Welcome back My Lovelies!
So, I'll tell you now, this story will alternate POV's between Bella and Edward. Bella will be the odds and Edward the evens. :)
Special thanks to MauiGirl 60 for beta'ing this chapter and a big "Hidey-Ho Good Neighbor!" to TwiMoments for pre-reading.
I did make a couple of changes (minor) after getting this chapter back from both of those fantastic women - so if there's an error, it might be me... maybe... ;-)
Standard disclaimer applies - I don't own Twilight, the characters, a condo in Seattle or a ride on toy.
Just thought I needed to put it out there... so to speak.
Now, let's here from the boy we all know and love...
Edward led Isabella back to their assigned room. He'd been looking forward to this appointment for the last month. No matter how much he tried to convince her that she needed to come in more regularly – preferably once a week; partly because she needed the extra work but also because he'd like to see her – she'd insist that she didn't have the time to come in more than her monthly scheduled appointment. Although, he could tell by the look in her eyes that she wanted to say yes. Her lovely brown eyes gave her away every time.
Edward had stopped trying to convince himself that he wasn't attracted to the petite brunette by her third appointment. After their initial session, he felt quite certain that she was into him. Edward was used to his clients finding him attractive; females mostly, but also some males. It was always blatantly obvious as their eyes would linger on the lean muscles of his arms, his straight broad shoulders and the sharp line of his jaw. They'd softly sigh in pleasure as he rubbed and stroked their muscles, seemingly lost in their own fantasies; with the women, there'd always be the lingering scent of arousal after they left the room. Edward had even taken to leaving his hair long and messy, rather than the shorter cut he preferred, after realizing early on that it yielded bigger tips. His hourly rate at Serenity was good, but he lived for those tips, especially the ones paid in cash. And, if he really turned on the charm, those cash tips could cover the rent of his artist's loft for at least a month, helping him build his savings for going back to school.
With Isabella, he'd begun allowing himself to think of her as more than just a client. She invaded his dreams, causing him to wake with a hard-on unlike any that his girlfriend of the last eight months, Jane, had ever given him. Jane was unaware of his fantasy client, though, and on the occasional morning she woke up in bed next to Edward, she would grin at his hardness like the cat that ate the canary. She'd climb on top of him, riding his hard shaft until they were both panting and spent. Jane would often coo at Edward, telling him how great he was, that sex with him was better than she'd ever had. However, when Edward would come inside her, it was all he could do not to yell out Isabella's name – since it was her face he'd begun seeing when he was in that blissful state of release.
Jane was a great girl and Edward enjoyed her company, but she wasn't his type whatsoever. A set-up by his overly-attentive older stepsister Rosalie, Jane was the younger sister to one of Rosalie's coworkers, and was everything that Edward didn't usually search for in a girlfriend. She was a debutante from an old money family. She was going to school to be an aesthetician – an admirable job – but one she agreed to in order to get her parents off her back. In truth, she lacked the deep intellectual prowess that Edward enjoyed in the women he dated. Not to mention that Jane also liked to party and shop excessively, both of which distracted her enough that it was highly unlikely she'd ever graduate and obtain her license. That is unless her daddy offered to build a new wing to the school. To be honest, he probably would end up doing just that, in order to see his little girl succeed. It was simply how Aro rolled, which was often said in the tight circle of Seattle's elite - a circle Edward tried to avoid at all costs.
Edward would have felt like an ass for fantasizing about another woman while screwing Jane if it weren't for the fact that they'd agreed they weren't "exclusive" and could date others. While Edward wasn't engaged in relations with anyone else, he knew that Jane was currently dating – and fucking – a few of the guys that she knew from college. So, he felt no guilt when the face he fantasized about in pleasure was that of Isabella.
This would be the sixth appointment with Isabella, the sixth time he got to touch her soft skin. The sixth time he could talk to her and find out more about this woman who was still, in many ways, a complete mystery to him.
He desperately wanted to know what she'd been thinking about when he asked if she was ready to come back with him. She had initially looked so serene. When he'd spoken to her though, she nervously jumped and grabbed hold of her purse, as if ensuring it was actually on her lap, sighing with relief when she found it there. Old Mrs. Jensen looked none too pleased at Isabella's muttering of profanities, which had accompanied her startled behavior. Edward wanted to bark out a laugh, not at Isabella, but at the old biddy across from her. He'd had the displeasure of being Eloise Jensen's massage therapist once and he'd left it at just that – once.
The woman was mean and demanding. Nothing pleased her. It didn't help that she smelled as if she bathed only once a week and would pass gas while on the table. While Edward could have overlooked her stench - and even her bad attitude - she never apologized for her blatant flatulence; in Edward's book, that was just simply unacceptable. That was the first and last time he ever agreed to help Marcus with one of his clients. Edward had decided that Eloise and Marcus were a match made in Serenity heaven, since the thirty-something Marcus was usually so stoned out of his mind when he was at work that he couldn't have cared less if he were massaging Hannibal Lector or Jabba the Hut - both of which Eloise Jensen qualified for.
What Edward didn't find funny, though, was the immediate reaction his body had to Isabella as she brushed past him to walk back to their room. His dick hardened almost instantly, causing Edward to mutter his own profanities. Thankfully, Isabella was far enough ahead of him and didn't seem to notice. However, watching the space grow between them as she continued walking gave him a strange sense of unease so he took a few long strides to come up behind her, causing his heart to flutter. He leaned in to tell her what room number they were in and caught her off-guard again. She stumbled, and he instinctively reached for her, feeling the sudden urge to protect her and keep her safe. Pulling her toward him to stabilize her on the ungodly high heels she wore, his already hardened appendage twitched and pushed against the zipper of his pants. It was all Edward could do not to buck his hips forward and rub himself into her round ass.
Edward quickly stepped back and asked if she was okay. Isabella mumbled that she was as she stepped into the open doorway of room seven. She looked up at Edward and he easily saw the telltale signs of desire in her eyes. He felt his own desire stirring and knew he needed to put some distance between them quickly.
Breaking eye contact, Edward came in around her and stepped to the end of the table. "So, the usual? Deep tissue?"
Bella nodded, positioning herself as far as she could to the other side of the table. She seemed to have lost the ability to speak and Edward was saddened at the thought that he might have upset or offended his lovely and favorite client. Though the air in the room was thick with sexual tension, he needed to try and get things back to a certain level of professionalism – if only to make her comfortable again.
"Okay, well, undress to the level of your comfort and I'll knock before I come back in," Edward spoke softly and stepped out of the room.
He quickly stepped to the employee lounge, not much farther down the hall from where they were, so he could adjust himself and regain some composure. Marcus was in there, eating chocolate chip cookies and watching an episode of Jerry Springer. Edward was sure the only reason why the man kept his job was because he was the best at dealing with the clients no one else wanted, the Mrs. Jensens of the world. He idly wondered why he wasn't with his favorite smelly client right now but, not wanting to engage the guy in conversation, he decided not to ask.
"Heeeeeyyyyy, Eddie boy! How's it hanging?" Marcus asked, as he tore his eyes away from the two scantily-dressed women currently entwined in a catfight on national TV. Looking at Marcus, Edward shook his head. No matter how many times he'd told the stoner not to call him Eddie, he did it anyway.
"Good, Marcus. I'm good, just needed to get some water." Making his way to the fridge, Edward turned his back on his coworker, hoping to squelch any opening Marcus may find to corner him with some lame dialogue about the women on the screen or his current stash of pot. Edward grabbed a bottle of water and twisted open the lid. With his back to Marcus and his hand holding the side of the fridge, he brought the bottle to his lips and chugged half the ice cold water before stopping to take a breath. He hoped it would cool the burning he had begun to feel in his chest, and calm his nerves.
"Duuuude! You better be careful or you're gonna have ta piss in the middle of your session." Edward looked over his shoulder and saw that Marcus was watching him with a concerned face that didn't suit his normally expressionless visage.
Edward turned and leaned back onto the small counter next to the fridge. He closed his eyes, wiping the bead of sweat away that had trailed down his face. He had to get back to Isabella, but really needed to get himself under control first.
"Eddie…man, you okay? You look like you're about to come outta your skin. You know I got something for that, if ya want?" Marcus was suddenly right next to his ear and Edward flinched at his close proximity. Opening his eyes, he pushed away from both the counter and Marcus, twisting the lid back onto the bottle.
"Nah, man. I'm okay. I don't need anything; just a little wound up today, I guess." Edward wished Marcus would go back to his lethargic state of indifference as he put the water on the counter and turned to leave. Edward stopped with his hand on the door handle. Realizing the hope of not conversing with Marcus was gone, he decided to turn back and ask where Mrs. Jensen was, hoping the stoner hadn't forgotten about her.
"Ahh man, she's disrobing," he said, with a strange grin, popping another cookie into his mouth.
That did it, Edward thought, feeling his dick crawl up inside himself as his heart slowed to nearly a crawl.
He walked back to the closed door of room seven and gave it a soft knock. Bella's hesitant voice responded, "Okay!"
Edward took another deep breath and opened the door. "Ready?" he asked. As she gave her reply to the affirmative, he stepped into the room.
The traditional spa music was playing, rolling waves crashing into the shore, seagulls calling and soft electric piano. Not Edward's favorite genre of music, but he'd learned to tune it out over his nearly two years at Serenity.
Isabella had her eyes squeezed tightly closed and he noticed her hands were fisted at her sides. The sheet was pulled tightly across her body and she had it tucked up under her armpits. She was clearly tense.
He squirted some of the unscented oil from the bottle holstered at his side into his hands, rubbing them together. Once the oil was warmed, he began to rub and knead her shoulders. As always, her neck and shoulders were tight.
"Isabella, I really wish you'd consider coming in more than once a month. You really could use the extra work. I mean, not that I would mind conversing with you on a weekly basis, but your muscles are really too tight not to have this done regularly." He swiped his hands firmly but gently down her right arm and noticed the goose bumps his touch left in its wake.
"I've told you before, Edward, I just can't work it into my schedule. I just got back into town yesterday. The laundry is piled a mile high and my cat feels neglected. He wouldn't even let me shower this morning without sitting on the toilet and meowing at me the whole time." She sounded exasperated; sadly, all Edward could focus on was her naked, in the shower. What he wouldn't have given to be her cat…
He gave his head a shake to clear the image that had taken over, an image of Isabella naked and wet.
"Well, Chewy just missed you. How long were you gone this time?" He had no problem remembering her cat's name since the feline was named after a Star Wars character. Edward loved nearly all science fiction and fantasy movies and books, but he was a hardcore Star Wars fan, first and foremost.
He watched as her eyes fluttered open and looked at him briefly before focusing at the ceiling.
"Um, almost a month. It was a good trip, but exhausting. I'm glad to be home, but now I have to get back to work. I have a manuscript to work on and I have story outlines for the next book in my current series, and I'm planning out a new series."
Edward loved to hear her talk about her work, but it disappointed him that she never went into detail. If he tried to dig for more info, she'd just say "romance stuff" and change the subject. He'd tried looking her up on the internet a couple of times, but was unsuccessful and quickly gave up. She was obviously writing under a pen name, and if she wanted him to know what that was, she would have told him. He decided that one day, he'd get her to tell him, and he wouldn't poke around on the internet to get the gory details. He'd want the information straight from her.
"What about you?" Isabella's question pulled him from his thoughts.
"Me?" Edward asked, as he pushed his forearm into the crook of her neck, causing Bella to inhale sharply before she spoke.
"Yeah, your girlfriend, Jane. How are things there?"
He continued pushing on her soft skin as he contemplated his response. He knew things with Jane were coming to an end. He really didn't get anything from the relationship and she was clearly playing the field, but he didn't want to sound like an insensitive ass. For some reason, it was important that Isabella like him and think highly of him.
"We, um… well, I really think we're about done."
"Oh, I'm sorry," she responded, and he could tell by her tone that she really was sorry for him.
"Don't be. It really wasn't serious. We were both seeing other people. Well, she was more than I was. But, it was cool." He moved to her side and pulled the pillow from under her legs and lifted the blanket. "Roll over, face down." She complied and Edward settled the sheet down around her hips, briefly catching a glimpse of black lace which quickly had him growing hard again.
"Well, I guess if that worked out for both of you."
Edward squeezed some oil onto his hands again and started on her upper back, anxious to get his hands down to her hips and catch a glimpse of what he was hoping was a black lace thong.
"She was fun, but not really what I normally look for in a…"
He hesitated. The word girlfriend sounded so immature. He knew Isabella was older than he was, and he wanted her to know he was mature for his age. So, he picked his next words carefully.
He let his response hang in the air as he worked her shoulders, taking long swipes down her back, spreading his fingers and moving his hands to her hips before bringing them back up her sides.
"What do you…look for?" Her voice sounded hesitant with a hint of curiosity, and he knew she was interested to hear more. This was the opportunity he had been looking for, a chance to let her know he was interested in her.
"Well, I like a woman who's a little more mature."
He breathed close to her as he leaned forward from the head of the table, pushing the palms of his hands into her back. He heard her pull in a deep breath and he wondered if it was from the pressure of his touch or his words. Isabella's skin seemed to break out in goose flesh and he grinned. Perhaps she liked both his touch and his words?
He stood up straight and moved over to her right side, her shoulder muscles relaxing under the attention of his fingers and hands.
"I like a woman who can talk books, movies, and music. Not just the top ten pop hits, but music with passion; new artists, indie artists. Movies that have so many underlying meanings you have to watch them three times before it all starts to click. Books that drag you in and under until you find yourself forgetting to eat or sleep because you're so involved in the characters and the story. When I find the right woman, she'll be the center of my world, and she'll enjoy letting me treat her like a queen, although she'll also exert her own independence. She'll be able to take care of herself and won't rely on her family's power or money to get by. After all, a woman who can take charge is very sexy."
Their session was nearly complete and he noticed that Isabella's body had begun to tense up under his hands. He sensed she was hanging onto every word he said. He took the chance, moving his hands to her lower back, taking long swipes to heat the muscles and pushing the sheet down just enough to catch a glimpse.
His breath caught as he saw the curve of her lower back that led to her bare ass. He quickly averted his eyes, immediately regretting taking such liberties. Pulling the sheet up to her shoulders, he rubbed her back one last time then left his hand on her shoulder.
"I think that the next woman I date will be the one I intend to spend many years with. You must think I'm too young to talk long term. But I don't like playing the field and I want to be in a committed relationship." He leaned close to her ear, he was all in and it was too late to stop. His voice nearly a whisper, Edward breathed his last admission into her delicate ear. "To be honest, I'm hoping to find myself a petite bookworm who can keep me guessing and challenge me."
With that, Edward stood up and he left the room.
He had put it out there, albeit somewhat cryptically, and he waited patiently in the hall until she was dressed.
After a few moments, the door opened but Isabella didn't step out. Stepping inside, he saw she was fully dressed, pulling her hair into a tight ponytail and slipping back into her shoes.
"I left your tip in cash on the table, Edward." She spoke with calm but refused to look at him. Edward wasn't sure what to make of it. Was she angry? The thought wrenched his heart.
She stepped toward the door and he blocked it with his body. He didn't want her to go and he certainly didn't want her to go away mad.
"I'm sorry if I offended you or if I was too forward, Isabella."
She slowly looked up, her eyes meeting his, and gave him a small smile. "You didn't, Edward. I'm just… taken aback. Maybe a little confused… or overwhelmed. Tired, I know I'm tired…"
Her eyes had begun to dart around as she searched for the right words and Edward fought the laugh that nearly sprung from him at her babbling. She was adorable when she was tongue tied. He placed a finger on her lips to stop her speaking.
"But I didn't offend you?" he asked, just to clarify.
With Edward's finger pressed to her lips, she had gone completely silent and only gave her head the slightest left to right shake. She wasn't offended and she wasn't running from his touch. His finger went under her chin to tilt her face up towards him a bit more and the air in the room seemed to suddenly change. He saw her pupils dilate and her tongue darted out, wetting her lips. Electricity seemed to wrap around them and he felt the skin on his arms stand up straight. Edward could only hope that Isabella felt it as well. With her chin held between his finger and thumb, he lowered his face so it was only a few inches from hers.
"I'd really like to kiss you." Edward's voice was low and heavy with the yearning that coursed through him. He didn't just want to kiss Isabella he needed to kiss her, needed to feel his mouth on hers.
Still unspeaking, she nodded once and that was permission enough for him. His mouth found hers in a feather light touch before pressing harder. Her lips were plump and soft, his tongue slowly tracing them, wanting to taste her just a little more. She sighed and the sound made Edward come nearly undone. Isabella stepped into him and placing her hands on his chest she opened her mouth, giving him permission to deepen the kiss.
Their tongues had only just begun to touch, stroking one other, when Isabella suddenly pulled back. The electricity died and Edward immediately shivered at the loss of her touch. She had ignited a fire in him that no woman ever had, and he craved more. But now she looked scared, her hand pressed over her mouth and her eyes wide. He was afraid he had lost her – before he had really ever had her.
"I have to go," she said as she pushed past him. Edward was frozen, he couldn't move as he watched her quickened stride towards the front of the spa. "I'll see you next month, Edward," she called over her shoulder and then she was out through the door and into the lobby, leaving him standing… alone.
A/N... ahhhh, these two. Nothing is easy. Bella certainly isn't, that's for sure!
I promise, I wont leave you all hanging for long... Just stick with me! :)
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Peace and Love - Rvr