A/N: Here we go! We’re going all the way back to the beginning, long before she was ever on his show to see how these two met. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.
Chapter 2: The Game
“Watch where you’re—”
“Holy shit.” Immediately, I pull my borrowed Capitals’ jersey from my chest, as I’m drenched in cold beer. It’s seeping into every nook and cranny, leaving my bra just as soaked.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.”
Looking up, I’m dazed momentarily by an incredibly handsome man tossing his empty plastic cup in the trash. He’s grabbing fistfuls of napkins from a nearby dispenser and dabbing at my chest.
This has been a shitshow of an evening. My best friend and roommate, Angela, begged me to go on this blind date.
“He will be perfect for you,” she’d claimed.
I had just finished texting her that Tyler bailed on our date, because his ex-boyfriend decided they should give their relationship another chance. Boy, was Angela wrong about that one.
Thank goodness, I had put my phone away before I ran into this hockey fan accidentally during the break or I would be shopping for a new phone tomorrow.
“I don’t think I’m doing much good.” He looks over my chest, tossing the wet napkins in the trash.
“Maybe I’ll just leave.”
“And miss one of the best games of the year? Look, this is my fault.” He points toward a shop full of clothes. “Let me buy you a new hockey jersey, then you can get back to watching the game with your boyfriend.”
“Boyfriend?” I chuckle. “You must be mistaken. I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“I thought I noticed you with a guy.”
I shrug. “He left to meet up with his ex-boyfriend. Or maybe it’s current boyfriend by now. I can’t keep up.”
“Good to know.” He holds out his hand. “I’m Edward Masen.”
Letting go of my jersey with one hand while still trying to keep it from coming in contact with my chest, I shake his hand. “Uh, Bella Swan.”
“Oh, right. Sorry. What size do you wear?” He leads us toward the store.
“That’s kind of a personal question to ask someone you just met.”
He brushes off my teasing. “Small?”
I wait outside the store while Edward selects and purchases a new jersey for me in less than five minutes. He’s a power shopper.
“Here you go. They only had ‘Holtby’ in your size. I hope that’s okay. You probably would rather have an ‘Ovechkin.'” He hands me the plastic bag and points. “I think the women’s restroom is in that direction if you want to change.”
“You didn’t have to do this, but thanks.” I have no idea what a ‘Holtby’ or an ‘Ovechkin’ are, but I locate the restroom and make the switch, putting my wet bra and Angela’s beer-soaked jersey back in the bag. The fabric of the new one is thick enough I can get away without needing a bra, but it does make me a little self-conscious that everyone can see too much since the material clings to my body.
When I exit the restroom, I’m surprised to see Edward leaning against the wall, holding two beers.
His smile brightens when he sees I’ve spotted him, and he starts walking toward me, holding out one of the beers in his hand.
“It looks like a perfect fit. How about a beer?”
“You didn’t have to stick around, but thanks.” I reach out, grab the offered beer, and take a sip. “Am I keeping you from the game?”
“No, I was watching one of the television monitors while waiting for you. You know, you look familiar. Have we met somewhere before?”
“I don’t think so. What do you do?”
“I work on a television show here in D.C.”
“Oh, well, I’m a reporter for the Post.”
“Were you by any chance at the White House Correspondents’ dinner last week?”
I smile. “I was there with my boss.”
“Then, that must be it. I was there too.”
“What type of television show?”
“One of those boring, stuffy Sunday morning political types.”
“Oh, are you a producer?”
“Uh, no. The host.”
“The host? Which one? I know a bit about politics.”
“I’ve just taken over This Week.”
“That’s one of my favorites. Are you here with some co-workers?”
“I wish. I was trying to woo one of my father’s former colleagues into coming on my show, Senator Aro Volturi.”
“Wow, he’s a big fish. Did you hook him?”
“I’m not sure. I’ve known him most of my life, but he disappeared not long into the first period.” He leans close. “I think he picked up a woman from one of the bars. I’m sure they’re headed for the nearest hotel room by now.”
“Oh, I didn’t know he was single.”
“So, why aren’t you wearing a Capitals’ jersey?”
“I’m originally from Chicago and will always be a Blackhawks fan.”
“I don’t know much about hockey. My best friend begged me to come to this game in order to meet the ‘perfect guy’ for me. A blind date that went south when his ex texted him that he wanted to give their relationship another try. Now, I’m old news. Not that I was front page, by any means.”
“I would think you would be quite the feature story in my opinion. Since I don’t believe the Senator will return, would you like to take his seat and join me for the rest of the game?”
“You would be doing me a huge favor. There’s a puck bunny sitting next to us who was trying to put the moves on me. I think she’s hoping for a ‘Kiss Cam’ moment.”
“A puck bunny? What in the world is that?”
“They’re women who focus on bagging the next great hockey star using whatever means necessary.”
“Sounds cut-throat. Aren’t you worried about me being a bunny?”
“I think I would rather take my chances with you than her.”
“Let me text Angela and let her know I ran into a co-worker, and I’m going to visit for a while.”
“A while? Tell her the rest of the game.” He holds my beer while I take out my phone.
Edward doesn’t lack confidence.
“Oh, wait. She sent me a text not long ago saying she’s not feeling well. Her boyfriend Ben is going to take her home.”
“Perfect, now you’re free for the rest of the game, and I can give you a ride home too.” He looks over my surprised expression. “If you need one.”
I’m not sure about the ride, but decide to see how this goes with Edward. “I’ll think about it.”
“Great. Follow me.”
I put away my phone and go to grab my beer, but he pulls it back to his chest.
“I’ve got this.” He smirks, and I don’t miss the wink either. “Let’s just get you to my seats without another mishap.”
When he points me in the right direction, I realize we are a lot closer than where I was sitting with Angela and Ben. “Wow, these seats are really close to the ice.”
We aren’t next to the glass, but we’re close and almost in the middle of the rink.
Edward nods. “This is my favorite spot. Although, sitting near the bench for either team is fun too. I forgot to ask, did you want something to eat?”
I pull out a yellow package of peanut M&Ms. “I’m good. Do you want to share?”
I rip into the package and pour some into his waiting hand.
“You aren’t going to feed them to me?” He feigns disappointment.
“Maybe I can ask one of your puck bunnies to do that for you.”
I turn to get the attention of the heavily made-up, blonde woman with ample boobs next to me, but Edward grabs my arm.
“Don’t,” he says in my ear over the shouts and murmurs of the fans surrounding us. “Right now, your presence is enough to discourage her. Maybe I should offer to feed the M&Ms to you instead?”
Edward holds up one to my lips, and I’m surprised by the forwardness of his offer, but my mouth opens automatically as he eases it inside. His fingertips barely graze my lips as I watch a slow smile spread across his face. While I’m enjoying his attention, I’ve never had anyone offer to feed me, and I wonder if this is something he does on dates or to impress women. I watch him pop several into his own mouth, and I’m about to ask for another when our spell is broken by a huge crashing sound against the glass in front of our section.
“Dear Lord! Are they okay?” I watch horrified as the men get up off the ice, throwing off their gloves.
“Yeah, they’re fine. Oh, a fight!” Edward looks excited.
“I thought they were playing a game. Why do they just stop all of a sudden and start beating the crap out of each other?” I cringe when I see the bloody knuckles of one player land squarely into the jaw of the other. I look around our section, and there are plenty of fans recording the fight while others cheer them on. “This is ridiculous.”
“It’s part of the game. Those two have been after each other all night.”
“Like gladiators or some kind of deathmatch on ice?”
“Uh, not exactly. Not all hockey games have fights, but sometimes tensions boil over and conversations become heated.”
“Aren’t those essentially sharp knives on their feet? Why don’t they just use those?”
“Because as long as they are upright, the referees will let the fight continue. Once they fall down, then they generally stop it. Sometimes they step in before they throw any punches.”
“These are very odd rules. Did you play hockey?”
“Yes, until my junior year of high school. I broke my femur.”
“Holy crap, your femur? Isn’t that the strongest bone in the body?”
“Yeah, my recovery was long and difficult. I still play in the occasional pick-up game, but now I stick to non-contact sports, like running or golf.”
“I see. I’m not really into sports. My dad likes to watch baseball and football.”
“We’re from the State of Washington, so I think it’s the Mariners and the Seahawks?”
Edward nods. “What does your dad do?”
“Uh, he’s in law enforcement.”
“That sounds foreboding. Is he a cop?”
“He used to be. Now he’s more of a manager.”
“Like a Chief of Police?”
“He was Chief in our town for a while, but now he works here in D.C. for the FBI.”
“Wow, that’s quite a promotion.”
“You can call it something like that.”
“What about your mother? Does she like living in D.C.?”
“Uh, no. My parents never married. I was an ‘oops’ baby. She lives in Florida with my stepfather. What about your parents?”
“They both still live in Chicago. My dad is senior partner of a law firm he started with Senator Volturi, and my mother stays home.”
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?”
“Unfortunately, no. I’m an only child. What about you?”
“I wish I could say the same, but I do have a couple of stepsisters,” I share, hoping he doesn’t notice me cringe at the thought of them. They are two of the most spoiled people I know, and that’s being kind. I have lots of other adjectives for them, but I’ll keep them to myself for now.
“Did you grow up together?”
“No. I’m almost ten years older than the youngest, and I lived with my dad. They are my stepfather’s daughters with his first wife. If you know Aro Volturi, then you probably know her, Dori Volturi. She’s married to Senator Caius Volturi, Aro’s brother.”
“So, your stepfather is Phil Dwyer? The owner of the Florida Marlins?”
Oh, dear. He’s starting to piece together my dysfunctional family tree.
“Yes, the Volturis are my mother and Phil’s neighbors. Small world, right?”
“After living in D.C. for years, I’ve found it to be a very small world, Bella.”
I look up at the scoreboard and try to figure out how much time is left for this boxing on ice event. “Is it almost over?”
“Yes, about three minutes left in the third period.”
“Oh, well, that should go quickly, right?”
“Yes. The Capitals are up by one, and the Hawks should pull their goalie soon.”
“Why would they do that?”
“To give them an extra player on offense—which would allow them a better chance of scoring a goal to tie the game and send it into overtime.”
I watch Edward as his eyes follow the players on the ice, then suddenly, he throws his arms in the air as a horn goes off.
“What happened?” I look around us, and most people don’t appear happy—only Edward.
“The Hawks scored, and it looks like time will run out in regulation, so it ends in a tie.”
“So, there’s more?”
“Yes. Did you need to get home?”
“No, I can stay. I just have more work waiting for me when I get there. Angela will be happy I stayed for the entire game plus the extra—she says I’m a workaholic. It’s why she set me up with Tyler. He works with her boyfriend, Ben, over at the National Archives.”
“I bet that’s a fun job.”
“Yeah, a history buff’s dream. So, how do you like hosting your show?”
“It’s good. I’m still learning the ropes. I write a column for the Wall Street Journal every week, which keeps me up on all the latest. However, I’m a bit of a news junkie and CNN addict.”
“It’s always on?”
“Guilty. Or some type of sports game.”
“What are your subjects for this week’s show?”
“Taxes and government spending.”
“Oh, that reminds me, I still need to finish my taxes and submit them.”
“Are you a procrastinator, Bella?”
“No, but when you have to pay, you wait as long as possible to hand over the money.”
“True. So, tell me, what is Bella Swan, Washington Post reporter, working on right now?”
“That’s another very personal question. Will you be asking me to divulge my sources next?” I tease.
“I get it. You write the news. I just discuss current issues revealed by investigative reporters like yourself who do the hard work.”
“I’m only teasing. Right now, I’m working on an article about the sale of Native American lands to foreign mining conglomerates. You know, the whole ‘exploitation of natural resources’ thing. Probably boring for a politically savvy person like yourself.”
“Not at all. Sounds interesting. Let me know when you finish the article. I would love to read it.”
“Is this your way of asking for my number?”
“If it worked, then yes.” He holds out his phone for me to use.
I’m busy punching in my number when everyone around us goes wild with excitement.
I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket, knowing I have his number now too.
“What just happened?”
Edward looks sad. “The Caps just scored, and the game is over. Can I give you a ride home?” He holds out his hand for me to take, and I hand him back his phone, which he pockets. “Let’s not get separated.”
I nod, lacing our fingers together, following him and all of the other hockey fans up the steps and out of the building into the night.
“I’m parked in this direction.” Edward points toward a building nearby, holding my hand firmly in his.
He finally stops in front of a silver, Lexus LC. I’ve seen the commercials for this sexy beast and can’t wait to slide into the red and black leather seats.
“How long have you had this car?”
Edward opens the passenger side door and helps me inside. “It was a gift to myself for getting This Week.”
“It’s quite the splurge.”
He grins, closes the door, and walks smoothly around the car.
I watch as he gets into the driver’s side, pushes the button, and brings the engine roaring to life.
“Where am I headed, Ms. Swan?” He smiles.
“301M. Down by the Nationals Park.”
“I know where it is.”
“Where do you live?”
“Capitol View on 14th.”
“Ah, those are nice apartments.”
“What made you choose 301M?”
“It’s centrally located for work. Angela, the roommate I mentioned earlier, works at the Supreme Court building, which is about fifteen minutes away. Same with the Post for me.”
“What does Angela do there?”
“She works for one of the newly appointed justices, Kate Denali.”
“Wow, it is a small world. One of Justice Denali’s younger sisters, Tanya, is sometimes on my show.”
A flicker of jealousy licks my insides at the realization of Edward wooing female guests to be on his show, but I tamp down that line of thought right away before it gets me in trouble.
Traffic thins once we are away from the arena and Edward passes the National Mall. Our conversation is easy and the ride goes by too fast when I realize he’s already pulling into the main entrance of my building, letting the car idle, and waiting for my departure.
“Thanks for the ride, Edward, and the hockey jersey. It was an unfortunate way to meet, but I’m glad we got a chance to get to know each other this evening.”
“You’re welcome. Maybe we could see each other again?”
“I would like that. Give me a call or text. Maybe we can have coffee or something.” I lean over and give him a quick peck on the cheek, then grab my bags and open the passenger door.
“I look forward to it. Good night, Bella.”
“Good night, Edward.”
A/N: Huge thank yous to Hadley Hemingway and purpleC305 for pre-reading and Midnight Cougar for beta-ing. xx
Pictures of Edward’s silver, Lexus LC 500 are in the story gallery. It’s one sexy beast and retails for over $90,000, (yikes) which is quite the splurge for landing his new job as host of This Week.