A/N: This chapter is dedicated to hedlunds- a geninue and awesome girl xD
"If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?"
Beauty and The Beast
Bella was a quite girl, she was content spending her nights reading books by Tolstoy, Edith Wharton and Jane Austen. She loved learning and was happy when NYU had sent her an acceptance letter. She had to put it off for a year because of finances, so she had attended a local community college. Now she had finally had enough money to go to her dream school. She would study literature and spend her days walking around New York City, going to Central Park and going to watch Broadway plays on the weekends. She was even prepared to go to the Ballet and watch the Swan Lake, she wanted to take in everything.
However there was a glitch in her plans, her father couldn't pay for her living expenses. She couldn't stay in the dorms nor could she get her own apartment. Charlie Swan, was distraught that he couldn't help his daughter. He wanted to be able to at least find her a place to stay. He then contacted his old friend Esme Cullen and told her about Bella's situation. Esme had always been a kind and generous woman and she had come up with a plan that would help Bella.
"Bells, I need to speak to you about something."Charlie said.
Bella was standing by the stove, cooking beef stew. She turned the heat down and turned around to face her father.
"What is it?"
He felt very awkward, he was afraid that she would not like the plan that he and Esme had come up with.
"I think I might have ehh found you a place to stay in the city."
She looked up at him with hope in her brown eyes. She had been praying for a miracle.
"I was speaking to Esme last night and I told her about what was going on. You know her son, Edward he lives in Manhattan. He has a pretty big place and well.. They offered you a place to stay. Now I'm not too happy about you staying with him, but you can stay there till you get on your feet. He travels a lot so he will hardly be there. I — think you should take them up on this offer."
Bella felt like she was about to faint. She knew all about Edward Cullen, he was the editor of GQ magazine. All the teachers at Forks High School, always encouraged their students to try their best because people like Edward Cullen graduated from there and they did important things. Now she was suppose to live with him, fate seemed to have a very dark sense of humor.
"Dad.. I don't know what to say. I don't even know him. That's going to be so.. awkward." She said.
She started playing with her hands and bit down hard on her already tender, ruby red lips. It was one of her bad habits, one she would never give up.
"We don't have a choice Bells, it's either that or community college again."
Both father and daughter shared looks of defeat. Bella knew she would have to live with him, besides she was going to New York City, she would be out all day and just go back to Edward's place to sleep and anyways he would always be traveling, just like her father said.
One Week Later
"I said either you get that interview with Leonardo Di Caprio, or you're fired."
"Sir, I tried my best but he's still mad at you for stealing that model away from him." Jeffery said.
Edward laughed dryly and banged his fist angrily against his glass desk. He had finally become the Editor of GQ magazine, something he worked very hard for, without the help of his father. For years he had lived off his trust fund, traveling around Europe. Going on expeditions into the Amazon rain forest in South America and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. He had seen it all and done it all. Finally he decided to head back to New York City and put his journalism degree to good use. Who better than the ultimate bachelor to run a magazine made for successful men. He would call Leo later and explain to him that the model incident was just a mistake, the funny thing was he didn't even remember her name, all he knew was that she was a Victoria's Secret Model. He calls the Leonardo Di Caprio, Leo and he sleeps with Victoria's Secret models? Aren't we famous…
"Leave that to me, I'll sort it out. I always do."
"Of course you do sir."
Jeffery had been working for Edward for three years now, he knew he was a rude man from time to time and he tried his best to agree with whatever Edward said. He had seen many people fired for disagreeing with him, or even something stupid like staring at him for too long. Edward was a ferocious beast at best and it was better to stay away from him. It was 10 pm and once again Edward was making Jeffery burn the midnight oil with him. Edward began to type with his long piano player like fingers, and he seemed to have calmed down.
"Excuse me sir, but could you please let me leave early tonight. It's my little girl's ballet recital tonight and I promised my wife and her that I would be there."
Edward immediately stopped typing and glared at Jeffery from his stormy emerald eyes.
"Yes of course. You can leave now."
Jeffery was stunned by his boss' random act of kindness, he quickly thanked him and made his way out of the fancy office. Edward swung his chair around, so that he could face the New York sky line. He had it all, everything money could buy, but he didn't have a family. He stared out into the distance, the lights from the buildings twinkled almost as if they were stars. His heard his I-phone started to ring, the familiar sounds of an epic war score echoed through out the room. He took it out of his pocket and saw a unfamiliar number. He pressed accept and held the phone to his ear.
"Hello? Is this Edward Cullen?" A soft, angelic voiced asked.
"Who is this?" He asked rudely.
"It's Bella Swan, I'm the girl that's coming to live with you." She said, sounding very scared.
Edward had completely forgot about the girl that was going to stay with him. He was angry at his mother for promising her friend something without consulting him first. He couldn't say no to his mother, even if he tried. He knew he felt bad for the girl. She wanted to have an education, not having a place to stay shouldn't stop her from that. He was a cold man, but he had a heart, well whatever was left of it now.
"Hmm. What do you want?"
"I lost your address on my way over here, I came with a bus and then they left me in Pennsylvania and I took a train into the city. I'm at Grand Central Station. " The girl said sounding very anxious.
"Calm down Isabella. I will come get you. I'm not too far away. I will text you when I get there."
He hung up before she could answer and walked out of the office, grabbing his black Burberry coat that he had got in London. There was something about her voice that was angelic and smooth, it reminded him of someone he use to know. He walked out of the GQ offices and towards a black, stretch limo that was waiting for him. The driver opened the door for him and he got inside. He picked up his I-phone and went through his emails.
"Should I take you home Mr Cullen?" Alfred the driver asked.
"Grand Central Station first and then back home." He replied curtly.
Edward kept a sense of professionalism with the "help" it was what his father taught him. The chauffeurs and maids were there to serve, you didn't need to become their friends. It was the Masen way. To piss his father off he had changed his last name to Cullen, which was his step father's last name. Edward was cold to everyone and he sometimes wondered why everyone hated him..
He looked out the window at the bright lights and the people walking by on the sidewalks, the commoners as his father would call them. Several minutes later they arrived at Grand Central Station.
"Alfred, write Ms Swan on a piece of paper, use it as a sign and go inside. Then bring her back out here." He ordered.
Alfred looked at Edward from the rear view mirror, and shook his head.
"Yes sir. I will be back soon with Ms Swan."
Alfred got a piece of paper out and wrote Ms Swan with a black sharpie. He held the piece of paper in his old, white, wrinkled hands and got out of the limo.
Bella was staring to worry, maybe Edward was just going to abandon her and she would have to become a homeless person and live on the street. She was sitting down on a bench, eating a Hershey's candy bar that she had gotten from the vending machine. She noticed a chauffeur walk in front of her and he was holding up a sign. Her blackberry beeped, she quickly looked at it and saw a text from Edward.
I have sent my chauffeur Alfred to get you. He is an elderly man, dressed in his full uniform.
He should be holding a sign with your name on it.
She quickly replied and hit send.
Thank you. See you soon.
She tapped the chauffeur on the shoulder. Alfred turned around to look at her.
"Excuse me, are you Alfred?"
"Yes I am. You must be Ms Swan." He said.
Bella nodded her head enthusiastically, she was glad that she was finally leaving the station.
"Yes I am! Thank you so much for coming to get me."
Alfred looked at her with a stunned expression, he was not use to kindness from the people he worked for and this young girl had shown him more kindness than Edward or Mr Masen had ever showed him in the 20 years he had been working for them.
"Err you are welcome Ms Swan. Let me get your luggage."
"Oh no, please don't worry about it! I got it. It's just one bag." She said kindly.
She picked up her black bag and wheeled it over to Alfred.
"See, it has wheels. I can take it to the car."
"Ms Swan, I should really —-" Alfred began to say.
"No need, I insist I want to take it." Bella said, interrupting him.
He smiled at her and motioned for her to follow him outside. Bella wheeled her crummy looking black bag, out of Grand Central Station. As soon as she walked outside she was blown away. The buildings were so high and people were walking everywhere. The cool fall air floated around her and moved through her hair. She pulled up the zip in her white hoodie to stay warm. Alfred walked towards a stretch limo.
"He has a limo?" She asked, sounding shocked.
"Yes he does. Let me take your bag and put it into the trunk. Unless you would like to do that?'
"I don't mind. Open it up please."
Alfred and Bella walked to the trunk. He opened it up and Bella put her bag inside.
"What are you doing?" An angry musical voice asked.
Bella turned around to face the angry voice. Edward looked much better in person, his emerald eyes were blazing with anger and his pale skin almost glistened under the moonlight. She bit on her bottom lip, suddenly she felt afraid of him.
"I was just putting my bag in the trunk." She said.
"Excuse me Isabella, but that is why we have Alfred. It's his job to do that. I don't pay him for nothing. Now get in the car." He said rudely.
Bella felt like crying, first she had went through that awful cross country bus ride, she almost missed her train to New York, she had lost his address and now Edward was so rude to her. She nodded her head and looked down at her worn out black converse sneakers. She felt so out of place next to Edward, he was wearing expensive black, shiny shoes and a designer coat, she felt childish and poor. Alfred quickly came over to open the door for them and kept apologizing to Edward. She hated how he treated poor Alfred. She slid into the limo. She had never been in one before and it looked exactly like the ones she saw in movies. Black leather seats, a place for champagne and a divider between the driver and the passengers. It was beautiful.
The limo began to pull away from Grand Central Station. Bella avoided Edward's gaze and looked out of the window, taking in all the sky scrapers and the hustle and bustle of the city. Everything felt so alive.
"How old are you?" Edward asked.
She turned away from the window and looked into his beautiful, emerald eyes.
"I'm 19 and you?."
"So young. I'm 29." He said.
He had a smirk on his face, it was hard to tell what he was thinking.
"You're 10 years older than me. I just wanted to thank you for letting me stay with you. I know it's probably the last thing you would have wanted, but I really am thankful."
"Do you think I'm old? You're welcome. I couldn't say no to my mother…"
Bella looked at him curiously. He was asking a trick question.
"No I don't think you're old."
"Now that's the correct answer."
The rest of the limo ride was uneventful and filled with an uncomfortable silence. The limo pulled up next to a brown, ivy covered town house, that had more than 4 floors. It was a pre war house, which had a very old Victorian feel to it. Edward wasn't expecting the girl to be beautiful, but Isabella lived up to her name. She was a very beautiful girl, her red, tender looking lips looked kissable. Not that he would want to kiss her.. she was only 19 a child and besides, he wasn't that cruel because if he ever took her to be his, he would destroy her. Alfred opened the door and Edward stepped out waiting for Isabella to join him. He walked up the stairs and rang the doorbell. A petite woman opened the door. She was wearing a maid's outfit. She seemed to be in her late 30s.
"Hello Mr Cullen and Ms Swan? " She asked questioningly in an Eastern European accent.
"Yes, it's Ms Swan, but please call me Bella." She said kindly.
Edward looked at her, she was kind to the help - how odd.
"You will not call her Bella, Adrianna. You will call her Ms Swan." He said angrily.
Bella looked up at him with a shocked expression on her little face.
"Edward, I said it was fine. I prefer to be called Bella over Ms Swan."
Adrianna looked afraid. Edward glared at Bella and tried his best not to lash out at her.
"Are you challenging my authority? I suggest you knock it off. " He said.
She shook her head and looked down at her shoes. He heard her sniffling, but refused to think that he could make her cry that easily.
"No." She said softly.
"I think we should go over a few rules." He said as he walked into the house.
Bella walked inside, she looked around. There were paintings from the Victorian era hung up around the entrance. To the right of her was a huge grandfather clock. The floors were made out of solid wood. However, it saddened Bella when she realized that house had a completely life less and cold atmosphere.
"Adrianna, take Bella's bag to her room. Bella follow me." Edward instructed.
Bella glared at him, he was controlling and dominating. It was starting to get to her. She did as she was told and followed him into a study. There was a bookcase to the side of the door and a mahogany desk in the center. There were papers stacked up into a neat pile on the table and there was a gold pen laying on top of it. Edward walked behind the desk and took a seat. She walked over to the stiff looking, black chair. It looked like one of those chairs they use to have at Forks High School. She sat down on the plastic chair and looked at a picture on Edward's desk, it was a huge family picture, so she could hardly make anyone out.
"I have written out a contract for you. I have listed the number of rules I would like you to follow while you stay here. Please sign it, if you don't abide by my rules, I'll kick you out." He said sounding very serious.
She wanted to throw the stupid rules in his face and run away, but she couldn't because she was stuck here with him.
He handed her a piece of paper, she took it from him and read it.
Rules for Isabella Swan
1: Curfew is at 12 pm on weekends and 10pm on weekdays.
2: No boys are allowed over.
3: You must get permission first before inviting any friends over.
4: No loud music.
5: You are not allowed to go to the study on the 4th floor. You are FORBIDDEN from entering that room.
If I ever catch you anywhere near the 4th floor I will throw you out onto the street.
Ms Isabella Swan Mr Edward Cullen
Bella was completely shocked, these rules were so unnecessary. Not even her parents would ever make her abide by these rules. He even gave her a curfew! She was very curious about the 4th floor, she wondered what was so special about that particular study. He should have known girls love crossing the boundaries when it comes to anything forbidden. He gave her the gold pen and she signed the paper. She gave it back to him and he signed it. Then he put it into a folder and put it inside his desk.
"I hope we can sort of our living arrangement. You stay out of my way and I'll stay out of yours." He said.
"Ms Bella, I can show you your room now." Adrianna said from the door way.
Bella nodded at Edward, she couldn't speak because if she did she was sure she would burst into tears. She got up from the chair and walked towards Adrianna.
"Goodnight Ms Swan." He said.
"Goodnight." She said very, very softly.
She followed Adrianna up 2 flights of stairs, she could feel the tears threatening to spill out of her eyes. The stairs made creepy, creaking sounds as they walked onto it. Adrianna opened the door to a room and Bella walked inside. It was a beautiful room, the walls were painted lavender. There was a desk near the window and a queen sized bed in the center of the room. There was a flat screen TV hanging on the wall in front of the bed and there was a purple rug on the floor. The room had a huge east facing window. That had white decorative moldings all around it, in shapes of flowers. Beats sharing a small dorm room with a creepy room mate.
"Ms Bella. I am so very sorry for Edward's behavior. He may seem very rude, but inside he is just hurting." Adrianna said.
Bella was confused, Edward had treated Adrianna so badly, yet she was defending him.
"I don't understand, why is he hurting?"
"I can't not say why Ms Bella, but he has been through too much. You are kind girl, maybe he needs kind girl to help him. Give him a chance, please? That's all I ask for." She said.
"I will see what I can do. " She said softly.
"Thank you. I be going now! Speak soon to you Ms Bella." She said in broken English.
She walked out of the room, leaving Bella by herself. She sat down on the bed and the tears started pouring down her pale cheeks. She kicked off her sneakers and laid down on her stomach. She couldn't stop crying. She missed her warm house, she missed her father and she was so sad that Edward treated her so poorly. She was stuck here. She was always paying for other people's mistakes, first she had to pay for her father's financial problems and now she was probably paying for some girl who broke Edward's heart and subsequently turned him into a monster. He had everything, she found it very hard to believe that he could be hurting about anything else. She sobbed into the lavender pillow and prayed for a better tomorrow.
Edward had finished some work on his laptop in his study, he walked past Bella's room. The door was creaked open a little bit and he could hear heart wrenching sobs. He walked over to the door quietly and looked into the room. She was emotional.. or maybe he had been too hard on her. He knocked on her door.
"Can I come in?" He asked.
"Just a minute!" She said.
He watched as she raced around the room looking for something to wipe away her tears. He decided to just walk in.
"No need to hide, I heard you sobbing."
She looked at him with a sad expression on her face and her big, brown eyes were watery. The sight of her in pain and in tears, pulled at his heart. Nobody not even a beast, could not feel something for her.
"You did? I'm sorry. I'm just overwhelmed."
"There's no need to apologize. I'm sorry for being rude. You must be hungry. Do you want to get some Chinese with me?" He asked.
She smiled a little and nodded her head.
"It's okay. Yes I'm starving, I love Chinese food."
"Me too. You know New York has the best Chinese food in the whole world, well except for China." He said, attempting to make a joke.
Bella giggled, it sounded like heaven to him.
"That's true. So, what are you going to order?"
"Orange chicken and fried rice. Do you like that?"
"It's my favorite."
He looked at her curiously and smirked because it was his favorite too. He pulled out his I-phone and ordered the Chinese food for delivery. He ended the call and sat down on her bed sort of awkwardly.
"What are you going to study at NYU?" He asked.
"Literature. I love writing and reading."
He smiled, he studied literature and journalism at Yale.
"That's a very interesting subject. I studied that and journalism at Yale."
"I know you did, I read that in your first publication of GQ, under the notes from the Editor section." She said.
"So, you've been stalking me?" He asked jokingly.
"Um no! I just happened to come across it and now here I am talking to you. Fate had a weird sense of humor huh?"
"I'd say so."
They both sat there awkwardly and looked at each other. There was something different here and they both could feel it. It was that unknown feeling, something you feel when something great or horrible is going to happen. Adrianna walked into the room with a paper bag of Chinese food in her hand and two glasses full of coke. She placed it onto the dresser table and then quickly left. Edward reached over and gave her some food. He handed her a fork. She opened the box up and began to eat the food. He was right, it really was the best Chinese food she had ever had. She began to eat very quickly and savored every morsel of the Orange Chicken. He chuckled a little, he hadn't found anything to be humorous in the longest time, in fact he hadn't remembered the last time he laughed.
"What's so funny?" She asked.
"You have Orange Chicken sauce all over your face." He said.
He reached inside the paper bag, grabbed a napkin and began to wipe the sauce off her ruby, red lips. His fingers gently grazed across her lower lip by mistake. He felt a spark of electricity at the skin on skin contact and quickly recoiled his hand away as if he had been electrocuted.
"You're welcome. Isabella I need to go finish some work of mine. I'll see you in the morning okay? Have a goodnight." He lied.
She nodded her head and waved goodbye to him.
"Goodnight Edward! Thanks for the food." She said kindly.
He smiled a little, took the food with him and walked up 2 floors to the 4th floor. He walked into his private study. It always made him feel somber when he went in there, nobody was ever allowed up there. He walked over to the big oak desk, left the food on the desk and sat behind it. There was a picture of a beautiful, blond in a black picture frame on his desk. He looked longingly at the picture.
"I wish you could tell me what to do right now. I miss you Tanya, I really do. Bella is kind, she's like an angel, maybe you sent her to me? What am I doing? You can't talk back to me." He spoke loudly to the picture.
He grabbed the picture frame and hurled it across the room, it broke into pieces. Next to about 10 other broken picture frames. He walked over to it and picked the picture up and he shouted out in anguish. He was a broken man, a beast with no love and nobody to hold. For who could ever learn to love a beast?