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Continuation of chapter two 'Today'.
"Bella? Bella Swan?"
I held my breath as I took in her appearance. Her long, wavy hair was a tangled mess, sticking to her face and body from her glistening sweat. Her lazy eyes could barely meet mine as the guy she held on to for dear life openly groped her in the middle of the bar.
"Yes?" Bella slurred, not recognizing me at all. Or, at least, pretending not to.
"It's Edward, from work," I said lamely, realizing she probably didn't even know my name. I'd been her manager for one day and managed to upset her, causing a scene at work amongst the other employees.
No one had seen her after that day and I'd recently left a voice mail on her phone to let her know she had been fired. She'd failed to call in or show up to work for the past two weeks so it only made sense. But now, as she stood in front of me, I had to wonder what the reason was as to why she'd been MIA.
I was pulled out of my thoughts as she threw her head back, laughed, and downed the drink that was handed to her.
"I don't know anyone named Edward. Do you know anyone named Edward, Alec?" she asked the guy standing next to her.
"Not at fucking all." The guy, Alec, smiled disgustingly at me and turned away, bringing his lips to Bella's neck.
I narrowed my eyes and watched her giggle as she playfully tried to push him away. He looked at me once more before walking away, towing Bella behind him.
"Hey. Wait." I tried grabbing his arm to stop him from leaving with Bella, only to have him lunge forward.
"Fuck, dude. What's your problem? Girl says she doesn't know you!"
"Yeah. I don't know you. So, back the fuck up." Bella poked me in the chest with her last word and I grabbed her wrist before she could pull away.
"Where's Riley?" I asked in a low voice which only caused her to laugh harder. "I'm taking you home. Let's go."
"That's a little forward of you, isn't it?" She rolled her eyes and waved goodbye to Alec as I pushed my way through the crowd, keeping my grip around her wrist.
I tried to shake off the nagging fact that the guy she was with didn't even blink twice about her walking out of the bar with a strange man she claimed she didn't know. He obviously wasn't her friend. He obviously just wanted to fuck her. Or maybe he already had, hence the reason why he didn't care that I forced her to leave with me.
The bitter cold knocked the breath out of me as we exited the bar. Without saying a word, I stormed off down the sidewalk. Her hiccups trailed behind me along with the tapping of her heels on the pavement.
About halfway to my car, I leaned against a convenient store window and pulled out a cigarette. Bella shivered; her breath floating in front of her. She stood quietly next to me as I flicked my lighter.
"Edward, right?" Her voice was soft as she stared at my face, finally letting herself recognize me.
"Hi," I said in between inhaling and exhaling.
She ran to a nearby trashcan but missed completely and puked to the side. I could see from where I was that she had nothing of substance in her stomach. Bella whimpered, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, and walked back over towards me.
I sighed and flicked the cigarette, crushing it between my shoe and the pavement.
"Come on. I'll take you home."
I let her lean on me as we walked to my car, which luckily wasn't much further. She practically fell into the passenger seat and I motioned for her to buckle the seat belt before slamming the passenger door. I took a moment to collect myself before entering the car.
"Bella." I shook her shoulder. "Bella, wake up. I need you to tell me where to take you."
She gave me nothing except a soft snore.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," I chanted over and over again as I drove to my apartment.
After I pulled into the parking lot, I kept the car running and let the heat fill the car as I stared at her sleeping form. I cursed again and exited the car before carefully opening the passenger door. I wrapped her arm over my shoulder and held on to her waist as I helped her out of the car and into my apartment.
She slightly woke as I sat her on the couch, quickly pulling my hands away from her waist.
"Uh. Can I call someone for you?" I asked as I walked into the kitchen to pour her a glass of water. "Riley? Or maybe one of your friends from work?"
"No." Bella shook her head and accepted the glass. "No."
"Can I stay here?" she asked, keeping her eyes on the floor.
"Um. I mean, I can take you home. It's not a problem." I swallowed, gauging her reaction.
"I'd rather not."
"Shitty roommates?" I gave her a small chuckle. She gave nothing in return.
"No. It's not like that."
I let my gaze linger for a moment before walking down the hallway to my bedroom. As I grabbed a pillow from my bed and an extra blanket from the closet, I could hear Bella shuffling around in the living room. When I walked back in, it appeared she was getting ready to walk out the door.
"Hey," I said loudly, causing her to pause. "Bed or couch? Before you choose you should know that the bedroom is warmer but the couch is more comfortable."
She stared at the things in my hands and released her grip on the doorknob. "I can stay?"
"You can stay," I replied.
Thanks for reading.