Things are moving right along with this little story. Thanks for joining me!
Just a few quick notes. These two met on a Friday and it is now Monday night, not much time has passed but so many things have happened. Also Collin Brady, the actor, is a fictional character. He looks a lot like Colin Firth, hehe. And lastly, don't forget to sign in when you review so I can respond back!
Thanks to my Cupcake Team! Midnight Cougar and MrsRachaelM use their valuable time to make this story better and I appreciate it so very much!
The Past, Present and Future
I lean against the door for a few minutes, trying to get my mind on sleeping so I can be ready for tomorrow's work day. And not on libido that is still raging within after Edward left so suddenly from our steamy, unfulfilled make out session on the couch.
I wash my face and brush my teeth, hoping to cool the persistent fire that is left burning in my core. I lay out my clothing and set the alarm for the morning that will be here all too soon. All the while trying to ignore the memory of Edward's body pressed up against mine.
Once I snuggle in my bed I know it's a lost cause. All I can think of is his lips on mine. His hot breath covering my breasts and his warm, wet tongue on my hardened nipples.
My body immediately perks up again at the thoughts and I let my hands roam of their own accord, envisioning his long, lean fingers instead.
I trail my hands to my breasts, kneading them, pinching and twisting the nipples. I imagine his luscious lips trailing kisses down my neck and onto my breasts. My body starts to arch seeking the friction that is no longer there.
One hand glides down toward my stomach, slowly almost painfully as I remember the rough hands that had been there earlier. I slip them into the waistband of my panties and recall Edward's talented fingers from our first introduction.
It is no surprise to me how wet I am, my fingers slipping inside seamlessly. The smell of Edward still lingers on my tank top and floods my senses even more. My finger easily finds my clit and starts rubbing it quickly. Years of practice, combined with the new Edward encounters, making it for a heady experience.
I moan at the contact, hearing the masculine groans of earlier in my mind. I can practically feel Edward's hardened length rubbing up against me as my body takes over my brain.
It's like he is still here with me, in my bed, grasping the sheets. I can imagine his bare back as the muscles ripple under my hands with every thrust. My hips reach out to his unseen ones and a light sheen of sweat covers my brow.
Overcome with my own ministrations and an over active imagination, my orgasm seizes my insides. Each wave sending shocks through my body in a delicious release.
Finally, I am able to sleep, soundly and peacefully.
Tuesday morning dawns bright and early. I stretch lazily, feeling very well rested as I reach over to turn off my alarm clock. The release of tension from the night before the perfect cure for the lack of sex when Edward left me.
I know Edward implied that he wanted our first time to be special and not rushed, but I have a nagging feeling that it wasn't the only reason he stopped us last night.
Brushing away my insecurities, as I'm sure that's all it is, I get ready for the day and head to Sparkles to open the shop.
The morning flies by quickly with small orders here and there to get us through. I smile when I see the text from Edward, letting me know he arrived safely in New York. It helps appease my earlier doubts and my thoughts on his well-being. Now I can truly focus on the work at hand.
The middle of the week isn't usually very busy for us at Sparkles, so I go in the back room and work on inventory and financial paperwork. There are a ton of things that get overlooked during the weekends and this one was even worse considering my mind was occupied with Pouty Lips for most of it.
Immersed in my work, my eyes straining from the glow of the computer screen; I finally decide to stretch my fingers and take a break. I lean back into my office chair, rubbing my eyes and stretching my arms out over my head.
And that's when I hear it.
The low, happy chuckle I know so well.
It can't be.
I stand from my desk and swiftly take a few steps toward the door of my office in the back. I stop and listen to make certain.
"Well, that sounds great Lauren. I can't wait to try it," the voice is saying, and I hear a little giggle escape from Lauren in return.
"Why don't you just have a seat and I'll bring a fresh one out to you."
Taking a deep breath and running my fingers through my hair, I walk out into the shop. I square my shoulders in an attempt to muster the confidence that is rapidly leaving my body.
Yes, there he is; looking pretty darn gorgeous in a collared shirt and his signature leather jacket. I guess some things don't change.
"Hello, Jake." My voice is clipped as I make my way over to his table. "Back again so soon?"
I try to keep the sarcasm from my voice but to no avail. Jake's body tenses when he hears my tone but he hurriedly tries to appear nonchalant.
"Hey, Bells. I thought I would come back and actually try your goods this time. You know, see what my friend is cooking these days?"
There is a twinkle in his eyes, but knowing him the way I do, I can tell it's forced. He's trying hard to make this work.
I decide to throw the poor guy a bone. After all, he hasn't done any harm yet and I'm in a better place than I was when he broke my heart years ago.
I remind myself that I am a strong, independent, career driven woman, and it doesn't matter what Jake said to me in the past. I've changed and he may have as well.
"So what are you having?" I ask him, waving toward the cupcakes next to the table and taking a seat across from him. I'm curious to see what item he has chosen. It usually is a good indicator of one's personality.
Jake looks a little shocked at my friendliness, and I can't really blame him after yesterday.
"Oh, um. I ordered the Snickers," he replies, one eyebrow partially raised in confusion.
Before either of us can say another word, Lauren comes over with Jake's cupcake on a small plate. She sets it on the table along with a napkin, fork and a small water bottle. She's really going all out for him.
"Here you go," she says sweetly and almost swoons when Jake flashes her his signature smile. I try to contain my eye rolling to a minimum. I can see Jake's still got the charm; even Lauren, with a dedicated boyfriend, isn't immune.
Jake nods his thanks and begins to dig in to one of our customers' most favorite cupcakes. It's a buttermilk based cake, filled with cream cheese. Little bits of crushed Snickers are mixed into the batter for added flavor throughout. Jake takes the piece of candy that garnishes the top and licks the cream cheese frosting and chocolate drizzle off it, placing the entire piece in his mouth.
But I have no lust filled feelings coursing through me watching the display. Maybe because I know choosing that type of cupcake is a safe bet. It's not daring or adventurous and it belies the true characteristics that Jake hides. He may come across as Mr. Big Shot Club Owner, but deep down there's an insecurity lying under the surface.
Or maybe it's the fact I have indeed moved on from my Jacob induced lust over the past few years. And the fire Edward has ignited last weekend is brighter than I ever would have thought for such a short time.
"Mmmm, this is really fantastic Bella," Jake tells me through a mouthful of food. "You are an amazing baker."
It takes everything in me not to correct him that I'm a pastry chef and just take the compliment as it is.
"Thanks, Jake. I really love what I do."
After several minutes of polite conversation I begin to feel more comfortable with Jake. We talk about our business ventures and fill each other in on mutual friends that we haven't kept in contact with over the years.
It becomes so easy that I forget about the past. Maybe we can do this friendship thing, after all? It's what we always did best, be friends.
Deep down I know it most likely won't be that simple. I mean, I do remember Jake's words from yesterday. I know he wants more. But I also know I don't have more to give him. I'll just have to go into this with both eyes wide open, making sure to keep Jake on the friendship side.
When the shop begins to fill up with the lunchtime rush, Jake makes his goodbyes and we end our time with an awkward hug. Neither of us knowing how to say goodbye. I promise to keep in touch and head back behind the counter to help Lauren ring up our customers.
The rest of the day goes by smoothly and I settle in at home for some veg time in front of the television. It's nice to put your feet up at the end of a busy day and just relax.
My smile can't get any wider when my phone rings shortly after I get comfy on the couch.
"Hello," I answer, trying to be calm but the giddiness at hearing his voice keeps me from succeeding.
"Hey, Cupcake Girl. How was your day?"
That's all it takes to make my girlie bits tingle. Knowing this man cares about me enough to listen to me drone on about cupcakes and silly clientele stories, makes me like him even more.
We swap stories of our day and Edward tells me about New York and the film set he's visiting.
"So I met with Collin Brady today," he tells me, and I can just picture the smirk on his face. "Is there anything you want me to tell him? Maybe get his autograph for you?"
"Very funny," I reply back but can't help giggling. This jealous man is too much. "But I wouldn't mind hearing an early sample of his song."
Hey, I figure it doesn't hurt to ask. I am curious to see what Collin's music is like. Plus, with Mr. Pouty Lips adding his special touch, I'm sure it will be even better.
"That might be able to be arranged," Edward replies easily. "For a price."
The chuckle I hear on the line is so darn cute. I can't wait for him to get back so I can hear it in person.
Yeah, I know he's only been gone a day, but since we have spent almost every day that we've known each other together, I feel the loss immensely.
"What's the price, then?" I taunt him back.
"Hmmmm, I think that will have to be given in person. And it's going to be a pretty high fee." The teasing banter is evident in his tone, and I can picture his eyes twinkle with mirth.
"Edward Cullen," I tease back haughtily. "Are you trying to proposition me for sex?"
The spluttering on the other end of the phone is so adorable, but before I can even let out a small chuckle, Edward becomes very coherent.
"Shit, no. Bella, I'm so sorry. I did not mean that…at all. I'm really not that much of a douche. I'm really sorry."
As soon as I can get a word in edgewise, I stop his incessant ramblings.
"Edward, it's okay. I was just teasing you!"
I hear a long breath escape him and start to feel bad for my wit. I am so confused. I thought it was obvious we were joking with each other.
The conversation becomes stilted and ends shortly after. Both of us feeling the awkwardness seeping through.
As I hang up my phone I sit there pondering our conversation, thinking of the moment when we seemed to go off track.
And then it hits me like a ton of bricks, as I recall our conversation on Friday night at Edward's home. He wanted to tell me about his past but before he could tell me much I silenced him.
I do know from that discussion he has a reputation, but Edward also said he never slept with any of those women. My brow crinkles in confusion. Is that why he wouldn't take our relationship to the next level the other night? Is he a virgin?
That seems highly doubtful from the talent he displayed on my cupcake display case. I can feel my cheeks heat up at the memory.
So then what is it that is making Edward pull away? It obviously has something to do with sex. Unless of course, it's just me.
The thoughts are swirling around my brain, bringing all my insecurities to the forefront for the second time this week. I try to push them aside, reminding myself of the strong physical reaction both Edward and I seemed to have to each other this weekend.
I guess this is something only Edward can truly answer. But I'm not going to push him, he clearly needs some time and there is nothing I can do right now, anyway. This is not a conversation I want to have over the phone.
Getting ready for bed, I think about the good times Edward and I have shared. And the smile is back on my face.
Work passes by in a blur the next day. Once I get a text from Edward saying he's going to be too busy and won't be able to call me later, I start to panic.
This can't be good. I run over all the times we have had in my head. I try to recall every conversation, especially the one from the night before.
I remind myself that we have only dated once, maybe twice if you count Alice's birthday party.
Distractedly, I go about the rest of my day, hoping I don't mess up too many orders. Lauren can tell there is something on my mind, but I don't want to talk about it.
At least not with her.
Before I leave the shop for the night, I know exactly who I need to talk to. Well, besides the one man I can't speak with, as much as I'd like to.
Rose answers her phone and promises to meet me at my place with pizza and wine as soon as she can.
I'm pacing my small cottage as I wait for her. More thoughts swirling in my head.
Edward said he dated a ton, but that none of them meant anything. Maybe he's afraid of commitment?
But I haven't been too clingy; at least I don't think so. He's seemed just as interested as me. He was the one who surprised me at my place the night things starting going downhill.
Before my thoughts can run any more rampant, Rose arrives. My knight in shining armor. Or more accurate, my best friend with food and alcohol.
We situate ourselves on the now tainted couch with plates of pizza and a glass of red wine each. The bottle easily accessible for future refills.
Digging in to our pizza, we both sit in silence for a few minutes, and I am so thankful Rose is here. I feel calmer already with her around.
See? This is why I didn't call Alice. That girl is way too dramatic in these kinds of situations. Besides the fact this is about her brother.
And yes, I know Alice may have some deeper insight into Edward's mind, but I need to hear that from him.
"Okay," Rose finally speaks, stirring me out of my musings. "Why don't you fill me in on what's happened since I last saw you at EMC. You guys looked pretty happy together then."
I nod my head and slowly chew my bite of food, swallowing mechanically. I tell Rose about my and Edward's make out session in his office.
She may have gagged a bit at that. But I think deep down she really is happy for me, even knowing she's sat on that same couch in his office.
Then I tell her about Jake and his "wanting more." That didn't go over very well.
"Are you kidding me, Bella?! That guy only wants one thing and that is to get into your pants. You cannot let him ruin what you and Edward have together."
Rose is indignant, and I sigh in return. "Well, there might not be anything for him to ruin anyway with the way things are going now."
I look into my almost empty wine glass and run my finger around the rim. I can't even chance a look at Rose as I feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes.
Rose quickly puts her glass and plate down and is scooting closer to me.
"Hey," she says as she puts a finger under my chin, forcing me to look at her. The tears start to slide out. "You don't know that yet. There could be a very good reason to the way he's acting."
I nod silently but not really believing. It seems like this weekend was too good to be true.
Hurriedly, I recount our last night together and the phone call from earlier in the day. Rose says nothing, just listening while I get the whole story out.
When I finish, Rose finally speaks, more vehemently this time. "I have never seen that man look anywhere near as happy as he did this week. And the look on his face? I have never seen that before, either."
My eyes widen at her admission and I let her words sink in to my rebelling brain.
"Bella," and now it is Rose's turn to sigh, "I've known that man longer than I've known you. This is not some fling to him. But I do think it is something he hasn't had in a long time. And maybe it scares him a bit."
Edward, scared? He always seems so strong and sure. It seems unbelievable to me. But Rose is right; she's been working with Edward a long time. She knows a bit more about the man than I do.
"So you're telling me not to freak out just yet?" I ask her, my lips starting to twist up in a small grin.
"Don't freak out. Wait for him to talk to you and give him the benefit of the doubt." Rose seems so sure of all this. And it does make sense. It's what I've known in my head this whole time but my heart was afraid to let in.
I don't want to get hurt again. I let out a deep breath, knowing there is one more thing I need to tell Rose.
"Um, Rose," I mumble, knowing full well she isn't going to like this. "Jake came by the shop yesterday to buy some cupcakes and I really think we can do this friendship thing."
Rose's eyebrows shoot up to her forehead for a second until she composes herself. But her next look isn't much better, the one eyebrow arch. I feel myself cower under it.
"Bella," she warns. "I know how much that guy messed you up before. I've seen the box of keepsakes you keep under you bed."
Rose stops suddenly. "Do you still have it?"
Right now I'm wishing the couch will swallow me up. I so don't want to go there with Rose.
"You do!" She practically yells at me and jumps off the couch. "We need to take care of this right here and now. It's time you started savoring your new memories."
And with that, Rose is stalking in to my bedroom like a woman on a mission. I am not going to get out of this.
Whatever this might be.
Reluctantly, I trudge to my room. I can't stifle the laugh that tries to escape me as I see Rose's perky ass wiggling around next to my bed. The rest of her body is hidden underneath as she reaches for what I can only assume is "The Box."
I'm not really sure why she's making such a big deal about this. I mean, doesn't everyone keep a box of keepsakes from their old boyfriends?
Or boyfriend, as the case may be.
It's not my fault Jake is the only real important relationship I've had. Okay, maybe it is. But what's wrong with that?
I'm twenty-seven years old and only had one serious relationship. I'm picky, what can I say. And not a slut, although my actions earlier this week may beg to differ. But come on, Edward licking his frosting covered fingers would make any girl throw caution to the wind.
Especially a girl that's been pretty much single for the last six years. Because, let's face it, dating every now and then does not keep a girl satisfied. If you know what I mean.
"Aha!" Rose yells from under the bed and pulls out "The Box." She blows some dust off the cover and smiles triumphantly at me.
I cringe and wonder just what this girl has in mind.
"Bella, it's time to let these memories go. You told me yourself, you don't have any more feelings for Jake. So let's move forward and get rid of these."
I nod in defeat, knowing she's right. But why does it feel so difficult to do? And I haven't even opened the box yet.
"So, what do you have in mind?" I ask her quietly. It's not like I hate the guy anymore, this doesn't need to be a male bashing session. I just need to put the past behind me.
That I can do.
"Well, I really want to burn them or something dramatic. But I've watched that Friends episode and know what a bad idea it can be, so maybe we better not."
Rose certainly does know how to make me laugh, even when I'm feeling down. You gotta love it when Friends is your go-to source!
Giggling, I retort back, "But at least we'd have some hot firefighters here, right?"
"With our luck we'd get the old, married ones," Rose says laughing with me. "But seriously, why don't you just look through it and then we will toss them in the trash. You won't go back out there and dig them out later, will you? Do I have to take them to my trash?"
Rose cocks her eyebrow at me, and I shake my head vehemently. "No, I'm ready for this. It's time to move on."
Both of us are now sitting cross-legged on the carpet next to my bed, as Rose nudges the dreaded box toward me with an encouraging smile.
Taking a deep breath, I grab hold of the box and bring it to me. This should be easy, I can do this. I haven't even looked in this box in ages.
But as I take the lid off and look down at the contents inside, the emotions come rushing back.
Inside is a perfect seashell from my and Jake's first date. I hold it in my hand as my fingers glide gently over its bumpy ridges. The tears start to well up again as the good memories flood in.
I try not to blink and allow the tears to escape, setting the seashell on the floor next to me. A pair of chopsticks is next, a souvenir from our date at the Chinese restaurant the night of our first kiss.
The tears cannot be held back now as I place the chopsticks next to the seashell. Rose stands up and squeezes my shoulder in support, graciously giving me a few moments to myself.
The next item I see brings back some not-so-good memories, as well. A bottle cap from the first club Jake took me to. Yes, that night was magical and at the time I really wanted to keep its memory. But looking back now, at all the fights that nightclubs caused us, I wish I had never kept it.
Quickly I go through the rest of the items, taking the good with the bad. I know no relationship will be perfect but I also know I want more than what Jake and I had.
We weren't meant to be, and I'm ready to find someone who is meant for me. And that somebody may just be a man who is a little confused about our whirlwind weekend.
I know it's nothing I've ever experienced before and it is a bit crazy.
"Hey, are you doing okay?" Rose asks as she sets a trash bag next to me. She takes a seat by my side and gives my shoulders a hug.
Leaning my head and resting it on her shoulder, I sniff and wipe away my tears.
"I will be," I answer her; my voice firmer than it was before. "Thank you for doing this with me. I needed it, whether I knew it or not."
"That's what friends are for, giving you a swift kick in the ass when you need it." Rose chuckles and rests her head on top of mine. "Now enough with the soppy, let's move on to the fun."
"I'm all for that!"
Within minutes we have the entire contents of "The Box" emptied into the trash bag and taken outside to the large trash bins. I dust my hands of it all, feeling accomplished and cleansed. Ready to take on the future.
We grab our bottle of wine and enjoy the warm Los Angeles weather. Sipping our drinks and chatting while looking at the amazing view of the Hollywood Hills that my backyard is privy to.
I am so lucky to have a friend like Rose, this cute, little home with a terrific view and a fabulous man that I'm dating. Or have been on a date with.
Whatever. I'm not going to let it bother me, just going to take it as it comes.
"Bella, since you are moving forward and all, there's something else I need to ask you." Rose has her eyes glued firmly to her wine glass and I know I'm in trouble. What more does this woman think I need to do?
"Go on," I sigh, waving my hand for her to continue. "You better just get it all out now."
People say Alice always gets what she wants, but Rose can be very, um, persuasive. I can't even imagine how these two are going to remain friends. Let alone working together on Rose's clothing for her album and tour. I shake my head in amazement and wish them the best.
Rose's stuttering interrupts my thoughts and I look at her shocked. I can't recall I time where Rose seemed so ineloquent.
"Um, well. It's about my album," she starts finally, and then seems to remember her courage and spits it out. "I want you to be one of my background vocals on it."
I stare at her incredulously, thinking that she must have had too much wine. How else does she think this would be a good idea?
"Are you freaking kidding me right now, Rose?" I all but yell, sitting up in my patio chair to make my point even clearer. "I am not a singer. Nobody wants to hear that. You're lucky I even sang with you at all."
"Well, that's where you're wrong, my dear. Jared thought you sounded so good he recorded it so he could play it back for me. And girl, you rocked it."
"He recorded it?!"
And now I'm shrieking. There is no way I would have done that if I thought someone would record it. I guess I'm pretty dumb. I figured me asking someone not to record meant they wouldn't. I hide my face in my hands. I don't know if I'm more angry or humiliated.
Once again I feel Rose's arm around me, her strong support at my weakest times.
"Bella," she says quietly to me. "You don't need to be embarrassed. You really are an amazing singer and I would be proud to have you on my album. That's gotta count for something, right?"
Slowly I lift my head up off my lap and look at Rose. It appears she's telling the truth, but…
"You're just saying that because you're my friend," I say sniffing a bit, trying to keep my emotions in check. It's been a long day.
"Sorry, girl. I love you and all but I wouldn't let you ruin my album just because we're friends. You've definitely got the voice for it and I don't want just anyone on my tracks. They have to be more than good. And you are."
"But even if I did say yes, I don't have time to go in and record. I'm really busy this week with a huge weekend cupcake order coming up."
I can't believe I'm even discussing this with her but it's more of trying to find a way out of doing it.
"You wouldn't have to. The track is perfect as is, it's just backgrounds." The look on my face has Rose hurrying on with her sentence. "But, if you wanted to, you could come in and throw down another take. I'd even hold off until Monday, not that Mr. EMC would love that. But he'd get over it."
Rose shrugs, and I take a minute to let this all sink in. Edward would hear it?! I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Who am I kidding? Edward is the least of my worries. The entire world will have the chance to hear it.
The panic starts to grow in my chest and I'm sure Rose can see it on my face.
"You don't have to decide anything right now," she tells me reassuringly. "Just take a few days to think it over."
As if I don't have enough things on my mind already.
So, thoughts on Edward's behavior. Is he really pulling away? And if so, why? Every review gets a Snickers Cupcake. Or at least a virtual one! Thanks for reading and reviewing.