Under My Nose

Edward Cullen sets a deadline of six months to find his true love before he turns thirty. Leaving his successful restaurant to drive a mule-drawn carriage in the French Quarter of New Orleans, he searches for the meaning of true love, because he has yet to understand it. Will he know when he finds her or will she be right under his nose? Can bubbly, buxom Bella tantalize his taste buds with beignets and an abundant

booty?

A/N: Thank you to the readers who review every chapter. There are a handful of you. I appreciate the love, and I find your input very helpful. When we get into further chapters, I will send you another surprise. Again, thank you for your constant support.

And thank you to the readers who follow and favorite that I am unable to send a thank you PM.

IMPORTANT A/N: Everyone, I apologize for the tardiness of this chapter. Real life can kick tush hard, and it did. Between sick grandchildren and the holidays, overworked daughter and son-in-law, I was not able to give time to write. Now that the holidays are over, and we are on the mend, I plan to keep on schedule.

And there are recipes at the end. I know… spoiling you.

The REAL Chapter Twenty-seven:

EPOV: January 8

Oh, when I mean business …

I mean business.

I take charge.

With a strong hold on Bella's hand, a hard stance and rough gait, I lead us into the kitchen.

The doors swing open hitting the walls with a large bang, and my staff jumps - looking towards Bella with smiling faces. Yet as I pass, they turn their heads downward to the floor.

I announce, "I would hope that what you saw in the dining area won't create any uncomfortable interaction for Bella. She was offered the job because of her baking skills."

I turn, smile and cup her face. "And I got the best end of the deal."

They all sigh, 'awwww'.''

Mama Jean mumbles loud enough to hear, "Yeah, she's softening him."

We turn to leave, stopping at the back refrigerator, and I take out the pan of meat. Bella cringes her nose and shakes her head while I place it back on the shelf and close the door. We walk to the table where the cake box sits. I grab it, she nods, and we continue to walk through the kitchen as I keep my eyes straight ahead.

"Just do your preps." I clear my throat and gruffly order, "I'll be back in a few hours."

We pass through the back doors to the alcove.

Still leading Bella, we pass through the back doors to the alcove and walk silently up the stairs to the apartment. Cheers rise loudly from the restaurant kitchen below.

I roll my eyes, shake my head and huff, as Bella giggles.

I open the door and allow her to enter first.

I walk to the kitchen, place the cake box on the island and turn to her waiting face.

"I'm sorry I didn't say anything to explain that nothing happened between us like they think," I apologize.

"It was awkward." She giggles. "We never quite got ..." She laughs. "Who does that naked?"

I huff. "We do."

"Nothing about us is the norm, Edward." She wraps her arms around herself.

I approach and hug her deeply. "I wouldn't have it any other fucking way, but I could have said …"

She interrupts, "And they wouldn't have believed you?"

"Guess not," I mumble. "Your skin looks so …"

She interrupts again, "Meat stained, fowl from fowl, bathed in sanguine fluid?"

"You have to stop reading the fucking thesaurus." I laugh.

"Bella, why don't you take a shower first? The water pressure is better with one going." With a small smile, I run my knuckles gently down her cheek.

She stands tall, shakes her head and cups her hand over mine. "Why waste water?"

Biting her inner cheek, Bella backs away from me and down the hallway. At first, I can't fucking move, but my brain finally registers as I slowly walk out of the kitchen to the hallway, and find her robe on the floor.

Shower ...

Bella ...

Together …

It amazes me how quickly my feet can move.

OXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

I round the corner of the bathroom to find Bella standing in the shower with the spray cascading down her back. I slow my pace as I watch her bend her head into the flowing water, soaking her long hair. She reaches for the shampoo and lathers her golden locks as soapy bubbles begin dripping down the center of her back.

Loosening the tie, I drop the robe to the floor, step into the shower, and stand behind her.

I tower over her feminine frame running my hands through her hair to her shoulders and down her arms. Our hands clasps together as we allow the warm stream to cover us. She leans back into my chest with her eyes closed, not making a sound and giving me her trust.

I hungrily feast upon her creamy skin, so soft to the touch, so alluring to my sight with sanguine fluids running down the drain. I laugh to myself.

Pushing her hair to one side, I lean down to kiss her neck staring at her rounded breasts and anticipating the undivided attention I will give them.

Reaching for the body wash, I pour the soapy liquid into my palms and drizzle it over Bella's shoulders. I lather the bubbles with my bare hands massaging the muscles around her neck and upper arms, and then sliding my hands around to her belly and under her ribcage. Gliding upward, cupping her breasts in each hand, I squeeze their overflowing fullness and tease her areola with circling pressure from my fingertips.

Bella takes a deep breath, raises her arms gripping the base of my shoulders, extending her breasts and hardened nipples for my thumbs to rub across and roll them with my fingers.

She smiles up at me. "I knew those long fingers had talent."

I bend to kiss her nose. "Did ya?" I stare into her eyes. "You ain't seen nothing yet."

I flatten my palms against her belly and slowly descend to her bikini line.

I get to the promise land and Bella turns to face me as my hands cup her ass.

She whispers, "I need to see your face." Her stare shifts from eye to eye.

With a small smile, I wrap my arms around her waist, lifting her and staring into her eyes. She curls her legs around me. "I think we are going to get this right, Bella."

I kiss her, pushing her up against the wall. Her fingers grip the hair at the nape of my neck and I thrust forward.

I can't describe this feeling. There is no nervousness or tension. The pleasure engulfs me with intensity running electric impulses through every artery, breathing in every bit of her scent ...

connecting...

blending …

merging together …

Again, there is no end or a beginning.

She whispers my name in my ear, and I get chills and a fever at the same time.

In my head, I repeat, 'Marry me. Marry me.' But if I speak out a syllable, I know she will freak.

Then, as always, she surprises me. "Edward, if you do this for the rest of our lives, not only will I marry you, I will give you a dozen kids."

"Then, marry me," I whisper.

OXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Neither one of us look in our direction as we enter the kitchen fully dressed. I grab the orange juice out of the refrigerator while she sits at the island. "You want some juice, Babe?"

She finally looks up at me and shakes her head. "No, thank you."

"Look, I'm not taking back the idea of marriage. But when I actually do propose to you, it will be special," I mumble.

She stands, puts her arms around my waist and looks up at me. "Edward, you touched me." She sighs. "I don't know how to explain us."

She smiles. "I do know I'm not afraid with you." I hug her tight.

She rests her head on my chest. "I don't want to run away either. I want to get closer."

"I know what you mean," I agree. "The sex … well, the few, fucking times have been amazing, but there is so much more for us."

"Yeah." She looks up. "Well, we couldn't have gotten any closer than we were in the shower, but it's a heady thing."

"I think it's a day by day thing. More time together, more us. We still have a lot to learn about one another."

"True." She kisses my chest.

I state, "And we need dates. We need a night like Steve and Kate's."

OXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

And true to my word, I prepare our first date at home. A late night supper of French Oyster Stew, and Niçoise Fried Olives. We can start out with French Olive Fig Tapenade with Cheese on toast, and a little French Savoury Ham, Cheese and Olive Cake for dipping into the stew. Okay. Okay. Bella likes olives.

We never did get into the Doberge Cake, so that is our dessert.

The day drags on slowly for me. I prepare some dishes in the restaurant, but leave most of the service for my sous chef.

Bella looks at me suspiciously from her pastry station, every time I leave she asks me if I am okay when I return.

I smirk to myself. I'm such a fucking, sly dog. I answer coquettishly with wiggling eyebrows, "Yeah."

She stands with her hands on her hips. "Why do I get the feeling you are up to something?"

"Because I am."

Mama Jean pokes me. "I swear if you kiss her I will work a week for free."

"Why, you got a bet going?" I quip.

"We got a kissing pool?" She remarks.

Voices complain from around the room.

Bella looks shocked. "No. You guys are betting if we kiss here?"

Mama Jean giggles. "Oh no, we are betting when Edward just loses it and kisses you."

They all hang their heads in silence.

Edward leans against a counter, folds his arms over his chest, and crosses one foot over his ankle. He questions, "You think I have no self control?" He looks around, and suddenly the floor is very interesting to his staff.

Mama Jean tilts her head towards Bella. "Not with her." She smiles. "She's got you, Chef!"

I smile. "She fucking does." I tempt, Mama Jean, "Free, huh?" I walk towards Bella and she looks at me with wide eyes.

Then, I get that playful grin. "I'm game if you are?" She meets me halfway.

Mama Jean jumps up and down. "Oh, I love you two."

I grab Bella around the waist as she runs her hands up my arms. I stare into Bella's eyes as I ask Mama Jean, "What's your take, MJ?"

She giggles, still jumping. " A Grand."

"Cool, and you still get paid." I kiss Bella.

OXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

As we walk up the stairway, we meet Jasper on his way down. We nod our heads and he tips his hat to Bella. "Evenin', Miss Bella."

"You look so guilty, Jasper," she moans.

"Guilty as sin." He taunts her. "Edward, thanks." He pats my shoulder.

I open the door as Bella asks, squinting her eyes, "Why is Jasper thanking you?"

We walk in, and she sees the candlelit supper for two on the dining room table.

"Aww, this is so sweet," she coos, and walks over to the table.

"I made us a little dinner and shared some with Jasper to take home to Alice." I confess.

More 'awwws' and a yelp. "Fried olives?" She pops one in her mouth. "Chèvre?" I nod. "Ooo, nice touch." She looks around the table. "Everything looks so good."

I pull a chair out. "Viens t'asseoir, mon amour, et je vais vous nourrir."

(Come sit, my love, and I will feed you.)

She smiles as I push in her chair. "Votre mère vous a élevé bien."

(Your mother raised you well.) Bella takes my hands and kisses it sweetly. "Vous gardez cette place, Edward, et je vous donnerai deux équipes de football." (You keep this up, Edward, and I will give you two football teams.)

"Ce soir, c'est pas de sexe. Je tiens à vous apport. Je veux que vous me connaissez. Je ne peux pas obtenir assez de vous, et je veux comprendre pourquoi. Et je veux que vous me connaissez." (Tonight is not about sex. I want to intake you. I want you to know me. I can not get enough of you, and I want to understand why. And I want you to know me.)

She holds my hand to her lips. "I will tell you anything."

Then she bites the inside of her cheek, and I reach.

OXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Okay, it's show and tell of the minds and hearts … Have you ever had an evening with the one you love, and picked one another's brain?

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A/N: Thank you to my Beta, Sunflower Fran. I appreciate her time, her proper grammar and quick pen. Another great find by PAD!

To Robseve and Postapocalypticdepository (PAD), my pre-readers that give their unselfish time and creative input. Both of these ladies are inspirations and true friends.

Now, let me rec Postapocalypticdepository stories, since she so graciously rec'd mine.

Never Judge by the Cover: 9056924

Boys Will Be: 8868006

Rude Awakenings: 8876785

It's a New Dawn, It's a New Year: 8862243 (complete)

And a shout out rec to: bURN by compass54

And to: Midnight-Confessions by ohgeefantasy

And to: Edward Cullen FBI Special Agent and Psychic by Dinia Steel

Also, found this story: Finally in Phoenix by laughablelamb

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And thank you to all the readers, whether you review or not. I enjoy every comment and suggestion. Yes, NOLA (New Orleans, LA) is an exciting place to live. And to combine the old world with the new is a challenge, but the humor is quite a serious business. My objective is for all of you to smile, after each chapter.

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Recipes:

French in a Flash: Niçoise Fried Olives

Vegetable oil

¼ cup ricotta cheese, room temp.

2 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre), room temp.

Leaves from three stem thyme

½ lemon zest

1 cup flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons seltzer water

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

40 Niçoise olives, pitted

40 large green olives, pitted

Fleur de sel & lemon wedges for serving

Fill a cast iron skillet with at least an inch of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat and bring to 350°F.

Filling:

Mix together ricotta, chèvre, thyme and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make a batter with flour, seltzer, baking powder and salt.

Dip black olives in the batter, and fry, 30-60 seconds.

Fill pastry bag with cheese mixture and stuff green olives. Dip them into batter and fry with black olives, 60-90 seconds.

Drain all olives on a paper towel and sprinkle with fleur de sel or sea salt. Serve with lemon wedges.

French Savoury Ham, Cheese and Olive Cake

4 eggs

1 ⅔ cup white flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking flour

⅓ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup dry, white wine

¼ cup port wine

1 ½ cups pitted green or black olives

2 cups chopped ham

2 cups gruyere cheese or Emmenthaler cheese

salt

pepper

Heat oven to 400°F

In a bowl, beat eggs until pale yellow.

Stir in flour, baking powder, olive oil, melted butter, wine and port.

Chop the ham, cube the cheese and slice the olives. Add to flour mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into greased bread tin (11X4)

Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve cold in slices.

French Olive Fig Tapenade with Cheese

1 cup dried figs or one pint chopped figs

¼ cup water

¼ cup white wine

1 teaspoon fresh, minced rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon powdered, cayenne pepper

⅔ rounded cup chopped, kalamata olives

3 small cloves, seeded and minced garlic

Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste

⅓ cup walnut pieces

8 ounce feta or cream cheese

Bring figs, water, wine, rosemary, and thyme to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients but the walnuts and cheese. Stir well. Cover and chill anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On stoneware (preferred) or a baking sheet, bake walnuts for 10 minutes or until slightly browned. Set aside.

Before serving, place cheese on platter. If using cream cheese, squish it down to about a 1/2 inch thick circle. If using feta, crumble it and loosely bunch it together to about the same size.

Combine walnuts and olive mixture. Spoon it over the cheese and serve with crackers, French bread, and/or or vegetable slices.

French Oyster Stew

12 tablespoons butter, divided

¼ cup flour

2 cups finely chopped onions

1 cup finely chopped celery

4 cups milk

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

4 dozen oysters, shucked, drained and reserve the liquid

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup finely chopped parsley

Melt 8 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly for 3 minutes.

Add onions and celery to the mixture, cooking them and stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.

Stir milk, oyster liquid, and the chopped garlic into the sautéed vegetables. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the broth to a simmer, and cook uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add the oysters and parsley, and continue to simmer 4-5 minutes, until oysters curl at the edges.

Add the 4 tablespoons of butter into the stew. Serve hot.

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Next up: BPOV