Title: The Cullen Enterprise
Author: Amethyst Jackson
Summary: Bella has no idea how she's going to continue supporting herself and her recovering father on her meager income…until a certain CEO waltzes in with an offer she can't refuse.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are in no way mine, and that is why I am making absolutely ZERO dollars off this story. And the idea isn't all that original, either, so I'm really not making any claims here.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Someday
Alice went to her desk, and I followed meekly, eying the doors to Edward's office with trepidation. So far, our time together had been spent largely at home. Naked. I worried I wouldn't live up to expectations.
"Edward, are you ready for Bella?"
Edward's voice came back through Alice's intercom, slightly garbled. "I'll be right out."
I chewed on my lip and clutched my hands together.
"Careful, Bella, you'll get lipstick on your teeth," Alice warned. I froze and frantically reached up to scrub at my teeth.
That was when Edward walked out. I dropped my arm hastily, then dropped my jaw as well.
Edward had changed - I could tell because his shirt wasn't wrinkled - and his dark grey pants and blazer paired with a light blue shirt made the reddish highlights in his hair stand out and displayed his body to terrific effect.
While I was gawking at him, his eyes roamed from my head to my toes and back again. I met his eyes, and what I saw there made my knees weak.
"You look incredible," Edward murmured, still staring. "I mean, you are always beautiful, but right now, you are intimidatingly gorgeous."
I rubbed the back of my neck. "Alice does good work."
Edward shook his head. "Alice is good at picking out clothes, but you're the one wearing that dress."
"I concur. And on that note, I'm out for the day," Alice announced. "You lovebirds have fun tonight."
"Thanks, Alice," Edward said, but his eyes remained on me.
"Really, thank you," I said, turning to see the self-satisfied smile on her face. "I actually had fun today."
"Anytime." She gave me a quick hug, and then with a wave, headed back to the elevator.
My eyes returned immediately to Edward. The way he looked right now, I was kind of hoping he'd drag me into his office and have his way with me, and the way he looked at me said he was thinking the same, but he stepped quietly up to me instead.
"Truly, you look amazing," Edward said, taking my hands in his. "Did you really have fun today? I know Alice can be...very energetic."
"She was great. I really like her," I assured him.
"Good, I'm glad." He leaned in and pressed his lips to mine, brushing softly. In automatic reaction, I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed back. His hand fell to my hips, clenching and releasing compulsively.
I thought things were about to get really good, but he pulled away, eyes closed.
"We need to go to dinner now," he said quietly. I pouted but forced myself to smile once he opened his eyes.
"Where are we going?" I asked as he led me to the elevator. I was hyper-aware of his hand on the small of my back.
"Just a little place downtown."
The "little place" turned out to be one of the most exclusive restaurants in Seattle. I tried to act confident and calm as I walked in on Edward's arm, but once I sat down in our booth and saw the prices on the menu, I felt like hyperventilating.
"This place is...wow," I said, trying to get over my sticker shock. It was a really nice place. The booth was comfortable and private. The lights were soft, increasing the intimate atmosphere, and the whole room was easy on the eyes - not that I would spend much time looking at anything but the man across from me. The top button of his shirt was undone, showing his neck and Adam's apple, the hollow of his throat. I could see his five o'clock shadow coming in along his jaw.
How was I supposed to eat when I only wanted to crawl across the table and lick him?
"I've only been here once before, for a business dinner, but the food was great," Edward said, smiling crookedly. "I hope you'll like it."
"I'm sure I will," I said, scanning the menu for something recognizable. The waiter turned up - although maybe he shouldn't be called a waiter in a place like this - to fill our water glasses and take our drink orders.
I felt a moment of panic, guessing that I wouldn't be getting a Coca-Cola here, but Edward ordered a bottle of wine for us.
He didn't ask to see my ID. Knowing this place, the fine for serving liquor to the under-aged was probably less than the average server's tips on a night.
"So...this is...different," I ventured.
Edward's eyes turned wary. "Different in a bad way?"
"No, I don't think so. I guess I just don't understand why you're doing all this. The date...the dress, the salon...the wining and dining. I mean...don't guys usually do this kind of thing when they're looking to get laid?"
Edward choked on the sip of water he was taking. "Bella, what on earth...? This isn't some scheme. Do you really think so little of me?"
"No, of course not!" I fidgeted, feeling guilty and uncomfortable. "I just don't know why you would bother with all this for me."
Edward tilted his head, his gaze relaxing marginally. "Bella, do you remember what I said to you when we first spoke on the phone?"
Of course I remembered. I remembered the soothing warmth of his voice, the way I'd cried like a baby when he told me he wanted to help me recover.
"Oh." I let out a breath.
He smiled gently. "I just wanted to you feel...taken care of. You've sacrificed so much without ever seeming to really think of it as sacrifice, and that makes me want to completely spoil you."
I blushed and looked down at the table. "That's...well, thank you. I've never had...anything like today. But I also feel like it's too much. You've already freed me from my debt. You gave me my life back. And for you to keep doing more...it feels entirely out of balance."
Edward's eyes, so piercingly green, were serious as they trained on my face. "Bella, that you feel that way tells me you deserve more than I could ever give you. Do you really think so little of what you're giving me in return?"
I smiled wryly. "It's not exactly a hardship."
A flush of pink appeared over Edward's cheekbones, and the sight was so adorable that my heart skipped a beat. I cleared my throat and returned my attention to the menu before me.
"So...I have no idea what to get."
Edward grinned. "Neither do I, actually."
We spent several minutes discussing the options, the appetizers and the entrees. Our waiter returned with the wine and after weighing in on our deliberations, finally took our order. I liked the wine more than I thought I would, and toward the end of the meal I realized I was getting more than a little tipsy.
"I think you are trying to get in my pants – by getting me drunk," I accused, feeling the flush of alcohol all through my body.
He took a sip of his own wine, hiding his smirk. I liked his smirk. It made me want to lick his face. "If I'm guilty of anything, it's of overestimating your tolerance for alcohol."
I frowned. "My head feels funny."
"Drink some water. It will help." I was unnaturally focused on the way his lips moved.
"I think…we should go home soon," I said, taking a few gulps of water.
"Do you want to stay for dessert?" he asked. I shook my head. I wanted two things – to stop feeling so dizzy and to get Edward somewhere away from prying eyes.
"Okay. I'll ask for the check," he said, signaling to the waiter who was at a nearby table. The server took Edward's credit card, and I fidgeted while we waited some more. I made the questionable decision of throwing down the last of my wine, which went straight to my head, and when we finally left, Edward put his arm around me to keep me fully upright. I was a little shaky in my high heels.
Outside, the fresh air helped, but in the car there was nothing to do but look at Edward. It was really sort of absurd that he could make driving so sexy. The way his arms moved, his hands…the look of concentration on his face that was so similar to the way he looked when he was just about to –
"Did I mention you look really, really good tonight?" I blurted out. "I mean…really good."
"Thank you," he chuckled, glancing my way. "I'm going to pretend that's not just the wine talking."
I snorted unbecomingly. "It's not the wine. You always look good. Especially in suits. I mean, you look good in anything, but tonight, you're like…extra hot."
Because it was dark, I couldn't be sure…but I thought he looked embarrassed.
"I want you right now," I said, unthinking. "Like, now now."
His jaw clenched and he abruptly turned down a dirt road away from the flow of traffic. He pulled to the side, right up against the cover of trees.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing to me?" Edward asked as he put the car in park. It was probably a rhetorical question, but I responded anyway.
"I have no idea. You should probably show me. A lot."
"Backseat. Now," he growled, shoving his door open. I hastened to follow, but he was quicker than I was in my high heels. When I got into the backseat, he was already sitting in the center. His eager hands grabbed me and dragged me into his lap.
I straddled him and kissed him hard, wanting everything at once. He groped at me through my dress, but it wasn't enough, not when I could feel the hard ridge of his cock through his trousers, right up against where I really needed it.
I ground against him and kissed everywhere I could find skin, his lips and his jaw and his neck. His head fell back against the seat as I nipped at him. A sudden urge to take his cock into my mouth overcame me, but I didn't think there was room for that in the backseat, and his moan turned into a whimper when I shared that thought with him.
"You're trying to kill me, aren't you?" he groaned. He tugged at the bottom of my dress, pushing it up to my hips, and he yanked so hard at my panties that they ripped – so he tore them off completely. It sort of hurt, but it was also really hot, so I wasn't going to complain.
"Touch me," I begged. Edward's hands were on my thighs, but I needed so much more.
His fingers were sliding against my wet sex in the next instant, his thumb circling my clit.
"Yes," I hissed, clutching his shoulders. He pushed two fingers inside me and my eyes rolled back. Edward knew just what he was doing. His fingers worked expertly, hitting all the right spots, just hard enough, just fast enough. But there was something I still wanted.
Kissing him again, I began to undo his belt. When my fingers found their way inside his slacks, he tensed.
"Shit – Bella, I don't think I have a condom."
That wouldn't do at all. "Can't we go without? The instructions for the pill said I'd be good by now." And with his fingers still working me closer and closer to the edge, I was more than good to go.
His touching slowed. "We still haven't been tested."
"I should be clean. I've never done it without a condom," I admitted. "And I trust you."
"It's a risk," he murmured. "Are you sure?"
"There's always a chance," I said, touching my forehead to his. "Please, I need you now."
"Like I could ever say no when you say 'please' like that," he said. His voice trembled, and so did my hand as I reached to free his cock from its confines. He pulled me closer, lowering me down, and I gasped when I felt him slip inside.
It was so, so different. Where I was used to latex, now there was nothing but soft skin, an infinitely more intimate sensation. A knot formed in my throat and all the frantic lust of the moment prior shifted into something else, something that made me hide my face against Edward's shoulder lest my expression show something it shouldn't.
"My God, Bella." His voice was little more than a breath against my ear. The notion that he might be as awed by this moment as I was made my head spin, and then he lifted his hips and all thought flew from my head. I began to rock as he pushed, and the undeniable rhythm took over. We remained pressed close, close enough that his breath fell in quick pants against my cheek, and I could hear every grunt, every hitch in his breathing, every soft moan. Undoubtedly he could hear me, too. There would be no hiding what it did to me, having him so deep, so close, so smooth and hot inside me.
I'd been close enough when we started that it didn't take long for the pleasure to swell and crest. My release was a long, low burn, working its way through my body like a drug within my veins, striking deep – reaching a place that was beyond physical, something that came through as a tug in my chest, a happiness bordering on pain.
I didn't think the word.
I couldn't. I'd only been with Edward for a week, and this was supposed to be a fake relationship, not a real one.
I came down slowly, dragged down by harsh reality, my hand curled around the nape of Edward's neck and my chest pressed tightly to his. I wanted to cry. When Edward pressed his open lips to my neck as he released inside me, I almost did. The warm vibration of his moan against my skin made me clutch him tighter. I suspected I would never be able to let go now.
Before I pulled back to see his face, I blinked rapidly, dissipating any tears waiting to fall. The evidence of that something growing in my heart would have to remain hidden. It was too soon. Maybe someday, he would feel that something, too…but until then, it would have to be my secret.
Edward sighed against my shoulder, a contented sound.
"We should still get tested tomorrow," he whispered. I winced.
"Are you worried?" My voice didn't mask my defensiveness like it should.
"Not in the least." He sat back, meeting my eyes. "But I want you to have that peace of mind. And just so you know…I've never gone without a condom, either."
"Never?" This was a surprise, and I could feel a ridiculous smile forming on my lips.
"Never," he confirmed. "You were worried, weren't you?"
I shook my head quickly. "No, of course not. I meant it when I said I trusted you."
His hands were on my hips beneath my dress, thumbs stroking gently. "Then why are you smiling like that?"
I shrugged like I didn't really know. "I guess I just like that this was a first for both of us."
A warm smile graced his lovely face, a smile that formed crinkles at the corner of his eyes, and I began to hope that someday wasn't so far away.
A/N: So…by "Friday" I clearly meant "eight days from now." Sorry about that. These two just keep taking so long to do what they need to do. This was supposed to be a drabble type fic for goodness' sake. Tsk.
The good (sort of) news is that I'm working massive hours for the next, oh, month? And I have nowhere near enough to do to fill all that time...and I write so well at work.
Q&A Time – and I apologize, there's a bajillion because I'm doing them for two chapters' worth of reviews:
Q: Do you have an update schedule?
A: As you can see, no, I do not…and even if I had one, I'm sure I would always be late. I use up all of my responsibility getting to work on time every day…there's just not enough to go around.
Q: Are you planning to include Jacob in this story?
A: No plans for him as yet. If he does show up, it'll be drama-free.
Q: Do you have a picture of the dress?
A: Sorry, no. It exists only in my imagination.
Q: So…appearance of the hidden girly parts – what would Bella do?
A: I don't see her going for a wax any time soon. I mean, for one, that costs money – unless you're crazy enough to wax your cooch at home – and she hasn't had disposable income for a while. I see her as going for an electric bikini trimmer or something of the sort. Neat and tidy, but definitely not bare.
Q: Bella has said that she would visit her dad on Sundays, but since that lazy, lolling in bed Sunday for Edward, would she consider visiting him another day?
A: A lot of people have wondered this. My reply is – why couldn't Edward move his lazy day to Saturday? We'll see what develops. We're just reaching their first weekend together, after all.
Q: Could you tell us some of the Killers songs you've had in your head [for fics]?
A: Sure. For Only Human and Anatomy of a Human, it's "Bones" from Sam's Town (bet you thought I'd say "Human"). For Bonne Foi, "Midnight Show" from Hot Fuss. For Madman's Mercy, "My List" from Sam's Town. For The Learning Curve, "Read My Mind" from Sam's Town. And for this one, "Deadlines and Commitments" from their latest, Battle Born.
Q: I'm not sure if you're aware if this, and it really doesn't matter to the story, but since I read this all the time in stories, I thought I'd mention it? - I'm pretty sure condoms get damaged in wallets. I think men are supposed to avoid putting them in there because the heat and friction can cause the condom to deteriorate.
A: Be warned, readers! Do NOT follow Edward's example.
Q: How did you spend Thanksgiving?
A: All of my family lives nearby, so we always do the big Thanksgiving dinner in the early afternoon with all the aunts and uncles and cousins. Usually, I'd go with my cousins to see a movie or something, but several cousins were missing this year – getting older sucks – so I went home and napped instead.
Q: What are your thoughts about the fact that Breaking Dawn was released in Italy 2 days before the US?
A: I didn't know that…must be the Volturi's doing. Aro seems like kind of a diva, after all.
Q: How's A Madman's Mercy coming?
A: It's…well, it's there. I need to buckle down and focus on it tomorrow.
Q: What is the color of your favorite dress?
A: It's a red and white striped sundress. I don't have much occasion for cocktail dresses, I'm afraid.
Q: What would be your dream job?
A: Getting paid to write fanfic. But since that probably won't become legal anytime soon, I'd love to be able to live off original writing.
Q: Do you prefer the [Twilight] books or the movies?
A: Oh, the books, by far. I became very frustrated with the movies after Breaking Dawn Part 1 and I decided to reread the books. Rediscovering the characters is reminding me how sharp and snarky Bella is and how complex Edward is…and it's just amazing how much the movies distort the characters. Part of the problem, I think, is Rosenberg's screenwriting, and another problem is the actors. I won't name names. I will say, though, that Breaking Dawn Part 2 was a vast, vast improvement.
Q: How old are you?
A: 24 :)
Q: Do you know how awesome you are answering questions we ask? it makes you seem so cool.
A: I appreciate you thinking so. It's probably just really self-centered of me...but if people like it, I'm not going to feel too guilty.
Q: Have you read Antiques Roadshow? If so did you like it?
A: I have not. Who's the author?
Q: Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?
A: I tried once while I was in college, but I didn't get very far. I always mean to clear my slate for it each year, and then November rolls around and I've got a million things to do. I wish they'd move it to, like, January. I never have anything to do in January.
Q: Did you read Master of the Universe before it was 50 Shades? Are you interested in the story now that it has exploded?
A: I had read it, yes. I was on a Comic Con panel with "Icy" as she was known then back in 2010, and I decided I should probably read it. I like her very much, but I do fundamentally disagree with publishing fanfic, no matter how far it's drifted from the original.
Q: My birthstone is an amethyst...what's yours?
A: Not amethyst, actually. Mine's alexandrite or pearl.
Q: PS. Seeing The Killers in December! :D
A: Crazy jealous. I looked up their tour dates and they're not coming anywhere near me.
Q: Are you on Facebook?
A: I have an RL facebook that I haven't actually logged onto in probably two years. So...pretty much no.