Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight. Dinner at the Hales' belongs to me. And Isabella. Even Edward would agree.
A/N: EPOV of Come Closer Chapter 7, Sugar and Spice, written for Fandom4Texas. Many of you asked for it, so here it is!
Dinner at the Hales'
"Tell me what you want, Isabella."
She rolls her eyes at me like I'm the biggest idiot on planet earth and yanks a chair from the table with a huff, resting one hand on the top of it and the other back on her hip. "Sit. The fuck. Down! Edward!"
Well, fuck me...
"Yes, ma'am," I say, as I dutifully obey her order, shamelessly grateful that she didn't really want me to leave. I see something flicker in her eyes, and I fight the smile that threatens the corners of my mouth.
Because, no matter how pissed off she is at me right now, deep down, she still adores me. And that adoration, accompanied by wine and her determination to punish me... is sexy as hell.
A very long - and hard - night indeed.
The release of pressure I tried to give myself before I came here is doing nothing to save me now, not that I really believed it would. And since it's precisely what got me to my current state of submission to this fiery little creature before me, a part of me isn't sorry I tried.
Damn if that doesn't sound fucked up.
It's not that I don't feel like a royal fucking asshole, I do. I'm truly sorry that my selfish actions, and the abhorrent disclosure of them hurt her, but watching her now, as she tries to focus on staying angry at me does something to me. She's adorably determined. Thank God she ordered me to sit down, little did she know she was doing me a favor. Now if only my throbbing cock would follow suit...
Something else I've noticed about Isabella this evening? She's thirsty.
She drains her glass of wine in one long swallow and holds the empty glass out to Jasper, who has the bottle under his control on the table between us. He refills it for her, but not without shooting me another This is your fault! glare. I know that he's right, but as long as he's pouring, he's going to have to accept some of the responsibility for it himself.
Isabella is quiet as we eat, barely touching the food on her plate, her thirst seemingly curbing her appetite. I can almost see the wheels turning in her beautiful head, and I know they turn for me. There's a storm brewing behind her deep brown eyes and I'm directly in its path.
I deserve any punishment she chooses to bestow upon me, but I'm aching for her sweet smile. Well... that's not all I'm aching for, but it's all I can dare to hope for.
Our eyes meet often, she knows I'm watching her, and I do my best impression of her puppy dog eyes each time she looks at me. She remains stone-faced, not even a hint of a blush or a smile, and I don't hide my disappointment at not being able to sway her.
She seems to enjoy her position of power over me, and her mouth twitches in amusement, and then her silence is broken, "So, did you gentlemen have a good day?"
Jasper is the first to respond, his tone wary, knowing his little sister well enough, as do I, to know that this is heading somewhere. "It was a day."
Emmett is as clueless as ever, and courteous enough to answer her, but unfortunately not enough to chew first. "It's better now. This is delicious, Bella. I love you."
Shameless suck up.
She rolls her eyes as she scolds him, "You love my pot roast. And please don't talk with your mouth full of it."
Okay, so she can smile, just not for me.
"I love you both!" he says through another mouthful, making her laugh despite his horrendous table manners.
Her tone is genuinely sweet, "I love you, too, Emmett, and the fact that I never have to put leftovers away."
Her innocent declaration makes me... what? Jealous?
Have I ever been jealous about a woman? No, definitely not... not once in thirty years.
What the fuck is that about? It's just Emmett. He's like a brother to her...
Just like I'm supposed to be. Like I was, before I started to... fuck.
I turn my focus back to Isabella and find her eyes on me. I don't think she was expecting me to answer her question, her emphasis on the word gentlemen excluding me on this particular evening, but she has something on her mind. Based on the mischievous look in her eyes, I think I should brace myself. Damn, she's adorable...
I try to conceal that thought, and any traces of it on my face, by bringing my glass to my mouth and taking a drink as I watch her and wait.
Then it comes. "And what about you, Slutward? How was your day?"
I choke on my wine at the unexpected address, eyes wide in disbelief at what just came out of her usually sweet little mouth. I knew something was coming, but damn...
I'm not the only one at the table that she caught off guard, but their choking has quickly turned to laughter at her boldness to call me out. My actions have never been proof, but I've never wanted her to see me in that way. I know she's not completely naive to my casual tendencies towards women, but she's never mentioned it before.
The little firecracker...
"Thank you for asking," I clear my throat and think how best to respond. Well... this is clearly her show. "My day was rather uneventful, Isabella, until I got here."
And I know she's by no means finished with me.
"Is that so? Well, if you had arrived on time, instead of wasting so much of it with your suckretary, who apparently does so uneventfully - how terribly sad for you - then your day might, indeed, have been more interesting that much sooner."
Well, fuck me. Again. My little firecracker just declared Fourth of July in April...
I know I deserve it, and the laughter that again surrounds me, Emmett particularly amused, the bastard, but I can't say that it feels good. Nor does the fact that my actions pushed her to it. I am at a loss for words, and every time my mouth opens, I close it in silent defeat.
She takes full advantage of my dumbfounded state. "I challenge anyone to trump my hospitality, Edward. Don't ever again insult me by thinking some tramp in a painted-on skirt is worthy of trying. She can't, and by your own roundabout admission, she didn't. You should know by now that no one can take better care of you than I can. And you should show a little respect for that. More than a little."
Insult her? Is that what I did? Is that how she feels? I would never do that. Not if my life depended on it. Even our now-silent audience knows that. What the fuck have I done?
I take a deep breath and let it out, searching for the words to fix this. Her gaze is fixed on me, and the hurt I see in it cuts me. "Isabella . . . I'm truly sorry. I never meant to disrespect you . . . "
"But you did," she pushes.
"I . . . "
She doesn't give me a chance to say anything more. "I'm not one of your whores, Edward. If I'm of no value to you, then be man enough to say it, and then leave my house. If I am, then be man enough to show it, and stop acting like a fucking teenage boy who can't keep his dick in his pants for a couple of hours for fear it might explode. It won't. Grow. Up."
No value? Did she really just say that? How could she think... even for a second...
I make no efforts to conceal my shock at her words. I am absolutely stunned. How could she not know how much I care about her?
No... she does know. I'm sure of it. She's not questioning that. She's known all of her life, and after the other day...
She wants me to give her something. Right here and right now.
My eyes flit to Jasper, where I find his trained on her. He knows what she's doing, I can see it on his face, and the surety that I won't give her what she wants. It's not even a consideration in his mind. He just wants her to stop.
But she doesn't back down. "I'm waiting."
Oh, Isabella, please... you know I can't, sweetheart. You know...
But she doesn't care. She's too determined to give up, whether Jasper is listening or not, which he certainly is, with rapt fascination. For her sake, I have to try to rein her in.
I choose my words carefully, hoping it's enough to satisfy her. "Isabella, you know how much value you have."
"Yes, I do. Do you?"
It wasn't nearly enough. Deep down I knew it wouldn't be, my carelessness over the last several days has pushed her beyond that. Jasper clears his throat loudly, and I silently plead with her to stop asking for what she knows I can't give her. What she knows, but wants anyway. What is vividly clear in her own pleading eyes that she needs.
Okay, beautiful... "Of course I do. You're very special, Isabella. You know how I feel about you." Please be enough...
But I know it's not before she says another word. I tried to give her something, but she only looks hurt by it. She still wants more.
I can't do this. I can't let her. I have to stop it. I have to make her understand that nothing has changed. That nothing can. I was wrong to let her see, but letting her hope...
It's cruel. I can't hurt her like that. Forgive me...
"I am sorry. I wish you believed me. Your disappointment is something I never want to see again. I made a grave error in judgment. I promise you it won't happen again. I was wrong. I would never hurt you, Isabella. I know I have with my careless actions, and I'm very, very sorry. You have my word that I won't make that mistake again. You're too special to me. You deserve so much better. I won't forget that again."
She hears me, I know she does, but I see her resolve. She's not going to make this easy for me. If she was anyone else...
But she's not, she's Isabella, and denying her is torture, just like watching her try to dull her senses with yet more wine.
Still, she pushes on. "As for your speech, I suppose only time will tell how much you don't want to hurt me. But for now, I want you to prove how much better I deserve."
Oh, sweetheart, what does that mean? I sigh in exasperation, tugging my hands through my hair, and lean back in my chair. I'm at a complete loss.
"I'm not sure what I can do to prove that to you right now, but I will if I can. What do you want?"
"It doesn't have to be right this minute, or even tonight. It can wait until morning. And you can, quite easily, if I'm special enough."
Some of the tension seems to lift suddenly, and I detect a more playful air in her challenge. I'm intrigued. "Then name it. Because you are, Isabella."
"Fire the slut."
Is that all she wants? "That decision was made the moment I discovered she spoke to you that way. It should go without saying that I would find it unacceptable that you be put in that position, but I understand that any doubts you have about that are my fault, and mine alone. I am truly sorry for that as well. And I assure you, her dismissal is the first thing on tomorrow morning's agenda."
Her now-cocky demeanor brings a smile to my face, and the fact that she might be starting to forget how angry she is at me. Maybe there's hope for redemption. "Anything else you'd like me to do?"
"Actually, yes. If you're finished, you can help me clear the table. I have a dessert that you are expected to shamelessly swoon over."
I could smell the fresh baked apple pie the moment I walked into the house. Of course, she wasn't mad at me yet when she made it, and since she's expecting me to swoon, I guess she hasn't taken away my privilege to have any.
I would walk through fire for Isabella's apple pie, and she knows it. I'll be at her feet momentarily. But right now she wants me to earn it, so I get up from the table to help her clear dinner away; only when she stands, the amount of wine she's consumed hits her like a brick wall and she teeters on her feet. Jasper and Rose reach out from each side to steady her, and Jasper settles her back into her chair.
She shrugs innocently and reaches for the source of her teetering. "Guess it snuck up on me."
Emmett chuckles from his assigned keep-your-limbs-at-your-sides-or-I-might-mistake-them-for-food area at the other end of the table. "You mean while you were chugging along like a freight train, dragging the derailed Masen caboose behind you?"
"Yes, precisely then," she declares with pride, draining her glass.
I smirk at how proud she is, and truly fucking adorable, as I risk my life and reach for Emmett's plate.
"You're my hero, Bella," he beams, grinning like an idiot.
"Mine, too," Rose says, just as I turn back to the table to see her wink and tug on her hair.
Isabella smacks her hard on the ass in retaliation, and Jasper is up like a shot from his retaken seat beside her. "I'll make coffee." Girls Gone Wild in Portland is not going to happen under his watch... not that the angel would.
She pouts and then realizes his departure has left the bottle of wine unguarded and reaches for it excitedly. I grab it before she can, in full agreement with him that our little firecracker has had enough. "Sorry, sweetheart, you're outnumbered on this one."
She glares at me devilishly. "You're still on my shit list, Slutward, and if I were you, I'd be sucking up, not playing keep away with what I want. Especially if you have any hopes of getting your mouth on my pie."
I know she didn't mean it the way it sounded, but Fuck. Me. Hard.
Jasper gives Rosalie a look that would silence the devil himself and her burst of laughter dies in thin air. She knows better than to think for a second that she meant anything suggestive by her innocent remark, her embarrassed blush glaring proof of that fact. I want to strangle her, but Isabella now has her head down and her face in her hands and it tugs at my heart.
I want to distract her from her embarrassment, and bend down to whisper in her ear, with a gentle stroke of her hair. Her hair that the scent of knocks my intended words out of the stratosphere. "I know I'm not worthy, but I'd give anything for that to be different."
Where the fuck did that come from? So not what I meant to say...
Her head flies up and I turn around quickly, too much of a coward to see the evidence of what I've just done in her eyes. Jasper gives me a thankful nod, undoubtedly assuming I've done something noble to soothe her, and I feel like an even bigger asshole. If he only knew...
My feelings for Isabella aren't the only thing he's clueless about, and now that the coffee is brewing - which is a miracle in itself that he knows how to do - he's looking helplessly between our incapacitated-by-wine hostess and the remnants of her delicious dinner. There's no food to put away, the bottomless pit that is Emmett took care of that, but the dishes and pans seem to be causing him alarm.
"Did you think they magically cleaned themselves?" I ask him with a chuckle.
"Fuck you, slutward, of course I know they don't, but she... "
I ignore his use of her new name for me and follow his troubled gaze to Isabella, who's sitting at the table in a daze with a smile on her face. I know I put it there, and I pray she doesn't remember this tomorrow, or what I foolishly said.
"She has the rest of the night off, so roll up your sleeves, because we are not leaving this for her to wake up to tomorrow. Your little sister would have a stroke if there was even so much as a glass in the sink, and you know it."
He looks at the dishwasher like it's the space shuttle and back to me with horror. "I don't know how to use that thing!"
"You're pathetic, Jasper. What are you going to do when she runs off and gets married one of these days and leaves your ass all alone?"
My intended-to-scare him question backfires on me, and my own feelings for her, and suddenly we're on the same page. Well, sort of...
"And who the hell do you think I'm going to let get close enough to her for that to happen, Edward? Are you out of your fucking mind?"
Isabella is oblivious to our conversation, and seemingly everything else going on around her, but Rosalie is apparently paying attention from where she's again sitting keeping watch beside her. "She is a woman, you know, you overbearing idiots."
Her eyes cut purposefully to me, as if to say "Like you haven't noticed, you unworthy fuck... " , and I again want to strangle her.
Jasper responds to her before I can, or say a word. "Not in my house, she's not. Now, why don't you make yourself useful for once and help us clean up?"
She rolls her eyes at his audacity to suggest such a hideous thing, "I don't do domestic," and then makes one of her own, "and maybe she shouldn't live in your house anymore. She should move in with me, and have a little fun for once, because she is."
Emmett decides now is a good time to involve himself in our conversation and jumps in front of her. "Now, boys... if a glass in the sink would give her a stroke, what do you think would happen if she found blood on the floor?"
"Sounds like a worthy experiment to me," Jasper retorts icily, shooting daggers right through Emmett to Rose's heart.
I shake my head and turn around, but not before giving Rosalie a warning look, and leave them to their battle, knowing it's up to me to get this kitchen back to its infinitely perfect state.
Within a few minutes, Jasper switches his focus back to Isabella, and her oblivious state of haze, and the tension slowly starts to evaporate. I know it's only temporary, Jasper and Rose butt heads often, but for now things are calm. I get Emmett to help me, giving him the task of setting the table for dessert, his stomach fueling him to cooperate, while I finish cleaning up.
Isabella breaks her silence, out of her trance finally, to yell at Emmett, who was headed to the table with a pie in each hand. "We're only cutting one of those pies and you know it! Don't make me take your piece away!"
He's not happy about that, and mimics her childishly, making Jasper and Rose laugh. I, on the other hand, am too curious for my own selfish purposes to find humor in it.
"What's the other one for?" I ask with shameless hope that it's for me, as I wash my hands and look at her. Normally I know it would be, but this has been anything but a normal night.
There's a glimmer in her eyes as she answers, "It's for you. You don't deserve it, but like I said, no one can take care of you better than I can. You know that. I know what you like, and I know what will make you happy. I made it for you, and I'm not going to take it away now just because you're an ass. And when it's time, you'll take it . . . untouched. Because no one should have to share something they love so much with other greedy mouths."
Her bold declaration goes straight to my cock, and there's not a doubt in my mind that this time her innuendo was sinfully intended. The thought of her sinful...
Isabella Hale just declared war on me, and damn it if I can't already see my white flag throw itself at her feet in surrender.
So, now you know what was going on in Edward's head. *sigh*