Chapter 11 - The Hickey Emergency
I looked at myself in the mirror and uttered the words out loud.
A hickey. I had an honest-to-God hickey on my neck. Well, actually, I had a few hickeys, but the one I was concerned about was right smack dab on the side of my neck, just below my ear. It was purple, huge and ugly. And it was in plain view, for all to see.
Were I in high school, this would have been a very proud moment. I was a grown woman, however. One who lived in sunny Southern California and therefore did not own a single turtleneck. I wasn't even a scarf person.
I quickly hit Alice's number on my speed-dial.
"Hello?" Her voice was rough with the morning and I looked at the clock sitting on my bathroom counter. Ouch. It was only five-thirty.
"I'm sorry to wake you, Alice," I said. "I have a hickey emergency."
There was a pause on the other end before she said, "Did you just say what I think you said?"
"Yes. I have a hickey. I need to know how best to get rid of it."
I heard muffled voices on the other end and felt horrible knowing that not only had I woken Alice up, but Jasper as well.
"I'm sorry Alice. I know it's super-early. I panicked and didn't look at the clock."
"S'okay," she said, yawning. "Although I find it amusing that you naturally assume I would know the best way to deal with your hickey."
I heard laughter in the background and the unmistakable voice of Jasper saying, "She has a hickey?"
I rolled my eyes. "Please kick your boyfriend in the shin for me."
After the laughter on the other side of the phone died down, I was basically told it was probably too late, but that I should ice it, then massage it to break up the collected blood. That should be followed by more ice and then a hot shower. And, in the end, lots of concealer.
I lay down on the bed after hanging up and getting ice from my kitchen. Edward was gone. He’d left about half an hour before my conversation with Alice. He had to rush home and then catch an early flight out to Denver. He would be gone until Friday, visiting customers in various Southwestern states.
"Oh, I see how it is," I had teased him at about four in the morning, when he'd woken me up with kisses on the back of my shoulder so he could say goodbye. "You're just a love 'em and leave 'em type. I knew it."
Edward chuckled as he pulled me over onto my back. He kissed me deeply, his tongue running silkily through my mouth, making me sigh.
"Damn," he said, breaking our kiss. "Even with morning breath, you manage to give one hell of a kiss."
I slapped at his chest, playfully. "Ah, you're so sweet. Have I told you lately that you annoy the hell out of me?"
He chuckled and put his hand at my face, his fingers drifting over my cheekbone. The way he looked down at me, his green eyes sparkling yet soft, made me feel incredibly warm.
"You are so beautiful, Bella."
One of my hands flew to my face and I grimaced. "Oh, yeah. I'm sure I look just wonderful right now."
He pulled my hand away and held it in his. "Bella," was all he said as he turned my palm to his face and kissed the inside of my wrist. He kept his eyes on mine and I let out another little sigh as he smiled against my skin.
"You like me," he said, his lips moving against my skin. "Admit it."
"I will admit that you have a few rather endearing qualities, yes."
He kissed up my arm until his lips were buried in the crook inside my elbow. I felt his tongue sneak out, bringing goosebumps to that side of my body.
"I wish you didn't have to go," I admitted.
"We still have an hour." He nibbled at my shoulder and I put my hands in his hair, hugging him to me.
"Hmm?" My eyes were closed as I reveled in the feeling of his lips and tongue on my skin. His kisses moved up my neck before he whispered into my ear.
"Would you go out with me Friday night?"
I stilled for a split second, before laughing softly. "Well, sure."
He pulled his face away and looked down at mine, smiling.
"You should know, though, that I do not have sex on the first date." I smiled, teasingly, at him.
He shrugged. "I've been known to change a girl's mind before."
His hand moved to my breast and he looked down, watching himself squeeze it before taking the nipple between his fingers. He pushed his hips into my thigh and I felt him, rock hard against me.
"Again?" I asked with a grin. We'd spent the night barely sleeping, having sex three times once we'd arrived at my home, and talking a lot in between. I was exhausted, yet completely, undeniably aroused.
He dropped his head so his mouth could join his hand at my breast.
"Hey, just remember why you wanted a younger man in the first place."
My giggle turned into a moan as he took my nipple between his teeth. One of my hands moved down his back, which was gloriously smooth. He really was the most beautiful man I'd ever seen and his skin was the softest I'd ever felt on a man. I was a sucker for smooth skin and his begged me to touch him everywhere. I willingly obliged.
He trailed his hand across my tummy and teased across my hip before his tickling touch drifted across my thigh, making my skin twitch beneath it. As he drew one long, sexy finger up my slit, barely pressing into my folds, he looked up from my breast to meet my eyes.
"Parts of you are not complaining about doing this again," he said as he grinned at me and I knew he could feel how wet I was for him, yet again.
I pulled his face up to mine. "No part of me is complaining, Edward."
I kissed him long and deep, the touch of his fingers making me moan incessantly into his mouth. My hands roamed his body, luxuriating in the beautiful skin stretched over the hard lines of his torso. I trailed my fingers over his hip; not too lightly, but light enough to tease, stopping short of his hardened penis. Though I wanted to touch him there, I wanted more so to tease him.
He pulled his face away, throwing his head back. "Fuck, I love how you touch me, Bella."
He put a finger inside of me as he spoke, causing my hips to jerk toward him and my eyes to close. I gasped involuntarily.
"Right back at ya, Teddy."
I leaned up to take one of his nipples in my mouth and smiled as I felt him tense and heard his sharp intake of breath.
His palm rubbed against my clit as he put another finger inside of me, thrusting in and out slowly. I dropped my head back to the pillow and moved my hands back up to his face, trailing them along his chest as I did so, detouring slightly to trace each nipple. Taking his face in my hands I made sure he was looking me in the eye.
"Edward," I whispered. "Your hands are magical."
He grinned at me and bent to bite my neck. I moaned, then pulled on his hair slightly, letting him know by the movement that I needed him to look at me. He pulled back and did so.
"Do something for me?" I asked.
"Anything. Tell me what you want, baby." He bent and kissed my nose.
"Curl your fingers."
He looked at me with a soft smile, his fingers still moving slowly inside of me. "What?"
"Curl them," I said. "Like this." I showed him by raising my hand between us and curling my index finger, as if beckoning him to me.
He raised his eyebrows a little as the fingers inside of me mimicked my movements, hitting my G spot and sending my hips thrusting toward him.
I gasped and moaned his name. "So good, Edward."
"Like that, baby?" he asked. His voice was deep and silky and so sexy it made my hair curl. "You like that?"
I squirmed beneath him and there could be no doubt of my answer. "Fuck. Yes. So good."
He attacked my neck with his lips, nipping and kissing my heated flesh until I thought my heart might pound completely through my chest. One of my hands tore at his hair while the other gripped his back, pulling him to me. My hips lifted with every thrust of his fingers, grinding myself into the palm of his hand.
"I wanna see you come for me, Bella. You're so beautiful when you come."
I practically whimpered into his shoulder at his words. I bit down on his flesh before my mouth fell open and I gasped.
"That's it, Bella. Talk to me, baby." His fingers moved faster and even more deeply inside of me. My hand flew behind me and I gripped the wrought iron rungs of my headboard as I almost jumped off the bed toward him.
"Edward! Yes! I'm almost ... you're gonna ... you're gonna make me–" but before I could get the words out, I was moaning wildly, my body tensing and exploding and I was cursing and screaming his name once again.
His hand slowed as I relaxed, coming down from my climax. He chuckled softly and kissed my cheek, then my ear.
"God, I fucking love that," he whispered darkly.
I could say nothing, but only whimpered into the side of his head as his kisses tickled my neck and shoulder while I caught my breath. Before long, I reached for him, my hands moving down his torso. I no longer wanted to tease; I wanted him. The hardness that I felt as my hand gripped him tightly made me smile and I watched as he threw his head back and away from me, his eyes shut tight at the feel of my touch.
With a hand on his chest, I nudged him until he lay on his back and I covered his chest with wet kisses. I knew that his nipples were sensitive and so I lavished attention on them, catching first one and then the other lightly between my teeth as his hands ran through my hair. All the while, I never let go of my tight grip on his shaft and I stroked him slowly. His vocal appreciation of my movements spurred me on and I slid my body down his until I rested between his legs. I ran my tongue along his inner thigh and when I nibbled at the tender flesh at the top of it, his leg jerked, making me giggle.
His hand returned to my hair. "Are you laughing at me, Isabella?" he asked.
I looked up into his face and shook my head, returning the smile I saw there. "I'm loving this, Edward."
I dipped my head down, keeping my eyes locked on his, and licked his scrotum before taking much of it in my mouth and surrounding it with my tongue. He closed his eyes, his head falling back.
"Fuck, Bella," he said and I smiled again against his flesh.
I ran my tongue up his length and caught the pool of liquid sitting at the head of his cock on my tongue. He looked down at me again as I placed a soft, chaste kiss there before taking the head into my mouth and rolling my tongue around it.
"My God, Bella. Your mouth..."
I watched his eyes as I moved slowly down his length, taking him deeply in my mouth until I felt him at the back of my throat. I held his scrotum in my hand and pulled lightly as my mouth worked to bring him pleasure. He watched me for several moments, his eyes growing darker and unfocused until he closed them again. His hand gripped the back of my head as his hips thrust upward, pushing himself deeper into my throat.
Before much longer, he gripped my shoulders, pulling me up and off of him and flipping me onto my back. The swiftness of his movements made me giggle again.
"My," I said. "We're a tad impatient."
"I'm not gonna see you for three days. I just need to be inside you one more time before I have to leave."
He moved between my legs and, pressing his hardness against me, slipped easily inside. My wetness surrounded him and I threw my legs around his hips, pulling him deeply into me.
"Bella, baby, you feel so fucking good."
His words brought me a thrill and I closed my eyes and arched up into him. As he moved luxuriously inside of me, I wondered not for the first time just how and why he felt so perfectly wonderful to me. It was as if he were made specifically just to fit inside of me. I felt as if I were living out a friggin' Harlequin Romance and it made me smile.
"Hey," he whispered, his hand at my face. I opened my eyes and his were gazing down at me, a look of wonder in their expression.
"Bella," he kissed my lips softly. "You're just so ... you feel so..."
I smiled at his lack of words and reached for his face, my thumb trailing over his lips.
"I know," I whispered before I kissed his lips. "For me, too."
He made love to me slowly, taking his time and seeming to draw out the experience. His hands moved over my body and his eyes followed them. He looked at me as if he were looking at a beautiful painting, his eyes reflecting feelings deeper than I would have imagined possible. I had never in my life felt so admired.
When I clutched at his back in orgasm, he buried his face in my neck and murmured words of affection and adoration against my skin. Shortly thereafter, he began to move faster, harder inside of me, his breaths coming in rapid, quasi-growls. He brought my arms up over my head and held my hands there, my fingers entwined with his. As I felt him begin to come, he growled my name, his lips against my throat, and gripped my hands tightly. His movements spurred me on and into yet another climax myself.
When he removed his hands from mine, I wrapped my arms around him. I didn't want to let him go and from the feeling of his lips peppering my skin it seemed he didn't want to leave. His hand held my hip, holding me to him as we came down and relaxed together.
I rolled over and looked at the clock, my body again keyed up at the memory of our night spent together. Six o'clock. I had to get up and into the shower if I was going to get to work on time. Begrudgingly, I rose and walked toward the bathroom, dropping the now-melted ice, in its baggie, into the sink.
I turned to the mirror and looked at my body again, in more detail this time. Apart from the hickeys and the rather prominent bags under my eyes, which made me grateful I wouldn't be seeing Edward again that day, I noticed a purple and gray shadow on my upper arm. I turned to get a better view in the mirror. It was a bruise. Actually, there were three small bruises on my upper arm, vaguely shaped like the tips of a man's fingers.
Try as I might to cover it up, the hickey was still fairly obvious on the side of my neck. I just didn't have any clothes that would camouflage it and make-up could only do so much. I pulled my hair forward and resolved to stay locked inside my office except in the case of absolute emergency.
At shortly after ten, however, I already found myself having to leave my office. I got a call from reception, letting me know that I had a delivery. Lauren, the receptionist, sounded like she had been giggling. She was constantly socializing up there and seemed to be a bit of a tart. Though I barely knew her, I didn't much care for her.
When I arrived at her desk, I was greeted by an extremely large bouquet of red Gerber Daisies. I gasped when Lauren indicated they were for me.
"Somebody has an admirer," she said, winking at me. I noticed that she glanced down to The Hickey and I grimaced internally, knowing that the news of said hickey would be spread throughout the building in spite of my efforts.
"Um ... thanks," I said, as I picked up the vase and started walking back to my office. I had not received a flower delivery at work in years and certainly not since I'd begun working at Con-Vert. Once I was back at my desk, I opened the small card that came with my flowers, smiling at them as if they could tell by my doing so how lovely I found them to be.
My smile got bigger as I read the card.
I'm sorry I acted like a caveman, but I promise never to drag you anywhere by the hair.
P.S. I'm also sorry about the hickey. LOL
It seemed to take a decade for Friday to arrive. Even though we talked on the phone each evening, I missed Edward's jaw porn and the way his expressive face made me laugh. Well, and I also missed the way his body made mine feel; his lips, his tongue, his beautiful fingers—him. By the time Thursday rolled around, I was panicked in the face of my loneliness. It was far too soon in our relationship for me to be pining after him so, not to mention the fact that his job duties were such that he was going to be spending a lot of time on the road. I knew I'd better get used to it if we were going to pursue ... whatever it was we were pursuing between us.
Having to spend much of Friday afternoon in Jack Berber's office working on noncompliance issues did not help my disposition in the slightest. While it was usually hard to keep his eyes on mine, he was generally obsessed with my cleavage. On this day, he seemed quite interested in the only slightly faded hickey that still graced my neck. I rolled my eyes so often during our meeting that I started to get a headache.
At four-thirty I decided I'd had enough and lit out of the office early. Edward was due to pick me up at eight, so I went to the spa for a pedicure before going home to get ready.
Earlier in the week, I had gone to the mall after work and purchased a new dress for the occasion. It was a midnight blue wrap dress that highlighted my cleavage in a way I knew Edward would greatly appreciate. Beneath the dress, my garment was also new: a flimsy, blue, silk and lace teddy with built-in demi cup bra. Edward had confessed that week to a love for sexy lingerie so I'd made Agent Provocateur a stop on my shopping trip and dropped a wad of cash. He would be entertained for many weeks to come.
By the time he knocked on my door right at eight, I was practically dancing out of my platforms from sheer excitement. I told myself to calm the fuck down before I opened the door and I took a moment to compose myself.
The look on his face when he saw me, though, made my heart leap from my chest all over again.
Edward swept through the door and me up into his arms. His lips fell on mine without a word.
"Fuck, I missed you," he said, once he’d finally broken our kiss. His fingers caressed my hips as he held me to him. His eyes drifted down over my body, bringing heat under my skin. "You look good enough to eat, Bella."
I smirked. "I'll remind you of that, later," I said, pulling his face down to mine for another kiss.
We finally let each other go and I walked back to the bathroom to fix my lipstick.
"Nice hickey, by the way," he called after me, with a chuckle.
"Uh ... yeah. I forgot I was mad at you about that."
He was still chuckling as I made my way back down the hall.
"I'll make it up to you, I promise," he said.
I grabbed my purse from the dining table, on top of which sat the tremendous bouquet of daisies he had sent to me. "Yes, well, something tells me the way you'll be making it up to me will most likely leave me with more hickeys."
I paused, smiling at him where he stood. The look on his face was so lovely as he gazed at me—almost shy in his rather obvious adoration. He really did look like he’d missed me and that he wanted to take in as much of me as he could now that he was here. I could feel a blush rising on my face. Again. The man made me blush as if I were a teenager.
"You ready?" I asked.
"Oh, I'm ready," he said, returning my smile. "But I'll settle for dinner first."
We went to a lovely, dimly lit Italian restaurant and wine bar that I had been dying to try. It had only been open for a month and one of the owners seated us herself. Her husband was in the kitchen, cooking. Edward asked that she surprise us with a wine selection. Before we could even open our menus, she had brought us a bottle of Italian Barbera and a plate of fried calamari, both of which made my taste buds sing.
"So tell me about your trip," I said in between nibbles. "How did it go?"
Edward nodded as he smiled. "Good. I just about charmed the pants off the folks at Big EZ."
I raised an eyebrow. "I'll bet. Which folks, exactly?"
He was looking intently at his calamari. "Their executive team. Bob Carroll, Adam Lee ... Belinda Garson."
I took a drink of my wine. "Who's Belinda Garson?"
"She's their Director of Purchasing. I'm not surprised you don't know the name. She's pretty new, I gathered. Anyway, their sales are going to increase tenfold. Their old distributor for HP product merged with another company and they haven't been happy since." He pulled out the cocky grin. "I made them very happy."
I cleared my throat. I knew he was trying to make me jealous and even though it was working — a little — I wasn't going to admit to that so I changed the subject.
"No problems traveling? I just love flying in post-9/11 America."
He shrugged and went back to his calamari. "Not really. The flight from Chicago was delayed, as usual, so I only got in like two hours before I had to pick you up."
I paused, my wine glass halfway to my mouth. "Chicago? I thought you were touring the Southwest."
"I was. I decided to combine it with a quick trip back home to tie up some loose ends. I still have some things to get moved out here—stuff like that."
"Hmm ... well, you must be tired then."
He shrugged again. "Not too bad."
"Well, if you feel the need to call it an early night, I'll understand." I gave him a teasing look.
He leaned over the table, toward me, and winked. "Younger man, remember?"
I held my wine glass in my hand, playing my fingers over the stem. "Even more reason to make it an early night. Growing boys need their sleep, you know." I crossed my legs, my foot lightly playing along the leg of his pants, under the table.
He raised an eyebrow at me. "Bella, honey, the only part of me that is growing right now needs anything but sleep."
We ended up feasting on a variety of different dishes, which the chef sent to us to "sample". These samples consisted of more food than I generally ate over the course of a week, but they were each so delicious and savory that I didn't mind a bit. Besides, if what I had planned for Edward came to fruition, I would most certainly work off the extra calories over the weekend. We talked casually as we ate, listening to the sounds of a piano floating in from the adjoining bar.
"I thought you didn't eat meat," he said as I took a fork full of Chicken Cacciatora from a plate that sat in front of him.
"Dude, did I not introduce you to the wonder that is the TLT sammich?" I winked at him as I used his pronunciation of the word. "I don't eat red meat. Or pork."
"So you eat..."
"Poultry. And seafood." I stuck a fork filled with salmon into my mouth, as if to prove my point. "And one hell of a lot of veggies."
"Why is that? Do you belong to some bizarre religion I should know about?"
"No.” I chuckled. “But the health of my heart is important to me."
He nodded. "Good. The health of your heart has become rather important to me, also."
"Ah. You're very sweet. Hypocritical as all get-out, but sweet nonetheless." I smiled.
I gave him a look. "We aren't really going to have the donut and cigarettes discussion again, are we?"
He shook his head, grinning. "Lord, I certainly hope not."
"Good." I finished the wine in my glass and noticed the bottle was empty.
"I hope you're not so health conscious that we can't order dessert, though."
I put a hand on my extremely full stomach. "I have absolutely nothing against dessert, except that if I eat one more bite it will be me who is throwing up this time."
"Eew.” He wrinkled his nose. “We wouldn't really want to start that as a tradition."
"I should think not, no."
Edward finished the wine in his glass, as well. "Tell you what—why don't we stick around and have another glass of this wine in the bar? Then, if we feel like it, we can go someplace else for dessert."
I snaked my foot up the leg of his pants, under the table. "Or we could just go back to my place for dessert."
His eyes sparkled at me, devilishly. "Nothing sounds better to me." He looked down at his plate for a moment before again meeting my eyes. "I will say though, that after that huge meal, you will get better results from me if you give me a while to digest."
I chuckled. "Um ... yeah, I hear ya."
The waitress brought us our check and we gushed to her over how much we enjoyed our meal. The chef, Enzo, even came out so we could shake his hand and thank him for the sampling menu he had prepared for us. He was adorably gregarious and spoke with a heavy Italian accent, grabbing both of my hands in his as he kissed both my cheeks.
On our way to the bar, I turned my head toward Edward. "When you tire of me, I'm going after Enzo."
He snuck his hand around my waist and chuckled into my hair before kissing my temple. "You'll have a very long wait for that."
I blushed and smiled.
He hesitated as we entered the bar. "If you don't mind, I have to excuse myself for a minute," he said.
"Of course," I replied. "I'll grab our wine and get us a seat."
He kissed my forehead before he left me alone for the moment and I was smiling as I approached the bar. The room was dimly lit and lushly furnished, with a few scattered tables and several dark, comfortable-looking booths meant for snuggling and sharing intimate secrets. A grand piano stood in the corner of the room and a man of about fifty or so, wearing a dark fedora, sat in front of it, playing softly; What is This Thing Called Love?—a song I knew by Frank Sinatra, but assumed it had been performed by many over the years. The bar itself was long and crafted of a dark, rich wood—probably mahogany. Behind it stood a floor-to-ceiling wine rack, enclosed in tempered glass and fronted by a tall ladder similar to the one in my sun room.
"That's quite a gorgeous hickey you've been sporting all week."
I would know that smarmy voice anywhere and immediately the flesh on my arms went up in goosebumps. I turned and saw the smirking face of James next to me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
He chuckled, throwing his head back. He appeared slightly inebriated.
"Last I checked, Bella, this was a public place. In fact, I'm on a date."
"Oh well, that's nice for you, but please leave me alone." I motioned to the bartender, who held a finger up at me as if to say "one minute".
"Jealous?" He leaned into me as he asked and I stepped back, smelling alcohol on his breath.
"James, you need to leave. I happen to be on a date, too."
"Oh, and you don't want Edward to see you talking with me?"
"Frankly, no, I don't."
The bartender came over and I ordered our wine.
"Why are you here buying drinks if you're on a date? Edward that cheap?"
I glared at him as he chuckled.
"Grow up, James."
The bartender brought our drinks over to me and I paid for them, leaving a generous tip. As I moved toward an empty booth, I felt James' hand on my arm. Reflexively, I pulled away and pulled a little too hard, spilling red wine on the floor as well as all over the skirt of my dress.
"Shit!" I set the wine glasses down and pulled my skirt away from my legs, trying to air it out.
He chuckled again. "Looks like you've had an accident."
I glared up at him again, my skirt still in my hand. "You're such an asshole, James."
The bartender came around to my side of the bar quickly with a rag, mopping up the floor.
"You didn't seem to think I was an asshole just a few weeks ago," he said. "My, how things have changed."
"Yes, well, live and learn. I now have a bruise on my arm that supports my present opinion." I felt tears spring to my eyes, which were not only a complete mystery to me, they pissed me right the fuck off. I hated to cry as a rule, but I especially did not want to do so in front of James. And a little (okay a lot of) wine on my brand new dress that I'd bought specifically for this evening, an evening which had been pert-near perfect up to that point, was really no reason to tear up anyway, was it?
The bartender looked up from the floor. "I'll bring you another glass," he said as he looked at my dress. "And some club soda."
"What the fuck are you doing here?" I heard Edward's voice before I saw him. I looked up just as he approached me and put a hand on my back. He looked down into my eyes and his clouded over in blackness.
James laughed. "Am I not allowed out in public anymore? Why are you two hassling me over the fact that I wanted to have a glass of wine with my date?"
"Well, why don't you get back to your date then?" Edward turned to me and rubbed my back. "Are you okay?"
I nodded and choked back the stupid tears which, thankfully, had not spilled over. "Yes, I'm fine. Just ... wet."
I heard James’ filthy snicker and immediately regretted my choice of words.
Edward tensed and I saw his fist clench. He turned his head toward James. "Get the fuck away from us."
Instead, James took a step toward us. "Or what, exactly—Edward?" He all but spat as he said his name.
I put a hand on Edward's chest as he instinctively leaned forward. "Edward. Let's just go."
"Yes," said James. "Why don't you just go instead of harassing me?"
Edward took another step forward, aggressively, and now stood between me and James. "You're pushing your luck. I already know what you did to Bella–"
James cut him off. "What I did to Bella? I'm not the one who fucking marked my territory for all the world to see." He sneered and threw his hand up, motioning toward my neck, and I blushed profusely, looking at the ground. "Are you so fucking insecure that you need to claim your property like that?"
Edward moved toward him, but I held his arm, pulling him back toward me. The bartender spoke up then, as well.
"Gentlemen, if you can't break this up, I will have to ask you to leave."
"Let's just go, Edward," I said, looking up at him. My hand gripped his arm. Tears again threatened at my eyes. "Please."
He looked down at me and the anger I saw in his expression made me inwardly cringe. I wasn't even sure he saw me clearly, but as I blinked I noticed his face soften just slightly. He put his hand at my back again.
"Fine, let's go," he said and he led me to the door. We ignored James as we exited the building.
The second we hit the street, Edward lit up a cigarette. He looked down at me as he did so. "Are you okay?" he asked again.
"Yes," I said, still fighting tears. "Let's just go home, okay?"
We started walking toward the valet stand at the front of the building. "I'm sorry, Bella. I'm sorry our night ended this way."
I tried to smile up at him, but I'm not sure it translated as such once it hit my face.
"It's not your fault James is an ass."
He took a deep breath and chuckled. "He is that, isn't he?"
I hooked my hand through his arm and pulled close to him as we walked. "Let's not let him ruin our night, okay?"
He lifted his other hand across my face to my hair and bent down to kiss me on top of the head. There was such sweetness and comfort in the gesture I didn't even care that smoke flew into my face as he did so, since that hand also held his stupid cigarette.
I looked up at him. His eyes were still dark with anger and the visible clenching and unclenching of his jaw betrayed his tenseness, but he was trying to smile. He pulled his arm from my grasp and wrapped it around my shoulders.
"Boy, and they say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
As we rounded the corner, toward the front of the building and the valet stand, James stepped in front of us. Victoria stood a few feet behind him, dressed in a somewhat long, flowing red dress. Her long, thick hair spilled over her shoulders in torrents of curls. Under any other circumstances and if she’d been any other woman, I would have thought she was beautiful.
"We have some unfinished business, Edward." James snarled.
Edward's hand dropped from me immediately and I watched as his cigarette flew past me and to the ground, it's embers continuing to burn against the cement of the sidewalk. He threw the first punch, hitting James squarely in the jaw and knocking him several feet backward. James shook his head, obviously disoriented, and wiped the blood that dripped from his mouth with the back of his hand. He had a smile on his face. I vaguely registered the fact that two uniformed men from the valet stand were scrambling toward the front entrance of the restaurant before I heard the sickening sound of bones cracking as James' fist connected with Edward's face and Edward connected with the ground beneath him.