Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. What follows here is all my doing.
The hotel door loomed before her, enormous, forbidding.
"Forbidding" was a good word, she thought, but "forbidden" was more accurate. For once she knocked on that door, once she put one toe across that threshold, she knew there was no turning back.
Not in the literal sense, of course. She knew he would not keep her here against her will. She had signed an agreement, and so had he. It looked legitimate enough. But even a nineteen-year-old virgin was smart enough to know that what they were both doing was illegal, and the piece of paper they had signed was a mere formality, no more binding than a handshake.
Still, she had to believe that he would uphold his end of the bargain. The Enforcer was waiting in the hotel bar to make sure that he did. That's what Renaissance Escorts had called the brute downstairs, and he certainly looked like an extra from a mobster flick. If she didn't reappear later this evening unharmed and happy as a clam, the brute would make Edward Cullen pay. That's what the agreement said. If the escort laid one hand on her in a way she didn't approve of, he would suffer the consequences.
She wondered if Edward Cullen was his real name. It sounded too old-fashioned for a twenty-two-year-old. Or was he even twenty-two? He looked young in the photo. She had chosen him not just because he was hauntingly beautiful, but because there was still a certain innocence about him, if that was even possible in his line of work.
Maybe all the escorts had names and looks in keeping with the "Renaissance" theme. This service was supposed to be one of the most prestigious in the city. For a handsome fee, a handsome man would be at any woman's disposal, wining and dining and wooing her according to whatever fantasy she described in her application.
Her fantasy was simple. She wanted someone to pay attention to her.
That's not what she wrote in the application, of course. How pathetic would that sound? So she came up with a romantic hodge-podge of scenes from books and movies: candles, dinner, fancy clothes, small talk, soft music, dancing, romancing. The stuff that was a prelude to what she was really after. What she hoped and assumed that a paid escort would ultimately provide.
She was tired of being a virgin. She probably should have just given in to Mike Newton in high school; succumbed to his clumsy fumbling and sloppy kisses. How bad could it have been? At least she wouldn't be the only virgin on her dorm hall, smiling and laughing and trying to throw in a witty comment when she had no real idea what she was talking about.
She even watched internet porn on the sly just so she'd know how it all really went down. She was mildly repulsed at the loveless, animalistic acts she saw there, but she forced herself to watch anyway. She didn't want to act the clueless, naïve virgin, even if that's exactly what she was.
She'd had opportunities to get laid during her freshman year. Even the most homely girls could accomplish that. She didn't quite think she qualified for that designation, though in her estimation she was no raving beauty, either. She had always fallen somewhere in between. Acceptable, forgettable, even invisible at times. She was not the natural-born life of the party, but not the wallflower either. She was adrift somewhere in between.
She had met a few boys who were adrift, too. She had chatted with them, made friends with them, even made out a little with them. She kept waiting to feel the spark. The passion that would push her over the edge and make her want to take the next step: to let this person into not just her head, but her heart and soul and body, too.
She never felt it. Not even with Jake this summer, when she really wished she would feel it. But after the way he ended up treating her, she was glad she didn't give in.
She grimaced now at the memory. She wondered if something was wrong with her. She had never considered herself a romantic, and had prided herself on her practicality. But when it came to boys, the ordinary just didn't seem to be enough. If it had been, then she would have done the deed by now. For this one major milestone in her life, she wanted something more than the mundane. She wanted to do more than settle. And if she had to use all her hard-earned summer job earnings to find the extraordinary, then so be it.
Edward Cullen certainly looked extraordinary in his profile picture, his pretty features assembled attractively over rugged, squared-off bones. The written description said he enjoyed reading, playing the piano and running on the beach. She figured that was a load of horseshit, but she didn't care. She liked his eyes. They were large, blue-green and laden with a heavy-lidded intensity that seemed to project far beyond the confines of her computer screen. She didn't even look at any other possible suitors after she found him.
He was the one who would deflower her.
She laughed out loud now as she thought of the old-fashioned phrase. It fit his Victorian, or rather Edwardian, name. And wasn't that what she really wanted, anyway? Someone to take her maidenhood rather than pop her cherry? Even though he wouldn't give a damn about anything more than the exorbitant fee she'd forked over, at least he, and all the trappings she had requested in her application, would give her the illusion that this was a special occasion.
She couldn't wait to hear him try to play the piano. She had paid extra for an upright version to be wheeled into the luxury suite just so she could call Edward Cullen on his bluff. Even if the rest of the evening was a disappointment, his humiliation alone might be worth the outrageous outlay of cash.
Speaking of cash, time was money. She had spent at least five minutes now standing outside the hotel door, staring at it. She had memorized its rich mahogany burnish and chrome handle with the sleek I.D. sensor entry mechanism. Her fist had hovered near the elegant wood several times, but her knuckles had yet to make contact.
What if Edward wasn't as good-looking as his picture? What if he was good-looking but an arrogant ass? What if he was perfect except for a horrible case of halitosis? Or, worst of all, what if Renaissance Escorts had pulled a bait and switch, and the door would open to reveal some hideous middle-aged pervert rapist instead?
Her face was configured in a mask of horror at this last thought when the door suddenly, inexplicably opened. She gasped with a shock of surprise. Her eyes locked straight ahead, giving her a view of a dark-blue tie, perfectly knotted and collared under a meticulously crafted jacket of matching navy. The suit was expensive. She knew it instinctively. Why wouldn't it be? The guy was making a thousand dollars a pop.
Pop. She giggled nervously again at the euphemism for what she was paying him to do tonight.
"I thought I heard someone outside," came a voice from above the tie. The sound was low and soft. Warm, inviting. Why wasn't she relieved? She knew she should raise her eyes, but she was concentrating too hard on breathing to perform any additional bodily functions.
"You have a nice laugh," the voice added.
Laugh? Had she laughed? Oh, that's right. She had, at the deflowering. That's why he had come to the door. To commence with said deflowering.
"Would you like to come in, Miss Swan?" the voice continued. It sounded a bit concerned. Then, apprehensive. "You are Miss Swan, right?"
She knew the answer to that one. Now all she had to do was say yes, or at least nod. She could do that, couldn't she? She tried to shift her focus from the breathing to the nodding. After a moment, her head and neck cooperated. She realized she was still breathing, too. That was a relief. Next she could work on looking him in the eye.
But first, she must coordinate her limbs enough to step into the room. One foot in front of the other. She'd been doing it since she was one year old, she reminded herself. One toe over the threshold. . .
Her eyes dropped and affixed themselves to the plush carpet beneath his polished black shoes as she waffled. He had big feet. She wondered if the correlation everyone always joked about was true. The possibility made an extra zing of nervousness jolt through her body.
Suddenly something reassuringly fleshy and human entered her line of vision. She jumped a little and refocused. She was relieved to realize it was his hand, outstretched. His fingers were long, elegant, yet masculine. The hand of a piano player, perhaps. An Edwardian hand.
She laughed again in her nervousness, and he answered with a small chuckle. The sound was as delicious as his speaking voice. She needed to look up at the mouth that was soothing her; put her hand in the welcoming warmth of his. He would make all of this okay. He would help her put more than just a toe through that daunting doorway.
She let her eyes roam slowly upward. Up the line of his tie and its symmetrically-tied knot; over the subtle swell of his Adam's apple; through the burgeoning jungle of seven o'clock shadow on his neck; and over the speed-bump of his chin, with a satisfying pit stop at its cleft. At last her gaze settled on the vibrant pink of his full, half-smiling lips. His grin was crooked; a bit of smirk, really. Utterly disarming.
She hadn't even looked into his eyes, and she was already lost.
A little background: I came up with the rather bizarre premise for this story last fall while trying to think of a plot for a one-shot erotica fic contest. The story soon morphed into more than would fit within the contest word limit, so I just kept writing to see where it would take me. Now that I have a few chapters under my belt, I decided to post it here and see if anyone else wants to come along for the ride. Hope you have as much fun as I have so far!
Special thanks to Carson Dyle, fic-writer and editor extraordinaire, who beta'd the first part of this story when I still had plans to submit it for a contest. Your help and friendship have been invaluable to me!