Hi all, this is an EPOV out-take of Chapter 3 that I wrote for Fandom for Hurricane Sandy. It was beta'd by the lovely BelleDean, and pre-read by SunflowerFran.
Corporate Affairs Chapter 3 Out-take - Union Business
He walks into the toy store and immediately feels claustrophobic; row upon row of shelves stuffed to the brim full of brightly colored plastic toys are crowding in on him like a garbage crusher. If they could talk they would be telling him he was useless, just the same way that Kate would tell him when he failed to wake up when the baby was crying, or the times that he came home late to find her trying to placate a colicky Leah.
Nobody teaches you how to do this, how to work out what the hell piece of plastic crap it is that your daughter wants for her birthday. This used to be Kate's job; she was —is —good at buying gifts, but now her presents come from her and Peter, and Edward was on his own. Daddy has to buy a separate gift, one that will probably turn out to be too old or too young for his baby girl, or maybe something that she has already gotten from somebody else.
He spends all of five minutes staring blankly at the shelves, before he gets the hell out of dodge — or the Disney Store as most people seem to call it. He decides he'll ask his mom to pick up something; she always seems to know exactly what Leah likes. He didn't even know that the Disney Channel cost extra on cable until Leah threw a fit the first time she stayed over at his new place and found that it wasn't part of his package.
He decides to head for the bar, thinking that maybe Emmett will be there or perhaps Ben will drop in on his way home from the office. A nice cold beer will be the perfect end to the day, and sitting at the bar has got to be better than sitting at home alone.
Work today was pretty hellish, he thinks as he walks back to the parking lot to locate his Volvo. He was in a two hour meeting with Carlisle and Emmett in the morning, discussing ways to put their pay claim across to the management team. The afternoon was spent being hurled abuse at by the workers, who couldn't understand why their pay hadn't already increased. Luckily Carlisle had managed to calm things down before they had gotten out of hand, and the union leaders had escaped with little more than a flea in the ear and the knowledge that tensions were running high at the car plant.
His car starts first time, humming gently as he changes the gear to drive. God he loves this car. The one thing that he managed to extricate from his fucked up marriage, his one constant in life. Before he reverses out of his space his phone buzzes. A glance at the display tells him it is Emmett calling.
"Yo Emmett," he responds, a small smile crossing his face. His friend and fellow union leader never fails to entertain or lighten the load.
"Bro, how's the retail therapy goin'? You going for a bikini wax next, or can I persuade you to re-attach your dick and join me for a drink?" Emmett's voice is loud, making Edward flinch away from the phone to protect his eardrums.
"My dick is still firmly attached to my body you fucker, unlike your balls which I hear are in a little silver box in your girlfriend's purse."
"Fuck you. My girlfriend has balls big enough for both of us." They both laugh; it's true. Irina, Emmett's girlfriend, wears the pants in their relationship. He is most certainly under her thumb, or rather under her body, at every opportunity.
Edward drives the short distance to the bar and parks out the front. He gets out of the car and presses the button on his key to lock it, unable to stop himself from gently rubbing the door, as if it is a girlfriend he's saying goodbye to rather than a heap of metal.
Inside Emmett is already at the bar with two beers lined up in front of him. Edward knows him well enough by now to understand that neither of those beers are for him; Emmett just has a fear of running out of beer before the next one is served, so he hedges his bets by ordering two at a time. He notices Edward walking towards him and makes a gesture towards the barman to bring another bottle.
"So what the fuck's up bro?" Clearly they aren't brothers. Emmett is huge; burly, dark-haired and swarthy skinned. Edward is tall, although not as tall as his friend, but that's where the resemblance ends. Still, they are brothers-in-arms; working for the good guys, representing the underdogs. Since Edward started working at the Fairhaven Car Plant nine years ago they have been inseparable. Many of the workers there think that Emmett is the dominant personality because of his loud, brash exterior, but in fact he idolizes Edward and not only for his intelligence and tenacity, but also for his compassion for his fellow man.
"Nothing's up here." They give each other a brief man-type hug — the sort that involves grabbing of biceps and a brief slap on the back. If it smelled, this hug would reek of beer and testosterone and motor oil.
"Then get this down you." In the spirit of camaraderie, Emmett passes Edward his other beer, while waiting for the bartender to bring a third. He must be fairly sure that the bartender will be swinging by soon; he's nearly finished his first bottle.
"Cheers bro." Edward tips his head back and molds his lips around the bottleneck, taking a long deep swallow. His eyes close as he feels the ice-cold liquid running down his gullet. This is the feeling he's been waiting for all day.
"Did you hear Volturi say he's got some management consultant arriving tomorrow?" Emmett grabs the third bottle from the bartender as soon as he brings it over, passing his first empty bottle back to the overworked host. "I knew the bastard was up to something."
"No," he turns to Emmett frowning, "I must have missed that piece of news when he was yelling at me for even existing."
"Hey dude, you know he just wants to lure you over to the dark side."
"Oh yeah, I can't tell you how many times he's told me he wants to use my skills for his greater glory." Edward rolls his eyes and takes another drink of beer. "Seriously, did he say why?"
"Nah, but Carlisle knows that they're gonna ask for efficiencies. He said we need to start preparing for a fight."
"I'm always preparing for a fight." Edward grimaces knowing how much truth there is in his statement. "The fuckers will always try and get one over us. They never stop."
"Amen to that." Emmett clinks his bottle against Edward's. "But we're here to stop them bro. We're kicking ass for the working class."
They sit and shoot the breeze for a while, and Emmett orders another beer for the road. The bar is still fairly quiet, it's not quite 8:00 PM yet, and while the working crowd has left for their homes and dinners, the partying revelers have failed to emerge from their chrysalises.
Eventually Emmett looks at his watch and declares defeat; he knows at some point he has to go home and listen to Irina give him shit for being home so late. And for drinking away their housekeeping money instead of putting it towards some shit like hummus or tzatziki.
Edward decides to stay for one last beer. If he goes home he'll have to tidy up and get ready for the kids to come over tomorrow. He'd rather leave it a mess; that way Leah and Seth can do what the hell they like and he won't have to bawl them out for making things untidy. It was a win-win situation; he got to drink beer and they got a laid back dad. Plus,it annoys the hell out of Kate when he let them get away with that shit.
A bottle and a half of beer means he has to make a quick trip to the john — a cramped dank room with two yellowing urinals barely attached to the wall, and a stall of doom that Edward has never dared enter. The thought of facing whatever it was that lived in the toilet in there was scary shit. He unzips, pulls out, and aims his stream in quick measure; a flick of his wrist and a tuck back in and he is done. At times like these he's glad he's not a chick; all that squatting down, and using paper, and having to clean a seat before you could even think about starting your ablutions; no wonder there was always such a queue for the ladies' room.
Wandering back to the bar, he sees that somebody has taken his seat. The stool next to it, recently vacated by Emmett, remains empty. No harm no foul; he wanders over and sits at the empty one, motioning to the bartender. In the 30 minutes or so since Emmett left the bar has gotten busy, the temperature has increased and the noise levels are significantly higher. He looks to his right at the person who stole his seat — it's a chick, small and petite, and all curves and chocolate brown hair. He can't see beyond her hair and wonders if she's a butterface.
She shouts over to the bartender for another shot of Patrone. He's surprised, she looks more like a wine drinker. He moves closer towards her, hoping to get a look at her face. Almost immediately she whips around to glare at him.
"Do you want me to raise my bitch brow, or are you going to back off?" Whoa, he moves backwards in surprise. Her eyes rise up to meet his, and suddenly he feels like his breath has been taken away. Jesus Christ she's the antithesis of a butterface. Her skin is smooth and translucent, she has these fucking huge brown eyes that are staring back at him. And her mouth, oh God her mouth, all pouty and plump.
"Just sitting at a bar, drinking my beer." He holds back his smile as he turns away from her and motions for the bartender to bring him one last bottle. He doesn't do this often — talk to strange girls in bars. He tried it for a while, just after he and Kate split up, and although he quite enjoyed the attention, not to mention the occasional hook up, there was something about waking up in the morning next to somebody he barely knew that was a complete turn off to him. When he roused himself in the AM, he wanted to be able to feel free and easy, not worry about how the hell he was going to get the girl out of his house without her declaring her undying love to him. Or at least begging him to take her on a date. At least his right hand didn't ask him to make a commitment.
But this girl — yeah he'd definitely take her on a date. Out of the corner of his eye he can see that she's still staring at him.
"You're pretty close to sitting on my lap drinking your beer." Oh, she's being playful now.
"Did you want me to sit in your lap?" He hardens slightly, thinking about her cute little ass perching on him. She grins at him; a surprisingly large, wide,happy grin that he can't help but return. Yep, he likes this girl.
"No, but you can buy me a drink." She shakes her now empty shot glass. "That will make me accept your apology."
He snorts, "I didn't apologize." She's feisty, but he likes to be the one in control. He gets perceptibly harder with the thought of that.
She whispers something and he leans in and frowns. He can't catch what she is saying, but wants to hear it.
"I'm sorry?" He hopes she'll repeat herself.
"Apology accepted," she ripostes, looking pleased with herself. He wonders if she'd have the same shit-eating grin when he pushes himself inside of her. "And mine's a shot of tequila. Patrone, definitely not Jose Cuervo." And she's fucking picky too.
Watching her slam her tequila shot is pretty hot. She keeps her eyes on him, covers the shot glass with her slim, elegant fingers, and bangs it on the bar before raising the rim to her lips and swallowing the tequila in one go. It's like porn for alcoholics.
"Thank you." Her tongue darts out and licks a stray bead of liquid from her lips.
"You're welcome," he growls, moving his eyes downwards, taking in the curves of her body as his eyes sweep her form. "I haven't seen you here before."
"I'm new in town."
"I won't ask you what you're doing here. Nobody moves here voluntarily." He moves closer to her again, wanting to feel her body heat, wanting to feel her body.
"Stop it," she blurts out. He pauses, momentarily shocked. She notices his surprise and quickly responds, "Sorry, just talking to myself."
A small lock of hair escapes from behind her ear, dangling in front of her eyes. He can't resist; he moves forward and tucks it back in place. His fingers drag across the skin of her cheek, and it is so soft it shocks him. He can both feel and see her gasp in response to his action and leans in towards her. His lips are just inches away from hers, and he has no option but to close the gap. He has to feel her, to taste her, to have her.
His lips move slowly against hers at first, his tongue lazily grazes against her mouth, he can feel rather than hear her moan in response. He pulls her towards him, lifting her slight body until she is almost sitting on his lap; she hardly seems to notice what he is doing. She is kissing him back just as hard, rubbing herself against him. Jesus this chick is begging to be rammed. He wonders if she'll leave with him tonight, if she'll let him bang her from behind as he grabs onto her luscious hips. She is clearly digging him, and he really wants to bury his cock inside her.
"You guys need to tone down the show," the bartender shouts across the counter at them.
"Well, fuck." He's pretty sure that another couple of minutes of that and he would have made her come just from dry humping. But now here she is looking all red faced and embarrassed, thanks to the cock blocking son of a whore bartender. He starts to feel uncomfortable beneath her hot behind, so he gently lifts her up and places her back on her own stool.
Then his fucking mobile rings. The ring tone– Panic at the Disco – tells him it's Kate. He looks up at the pretty girl next to him and says, "I'm sorry, I've got to answer this."
"Hello?" He doesn't even want to utter Kate's name, certainly doesn't want to let the girl next to him know that it's his ex-wife on the other end of the line.
"Edward, Leah's fallen over and hurt her ankle. Peter's working, and I can't get hold of him. I need you to come and look after Seth while I take her to the emergency room."
"Fuck, is she okay?"
"No, she's screaming her head off and I think she might have broken it. You really need to get here now." Kate's voice sounds harassed; a natural reaction of a mom to her child's pain.
"I'm about twenty minutes away." His tone is feeling pissed off, but worried too. It isn't a good combination for him — he knows that Kate thinks he's being a bitch.
"Well, just get here as soon as you can. I can't cope with both of them at the E.R. all night."
"Okay. I'll be there in twenty." He hangs up, already feeling regretful at his terse answers. He knows that Leah is a good kid. She wouldn't be crying if her ankle didn't really hurt. His children always come first, so why was he feeling fucked off that he wouldn't be taking this girl next to him anywhere tonight?
God, she's beautiful. He can't help but lean in to brush his lips against hers one last time. "I have to go. I'm so sorry." Fuck, he really is. He needs to see her again.
"This isn't over; can you be here this time next week?" He kisses her harder now, wanting to brand her so that no other loser approaches her tonight. "I need to see you again."
The relief he feels when he sees her nod is undeniable. His chest feels less constricted, like he can breathe more easily. He looks at her one last time and walks quickly to the exit, knowing that the faster he gets to Kate's house, the faster his baby will be looked after by the doctors. He gets into his car and then suddenly realizes how much easier it would have been to ask the girl for her phone number, or her name. He's such a dick; he hadn't even asked her for her details. She had him so worked up that even the social niceties were beyond him.
He gets in the car and drives to Kate's house, managing to exceed the speed limit all the way. He finds it hard to keep to it at the best of times, and this certainly wasn't the best of time in any shape or form. When he gets there, Kate lets him in and he finds Leah sitting on the couch with her leg elevated, a bag of frozen peas resting on her ankle.
"You okay baby?" He wraps his arms around his little girl, feeling her snuggle her head into his chest, her little body heaving softly with her gentle sobs. He hates when she gets hurt, she's always been his baby. Daddy's girl.
"It hurts," she sniffs, and he kisses the top of her head, holding her tighter.
"I know sweetheart. Mommy's going to take you to the hospital, and Seth and I will be right here waiting for you. It's going to be okay."
Kate comes back in then and indicates she's ready. Seth is fast asleep in his room upstairs, so Edward picks his little girl up and carries her out to Kate's car, gently placing her in the back seat and doing the seatbelt up around her small body. He kisses her again before they leave, breathing in her scent, the essence of his daughter.
Peter gets home from his shift at 4:00 AM, and they both drink a beer while they wait for news from the E.R. Edward really wants to dislike this douche who has taken his place not only with his wife, but his kids too. But Peter is really hard to hate; he's an affable, genuinely nice guy, and he treats Kate and the kids well, but never tries to take the role of dad. Edward tolerates him. Even though they would probably be friends in any other situation, he cannot find it in his heart to see him as anything other than the man who is sleeping with his ex-wife.
An exhausted Kate and Leah arrive home at 6:00 AM, having spent most of the night waiting to be seen. Leah tells him all about the doctors and nurses and x-ray machine before she lets him carry her up to bed. She's a big girl now, nearly nine years old, but he's reminded of when she was a baby and a toddler and he'd carry her up every night to bed and read her favorite stories to her. He feels a pang in his chest when he thinks that he'll never get those moments back; before he knows it she'll be a teenager and the last thing she'll want to do is hang out with her dad.
By 7:00 AM he makes it home and crawls into bed. His body is heavy with fatigue. A few years ago he would have thought nothing of staying out all night and missing out on his rest. But he's over thirty now and years of sleep deprivation from his babies has made it hard to go without his eight hours a night. He doesn't even bother to change out of his day clothes; he's way too exhausted for that. Kate has suggested that he just have the kids on Sunday, rather than for the whole weekend, and part of him is glad that he has the day ahead to catch up on his rest. Another part feels that he's missing out on time that he'll never be able to recapture; each day spent without his kids is like a bullet to his heart.
He closes his eyes and lets sleep drift over him. A fleeting image of the beautiful girl from the bar appears behind his sealed eyelids. A soft smile dances across his lips as he contemplates seeing her next week, and maybe finishing what they started tonight.