Contest Entry for the Happily Ever After TwiFic Contest
Title: (Un)Dressing Edward Cullen
Pairing: Edward and Bella
Summary: Edward Cullen is an A-list actor with horrific taste in clothing. Bella Swan is his long-suffering stylist who wants to strangle him one minute and kiss him the next. When Edward crashes her date, Bella has to choose between dressing her client and undressing the man she loves.
Disclaimer: (CONTENT and LEGAL) 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.
My other disclaimer is to say that while I based many of Edward's outfits off of ones Rob has worn, I actually adore that his outfits can be kind of out there. I just kept imagining a stylist getting really frustrated with him and well … that inspired this story.
(Un)Dressing Edward Cullen
"Edward Anthony Cullen," I bellowed as I came in the door of his house. "What in the hell makes you think you are qualified to dress yourself?"
He peered sheepishly around the corner of the hallway. "Well, I am a grown man."
"That's debatable," I muttered. The man was twenty-seven years old, but sometimes I questioned just how grown-up he was. And he certainly couldn't dress himself. He had style, of sorts, but it wasn't good style. It was daring; I'd give him that. When he followed my advice, he was stunning. But left to his own devices, he tended to go for things that were completely unflattering—downright hideous, even.
"You hired me to dress you. You pay me for this. Although, at this point, I'm starting to think it's more of a service to humanity. What on earth prompted you to go for that God-awful shirt?"
This morning, I had glanced at a magazine, expecting to see Edward in a stylish outfit and looking good enough to eat, and had been horrified to realize that he looked terrible. I'd been at the dentist the day of the interview and photo shoot—getting emergency repair done on a cracked tooth—and had left his P.A. in charge. Why Alice had failed to rein him in was beyond me; the woman was no pushover. Fate had conspired to let Edward Cullen have free rein over his own fashion choices and he had ended up doing a photo shoot for a major magazine looking hideous. I was annoyed, but unfortunately, there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it now.
He shrugged and flopped down on the couch, giving me his best puppy dog eyes. "You didn't like it?"
"I've been your stylist for five years now. In what world did you think I would approve of that repulsive paisley? Plus, you didn't even shave. You looked like a goddamn hobo. Or a hippie. I can't decide which!" I ranted. "Maybe a goddamn hobo hippie! Did you even wash your hair?"
"Calm down, Bella, you're going to give yourself an aneurism. Then who is going to dress me? I'll show up at your funeral in an orange plaid leisure suit," he warned. "You know I will."
"I will haunt you until your dying day if you ever think of that. Don't think I won't turn into a ghost just to fuck with you, Edward," I warned him, throwing my purse onto the couch and standing in front of him, hands on my hips.
He chuckled and relaxed. "I look forward to it."
I rolled my eyes and huffed, snatching the magazine from my purse and whacking him on the shoulder with it. "Seriously, what were you thinking? I laid out a perfectly good outfit for you. What happened?"
"Alice got a flat tire," he said apologetically. "I just thought the white shirt was kind of boring, the paisley jazzed it up."
"Arrgh," I howled, whacking him with the magazine between every word for emphasis. "Your. Outfits. Do. Not. Need. Jazzing. Up."
He cringed and shrank away from me. "Quit it, woman! I don't pay you to abuse me!"
"And I don't get paid for you to ignore my advice. You're a handsome man. You need to let people see that, not have it get lost because they're blinded by the hideousness." With one final whack on the shoulder, I flopped onto the couch beside him.
"Where did it even come from?" I moaned. "I thought I rid this house of all of your horrid clothing years ago."
"I saved a few things," he muttered.
I groaned and covered my face with my hands. "You're going to be the death of me."
He nudged me with his knee. "You know you love it."
I shook my head and closed my eyes, muttering, "I really don't," as I remembered the first time I'd seen him. He'd been driving me crazy ever since.
I first saw Edward when he was brand new to Hollywood. I was at a movie premiere hoping to catch a glimpse of one of my clients, Garrett Larson, an up-and-coming actor trying to make it big. He'd hired me as his stylist and, so far, things had been going well for him. He was eager to work, and a striking, genuinely sweet guy who I thoroughly enjoyed working with. I happened to have connections to someone who had secured me a coveted spot in the crowd.
I hadn't caught a glimpse of Garrett yet, but as I craned my neck to look for him, I was just in time to see a young actor stumble onto the red carpet. So distracted by the awkward, eager smile on the actor's face, I failed to see the hideous outfit he was wearing at first. He had floppy, light brown hair, fair skin, flushed cheeks, and the most engaging grin I'd ever seen. But when my eyes traveled down his body, I nearly fell over in shock. He had on a baggy, red velvet blazer, an oversized white shirt, and black leather pants with boots. I blinked in horrified astonishment, and he must have thought I was dazzled by him, because when he passed me, he winked.
Too stunned to respond, it took me a long while to register anything. When I finally recovered, I grabbed the arm of the person beside me and hissed, "Who in the hell was that?"
She had no idea who I was talking about, but I finally figured out that the horribly dressed—but disarmingly adorable—guy was Edward Cullen. He had a supporting role in a major movie, and the moment he came on the screen, I was spellbound by him. Horrified that he was squandering his incredible talent and stunning looks by concealing them under terrible clothing, I hunted him down. He was still unknown enough that there wasn't a phalanx of bodyguards and P.A.s to keep me away. Sparks had flown the moment I cornered him on the street outside of his favorite coffee shop and read him the riot act.
"I did not look hideous," he protested. "I was fashionable."
"You looked like a reject from the nineties who fancies himself a poet and is trying to weasel his way into some girl's pants." I snorted. "You are handsome. You just need to show that off, rather than detract from it."
He gave me a cocky smirk. "So, you think I'm handsome?"
I rolled my eyes at him. Of course I did. What human being with a pulse wouldn't? "I think if you keep dressing the way you're dressing, no one will ever know that you're good-looking," I argued. "Lose the lame clothes."
He stepped closer, his voice growing smug. "You just want to get me naked, don't you? I see what this is all about. You're a fan, and you're using this as an excuse to come on to me. It's smart, very smart. I almost believed you for a moment there. Well, you're pretty cute yourself, and I would hate to disappoint a fan who went through so much work to find me."
"I am not a fan!" I exploded. "And I have no desire to sleep with you. The only thing I want your body for is to keep you from abusing it with horrible clothing."
The look of shock and disappointment on his face was epic, and although it had taken him a few minutes to wrap his brain around the fact that I wasn't actually trying to get in his pants, he hired me on the spot. Our conflict-filled relationship was cemented right then and there. We argued as much as we got along, but it was enjoyable. Even the day I pitched ninety percent of his clothing and forced him to try on new clothes, we laughed a lot. Granted, halfway through the day I was ready to strangle him, and I thought I might actually kick him in the nuts at several points, but we eventually succeeded in getting him a decent wardrobe that we could both live with.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little bit of a crush on Edward. He was attractive, charming, and one of the funniest men I knew. But he was also a pain in the ass, and every time I felt myself getting sucked in by that crooked smile and those long-lashed eyes, I remembered what a fit he'd thrown when I'd threatened to throw out his favorite T-shirt.
"Bella, you can't," he begged, dropping to the floor with his legs crossed, the shirt clutched in his hands. "It's perfect. It's so soft, and it's worn just right."
"It's a nasty, old, holey T-shirt that needs to be lit on fire," I protested.
He gasped in horror and clutched it to his chest. "It's my favorite. How dare you!"
We argued for twenty minutes before I took pity on him. He was nearly irresistible. Even I wasn't immune to the Cullen pout. "Fine, you can keep it. But you're not allowed to wear it out of the house."
"Fine," he muttered.
Resigned, he agreed. "I promise."
"If I catch you wearing it out of the house I will cut it up into tiny little pieces and never let you keep another piece of clothing you pick out on your own," I threatened.
"All right, all right. I swear. I won't wear it out of the house," he promised.
He was a liar. Three months later, I saw the paparazzi photos of him wearing it, and I took the shirt from his drawer when he wasn't paying attention. I didn't actually cut it up; instead, I took it home with me. He really loved that shirt, and I couldn't bring myself to destroy it. I didn't trust him not to try to wear it again though. He was crushed, but he behaved much better for me after that.
Edward nudged my elbow and startled me out of my reverie. "Hey, you still alive over there?"
I shook my head. "No, you've finally done it. You've killed me with your repugnant style."
He scoffed. "You're tougher than that."
"What I am is annoyed." I turned my head to look at him and he gave me a sheepish grin, running his fingers through his hair. I had to admit, the man had nice hair. Okay, it was more than nice. Swoon-worthy.
Fine, he had sex hair. I could admit that. It was a glorious mane of unchecked, wild strands in a unique shade of light brown. When the sun hit it, it turned a stunning shade of bronze. No matter the length, it always managed to look liked he'd just rolled out of bed after a long time thoroughly pleasuring a woman.
Maybe I'd even pictured that hair between my thighs. Once or twice.
And his hands and fingers? Unf. They were long and seemed to bend in the most amazing ways. I just knew that they'd be the kind of hands to bring me pleasure I'd only read and dreamed about.
I sighed, remembering the times I'd clutched his ratty-ass T-shirt to my nose to smell the delicious scent that clung to it while I'd played with my pussy.
Okay, fine, I had a raging, obnoxious crush on my client.
He was infuriating and I was pretty sure that at some point I was going to wind up strangling him in frustration. But it didn't change the fact that I wanted him. Badly.
Sometimes, I thought maybe he wanted me, too. I mean, he never hesitated to hit on me—jokingly, I thought—but I wasn't sure. And what was worse, I wasn't sure I wanted him to be serious.
Because there was no way to make this work. I certainly couldn't have a fling with the man who hired me to dress him, and the idea of a relationship was laughable. The man was an A-list movie star now, and there were millions—maybe billions—of women eager to get in his pants. I didn't stand a chance.
Admittedly, given the opportunities out there, he didn't indulge often. And I could grudgingly concede that he seemed to have good taste. He never went for the too-young fans, or the coked-up starlets who threw themselves at him. He favored well-dressed women his own age who knew how to behave appropriately in public and who never created tabloid scandals. In fact, they were all very tight-lipped about him, other than saying he was a gifted actor, sweet and thoughtful, and they felt lucky to have known him. These discreet flings usually lasted a few months, and although they never grew serious, I had to admit that he actually did behave like a gentleman.
Most of my irritation with the women he slept with was jealousy. Nothing irked me more.
I didn't want to have feelings for him, damn it.
"So how much groveling do I have to do?" Edward asked teasingly. "I know you're going to make me pay for the paisley. Unless you got your aggression out with the magazine. You know I like your beatings, Mistress Bella."
I rolled my eyes at him. "Cut it out, Edward."
He loved to tease that I should be a dominatrix, and half the time I wondered if he deliberately picked out hideous outfits just to get under my skin. Maybe he fantasized about me in leather, whipping him. I giggled to myself at the thought. Maybe I'd fantasized about that once or twice, too. As tempting as the thought of beating Edward's ass with a paddle was, I didn't think I'd be able to take myself seriously enough to pull it off. Still, a girl could enjoy a fantasy or two while she cozied up to her favorite vibe, right?
"Seriously," he said, sounding a bit abashed. "I am sorry. I know you're pissed at me."
I sighed. "I'm frustrated, Edward. What's the point of you paying me if you won't listen to my advice? I mean, it's a nice paycheck, don't get me wrong, but now I look like I don't know what I'm doing! I need to have Angela leak that I was deathly ill and can't be held responsible for your fashion disaster."
Okay, I was lying about asking his publicist to leak that rumor, but it seemed to work. He looked more and more shame-faced as I continued to rant. "My reputation lives and dies with what you wear and how the public receives it."
"I'm sorry," he said, finally sounding genuinely remorseful. "I didn't think."
"I know, Edward. I don't think you do it to be an ass, but this is a big deal for both of our careers."
"I know. I'll do better, Bella."
"Look, we've had a great year; your blue suit and your green suit were both huge hits. You got to go a little wild while still looking sexy and put together. Women loved it. Trust me, Edward. I know what I'm doing. I won't make you wear boring clothes. But you can't go crazy dressing in whatever the hell you feel like, either. Deal?"
"Deal," he agreed. "So, other than berating me and beating me, what do you have in store for me today, Mistress Bella?"
I rolled my eyes, ignored the nickname, and brought out my tablet, quickly finding the photos I'd compiled. "We need to make some choices about what you're wearing to the premier of Monkey Love."
Monkey Love was Edward's first foray into romantic comedies, and I had to admit, it was a clever script. He was incredibly charismatic as a charming, womanizing primatologist who falls in love with his reluctant, nerdy co-worker while studying monkeys in Africa. He was brilliant in the part, and the movie was sure to be a huge hit.
"No paisley, I suppose," he said mournfully.
"No. No paisley. Can I interest you in a grey checkered three piece-suit by Dolce & Gabbana?" I asked, pointing at the photo on my tablet.
"Colored tie and shirt?" he asked hopefully.
I hemmed and hawed for a moment, flicking through the pictures of possible options. "Burgundy tie with a dark slate shirt?"
We shook on it seriously before breaking into grins. When we weren't deliberately trying to drive each other crazy, Edward and I did work well together. We came up with a few alternate ideas, and I promised to bring the clothes by soon for him to try on.
We had lunch together and then I headed out; Edward's publicist and I needed to have a little chat. She apologized profusely; apparently she'd had a bit of an emergency that day, too. Angela's son had gotten sick and her assistant Jane had been filling in. Jane was too shy and awed by Edward to tell him no when he'd ignored the crisp white shirt and gone for the paisley.
Stuck in the middle of the snarl of traffic known as L.A.'s 101 on my way home from the meeting with Angela, my ringing phone was a welcome distraction. Thankful for the Bluetooth option on my car, I answered the call. I didn't recognize the number so I answered formally. "Isabella Swan speaking."
"Bella," a low, warm voice greeted me, and I recognized it instantly.
"Garrett! It's so good to hear from you. How are you doing?" Apparently, he'd changed his phone number since we last talked.
"Great," he answered. "Better now that I've heard your voice."
I chuckled. He'd always been a flirt. He'd made no secret of his attraction to me while I was working as his stylist, but once I politely told him I wasn't comfortable mixing business with pleasure, he kept things mostly professional. Except for the occasional flirty comment to make me giggle and let me know he hadn't given up, he didn't push it. When he met Kate Carruthers and fell head over heels in love with her, I was sincerely happy for him.
"How's Kate?" I asked.
"I don't know. Perhaps you should ask Riley Biers," he said, sounding irritated.
"What?" I asked, stunned.
His answering laugh was genuine, although his voice grew serious again. "That's what I love about you, Bella. You may be a stylist for the stars, but if it isn't something that directly affects your client, you steer clear of the Hollywood gossip. I should have known you wouldn't have heard what happened."
"Yeah, what's going on, Gar?"
He sighed heavily. "They were filming together, and she dumped me for him."
I gasped. "No! That's horrible. I can't believe she did that."
"Yeah, me either. Looking back though, I can see we were growing apart. Lots of time filming and not much time together anymore."
"Well, I'm sorry to hear that." Internally, I wondered why he was calling me now.
"Thanks, Bella." He paused for a moment and then spoke. "Look, I'm calling to ask you to be my date for the premiere of my new movie, Midnight Strangers, next week. Kate was supposed to go with me, and I'd really rather not show up alone."
"You really know how to sweet-talk a girl, Garrett," I teased.
He chuckled. "Look, you know that I had a major thing for you. You may have dropped me as a client when you took on Edward Cullen—and lord knows you've worked miracles with that mess—but maybe it was for the best. Now when I ask you out, you can't say no."
I bristled at him calling Edward a mess. Edward might have been a fashion mess before I got my hands on him, but no one—except me of course—got to make fun of Edward. My voice came out a tiny bit sharper than I planned. "I can't say no? What if I'm dating someone else?"
"Shit, sorry," he said apologetically. "You're gorgeous and an amazing woman. Of course you're seeing someone else. I was just hopeful."
I softened. "Nah, I was just teasing you. I'm actually not seeing anyone right now."
"Wonderful. So, would you like to go with me next week? Actually, I'd love it if you wanted to go out to dinner this week, too. It'll be a zoo at the premiere and I'd like to catch up before then."
"Sure," I said. The truth was, I did like Garrett a lot. His jab at Edward aside, he was a nice guy. It had been a while since I'd had a gorgeous, available man ask me out and I was looking forward to seeing him again.
"Great," he said, sounding excited and just a little bit surprised. "Dinner Friday night? If that's not too short of notice."
I thought about it for a moment. "I can do Friday."
"I'll pick you up at seven, then. You have my new number now."
"I'll text you my new address," I offered.
"Oh, right. I bet you're in much fancier digs than you were when I was paying you. Edward Cullen can afford to pay you the big bucks."
"He's generous," I said diplomatically. "When my lease was up, I was able to move into a nicer place."
"Well, you've worked miracles. That man is a train wreck without you."
Privately, I agreed, but I still didn't like him bad-mouthing Edward. "Hey, that's my client you're talking about. I didn't make fun of you behind your back."
He chuckled. "Fair enough. Although I like to think I did all right dressing myself."
"You weren't too bad," I teased. "But you still looked better once you let me run the show."
"Well, you'll have to tell me how Jessica has been doing when we go out Friday," he said. "No one could replace you of course, but she has a great eye."
"I'm glad. I'm looking forward to seeing you," I admitted.
"I am, too." His voice dropped lower. "I haven't forgotten about you, Bella. I'm really glad you said yes."
Slightly flustered by Garrett's charm, I thanked him, and we said goodbye. Later that night I texted him my address which turned into a full-on text conversation that lasted until I had to go to bed. It was flirty and fun, and I found myself grinning.
Unfortunately, Edward threw a monkey wrench into my carefully-planned schedule for Friday. My plan had to been to drop off some clothes for an upcoming photo shoot of his, have him try them on, then head home to get dressed for my date with Garrett.
Just as I was about to head over to Edward's place, I got a text from him telling me that he was running late. He'd gone out to lunch with his mother and of course someone had tweeted about it, and he hadn't been able to avoid the legion of fans who swarmed the place. He was too good-hearted to turn them away and had spent nearly an hour and a half signing autographs. I haphazardly threw things into a bag, and hastily grabbed the dress and accessories I'd thankfully already picked out. Getting ready at Edward's place wasn't ideal, but at least I wouldn't be late for the date with Garrett that way. I texted Garrett to let him know the change in plans, and laid out everything I'd need. Still, it would be cutting it close.
I was fuming when Edward finally got back to his place.
"Hot date tonight or something?" he teased when I told him to hurry up.
"Yes," I shouted at him. "And now he's going to have to pick me up here."
"I'm sorry," Edward muttered. "You know me. I can never say no to fans."
Inwardly, I softened; the man was a total gem when it came to treating his fans well. He never liked to turn away the requests for a signature or a picture. It made me melt a little every time. But I was too annoyed to let him see that.
"Upstairs. Now! And by the time I get up there, you better be stripped down," I snapped.
"Yes, Mistress Bella." He trotted up the stairs, shedding clothing as he went, and I sighed and scooped up the navy hoodie and still-warm heather grey T-shirt from the steps where he'd dropped them as I followed after him. I brought the shirts up to my nose and breathed in his scent, feeling the rest of my irritation with him disintegrate like a shard of ice on a scorching summer day. Christ, he smells good.
It was impossible to describe the scent, and I knew for a fact it wasn't out of a bottle. It was just him. No matter how many times he switched brands of deodorant and body wash, he always smelled the same. The scent always made me think of rumpled sheets and the way his skin would feel against mine.
And it always made me ache for him.
I shook my head to clear the ridiculous thoughts and continued up the stairs. I found his shoes next, then both socks, and picked them up with a sigh. I paused on the top step when I found his button-fly jeans and tried to resist the urge to snuggle them as well.
I was pathetic.
I gulped when I crossed the threshold of the guest bedroom we used as a staging area for Edward's clothes. There were racks of clothing, a few comfy chairs and stools, a table for sewing, a full-length mirror, and a mostly-naked man wearing nothing but a pair of very snug-fitting boxer briefs. I should have been prepared for the sight of Edward in his underwear; after all, how many more layers could he lose? But nothing can really prepare a person for the sight of half-naked Edward Cullen.
The black boxer briefs clung to him like a second skin, showing me nearly every inch of him I so longed to run my hands over. It molded over the parts of him I was dying to touch even more. He was in half-profile to me, and I could see the nicely rounded curve of his ass. Just enough to grab, I thought. The fabric was also clinging to the nicely displayed length of his cock. He wasn't fully aroused, but the sight in front of me ensured that I was.
The thing was, as a stylist, I'd seen plenty of naked or half-naked men. I had to know every millimeter of my client's body. After so many years dressing Edward, I knew his better than most. He lost two pounds—I knew it. His biceps grew half an inch—I knew it.
There were billions of women on the planet speculating about the size of his cock and if he dressed left or right. In fact, there was a blog called Peen Watch devoted solely to those questions. Those women would eat me alive in order to get the answers to those questions.
The answers were eight and a half solid inches—give or take a quarter of an inch—and left.
I was very good at estimating sizes at a glance. And if I were ever fortunate enough to get my hands on him, I'd know for sure. I swallowed hard at the thought, remembering how worked up I'd gotten the first time I'd measured Edward for clothing.
"Stand still," I growled.
Edward shifted nervously. "But your hands are cold," he whined. "And it's weird."
"I just need to measure your inseam," I said, my teeth gritted together. I was frustrated—in more ways than one. Edward was being uncooperative and I was ashamed to admit it, but the sight of him nearly naked was doing me in. He was a little bit on the skinny side, but he was only twenty-two, and I had a feeling he'd grow into himself. My brain traveled down the path of imagining him getting even hotter and I felt myself flush. Jesus, I'd never survive.
"Stand still," I growled again. He finally obeyed, heaving a huge sigh of irritation.
Apparently, someone had ticklish inner thighs. I could hear his sharply indrawn breath as I pressed the measuring tape to his skin and slid it higher. I glanced up to see him biting his lip, and as my hand finally reached the top of his inner thigh, the backs of my knuckles brushed his balls through the thin fabric of his loose, striped cotton boxers. His eyes got huge and I saw his cock twitch and begin to grow.
I felt an answering surge of arousal in my nether regions and gnashed my teeth together even harder. I pulled my hand away quickly, keeping a firm grasp on the tape. I glanced down at it, not even seeing the numbers there at first. I willed myself to focus and scribbled down the measurement.
I quickly repeated the action on the other side and looked up at him after I was finished. Many stylists didn't bother to measure both sides of an inseam, but that was a rookie mistake. Sometimes people had different length legs. Edward was one of those people. It was that attention to detail that made a difference in how well his clothing fit.
"Do you dress left or right?" I asked, trying desperately to ignore the fact that if I just reached up to touch, I could find out for myself.
"Huh?" he asked, shifting restlessly once again.
"Your penis. Does it hang left or right?"
"Why?" he asked, sounding alarmed.
"Because, I need to know. It changes how we tailor your pants. We'll leave you a little extra room on the one side."
He smirked down at me. "You'll need to leave more than a little extra room."
My eyes involuntarily landed on his cock where it was still lengthening and thickening. It wasn't exactly unusual. Men often found themselves turned on when they had a woman kneeling at their feet. Plus, it didn't really help that we were discussing his dick at the moment. No matter how innocent the situation was supposed to be, the bodily reaction was hard to stop.
And hard for me to ignore. Pardon the pun.
I squirmed a little, unused to the way it was affecting me. Usually, I was able to treat a client's body like a mannequin. But Edward … well, Edward was different.
"Left or right?" I barked, unwanted arousal making my tone sharp.
"Left, okay?" He muttered. "It hangs left."
He turned away a little and palmed his cock, trying to keep it contained in the much too thin fabric of his boxers. "Sorry."
"It's fine. I'm used to it." I waved off his apology and sat up on my knees. "You're going to have to lose the boxers, by the way," I said, slipping a finger underneath the waistband at his hip and letting it snap against his skin sharply, the sound shockingly loud in the otherwise quiet room.
He grunted at the sting and his wide eyes met mine. I shivered at the intensity of his stare and stood abruptly. He gulped as my words registered. "You want me naked?"
I laughed. "No, no, keep them on now. In fact, you can get dressed. I am sick of staring at your scrawny ass."
He shot me a disgusted look and yanked on his holey jeans. I tried not to watch as he adjusted his cock once he had them on. "Yep, definitely left," he muttered and bent down awkwardly to grab his shirt.
"What I meant was that you're going to want to buy some boxer briefs to wear under suits. You need them to help keep you … uh, wrangled," I said. "And the lines are better. Boxers bunch and won't give you the nice smooth lines the suit needs."
"Oh," he said, his shirt hanging limply in his hand as he glanced down. "Right."
I took a moment to ogle him and felt my mouth go dry at the sight of him. All of my teasing about him being too skinny aside, he was fucking beautiful. Tall and lean with just enough muscle definition to make him look fit. I was so tired of the typical beefy, muscle-bound Hollywood hunks. Edward's biceps and pecs flexed as he yanked his red cotton T-shirt on, and I couldn't help the sigh that left my lips as it dropped down, covering the thin trail of hair leading into his jeans.
Five years later, I was still convinced I had the best fucking job on the planet.
"Bella?" Edward asked. "Are you okay? You've been spacing out a lot on me lately."
I stared at him blankly for a moment, trying to gather my scattered thoughts as I blinked at him in confusion.
What am I doing here? I wondered. And why am I staring at half-naked Edward?
Oh, right. Because he had clothing he needed to try on before I could get ready for my date. My date with Garrett. I dropped the discarded clothes of his I'd picked up onto a sewing table and grabbed the ones he needed to try on.
"I'm fine, I'm just tired." I changed the subject abruptly. "I want you to try on these pants."
I tossed him a pair of red jeans and his eyes lit up. "You're letting me have some fun?"
I chuckled. "Within reason, yes. We can push the envelope with this one."
The tension between us faded as I hurried him through clothing changes, making notes on what I wanted to use and what I didn't. The photographer and I had talked extensively about the shoot. It was very daring and Edward was going to love it. Still, I retained veto rights.
Once we were done, I thanked him and hurried into the guest room. Edward's house was ridiculously huge. He always complained it was too big and had offered me a permanent room. I had protested at first but it did sometimes come in handy when we were having one of our movie marathons and I was over late and too tired to drive home. No one else used it, and it was nice to have space of my own.
It was a damn good thing I was a quick dresser because I barely had forty-five minutes to shower, do my own hair and makeup, and slip into a flirty little Missoni dress and Prada heels. I was shoving my ID and some lipstick into a purse when the bell rang. I hurried down the stairs, trying not to kill myself in the heels, but Edward beat me to the door. He was in the middle of turning the door handle when he spotted me. He stopped mid-turn and his jaw dropped. The flare of heat in his eyes made my already warm cheeks heat up even more.
Christ, the things that man could do to a woman with just a single look, I thought, feeling my nipples pebble under the thin silk of my dress.
"Wow," he breathed.
Ashamed of my reaction to him when my date was just on the other side of the door, my voice was waspish. "Just open the damn door, Edward."
He sneered at me and opened it. "Oh, Garrett," he said, unenthusiastically, when he spotted my date.
"Edward." Garrett's greeting was equally cool. Edward opened the door the rest of the way and moved back, Garrett taking that as his cue to step inside.
Garrett sauntered toward me, and I found myself flushing. Not a blush of embarrassment, but a flush of pleasure that the gorgeous man carrying a single white rose was here to pick me up on a date. Standing a few inches taller than Edward's 6'1" height, he was dressed in a black suit, crisp white shirt and red skinny tie. Classic but just offbeat enough to not look stodgy. It was beautifully tailored, highlighting every line of his tall frame.
"Wow." Garrett whistled softly, giving me a slow grin. "Damn, you look amazing, Bella."
"Thanks. You look pretty great yourself. Give Jessica my compliments," I teased.
He grinned. "I'll have you know I picked this out all by myself."
"As adorable as this all is, don't you think you better head out on your date?" Edward asked snidely. He scowled at me, and I rolled my eyes.
"Thanks for the reminder, Edward," I retorted.
Garrett held out his arm and I looped mine through it. "For you." He tilted the rose in his hand toward me and I took it, smiling at the gesture
"Thank you. It's lovely, Garrett."
"I could say the same for you." His voice was warm and deep, and suddenly, I realized I couldn't be happier I agreed to this date. His sincere appreciation felt great after such a long dry spell. We stepped outside and I brought the rose to my face, sniffing it appreciatively.
"Ugh." I heard Edward huff and the front door slammed behind us. I rolled my eyes and Garrett escorted me out to his car.
"He seems … grumpier than usual," Garrett commented.
I chuckled. "We've had a rough few days."
"I still don't know why you put up with his bullshit," Garrett said as he held open the door of the gorgeous, sporty little car he had driven. "I mean, I get it. He needs your help and you've worked miracles, but you must be the most patient woman alive."
"He's my friend," I said simply. "It's always been more than just a working relationship with Edward. I don't expect anyone else to understand our dynamic."
I caught a glimpse of an expression on Garrett's face that I couldn't quite place, but he didn't reply. By the time he'd walked around the car and slid into the driver's seat, the expression was gone.
Garrett changed the subject, and I put Edward from my mind as we headed toward the restaurant. Garrett and I were both laughing by the time we made it to the cozy bistro well-known for its fabulous French country cuisine. There were a handful of paparazzi hanging out and Garrett was polite and did his best to usher me through the questioning mob. It was less of a fuss than I would have garnered if I'd been on Edward's arm; that was for sure.
In no time, we were seated at a romantic table on an open-air terrace with drinks in front of us. Dinner with Garrett was enjoyable. The food and wine were delicious, there were no awkward pauses in the conversation, and the man on the other side of the table was one of the wittiest and most attractive dates I'd ever had.
I felt a little giddy as he held out his hand to help me up from the table. His hand was warm on my lower back as he guided me outside of the restaurant. I was thankful when another celebrity distracted the paparazzi so we could slip out unnoticed. We drove back to my place with the top down, and when Garrett held his hand out to me, I didn't hesitate to thread my fingers through his.
When we pulled into my driveway, Garrett put the car into park and turned to look at me. He brushed a strand of hair away from my cheek and let his thumb graze my skin. I shivered at the light touch, and he smiled at me. "I had a great time tonight."
"I did, too," I said honestly. "It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a date so much."
His face grew thoughtful. "I don't want you to feel like I'm rushing things. I'm fine with taking this at whatever speed you'd like. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I'm the only one feeling like I don't quite want the night to be over yet."
"You're not wrong. Come inside for a drink," I offered. We both knew full well that a drink would no doubt turn into kissing and possibly more, but I was willing to see where things went.
He followed me inside, and although I had no doubt he was feeling every bit as eager as I was, he didn't rush it. We sipped our glasses of white wine slowly, continuing the conversation we'd started in his car. When both of our glasses were empty, he took mine from my fingers and set it down on the coffee table. Our eyes locked, and he cupped my left cheek in his hand, his fingers curling around the back of my neck. The first kiss was gentle, but it sent a warm feeling through me, and I didn't hesitate to let it deepen. His body stretched out over mine and I lost myself in kissing him. It felt good, but eventually, I pulled back.
"I think we need to stop," I said quietly.
He sat back slowly and a little reluctantly. His hand dropped to my thigh and his thumb continued to softly brush it. "Sorry," I said.
He shrugged, the movement easy and relaxed. "It's fine. No pressure, Bella."
We said goodnight at the door with another slow, deep kiss, and he promised he'd call me the next day. I went to bed feeling content, but a little confused about why I wasn't feeling giddy about how well the date had gone.
Edward was in fine form the following week, surlier than ever. I was annoyed with him, and I found myself saddened as we spent time actually arguing rather than engaging in our usual snarky banter. There were no movie marathons of obscure Italian cinema from the 1950s or playful fights over who got to choose which cheesy episode of The Twilight Zone we were going to watch. We went our separate ways at the end of the day and he didn't even fight me on clothing choices. Frankly, it was depressing.
Even Garrett's charm took a while to rouse me from my melancholy when he picked me up for the premiere. Eventually though, his cheerful teasing and light-hearted flirtation was enough to snap me out of my funk. We talked in the limo, drinking champagne and laughing together. He was stunning in a Dior tuxedo, and I felt like a million dollars in a slinky Donna Karen dress with a plunging neckline that Garrett sure seemed to appreciate.
Walking the red carpet with him was thrilling. But a small part of me kept wondering what it would feel like to be there to support Edward instead.
This week had really fucked with me. I always wanted Edward; that wasn't a question. Wanting to be with him in any way beyond the physical was usually relegated to the back of my mind. I didn't even let myself consider it. But as Garrett and I posed for yet another photo, and I caught of whiff of his cologne, it hit me sharply that it felt all wrong.
Damn it, I wanted Edward. And I was this close to getting my heart broken, because it wasn't going to happen. Unfortunately, trying to force something with Garrett wasn't the answer either. I plastered a smile on my face and made myself focus on Garrett. I was going to have to be honest with him at the end of the night, but he deserved to enjoy his evening. This was a huge premiere for him, and I was flattered that he'd chosen me to be on his arm.
The after-party was enjoyable, although we left earlier than I expected to. Granted, he was probably thinking we'd end up in bed, and I was planning to tell him the truth about my feelings. I liked him, but I just couldn't see things going any further with him.
When the limo pulled up to my house, I didn't see the man slumped on my stoop. I was too busy trying to figure out how to tactfully let Garrett down. Garrett helped me out of the limo and slid an arm around my waist.
"I'd love to continue where we left off on Friday night," he said as we approached the front of my house.
I opened my mouth to reply to Garrett, but the words I'd planned to say disappeared as I spotted the other man huddled at my doorstep. "Edward?"
I almost missed the puzzled frown that crossed Garrett's face, but I didn't miss the way Edward's head whipped up. He stood and walked toward me, water dripping down from his hair onto his cheeks. He was soaked—head to toe—but didn't appear to notice. I could vaguely hear Garrett saying something, but I was too worried by the look on Edward's face.
"What's wrong, Edward? Did something happen? Is everyone okay?" The only possible explanation in my mind was that someone we knew had been badly hurt. Edward was such a light-hearted man; I'd never seen him look so upset, except in his movies. He shook his head emphatically. Flung from his hair, water droplets sprayed across me, dampening the fabric of my dress.
He scowled. "Nothing happened."
"Wait, why are you wet?" I ask, puzzled. I glanced up at the sky, but it was a typical warm, dry L.A. night.
"I didn't know your sprinklers were set on a timer," Edward groused. "And everyone's fine. I just need to talk to you, Bella."
"Now?" A voice behind me spoke, sounding irritated, and I blinked in surprise. I had totally forgotten Garrett was even there. "We're kind of on a date right now, and if you are too dense to realize it, it's not quite over yet. Unless you have some kind of fashion emergency at one-thirty in the morning, I think it can wait until tomorrow."
Edward sneered, and I sighed. This was not going to end well. I turned to Garrett, placing my hand on his chest. "Give Edward and me a minute?" I asked. "Please?"
Garrett sighed but nodded. "Fine."
"Thank you. It won't be long."
Garrett's eyes slid over Edward and narrowed before he turned to go back to the limo. The driver scrambled out quickly to help Garrett into the vehicle. I turned back to Edward, my frustration boiling over. "What is so fucking important that you have to interrupt my date? I can't think of anything that you could possibly have to say that couldn't have waited until tomorrow."
"What about the fact that I love you?" he snarled. "Is that important enough?"
The words seem to hang in the air as I gaped at him, my brain struggling to even grasp what he was saying.
"Edward, you can't," I finally managed to choke out.
"What do you mean, I can't? I do. This isn't like your fashion advice. I feel the way I feel and nothing is going to change that. You can't tell me what to do."
I closed my eyes for a moment, my heart racing at his declaration, but so, so frustrated with his execution. "You really have a way with words, Edward," I snarled. "This is how you tell me? You may be suave as hell in your movies, but in real life, your delivery leaves much to be desired. At least let me talk to Garrett for ten minutes. He deserves that."
Edward grunted and snatched my keys from my hand. "Fine. I'll be waiting inside."
I rolled my eyes and stalked over to the limo, my heels echoing loudly on the concrete driveway. Garrett stepped out of the limo and looked down at me, a sad and resigned expression on his face.
"This is it, isn't it?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest. "Edward finally manned up and told you how he feels, huh?"
I gaped at him in astonishment. "You knew?"
Garrett ran his hand through his hair and yanked on his bowtie, tugging it away from his neck as if it was strangling him. "Oh, Bella, everyone knew. You two were the only ones fooled. You have been nuts about each other from the get-go."
"But we fight all the time," I protested.
Garrett shrugged. "Passion is passion. I hate to admit it, but even when I had you under me on the couch, you still didn't look at me with half as much fire in your eyes as when you look at him. I knew it. I was just hoping I was wrong."
I gaped at him and shook my head. "It's stupid. I can't even think about doing this … my career—"
He cut me off, but his voice was surprisingly gentle. "Think bigger than your career. Think about what else you could gain. I don't like it, but I like you, Bella, and if Edward makes you happy …" he shrugged. "Hell, I'll fire Jessica and re-hire you as my stylist just so you can be with the damn guy."
Impulsively, I stretched up and kissed his cheek. "You're too sweet."
"Promise me you'll set me up with your hottest friend and we'll call it even."
My mind flashed to Angela and I tilted my head to the side, imagining it. "If you can handle dating Edward's publicist, it's a deal."
"Edward has good taste," Garrett said. "It's a deal."
I raised an eyebrow at him, and he chuckled. "In women anyway. But he has you for the rest. Go, Bella. You deserve to be happy. Just make sure that when you resurface for air, you give me this publicist's number."
"Done," I said simply. "I am still going to owe you big time."
He grinned and held out his arms to give me a friendly goodbye hug. "Yeah, you will."
I opened my front door with shaking fingers, unsure of how I was going to begin a conversation with Edward about my feelings for him—feelings he apparently returned. I shut the door behind me, and we stared at each other. It was so quiet I could hear the occasional drop of water as it fell from his clothing and splashed on the tile floor. I opened my mouth to speak, but instead I found myself slammed up against my door, Edward pressed tightly against me.
I gasped as his cool, wet clothing met the skin my dress left bare. Edward's mouth met mine, and I felt the hard length of his cock through the wet denim and now rapidly-dampening fabric of my dress. The kiss was rough and needy, and I felt a shudder go through me when his hand slid into my hair. He tilted his head to deepen the kiss. My hand clutched his bicep and we were both gasping when he pulled away.
"Fuck, do you know how long I've wanted to do that?" He muttered against my jaw.
"No," I gasped.
His teeth nipped at my throat and I swallowed reflexively as his hand slid up the front of my dress, his long fingers plucking at my nipple. I winced as his hand slid under the fabric, ripping up the tape I'd used to secure the dress in place so I wouldn't have any kind of wardrobe malfunction. He dropped to his knees, his warm lips soothing the pink skin along my breast before he pushed it aside. Women's formal fashion was full of tricks, and they were often un-sexy to get out of.
His fingers were gentle this time as they pried up the sticky edges on the other side. My knees went weak as he spoke, his voice gruff and gravelly. "I've wanted you since the first time you berated me for my hideous taste. Fuck, Bella, I'd never been talked to like that by anyone. You might not have wanted me then, but damn, did I want you. You've been driving me crazy for the last five years." He brushed the fabric aside and his tongue swiped over my exposed nipple. I fisted his hair in my hand and tried to pull him away. "I've wanted you, too, but this is crazy, Edward. We can't do this. Be serious."
He stood abruptly, and scowled at me, the streetlight streaming in through the living room window illuminated his face. I could see the vein in his forehead standing out and I wanted to shake some sense into myself for finding it so incredibly arousing. Edward absolutely re-defined every definition of sexy I'd ever had. It was irritating.
"God damn it, Bella, I am being serious. I can't sit here for another day and let you end up with the wrong guy."
"Who's to say Garrett's the wrong guy?" I asked heatedly. "Maybe he's perfect for me."
I didn't mean it, but a part of me wanted to get a rise out of Edward.
"He'll never be as good for you as I am," Edward snarled back. "And you know it."
He yanked me to him, and his lips met mine in a bruising, fiery kiss. I grabbed the back of his head, twisting his hair in my hand again as I kissed him back, trying to gain some control over the kiss. I lost. He wouldn't be dissuaded. His hands skimmed up the slit in my skirt and hiked up my thigh on his hip. He ground against me, the flimsy G-string I was wearing providing no barrier between my skin and his denim-covered arousal.
"I want you, Bella," he whispered hoarsely. "Right now. Right here."
I closed my eyes and let my head rest back against the door. "I want you, too."
He let go of my thigh, but only long enough to unzip his jeans and push them, along with his boxers, to the floor and for him to brush aside my underwear. He paused, his cock millimeters away from my pussy. "Is this okay?"
"It's okay," I whispered, and then he was inside of me.
I cried out so loudly I startled even myself, but it didn't stop him for more than a second. He paused, made sure I was fine, and then began to move. It was hard and rough, and I felt myself gasping for air as I gripped him tightly.
No fantasy—no movie scene of his I'd ever watched—had prepared me for how good his cock would feel inside me. It was rough and forceful as he claimed me, and I had no illusions that he was doing anything but that. He wanted me to know I was his.
Stupid man didn't know I'd always been his.
In no time at all, I was shaking against him, crying out my release. He buried his head against my neck just a few minutes later, his own sound of pleasure muffled by my skin. Panting, I felt him lower my leg to the floor, and I stood on shaky legs, my dress falling down over my legs again as he stepped back. Pants around his ankles, still-hard cock glistening with my arousal, and a wet T-shirt molded to his chest, he should have looked ridiculous. But I'd never found him sexier.
Reality returned to me in stages as my mind cleared. First, I became aware that my skin hurt from where the G-string had been rubbing against it, then of the wetness on my thighs. A realization hit me suddenly: nothing would ever be the same between us again.
"Edward," I gasped, taking a few more heaving breaths, trying to calm my racing heart. He pulled his sopping wet jeans up onto his hips, only zipping them enough so they'd stay up.
"Don't you dare question this," he said. He spun me around and pinned my hips against the door. He leaned forward and spoke in my ear, his warm breath sending a shiver skittering down my spine.
"You know we'd be good together, Bella."
"We fight all the time," I said weakly, as he pushed my hair off the back of my neck and his nimble fingers found the hidden zipper to my dress.
"Think of the make-up sex we'll have." He unzipped the dress excruciatingly slowly, his lips trailing down the sensitive skin on my neck. If his touch before had been rough and frantic, this was slow, tender. The contrasts were making my head spin.
"You're my client. I don't want to screw up my career." It was a stupid argument, and I knew it.
"I'd never let that happen," he promised, and I knew that, too.
I swallowed hard as the zipper reached mid-back, and he dropped to his knees.
"You'd break my heart," I said softly, my voice cracking a little as I voiced my biggest fear.
"Never," he whispered against the hollow of my back. "I love you."
Tears slid down my cheeks and I rested my forehead against the cool, smooth wood. "I love you, too," I choked out.
He stood and his hands were gentle on my hips when he turned me to face him once again. His palm cupped my cheek and he leaned in to brush his lips against mine. "Please, say you'll be mine."
"Of course," I whispered, as tears slid down my cheeks. "You stupid, stupid man. I was yours even when I didn't want to be."
He picked me up and carried me through the house to my bedroom. My cheek pressed to his damp shoulder as I breathed in the scent of him. The delicious, maddening scent that had been driving me crazy for years. He let my body slide down his when he was at the foot of the bed and I kicked my heels off. His fingers were so gentle as he undressed me the rest of the way. My nipples pebbled in the cool air. I shivered involuntarily, but it was more from the way he was looking at me than the temperature.
His eyes met mine as his thumbs wiped away the tears and streaky makeup, and then his lips met mine in a brief kiss.
I lifted his T-shirt over his head and let it fall to the floor in a wet plop of sodden fabric. His jeans and boxers followed, and he kicked off his shoes and socks.
I spun him around and pushed him gently down onto the bed. He scooted back until he was lying flat and I crawled over him, kissing my way up from his navel to his lips. "You're mine now, too, Cullen. You know that, right?"
"Do your worst, Mistress Bella." He grinned at me and both his hands came up to slap my ass. "Do your worst."
When I awoke and remembered everything that had transpired the night before, I giggled into my pillow. Holy shit, Edward and I are together, I thought. And we screwed like crazed bunnies until the wee hours of the morning.
He grunted, and his hips shifted to press his erection against my ass. "What's so damn funny?"
Under the arm he had draped over me, I rolled to face him. His hair was wild, his face was creased from the pillow, and only one eye was open as he squinted at me through it. I'd never seen anything more perfectly wonderful in my life.
"You. Me. Us."
"Very articulate, Bella," he said, his voice hoarse from sleep.
"Fine. I'm still a little shocked that you showed up at my front door, got doused by sprinklers, chased Garrett off, and professed your love to me. And then proceeded to fuck me senseless." I stretched, feeling the ache in every inch of my body from the insane ways Edward had bent and fucked me.
His second eye opened and he sat up to grin at me, rolling me onto my back. "It was just like a scene from one of my movies."
I snorted. "Well, the first part of the evening was like a B-movie, but the second would be more like porn."
He scowled at me. "I was being romantic showing up at your door."
"Lame." I shook my head. "Which one of your movies did you crib that from, by the way?"
He gasped in outrage. "None. You know Monkey Love is my first romantic comedy."
"Oh, right. You've always been such a serious actor up until now; dramas, period films, and bizarre psychological thrillers are your forte."
"The romantic gesture was all my own," he protested, "and you loved every minute of it."
"I'll never admit it."
Edward grinned down at me. "Are you sure about that?"
"Yes," I said resolutely. "I'm sure."
A wicked expression lit up his face and he leaned down and put his mouth right up against my neck, blowing a stream of air across my skin. I shuddered and he sat back, his hands going to my waist and tickling me. "Admit it. You loved my romantic gesture."
I squealed in surprise and my legs flailed out. "I did not," I protested.
I launched myself at him and attempted to retaliate. I tried to pin him down and reach his inner thigh but he was too strong. I got one good gasping, snorting laugh out of him before he rolled me over and pinned my hands to the bed. I couldn't seem to stop giggling, and he grinned down at me boyishly.
"You're stubborn, woman."
I giggled again. "You should have figured that out a long time ago, Edward."
"Oh, I did." He let go of my hands and lowered himself down over me. "It's one of the many, many reasons I love you so much."
I swallowed hard; the light-hearted, teasing mood becoming serious. "I love you, too."
He propped himself up on one elbow, and his thumb caressed my cheek. "We can make this work, Bella. If you want it to."
I nodded. "I want it to."
He leaned down and kissed me, and I slid my hands through his hair, absolutely reveling in the opportunity to touch him in all of the ways I'd dreamed about. In all of the ways his multitude of fans had dreamed about touching him. I winced, wondering how bad the backlash would be. I could just picture the blogs now. Bella Swan Must Die was sure to be one of the titles.
"Hey, quit it," he said. "You're thinking too much."
"I can't help it."
"Bella, we'll figure it out. Right now, you need to turn off that brain of yours and let me distract you. I think a week should be sufficient time."
"A week?" I sat up abruptly and stared at him as he sat back against the headboard.
Edward gave me a cocky smirk, and his eyes trailed down my naked upper half. "Mmhmm, a week. You. Me. This bed. One week. At least."
"That's crazy. We have so much to do next week. There are suit fittings, and you need to—"
He cut me off with a kiss, and despite the fact that I wanted to protest, I kissed him back. It was too good. Sure, I could argue, and no doubt Edward and I would thoroughly enjoy heated arguments followed by crazy make-up sex. But right now, I kind of liked the idea of seeing just how well we got along.
"Okay," I agreed breathlessly.
He looked positively gleeful as he drew back. "I don't want you to even think about clothes for now, Bella. We're going to spend our time naked."
"Well, that would solve a lot of our arguments," I mused.
"Speaking of …" He slid his hand under my pillow and pulled out the ratty, grey T-shirt of his that I'd saved. "What is this?"
I blushed, an honest-to-God flush of embarrassment that I hadn't had to deal with since I was fourteen. I covered my face with my hands and cringed. "Nothing."
"Because it looks like my old Stoli T-shirt. The one you made fun of and took from me because it was so hideous. The one you claimed you destroyed as a service to humanity. And years later, I find it in your bed, tucked under your pillow." He pried my hands from my face and looked at me. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, ducked my head and refused to look at him. "That tells me either you were so in love with me you needed to have a memento of mine. Or you got off thinking about me wearing it."
I sat up and glared at him. "You know, maybe I should just let you dress yourself from now on. Now that we're together."
He chuckled. "Oh yeah, why is that?"
"You'll be so ugly your legion of fans will abandon you. I'll have you all to myself."
"I don't know. They seem pretty loyal," he teased. His expression grew more serious. "You are far more important to me than them. You know that, right, Bella?"
"I know." My earlier embarrassment from his teasing faded as he looked at me. I swallowed hard. I'd never been on the receiving end of such an intense look of adoration before.
"You're it for me, baby. I'll let you dress me in anything you want, no matter how boring. Just promise you'll be by my side."
"For how long?" I asked.
He gently pushed me back and shifted so he was hovering over me, staring down into my eyes. "Until I'm so old and wrinkly that you'll be the only woman who even remembers I used to be handsome."
I paused for a moment, my heart hammering in my chest at the thought of that many years with Edward. "All right," I agreed, my calm tone belying my racing heart. "I'll agree to that. But only because you're hopeless without me."
He grinned, knowing I didn't mean that. If he was hopeless without me, I was equally hopeless without him.
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