Dedicated to Starbuckathena, LiLi82, Kgunter34, BelovedSunshine, The Unfamiliar, alc1002, jbrjaw27,ellaryne and kikikinz.
Thanks to all the ones who put the story in favs and all the followers.
And, of course, like always, especial hugs and mwahs to the 'DO Brigade': neyvada, notthatamanda, OCDMumof3, and cullenmeadow.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 17 - Who's the boss?
Edward woke me up almost at noon the following morning. It wasn't very different from my usual schedule, but sleeping in while being in his huge bed felt odd.
We had gone to bed late after the meeting, and even when Edward held me in his arms all night, I still felt like he was holding back. He was very affectionate and sweet, however he never tried anything remotely sexual, so I was starting to feel self-conscious again.
I was very glad he had thought about my clothes, because I didn't want to make my first impression at his restaurant dressed like Miss Salvation Army, and as much as I loved wearing his clothes, they didn't give me exactly a professional appearance. Fortunately, the clothes I was wearing when he rescued me from the storm were, clean and dry, lying on one of the chairs, and he had sent Rosalie to buy me a new pair of shoes and underwear. I excused myself and went to the bathroom to get dressed and do my morning routine.
Once I was done, I walked barefoot to the bedroom to retrieve the shoes. I smiled when I opened the box. They weren't the 6 inch heels I craved, but they weren't either the ballet flats I was used to. It was a gorgeous pair of black patent kitten heels. They made me think of Audrey Hepburn and the classic movies I used to watch.
"Do you like them?" Edward asked hesitantly. I didn't notice he was standing in front of me until II heard his voice.
"I love them! Thank you!" I approached him and gave him a kiss on the cheek in gratitude, but he surprised me grasping my wrist and dragging me closer to him. He closed the few inches between us tortuously slowly, placing his lips on mine.
He was giving me time to stop him, but the moment I felt my body pressed against his, smelled his intoxicating scent, I knew what I wanted.
He smelled divine, earthy; like sandalwood and rain, and something uniquely Edward. The kiss started tentative, but I couldn't get enough of him. I moaned when he sucked and nibbled on my bottom lip, and opened my mouth to let him deepen the kiss.
By the time we finished it, we both were breathing heavily.
"Remind me to buy you lots of shoes, love," Edward said, smirking.
I just shook my head and blushed. I was aware I was being a little too forward before even telling him the new developments of my relationship with Mike, but all in our relationship seemed to be strange from the beginning, so I didn't feel that bad. I promised myself I would come clean with him during brunch. We had agreed on visiting the restaurant as soon as we woke up that day, and have our meal there. It wasn't open for the public, but Edward had arranged for some of the staff to be there to make the introductions.
"Are you ready, baby?" He asked offering me his arm. I took it and we walked to the elevator.
The restaurant was a mess. I couldn't imagine how they had been working like that. Everything seemed chaotic, from the menus, to the stock, and we'd better not start with the staff.
I had my first argument with the head chef, and my first rule was always having the HC happy. I wasn't sure if it was the heels, or maybe the sexy underwear I was wearing that morning, but something gave me a confidence I wasn't aware to have. The guy wasn't a happy camper when I criticized his menu, and I couldn't shut up. The incident didn't get any worse because Edward chose that moment to come to the kitchen and take me to table to eat something. Apparently he was worried I didn't have any food after the previous night, and he didn't want me to faint. I tried not to laugh at his concern, but little did he know I was used to skip meals considering the crazy rhythm Mela's handled.
When we were both sat at the table, a tall brunette came to take our order. I liked her at first sight; she had an easy smile and sincere eyes. I was relieved at least I liked somebody in there, because I could already tell that the people in the kitchen wasn't going to be my favorite for sure.
She said her name was Angela. Edward introduced me as her new boss, and her eyes went wide at that piece of information. I didn't tell the Chef and his assistants exactly who I was when I started in the kitchen. For one, I didn't want to pull out rank on them, but I also had another reason to do that: I wanted to know who was who before any titles were laid on the table.
Edward had asked me on the way there what I thought it'd be best to order. We could just ask them to prepare several dishes to sample, or we could have them cook something special to test the quality of the service. I told him my way of knowing how good they were was asking for certain dishes in particular, thought I didn't know if they were of his taste. Edward assured me he was game, so I took the reigns.
"Angela, we'd like a savory souffle, any kind, tell the chef to surprise us. We would also like fish and a salad, again, it's upon the chef to decide, we'll follow his recommendation today. For dessert we'll have the eclairs with crème chiboust."
Angela took note of what I ordered while Edward was hardly keeping from laughing on the other side of the table. He made a gesture to her and excused himself from the table for a minute. I couldn't hear what he told Angela, but she was amused too when she left toward the kitchen.
"What did you tell her?" I asked as soon as he sat down again. I knew that he probably won't tell me, considering he had talked to her in private, but it couldn't hurt trying.
"It's really difficult to keep a secret from you, uh?" He complained, but his grinning face gave away the fact that he wasn't serious. "I've just warned her to keep the kitchen staff from knowing you're the boss until they serve the meal"
"That's perfect," I agreed, "I had a bit of an argument with the Head Chef earlier-"
"What?" Edward interrupted me. "What happened in the kitchen, Bella?"
"It was nothing," I told him sincerely, I didn't want the guy to get fired because of that. "He's not very neat with his menus, I criticized something and he talked back. I don't mind, Edward, honestly. I can accept he has an attitude as long as he does his job w-"
"He's not entitled to have an attitude toward you, Bella. That shit has to stop," he seethed.
I didn't expect him to get so mad over that silly argument; if I knew he was going to react like that I wouldn't have mentioned it to him.
"It's ok, Edward. I ordered certain dishes on purpose, I need to know if he has the skills to back his mouth. If he's in the kitchen half as good as he is to defend his choices, then I can endure his attitude," I explained. "We need a good Head Chef if you want me to take this restaurant to level Mela's is."
"I don't care about the restaurant's level, Bella. I didn't bring you here so you could switch jerks. Nobody has the right to make your life hard in here, love. You are in charge. Everybody has to dance to the song you play or pack their bags, and hope the door doesn't hit their asses on their way out."
I decided it was a good moment to change the topic before Edward got worked up again.
"Hummm...I wanted to tell you something that happened yesterday," I started, and I could see he was starting to worry again, so I added quickly, "at noon, before the storm." He nodded, more curious than concerned, so I took it as a good signal, and resumed. "I had been thinking about what you said...that dating Mike for the wrong reasons wasn't never going to make me happy in the end."
"So?" He pushed.
"So I asked him to meet me for lunch, and talked to him..."
"You broke with him?" He asked, and his face was hopeful and worried at the same time.
"Not exactly. I asked him for some time," I finally confessed, "I explained him the situation, and he insisted nothing was wrong with us. I felt bad for him, I told him we needed some time apart to really know how we were feeling. I suggested him to go out, have fun, meet other people..."
"So you basically dumped his ass with the older than dirt 'time' excuse?" He asked, smirking.
"Nah! I didn't dump his...I mean I didn't break up with him. Yet," I said lamely.
"Bella, Bella. What am I gonna do with you, love? Every guy knows that when a chick tells you she needs time, she's dumping your ass," he said as if he was talking to a five year old.
"Well, Edward, don't blame me, then! Tell his stupid ass that I've got rid him 'cause I don't know what else to tell him!" I almost screamed. I was getting very frustrated with the situation, and Edward's patronizing words weren't helping me.
He raised his hands up in surrender. "You look so hot when you're angry, baby," he told me in raspy voice. His green gaze was so intense I wanted to crawl over the table and jump on his lap. Unfortunately, Angela chose that moment to come with our food. I wondered if any of us would have noticed her if she hadn't cleared her throat.
The meal went slow, full of playful banter between us, as we tasted the dishes. Much to my desperation, the food was nowhere as good as it should have been. There was no way I was going to be able to raise the restaurant's reputation with that kitchen staff. I was distressed and examining my chances of make something good out of that, but Edward said we should interview new candidates for the job.
He left the restaurant after leaving me in my new office to take care of the problems I could, and went to check on the casino. I sight as I sat on the comfy chair behind the desk, firing up the computer. That was going to be a long day.
A/N: See, my pretties? I haven't forgotten about this story. It's just that I've joined NaNoWriMo and I'm trying to write a novel in one month *sighs* Yup, I know, it's crazy. Anyway, if you'd like to see what's the story about, first chapters are posted. Story name: Dreamwalker.
I also have posted my entry for the Public Loving Contest, so if you like smut, go and check it. Story name: Behind the Screen. (And go and read the other entries, cos they're awesome. Especial pimping for my partner in crime Neyvada., Check her story "Spied". I'm sure you'll like Edward giving some love to Bella in public *winks*)