Full summary: Jasper is running late for his appointment at the bank. When he races his bike through a puddle of water and splashes it all over a guy in a nice suit, he goes against his better judgment and drives on. When he meets his loan specialist, the man's crazy wet hair and soaked suit look suspiciously familiar. How on earth will he convince Edward to grant him a loan now?
I don't own Twilight. I just play around with the characters.
You can find me on Facebook on my account (Cherry Bellazza Callen) and my on my group: Addicted-to-romione-bedward Fanfiction. The banner is in my group.
Many thanks to twimummy for having the patience to beta this monster, also many thanks to Jasper1863Hale for helping me a lot with the story line.
This is a plot bunny adopted from Yulliah since March 11, 2012. I've been working on it for over a month (April 29), and what was a little one-shot in my head turned out a mini-story. I guess this is my present for my birthday, which is tomorrow. I've never spent so much time over something. I hope it turned out well.
Facts: the original O/S had 94 pages and 29.266 words. Now, it has an average of 13 pages per chapter.
Chapter 1 (17 pages, 4.867 words)
Today isn't my day.
I slept through my alarm on the most important day of my life.
After months of going from bank to bank and searching for the most advantageous loan program, I found FHLBC. Federal Home Loans Bank of Chicago.
I didn't need money for my home, yet.
I needed money to secure a place in the art exhibition hosted by the Art Institute here in Chicago. They said I have to pay to be there. I didn't have that amount.
No bank agreed to help for something like that. So when FHLBC called me for an appointment I thanked the lady on the phone for five minutes. Then she hung up and I started thanking the Big Guy above.
Back to my awful day.
I take a speedy shower and slip on the only ironed shirt I find along with my black jeans. My sneakers are dirty and they'll be even dirtier after they meet the puddles outside.
It's raining hard and since I don't own a car, I have to ride my bike to the bank. Perfect. If people were civilized, I'd ride the bus, but I feel like taking someone's eye out when I step onto public transport.
I make sure I have everything I need wrapped in a plastic bag and shoved into my backpack.
At ten thirty I have an appointment with Mr. Masen. I was a little put off when I heard it was a guy. I could charm the ladies, but the men? Not so much, thus the reason I'm still alone.
I become a bumbling idiot in front of every man. Especially if he's good looking.
If I blow my chance to be part of this exhibition because of my inability to talk with a guy, I'm going to kick myself in the ass. Or I'll offer indecent proposals just to get the damn loan.
I don't have courage to look a guy in the eye and I'd offer myself to him?
I'm such an idiot sometimes.
After zipping my leather jacket and strapping my helmet on my head, I straddle my bike. This bike is one of my most expensive possessions and I protect it fiercely. My paintings could be expensive if only an expert would take a look at them and judge, but I didn't find anyone so far to have time or patience to look over some newbie's paintings. Self centered assholes.
I bet Picasso didn't have it this bad. Not that I considered myself like Picasso, but life is cruel.
I zoom down the boulevard, staying close to the sidewalk to avoid the cars because the drivers could be jerks.
The light has just turned green but the intersection seems so far away, so I rev my engine and go faster. I catch a small but deep hole in the asphalt, filled with water. In my mirror I see a guy wet from heat to toe.
If I stop…I'll be late at my appointment and they won't give me another chance.
The suit looks upset.
I'm in a bitter mood so I fly through the yellow light, not looking back. Why would a man in a suit be walking in this weather? He should have his own chauffer or something.
Being deep in thought I miss the turn for the bank and I have to take a side route. Damn it.
It's a quarter to eleven when I park the bike near the bank. I'm late.
I rush inside the bank with the helmet under my arm and my dripping backpack over my shoulder. Everyone eyes me dubiously. I don't blame them.
"Uh, hello," I say quietly to the lady behind the counter in front of me.
"Hello. How can I help you today?" she asks jovially, but there's still a look in her eyes.
Don't call security. It's all I'm thinking.
"I'm here for an appointment about a loan," I explain. "It was at ten thirty."
She calls someone and after a few hushed words I can't hear, she beams at me hanging up. "Go through that door, sir. Mr. Masen is waiting for you."
"Thank you," I whisper before running through said door. It leads to a corridor that ends in a round area with two desks and two doors behind them. Weird place.
I have no idea who to ask, but a petite girl jumps up and greets me, asking who I need to see.
"I'm here for my appointment with Mr. Masen," I explain. "I'm late," I add quietly.
Her round blue eyes travel to the other desk where a brown haired girl is whispering rapidly and hotly into a receiver then to the door behind her.
"Bella, Mr. Whitlock is here," the small woman next to me says loudly.
Bella, the agitated brown haired girl, looks up worried. Then she frowns. "Yes! Like…half an hour ago! Get the clean suit here!" she snaps then hangs up. Her demeanor changes as she meets my eyes. She's all smiles.
"Good morning, Mr. Whitlock. Mr. Masen is waiting for you. Go inside, please."
"Thank you." I nod and shuffle to the door behind her.
I knock then press the door handle. I'm nervous as fuck. If this doesn't work, I'm changing my career.
The first thing I see is a dirty and wet suit jacket hanging from the back of a chair, then my eyes find its owner.
I'm so, so fucked.
I have to get out of here.
But I can't move. My feet are rooted in place. His deep, green eyes are keeping me immobile.
This is the guy I splashed with my bike. Maybe, just maybe, he won't recognize me.
There is a towel draped around his neck and his wet hair is air-drying and sticking in every direction.
"Good morning," he greets me on the most alluring voice I've ever heard. "You've got to forgive my appearance, but some jerk gave me a bath this morning," he adds annoyed.
"Good morning," I squeak out. I have to hide my helmet. I bet he saw it and will recognize the red phoenix on the black helmet.
He smiles and gestures for me to sit at his desk while he rounds it and drops onto his chair.
I'm beyond nervous and when I put the helmet on the corner of his desk, I knock over his calendar and a picture frame.
Fuck. I'm such a loser.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," I rush out and bend to grab the items from the floor.
I stare at the picture longer than it's polite but I can't take my eyes off it. He's in some warm place, wearing only swim trunks, and his arms are around the girl at the desk in front of his office. Bella. Maybe they're together.
"Don't worry," he says dismissively, grabbing the frame from my hands. He scowls at it and puts it away, mumbling about crazy friends.
I finally settle on the chair and watch as he shuffles through folders on his desk, searching for mine undoubtedly. He looks at me every few seconds, frowning.
I try to distract myself and look around his office.
There's a small, white bookcase with books, journals and whatever else a bank employee would have in there. There's a small radio that's set on some classical channel, very low. Big windows. A red carpet between the desk and bookcase.
It's simple. It feels homely somehow.
The desk is a mess, but so is my work area, too. There are papers, folders, pens, pencils, a few books, his name plaque that reads EDWARD MASEN JR., a soda can and M&M's. A royal mess.
I jump and clear my throat. "Whitlock," I correct him quietly.
Mr. Masen looks back down at the paper in his hands and nods. "I apologize. Mr. Whitlock, you've called regarding a loan for…" He frowns again. "…hiring a spot at the Art Institute."
"That's correct." I nod jerkily. I'm sweating. Why couldn't he be a woman? I won't be so freaking tongue-tied.
"I see. Why would you like to hire a spot? Are you an artist?" he asks.
"Yes." I nod again. "I'm a painter. I paint."
What gave it away? I think sarcastically.
Mr. Masen smiles. "What do you paint?"
Is this typical interview to get a loan for something? I wonder silently.
I can't tell him what I paint. I simply can't.
He's watching me, expecting an answer.
I gulp, following a few drops of water rolling down his temple. He chases them quickly with the end of the towel.
"Nudes," I jabber.
He raises a perfect eyebrow at me, clearly amused.
"I paint nudes," I explain in a small voice. Blood rises to my cheeks.
"Terrific!" he exclaims. His eyes widen then he smiles shyly. "I'm a sucker for nudes," he whispers, clearly embarrassed by his outburst.
I don't know what to say so I keep my head down, watching my fingers wriggle nervously in my lap. He's quiet, too.
After a few more minutes of silence, he asks more about the exhibition and how much would I need. He's no longer friendly and all his questions are brusque.
Did I do something?
I must have given him the wrong answer to something. But what?
Mr. Masen is talking about finances, credit and interest rates. I'm lost.
If I didn't know it better, I'd say he is doing it on purpose. As if he wants me to not get the loan.
Every question he fires at me feels like a trick question. I have no idea what to answer. And his calculating eyes know that I won't get the loan.
"I'm sorry!" I shout, jumping up and knocking my helmet to the floor by accident. "I don't know what I did wrong, but please, help me, please. I need the money. I have to be in that show! I simply have to! It's my only chance!"
I'm crying, and I don't give a shit.
"If someone spilled something on your precious paintings, would you forgive them?" Mr. Masen asks on a low voice, his cold eyes boring into mine. They quickly shoot to my helmet, on the floor, then cut back to me.
He recognized me.
He won't give me the loan.
I'm sure I look like a deer caught in the headlights. My brain is working a mile per minute.
"I apologize for your suit, Mr. Masen. I truly am sorry. If this appointment wasn't so important to me, I would have stopped. I swear to you. I wanted to stop," I beg him. "But I would have been late here."
"You ended up late, anyway," he noted in a cool tone.
"I took a wrong turn. I'm not familiar with the downtown area."
Could I get in any deeper?
By now, he knows I'm just some up and coming artist that doesn't know shit.
That's how I feel, anyway.
All my degrees and every competition I won…they don't matter anymore. I feel small and insignificant in front of this man.
"Why is this exhibition so important to you?" he insists.
"I can be noticed there. Someone can see my paintings and…" I've lost my will to fight.
He won't grant me the loan.
I don't need much. I chose the cheapest area of the exhibition. To rent that small, minuscule spot I have to pay one thousand dollars.
Mr. Masen is nodding for me to continue, but I have no idea what to say.
"How will you be paying it back?"
That's the trick question. "If I get remarked and my work sells, I will be able to repay it," I answer.
"I see." He nods. "And if you don't sell?"
I look down and feel a tear rolling down my cheek.
"I see you're not employed anywhere. Do you know how the lending program works?"
We're back to the mind games.
"I just want someone to fucking see my paintings!" I shout as tears spill from my eyes.
He blanches and leans back in his chair, watching me warily.
I stand up making him flinch. "Is it too much to ask?" I keep shouting. "I want people to see my work! How many people paint nudes? Not many! I've been told that mine are the best in a long while! I want to pay my rent at the same time as my neighbors! I want to feed my cat something else besides the cheapest granules! I want to have better clothes! I want to have money to open my own gallery!"
I'm breathing hard by the end of my rant. My hands are shaking and tears are falling freely down my cheeks.
I screwed my chance up. That's for sure.
So I pick my helmet off the floor, sling the strap of my backpack over my shoulder and leave his office with my head down.
There's something that feels oddly like pride bubbling in my chest. I stood up for myself.
But at the same time, I still don't have the money.
Bella, the assistant or whatever, is watching me with her jaw touching her desk.
I'm halfway down the narrow hallway that leads to the front of the bank when a hand grabs my elbow. The hold is strong and it almost hurts me.
I know who it is. But I don't turn.
Why did he follow? To tell me what a loser I am? I already know that.
"Mr. Whitlock, would you come back? We haven't finished," Mr. Masen says quietly. I can feel his breath on my neck.
It makes me shudder.
"Please, Mr. Whitlock. It's my fault for keeping a grudge against you for the incident, this morning." He's even closer. His lips are brushing against my ear.
I start to harden. That's the worst thing that's happened yet.
I still refuse to meet his eyes.
The door at the end of the hallway opens and a large man comes toward us with an ironed suit on a hanger. That makes me feel even worse.
Mr. Masen takes the suit and dismisses the man before dragging me after him to his office.
I'm thinking of Plan B. That sounds like a good idea now.
I could offer him something…to grant me the loan. I'll let him choose, of course.
Could I do that? Give my body to him…just for a goddamn loan?
I hate being poor.
"Mr. Whitlock," he grabs my attention.
This time I meet his eyes. They're a deep green. I could get lost in them.
"You will get the loan."
But? I can feel it coming.
He walks behind his desk and sits down, starting scribbling something. He asks for my documents and I shuffle through my backpack.
We're quiet for a long time. He writes and types on his computer. I stare at my sneakers.
"Cash? Or card?"
My head whips up and I stare at him in disbelief. He's really giving me the loan.
"Cash," I mumble.
I don't even own a card. I have no idea how it works.
He smiles and I'm dazzled, for lack of a better word. He's breathtakingly beautiful.
And I'd be lying if I said I didn't want him.
I want him.
I want to kiss him.
I want to run my fingers through his soft looking hair. I want to tug at his locks while I'm pounding into him.
I want to feel his long fingers on my body.
I want to surrender my body to him.
He gives that vibe that makes me want to kneel and call him Master.
I want to suck his cock.
"Here you are. Cash the check by the end of the week," he says in his soft voice. The voice he used at the beginning of our meeting.
I blink, shaking my head to get rid of the dirty fantasy.
"Seriously?" It's the smartest thing I come up with.
"I'd love to see some of your work, Mr. Whitlock." He smiles again.
I grab the check and my documents before stuffing them back in my satchel. I'm still waiting for him to tell me it's a joke. Or maybe Security is waiting on the other side of the door.
"Thank you, Mr. Masen."
"You're welcome, Mr. Whitlock. When is the exhibition?" He leans back on his chair, linking his hands on the desk.
"This Saturday," I answer. "At five o'clock. The Art Institute."
"I will be there. Without a doubt. Have a good day!"
Then he turns his attention to his computer and starts typing. That's my cue to leave.
After another whispered gratitude for his kindness, I'm out of his office.
This time I'm grinning like I just won the lottery. The big prize, too.
I have. Kind of.
I have a grand in my pocket.
Whoa. I have a grand.
I could do so many things with it. Buy so many things….
It's for my career. My dream.
I wave cheerfully at the two girls and almost skip out of the bank.
When I get home, I pluck my unsuspecting cat off the floor and hug her to my chest.
"I got it! Can you believe it? Daddy got the money! We'll be rich!" I tell her.
She watches me annoyed.
"You'll have Purina. That's your first rich meal. I promise," I whisper, kissing her head.
She purrs and rubs her head to my jaw. As if she knows that's good.
"And I'll try something good too," I go on. "Something like…" I close my eyes, humming.
"A big, saucy meal from KFC!"
I snort at my silliness.
When I'm sure I shared all my happiness with my cat, I let her down. She struts to her sand box with her tail held high.
I was in such a hurry this morning that I completely forgot about her.
"You hungry, sweet thang?" I call out from the kitchenette.
I love my studio apartment, but I need a bigger space for my dream to come true. All my paintings are resting against the longest wall, opposite the small twin bed. The kitchenette is in a small separate room that I can't even turn around in without bumping into something. The bathroom is just as small.
After we eat, I call Aro, my professor, and the one who organizes this exhibition. He's pleased to hear I have the money.
We agree to meet on Wednesday at college so I can give him the money.
Time seems to fly once I know I have my spot. I sleep better.
And I paint. A lot.
I'm on a painting spree. On the night before the show, I stay awake till three in the morning to finish my newest painting.
I've never completed a piece in four days. I'm surprised at how good it looks.
It's a profile of a man staying in the shadow of his desk lamp. It's something completely new. He's naked, of course, but you can see only his chest and arms. His long, elegant fingers are holding a pen. And his feet spilling from the other end of the desk, linked at his ankles.
I don't want to acknowledge what – who – was on my mind when I painted it. Because deep down, I know I thought of Mr. Masen.
Saturday is the most infuriating day of my life. I have to carry all my paintings to the Institute, to search for some air-headed woman to check me in, to sign shit, to hang all my paintings in the small area and to look presentable.
The last part isn't hard. Because apparently someone thought I was charity work and sent me a suit.
I'm wearing it because everyone is, but I would hurt Aro if he wasn't my teacher. I bet he sent the burgundy, velvet suit to my studio.
When the gates open for the public, I'm dizzy with the questions fired at me. Some appreciate my work, some critique it and call me a copier. Aro prepared me for this, but it still stings.
When the first buyer appears, I'm a bumbling idiot. This guy, Peter Delopis, is sort of a pimp for young painters. I'm about to shit my pants. I never thought he'd be interested in my work.
He understands why I'm nervous and is very patient with me. After an hour, he buys two paintings, leaving them with me for everyone to see the beauty in them, but I have to hand them over after the exhibition.
This is the hardest part for a painter. To part from his work.
He sends me a woman that looks like she sleeps in money. Her fur hangs loosely around her shoulders, her blonde hair is twisted up in some fancy bun and her long, blood-red nails make her look like a witch. Maybe she is one.
I can't be too put out with her because she leaves after offering me three grand on the smallest of my paintings. It represents the V created by the union of a male and female body. You can't actually see anything…just skin and the pubic bones touching. It is one of my very first paintings and I've been told it's highly erotic.
I bet she'll masturbate to it. I snicker to myself.
I'm so giddy by the amount of money I'm getting that I fail to see my new customer or just by-passer.
"Good evening, Mr. Whitlock."
My poor heart stutters in my chest. That voice…
"Mr. Masen," I breathe out like teenage girl in heat.
He smiles, unleashing his power over me. I'm under his spell.
"You've got talent." He nods, his eyes roaming my paintings. I want to protect them from him. It feels silly, because at the same time, I want to share them with him.
"Thank you, sir."
I bet he's not that old, but I've been taught to be respectful. To everyone.
"Crimson looks good on you, Mr. Whitlock. Brings out the color of your eyes," he comments, sparing me a glance before eyeing my last painting.
No. Fucking. Way.
Did he just compliment me?
Did he…? No.
Did he send me this suit?
"Ex-ee—cuse me?" I sputter out.
He chuckles. "A perfect fit, I see."
I want to strip right there and put his fancy clothes back in his arms.
I've never been so humiliated in my life.
"Please, le-ave," I whisper turning my back to him.
I expect him to linger, maybe explain his actions, but he listens to me.
When I hear murmurs about one of my paintings, I wipe an angry tear from my left eye then turn to face the potential buyers. They're a couple. Two men holding hands and admiring the only daring painting I have. The only painting that represents me.
Two men united.
"That's not for sale," I blurt out.
"I'm offering a lot," one of them tells me seriously.
"No, I'm sorry." I shake my head.
I can't part with it. If I do, I'll lose a part of who I am.
The other man eyes me thoughtfully. "Would you consider painting us?"
I caught the lack of preposition. There was no 'for'. "Sorry?" I ask shocked.
"We'll pay you ten thousand."
Warning bells are going off in my head. They look creepy enough to make me almost imagine myself tied up in a dungeon.
"I'm sorry, I can't," I tell them.
"If you change your mind…" They leave on my small table a business card.
It's then that I see another one. Shit. Did I miss someone?
I grab it quickly and scan it.
Edward Anthony Masen, lending specialist, FHLBC.
How dare he?
I want to call him just to lash out at him, but that wouldn't be a good idea. I'll make the first step.
Though, he made the first step by leaving his card.
Fuck. This is complicated.
Why do I even care?
I should call him and ask where to send his suit.
Or maybe, I should just pop by at his office and drop his suit?
That's a great idea.
I've graduated from the class of Humiliation 101. I can do it.
By the end of the night, I've been offered a lot of money if I paint something totally out of my league. One of Aro's friends, Marcus, a dirty rich, old man, promises me fifty grand for a penis. Not just any penis. He wants the most beautiful penis. I have until the end of the year to do it for him.
That's all he tells me, then he's gone.
And I'm trying to collect my jaw off the floor.
His words were "man genitalia."
Where the fuck do I find a penis?
A beautiful one?
Does that thing even exist?
I mean, you've seen one, you've seen them all.
Maybe I should just…invent one.
The saying "what someone wouldn't do for money" has a new meaning to me.
I'm determined to do this. I want a new life. A normal life.
Fifty grand will do that. Right?
I leave the Institute whistling.
Before I can reach my bike, someone slides out of a sleek car. I have no idea what it is, but it looks great.
Then I see its owner. Is he stalking me, or something?
"What the fuck do you want, jackass?" I snap.
He fists and tugs at his hair making it stand up to an end. "I'm sorry if I'm being rude, but I just wanted to help," he starts bullshitting me.
It's extremely hard to be mad at this good-looking man. I try to channel all my annoyance and lash out. Like I did in his office.
"You're not being rude!" I tell him calmly. He exhales in what looks like relief. "Humiliating someone is beyond being rude," I add brusquely, then I proceed to unbutton the stupid suit jacket.
I don't need his clothes.
His eyes watch my movements with rapt attention. The jacket flies to his feet. I snap my belt and unzip the fly, because I'm beyond rational thoughts and tug the pants down. I proceed to kick them off my feet when they get tangled in my shoes.
I'm breathing hard as I watch him enraged.
Get the fuck out of those pants! I kick my left foot. It's stubborn. It likes the soft fabric.
When I meet Mr. Masen's eyes, they're roaming my body. He licks his lower lip when he reaches my groin area.
"Fuck you, you piece of shit!" I shout out before turning on my heels and marching to my bike.
For late April it's mildly warm, but the wind will cut my skin as I ride. I don't care.
Is he insistent or something?
Spoiled brats aren't used to be told no.
"Stay the fuck away from me!" I snap at him. "I don't need your fancy clothes! I don't need anything from you! And I'll pay back my loan as soon as I have the money from my sales."
I mount my bike making the engine roar.
"You can't leave like that!" he says worried.
"Watch me!" I bite back and fly down the street.
A look in the rear-view mirror shows me a gaping idiot holding his suit in his hands.
They see me rollin', they hatin'.
I snicker and go faster. I can't wait to get home.
There's only one mistake in my plan. A huge mistake.
My keys and ID card are in the suit pants.
And I realize it only when I arrive in front of my door.
I slump on the stairs and fist my hair.
Why the fuck do I have to be so stupid?
I have no keys, no ID card, nothing.
I want to cry. I want to bang my head against the wall.
Neither will help, I bet.
I can hear Pussy from the other side of the door. I crawl to the door and rest my back against it. It's too late at night to bother the landlord.
I pat the door. "Daddy's here. He's just a huge idiot," I mumble.
She mewls. My heart breaks. She's probably worried about me. Or hungry.
Did I feed her today?
Shit. I can't remember.
I'm such a horrible pet owner.
She was my companion. I found her in the studio when I moved in.
Like all roommates, we had our bad days, but when we went to bed we were friends again.
I could have sent her away, but I couldn't hurt her. So I bought her food and a flea-collar. It cost me a ton, but she was happy.
I'm scratching at the door and she's scratching back making me laugh. Until I hear footsteps.
No one else lives on the last floor.
Great. Maybe it's a burglar.
"We have to be quiet," I whisper, scratching the door again.
I'm freezing my ass off and I'll catch a cold. I just know it.
The person ascending appears on my landing.
Next chapter will be up shortly.