A/N: For those of you who don't go to my Polyvore account to see the outfits, Bella's dress is described in detail. I want the visual clear for you so you can picture her in your mind. I'm crazy like that. xo I hope you enjoy.
Today's the day. The day I've been dreading and the day I can't wait for. I finally get to see Edward. It seems like it's been months, even though only a few weeks have passed. Day in and day out, he's consumed my every thought. His voice. His smile. His long fingers squeezing my thighs...
Stop it, Bella.
I need to get a grip. I've somehow got to convince Carlisle and Esme that I don't know their nephew, and I'm the worst liar in the world. Alice (who I thought would help me) was no help at all. Her only suggestion was to drink and change the subject. Yeah, that won't be obvious.
It's unusually warm for this time of year so I wear a simple but sexy lace dress by Ermanno Scervino. People have a misconception about lace. They think it's for old women or drapes. Not me. Lace is one of my favorite fabrics. It's demure but sexy. It covers yet it's transparent. It's the ultimate tease.
White lace covers the front, leaving my skin exposed all the way down to my waist, but it's also modest, covering all my girly bits. The skirt's made up of thick light blue pleats, almost the color of stonewashed denim that sits at my mid-thigh.
I've put away my grannies and wear a pair of silver blue and white lace panties from La Perla. They're gorgeous. It's not like I plan on anyone seeing them, but they make me feel like Cinderella.
After I slide on my light pink peep-toe stilettos I look at myself in my full-length mirror. I must admit: If I were a guy, I'd take a second look.
I just hope Edward does.
I knock on the front door and silently pray everything goes okay tonight.
Breathe, Bella, breathe. Stay calm.
When the door opens I have to grab the wall beside me to keep from losing my balance.
There's only one word to describe the vision in front of me: Pantysoaker.
He's dressed in a charcoal-gray Armani suit with a skinny black tie. His hair is its usual, unruly self.
"Hi." His voice is soft as he smiles down at me.
"Here, come in."
I follow him into the foyer, thankful no one else is around.
"Let me take your coat." His fingers lightly brush my neck as he slips it from my shoulders, sending goosebumps down my body.
I turn around and face him. He's biting his lip with that look I've seen before. Like the Big Bad Wolf who wants to gobble up Little Red Riding Hood.
"You look absolutely breathtaking, Miss Swan," he leans down and whispers.
I inhale deeply and smile up at him. "You don't look so bad yourself, Mr. Cullen," I say as I smooth my hands down the lapels of his suit jacket.
He tucks a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
"Bella, we need to talk." He looks me directly in the eyes. "These past few weeks -"
From out of nowhere, I hear Esme approaching.
"Edward, who was at the - " She stops in mid sentence when she sees me.
DAMN IT ALL TO HELL.
"Bella, darling. You look beautiful!" She pulls me into a tight hug. "Oh, I'm so rude!" Esme laughs as she pulls away. "You haven't met my nephew Edward have you?"
Time to win that Oscar.
"I ... um ..."
Edward takes over, "Actually we met briefly at my ..."
Engagement party, we're all thinking, but no one dares to say.
"I met him briefly the last time he was here. Alice introduced us."
Esme claps her hands together and smiles. "Of course. No awkward hellos then. Let's go join the others."
She takes our hands and leads us into the great room.
I spot Jasper first, then Alice. They're chatting with Carlisle and a few people I don't know. Esme hurries off to the kitchen, leaving us alone.
"Bella." Edward whispers in my ear from behind me, his hand tugging on my elbow.
I turn around and look up at him.
"Edward. I know you have something to say to me, and believe me, I've got some things to say to you, but not now. Not here."
He nods with a half smile. "You're right. Now's not the time."
"Right now, it's time for a drink." I laugh. "I should go say hi to Alice."
After saying my hellos, Esme announces it's time to eat. We head into the dining room, where the largest formal table I've ever seen takes up half the room. I quickly notice name cards perfectly set on the plates.
When I finally find the card with my name on it, I notice it's crooked, as though it was an afterthought. I gasp when I see Edward's name on the card directly to my left.
Right beside him?!
I look up at Alice. She's covering her mouth, hiding her smile.
Alice you sneaky snake!
Edward walks up beside me. A grin spreads across his face as he pulls out my chair for me.
"My cousin is up to no good, I see."
"It appears so," I reply, taking a seat.
A busty blond girl across the table looks at her name as if she's confused.
"I thought I was sitting over there, next to him." She points to Edward, her arms crossed in an annoying pout.
Not wanting to draw attention to the situation I decide to let her claim her seat. As I start to stand Edward stops me, so I sit back down.
"Surely sitting across from me is okay," Edward says with a phony smile, but it's still swoon-worthy.
She grins and answers. "On second thought, this might be a better seat." She winks and twists her finger on a strand of her dry, over-processed hair.
Don't even think about it, Blondie.
Everyone starts passing around the food. I'm starving and I'm already feeling a bit buzzed from the wine.
"So, Bella," Carlisle says from across the table, "How have things been at your store lately? Business going well?"
I smile and wipe my mouth with my napkin. "Business is great. Homecoming kept me busy and with New Year's approaching, I'm sure it will stay that way."
"That's really great, Bella." Carlisle replies.
Carlisle's always been my biggest cheerleader. He really supported me when I said I wanted to open my shop. He and Esme helped find the location and are responsible for most of my clientele.
"Edward, did you know Bella owns a clothing store in Port Angeles?" Carlisle smiles and Esme interrupts, "You should see some of her design sketches. She's amazing."
I pick up my glass of wine and chug. Time to become Meryl Streep.
Edward replies, his voice calm and collected. "I actually did know she had a shop." His fork stabs a piece of asparagus. "I haven't seen any of her work, but I recently heard a lot about it."
I almost spew my Merlot.
"Uh, from who?" My brows furrowed, utterly confused.
"My friend Eleazar's wife, Carmen. She said she saw your sketches hanging in your boutique when she was in town. She's a buyer for Neiman Marcus."
WHAT THE WHAT?
"HOLY SHIT, BELLA!" Alice screams and the table chatter comes to a halt. She covers her mouth and everyone starts to laugh.
"Wow." This is the only reply that I can muster.
Edward leans over and whispers, "I'll tell you all about it later."
This is what he wanted to talk to me about?
I guess the disappointment is obvious on my face.
"What's wrong?" Edward's voice is slow but concerned.
I shake my head and force a smile.
"Nothing. Everything's great."
Thankfully everyone at the table has started their own private conversations. No one's paying any attention to Edward and me.
Or so I thought.
"Wait. You own that little store on East Eight Street? What's it called? Play Dress Up or something like that?" The blonde across the table says with a condescending tone.
I look at her. She's really starting to get on my nerves.
"Yes, I own Dress You Up," I reply, accentuating each word. "You should stop in sometime."
You need a head-to-toe makeover. Pronto.
"I went in there once. Nothing fit me right." Her voice is low, and her eyes dart over to Edward. "I guess my girls are a little hard to fit." She chuckles as she jiggles her 'girls.'"
"Oh, I'm so sorry about that!" I say sweetly. "You should stop by again. We're now carrying plus sizes."
Take that bitch.
Edward coughs in his napkin. Blondie gasps and narrows her eyes.
"I'm a size two, thank you very much." She crosses her arms, only making her 'girls' more visible.
"Really?" I sound shocked. "Sorry, I couldn't tell. It must be the angle from this side of the table."
I hear Alice chuckle so I start chatting with her and Jasper, leaving Blondie to stew. After a few minutes I hear Edward talking to her. His answers are short but polite. He's such a genuinely nice guy. My ears perk up when she starts to tell him how she knows Esme and Carlisle.
"So, yeah, my dad's the new hospital administrator. I'm only here for the week. Then, back to Phoenix."
"Phoenix?" Edward sounds bored.
"I own a fitness studio. I also teach Pilates and a few other classes." She smirks and licks her lips, bringing her drink to her mouth.
"Hmm," Edward replies dryly as he cuts a piece of turkey. "I don't know much about Pilates. I'm more a 'run on the treadmill' kind of guy."
She looks him over; I abandon my conversation with Alice and Jasper, watching her full-on now.
"I could show you a few things, if you'd like. Pilates will make you very flexible. You can't imagine how flexible."
Just then I feel something brush against my foot. I nonchalantly peek under the table and see a bare foot with bright red nails.
Oh, you wanna play footsies with Edward, huh?
I take jab my stiletto into Blondie's foot.
"OUCH!" She screams, reaching under the table.
Edward looks at me, confused. I smile as I sip my wine.
"Oops, I'm sorry. Did I step on you?"
This girl is shooting daggers from her eyes at me and I seriously couldn't care less. Next time she should forgo the whore route.
"Maybe you should watch where your feet go. These stilettos have a mind of their own."
I wink and finish my wine.
After the meal, most people head home; only a few decide to stay. Last I saw Blondie, she was hobbling out the door, carrying one of her shoes in her hand as her father assisted.
It was hilarious.
I have a few minutes by myself, so I take the opportunity to sneak out back. Edward's busy chatting about work with Carlisle and his friends and Alice has snuck off somewhere with Jasper.
I've always loved their back yard. Jasmine vines cover the back wall and trellis, filling the air with the most amazing smell. A trail lined with all sorts of flowers and shrubs winds around the yard, ending at a koi pond bigger than my apartment. A wooden, arched bridge spans the pond. It's like something you'd see in the movies.
I walk to the center of the bridge and stop. The moonlight is reflecting off the water, creating a view so stunning it would be a sin not to stop and stare.
"Mind if I join you?"
I jump and clutch my chest. "Geez, Batman. Back to hiding out in dark corners?" I laugh as Edward approaches.
"I'm not as smooth as you, Bond." He walks up behind me and doesn't stop until he's only inches away.
"Dinner went well, don't you think?" he asks from behind me as I gaze out over the pond.
"Better than I thought it would. Although, I don't think Blondie would agree."
Edward laughs. "Blondie? That's what you named her."
"Well, she is blond and darn it," I snap my fingers, "I didn't catch her name." I shrug my shoulders and laugh. "What's up with you and blondes anyway?"
Ugh! Why did I mention her?
Before I know it, I feel Edward's arms slip around my waist, pulling me back against him. His warm breath travels down the back of my neck.
"I'm actually more of a brunette kind of guy. Especially a certain one."
I turn around, his arms still around my waist.
"But I thought, at my apartment, you said you weren't good for me. You said I deserved better." My brain can't process this. Is he saying what I think he's saying?
I shake my head and continue. "Do you know how crazy I've been? Replaying every conversation, wishing I would have told you how I felt, sleeping in your bed every night like a lost puppy. Do you realize what you've done to me?"
He smiles and brushes his thumb across my cheek, then across my lips.
"Everything has changed, Bella. I have so much to tell you, but right now," he leans down and whispers, "I'm going to kiss that perfect mouth of yours."
Then without hesitation, his lips are on mine.
He lightly sucks on my top lip, his tongue brushes against the plump point of my mouth.
"Finally." He whispers on my lips, one hand tangled in my hair, the other on my lower back.
I whisper back. "I want more."
His lips capture mine once more, but there's no holding back. Our tongues finally meet and I'm completely lost.
There's nothing sweet about this kiss.
Moaning, tasting, sucking.
I pull away when I hear a voice. It's not close, but the sound brings me back to reality.
Edward's breathing is heavy. He's looking down at me. I can see the wetness on his lips reflecting in the moonlight.
"I look good on your mouth." I chuckle as I wipe my thumb across his swollen lower lip.
"I like you on my mouth." Edward replies as his fingertips trail down my throat, they stop and tease my skin under the lace. "That dress is killing me."
"I could the say the same about this suit." I reply, tapping my finger on his chest.
Just as I'm about to tackle his mouth again, I hear the voices from the house getting louder.
"Although I don't want to, we should probably head back inside," Edward leans down and murmurs into my hair.
I let out a deep sigh. "I know. I know. I could use a glass of ice water."
Edward laughs and kisses my forehead.
"I haven't even started with you yet, Miss Swan."
He grabs my hand and pulls me down the bridge and up the winding trail. I unlace my fingers from his as we near the house. We see Alice and Jasper sitting on the porch swing, hands clasped together.
"I thought it was you two I heard. My mom was looking for you, Edward," Alice says as she stretches her legs across Jasper's lap.
Edward turns to me and smiles. "I should probably head in. Find me before you leave?"
Alice lets out a loud laugh. "She's not going anywhere."
Edward looks to me, his expression excited and confused.
I shrug and reply. "Yep. It's a tradition. You're stuck with me until Sunday."
A/N: Phew! It's getting in hot herrrrre!
Bella's staying until Sunday! Whooop whoop! This should be fun.
I want to say thanks to everyone who voted for me at The Lemonade Stand for the fic of the week contest. For my story to be nominated and to actually receive VOTES with all those other, awesome stories on there...it left me speechless. Thank you for your support. xo
Oh, before I forget, follow me on FB if you have one! I'm under Mazzy Starla
I want to say thanks to my hubs (CrackedFic), who seriously makes this whole thing possible. He helps me fix all my flubs and lets me know when I don't make any sense. LOL (Any typos are mine. It's late and mistakes happen)
Also, thanks to my girls Hoodfabulous and StaceLeo Stories for your help this week. xoxo
I'll update as soon as I can. You know the drill ~ 1-3 weeks. Depends on how exciting my RL is and lately, I've been having a blast.
And to those who have been telling your friends, tweeting, posting on FB about my story, I seriously love y'all. Thank you. xoxo
Lastly, I LOVE YOUR REVIEWS! You have no idea how much they mean to me! Keep them coming! xoxo