Story Title: Girls' Night Out
Pen Name: Mina Rivera
Genre: AH, Canon.
Major Pairing: Edward/Bella.
Content Descriptors: Fluff, Humor, Romance.
Summary: Bella only wanted one night of fun, but her best friend had more in store for their night out than Bella bargained for. Cocktails, speed dating, dance clubbing and car crashes? "What the hell was Alice thinking?" Written for the PTB Back to School Fundraiser.
Dedication: I dedicate this o/s to my gals on facebook for always supplying the amazing fics to read. To my lovely betas, LaMomo and Eifeltwr, for always being honest with me and having their red pens at the ready when I needed them. And last, but not least, to MizzKingAtYourService for making a kick ass banner for me and having the patience of a saint during the whole process! You girls are the reason why I enjoy this part of my life so much!
Girls' Night Out
"Oh my God! I'm so close to cutting someone today!" I hissed as I stepped foot inside my office.
"You need to relax Bella. Not everyone here is out to get you," said my overly confident, yet annoying best friend and assistant Alice.
I glared at her from where she was sitting on my chair with her feet propped up on my desk.
She sighed with an eye roll, but luckily for her she stood up quickly.
"So, what did he do today?" asked Alice as she sat in one of the chairs on the other side of my desk.
I kicked off my heels or death traps -as I like to call them- and plopped down on my leather chair with a huff.
"He said that the graphics were poorly developed and that I needed to exchange it for something more modern."
"Again?" Alice raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
I huffed, "Yes, again."
Alice raised her hands in surrender, "What is up with this guy?"
"He is an asshole," I stated with certainty.
Alice snorted, "Well, that's a given!"
I let lose my ponytail and tried to massage my neck, the stress was killing me. "I'm so close to telling him to go fuck himself with a pineapple up his ass, and give the account to Makenna. She is dying to get her hands on this account."
"Or more likely on the client's cock."
We both sighed. Makenna Nichols was known for sleeping with her clients to gain favor and one or two sugar daddies. When I joined Cullen & Cullen, my uncle Carlisle's and his son Emmett's software company, I started as junior developer working under Makenna.
Luckily for me, I landed a pretty good account, thanks to my step-sister Rosalie, and was promoted in no time. Three years later, I was now in charge of the top accounts, which, of course, pissed Makenna off.
"Bella, Carlisle trusted you with this because you are the best programmer AND graphic designer in the company, I'm sure you can crack this client."
I sighed; she had a point. "Sometimes I wish you'd just bitch and whine with me, and for once forget to be the voice of logic and reason."
Alice giggled and made her way out of my office, but before she closed the door she bellowed, "Someone needs to keep their head in place. God forbid we all succumb to Mr. Masen's nagging and demands."
Her laughter rang out as she closed the door.
I threw one of the death traps at it.
"Those are Jimmy Choo's, Bella!" screeched Alice when she apparently heard the 'thud' of my shoe against the door.
"Well, they're mine now, and I'll do whatever I want with them!" I shouted back.
I sighed and picked the shoe up off the floor, noticing the new tiny scuff on the heel. Thank God I had purchased my own polishing kit; otherwise, Alice would have my head if she ever saw this.
I sank down in my chair again and leaned back, thinking.
Alice was right; I needed to let it go for a while. I had been abusing my poor shoe collection lately and all thanks to that… prick!
I should have asked for a raise four months ago.
That was when I found out that M&W Advertisement had a major website crash for the second time in a year and that their custom software wasn't better than a bunch of amateurs' work. And all thanks to my friend Jessica, who was working there as a secretary and was constantly calling me with complaints about not been able to access their clients database.
I knew I would have the opportunity of a lifetime with this account. So, I approached my dear uncle Carlisle, and told him about presenting M&W a new software and website design. Carlisle was impressed with my work and since he was friends with George Whitlock, half owner of M&W, he knew we had a chance to make it work.
We were right.
They hired us and we worked with their tech team and art department. The project was well underway, but there was this little hiccup that always seemed to be setting us a step back.
I had expected to battle the tech team when I proposed a change of configuration on their servers, which was neither an easy or cheap thing to do, but I managed to convince them and they were now really happy with that. What I never expected was having to battle for the stupid design at every single meeting with no other than Edward Masen, the other owner of M&W.
The colors are too cold.
That's what he said when I presented a draft of the software. Key word: draft. Of course I kept quiet and continued my presentation, enunciating the word draft every chance I got.
I don't like the font.
Well, maybe because he was looking at a code presentation? By then, I had taken to releasing my frustration on my shoes when I got back to my office.
There are too many pop-up screens.
Well, I had to agree with him on that.
Alice almost murdered me for what I did to my shoes that day.
Why can't I just keep my session on?
Because it was not safe and anyone could come into his office and steal his portfolio!
Seriously! What the hell was wrong with this guy?
I was going to go prematurely gray thanks to him.
I was tired of his shit. Every single day it was the same old story; Mr. Masen always found something to bitch and complain about. I was beyond sick of him. I had never met a 35 year old man who complained as much as he did. Not even guys my age complained as much as he did, and most 25 year old guys I'd met were like fucking babies!
Fortunately, tonight was my night off and I was going to let myself go. My step-sister Rosalie was in town and we were going on a girls' night out.
I was going to look smoking hot, wearing a sexy dress and no death traps.
Tonight I would be throwing all my worries away.
So, fuck the stress, fuck meetings, fuck Jimmy Choo.
And fuck the annoying bastard that was Edward Masen.
I turned in the middle of the crowded airport and saw Rosalie strutting her way from baggage claim.
Of course, every single guy did a double take as she walked by.
Rosalie was tall, curvaceous and beautiful, with her dark blond hair, sparkling ice blue eyes and the confidence of a super model on a runway. She could make every single man around want her with just a bat of her eyelashes.
I swear Rosalie could be hired by a chiropractor; she'd walk past his office, give the guys whiplash and then they could make a beeline for the good doctor.
She would be a millionaire in no time!
"Rosalie!" I squealed, hugging the shit out of her, "Don't leave me for such a long time, ever again."
Rosalie sighed and rolled her eyes, "Whatever, I'll give you three months before you start –not so subtly- asking me for my new travelling plans."
It was true, though. Rosalie was great company, but in small doses. Pair her with Alice and I swear those two should have a designated parking spot at the mall.
Fortunately (for me), Rosalie's job as an architect made her stays short. In a couple of months, she'd find a new project, either here in the States or Europe, and she would leave for long periods of times. In fact, it had been almost a year since I saw her last. She had supervised a project to build schools in Africa for a rich software mogul's foundation and just finished the last school in Nigeria.
During the ride home, we talked about her work in Africa and how she was going to spend the next couple of months here in New York with me. She was excited to attend fashion week with Alice, an event that I was also being dragged to. We talked about visiting Dad for Thanksgiving and then spending Christmas with Mom.
"So, what's this I hear about a certain man named Masen being a pain in your ass?"
I had expected her questioning to start at the airport, so she completely caught me off guard when she asked me as soon as we got to my apartment.
"God! Alice couldn't keep her mouth shut, could she?" I asked exasperated as I helped Rosalie take her bags to the guest bedroom.
Rosalie snorted and quirked an eyebrow, "Seriously, little sis," she dropped her carry-on on the bed, "what's up with this guy, is he constipated or something?"
"I have no idea, Rose, but he is always finding something to complain about."
Rosalie looked me over, her lips pursed in deep thought.
I fidgeted under her scrutiny. "What is it? You're creeping me out, Rose."
"Do you still blush when you are frustrated and angry?"
"Okay, random question."
Rosalie sat on the bed, "Just answer me."
I sat next to her, our backs against the cushioned headboard. "You know I do!"
Rosalie smirked, "That's what I thought."
"What are you talking about Rose? And what does this have to do with Masen constipated and assholish ways?"
"Let's forget about him, Bells! Tonight will be all about us!"
I rolled my eyes, whatever she must've been thinking seemed to be not really that much of a big deal, so, I dropped it.
"Well, Alice has the evening all planned out. We will meet her for a late lunch at four and then… Who knows?"
"Fuck yeah! I can't wait!"
"You have to be fucking kidding me!"
"C'mon Bella, it will be fun!"
"Fun my ass! I'm not doing this."
Alice huffed, "Bella, you haven't gotten laid in… God, I don't remember!"
I blushed crimson.
"Seriously?" asked Rosalie next to me.
I glared at them, "It's only been three months!"
Alice rolled her eyes, "Exactly why we need to do this. We might get lucky!"
"Lucky? Doing speed dating? Are you out of your freaking mind? Have I overworked you so much that the last screw in your little head finally popped free?"
Alice hit me on the shoulder, I hit her back, and in seconds we were pretty close to pulling each other's hair.
"Oh, cut it out, you two!" Rosalie splits us apart, "You are like children, I swear!"
Alice composed herself, "Don't be mean, Bella. It will be fun! Besides, you know I wouldn't bring you to just any speed dating. All the people here are between the ages of 20 to 35, and all are either in college or employed. So, there won't be unemployed and untrustworthy losers," she said looking in Rosalie's direction, "nor comic book collector geeks that still live in their mothers' basements," she practically growled looking at the floor.
"Okaaaay…." Rosalie and I said, seeing the fired up determination in Alice's eyes.
Poor gal, that Seth guy really did a number on her.
"Okay. So, we need to sign up and grab a number. Let's go!" Alice linked our arms and we made our way towards the building.
Oh boy… what have I gotten myself into?
"You can't call next, Rosalie," I murmured in her ear.
She turned around and glared at me. "Watch me… FUCKING NEXT!"
I sighed as I turned back to the guy in front of me, who was still talking about puppies.
Why the fuck was he talking about dogs?
Oh right! He was a veterinarian.
Rose had been doing this the whole night; the guys would come to her table, shake her hand, say hello and she was screaming "Next" six seconds later.
"Rosalie, you need to wait for the five minutes to finish," hissed Alice on her other side, clearly fed up with Rosalie's behavior.
Rosalie stood up and glared at her, "This was a stupid idea. Bella was right, what the hell were you thinking, Alice?"
Alice stood up so fast that her table almost toppled over. "Well, excuse me for trying to meet new people! It's not my fault that the guys here are not Emmett Cullen!"
Oh no… she didn't…
Rosalie and Emmett had dated back in high school, but had broken up during their freshman year of college. Rosalie couldn't handle the long distance relationship. She was attending Cornell and Emmett was at Berkley. Rosalie had broken up with him over the phone and spent three months without dating anyone, until she found out that Emmett was dating a slut named Irina, which was in fact a stupid plan to make Rosalie jealous. The plan backfired and he pretty much blew all chances of getting back together after that stunt.
Of course, that didn't mean Rosalie ever got over him.
Rosalie stood at her full height and glared the fuck out of Alice. "Well, you are no better, Alice. Every single guy that sits at your table leaves with a fucking list of items they can buy to improve their wardrobe, hairstyle and skin complexion!"
"Hey! I'm doing them a favor!"
"Well, then excuse them by not being as fashionable as Jasper Whitlock!"
Alice gasped and sat back down like she had been slapped.
I had had my suspicions for a long time of Alice having a thing for Jasper Whitlock, George Whitlock's son and CFO of M&W Advertisement.
I guess I was right with more than I thought.
I stood up, my eyes trained on Rosalie; her back to me, so I didn't know what kind of expression she was wearing. I quickly picked up my purse, Rose's and Allie's and dragged them both by the elbow out of that place. Rosalie hadn't spoken a word more and Alice was looking like she was going to get sick any minute now.
Once outside, I faced the two of them. "What the fuck was that?"
"She started!" they both pointed at each other and yelled at the same time.
I threw my hands up in exasperation, "Jesus fucking Christ, we were supposed to be having a blast..."
"We would be, if Alice didn't feel the need to plan every little thing!" yelled Rosalie.
Alice glared at her, "Well, excuse me for trying to make this a fun night."
Rosalie scoffed, "Please, you wouldn't know what fun is if it hit you in straight in the face."
Alice gasped, "What did you just say?"
Alice stepped closer to Rosalie, face murderous and hands on hips.
Rosalie stood at her full height once more, trying to intimidate her, "Fun, is going out with your friends and having a fabulous dinner. Fun, is drinking martinis during happy hour. Fun, is dancing with hot guys in a club. Speed dating is NOT fun!"
Startled, Rosalie and Alice jumped at my outburst and looked at me like they didn't know who I was.
"I'm tired of all your whining and bitching. Lately that's all I've been hearing in my life and I'm so fucking sick of it!" I hissed and grabbed the two of them by the elbow and dragged them to the car. "So this is what we are going to do. We are going to go to one of our favorite restaurants, have a delicious dinner, and drink cocktails during happy hour and then we will go to a club and dance all fucking night long. Got it?"
"Yes," they both answered, luckily for them.
"Good, now get in the fucking car."
Once inside the car, they started right back up again with their bickering.
They were giving me a fucking headache.
This was supposed to be a night of fun and laughter, now they couldn't stop whining about everything!
"You should have thought better, Alice."
"It's not my fault you are so demanding, Rosalie."
"Look who is talking, Miss High Fashion?"
"Oh give me a break, what's wrong with wanting my man well dressed."
"Not everyone can afford high couture, Alice. You are such a snob sometimes!"
"You are such a bitch all the time!"
"CUT IT OUT!" I screamed and at the same time stomped my foot to what I thought was the brake.
It was actually the accelerator.
The car jerked back, all of us screaming until we rammed into a SUV.
The airbag popped and everything went quiet.
"Oh my God! Are you alright?" yelled someone from outside.
I swatted the airbag out of my face and climbed out of the car, the impact wasn't that hard and the girls were safe in the back.
"We're fine. Are you alright, sir?" I asked the man inside the SUV. He was older, probably in his fifties. Luckily he didn't look pissed or mad; only worried.
"I am fine, child."
"I'm so sorry, it was my fault. Please allow me to pay for the damages."
"It's okay, I'm covered. I'm just concerned, it was so fast. Are you sure you and your friends are okay."
He was such a sweet man, "Yes, we are fine." I took a card out of my purse, "Here, give me a call and I'll pay for the damages and forgive me for causing so much trouble."
"Child, everything is fine. Save your money for your little car, it looks you are going to have to call a tow truck."
I looked back at my car and groaned. It was a wreck. My poor mini cooper didn't stand a chance against his SUV.
The girls climbed out of the car with remorse looks on their faces.
"We are so sorry, Bella," said Alice, hugging me from my right side.
"We'll help you pay for the repair," added Rosalie, patting my shoulder.
I sighed and rubbed my face. "Let's just call AAA and go eat."
"Are you sure?" asked Rosalie.
"Yeah, I could eat something, and maybe a few drinks will wash away this shitty night."
"Okay, but I'll buy dinner," said Alice taking her cell from her pocket and calling the tow truck.
Rosalie took my hand and squeezed in support, "And I'll buy the drinks, Bells. It's the least we could do."
I nodded and sent a prayer to God, hoping nothing else went wrong.
The scrape of the plates and the chatter in the restaurant where the only sounds that you could hear from our table.
Once AAA towed my lovely car away, we went to Alice's place to pick up hers so we wouldn't depend on cabs for the rest of the night.
As I had asked, we came to the restaurant right after that. Once as we were seated, we ordered our favorites and sat down to eat.
Rosalie and Alice made up on the way here and were playing nice so far. I had barely spoken a word since I practically rammed up against that poor guy's car. I still felt like shit about it. It wasn't like I was embarrassed or anything. I was just deflated.
Was it too much to ask for a night of mindless fun and for it to be stress free?
"Well, look what we have here…"
I guess it was…
FUCK MY LIFE!
Alice gulped the sip of wine she was drinking.
Rosalie dropped her cutlery.
My eye twitched.
"Mr. Masen!" Alice squeaked and then cleared her throat, "What a pleasant surprise!"
Pleasant my ass…
"Ms. Brandon," he greeted her with a kiss on the back of her hand, and then turned to look at me, "and Miss… Swan, correct?"
I hummed, to busy biting my tongue and stopping myself from calling him a few choices of names.
Rosalie on the other hand, didn't have a problem with it.
"Holy Shit! You really are a prick!"
Alice gasped and I groaned, hiding my face behind my hands.
Mr. Masen chuckled, "You must be Rosalie. Emmett was right, you are a firecracker!"
"You know Emmett?" Rosalie asked trying to sound uninterested, but failing miserably.
"Yes, in fact, he's here with me and Jasper. We were having a boys' night."
Alice perked up, "Jasper Whitlock?"
Mr. Masen hummed and nodded, "They are at the bar. We decided to get some drinks before dinner, but then I saw you ladies and thought to stop by and say 'hi'."
"You know what, I'm in the mood for a martini," said Rosalie standing up and grabbing her purse.
"I'll go with you," said Alice also standing up.
"No, you are not!" I hissed and yanked them back to their seats by the hand. "We are eating our dinner, remember?"
"It's just a drink, Bella," said Rosalie in a sugary tone, prying my hand off hers.
"Yes, will bring you a scotch on the rocks, just how you like it," Alice smiled and stood too quickly.
They both left me sitting at the table with Mr. Masen looking amused.
"May I sit?" he asked and sat down in front of me without waiting for an answer.
"Sure, why not?" I mumbled, taking a gulp of my wine.
"It seems your friends are really interested in mine," he said with a cocky grin.
God, I hate him…
"Well, Emmett is in fact my cousin, and Jasper and I have known each other since we were in high school, Mr. Masen."
He leaned in, setting his clasped hands on top of the table, "You may call me Edward, Isabella. We are not at work, after all," he grinned, ogling my cleavage.
My eye twitched, again. This man was unbelievable!
How dare he ogle me like that after the horrible sleepless nights and the constant nagging he had made me endure?
And the way he said my name…
I was aware that he spoke several languages, and my name came out in the perfect Italian accent that made me think of luscious red wine, dark sweet chocolate, decadence and sex.
I loved it and hated it at the same time.
What a fucking asshole!
I gritted my teeth, "And you may call me Ms. Swan, Mr. Masen, since I don't know you at all."
I quickly flagged a waiter and asked for the check.
He chuckled, "Why this hostility all of a sudden?"
Unbelievable! This man really knew how to push my buttons! I was this close to tell him to fuck off and shove his pretentiousness up his ass, but I reined it in. I couldn't behave like that with a client, my uncle Carlisle had taught me better.
"Mr. Masen¸ like you said, we are not at work," I stood up, dropping my napkin on the table, "therefore, I don't have to play nice with you." I took my purse and drop money on the table. "So I'll just leave you here and wish for you to enjoy your evening."
I needed to get out of there as fast as I could, before I said something that I would regret. I turned around and then I felt him grab my arm. I looked back at him in disbelief.
He let go of me and raise his hands in surrender, "Isabella, wait. I just-"
"Look, Mr. Masen-"
"Please, call me Edward."
I took a deep breath trying to calm down, "Mr. Masen, I love my job and I love the company I work for. My uncle Carlisle is a great man, and I would never, ever disrespect a client because of him." I said, putting on my coat, "I hope you enjoy your evening, Mr. Masen. I'll see you on Monday with the new design you asked for, yet again."
I turned around and walked out without looking back.
I spotted Rosalie and Alice at the bar, both of them in deep conversation with Emmett and Jasper respectively. As I made my way around the bar, they both spotted me leaving and made a motion for me to wait for them. I shook my head, and with my eyes told them to stay. Yet, they stood up and said goodbye to the guys.
"What do you girls say if we go to Papagayo's?" asked Rosalie once we were outside the restaurant.
I had always loved that club. The only reason why Rosalie asked to go there, when she had no idea how to dance salsa, was because she was trying to cheer me up. I had learned 'dirty dancing' back in college. After every other single sport for my PhysEd requirement turned out to be a catastrophe, I took Latin dance as my last resource.
I had never had so much fun in a class in my entire life. That class helped me improve my balance, my coordination and gave some killer legs.
During a night out, I found Papagayo's and ever since then, I often went there to blow off some steam and dance until my legs fell off. I smiled at Rosalie, gave her a sideways hug and nodded.
"Perfect!" squealed Alice.
"Let's get dirty!" exclaimed Rosalie.
Juliana que mala eres, que mala eres Juliana…
Santiago, my dark, tall and handsome dance partner, twirled me around the dance floor as the beat of the song increased.
Te escribo esta carta Juliana para que sepas de mí
y sepas como me encuentro solo por tenerte a ti.
I felt free, graceful and beautiful. I felt like I was flying.
Of course, the three mojitos and two shots of Patron might have had something to do with it as well.
Porque por ti estaba ciego y mira como me pagas.
Juliana que mala eres, que mala eres Juliana…
Rosalie was sitting surrounded by three guys at our table, all of them trying to convince her to dance. A few feet from her, Alice was learning to dance from the most flamboyant and fashionable Hispanic guy in the club.
Y yo aquí en Santo Domingo quede, tu amor esperando.
Hasta ayer que me contaron que con otro te has casado.
Santiago picked me up and turned in a circle, he put me back down and we exchanged couples inside the ronda. The other dancer was at least in his forties, but was a complete gentleman until he sent me back into Santiago's arms with a flourish.
Juliana que mala, que mala…
Te entregue todo de mí y ahora me engañas.
Juliana used to be an innocent, pretty girlie,
but her ways are too corrupt and dirty.
Juliana que mala, que mala es Juliana… Que mala eres… Ayyyyy...
Santiago twirled me once more before dipping me low as the song came to a close. I kissed his cheek and thanked him for the dance; in return, he gave me his phone number asked me to call him.
I walked back to the table at the same time as Alice. Rosalie, seeing me head towards her, shooed the guys that surrounded her away.
"He was cute, Bella. Did you get his number?" asked Rosalie as she flagged a waiter and ordered another round of mojitos.
I showed her the card between my fingers and then put it inside my purse.
Alice squealed and raised her glass, "To a night of fun hot guys!" she sort of slurred.
"Okay, no more drinks for Alice!" I laughed; Rosalie joined me when we heard Alice tried to plead her case.
"Do you thought I drunk?"
"No, Allie. I think you are drunk."
"Pffft… I want more doritos."
I bit my lip hard, trying to not laugh at her.
Rosalie snorted, "Don't you mean, mojitos?"
Suddenly, something caught my eyes. Right then, Jasper and Emmett walked inside the club, with Mr. Masen in tow.
"Shit!" I hissed.
"What?" Rosalie asked as she turned to see what I was looking at.
Alice was too busy sucking up a lime to notice what we were doing.
"That!" I pointed to the entrance.
"Oh boy…," Rosalie sighed.
"What's wrong, Bells?"" Alice asked when she realized we were no longer toasting nor laughing.
"Well, it seems I can't catch a break," I sighed and drank another shot of tequila.
Rosalie rubbed my shoulder, "I feel like this is my fault."
"What do you mean, Rosalie?"
She bit her lip and shrugged, "I told Emmett we might come here…"
I shook my head, "That doesn't mean you invited them."
"Doesn't matter." I picked up my purse and stood up, "I need to pee."
I went to the bathroom and freshened up a bit before going back to the table. When I spotted it, I knew my night was not going to end well, because there he was.
Mr. Edward Masen.
Sitting at my table all alone.
I scanned the club and noticed Jasper and Alice at the bar, drinking mugs of what looked like some very strong coffee, from Alice's look of disgust.
At least he is not giving her more mojitos.
Rosalie and Emmett were dancing slowly near a dark corner, which made me smile. Hopefully, this time they'd get it right.
With resignation, I quickly walked up to the table, tossing my purse on top.
I glared right at the man "Are you stalking me?"
"Hello again, Isabella."
There he goes again calling me by my first name… I swear he does just to annoy me.
By the smirk on his face, I would say I was right.
"What are you doing here, Mr. Masen?"
"Please, Isabella, I just want to talk."
He motioned for me to sit in front of him, which I grudgingly did.
"I wanted to apologize."
Thank fucking God I wasn't drinking anything when he said those words, or I would have had mojito coming out of my nose.
"Yes, for crashing in your girls' night and for being an asshole to you at work."
I looked around, expecting Ashton Kutcher to jump out of a corner any minute now.
"Um, Isabella. What are you looking for?"
"The cameras, I feel like I'm being Punk'd."
"I don't know what you are talking about, but I assure you that this is no joke."
I sat back and took a good look at him.
He was handsome, devastatingly so. He was wearing a black shirt, sleeves rolled up to his elbows and showing his well-toned forearms. His hair was not in his usually combed sleek style, but was in a sexy chaos. Alice would have called it sex hair. He was wearing dark washed jeans and leather black loafers.
He looked like sex on legs.
Unfortunately, that fucking arrogant smirk was still on his face.
"Mmm… I might have believed you, if you had dropped the smirk."
I rolled my eyes.
"What really brought this on, Mr. Masen?"
"I really wish you would call me Edward."
I shrugged, deciding not to comment on that one.
Mr. Masen leaned back in his seat, "The reason was because my friends," he said pointing at Emmett and Jasper, "helped me realize what a complete prick I had been to you."
"And here I thought Rosalie was the one to enlighten you," I chuckled to myself.
That comment turned his smirk into a wide grin, and he briefly inclined his head.
"You have a lovely laugh, Isabella. Shame I don't get to hear it often."
"You would, if you took that stick from up your ass during our meetings." I blurted out without thinking.
I guess Alice is not the only one who's had too much to drink.
Surprisingly, Mr. Masen barked out a laugh, throwing his head back and exposing his neck.
Mmm… can I take a bite out of that apple?
"What did you just say?" he asked, the smirk still in place.
Ups! I guess I said that out loud.
"Can I get an apple martini?" I tried to cover my slip.
He chuckled, not believing a word I said, but choosing to play along, "I think you've had enough to drink for tonight, Isabella."
"Why do you say my name like that?"
"You make it sound like dripping chocolate."
Again, my brain filter had left the motherfucking building.
His eyebrows lifted in surprise, giving a good-natured snort.
I mentally face-palm. "I'm sorry-"
"Your name is Italian, so I pronounce it with the proper accent. According to Carlisle, your mother's family comes from Torino, correct?"
I was surprised he knew this much about me, since I was barely a lowly employee that kept fucking up his website design. At least, he'd made me feel like that till now.
Conversation flowed easily then, we talked more about my family and where I went to school. He was very impressed when I told him I'd attended MIT and even had a doctorate from that same institution. I already knew he was a genius of his own, graduating early with a double major in Business and Advertisement from Harvard. After all, he was only a couple of years younger than my uncle Carlisle and they'd met in business school. This brought up the topic of college experiences, not surprised when he confessed being part of a fraternity. He chuckled when I told him so.
"Really, is that obvious that I was in a fraternity?"
"Your cocky attitude and the permanent smirk comes with been a 'greek'." I teased, no longer worried about how he took my honesty, and also taking courage from being a little drunk. Not as much as before, since I'd stopped drinking a while ago, but enough to still have the balls to talk to him so openly.
He laughed and immediately started retelling some of the stunts he'd pulled alongside his 'brothers'.
I found myself surprisingly enjoying Mr. Masen's company. He'd left his cocky and condescending attitude behind right after I accepted his apology.
We were laughing after I told him one of the stunts Rosalie and I pulled on our mother when we were little, when Jasper interrupted us.
"Hey, Bella, I think Alice needs to go home."
I looked behind his back to see poor little Alice asleep against her folded arms on top of the bar.
I nodded, "Would you order us a cab?" I ask him, standing and getting ready to leave.
"I could drive you home." Jasper and I turned to look at Mr. Masen.
"I mean, if that's okay. I haven't really been drinking." he added insecurely.
I wasn't sure if that was a good idea. Alice wanted to crash at my apartment tonight; she always did when Rose was in town so we could all get breakfast together in the morning. From the way Emmett and Rose were dancing right now, I doubt I would see her until tomorrow.
"Um… I'm sure Jasper can drive us, Mr. Masen-"
"Actually," interrupted Jasper, "I've been drinking and I don't think I can drive. Why don't you let Edward take you both and I'm sure he can grab a cab home, right?"
Thanks Jazz, you are a real trooper.
Mr. Masen smiled and took my coat from me, and helped me into it.
While my back was to him, I glared at Jasper, who only shrugged in apology.
At least Jasper had the decency to carry poor Allie to the car. He set her slowly in the back seat and I noticed him pulling her hair back from her face.
He really liked her, too.
Before he left, I hugged him goodbye. "You better ask her out soon, jackass, or I swear I'll kick your ass if you keep stringing her along," I whisper-hissed in his ear.
He chuckled and nodded.
I turned around and Mr. Masen opened my door for me. A true gentleman, and here I thought that kind of men was extinct.
The drive home was quiet, the day's events catching up with us, but surprisingly it wasn't awkward or tense. It was nice. He was nice.
Damn, he really did a 180 in my head, huh?
When we arrived at my house, a brownstone I'd inherited from my parents after they passed away, Mr. Masen helped me get Alice inside. He was nice enough to climb up the stairs and set her in one of the guest bedrooms.
When we came back to the den, I called him a cab.
"Would you like something to drink while you wait?" I asked, trying to play the nice hostess and make my mother proud.
"Water would be fine, if you don't mind."
I shook my head and motioned for him to follow me to the kitchen.
I had a pitcher of iced water with slices of cucumber in my fridge, thanks to Gail, my housekeeper.
I served him a glass and then poured another one for me.
We drank our water in silence, exchanging furtive glances and smiles until we heard the honk of the taxi outside.
"Well, I guess this is it," I lamely said. I considered throwing myself from the second floor window for my stupidity once he was gone.
Thankfully, he just smiled and nodded.
I accompanied him to the front door and thanked him again for helping me out with Alice.
"It was no problem; the important thing is that you girls are safe and home," he said as he put on his coat.
How the hell did he do that?
He could be so infuriating one minute and then and so… dazzling the next.
He was giving me whiplash!
"You know, Mr. Masen. You are truly a mystery to me."
He snorted, "As are you, Ms. Swan."
"It's Isabella for you, at least while we are outside the office."
He opened the door when we heard the cab honk again, "Well, then, have a good night, Isabella."
I stepped closer to him, took a chance to kiss his cheek softly and whispered in his ear, "Good night, Edward."
He shivered and I giggled.
He shook his head and mumbled something that sounded like 'dangerous creature' and hopped into the cab.
I closed the front door and leaned against it.
I guess things were changing for the better after all.
~ two years later ~
"What do you mean the design is too cold? It has all the warm colors in it; it can't be motherfucking cold if it has red and orange in it!"
"All I'm saying it looks too impersonal."
"It's a pharmacy's website, how personal can it be?"
"Don't! I'm tired Mr. Masen, we better leave the design to me, since I'm the one doing all of it!"
I stood up and walked to the back to get some water. He apparently had a death wish, because he followed me and gave me that condescending smile I hated.
"You better wipe that smile off your face before I slap you silly."
He raised his hands in mock surrender, "I know you're a little stressed," I snorted in reply, "but you asked for my opinion."
"Lesson learned. I won't do that again."
He slowly stepped closer to me; gauging my reaction and probably wondering if I was going to bite his head off. He circled his arms around my waist, or as far as he could in my state.
"Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight?" he asked in the tone of voice that melted me from the inside.
Smooth sexy man.
"Oh… you are dangerous, Mr. Masen."
He chuckled and kissed that spot behind my ear that made my knees weak, "And you, Mrs. Masen, are my everything."
Cue swoon and blush.
I still couldn't believe it'd only been two years since that horrible night out with the girls.
Who knew things could change so much in such a short amount of time?
One month after I finished the website for M&W Advertisement without any other complaints from Edward, he asked me out. I said yes and we dated for about six months before he popped the question.
To say I was surprised would have been the understatement of the century.
I was so freaking surprised, that I panicked and said no, breaking both of our hearts in that moment.
I thought he was going to dump my ass right then and there, but he was patient with me, and two months later, during a trip to Paris, I proposed to him.
And he said yes.
Our wedding was supposed to be the event of the year, but my uncle Carlisle was diagnosed with cancer and it didn't feel right to have a big celebration when his days were numbered.
So, with the help of Rose and Allie, we put together a wedding with our closest friends and family in less than a month. The wedding was held in my parents' beach home at the Hamptons. Carlisle walked me down the aisle in place of my dear dad and gave me away at my wedding.
It was perfect.
Unfortunately, one month later, my uncle lost the battle to cancer and passed away in his sleep.
It was during that time that Rosalie became Emmett's pillar of strength, and helped him out through that sad period of time.
Emmett asked Rosalie to marry him two months later. She said yes.
They were now living in Chicago with three kids and a dog.
Alice and Jasper, on the other hand, were another story.
After the night out, Jasper took Alice to a proper date next Friday. No one heard from them throughout the whole weekend. On Monday morning, Alice arrived with a big rock on her ring finger and a new last name. Yep, they'd gone to Las Vegas for their first date and ended up getting hitched in front of Elvis and had spent the rest of the weekend locked up in their suite at The Venetian.
Surprisingly, Jasper's parents took their elopement pretty well, and I wasn't surprised. It's really hard not to love Alice and they were just happy that their son finally got married.
And me, well…
After Carlisle passed away, I inherited half the company. Emmett had plans to open another branch, so when Rosalie got a job offer in Chicago, we knew that was the place to start.
The business was going well, in spite of the shitty economy, and I was pretty content.
Until four months ago, when I started having mood swings that rivaled Edward's.
I was scared shitless that I had something like Carlisle, but Edward was a sport and calmed me down. He came to the doctor's appointment with me, giving me strength and assuring me that everything was going to be alright.
He was right.
That day we found out that I didn't have anything life-threating, only life-altering.
I was pregnant.
I squealed in joy.
Edward passed out.
Until this day, the guys still gave him a hard time because of it.
I was now on my second trimester, and Edward couldn't keep his hands off my belly. He was so cute – he talked to it and even told her how mommy and daddy couldn't wait to meet her.
Yes, we were having a girl. It took us weeks to decide on Olivia for her first name and Elizabeth as her middle name, after Edward's mother.
The girls and I still had our nights out, especially when Rose came to visit. We usually went to Papagayo's to dance or have dinner in a nice restaurant. The boys always ended up crashing, but at least we learned to never let Alice plan our nights any more.
Edward always made sure I had a great time.
Now he loved it when I called him Mr. Masen.
I had never been happier in my entire life.
"Why don't we go to bed, baby?" said Edward, nuzzling my neck, "It's pretty late, and I want my girls well rested."
I giggled, "Anything you say," I whispered in his ear, "Mr. Masen…"
He growled and I squealed, running up the stairs.
We had a wonderful family, amazing friends and great jobs.
Who knew a night out in town that turned into a disaster could bring so much joy?
I would like to thank everyone who donated to the PTB Back to School Fundraiser. Your efforts in helping several classroom charities were truly appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Until next time. xoxo ~Mina