Dior Rob Contest

Title: Mixing Business With Pleasure

Summary: What starts as an ordinary business trip for Bella ends up anything but ordinary.

Pairing: Bella & Edward

Rating: M

Prompt used: #46, #17, #33

October 20, 2013

Move your ass, Swan.

I chuckle at the text from Alice Brandon, my friend and co-worker, letting me know that she's waiting for me outside my apartment building. I put my jacket on then grab my things and step out into the hallway. Luckily my suitcase isn't too heavy and I manage to carry it down the flight of stairs to where Alice is waiting with her car.

"Hey, Alice," I greet my friend as she opens the trunk for me. I heave my suitcase over the ledge to sit next to hers — which must be twice the size of mine — and Alice closes the trunk.

"I don't know how you got everything in that tiny little suitcase," Alice growls at me as I buckle my seatbelt.

"Easy, I don't pack two outfits for every day like you do."

About 20 minutes later, Alice parks her car in the long-term lot at SeaTac and we take the shuttle to the terminal. Once inside, she starts digging around in her bag.

"Here are your boarding passes," she says, handing me the two sheets of paper. "One of these days you need to go buy more ink for your printer so you can print your own."

"I know, I know…" I try to appease her.

After checking our suitcases at the Southwest counter, we head for the security line, which seems awfully long for a Sunday morning.

"Oh my God," Alice whines, "We're gonna be in this line all day."

"Relax. We still have over an hour until our plane starts boarding."

Once the line splits off, we decide to go to the left, since it seems to be three or four people shorter than the line to the right. But then it all but stops moving. Damnit, picked the wrong line again; you'd think I would've figured this out by now with as much as I fly.

"Oh, there's Brady," I point out, nodding toward where Brady Wolf is waiting just inside the secured area. The youngest employee at our consulting firm, this will be his first big industry meeting, and I know he wants to hang around us "veterans" — ugh, a veteran at the ripe old age of 29.

I quickly retrieve my shoes, purse and jacket from the bin and walk up to Brady, who's fiddling with his backpack. Alice seems to be held up with her laptop.

"Hey, Brady."

"Hi, Bella. I see Emmett back there in line," he says, nodding toward the winding security line. I easily spot him, as he's a big bear of a guy — more teddy bear than grizzly though. He's also the resident office joker.

"Cool, he should be able to join us soon."

"Ugh, finally," Alice grumbles as she walks up to us, now juggling her jacket and purse, along with the huge bag containing her laptop and the kitchen sink. "I swear, if I didn't really need to work, I would've left this damn thing at home."

"So did you guys want to get something to eat?" Brady asks.

I look at my watch. "It's a little early, but I haven't been to the Phoenix airport in years. I don't know how far we'll have to walk between gates. We might not have time to eat there."

The three of us walk down the concourse toward our gate, checking out the various food options. "We could get Mexican," Brady suggests.

"No, we'll have plenty of Mexican food in San Diego. It's only like ten miles from the border," Alice says.

We eventually settle on Sbarro, where Brady and I each order a slice of pepperoni pizza, while Alice gets a veggie slice since she's on a health kick and is trying to limit her red meat. We try to find a table for four, but all of those seem to be taken by just one person, so we finally choose a table for two and pull up an extra chair. Just after we sit down with our food, we see Emmett walking down the concourse.

"Emmett!" Brady calls, and he lumbers over to us, borrowing a chair from another table.

"We just sat down," I tell him, "If you wanna get something."

"I had breakfast at home, but I could eat again," he replies with a grin, getting up to stand in line. Emmett rarely misses a chance to eat. A few minutes later, he's back with a small cup of water.

"What did you get?" Alice asks.

"I got their special — a personal margherita pizza. It should be ready in about five minutes."

Several minutes later, the three of us are done eating and Emmett still doesn't have his food. He gets up to check on it, then comes back grumbling. "They said they had to clean the oven, so it'll be a few more minutes."

I check my watch again and it's about 10:15 — still 15 minutes or so until boarding. We finish our drinks and still Emmett doesn't have his food. A few minutes later, he gets up to check on it again.

"Unbelievable," he growls, shaking his head. "They said they called my name a bunch of times and when no one came up, they threw it away!"

"I didn't hear anyone call you," I say.

"Me neither," Alice pipes up.

"We need to board soon, so I'm just gonna get my money back," Emmett pouts.

Once he's taken care of that, the four of us head to our gate, where they're already lining up to board. "Bless Gianna for getting us early-bird check-in," Alice smiles. "We should be the 31-34 boarding spots."

We take our places in line, and five minutes later we're on the plane for our two-hour and 45-minute flight to Phoenix. Alice gets motion sick if she looks out the window in flight, so she takes the aisle seat. I've got the window, with Brady in between us in the middle seat — better someone skinny like him than a random overweight stranger. Emmett takes the aisle seat in front of Alice.

The flight is smooth, with a drink service and those yummy honey-roasted peanuts that only Southwest still seems to carry after all the P.C.-ness related to peanut allergies. It's a long flight, but still shorter than most of my flights to visit clients.

After we've landed and pulled up to the gate, Emmett is quick to stand up and move into the aisle. I shake my head — it always takes ages to unload the plane.

"Hey, is that Emmett's jacket?" Brady asks just as it's our row's turn.

"Yeah, I think so," I agree. Since I've only got my purse, I grab Emmett's sports coat off the back of his seat and carry it off the plane and through the jetway. Emmett is waiting for us just off to the side of where the passengers line up to board.

"Forget something, Emmett?" Alice snarks.

"Oh shit!"

"Here you go," I chuckle, handing him his jacket. "Can't take you anywhere."

We check the monitors and our next flight is leaving from gate D-4. We landed in C-19, so we follow the signs out of the C concourse then take three or four moving sidewalks before we finally reach the D concourse.

"Good thing we're not in a hurry," I comment.

"Ooh, look, Mexican food!" Emmett calls. "Those peanuts did not do it for me. Let's sit down and eat."

"Seriously, Emmett, we just ate four hours ago," Alice complains.

"You guys did — I didn't."

Once we're seated, we look over the menu. I'm not really sure I need to get anything, but then Alice offers to split an order of nachos with me.

When the waiter sets our meal down, we both stare at it. "That's the oddest-looking plate of nachos I've ever seen," Alice notes, looking at the tortilla chips covered primarily in mushrooms, caramelized onions and spinach. "I guess things are more authentic in Arizona."

Eventually we uncover the melted cheese and chicken. I let Alice have all of the mushrooms since I'm taking all of the meat.

When we've finished eating, we take our spots in the line at the gate. Once again, Emmett sits in front of the rest of us. And once again, he walks off without grabbing his jacket. This time Brady yells at him and he comes back for it. The rest of us walk off the plane shaking our heads.

Emmett didn't check a bag, but he waits for the rest of us at the baggage carousel. Alice pulls out her phone to call her fiancé Jasper while we wait, even though she already texted him as we were taxiing to the gate.

Once we all have our bags, we go outside to catch a cab. "Oh my God, I want to move here," I exclaim once we're outside. The temperature is a little chilly for Southern California in just the upper 60's, but it's sunny! So much nicer than gloomy, rainy Seattle.

Emmett takes the front seat of the next cab to pull up, while the three of us thinner folks all squeeze into the back. We're staying at the Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown San Diego for our conference. The cabbie explains that downtown is only about three miles from the airport — bad for people like him.

As we drive along the marina on Harbor Drive, we all gaze out the window at the smaller boats and large ships in the harbor.

"Oh look, that's the USS Midway," Alice points out the retired aircraft carrier. Our consulting firm is having an event for our clients there on Monday evening.

"Look, Emmett!" Brady exclaims. "You should come down here and see how much they want for one of those."

I glance out the window to see what he's looking at, and just past the Midway are two ships that look very much like pirate ships — complete with tattered sails. Emmett has this "thing" for pirate ships; it's on his bucket list to own a pirate ship one day.

"Wow… You guys need to call a doctor if I get an erection lasting longer than four hours," Emmett says in awe.

"Ewww, Emmett!" Alice squeals.

I laugh. "I think you just freaked out our cabbie." Brady, meanwhile, turns beet red.

A few minutes later, the cab driver pulls up in front of the Marriott and we all climb out. Alice says she'll take care of paying him — doesn't matter, since our company will reimburse us anyway.

We walk inside the hotel and stand in the short line to check in. A woman to the left calls the next person, and I walk up, giving her my name. As she types on her computer, I glance over toward the desk to the right of the line.

There is a tall man with brown hair, wearing jeans and a light blue button-down shirt, with a dark coat folded over his arm, checking in. He's wearing sunglasses, like some kind of Hollywood star. As he gets his room key, he walks off behind me and I crane my neck to follow him. Oh my God, he actually looks like he could be some kind of Hollywood star, with a couple days' worth of scruff on his well-defined jaw. Hello, gorgeous.

Mr. Gorgeous can't possibly be here for the conference. I mean, this is a bunch of math geeks, insurance company professionals. These are the types of guys who had "KICK ME" signs taped to their backs in high school — not this Greek God.

Once I've got my room key for Room 2362 in the South Tower, I step to the side, waiting for the others.

"What were you staring at, Bella?" Alice asks when she joins me.

"There was this really hot guy at the other counter…"

Alice rolls her eyes. "Oh please, like there'll be any hot guys at the conference."

"I know," I sigh. "He's probably just some random guy staying here and I'll never see him again."

Once the guys join us, we make plans to meet later to walk over to the San Diego Convention Center so we can pick up our registration packets and then visit the Exhibit Hall. We need to pick up our company-logo lanyards for the "geek badge" we have to wear at these things.

My room is on the highest floor of the four of us, so I say goodbye to the others as we reach their floors, promising to meet them by the Starbucks in the lobby at 6pm. The room is about halfway down the corridor, with a large window facing the Convention Center to the south, but with views of both the downtown to my left and the bay and marina to my right. The room looks great, with a large king-sized bed.

I have a few minutes to freshen up and hang up my clothes, then head back to the elevator. Brady gets on when it reaches his floor and we meet Emmett in the lobby, with Alice following a minute later.

Now the paper we received at check-in said that the Convention Center is only a one-minute walk from the hotel. Well, that's true if you're talking about Entrance A. Unfortunately, as we soon find out, our conference is being held down at Entrance E, which appears to be several hundred yards away.

Once we finally reach the correct entrance, we go up the escalator and find the registration desk to pick up our packets. The Exhibit Hall is downstairs, so we go back down the escalator and then try to find our company's booth among the two dozen or so booths.

"Hey, guys," Riley Biers, one of the top guys in our Chicago office calls as we walk up. "Here are the lanyards. See how I've rigged mine up?

"Alice and Emmett, you're working the lunch shift tomorrow. Bella, you're on with me at 5pm tomorrow, ok?"

"Sounds good," I nod.

"Don't forget to wear your white company-logo shirt in the booth," Riley adds. "You need to wear that on the Midway tomorrow night anyway."

Ugh. I fucking hate that shirt. Just because someone put two darts in it does not make the white button-down shirt a ladies shirt in any way, shape or form. I feel totally unattractive in it. Not to mention, I feel like a waiter if I pair it with black pants.

"Hey, weren't you a brunette the last time I saw you, Bella?" Riley asks curiously.

"Oh yeah, um, I decided to try out life as a blonde."

"I like it," he nods, smiling. If Riley wasn't a happily married man, I'd think he was flirting with me.

"Where did Emmett go?" Brady asks, looking around for him.

"Oh, he probably found the tables with hors d'oeuvres," Alice laughs.

"I get off booth duty at seven, then a bunch of us are meeting in the hotel lobby for dinner if you guys want to join us," Riley offers.

"Sure, sounds good," I smile. We wander over to one of the food tables where we do indeed find Emmett sampling the spinach artichoke dip. Brady and I decide to join him while Alice just picks up a couple of veggie sticks.

"Oh my God," I exclaim suddenly, nearly choking on a piece of cheese. "Look over there by the door!"

"What?" Alice asks.

"It's him, the hot guy from the check-in desk. He's actually attending the conference." And he's even hotter without his sunglasses. Before I can make a move to do anything about it, however, Mr. Gorgeous walks out of the Exhibit Hall. "Damn it, lost him," I pout, though I have no idea what I was actually planning to do.

A little after 7pm, the four of us meet up in the lobby of the hotel with Riley and several others from our various offices around the country. There must be 16 or 17 of us in all. While someone is asking the concierge where we should go for dinner with such a large group, Mr. Gorgeous walks through the lobby… and he's accompanied by a freaking supermodel. Tall, blonde, beautiful… not that I had a chance with him anyway, but having her on his arm pretty much seals the deal.

The concierge suggests a restaurant called Sally's that's just a short walk along the water from the back door of the hotel. We walk past the free-form pool and it looks amazing, all lit up and surrounded by palm trees — don't have any of those in Seattle.

Sally's turns out to be primarily a seafood and sushi restaurant. Most of us order alcoholic drinks to start but I don't want to be too tired for tomorrow morning, so I just stick with Diet Coke. Alice and I both order their seasonal prix fixe menu with three pumpkin-oriented courses.

Dinner takes a few hours and it's nearly 10pm by the time we head back to the hotel. There is a Tequila Bar & Grille out by the hotel pool that some of the gang stops off at, but I decide to make it an early night. I already know that it takes me ages to fall asleep in hotel beds, no matter how comfortable they are.

As I get ready for bed, I think about that hot guy I've seen three times already. And then I remember the woman who was with him. Not available, Swan, I remind myself.

~~ MBWP ~~

I wake up when my alarm goes off at 6:30, then hit snooze once — or maybe twice. As I'm getting ready, I hear my phone beep with an incoming text — Alice telling me that she's working on a project for a client and is planning to skip the General Session. I dress in my unattractive white button-down shirt, but at least I pair it with cool black-and-white-checked ankle pants. I also add a gray jacket since meeting rooms are notoriously cold.

I walk as quickly as I can in heels to the Convention Center, but I still find myself with only five minutes to eat my breakfast before I need to head into the ballroom and take my seat for the General Session. Alice may be skipping but it seems like the rest of the 2,000 attendees are here!

Of course there are no aisle seats left, so I look for a row where I only need to climb over three or four people to reach an empty seat. I reach my target row and catch my breath as I realize the guy sitting on the end is him, Mr. Gorgeous! He's clean-shaven now, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie — despite the fact that this meeting is business casual attire.

"Excuse me," I say, feeling my face heat up as I climb over him and the three balding middle-aged guys sitting next to him. I notice that Ms. Supermodel is nowhere in sight, but maybe she's just here as his wife or girlfriend and isn't actually attending the meeting.

When the General Session is over, Mr. Gorgeous is up and out of the room before I have a chance to follow him. I head out into the hallway, looking for the room my next session is in. Alice and Brady meet me there and we take our seats near the back.

After the session, we're given two and a half hours for lunch. Alice and Emmett are working the booth in the Exhibit Hall, so Brady and I head down the escalator and cross the street to the entrance of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. We spy Riley and a handful of others from our company and end up joining them for lunch at a Mexican restaurant.

I will forever be leery of ordering anything called "The Epic Burrito" — holy shit, that thing could've fed a family of four.

As we waddle back to the hotel, I notice a group of guys up ahead, and one of them is wearing a dark suit. Is it him? I try to walk faster to catch up with them, but we have to cross the tracks for the San Diego Trolley and I lose him when the trolley comes by and we have to wait.

After two more afternoon sessions, I head down to the Exhibit Hall for my 5pm shift in the booth.

"Hey, Bella," Riley greets me with a smile.

As we stand at the booth, various clients that we've worked with, and some potential clients, stop by to chat. I am talking with someone from Kansas City that I did a project for earlier this year when he walks up to the booth.

"Hi, Edward," Riley greets him, shaking his hand. "Will you be at our event later tonight?"

"I'll be there," he replies, and oh my God, his voice is as gorgeous as the rest of him. I try hard to keep up my conversation while also listening to theirs, but I get a little lost when they seem to be talking about the Blackhawks and the upcoming World Series — ugh, I hate sports talk.

I'm really trying to be polite while also encouraging the man I'm talking with to move along, but unfortunately, Edward leaves before he does.

"Who was that guy?" I ask Riley the moment we're both alone.

"That's Edward Cullen," he answers. "He works in Chicago, so I know him from our local club, plus we've done some work for his company. Real nice guy."

I want to ask if Edward is single, but Riley is just the type to give me shit for it, so I wisely stay silent. At 6pm, we turn over the booth to a couple of colleagues who aren't attending our event and walk back to the hotel together. The group is meeting in the lobby of the North Tower for the buses that will take us to the USS Midway.

I pick up my nametag and try to look for Edward, but there are a lot of people in a very small space and I can't see him anywhere. I notice his nametag is missing from the table, so he must be here somewhere. Once the buses arrive, Alice and I walk outside together and I get the chance to tell her what I've found out about Edward.

It's just a short five-minute drive to the ship. Once we're off the bus, we walk up the stairs to the top deck, where we find various restored aircraft, an open bar, and waiters walking about with trays of hors d'oeuvres. I look around for Edward but don't see him anywhere. We tour a handful of the aircraft, but it's pretty difficult to navigate the metal stairs in high heels.

Alice and I end up talking to a couple of clients from New York, then join them on a tour of the Captain's and Admiral's quarters, led by a man who was a pilot on this ship during the Vietnam War.

By the time the tour is over, the dinner stations are serving food. Alice walks around to all three stations looking for rabbit food, while I get salad, chicken ravioli and gnocchi from one station. Because most of the guests were seated already, we end up separated as we eat. I try to join in the conversation at my table while also keeping an eye out for Edward. I think I spot him at the fish station once, blonde supermodel nowhere in sight.

After having dessert, we have time to chat with each other and with various clients. Emmett excitedly tells us all about his time in the flight simulator. A fireworks display shot off the back of the ship ends a great night — though having a chance to talk to Edward would've made it even better.

Once the bus has delivered us back to the hotel, several people decide to stop for a drink in one of the hotel bars, but I'm exhausted from the long day.

~~ MBWP ~~

Tuesday's sessions start at 8:30, giving me an extra half hour to sleep. I don't hit snooze this time though, hoping that I'll have a little bit more time to eat breakfast. I dress in a black suit with a tight-fitting jacket that shows off my modest curves.

After the long walk to the Convention Center, I head upstairs to where the breakfast is laid out. I don't see any of those yummy cinnamon rolls from yesterday, so I pick up the tongs ready to grab a blueberry muffin. Just as I close the tongs around my target, someone from the other side of the table reaches for the same muffin. I look up, staring into the bright green eyes of him — Edward!

"Ladies first," he directs with a crooked grin. I notice he's dressed similar to me today — black suit, white shirt and skinny black tie. I also notice that his hair isn't just brown as I had thought, but full of reddish highlights. I feel my face flame as I set the muffin on my own plate while he chooses another.

"Hmmm…" he begins, staring down at my chest. "Your name is Bella. A fitting name," he adds with a wink. I should roll my eyes at such a cheesy line, but he's so gorgeous that I can't do anything but smile and blush.

"Edward," a man calls, tearing his attention away from me.

"I'm delighted to have met you, Ms. Bella," he says, winking again as he steps away. I immediately reach up to my mouth to make sure I'm not drooling before picking up a napkin and a glass of juice. I take my food to a tall table to stand and eat, looking around for Edward, but he seems to have disappeared.

Just as I'm finishing my breakfast, Alice walks up, plate of food in hand. "Oh my God, Alice, I met him!"

"You met Edward?"

"Yeah… we reached for the same muffin."

Alice nearly chokes on her yogurt. "Well, that's fate right there."

"Don't make fun of me," I plead.

"So what happened?"

"Someone called him away. But he knows my name now — that's progress, anyway."

Alice shakes her head, wrapping the remainder of her muffin up for later as we walk off to our first session. I don't see Edward in either of the two morning sessions, which means he must work in a different area than I do since we seem to have none of the same interests.

We run into Brady after the second session and decide to go grab lunch together. I text Emmett to see if he wants to join us, but he tells me that he met a "hot babe" in his last session and they're having lunch together. I sigh, wishing things were so easy for me.

The three us of walk into the Gaslamp Quarter again, passing by the restaurant where we ate lunch yesterday. Brady points out the steakhouse where he and some of the others who didn't make the cut for the client event had dinner last night.

Even though we had Mexican food yesterday, we settle on Mexican again — though I'm a bit leery of the name "Fred's Mexican Café" — since when is "Fred" a Mexican name? The food is good though, more Americanized than the place we ate yesterday. I made sure not to order anything with "epic" in the name this time, however.

On our way back to the hotel, we stop off at several gift shops, buying a few souvenirs along with a $9.99 toy floating pirate ship for Emmett at one of them. There's not enough time to drop our bags off in the hotel, so we take them with us into the Convention Center.

We attend two more sessions and again, no sign of Edward anywhere. After the last session, we head back to the Exhibit Hall to drop our business cards in the bowls that most of the booths have, for a chance to win things like an iPad, a Kindle or just a gift certificate. None of us are lucky enough to win, however.

As we make the long trek back to the hotel, Alice is texting with Riley, and apparently the gang is meeting at 6:30 in the hotel lobby to find a place to eat. I freshen up in my room, then head back to the elevator, stepping to the back corner after I hit the Lobby button. The elevator has stopped on at least three floors on every trip I've made to and from the 23rd floor, so I'm barely paying attention when the doors open.

Only this time, Edward walks in.

I nod in recognition as the doors close, hoping my blush doesn't give me away. I can't resist sneaking a peek over at Edward, and I notice him watching me as well.

And then suddenly he's right there in front of me. He grasps my waist with his left hand, while his right hand comes up to my neck. I hardly have time to react before his lips are on mine. I'm initially too shocked to react, but my lips know what to do. I kiss him back eagerly, passionately.

He pulls away after a moment, breathing heavily as he stares into my eyes. For the first time, I realize just how good he smells.

"I've been wanting to do that for the better part of two days," he whispers.

"I'm not stopping you," I reply brazenly.

Smiling, he kisses me again, his tongue doing wicked things to me, until we feel the elevator stopping. I look up at the numbers overhead to see we're on the fifth floor. Reluctantly, I take a step back, and Edward does the same. A middle-aged couple gets on, turning toward the front of the car. I peek over at Edward to see him wink at me.

When the elevator doors open again on the Lobby level, we allow the couple to get off first, then Edward reaches over to take my hand. "Have dinner with me?" he begs.

"I'd love to," I smile. I'd do anything he says right about now.

Hand in hand, we walk through the lobby and out the back door of the hotel. "Is the Tequila Bar ok? It's really quite nice sitting by the fire pits."

"That sounds great," I agree. We choose seats by one of the fire pits and I pull out my phone to text Alice.

"Who are you texting?" he asks, nodding toward the phone.

"Oh, just letting the gang know that I won't be joining them for dinner. Do you, um, do you have anyone you need to tell?"

"Nah, I'm good." He shakes his head. I wonder what happened to Ms. Supermodel, but I'm afraid to ask.

We look over the drinks menu, which is full of over a dozen kinds of margaritas, as well as several beers and wines. "It's impossible to choose one," I complain.

"I'll order for you," Edward says, smiling. After placing our drink orders, we look at the food portion of the menu. "It's kind of Mexican bar food, but it's pretty good. I ate here Sunday night."

The waitress brings our margaritas and Edward holds his up. "Cheers!"

"Cheers," I reply, clinking my glass to his. I take a sip, then set my glass down on the table. Edward reaches over suddenly, pulling me close so that he can kiss me again. Mmmm… he tastes like apples.

"So tell me about yourself, Bella," he grins when he pulls away.

"Um, well, I work in consulting in Seattle, but you probably knew that from my nametag," I reply, feeling ridiculous. Great conversation skills there, Swan.

"Are you from Seattle originally?"

"No, I'm actually from a small town called Forks, on the Olympic Peninsula. I spent most of my time growing up in Phoenix though, after my parents divorced."

"Do you like Seattle?" he asks curiously. "I've never been."

"It's a nice city; I just wish we saw the sun a bit more. So different from Phoenix!"

"I can imagine," he chuckles.

"What about you? Are you originally from Chicago?"

"Yep, born and raised. I went to school at Drake University in Iowa though."

"What area of the company do you work in?" I ask, knowing it must be different from my specialties.

"I work in financial reporting. I like the chance to dig into the numbers when things go wrong," he adds with a chuckle. "What's it like being a consultant?"

"Well, I travel a lot, especially since there are very few insurance companies in Seattle, or even anywhere on the West Coast. Most of my clients are in the Midwest or the Northeast, though I can work from my home office much of the time. I probably spend about 60% of my time on the road though."

"Do you enjoy that?"

"Yes and no," I admit. "I enjoy some aspects of it, but I don't feel like I have much time for a life of my own outside of work."

"No boyfriend?" he asks, one eyebrow raised.

"No boyfriend," I confirm, "Though my best friend Alice is forever setting me up on blind dates with guys her fiancé works with."

Edward smiles, taking another sip of his margarita.

"What about you?" I ask tentatively.


"No girlfriend?"

"No, no girlfriend," he confirms. "I was divorced last year and haven't met anyone special since then."

Edward orders us another round of margaritas when our meals arrive. Though it's the fourth time I've had Mexican food in three days, my quesadilla is delicious. Edward tells me that his shrimp tacos are very good as well.

As we eat, we continue to talk and get to know each other. I learn that Edward is 30 and loves to travel in his time off. His last big overseas trip was to the Galapagos Islands back in January, but he's already planning a trip to France next spring.

I also learn that Edward and his wife divorced because she was ready to settle down their jet-setting lifestyle and have children, and he wasn't. I'm not sure why it matters, given that the most this could turn into is a one-night stand, but I'm happy to hear that he's not opposed to the idea of having children someday.

I'm envious of Edward's ability to try new things, to just let his instincts guide him. Since I travel so much for my job, the last thing I want to do is travel when I'm off work, so I just go visit my dad in Forks, or make the occasional trip to Florida to see my mom and my stepdad.

"I'm telling you, Bella, you need to just take the plunge sometimes," Edward says hours later as he sips his third, or maybe fourth, margarita of the night. "Do something unique, something that's maybe a little bit outside the rule book."

"But I've always been one to follow the rules."

"Rules are made to broken, baby," he replies, leaning over to kiss me… just as he's done periodically throughout the night. "Come on, when was the last time you did something spontaneous?"

"I agreed to have dinner with you," I point out.

"Hardly a major move," he chuckles.

"Ummm… maybe when I decided to move back to Forks halfway through high school?"

"And that was how many years ago?"

"About 12, I guess," I reply sheepishly.

"So wrong," he says, draining his drink. Edward stands up then, removing his jacket and tossing it onto his chair.

"What are you doing?"

"You'll see," he replies with a smirk. He reaches up to loosen his tie, then pulls it over his head and tosses it onto his jacket.

"Edward—" I try to stop him when he begins unbuttoning his dress shirt, but he just laughs me off.

I can't help staring at his biceps as he removes the shirt, leaving him in just a fitted white t-shirt. I feel my face heat up when he catches me staring. Edward takes his shoes off then starts walking away.

"Where are you going?" I ask as he walks down the three steps to the edge of the pool. He stands on the edge, turning to face me. With a final wink, he falls backwards into the water.

"Edward!" I shout, rushing down the stairs. But he's already come back to the surface and is now floating on his back in the water, his arms out at his sides. "Oh my God, you must be freezing!"

"The pool's heated," he calls. "The water's great. Come on in, Bella."

"But I'm not in a bathing suit!"

"Neither am I," he chuckles. "Come on… I dare ya."

Shaking my head, I toe off my heels and sit on the water's edge, letting my bare calves dangle in the water. It really is warm.

"Come in the water, Bella," Edward whispers as he swims over to me. I shake my head, but he persists, unbuttoning my suit jacket and tossing it aside, leaving me in just a black lacy bra. He wraps his wet arms around my torso, then pulls me in, dragging me over to the deeper water.

"Now," he warns, before ducking my head under the water.

"You asshole," I sputter when I resurface, but he just laughs at me. I'm locked in his gaze as Edward brushes my hair back, then holds me close, his arms wrapped around my back.

"Live a little, Bella," he says before his lips are on mine. We kiss and float for who knows how long. I feel like I'm being a little bit bad, given that the pool is probably closed right now. The Tequila Bar closed up shortly after we ordered the last round, so it's not like anyone from the hotel is out here to notice us.

Edward begins kissing along my neck and I shiver. He's got amazingly lips and a definitely talent for kissing.

"Are you getting cold?" he asks.

"A little."

"Should we get out?" I nod, and Edward swims us over to the shallow end, easily hopping up onto the pool deck. He holds out his hand to help me up and I climb out.

"Oh my God, it's freezing!" I yell. I quickly reach for my jacket and put it on, trying to do the buttons with shaking fingers. Edward just throws his shirt on, picking up his jacket and tie. Once we both have our shoes on, he nods towards the hotel.

I pick up my purse, following Edward through the door to the lower level — good thinking, as this way we can bypass the Lobby level. "Your room or mine?" he asks as we step into the elevator.

"I have a king-sized bed."

"Two doubles… you win." Smiling, I hit the button for the 23rd floor.

As soon as the doors close, Edward pulls me into his arms, kissing me until I feel like I'm going to faint. He finally pulls away when the elevator stops.

Edward takes my hand and I lead him down the hallway to my room. As soon as I've got the door open, he tries to grab me again, but I duck away from him, wanting to get out of these wet clothes before I freeze to death.

I unbutton my jacket, hanging it over the desk chair. Edward tosses his jacket, tie and shirt onto the other chair in the room, watching hungrily as I tug my soaking wet skirt down. I step out of my skirt and shoes, then decide to hang my wet skirt over the shower rod.

I walk back to Edward in just my bra and panties — thank God I put on a matching set today — swaying my hips in what I hope is a sexy manner. I pull up on his wet t-shirt and he raises his arms so that I can get it over his head.

"Do you want to hang this up?" I ask.

Edward shakes his head. "I couldn't care less what happens to my clothes," he replies in a husky voice.

Smiling, I kiss his well-toned chest, then trail my fingers down his abs to undo his belt and open the fly on his dress pants. I tug them down, accidentally getting his boxers as well, since the wet fabrics are sticking together. My eyes widen as his impressive erection pops free. I stare at it for a moment, before reaching out a hand to wrap around his cock.

"Fuck…" he moans. I don't typically take the lead in sex, but I'm well on the way to drunk, and I'm feeling heady with power. Kneeling, I remove his pants the rest of the way then lean forward and wrap my lips around the head of his cock. I try to suck him all in, wrapping my hand around the part that doesn't fit in my mouth.

I tease the head of his cock with my tongue, twisting my hand around the rest of it. "Fuck, Bella, that's so good," he groans. "You're gonna make me come."

"That's the idea, isn't it?" I ask cheekily before taking him in my mouth again.

Edward chuckles. "Yeah, but I want to be inside you, and I'm not 17 anymore. I won't be ready again in five minutes."

"We've got all night," I assure him. I spend a minute concentrating on the head of his cock before trying to take in as much of his full length as I can. His moans and whimpers are getting louder and I know he's close. He has his hand on the back of my head, but he's not really directing my movements in any way.

I roll his balls in one hand, sucking hard on the sensitive tip. "Bella, fuck, I'm gonna—"

I know that's my cue to move away, but instead, I take in his cock further into my mouth. "Fuck!" he cries before I feel him coming in spurts down my throat. I quickly swallow then pull away, grinning up at him.

"Fuck, that's the best blowjob I've had in a very long time," Edward says, still breathing heavily. "Now get up here."

I eagerly stand up and he wastes no time wrapping his arms around me and unhooking my bra. "You are fucking perfect. Come here," he growls, walking me over to the bed. I tug the covers out of the way and lie back as Edward falls on top of me, immediately taking one of my nipples into his mouth. The feel of his hot wet mouth on my cold skin… fuck!

I throw my head back and close my eyes, reaching down to scratch my fingers through his wet hair. Edward's hands are all over me, everywhere at once, as he tries to learn the secret places that turn me on. Eventually he moves to the other breast, giving it the same treatment before sitting back.

"Fuck, you really are beautiful."

"So are you," I reply without thinking, then start giggling.

Edward chuckles, then reaches for the sides of my panties. "May I?" he asks, one brow raised.

"I thought you'd never ask."

Grinning, he pulls my panties down, tossing them to the floor. He gazes down at my naked body, then chuckles again.

"What's so funny?"

"Now I understand why I was so drawn to you. I usually prefer brunettes, so I couldn't figure out why I was so attracted to a blonde. But you're not a natural blonde, are you?" he asks with a wink, nodding toward the neatly trimmed triangle of dark hair between my legs.

"Oh my God… I want a black hole to swallow me up."

Edward laughs out loud. "No, no, I'm relieved that I understand it now."

"What about the supermodel?" I blurt out.

"What supermodel?"

"The blonde Amazon woman I saw you with Sunday night in the lobby."

"You mean Rose?" he asks, sounding confused. "She works with me. We're not together… Bella, I'm not the type of guy to cheat. In fact, Rose texted me earlier to tell me she met some hunky guy in one of her sessions this morning."

"Have you ever dated her?" I ask quietly.

"God, no. We're too much alike; we'd kill each other. Now… where were we?" he asks with a grin. He places his hands on my ankles, then slowly draws them up my legs — thank God I had time to shave my legs in the shower this morning.

When he reaches the apex of my thighs, he grins at me, then leans down, licking from my entrance up to my clit. "Oh God," I can't help crying out. He spreads my legs then begins working me over with his tongue, alternating between flicking my clit and fucking me with it. I'm a panting mess when his fingers join in, quickly bringing me to orgasm.

"Oh fuck," I cry, panting as I try to push his head away from me.

Looking very satisfied with himself, Edward kisses his way up my stomach and chest before lying beside me. I roll onto my side to face him, and he reaches up to brush my hair back, tucking it behind my ear.

"You know, if you'd told that guy that you were talking to at the booth yesterday to fuck off, we could've been doing this last night."

I smile. "Believe me, I was trying to get rid of him — politely."

"If I'd stayed any longer talking to Riley, I would've been totally obvious," he chuckles.

"I asked him about you the minute we were alone."

"Oh you did, did you?" he asks with a grin.

"I did," I nod. "And I looked for you on the Midway last night, but I never could catch up to you."

"I saw you a few times last night, but you were always busy talking to someone. And I'm sorry I had to duck away from you at breakfast. I'm presenting in one of the sessions tomorrow and the moderator for my session needed to talk to me.

"Anyway, it doesn't matter now. We're here, together, and I really, really want to kiss you."

"I really, really want to kiss you, too," I reply, reaching for him.

"Be right back," Edward says, jumping up and off the bed. He walks over to the chair and picks up his jacket, pulling his wallet out of the pocket. Then I get it: condom.

Foil packet in hand, Edward comes back to the bed, setting it on the nightstand before attacking me with his lips. I stroke my hands up and down his muscular back, then squeeze his ass cheeks, making him laugh. I can feel his hard cock against my leg and I want this, so much.

"Last chance to back out," he whispers.

"I don't want to back out."

Edward retrieves the condom and hands it to me, rolling onto his back. "Would you like to do the honors?"

"With pleasure," I reply, licking my lips.

I roll the condom down his hard length then give it a few tugs, just for good measure. I watch his eyes close in pleasure and suddenly I want to take control again. Throwing my left leg over his body, I slowly sink down onto him.

"Fuck, Bella!" Edward cries, his eyes popping open. I lean down to kiss him, then brace my hands on his shoulders and begin to move. His hands come up to play with my breasts, then move down to my hips where he helps me to slide up and down his cock.

"I love a woman who knows what she wants," he whispers. "Show me how you make yourself come."

Spurred on by Edward, I begin moving faster, taking what I want, making myself feel good. His cock is just the right size — big enough that I really feel it but not so large that it's painful.

When Edward leans up to take my nipple in his mouth, I grind myself against him, knowing I'm right on the edge. "Come on, baby," he whispers against my breast. He thrusts up into me and I finally lose it, screaming out my orgasm.

I collapse onto his chest, but Edward immediately rolls us over and begins thrusting at a furious pace. "At least my 20's taught me stamina," he chuckles, before he lifts up one of my legs so he can go deeper and oh fuck, he feels good.

"Can you… come again?" he asks.

I shake my head. "I never have."

"Well, that's a challenge," he says, smiling down on me. He takes my earlobe in his mouth, then begins kissing and sucking along my neck.

"Mmmm…" I moan. Fuck, how did he find that spot that drives me crazy?

He brings his lips to mine, now thrusting slow and deep, as I bring my legs up, wrapping them around his hips. "Close," I mumble against his lips.

Edward grabs my hands, holding them up above my head while his pace increases. "You feel so fucking good, Bella," he growls.

I'm pretty much on the edge already, and when he takes one of my nipples in his mouth and bites down, my orgasm rockets through me.

"Fuck, fuck…" he moans before he stills, collapsing on top of me as he drops my hands. I slowly bring my hands up and run them through his hair.

And then he mumbles something that sounds a lot like, "Marry me, Bella."


Edward lifts his head, chuckling. "I don't mean right this second. In the morning, I want you to call Riley and ask for a transfer to the Chicago office so I can court you properly."

"Court me?" I laugh.

"This isn't just a one-night stand for me, Bella — at least, I don't want it to be. I've never been drawn to someone like this before. I just feel like you're the one I've been searching for. We could be so good together, Bella," he says passionately, taking my hands in his.

"I don't really have many job options in Seattle, but you don't even have to leave your job to come to Chicago. I know you probably can't imagine moving 2,000 miles across the country to date someone, but I'm telling you now, I intend to marry you one day. When the time is right, I'll buy you a ring and get down on one knee and all that."

I'm stunned; I can't do anything but stare up at him.

"You have 20 seconds to make a decision," he adds with a smile.

"Twenty seconds?" I laugh.

"Yep, because that's how long it's going to take me to get rid of this condom." He climbs off the bed, and I watch his very hot ass until he disappears into the bathroom, then close my eyes.

He wants me to move halfway across the country so we can date and eventually get married? It sounds absolutely ridiculous. I'd miss Alice; I'd miss living just a few hours away from my dad. But I know I'm stuck in a rut in Seattle. And in Chicago I'd be closer to my clients.

Every single thing about Edward invites me in, from the very first moment I saw him standing in the hotel lobby. He makes me want more than the all-work-no-play life that I currently have; somewhere along the way, I let life kind of pass me by. Not to mention, I just had the best sex of my life with a man I've known for only a few hours.

I'm startled when Edward kisses my lips, then I feel his weight on the bed. Slowly, I blink my eyes open. "Do you have an answer for me?" he whispers, brushing his lips back and forth against mine.

"Get my phone from the side of my purse. I'll text Riley now."

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