Thank you for your response. I am glad so many of you laughed as hard reading about their first meeting as I did writing it. Your words made me smile. Widely.
Now we go back to their story.
We walked back into the sitting area of the suite. Emmett shook his head at me muttering, "Good luck," and left immediately. I looked over to where Bella was sitting at the table, her head in her hand as she listened to a voice screaming at her on her cell phone. She was wearing my hoodie; the sleeves rolled up several times and pushed up on her forearms for good measure. I could see it was far too long and big for her, yet I liked seeing her in it. Her hair was now up in a ponytail on her head, pieces escaping all over the place and hanging down her neck. The table was covered with the contents of the file she had spilt earlier and I could see most of it was unusable. But my attention was more on the woman being screamed at. I knew it was Rose so I went over, sat beside Bella and plucked the phone from her hand, ignoring the startled gasp from her. Twice I tried breaking into Rose's tirade and finally drew back, put two fingers in my mouth and whistled loudly into the receiver. That shut her up. "Rose," I smirked into the phone using my best schmoozing voice, "you can stop the yelling now. Bella is fine. I'm fine. We're going to start the interview now."
Her voice was incredulous. "Really?"
"I can send someone else."
"No." I said firmly. "I want Bella." I raised my eyes to Bella's surprised face and once again, with no thought, brought my hand up and stroked her cheek. I could feel her blush under my fingers and I smiled even as I wondered why I kept touching her. "And Rose?"
"Not another word to Bella. Not one more insult or curse. Or I'll never do another interview with Faces again. Understand?"
"Excellent. Have a good day." I hung up.
Bella stared at me. "You didn't have to do that, Edward."
I shrugged. "It's done." I smiled at her. "I had Emmett order some coffee. It should be here soon. Will it be safe, or should I keep it on the other side of the room?"
Her bottom lip disappeared again and her watery eyes flew all over the room, looking anywhere but at me. "Edward … I'm so … I can't even imagine … I don't even know what to say."
Finally she looked up, her eyes swimming with moisture. I didn't want her to cry. Her tears made my chest feel strange. I held out my hand. "Hello. I'm Edward Cullen."
"What are you doing?"
I leaned forward, smiling. "Same scene, second take, Bella. It's called a do-over." I waited, my hand extended between us, internally begging her to take it.
Suddenly looking shy, she finally placed her hand in mine. "I'm Bella. I'm here to interview you."
"Nice to meet you, Bella. Let's get started, shall we?"
Twenty minutes later, I stood up pacing, pulling my hands through my hair. "No. Please just stop."
Bella looked confused. "What?"
I groaned. "I've read your articles, Bella. I know how good you are. Your articles are insightful and articulate. You can do better than these inane questions."
She flushed slightly. "I'm following Alice's notes."
"Forget Alice's notes."
She held up a list. "I'm using the guidelines Emmett sent Rose."
Reaching out, I pulled the list out of her hand and tore it in half. "Fuck the guidelines."
Without looking, I grabbed one of her many notes. I scanned it, my eyes widening as I read it over.
"What is this, Bella? Jawporn, handporn … scruffporn? What the hell?"
She giggled. "That's you, Edward."
She sighed. "Do you have any idea how many websites, blogs and Facebook groups there are about you? Everything … and I mean everything, about you is … sex."
My eyebrows shot up.
"Your face … your hair … your eyes … your hands … everything you say, everything you do, somehow these woman turn it into something sexual. You're like … a freaking burning pit of passion for them."
"It's not something I think about," I admitted. "It's too … overwhelming."
She leaned forward. "How do you handle it? The constant scrutiny … the paps, and the press. The lack of privacy. The gossip? It must affect you."
"It does at times. I can't let it show, though."
She looked over at her files. "Nothing is private for you. Everything is scrutinized. Talked about. My God, there's even discussion groups about the size …" her voice trailed off.
I watched fascinated as a deep red color crept up her chest, flushing her neck and staining her cheeks darkly. I wanted to know why.
Her eyes met mine before they dropped to my lap. "They seem to have a fascination with your … um," her voice dropped, "your, um, manhood, Edward."
I held back my laughter. Ms. Investigative reporter was shy it seemed. "My manhood? Really? Is that the best you can do?"
She groaned and threw up her hands. "Your penis, okay? They all want to know how freaking big your penis is!"
My lips twitched. If I was being honest so did my cock when I heard her say penis. Especially the fact she was talking about my penis. Teasingly, I leaned forward. "Is this an 'on the record' question, Bella? Are you asking me, officially, how big my penis is?"
"No!" Her gasp was horrified.
I sat back, finally letting out my laughter. She was freaking adorable. "Good." I winked, unable to resist teasing her. "Maybe we can … discuss that later." Her cheeks flamed again and I smirked.
Indicating her notes, I became serious. "Do you want to do this? Really interview me, or do you want to stick to the trite, boring questions you think you have to ask?"
"I want to really do this."
I grabbed the file and threw it over my shoulder. "Then start."
Still she hesitated. "What is it, Bella?"
"I never really interview people."
"You have," I insisted. "I've read your work. It's brilliant."
"I don't interview. I sit with them. Talk to them—get to know them."
"Great. Get to know me, then."
"You'll really talk?"
I nodded, knowing Emmett would kill me if he heard this conversation. But for some reason, I trusted Bella. Completely. "I'll really talk, on one condition."
"And that is?"
"I get to ask a few questions of my own, to get to know you, and you have to be honest, as well."
She chewed on her poor bottom lip again. My hand reached out and tapped the plumb flesh. "Don't damage something so sexy. If you keep that up, I'll kiss it every time you bite it."
"Are you always this forward with people who interview you?"
I grinned. "You're not interviewing me, remember? We're getting to know each other. You play with my nipples: I protect that bottom lip of yours."
A small giggle broke through her lips and I smiled at the sound. I was going to enjoy my time with Bella.
I leaned back in my chair.
"Ask me anything."
Four hours later I smiled over at her. "Done?"
I grinned from the corner of the couch where I was now sitting, Bella was on the other end, her feet in my lap.
We had moved the whole time we were talking; sometimes standing, sometimes sitting on the floor, me often pacing while she listened and asked me questions I had never been asked before. The topics were varied — she not only asked about acting, but my thoughts and feelings on the world around me, my crazy life, my family and friends and how they coped with my success. I shared snippets of my childhood and stories of starting in the business. We talked about how literally, overnight, I had gone from a struggling actor, thinking of leaving the business, to a hot commodity who couldn't do something as simple as grab a bag of snacks at the local store without it being splayed all over the internet, and how it had affected my life. I talked about the enormous pressure I felt sometimes and how some days I wanted to escape all of it. She asked questions about the different charities I liked to work with, chiding me gently on not using my celebrity status enough to bring them into the limelight. We discussed music and arts, books and theatre and so many other things I lost track.
She took pictures with her iPhone on occasion, smiling at me when I rolled my eyes at her. And through it all, somehow, I kept touching her. Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, running a finger down her cheek, folding her hand into mine, even the occasional gentle kiss to her forehead and one or two on that bottom lip I found so fascinating; I couldn't stop myself and it seemed she didn't want me to anyway.
I had learned a lot about her as well. I heard all about Alice and the birth of her daughter, and why she was so exhausted when she arrived here earlier. She smiled ruefully when she told me she thought she had plenty of time for a quick sandwich, and had made sure she added some of the green iced tea Alice had told her I preferred, but that part way through eating and scribbling some notes she had drifted off. I laughed when she told me how horrified she had been when she was handed this assignment, and she whispered guilty that she had never seen a single one of my movies until earlier this morning.
I was amazed at the lengths she had gone to in trying to learn something about me to prepare for this interview. Grateful for the fact that she used none of the inane, barely disguised sexual innuendos that were often thrown my way in the guise of being a real question. She listened intently to all my answers, because she didn't know them already. I actually liked the fact she knew so little about me—both personally and professionally. It made me want to tell her everything about myself, to learn about me, from me. Not from a bunch of stupid half-truth articles.
I heard about her long list of embarrassing moments due to her rather questionable coordination. She made me laugh again as she described the long list of electronics she had destroyed over the years; drowned cellphones, laptops forgotten on the top of her car and run over, iPods mysteriously dying after a few months in her possession. I knew her mother drove her crazy, she rarely saw her father and she lived a quiet life, often with her head deep in a book. And the most important fact of all; there was no one special in her life.
She shut off her recorder and closed her notebook she had been scribbling in the whole time. "I guess we're done."
My hands tightened on her feet. "Are we?"
She glanced at me warily. "What are you asking me, Edward?"
"Off the record, Ms. Swan?"
She nodded. "The gathering session is over. We're just Edward and Bella now."
I stared at her. She had just summed it up in those few words. I was simply Edward with her. That was how she made me feel. Like me.
I moved, dragging her closer until she was tucked in beside me. "Stay."
"Why?" she asked quietly.
"Because I don't want to lose this ... connection we have going here. I have no idea what's happening between us, Bella, but I can't bear the thought of you walking out that door. Stay with me. Let's explore this a bit further." My finger drifted over her lips softly. "Let me explore you."
Her tongue peeked out, touching my finger, its wetness leaving a trail of heat I felt through my whole body. "I don't do this sort of thing," she whispered.
"I know that." I smiled down at her. "I've asked you a lot of questions today, too." I lowered my mouth to hers. "Can you feel it, Bella? This … draw between us?"
"Yes." Her breath crossed my face.
"Does it frighten you?"
"It does me, as well. But I want this. I want you. Please?"
Her arms wrapped around my neck. "Yes."
And finally, finally my mouth covered hers.
She was so sweet. Groaning, I pulled her closer. Her arms wrapped around my neck, her hands burying themselves in my hair, tugging at it as she kissed me. The whole afternoon had been a long session of foreplay for me and I was hard and ready for her quickly.
"I want you," I rasped against her throat, my lips sucking at the soft skin.
I wasted no time scooping her into my arms, grateful I had texted Emmett earlier and told him to get the room for the night. I carried her into the bedroom, laying her out on the bed and grinning as I pulled down the zipper of my hoodie. "As sexy as you look in my clothes, Ms. Swan, I have the feeling you'll be even sexier without them."
She smiled up at me nervously: her lip caught between her teeth. I bent down, pulling the soft flesh away with my thumb. "Too fast, Bella? We can stop, baby."
She shook her head. "No, Edward. I want you. So much. But I don't want to disappoint you."
I hovered over her. "Impossible. You're already beyond anything I could have hoped for. I want you." My fingers traced her soft cheek. "I'm not looking for a fast fuck, Bella. I want to make love to you. Make you mine." I drew in a deep breath. "I want to keep you."
Her eyes widened and she pulled me down to her sweet mouth. "Please," she breathed.
My hands found her curves, gently caressing. I felt her soft touch along my spine. Deep, wanting kisses were shared. Piece by piece clothing was discarded as we bared our bodies, the same way I had bared my soul to her earlier. My mouth and fingers worshipped her, tasting and stroking. Her responses were passionate, and I fed on her moans and arches as she pressed against me. When I slipped into her heat we both stilled … our eyes locked as we felt the deep connection flare between us again. As I moved in long, slow strokes, my head fell forward onto her chest as the feeling overwhelmed me. I could never want anyone else but Bella.
When she tightened, crying out my name, I knew for certain I never wanted to hear anyone else's throaty desire but hers.
When my orgasm tore through me, it was her name that fell from my lips, her arms that tightened around me as I rode out the euphoria of the intense sensation and her soft warmth that surrounded me.
Then I knew.
I was home.
A month later I strode into the head office of Faces, a copy of the article clutched in my hand. I nodded at the attendant but continued to make my way to the top floor where I knew Rose's office was located. I wasn't surprised when I stepped out of the elevator and was greeted by Rose herself. No doubt, news had traveled fast about my appearance.
"Rose. I'd like to see Ms. Swan, please."
She indicated the sheath of paper in my hand. "You have a problem with the article?"
I smirked at her. "That is something I wish to talk to Ms. Swan about."
Her head tilted and she regarded me intently for a moment before nodding. "Fine. I'll get her. You can use the office at the end of the corridor. I assume you want some privacy."
I paced while I waited for Bella. She walked in a few minutes later, closing the door behind her, biting her lip and looking nervous.
"Edward? I wasn't expecting to see you … here."
I held up the copy of the article I had in my hand. "Emmett gave me the advanced copy."
"You have a problem with it?"
I snorted. "A problem?"
"I thought …"
Before she could say anything else, I threw the article down on the desk and crossed the room, pulling her against me. Cupping her face, I kissed her; my tongue hot and deep in her mouth. Her soft moan only spurred me on and I reached down, lifting her against the wall as I continued to ravish her mouth. I could never get enough of her mouth. Her taste wrecked me every time and I needed more.
Finally letting her breathe, I buried my face into her neck, gasping for air. "Bella, baby," I panted. "It's fucking amazing. I don't even have words."
I pulled back, watching the smile of delight light up her face.
"You like it?"
I kissed her again, this time softly. "It's brilliant. I love it! You make me sound intelligent, articulate, well-informed and passionate. Even funny. And the way you talk about my charitable work …" I drew in a deep breath. "It's the best thing I have ever read about me. It's not an interview … it's like a fucking reveal of the person I really am."
"Really." I pressed my mouth to hers and for the next few minutes I showed her how I felt about her article. Gently, I set her down on her feet again, remembering we were at her place of employment. "I even love the pictures you chose. Not a sexy pose in the bunch."
She snorted. "Every picture of you is sexy, Edward. You don't need to be bare chested to look hot." She reached up, softly teasing the scruff on my chin with her fingers. "I loved the one of you just staring at me. I mean ... the camera."
I cupped her cheek. "I was staring at you, pretty girl."
I felt her blush against my hand and I smiled.
"You made the article easy to write," she murmured insistently. "You are intelligent and funny and there is so much more to you than a brooding stare and a pretty face. You simply needed someone to hear you."
I leaned down, lowering my voice teasingly. "What about passionate?"
"Oh … um … "
My mouth hovered over hers. "Do I need to remind you how passionate I am?"
She whimpered, and I smiled against her warm lips. "I'll take that as a yes."
A few minutes later, I regretfully leaned back, dropping another tender kiss to her swollen lips. "You convinced now?"
"Let's go out and celebrate tonight, Bella."
"Is that a good idea?"
I sighed. I knew how cautious she felt we had to be. She hadn't even told many of her friends we were seeing each other, to protect my privacy, but I was done with it. Emmett knew, as did Alice, and I was pretty sure Rose suspected. Now that the article was written and about to be published, I wanted the world to know we were together and she was mine. "Bella, I don't care what people think or say. We're adults. We're a couple. We don't have to hide. You wrote an article about me. I fell in love with you. It's not a crime."
"I still can't believe you love me."
"I do. Badly. Completely. Infinitely. "
A shadow crossed her face, and I lifted her chin. "Hey." I kissed her softly. "Tell me what is going on in that pretty head of yours."
Her voice was worried. "You leave soon. Filming is almost done. What then?"
I pushed away from her and paced. She stood silently watching me, and I sighed nervously. I plunged my hand in my pocket and closed my fingers around the small object resting in the bottom.
The past month had been the best of my life. She had stayed with me that night—and we'd been together every night since. The only time I was away from her was when I was working or making an appearance; which luckily wasn't often lately. I found I hated being away from her. We spent most of our time either in my hotel room or at her place, venturing out later at night for walks in the park or dinner at a tucked away restaurant, where I wouldn't be recognized. She worked away on the article, refusing to let me see it until it was done, and I spent my time going over lines, working on my laptop and simply watching her work.
I loved watching her. There was a natural beauty to her and an innate sexiness to everything she did. The fact she had no idea she was sexy made her even more so to me. It only took me a few days to realize that in the short time of the waking up fiasco, I had fallen in love with her and when she had sweetly admitted she felt the same way, my heart had almost burst in my chest. Her intelligence and wit, her gentle nature and even her constant clumsiness all drew me to her. I wanted to care for and protect her. I wanted her with me. Always.
I stepped in front of her, swallowing the nervous lump in my throat. "I have a proposition."
Her brow furrowed. "A proposition?"
I nodded. "I want you to move to L.A. With me."
"We haven't been apart one night since the day we met, Bella. Do you really think I can leave you behind? I can't even imagine being without you anymore." Before she could say anything I rushed out the next thought.
"I want you to be my PR person."
"But you don't have any PR people."
"My point exactly. I want you to do it."
"I have a job here, Edward."
I gathered her hands in mine. "Leave it. Come with me. Live with me." I drew in a deep breath. "Marry me."
Her eyes widened. "Marry you?"
I nodded, uncurling her hand and slipping the ring I had bought onto her finger. As soon as I had seen it I knew it belonged on her hand; a shining symbol of my love for her. "You also described me as impulsive in the article, Bella. I'm just proving you right."
She stared at the ring and then back at me. "You're it for me, Bella. I know it for certain … in my heart and I don't want to leave you behind. I can't leave you behind." I leaned my forehead against hers. "I know it's fast and I know you have a thousand questions. I promise I'll answer them all." I drew in a deep breath, my voice quiet in the room. "Don't say no." I implored. "I know you love me too. Come with me and we'll figure it out. We'll build a life together. Please."
The few seconds she remained quiet felt like an eternity. Finally she spoke.
"I'd be your PR person?"
A grin tugged on my lips. "Yes."
"And … your wife?"
"Please," I breathed.
"So I get unlimited access?"
"Can I boss Emmett around?"
"Absolutely." I kissed her gently. "You can boss us both around."
"Yes, Edward. I'll come with you. I'll be your PR person. I'll marry you."
"Bella." I picked her up, wrapping her in my arms and holding her close. "I love you."
Her arms tightened around my neck. "I love you."
"We're gonna be great together."
She smiled up at me. "People are going to go crazy when this gets out. The press will have a field day with it."
I smirked at her. "I guess you'll be busy then, won't you? You can tell the world how you swept me off my feet the first time we met. Literally."
"I think I'll omit that part."
I chuckled. "Maybe a good idea. It'll be crazy enough." I lowered my voice suggestively and flexed my hips, grinding myself into her. "You may have to finally confirm all the rumors about the size of my penis."
She giggled. "Or deny them."
"I don't think so," I growled.
"I think I'll just keep that little tidbit of information to myself."
I sucked her earlobe into my mouth, nibbling on the tender flesh. "Bella, need I remind you there is …" flex " … nothing …" flex "… little …" flex "… about that tidbit again?"
Her arms wound around my neck, pulling my mouth down to hers. "Yes, Edward. You'll need to remind me several times. I've developed terrible memory loss."
"What a shame," I murmured, kissing her firmly. "It's a hard job …"
She arched against me, causing a low moan to escape my mouth. "Certainly feels hard," she whispered.
I groaned. "We can't do this here, Bella. Rose is no doubt standing outside waiting for us. She's probably listening right now."
"She probably is," she sighed and pushed at my shoulders. "You know, I know very little about being someone's PR person."
"It's all new to me too. We'll learn together. You'll figure it out."
"I have a feeling you're going to be a lot of work."
I chuckled. "I think you're right. I'm going to want my money's worth. You have access twenty-four seven after all."
She pursed her lips. "That's a lot of hours. I need a raise."
I laughed and kissed the ring I had just put on her hand.
"You can have it."
"Yeah?" She giggled.
"Anything, Bella. You can ask me anything. Have anything. Do anything. Because to me you are everything."
She curled into my chest and I nuzzled her head. "I know you need some time to get things in order here. I'm staying until you're ready to go home with me."
She looked up, her eyes tender. "I'm already home, Edward. When I'm in your arms I am home."
I held her tighter, because I was home as well.
I smiled against her head. "I'm so glad you stepped in for Alice."
She chuckled. "She says it was meant to be. I think she was planning it all along."
"I owe her, then."
"We both do."
I stepped back and held out my hand. "You ready to do this with me, Bella? You know Rose is waiting. We walk out of here—together?"
Her hand slipped in mine, holding it tightly.
And that my friends is a wrap. Short and sweet for these two. Thanks for joining me on this little journey. My short Christmas fic Belong To Me will post starting this weekend. Three chapters. Hope to see you with me!