moves. I laughed and shoved her onto the bed.
My phone dinged with a text, and my heart leaped. I hadn't seen Edward since Monday, but he'd texted me all week. Some of our discussions had included his unsuccessful conversation with Emmett, his continued thoughts on "my ugly dog", and, well, he flirted. A lot. Like now.
Do you look sexy? –E
Alice shoved her face in front of my phone and started giggling. "Tell him you're sex on a stick."
"Sex on a stick? You're so lame tonight."
"I know. What can I say? I'm going to go," she said, giving me a hug. "Knock him dead tonight."
I kissed her cheek and thanked her profusely for finding my dress and dolling me up and for forgiving me for my outburst. I promised to buy her a new bag and take her out for dinner and drinks to repay her for everything she had done for me.
I quickly typed back a reply to Edward.
Jeans and a T… is that sexy? –B
Waving goodbye to Alice, I peeped over at Edward's house, my stomach full of butterflies. Lights were on, but I didn't see him anywhere. I closed the door and leaned back against it as I eagerly looked at my phone for his response.
On you? Definitely. Especially if no bra or panties are involved. –E
My mouth dropped open. And I smiled so big.
You are completely dishonorable, you perv. –B
Flirt, flirt, flirty flirt. I stood there smiling and flirting and feeling like such a girl.
You have no idea how truly dishonorable I can be. Want me to show you sometime? –E
And the smiling lingered… making my cheeks ache a little.
I can't wait to see you… -E
Oh, my heart.
Me too… -B
My phone rang, in my hand. I screamed and dropped it on the floor.
"Holy shit," I said, answering it.
"Do you speak that way around my babies?" Jazz asked, laughing.
"No, no, sorry. You scared me. What do you want?"
"Are you home?"
I paused. "Yeah…"
"Oh good… I really hate to do this to you, but – "
"No way, Jazz, I'm going out tonight. I have a date. A big date. The biggest date of my life. Sorry, no can do."
I looked up when I heard a light knocking on the door. My heart raced and I felt light-headed.
"B, I need you. Tanya has a dinner work thing tonight and I got called in at the last minute to cover the shift tonight. Somebody got hurt and two other people called in. I have no choice, B."
Opening the door, Edward stood there, grinning. Gucci delicious from head to toe.
But his face grew serious and his mouth dropped open as his eyes made their way lazily down my body, slipping and gliding over every curve. When they met mine again, they had darkened and held some heat.
Fuck. My. Brother.
"Jazz, I can't – "
"B, I don't have anyone else to call. You're all I have."
"I can't do this. You're always doing this to me."
"I'm sorry, B. You know I love you."
"Oh my god. Jazz, you are killing me here. Killing me. Hang on," I said almost to the point of tears.
Edward closed the door behind him and I started pacing and my feet started hurting and I finally got myself together and turned to face Edward.
He raised his eyebrows at me questioningly.
"I can't believe this. Edward, I am so sorry. You're probably going to think I'm trying to get out of our date but I'm not because as you can see I'm all dressed up and ready to walk out of this door with you and you look really good by the way and it took a lot of effort to get me to look like this, I mean Alice worked so hard and – "
"You look stunning, absolutely bewitching."
I sighed. One of those "you are the dreamiest man in the world" sighs. "Thank you," I breathed, smiling and feeling wonderful and oh so beautiful.
But then I remembered my brother. And continued my tirade to dreamy Edward. "This is so rude of me but my brother has to go into work and he needs a sitter for the kids and I feel so badly about this but is there any way that we could re-schedule our date? I can go tomorrow morning for breakfast or wait maybe not for breakfast because I'll still be babysitting and if I wore this dress and you wore Gucci to breakfast, well, that would be weird but wait maybe we could do brunch, I – "
Edward started laughing. "Calm down. It's okay."
"Yes. Really," he said nodding and smiling again.
"Okay. Thank you, thank you," I gushed.
I put the phone back up to my ear. "Jazz?"
"You can drop them off but this has to stop. We need to talk about this, a serious talk."
"Okay. Thanks, B. I love you, sis, you know I do."
I sighed heavily and did not respond because I did not love Jazz at that particular moment.
"B? Tanya's on her way there. She should be there in about five minutes."
"What?" I shouted.
"I'm sorry but I'm actually in the car right now headed for work and – "
"You… you," I sputtered. How could he just send that tart to my house before even talking to me, assuming I had no life and that I'd be at home anxiously waiting to be his little babysitter? I wanted to throw something…
"The kids depend on you so much, B. You're their only aunt. I don't know what they'd do without you. I'm sorry for doing this to you on such short notice, but I promise I'll make it up to you. I'm just pulling into the parking lot. Can I pick the kids up in the morning?"
"Great. See you in the morning, sis," he said before hanging up.
I just stood there, staring at my phone. Ah ha. I could throw my phone. I squeezed it hard and resisted the urge to hurl it against the wall.
"Everything okay?" Edward asked gently.
"No, everything is awful, just awful. I am so sorry, Edward, I – "
He took a step closer. "Hey, it's okay," he said softly, grabbing my hand. I could feel little sparks shoot up my arm.
"Yeah?" I asked, trying to calm down, but I couldn't because he was touching me and he looked so handsome.
I took in a couple of deep, cleansing breaths.
"We can reschedule our date," he said, "but only on one condition."
"I'll stay here tonight and help you babysit but by the end of the night," he said, lowering his voice as his eyes dropped to my lips, "I want one kiss. It's all I've been able to think about."
My breathing… what breathing? I couldn't breathe at all as I stared longingly at his lips. The lips that just announced he would babysit with me. I wanted so badly to give him that one kiss right then and there so much so that I had to fight to keep myself contained.
Reaching up, I touched his cheek. "Yes," I whispered.
And that bitch Tanya banged loudly on the door causing me to jump and let out a little squeal.
Edward grinned and stepped aside so I could open it. I took in several more deep breaths because I had not seen Tanya in a while.
Opening the door, Jack took off past me like a bullet, heading straight for the toy closet.
"Bella, I – " Tanya's nasally voice began to say before she abruptly stopped. She stared me up and down before her eyes transfixed on something behind me, over my shoulder.
That's right, bitch. Edward is ALL mine.
With a smug expression, I stood there all proud and gloating over the Gucci-clad piece of glorious man-ness standing behind me when…
I noticed that her face didn't look quite right.
Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. But instead of a look of lust, appreciation, or jealousy, I saw… fear? And… recognition?
No! No! No! No! No! Some weird little voice inside my head screamed.
I turned, desperate to see Edward's face and his face told me what I did not want to know.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to kill Tanya and hide her whoring body in that big hole that was soon to be a swimming pool behind Edward's house. And then have a whole truck load of concrete poured on top of her dead, cheating ass.
I did the only thing I could do. Without looking at Tanya's vomit-inducing face, I reached for Raine and buried my face in her sweet-smelling, fat neck as I kicked off those stupid shoes and walked towards the toy closet. As I bent down and helped Jack pull out his toys, a lump formed in my throat.
"Truh? Truh?" he repeated over and over excitedly as he started pulling all of the toys out and throwing them on the floor behind him. I focused on Jack, noisy Jack, and tried not to think of… them. I blinked back the tears and prayed for them to go away because I did not want to cry in front of Edward.
I played with Jack for a few minutes until I heard the door close. Maybe they left together. I took a quick peek behind me, and Edward remained, standing there with a strange expression on his face. I stood, keeping my back to him. I had to hold it together until he left. Then I could cry until the cows came home.
I didn't even look at him. I couldn't. "I'll see you later," I mumbled before I took off towards the kitchen, ready to bury my face in something cold from the freezer… vodka, ice cream? Damn it, I didn't have any vodka.
"Wait," he called out. "What are you talking about?"
With Raine on my hip, I ignored him and barefooted it to the kitchen where I opened the dishwasher and started putting dishes away. I had problems with scrubbing and cleaning things when I got upset or anxious. I decided that after I emptied the dishwasher, I could start scouring the oven.
"Bella, what's going on? I thought you agreed to our deal. I don't understand."
"Deal? Oh, the deal disappeared once I realized she was one of your six."
"Six?" he repeated, his brows creased.
"That's right. I'm not stupid. Now, please just go. I can't handle this right now."
He grabbed my arm. "Look at me," he said.
"No." My eyes stayed glued to the clean coffee mug in my hand.
"Bella, please look at me," he said softly.
I sighed and looked up.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Have you had relations with Tanya?"
"What? No, of course not. Why would you think that?"
"I saw how you two were looking at each other. She knew you, Edward. The only men that Tanya knows are men that Tanya knows…"
"I have never touched that woman and I'd never even met her until a second ago. But I've seen her before, all right?"
My eyes narrowed as I shifted Raine on my hip. "What do you mean?"
He looked off to the side, his face torn. He rubbed the back of his neck and loosened his tie. "I don't think I should – "
"Spill it, now."
"Well, it's probably nothing, but… I went to meet my dad for lunch a while back because we had some business to discuss and I - interrupted - him and her in the hallway. They were arguing and... I could tell it had nothing to do with work."
My mouth fell open. "Tanya's having an affair with your dad?"
"I don't know. I'm just telling you what I saw."
"Is your dad a man whore?"
"No. He's married to my mom."
"Oh my god. That slimy, despicable, home-wrecking ho," I said as I dropped the mug on the counter and sank into a chair.
Closing my eyes, my lips found Raine's sweet, soft cheek. "I am so sorry for talking bad about your momma," I murmured.
Edward sat down opposite me. "Maybe it was innocent," he offered. "I don't know."
"Oh, no. Tanya is never innocent."
I stared at Edward for a minute. "So you've never touched her, never been with her...?"
"Never, I swear to you."
A slow, huge, relieved smile stretched across my face. I hugged Raine tight against me. She had a hold of Alice's necklace, trying to eat it. "Oh, thank god, thank god, thank god," I chanted before I looked up at the ceiling of my kitchen. "Thank you, God!" I shouted joyously.
I looked back at Edward and he just sat there grinning. "I am so happy that you were never with her," I said. "You have no idea."
He smirked. "Is it because you want me all to yourself?"
"Yes... well, maybe... I mean probably... Oh, I don't care, yes," I said like a crazy person and he started laughing.
Jack flew into the kitchen and plopped a truck right in Edward's lap, very close to his nuts. Luckily, Edward reacted fast by shielding them with his hands. "That was a close one," he mumbled as he picked up the truck.
"Truh?" Jack asked as he tried to climb Edward's lap like a tree, grabbing little fistfuls of his Gucci suit and wallering all over him.
"Oh, no, Jack," I said as I tried to reach for him, but couldn't because of Raine who continued gurgling and gnawing on Alice's necklace. I felt some of her slobber slip down into my cleavage. "Don't mess up Edward's suit."
Jack ignored me and continued trying to summit Mount Edward. "Jack? Do you want a Band-Aid?"
He turned quick, the blond curls on his head bouncing adorably around his chubby face. "Bob-bob?" he asked as he ran towards the cabinet where I kept them.
I followed him and pulled out the box. "Do you want to go change and come back?" I asked Edward as I handed Jack a Band-Aid.
Edward stood and leaned against the counter. "We still have a deal, right?" he asked with a smile.
"Ah, the kiss. I have to admit I've never planned or made a kiss deal before. This is a first for me."
He chuckled. "Me too," he said before lowering his voice. "I can hardly wait."
Smiling, I closed the dishwasher. "You really don't have to babysit with me. They'll be going to sleep in about an hour or so. I could call you later, after…"
His eyes dipped to my wet cleavage. "I don't want to leave," he murmured to my boobs.
My boobs didn't want him to leave either. And the few steps to his house seemed far, far away.
I let my eyes roam over him as he stood there, appreciating my boobs, and looking so handsome and dapper in that suit. That Gucci suit. Then my eyes widened. "Wait. You can't stay here in that suit. You've never been around kids before. Trust me, in five minutes you'll have to throw it away. Or burn it."
I looked down at my dress and groaned, remembering that hefty price tag. "As a matter of fact, I need to run upstairs and get out of this dress before something terrible happens to it."
I glanced back up at him. "What?"
"You are not taking that dress off…" he said, his voice low and rumbly, "…yet. Keep it on. I'll buy you a new one later."
My heart raced so fast. "But, we'd be more comfortable in jeans – "
"No. The way you look, Bella…" he said, his voice trailing off. His voice, those eyes… they told me, without words, exactly how I looked to him.
Several hours later, I sat on the couch emotionally and physically exhausted with my bare feet up on the coffee table and Raine fast asleep on my chest. Still wearing, of course, my fancy wrap dress that Edward had insisted on, only now dotted with slobber and other things I didn't want to think about.
It had been an eventful several hours to say the least. Edward managed to get smacked in the temple with a school bus, poked in the eye with a plastic sword, and hit in the sack by Buzz Lightyear. Raine refused to go to sleep because of her achy gums and screamed for twenty minutes straight.
But the moment to beat all moments happened right after Edward got hit in the head with the bus. He had Jack in his lap when suddenly Jack sneezed and two giant streams of snot shot out of his nostrils and hung there like dangling gummy worms from his little nose. Edward yelled out, in fear, kind of a man shout and actually quite loudly. He then looked like he wanted to curl up in the fetal position and suck his thumb. But I had fast reflexes and snatched the snot up with a Kleenex before a drop of it ended up on that suit of his.
Once he recovered from the trauma, we laughed and laughed until we both had tears in our eyes and my stomach ached.
With my head resting against the back of the couch, I turned towards Edward. His jacket and tie had been removed. He'd unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt and untucked it. The expensive shoes were gone and his dark socked feet were propped up on the coffee table like mine. Jack lay on his chest sleeping with Woody cuddled up under his arm.
He turned his head towards me and grinned. I grinned back and tried to ignore the three SpongeBob Band-Aids that Jack had put on his face. One on his cheek, one in the middle of his forehead, and one on his chin. I had a matching set on my face, just in differing locales.
We sat there for the longest time, not saying a word, just staring at each other and grinning.
"I'm going to go put her in bed," I finally whispered.
He nodded, still smiling.
I carried Raine upstairs and tucked her in her crib. When I got back downstairs, my breath caught in my throat when I saw Edward brushing Jack's curls away from his face.
He had never looked more beautiful to me.
I leaned down to pick up Jack and forgot about my plunging neckline. Edward's eyes lingered on it for a moment before his dark eyes found mine. I swallowed hard.
Our bodies grazed each other as I picked Jack up from his chest. I didn't go upstairs. Instead, I gently laid him on the couch, tucking a pillow beside him.
Edward sat up and I slipped onto his lap, straddling him, my hands on his face, touching him, touching SpongeBob. His hands slid up my silky, dress-covered thighs until they found my ass, pulling me closer. Everywhere his fingertips touched, sparks flew and wildfires erupted, leaving my skin hot and tingly.
My mouth gaped, my breathing labored as I stared at his lips. I wet mine and moved closer until they were just a breath away. So close, but not touching. I could feel his hot, warm breath against my skin. I could almost taste it. My eyelids grew heavy until they closed and I moved in, my lips finding his, so soft and supple. He groaned, his mouth hot and wet as it moved hard against mine. I could feel his desperation, and it matched my own.
My hands dove into the back of his soft hair and I scooted closer, feeling him hard beneath me. He sat up higher and slid his hand into my hair, pressing me closer as his tongue entered my mouth. Our mouths fought, harsh and needy, unsatisfied, desperate for more, searching. He sucked my lower lip into his mouth before his mouth covered mine again, consuming me, taking me under.
He stood and I clung to him, my legs wrapping around his waist before he dropped me gently to the floor between the couch and the coffee table, his mouth never leaving mine.
I felt alive, on fire, yet starved like I couldn't get enough. Like I could never get enough of him. Like I would always want more. Pulling away, his mouth moved to my neck and he breathed my name into my skin before his mouth found mine again, punishing in its intensity. I could feel him hard and thick between my legs and he moved, slightly, rubbing against my center and I inhaled sharply. Pressing myself up against him, he groaned and began thrusting, rubbing with just the right amount of friction, pushing me to the brink.
His hand slid up underneath my dress and along my bare thigh and within moments, I tipped over the edge and fell, as bursts of puffy, silent screams ruptured from my mouth. Edward smothered them, swallowed them whole, with his lips and mouth.
And then it happened.
Yanking his mouth from mine, he reared his head back as he thrust rougher against me, and Edward came.
In his Gucci pants.
His body collapsed on mine and he dropped his face into my neck, panting against my skin. I held him close. I never wanted to let him go.
After a moment, he raised his head and stared down at me and when I looked up into his smiley, flushed face covered in SpongeBob Band-Aids, I had a revelation.
I'd just experienced the most astounding first kiss ever.
One that could never be replicated in a book.
One that far exceeded some stupid, ridiculous fairy tale.
Because this first kiss brought with it something unexpected.
I loved him.
I loved Edward with every fiber of my being.
And for the very first time, I could feel that unexplainable, inexplicable, magical something blooming inside of me.
I had finally found in him that something "more" I'd always been looking for.
And I understood now.
Yes, I understood.