DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.
Chapter 8: The Fireworks
Are you still coming over today?
I’m probably being juvenile, but I’m still a little pissed off about our run-in at Old Ebbitt’s. Of course, Emmett and I see people we know when we’re out; however, I never anticipated not only seeing Edward, but also for him to sit next to us with such an air of indifference toward me or the conversation. His attitude was off-putting, and I haven’t been able to shake off mine ever since.
Is that a good idea?
Why wouldn’t it be?
I thought you might have made other plans.
I’m giving him an out, wondering if he will take it and move on to the next willing female.
I made plans with you, Bella. Do you have other plans?
Then come over.
I need to stop being childish. I know we need to talk, which means more than a few texts here and there that we have been volleying between us ever since the restaurant run-in.
Do you still want me to cook?
Of course, but I can order something if you would rather not.
I will. I need to stop by the store on my way.
Okay, see you soon.
I should be more excited about seeing him, but I’m dreading how this day will go. With a heavy sigh, I throw a few things in my bag and plan a simple grocery list for preparing a Fourth of July meal for the two of us. I like to figure out the details of what I will prepare in the store, but plan to use some combination of the manly mainstays of beef, potatoes, and corn.
It’s difficult not to get carried away when I’m shopping at my favorite local market, but I try to stay focused and put together a cohesive meal. My mouth waters as I spy all of the freshly made choices, which can go with the beef filets the butcher just packaged for me. I decide to keep it simple and choose some red potatoes and fresh rosemary for roasting. I also plan to make a corn salad, with grilled corn, hazelnuts, pecorino, and fresh mint.
I can’t remember if Edward has a grill on his balcony, but if he doesn’t, I can always sear the steaks in a pan on his cooktop and finish them in the oven. With my plan firmly in place, I also grab some patriotic cupcakes and craft beer, as I know Edward enjoys many of the local brews, from when I peeked in his refrigerator last time I was there.
Selecting a cashier, I look over the latest food and gossip magazines trying to lure me into another impulse purchase, which I have to admit works on me most of the time. While I wait for my turn, one magazine in particular stops me dead in my tracks and I start fumbling for my phone. I locate his name, pressing the button and wait for the connection.
“Hey, Bella. What’s up?”
“Jacob, I found Seth’s phone.”
“Yes.” I lower my voice and look around to any possible eavesdroppers. “I’m standing in the checkout line, staring at one of those gossip magazines. Their latest issue is titled, ‘My wild orgy with Seth Clearwater.'”
“Oh, shit. How did that get out without us knowing?”
I start flipping through the pages for the article, which is complete with plenty of pixelated photos. “Jacob, I’m looking at the pictures and this is bad. It’s Seth and he’s naked with both men and women.”
“Bella, I’ve got to go.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to you later.”
I put the gossip rag back on the wire stand, not needing to read the story to know its impact. I refuse to financially support whoever chose to sell those photos or the people who bought them. I’m surprised they didn’t give the Clearwaters a chance to squash this before they made it to press, but maybe they did and Harry refused to give into threats of blackmail or extortion. Either way, Jacob’s Fourth of July just got busier.
After paying for our groceries, I head to Edward’s apartment. I left the key from my last visit with him, as I thought it was a little too soon to be having keys to each other’s places. I never believed it was Edward’s intention to give me one, just to allow access when he wasn’t back from work yet. So, while I’m free to take the elevator, I wait after knocking on the door of his apartment.
When Edward opens the door, I see he’s on the phone but waves me inside with a brief smile. I notice the Nationals’ game is on, which makes me hope Emmett is having fun with some of his Marine Corps buddies. I head to the kitchen with the groceries and start organizing my prep plan for our meal, while he finishes his call.
“Hey, sorry about that. It was my mother. She was talkative today.”
“Hi, I didn’t mean to interrupt your conversation.”
“You didn’t. I’m glad you’re here.” He leans to kiss my lips, but I turn my head and his lips land on my cheek.
I wish I could say the same thing, but I’m feeling off and maybe coming here was a mistake.
“Bella, what’s wrong? I can tell something isn’t right here, but I have no clue what. There’s something different in your texts too. If you can’t talk to me, this isn’t going to work.”
“Really? You have no idea?”
“Is this about seeing you and your boss at Ebbitt’s? It’s unrealistic to think we wouldn’t see each other out eventually. I thought you would be happy. I didn’t give anything away, despite Alice’s nagging that she could set us up after you left. “
“Alice is your cousin?”
“I didn’t know you knew her, but yes, our mothers are sisters.”
“And Tanya Denali.”
“She’s been a guest on my show. I thought I told you that. We see each other around town and know a lot of the same people and attend the same functions.”
When I don’t reply he continues.
“Bella, she’s married.” Edward throws his hands up in frustration.
“Not very happily, I would guess with the way she behaves.”
“Are you having second thoughts about keeping this just between us?”
I think back to my conversation with Shelly and know I have no choice but to keep this relationship a secret. So, I avoid his question and ask my own.
“How many other women are you dating?”
“Other women? I didn’t take you for being the jealous type.”
“Yes, other women. We aren’t exclusive, and I think I have a right to know before I get anymore invested in whatever this is.”
“You’re ready to bail?”
“I don’t want to get hurt.”
“Bella, you knew this wasn’t going to be easy, and you don’t see me complaining with how cozy you were with your boss when we arrived.”
“With Emmett? Please, that’s ridiculous.”
“Is it? How would I know you weren’t out on a dinner date with another man?”
“Because I introduced him to you.”
“A lot of people get involved with co-workers or their bosses all the time. Why would you be any different?”
“Wow, you don’t trust me.”
“Edward, this thing between us is so new; I don’t know what to think. You know I’m already skeptical of everyone in this town. Maybe we need to clarify a few things, if we plan to continue.”
“Am I the only one you’re seeing? Ugh! Or dating. Or whatever we’re calling this. I don’t want you to answer this based on some technicality in my question and I find out later there are other women, when I’m thinking I’m the only one.”
“Yes. You are. I’m not seeing or dating anyone else. Just you.”
My shoulders sag in relief at getting a straight answer out of him.
“And what about you?” he presses.
“What about me?”
“Am I the only one?”
“Yes. Of course you are.”
“Then from this point forward, we are in an exclusive relationship. Agreed? No more second-guessing each other. We both have work commitments, which will require socializing with others. If something upsets either of us, we need to talk about it.”
I let out a sigh, happy we have some transparency. “Fine. Agreed.”
“Now, how about a better greeting than that sad cheek kiss I was allowed?”
He lifts me to the kitchen countertop and stands between my legs, sliding his hands over my thighs and around to my ass, pulling me closer to the edge. Edward presses our bodies together as his lips find mine. A kiss, which starts out gently, heats up quickly when Edward’s tongue probes my lips seeking entry. I part my lips and his tongue tangles with mine until I’m breathless and needing to break away.
“Much better.” He looks past my shoulder at the bags and ingredients all over the counter. “You got cupcakes?”
I chuckle. “I did.”
“And beer? I love D.C. Brau. My day is getting better and better.”
“Do you have a grill?”
“Yes, out on the balcony.” He gives me a sneaky grin. “Apparently, you were so distracted during our last meal out there that you missed it.”
“I was overwhelmed by squid ink.”
“Did you buy steaks? I can probably do those without turning them to char.”
“And I need the corn grilled for a salad.”
“Sounds fancy. Let’s do that first. I’ll go start up the grill.”
I clean the two ears of corn and leave them on a plate for Edward to grill, then start cutting up potatoes. When I’m finished, I toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. After spreading them out on a pan, I slide the tray in the oven for roasting.
“What do you want me to do with the corn? You didn’t leave it in the husks.”
“Nope. It’s naked.”
Edward gets a big grin on his face. “I like the sound of that.”
“Just put it straight on the grill. The corn will end up charred and browned with nutty bits that taste delicious.”
“Did you just say ‘nutty bits’?”
“Stop. It should take about ten minutes.”
“Okay. I’ll go put them on and set a timer.”
I find a couple of glasses and pour each of us a beer when he returns.
“So, what were you doing this morning besides stewing over my love life?”
I stop mid-pour and notice his cheeky expression.
“Sorry, our love life.”
We clink glasses, and I take a sip. “Not much. I did talk with Jacob while I was at the store waiting to check out.”
“Jacob? The Press Secretary Jacob?”
“Yeah, you probably remember Alice and me talking about Seth losing his phone.”
“Well, I found its contents on the front page of some gossip rag. Harry and Sue are going to be livid.”
“I know you think Seth lost his phone, but maybe it was a set up and someone stole it with the intent to make the Clearwaters look bad.”
“I doubt it. No conspiracy theories needed here. Seth is gaining quite a reputation. I’m pretty sure he can screw up all on his own now. Hopefully, Jacob will get a handle on it.”
“So, this Jacob. Are the two of you close?”
“We were growing up, then I left for college. I would see him during the holidays when I went back home, but there was never anything between us. He’s like a little brother. His wife isn’t my biggest fan, but I doubt she’s really happy with anyone these days.”
“Yes, I don’t think she wants to live in the White House or deal with the security detail, which is now required.”
“Losing your privacy is tough.”
“That’s funny, because they’re just trying to protect her and her privacy.”
Edward backpedals at taking Leah’s side. “I’m just saying that I’m sure moving here is a big change for her.”
“I suppose it is.”
I don’t add that it’s no excuse for cheating on your husband, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking it.
“I’m going to go turn your naked corn.” He wiggles his eyebrows, as I chop up some hazelnuts for toasting.
I check on the potatoes, then salt and pepper the steaks for Edward to cook next, when he returns with perfectly charred corn on the cob.
He winks. “Naked corn is now one of my specialties. Give me those steaks.”
I’m much happier with our talk out of the way and our lighter, playful mood front and center.
Edward tries to sneak a cupcake while I’m putting together the salad, but I catch him red-handed.
“Just one, Bella. They’re so tempting.” He takes a bite out of the one in his hand. “Like you.”
I shake my head. “You’re silly.”
“Oh, am I?” He holds the cupcake to my mouth. “Here take a bite then you can be guilty like me.”
“Partners in crime?” I lean forward and take a bite of the delicious red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing.
“Cupcake swipers. My mom used to get after me for swiping cookies from the cookie jar, but I don’t think she was really mad.”
“Mmmm, that is good. Why not?”
“Because she always made sure it was full of her home-baked cookies. You want another beer?” He pops the rest of the cupcake in his mouth and opens the fridge.
“Sure. You seem really close with your mom.”
“Yeah. Unfortunately, she’s showing early signs of dementia and has more good days than bad.”
“Oh, Edward. I’m sorry to hear that she’s not well.”
“She has a housekeeper and a nurse who checks on her daily.”
“What about your dad? Are they divorced?”
“No, but they should be. He’s too busy living the life of senior partner in his law firm. He’s always been married to his job, and Mom knew she came in second. However, it’s the disrespect for her that upsets me. He hasn’t ever been faithful, and they live separate lives and have for years. He still takes care of her financially, but he’s checked out on their marriage in every other way. There’s always someone new on his arm, who is usually younger than me these days.”
“Oh, Edward. I’m sorry that must be really tough to witness.”
He shrugs. “My whole life he was grooming me to be like him, and after I graduated from law school he expected me to join his firm in Chicago. Let’s just say, he wasn’t happy I decided to move to Washington, D.C. taking a job on Capitol Hill. I don’t care what he thinks; I like living here where I’m Edward Masen, not ‘Junior.’ And for the record, I want you to know in no way, shape, or form do I ever want to be like him.”
I can tell this conversation about his parents is starting to upset him, since he chugs down half of his beer. “I better go check on the steaks.”
He doesn’t return right away, but stands and looks out over D.C. deep in thought.
I’m adding a few finishing touches to our meal, when Edward returns with our perfectly cooked steaks.
“You like yours rare?” He teases, and I know he’s managed to shake off whatever dark cloud was threatening to take over his mood.
“I would prefer medium, but I’m flexible.”
“Me too, but that’s good to know. Flexibility is important.” He leaves a pinch on my ass, which causes me to let out a squeak, and a kiss on my neck before going back to his beer. “They need to rest for about ten minutes. You want me to set the table outside?”
“That would be great.”
I fill our plates and we sit out on his balcony to enjoy our meal, as the sun starts to set. Everything is delicious with Edward praising my cooking skills while we enjoy each other’s company with tremendously more ease than when I arrived.
Edward is flirty, playful, and charming. All the reasons I was so smitten with him when we first met.
“I’m going to go get the rest of the cupcakes,” he eagerly volunteers.
I watch as he shuts off all of the lights in his apartment, leaving only the candle on our table for light.
Edward returns with the cupcakes on a plate and sets it between us, grabbing a blue one this time. “I guess this is blue velvet? The package just said ‘velvet’ cupcakes.”
“Yes, just like the more popular red velvet ones, but only blue. They taste the same. Very patriotic with the stars on top of the blue one.”
“They’re good, but I’m more partial to strawberry shortcake myself.” He winks and rapidly finishes the one in his hand.
“Oh, you are, are you?” I take a bite of my own, savoring the sweetness of the icing, but loving my favorite part, the cake.
“I ate the whole thing. Did you see I wore your tie on Sunday?” He reaches for a red one this time.
“I did. You looked very handsome, like always.”
The sounds of booming get our attention. During our meal, evening turned to night and the fireworks display over the National Mall is underway. We watch what we can see from Edward’s balcony, but mostly I enjoy his warmth as he holds me close, wrapping his arms around me, while we finish the last of our cupcakes.
My eyes close when he starts leaving kisses along my neck. “Mmmm.”
“You taste so good.”
“It’s probably the cupcakes.”
“Maybe the combination of you with them. You know, you can’t see the fireworks with your eyes closed.” He chuckles, while his hands roam the curves of my hips, moving to my waist where his fingers slip over the fabric of my shirt, moving to the front buttons.
“I can hear them,” I promise, as my head falls back to rest against his shoulder.
His fingers start working the buttons of my shirt, revealing my spaghetti-strapped, white tank underneath. A fingertip circles my nipple, hardening both in the process. He spins me slowly around to face him and his fingers lower the material, exposing my breasts to the cool night.
“Do you want to stay over? You don’t have to go to work in the morning, right?”
His hands squeeze my breasts as he lowers his mouth to one while his thumb continues to play with the other.
I gasp and reach behind me to hold onto the railing. “I don’t have work tomorrow, but I didn’t bring anything with me.”
Edward moans and moves his mouth to my other breast while one arm supports my arching back and the other moves to the button of my shorts, teasing the exposed skin he finds there along the waistband.
His mouth pulls off my breast. “I’m sure I can find you something to sleep in and a toothbrush to use, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Is that what I’m worried about? For the life of me, I can’t think of one single worry at the moment.
While still sucking and nibbling on my nipple, he pops the button open of my shorts, lowering the zipper. He slides his fingers inside, caressing me over the slightly damp fabric of my underwear.
My head falls backward over the railing when he pushes my underwear to the side, running his fingers through my arousal.
“You’re so wet, Bella. Spread your legs for me.”
I readjust my position and gasp when he slides a finger inside then a second.
“Oh, God.” I pant at his insistent touch.
His fingers move in and out of my body with ease, then he circles my clit, which forces my hips forward, seeking more of everything.
“Do you want to go inside?”
Being outside on his balcony is the least of my concerns. “I don’t want you to stop. More. I need more, Edward.”
He removes his hand from my shorts, and I groan at the loss of contact. He chuckles and kneels in front of me while roughly tugging my shorts and underwear down my legs until I can step out of them.
Before I can brace myself against the railing again, Edward’s mouth is on my clit as he guides one of my legs over his shoulder, opening me up wider for him.
“Oh, Edward.” I moan as I feel his tongue working its magic .
One of my hands grabs his hair, holding him to me, while his mouth stays on my clit and two fingers push inside of me again, moving slowly at first.
“Come on, Bella. Let go,” he says between licks while he fucks me with his fingers.
The sensations are overwhelming, and I grip the rail tightly, knowing my release isn’t far away.
Edward’s fingers pick up the pace while his other hand reaches up to squeeze my breasts and tweak my nipples.
His mouth never leaves my clit, and I know the combination of everything is more than I can take. “Edward. Oh, I can’t. I’m—” When my orgasm bursts through me like the fireworks exploding in the background, I’m lost in waves and waves of pure bliss.
I tilt my head up; watching through half-lidded eyes as Edward stands and removes a condom from his pocket. After he unbuttons and lowers his shorts, I watch him roll the condom on his impressive length.
“Turn around and hold on.”
I follow his directions and bend over, pushing my ass in his direction.
I look out over the city and notice the light display still going when I feel him guide the head of his cock up and down my slit then push completely inside of me in one thrust.
I gasp at the full feeling. It’s been a while for me, and I need a moment to adjust to his size.
“Oh, Bella.” He grips my hips, keeping us nestled together, then starts pushing and pulling my body to his in a slow, easy pace.
I hold on securely to the railing as he nudges me forward with every thrust, causing my exposed breasts to bounce with each impact.
Edward speeds up his pace. “Can you come again? Because I don’t think I can wait any longer.”
I shake my head. “Not usually.”
One hand moves from my hip and around to my breast, squeezing it before he reaches up and fists a handful of my hair.
The twisting tug of my hair causes my back to arch, pushing my hips backward on his cock.
“Come on, Bella. Fuck me.”
I try to move my hips without much success, but bend my arms, which does the trick.
“That’s it,” he encourages, tugging on my hair, which delivers a bit of pain and surprisingly increases my own arousal.
“Oh, God. Edward.” I gasp at the new feelings, but wonder if a second orgasm isn’t out of the realm of possibility for me this time.
Not happy with my pace, Edward releases my hair, grabbing my hips, and takes over again where all I can do is grasp onto the railing. It only takes a few more strong thrusts until he shoves his cock deep inside me and lets out a growl of pleasure at finding his own release.
“Fuck. Bella.” He pants, catching his breath. After several quiet moments, he pulls his cock from my body, removing the condom and tossing it in a trashcan next to the grill. “I think we missed the rest of the fireworks.”
I readjust my tank to cover my breasts and locate my shorts and underwear, sliding them back up my body, while Edward refastens his shorts.
“I don’t think we missed a thing. If anything, the fireworks here seem to be just getting started.” I grin.
Edward grabs my hand. “You’re staying over.”
“You’re kind of pushy.”
“I’ll show you pushy.”
He leans over and blows out the candle on the table then opens the door, leading me inside toward his bedroom. “And if you want fireworks, I’ll show you how many more shots are left in my Roman candle before this night is through.”
My giggle turns to a moan as I watch from behind as Edward pulls off his shirt and loses his shorts in record time.
He spins around, and it’s hard to miss his cock jutting out at attention, as he walks toward me.
My mouth waters at the sight, and I consider all the possibilities for the rest of this night, thinking that dropping to my knees may be my next best option.
“Now for my favorite, new specialty.” He pushes off my shirt and yanks my tank over my head. Leaving my upper body exposed, he unbuttons my shorts, pushing them with my underwear to the floor.
Edward lifts me up, holding our bodies tightly together, as my legs naturally wrap around his waist and I lace my fingers behind his neck.
My breath catches when his cock nestles between my legs, sliding through the wetness, which is starting to gather once again. A tilt of my hips causes the head of his cock to pause at my opening. “And what would that be?”
I can’t resist the temptation of having him inside me again. Tightening my legs while pushing him from behind with my feet, I shove my hips forward until they are flush against his.
Wiping the grin from his face, we moan at the new feeling of our connection. “Shit. Condom?”
I shake my head, as Edward pushes his door closed where he pins me against it. His hips automatically start thrusting as he drives into my body over and over. “My favorite new specialty would be naked Bella.”
If it means I’ll get a naked Edward, then I like the sound of that.
A/N: Huge thank yous to LizziePaige, Honeymoon Edward, purpleC305, and Midnight Cougar for their help with this story. xx
A small bump in the road last chapter, but Edward and Bella were able to find some resolution at the beginning of this one. Communication will be key moving forward and it was good for them to get clarification where it was needed. They have given into their undeniable physical attraction for one another, taking their relationship to a new level as they become more emotionally invested.