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Redundancy…something that is not or no longer needed or wanted
Edward walked down the hallway to his office after his first seminar on Monday feeling nothing but absolute joy. He was actually humming, which was so unlike him that when he saw Claire stand from her desk and look over the top to see him with shock on her face, he only laughed.
He was humming a '80s song from The Bangles he'd heard on his way to work, and it was stuck in his head. It wasn't a manic Monday, as the women had sung, but the tune was catchy, and he couldn't help himself.
"Your problem?" he asked as he stopped at her desk seeing the stunned, amused look on her face.
"Oh, I don't have one. Apparently, betrothal works well for you. A good weekend, I'd guess?" she asked as she handed him his few messages.
"It will be a short betrothal. Send out an e-mail Wednesday's office hours are cancelled and Friday's seminar is as well. I'm getting married next Saturday, and I'm leaving town on Wednesday afternoon. Feel free to make it a very long weekend," he tossed out.
"Damn, you don't waste any time. When do I get to meet the mystery woman?" she asked jokingly.
"Um, how about tomorrow night? You bring your alleged boyfriend, and we'll have a drink. I think that's a very good idea. You need to meet my Bella, and I suppose I need to meet this invisible man you keep going on about.
"After the wedding, we're going to actually gear up for the rest of the semester. I've been letting them glide by, and things are about to get a lot more difficult in Political Strategy. I'm going to bring in a series of speakers…if I can figure out whom…and we'll see how it goes. So, anything pending?" he asked.
"Faculty meeting at 4:00," she called as he walked away. He cringed. He hated them because he wasn't really an academic, but it was expected he'd attend so he had no choice. He turned around and walked back to her desk.
"Come with me?" he asked knowing the answer. Many of the professors and guest instructors brought staff. He'd never asked Claire, but he felt like he needed her there.
"Really? What would I offer? I'm a secretary," she complained.
"You know the subject matter as well as me. Hell, you'd probably be a more entertaining instructor than me, and I hate going alone. We can send texts about how pompous the others are?" he offered.
He saw her look at him and scrunch up her face. "God, you get that hang dog look and I can't say no. How does Bella do it?" she complained.
"She doesn't," he responded arrogantly and went into his office, taking off his coat and settling into his desk to attempt to make some calls and line up some speakers so he'd at least have something to report at the meeting that afternoon.
After a few hours of phone calls and bullshitting, he'd lined up four political insiders with whom he'd worked alongside or against in the past. James Carville was his biggest prize, having been the strategist behind the Clinton campaign. Tony Podesta whose brother, John, was actually Clinton's Chief of Staff for a while was a great coup. Ally Summers who'd worked for the GOP was another coup, as was Patrick Ruffini, a well-known Republican strategist. He was trying to be bi-partisan with his guest lecturers, and he was actually surprised he still had enough clout in the arena to have them return his calls.
As he was about to call David Axelrod, his cell rang. He picked it up from his desk to see it was a blocked number, so on a whim, he answered. "Edward Masen."
"Edward? It's Kate. How are you?" she asked. It was a complete shock to his system, and he didn't even know how to answer her...for a moment.
"I'm fine. Actually, I'm more than fine. What can I do for you?" he asked not trying to hide the annoyance in his voice. Her call was the last one he wanted to get that day.
"I hear you're teaching at Georgetown and shopping for guest lecturers, and I called to offer my services. I've strategized more campaigns than I'd care to think about. Maybe not as many as Carville, but I think I could bring a perspective," she volunteered.
"Kate, that's kind of you, but I'm good. How's your husband?" he asked sarcastically. He hated the venom was in his voice, but he couldn't help it.
"Cheating on me, as a matter of fact. The fucker couldn't even stay faithful until the baby comes. Look, I fucked up, but it was me, not you. I mean, I didn't put enough effort into our relationship, and I'm sorry. I know it's incredibly odd right now with me being pregnant, but I'd really like another chance with you. If not right now, maybe in the near future after I clear up the mess I've made?" she implored.
He was surprised, but he knew the woman, and her request wasn't without a well-planned agenda. "That's all very well and good, but things between us are done, aren't they? Didn't you get my wedding gift?" he tossed out.
He heard her laugh. "We did, and you were right. I'm admitting what a horrible person I was, and I'm asking you for a second chance. Look, I know how wrong I was, okay? You're a great guy, and I was a stupid fool. I took it for granted, and I didn't nurture it the way I should have, but you just seemed to roll with it. Were you not into the relationship? I don't think I need to remind you how good we were together," she answered rather pointedly.
Edward listened to her rambling and was actually happy to set the record straight with her. "Kate, I'm getting married on Saturday to the most wonderful woman in the world. I think we reached the end of the road when you slept with Garrett. Hell, probably before that but regardless, I think the two of us even considering taking things up again would be superfluous, don't you agree?"
"So, you're marrying the rebound? That won't last, you know. It didn't with me," she replied smoothly. In that moment, he definitely understood how good she was at her job.
"Actually, Katharine, you were my rebound. You were the rebound of every bad relationship I've ever had. I got it all out of my system with you, and when I met the woman I'm going to marry, everything just clicked. I guess I owe you a debt of gratitude for that," he informed harshly.
He listened closely, and he didn't hear a response, so he hung up, feeling he'd made his point. He immediately called Bella.
"Hey, baby, what's up?" she answered. That was all he needed to hear. She sounded happy to hear from him, and it was everything he'd ever been missing in every other relationship he'd ever had before she came into his life.
"I've got an hour to kill, and I thought we could have phone sex," he teased.
"If you've got an hour, why don't you come home and we can have real sex? It's not that damn far," she responded. Without a second thought, he grabbed his jacket, told Claire to hold his calls, and took a cab home so he didn't lose his parking spot.
He was late for his afternoon seminar, and when he ran into the lecture hall that afternoon, his hair was still damp from the shower, but he didn't care at all. As he stood at the dais to begin the lecture on due diligence analysis of the opponent in a political campaign, he couldn't help but flash on the worthy opponent he'd just conquered who'd fed him cold pizza as she'd ridden him into stupidity. Never in his life did he think he'd have that kind of a Monday. It wasn't manic…it was magic.
Tuesday night, Bella had dinner on the stove when Edward got home. Quil had to work late so Edward and Claire rescheduled drinks for a time after the couple returned to DC from their wedding. Unfortunately, the honeymoon would have to wait until the school recess at Thanksgiving.
When he saw Bella's swaying hips as she stirred something in the skillet, he lost control. "I'm sure it's fantastic, but I really want you right now," he pleaded as he grabbed her around the waist.
The one thing Edward knew and loved about her was she was a very sexual person. She embraced their physical relationship as much as she'd embraced their emotional one. She didn't hesitate to move the pan off the burner and turn off the stove. It wasn't lost on him that Dave Matthews was playing in the background as he carried her to the couch, unbuckling his pants and sitting down on it after he'd pulled off her panties from under her skirt.
He urged her to sit on his bare thighs as she pulled off his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. "Bad day?" she asked compassionately, which was yet another reason he loved her.
"No, love, I just hate to be away from you. Come here," he implored. She sunk down on him and held steady, looking into his face.
"What's wrong? Cold feet? We don't have to get married yet," she offered as she studied his eyes for any sense of remorse or nerves.
"Cold feet? Are you fucking kidding? Saturday can't get here fast enough. I missed you, and I need to tell you something. Kate called me yesterday wanting to get back together, and I realized something I didn't tell you last night," he told her seeing her face wrinkle up and then fade into something just short of panic or complete fury.
"Don't freak out. It's not a bad thing. I knew it and I felt it, but until I said it out loud to her, it didn't feel real. I'm finally with the person I was meant to be. You, Bella, you are the person I'm meant to be with. You're the other half I've looked for all my life. Did you know that?" he asked as she looked deeply into his eyes nearly rendering him speechless.
"Now, you're just making shit up. I'm a sure thing, Masen. You've already put the ring on my finger, and we've planned the party. You don't need to try to woo me anymore," she joked.
He looked at her dead on, and there was no joking in his voice. "I'm serious, love. You're more than I ever thought I'd find. I don't deserve you, but I'm certainly not going to let you get away. I'm a selfish bastard, and you're perfect for me. I love you. That's a certainty," he responded as he pulled her onto him, and the two proceeded to work out any pre-wedding jitters the old fashioned way…a good, hard fucking.
She moved on him in abandon, working out the jealousy when he'd mentioned the phone call from his ex, and he worshiped her body, pulling her top up and her bra down, latching onto a protruding nipple that was right there and hard to ignore.
She was so keyed up by the news of the call from Kate it didn't take her more than a minute before her first orgasm. "Fuck!"
"You've got more in there than that, love," Edward moaned as he reached down and rubbed her swollen bundle, hearing her hiss at the contact. He loved feeling her come undone when she was riding him, and he wanted to feel it again, so he was relentless, drawing three orgasms from her before he let go.
When they both finished the encounter, panting and sweaty, Bella laughed the musical laugh he craved. "The dry cleaner is going to be able to put his kids through college with the amount of money you pay in laundry and dry cleaning charges."
"Well, then we'll get receipts and write them off as dependents. What were you cooking?" he asked as he kept her secured on his slowly softening cock.
"Oh, hell. I was making fajitas. I'd guess they're ruined by now," she responded sadly.
"I seriously doubt it. I'll go change and help you," he told her. She kissed him softly and moved off of him as he counted his blessings. She truly was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
"Masen? I knew you'd come crawling back looking for crumbs," Bella heard Olivia snap over the house phone. While Edward was in the office upstairs taking a call from David Axelrod regarding his speaker series, she'd taken the opportunity to call Olivia. It wasn't because she wanted to, but she felt a sense of obligation because the woman had adopted her and news of the wedding shouldn't come out of left field.
"It's me, Mother. Your most profound disappointment. I have news relevant to your campaign. I'm getting married on Saturday, and before you ask, no, I'm not pregnant," Bella informed and waited.
She heard Olivia laugh humorlessly. "So, you trapped yourself a Masen? Well, that's just lovely. Why'd you call me?"
"Because I didn't want you to get hit with questions about it and not know what was going on. His parents are probably going to run an announcement in the Times, and if you're running for the Senate, you should have the opportunity to get out in front of the story," Bella told her.
She heard silence over the line, and she checked the phone to see the call hadn't disconnected. "Olivia?" Bella asked quietly.
"I'm here. I'm just surprised you'd actually take that into consideration. Did your father push you into this?" Olivia asked bitterly.
Bella took a deep breath and let it go slowly. She knew the call wouldn't be easy, and she knew in her heart she didn't really owe the woman anything, but for the sake of the family, she was trying to do the right thing.
"Carlisle doesn't know I called. Edward left it to me. Look, Liz and Tony are going to run an announcement, and while I don't want you at the wedding, I'll be happy to send you pictures so you can at least speak knowledgeably about it. I know we don't like each other, but I'd never undermine your run for Senate, whether you believe it or not," Bella offered rather hesitantly.
"I tell you what…I won't show up at your wedding with a camera crew if you get Edward to invite me to be a guest speaker at his seminar. I spoke with Carville, and he told me about the invitation. Wouldn't it be odd if his mother-in-law didn't show up to offer her views on political strategy? If he doesn't invite me, I'll make sure no other Democrat shows up either," Olivia threatened. Bella could tell she'd done her homework on them quite well, and it didn't set well with her.
"I absolutely refuse to allow you to blackmail us into anything. Edward is choosing his guest lecturers, not me, and I refuse to be bullied into pushing you on him. Sorry, but if you want to bring a camera crew and embarrass all of us, then that's on you," Bella told her as she hung up the phone.
She truly wondered what had happened to Olivia to cause her to be so cold and calculating, but she was determined she wasn't going to allow her to ride rough-shod over them, so she wouldn't give in to Olivia's whims. She did feel, however, she needed to warn Edward.
She climbed the stairs, feeling the trepidation of having the conversation weighing heavily on her, and as she was about to walk into his office, she heard him laughing. "David, thanks. I truly appreciate it. Contact Claire regarding your availability, and we'll work around your schedule." She took a deep breath and walked into his office, settling herself on the desk facing him as he continued his phone call, his right hand finding her legs and pulling them onto his lap.
"Thanks. I need to get off of here because my fiancée is here and seems to have something on her mind. I'll talk to you soon," Edward called. He said good-bye and hung up the phone.
Bella was dreading the news she had to deliver to him, but it was the end of September, and she knew Olivia's campaign staff would likely be able to make good on her threat, so she owed it to him to explain what he was up against. It wasn't anything she wanted to do, especially in light of the fact the two of them were due to board a plane the next day to Fort Myers to go to Naples. She was cursing Olivia under her breath, and she rued the day she'd ever been adopted by the woman.
"Bye," Edward called over the phone to David Axelrod. Bella was perched on his desk, and he'd pulled her bare feet onto his lap. He was looking forward to the next few days wherein they'd be getting ready for their wedding, even with all of the landmines encroaching on the actual ceremony.
"Love?" he asked as he planted her bare feet on his thighs seeing the look on her face and quickly deducing there was a problem.
"Um, I just got off the phone with Olivia. She's threatened if she's not invited to be a guest lecturer at your seminar, she'll block every other Democrat from participating. Fuck, Edward, we should just call this off. She's going to make this all very difficult for us, and I won't allow her to interfere with your job. We can stay engaged, but we'll just postpone the wedding, or we'll slip off and do it, just the two of us," Bella told him.
He took in the information and chuckled. "Bella, I've been kind to Olivia because she's your adopted mother, but if she wants a fight, that's what I do best. I've fought more worthy opponents than her in the past, and I have no doubt I'll come out on top. My job has been to usher people through the process and take on a lake full of bullshit. If she wants a fight, I'll give her one," he said confidently as he pulled her onto his lap and kissed her neck.
"Edward, she's ruthless," Bella began.
"Love, you've never seen me in action," he replied confidently as he picked her up and carried her upstairs to their bedroom. They had about twelve hours before their flight to Fort Myers, and he knew everything would be busy when they arrived so he was going to take advantage of the time. They hadn't planned a honeymoon because it was the middle of his school year and Bella was looking for a job, but they had Tuesday night.
He slowly pulled her shirt over her head and reached around her to unclasp the tan bra he was met with. When he found no clasp, he heard her laugh as her head was buried in his neck. "It's in the front," she chuckled. He pulled away and saw the clasp, flipping it with his finger and thanking the manufacturer for creating such a garment.
"Well, this is actually the first time I've encountered such a contraption," he teased. Bella laughed loudly and pulled him down onto the bed.
"Contraption, Gramps?" she teased back.
"Oh, little girl, I'm not your grandpa or your dad…I'm the man who will make certain you scream his name every night until I drop dead. Pants off, Cullen," he ordered.
Bella wasted no time shedding herself of her bottoms, having had Edward remove her top. She also wasted no time helping him shed his shirt and jeans. The shiver that ran through her body as he took her from behind that evening wasn't unfamiliar…it was quite familiar, and as she moved in time with his rhythm, she looked forward to feeling the shiver for years to come. The eleven years between them was most assuredly not an issue for them in the bedroom.
After Bella fell asleep, Edward slipped into his office and called a very familiar number he'd used over the years he had worked as a political consultant. His job then had been to know every bit of dirt that would come to light regarding his clients. The person he was calling was always able to find the dirt, and he was depending on him to be able to find the dirt on his newest project…Olivia Cullen.
"Cheney," he heard answer. Ben Cheney was a nice, gregarious guy, but he was the best private investigator Edward had ever met in his life because he didn't intimidate anyone. He talked to people, and he listened. He was able to read between the lines of what people told him, and he had superior instincts, in Edward's opinion. As far as he knew, Ben Cheney had never failed to do a meticulous job.
"Ben, its Edward Masen. How's Ang? About six months now, right?" Edward asked. He knew the Cheneys were expecting a baby, and he knew the couple was excited about it.
"Yeah. How was the vacation?" Ben asked.
"Great. I need you to look into someone," Edward told him. He hated to do it, but if there was any way to stop Olivia Cullen from ruining their wedding, he was prepared to pull out all of the stops to see it happened.
"Name?" Ben asked. That was something else Edward actually appreciated about Ben…he was a no-nonsense kind of guy when he was working.
"Congresswoman Olivia Cullen," Edward responded, waiting for the follow-up questions.
"Why?" Ben asked.
"Because she's fucking with my life, and I want to stop her. I want to know every secret about her. I want to know if she's taking kickbacks. I want to know if she's fucking around on her husband. I want to know if she takes her coffee black or with cream and sugar. I want to know it by Friday," Edward ordered, hearing Ben Cheney chuckle over the line.
"Wow, I get till Friday? You're slipping," Ben responded.
"Here, I'll give you this…I'm marrying her daughter, and she's out to fuck up our wedding so I need to stop her. You in?" Edward asked.
"Same fee?" Ben Cheney asked. Edward laughed because, in his opinion, anyone would do anything if the price was right.
"With a kicker if you get it to me by Thursday," Edward offered. He heard Ben agree, and the two hung up. He was ready to give Olivia Cullen the fight she wanted, and he wouldn't go into the arena empty handed.
Carlisle stood in the living room of the beach house on Monday afternoon while the florist, Felix Charles, and the wedding planner, Esme Platte, walked around the room and discussed their plans.
"I think if we move the furniture to the back sunroom, we could set up a very nice, intimate setting with some flowers…I heard the bride wants orchids?" Carlisle heard the young woman ask. He stood in the doorway and watched her every move.
She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. She was even more beautiful to him because she didn't seem to notice she was beautiful. He couldn't help but watch her and wait for her to need anything. He'd give her anything she needed because in that moment, Carlisle Cullen was in love at first sight, just like he'd been when he met Renee Higginbotham all those years ago.
Dun…dun…dun… Well, hello Esme! So, our Mr. Cullen is going to play down and dirty? Why, yes he is. If you're curious how the chapter title applies...he's done with Kate. Going back to her...redundant. Can't wait to hear from you…
Thank you for reading.
Till next time…xoxo