A/N: I don't usually post whose POV is speaking in my stories, I hope they speak for themselves. But since this has been EPOV so far I thought I'd give you a heads up that it's changing. For the next four or so chapters it will be BPOV. Hope that clears up any confusion.
I love my Team Cupcake girls, MC and MrsRachaelM, for helping make this better!
And as always, I don't own Twilight but I do love me some cupcakes!
I can't help but smile and fish my phone out of my pocket every chance I get during the day.
Good Morning, Cupcake Girl. I miss you already. Have a great day!
And the smile is back.
"Just go already, Bella," Lauren orders me as she catches me ogling my text messages from Edward…again. "I'll be fine here, the lunch rush is over and the after work clients won't be here for hours."
She hands me the large, pink box and practically shoos me out the door. Lauren only knows the basics of my relationship with Edward. That he came here late Friday night, we happened to be at the same party that evening, and then he asked me out.
That's it. Nothing more. No torrid details about what may have happened at this very display case.
I can feel my face heat up at the thought. No one is going to know about that. Well, except Rose, and even she won't hear every little facet either.
Speaking of Rosalie, I decided I couldn't keep this secret from her any longer, being that she is working with Edward again this week, so I told her most of the story over the phone late last night. Plus, I really needed her advice. It has been way too long since I've done this dating thing.
Edward and I haven't discussed what our "dating" really means. He did say he wanted to see me again, so clinging to that hope I would think we are dating.
But boyfriend/girlfriend? And who is in the know? Those questions we haven't asked yet. Much less answered.
I knew there was no way I could talk to Alice about her brother. Heck, I don't even know if she's in on the newest development in her brother's life. She did text me the day after her birthday and thanked me for a wonderful evening.
It really should be me thanking her.
So, Alice was out and my only other friend that I could trust with this information was Rose. I swore her to secrecy in front of Edward, though. I didn't want him to think I was telling the world about our time together.
Which leads me back to her brilliant plan of visiting him today. I feel a bit self conscious about doing it. I mean, it's been one date and only half of a day since I've seen him. But he told me how busy he will be this week and I really want to help brighten his day.
Rose ensures me that it's foolproof. What with the whirlwind weekend we've already had, Rose practically has us engaged.
And I am so not ready for that. Even though the attraction is undeniable, I really need to take this slow. And so does Edward, whatever his past issues may be.
I take one more deep breath and square my shoulders, hoping Rose is right about this. I push open the large glass doors and hold tightly to my package.
As I enter the room I can't help smiling when I see the name EMC Recording Studios engraved on the front desk and thinking of the man behind it all.
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" a pleasant voice asks from behind the large, modern desk.
The young woman sitting there is gorgeous. Her long mahogany hair is pulled into a side pony tail at the base of her neck, bangs swept to the side as well. It's messy but purposely done. She has a tight, low scooped black top adorned with a sea foam green beaded necklace.
And of course, she has on the right amount of sultry yet subtle makeup to highlight the best features of her heart shaped face.
I absentmindedly brush off imaginary lint from my skinny jeans and tug a bit at my casual but slightly dressy blouse, regretting my choice of attire.
Reminding myself that I bake and decorate for a living, I ignore the twinge of doubt and answer the stunningly beautiful receptionist.
"I'm here to see Rosalie Hale," I reply, trying to keep the confident tone in my voice. "She's expecting me."
"And your name is?" she questions politely but a bit condescendingly, while eyeing my delivery and picking up the phone from the receiver.
The phone call quick and efficient, she lets me know Rose will be out shortly. I take a seat in one of the stainless steel chairs in the front office and set the box of cupcakes on the chair next to me.
I survey the room and see similar touches that remind me of Edward's home. My guess would be that Mrs. Cullen decorated this space as well.
Waiting for Rosalie gives me more time to think, and I wonder if I shouldn't just leave these cupcakes at the front desk and ask her to deliver them to the staff.
Before I have the chance to do anything stupid, I hear Rose calling out my name. She rushes out of a door to the side of the desk and embraces me with an energetic hug.
The look on the receptionist's face has turned to one of disbelief but quickly changes when Rose turns to look at her.
"Thank you, Gianna. I'll take Bella from here." The fake smile on Gianna's face makes me laugh as I walk by and smile sweetly.
Rose walks me down the corridor and whispers in my ear, "This is going to be perfect. He's been smiling all day, which is unusual during this stage in the recording process. He's got it bad, girl."
She playfully nudges me with her shoulder and I smirk right back at her. "He's not the only one," I state with a sigh.
We come to a stop at a small wood door and Rose rests her hand on my forearm. "Edward's in here. You can do this, babe."
I nod tersely at her vote of confidence and swallow the nervous lump that is now lodged in my throat. Rose opens the door and practically pushes me in while closing the door behind us.
I'm not sure why I'm so nervous, we've had great chemistry so far. Chemistry? I laugh to myself. I guess you could call it that.
What worries me most is I don't want to be a smothering girlfriend. Not that I technically am his girlfriend yet.
The room I find myself in seems to be some sort of control room. There are knobs, buttons, and lights on every surface.
But the most important thing is missing. No Edward.
I take a step further in and set the box of cupcakes on the counter next to me. When I look up into the large glass window separating this room from the next one, I see him.
Edward is walking around the small room whistling. No. Walking isn't the right word. More like bouncing.
He picks up a guitar and fiddles with some of the knobs at the end, plucking a few of the strings. From my limited knowledge, it appears he's tuning it. His long, dexterous fingers moving swiftly over the frets as the strong forearm of his right hand flexes with each strum. He then moves on to the next one as he sets each one back in its stand.
He looks amazing. All of the feelings come rushing back tenfold when I see him holding the guitar. What is it about a man with a musical instrument?
"I told you he has it bad," Rose tells me quietly, both of us watching Edward walk with a spring in his step. "I haven't seen him this smiley at work in a very long time. Actually, ever."
Rose flips a little switch and speaks into a nearby microphone that is attached to the enormous desk in front of us.
"Excuse me, Edward. But it seems you have a visitor."
Edward's head snaps up with a look that appears to be a controlled smile. Clearly he doesn't want to be bothered. This is a stupid idea.
All thoughts of uncertainty leave immediately when sees me and his face lights up like a kid in a candy store.
Or a cupcake shop. I snicker to myself.
Edward takes a couple of long strides and practically wrenches the door open that connects the two rooms.
"Bella?" he says incredulously but nervously, and I know the question he's really asking. "What are you doing here? Is everything all right?"
Yep. There it is.
He comes even closer to me until we are only inches apart and then remembers that we are not alone in this room.
Edward looks questioningly at both Rose and then myself.
"Well, I'm off to work on some arrangements with my vocalists. My job here is done. I'll see you two later." Rose waves and tries to keep her smirk to a minimum. Which she fails. She leaves the room with typical Rose-esque grace and shuts the door behind her.
The distance is closed instantaneously as Edward steps closer and wraps his arms around me.
A mumbled, "Surprise," is all I can get out. I'm too busy enjoying the touch and smell that is Edward.
He takes a tiny step back to look at me. "You came here to see me?"
The astonishment on his face is endearing.
"Yes," I answer him shyly. "Is that okay?"
"It's more than okay, Cupcake Girl." His hands encircle my waist once more and he kisses me lightly on top of my head. "Are those what I think they are?"
I giggle. This man is so adorable; I can't help messing with him. "Yes, those are cupcakes. I'm on my way to deliver them and thought I'd stop by."
"They're not for me?" he questions with that cutest, little pout ever.
"No, Mr. Pouty Lips, they are not for you." I'm trying so hard to pull this off but can't contain my laughter. "They are for your employees. I thought they may need them since they are under a lot of stress this week."
"They are under a lot of stress this week?" His voice becomes an octave higher and his grip on me has now moved to my shoulders pushing me away. "What about me? I run this entire place and you are my Cupcake Girl. I should get first dibs."
I place my hand on the side of his face and stroke his lightly stubbled jaw, reveling for a moment in his possessiveness. "Well, I guess I could let you have one."
I pat his face lightly with my hand then turn and walk toward the pink box. When I look back at him he is still standing there in shock, and I can't help laughing.
"Oh, come on. Did you really think I wouldn't give my favorite customer a taste test first?"
He stalks over to me with a determined but predatory look in his eyes.
"You're teasing me, Cupcake Girl?" His body is close and he backs us into the wall behind me, his arms firmly pressed next to my head. "You really shouldn't have done that."
Edward brings his face down to mine and my breathing instantly becomes rapid. The tension between us is sizzling palpably around us.
His mouth attacks my earlobe nipping and sucking, my body responds immediately. I slide my hands around his waist and up toward his broad shoulders, trying to bring him even closer.
Edward takes my head gently in his hands and brings our mouths together. Our tongues instantly find each other like they themselves have missed each other.
After a few glorious moments of making out, tongues tangles, limbs reaching and hearts pounding, Edward pulls away.
It's my turn to pout. "Now who's the tease?" I ask him saucily.
"That's your punishment. Now what's in the box?" he demands with a gleam in his eye. Edward reaches over to the box and starts tugging at the ribbon.
I playfully smack his hand away. "Let's leave that to the expert, shall we?"
Edward grins as he gestures with his hands for me to do the honors. I carefully undo the ribbon, leaving the ends resting on the desk and slowly lift the lid.
"These are Chocolate Espresso cupcakes," I say proudly, showing off my display of the small, coffee flavored, chocolate cakes with Mocha Buttercream frosting. A chocolate covered Espresso bean standing tall on the small dusting of cocoa powder on each one. "I thought you guys might need the extra pick me up."
"Bella, these look amazing and the smell…mmmm, I can't wait to try one." Edward leans in to grab a cupcake under the guise of a quick peck on the cheek.
But before he can get his hands around one the door is flung open with a bang.
"Hey, Edward." A tall, lanky young man flies in and looks around. Edward takes a step away from me and looks up at him. "We're ready for… Are those cupcakes?"
I giggle at the look of excitement on his face as he spies my goodies. This is why I do what I do.
"Yes, Jared. Those are cupcakes for the staff. Bella brought them." Both Jared and Edward look at me, one with shock and the other with pride. "Help yourself to one. And only one. Bella and I will take these to the kitchen."
"But aren't you going to stay and oversee the background vocals? You know we are one short since Makenna came down with laryngitis," Jared asks with a tone of surprise.
"Nope, I think you can handle that for now. I'll be in my office if you need anything."
And with that, Edward picks up the cupcake box and leads me out the door and to his office. We only stop to drop off the cupcakes on the way and let a few staff know they will be available there and for them to spread the word.
Edward motions for me to have a seat on a small couch in his office. I sit down on one end, tucking my feet up underneath me and he joins me moments later on the other side with one of my cupcakes in his hand.
He starts peeling off the wrapper and licks a bit of frosting off his long, pointer finger. I watch, mesmerized as his pink tongue darts out to remove the white topping. This man is going to kill me with the sensuality he oozes at the simplest tasks.
I squirm a bit in my seat, Edward oblivious to it all. He is only intent on his sugary snack. "Thank you for coming to see me, Bella. It was really sweet of you."
"So it was a good surprise?" I still need reassurance from him.
"Of course!" He exclaims as he leans over and presses his lips to mine in a quick kiss. "Even more so since you brought some of these." He holds up the cupcake and with a cock of his eyebrow takes a huge bite.
Between watching his mouth move and the sounds he's emitting I can't help but to attack him with my lips. I quickly leap up and straddle his lap, my mouth on his before he has even swallowed it all.
I pull back, not wanting to choke the man. But as soon as he can he pulls me to him with one hand and his lips are searching mine. My body reacts of its own accord, trying to relieve some of the friction and I grind myself onto his lap.
Edward's hand goes to my ass and squeezes it roughly. His other hand is resting against my back now, and I just hope the cupcake topping is pointing away from me.
"Mmmm, baby. You are amazing," Edward tells me through his kisses, and once again I'm not so sure if it's me or my cupcakes. But I would almost guarantee that it's a combination of the two.
I know we both said we wanted to take this slow but when I'm with him my libido has a mind of its own and I can't control it. I just want more of Edward.
Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you look at it, we are saved again. This time from a buzz on his intercom phone.
"Edward, I have Jimmy Riley on the phone for you," the pleasant voice of Gianna fills the room and breaks the lust induced fog that is penetrating it.
We pull away quickly, like teenagers who are caught making out by their parents. Edward sighs and replies to the disembodied voice, "Okay. Patch him through."
Before the phone rings, Edward apologizes and asks me to hang on for a few minutes. Apparently he doesn't think the phone call will last long.
Edward sets his partially eaten cupcake on his desk and takes a swig of some sort of liquid from the coffee mug nearby with a grimace. He then proceeds to answer the phone, as I take a look around the room.
Hung on the walls are some "gold records" and a few awards which are placed on floating shelves, along with some pictures of him with some of his artists. It's wonderful to meet a man that is so self-driven at such a young age. It gives me hope we can make this thing between us work somehow.
The part of the phone conversation I can hear, goes a little something like this:
"Yep, I hear what you're saying."
"Okay, I understand."
"All right, I'll be there as soon as I can."
Damn, that's not a good sign. For me anyway. But I will not be clingy. I am okay with him working and I have some work of my own to get back to as well.
Edward hangs up the phone with a heavy sigh. "I'm really sorry Bella, but I have to go. It was the Executive Producer I have a contract with from this new movie soundtrack."
"Edward, it's okay." I walk over to him and place my hands on his shoulders, standing behind him. "I understand, and I just came by for a quick visit anyway."
I can feel the tension in his shoulders relax immediately with my words. He takes my hand and brings it to his mouth, laying a gentle kiss on my knuckles. My insides melt at the touch.
"Thank you for understanding, Bella. It really means a lot to me and thank you for everything you've done today."
"You are very welcome. And I'm sure someday you will have to return the favor. There are many nights I have store related things that will keep me occupied late into the night."
Quickly Edward spins his chair toward me and pulls me onto his lap for a hard, fast kiss. "I hate to run, but if I don't get my ass over there soon there will be hell to pay," he says when he's done.
I interrupt him with a quick kiss of my own. "It's fine. You go, I'm going to say goodbye to Rose real quick then head back to work. We'll talk soon."
Before we leave the desk, Edward grabs the half eaten cupcake and shoves the rest of it in his mouth. "Can't have this going to waste, can we?"
The grin and that cocky eyebrow make me want to lock him up in his office and feed him cupcakes then lick the icing off his lips all night. But I won't.
Edward walks me back to the Control Room but before he can go we both notice that Rose is in the other room singing.
"What the hell happened, man? I thought we were done with leads?" Mr. Pouty Lips practically growls. "I so don't need this right now."
Uh oh, the good mood seems to be quickly leaving. First with the phone call and now this.
"It's going to be fine, Edward," Jared reassures him. "The BGV's were off a bit without Makenna, so I asked Rose to step in and see if we could work out the levels."
Edward looks at him narrowly.
"We're cool, man. I promise."
The sigh from Edward is his only answer and then he looks at me. All traces of stress leave his face and I get a little shiver seeing him look at me like that.
"Are you okay here?" he asks me, motioning to the room. "You can wait for Rose in here if you want."
I nod my head. It will be fun seeing Rose in action. And I love this song of hers. Even though it's not on the album, she's sung it to me many times trying to work out the lyrics and tone of the song.
"Okay, I'll call you when I can." Edward leaves the room with a quick but discreet squeeze of my hand and a soft goodbye.
I guess I'm keeping our relationship quiet for a bit longer then. Soon we will need to talk about it, but I don't want to scare him away.
When Edward leaves the control room I hear Rose's voice through the sound system, "Swan, get your ass in this live room with me. Now. And Jared, give us a couple minutes and I'll start again."
I shake my head and chuckle at her. Jared shows me to the small door on the other side of the room and I cautiously step through.
The Live Room—as Rose calls it—is set up with a few microphones, a grand piano and the guitars Edward was tuning earlier. It feels so odd to be in here knowing this is where the magic happens.
Well, half of it anyway. I know there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in the control room as well.
Before I know it, I'm enveloped in a bear-like Rose hug, with Rose whispering in my ear. "How'd it go? Did he like it?"
"Yes, he did. You are a genius, Rose."
"I knew it!" She practically shouts and we both look over to the glass window in guilt. Jared seems busy and unaware that we are talking about his boss' love life. "Now get over here and sing with me. It will be fun."
Rose, as you can tell, is very bossy. She gets me to do a lot of things I don't particularly want to do. But this one? No way, no how is she going to get me to sing in here. Especially with microphones and recording equipment.
"Uh, huh, Rose. Not gonna happen. I have to get back to Sparkles anyway."
"Oh, come on, Bella. It will be fun. It's not like he's going to record you. Jared will just record from my mic. And you have a great voice."
No matter how flattering it is to hear that from the uber-talented and awesome singer, Rosalie Hale, it still doesn't waylay my fears.
I'm a shower singer. An in your car singer. A dance around your living room in your underwear rocking out to the top of your lungs singer.
Not a recording artist by any means.
"No frickin way," I start to say but Rose interrupts me with her suave words and pouty lips.
What is it with all the pouty people I know?
"Please, Bella. I need to have someone sing with me so I can feel like a background singer and not the lead vocal. It would really help me out." Those big, sad eyes mixed with the lips are all it takes.
I can almost hear her saying, "I'll be your best friend" in that singsong voice you use as kids.
"Fine, Rose. But only one time." The giddy clapping and her jumping up and down are almost too much for me. But I'm sure Jared is enjoying the view of Rose's boobs doing a dance of their own. "But this is only to help you out."
"All right Jared, you heard the lady," Rose says into the center mic. "No recording. It will only be me on this take but I need her in my monitor."
"You got it, Rose." Jared takes his seat behind the glass and speaks into the table mic. "Just let me know when you ladies are ready."
I place my purse on the nearby piano bench and take a deep breath. This should be fun, Rose and I sing when we get together sometimes. I simply need to focus on that.
I walk over to the microphone next to Rose and she hands me a pair of headphones to wear. "Just follow my lead on the chorus. You've heard it enough times, right?"
I can't seem to get any words out and merely nod in reply, sliding the headphones over my ears and closing my eyes.
This will be so much easier if I pretend we are not inside a recording studio right now. Thank God Edward isn't here. I would never do this if he was watching. That would be way too embarrassing.
After a few bars of the song I start to get a little more comfortable and open my eyes to look at Rose. She smiles at me in encouragement and turns her body so it's facing me.
I follow her lead and do the same and suddenly it's exactly like it always is with us. Light, carefree and fun. I get lost in the moment and really enjoy myself.
My thoughts take me back to Edward on the guitar. And for a moment I imagine him playing while I sing. I know that is not something I will ever be comfortable doing but the sensuality of it is there regardless.
The confidence Rose exudes brings me out of own comfort zone and I begin to let go. I sing my little heart out and I feel a bit of a loss when the song comes to a close.
"Thank you so much, Bella." Rose hugs me one more time. "That made it so much easier for me to feel the proper tones and levels. You are awesome."
I shyly try to get away from her oozing niceties, grab my purse and make my way back to the control room.
"Wow, you are really good," Jared gushes as we enter the room. Yeah, Rose is something else.
"Isn't she though?" Rose looks at Jared and then at me. "I try to tell her but she doesn't seem to believe me."
Wait a minute. They can't be talking about me, can they?
I look in shock from one and then to the other, coming to the realization that they are talking about me.
"Man, you should really think about doing this professionally." Jared continues, and I can feel my cheeks flood with embarrassment. I'm sure they are only being nice.
"Uh, thanks but I think I'll stick with my forte. Cupcakes are more my gift."
"I'm not messing with you, girl. You have a really great voice. And I'm not just saying that, I hear a lot of singers. But your cupcakes are pretty amazing too. I ate two of them!"
"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed them. But I really need to head back to the shop. Thanks Rose for letting me join you. That was fun."
I wave goodbye and walk slowly back to my shop. I still can't believe Rose talked me into singing. How does that girl, do it?
The rest of my afternoon flies by with the adrenaline rush I am soaring on. Between singing with Rose and surprising Edward, I feel really good.
Lauren is cleaning up the kitchen in the back as I work on the front of the shop, making sure everything is ready for our next day. We haven't officially closed yet but since our customer flow has finally slowed down, I bring out the broom and start sweeping up the table area in front.
The bell that sounds moments later startles me out of my memories of the day.
This is not happening today.
I don't know if I can deal with him and his antics.
"Hey, Bells, I've missed you!" I shudder when I hear his voice; even the old nickname makes me cringe.
What is he doing here? And why the hell is he acting so nonchalant? He missed me?! He broke up with me!
"Jake, what the hell are you doing here?" I've had enough with the niceties and need to get straight to the point.
"Wow, nice greeting, Bells. I came to see you. To talk. It's been way too long since I've seen your pretty face."
I stare at him incredulously; I can't believe him!
"Talk, Jake? What do we have to talk about?" I'm starting to fume but my body is also reacting to him the way it used to. The way it remembers.
"I really need to speak to you. I miss you. Can we go somewhere to talk?"
"No, Jake. I think we were done talking when you dumped me." Why do his large, intense, brown eyes bring back so many memories? And not all of them bad, even after what happened.
Jake takes a step closer to me, but I step back.
"Please, baby, just give me a few minutes," he all but begs me. "Will you meet me at the Coffee Shop down the street after you close?"
All of our history comes rushing back and my mouth overrides my brain. "Fine. But only for a few minutes. One cup of coffee."
"Great, I'll wait for you there." Jake's smile goes all the way to his eyes at my acceptance and he bounds out the door like a new puppy.
I slump backwards in shock and my back hits the display case behind me.
It brings a newer memory to the forefront of my mind.
Dun, dun, dun! Thoughts on the new visitor? Feel free to share in the reviews!