Edward laid on the cold, asphalt road, trying to catch his breath. He never expected her to be able to hit so hard. Looking up at her with tear-filled eyes, because her hit to his nose may not have broken it, but it did what it was meant to do, and that was to cause the attacker’s eyes to tear. She was standing there with her hands on her hips and her eyes narrowed. “Damn, Bella. Fuck, did Charlie teach you that?”
“No. I paid someone to train me, just in case I ran into an asshole like you. I am no bitch.” She snarled.
Edward cautiously began to stand. Fuck, his foot hurt, his nose was throbbing, and he was sure he would have to ice his balls when he got home. After he was upright, he continued to look at her. However, the only thing he could think about was that she sold her body to any man who had enough money. “Well, what do you call it when you sell yourself for money?” He growled.
“Look here, Mr. High and Mighty, I own and run a high end escort service. Most of our clients just need a sophisticated woman or man on their arm for events like tonight. But I have the ultimate decision if I have sex with a client. I don’t have to answer to anyone.”
“But what about our love, did you forget about that?”
Hearing him question her love for him was like a punch in the stomach. She couldn’t help it, but the treasonous tears came out. “I thought you were dead. Hell, as soon as I could, I left because I couldn’t be in a place that reminded me of you. My love for you never died.”
Edward wanted to take her into his arms and run away, however, he knew that Carlisle would be after them if he did. “I never stopped loving you, either.” Edward looked at his watch and knew they needed to get back. “Bella I want to explain everything to you, but we need to get back to the event.”
“I am not going back there.”
“I am afraid, if you don’t go back, Carlisle will come after you. He is evil and dangerous. Right now, he doesn’t know who you are, but, if you don’t return, he will start investigating you. I can’t lose you again. Come back with me and play along with my lead, and I promise, as soon as we can leave, we will.” He begged.
Bella thought for a moment; she was smart enough to know that Carlisle was a man you didn’t want to come after you. “Fine, but you are telling me everything, and, after that, I will make my decision.”
The car ride back to the gallery was silent, but the tension between them was thick. Bella was trying to regain her composure while Edward was planning on the lie he would tell Carlisle. Parking the car, he looked in the rear view mirror and took in the damage.
“Damn, Carlisle is going to be jealous.” He joked.
“The fucker is sick. Did you know he offered me twice my rate if he could watch us having sex?”
Edward shivered at the thought. He remembered his first time and what Carlisle had done. Edward took Bella’s hand and squeezed it. “Please don’t say anything out of the ordinary to him; he is crazy.”
Bella could tell by the tone of his voice and look of concern on his face that she needed to control her temper, and follow his lead. She would get her answers after this was over. “I promise.”
Edward felt relieved that she was willing to listen to him. He didn’t deserve it, but he hoped that they could maybe work through all their issues, and, maybe, just maybe, see that they were meant to be together.
They got out of the car and Edward straightened his suit and offered his arm to her. They walked back into the gallery and each took glass of champagne offered by the waiter. Slowly, they walked around the gallery, pretending they were looking at the art work, however, all too soon, Carlisle came strutting up with a huge smirk on his face.
“Well, well, well it looks like my money didn’t go to waste.” Carlisle said, then leaned toward Bella. “My offer still stands.”
Fuck, she wanted to punch the son of a bitch, however she had to remain calm. “I am sorry, Mr. Cullen, but that is something I don’t do. But, thanks for the offer.” She said with a smile.
Carlisle wouldn’t push it now, but, one of these days, he would have her, because by the look on Edward’s face, he could tell she was a wildcat in the bed. Fuck, it looked like she had given him a black eye.
“Dad, was there someone you wanted me to meet?” Edward asked, hoping to get Carlisle’s mind off them and on to something else.
“Yes. He is over this way.”
Edward was introduced to one person after another, all the while Bella played along as a sophisticated, yet attentive, date. Finally, when it seemed that the event was coming to an end, Carlisle announced that he had to go fuck his date. After he left, they started toward the door to get out of here so they could talk about everything.
“Edward, hey man. I wanted to come over and talk all evening, but you were Mister Popular.” Jasper joked.
“Yeah, yeah.” He said, then looked at the short dark hair woman hanging on his arm. He knew this must be the girl that had him by the short hairs.
“Bella!” Alice screamed, dropping her hold on Jasper, and giving Bella a hug.
Edward was shocked that Bella knew Alice, then, it hit him. Alice worked for Bella. Alice was an escort. Fuck, this was going to be interesting, but that was something that needed to be discussed elsewhere.
Bella was shocked at first to see Alice, but she was even more shocked to see that Edward knew Jasper. Fuck, did that mean that Jasper was part of this horrible world that Edward seemed to be in, and, if so, was Alice in danger? Damn, just another thing she needed to find out.
“Do you two know each other?” Jasper asked.
“Yes we are close friends.” Alice replied, not wanting to tell him that she worked for Bella.
“Small world.” Edward smirked. Bella didn’t want Jasper to find out this way, so she dug her nails into Edward’s arm. Edward looked at Bella who gave him that evil eye that he was beginning to enjoy. Fuck, she was a spit fire. “We are leaving; you have a great rest of the evening.”
Jasper took in the beauty on Edward’s arm and knew that he was definitely going to have a great rest of the evening. He couldn’t wait to hear about this one. “You, too.” Jasper joked.
They left the gallery and were in the car. “Bella, do you mind if we talk at your place?”
“Because I am afraid that my place my not be secure for this conversation.”
“What do you mean?” Bella questioned.
“I wouldn’t put it past Carlisle to have my apartment bugged. He is very suspicious and controlling when it comes to me.”
“Is he really your father?”
Edward stared out the window as his heart hurt over the thought of it. “Yeah.” He whispered.
Bella laid her hand on his arm. “Of course we can talk at my place.” She gave him the address. Edward quickly made his way through the Chicago streets and to the high rise apartment building where Bella lived. She directed him to the parking deck and to one of her parking spaces. He pulled in between a bronze Aston Martin Vanquish and a fully restored 1953 cherry red Chevy Truck. When he got out, he couldn’t help but admire the two beauties.
Bella smiled as she watched him eyeing her vehicles. “See something you like?”
“Damn, these are fine. Whoever owns these is one lucky motherfucker.” He gushed.
“I might enjoy to look at a sexy woman’s body, but I don’t participate much.” She joked.
Edward mouth fell open as he stared at Bella. “These are yours?”
“Yes. Come on, we have a lot to talk about.”
He followed her to the elevator which took them to her floor. She had been happy to find an apartment building that had only two apartments per floor. Opening her door, she walked in and turned on the lights. “Come in and have a seat. I think we are going to need alcohol for this conversation.”
Edward walked into the room and looked around. Damn, this was a nice place; her tastes were similar to his, in coloring and furniture. The walls were covered in oil paintings that looked familiar to him. Taking a seat on the dark chocolate leather sofa, he looked over Bella as she was walking back with a bottle of Jack and two tumblers. After pouring a large drink for them both, she sat down, kicked off her high heels, and tucked her feet underneath her.
“All right, tell me.” She said, looking him dead in the eye. “Everything.”
Edward took a large drink and began to tell her how they came to live in Forks and what happened when one of Carlisle’s men saw them in San Francisco.
“You said Carlisle’s men. What do you mean by that?”
“Have you not heard who Carlisle Cullen is?”
“Well I heard a rumor, but I never could prove it.” She answered.
“Bella, Carlisle is the Boss of the Cullen crime family of Chicago. He is ruthless and pure evil. Esme took me because she wanted me to have a different life.”
“Oh my God. How is Esme?”
“She is a prisoner and has had to endure unspeakable torture over the years.”
“But she is alive?” Bella asked, worried about the woman who she considered a second mother and missed so much.
“Yes, but it has been horrible for her. I can’t even talk to her alone and have been only to see her when Carlisle allows me.” Edward groaned, looking down at his hands. He had done Carlisle’s every whim to make sure that Esme was left physically unharmed. He looked up, and saw that, on the wall in front of him was one of her paintings.
Pointing toward the painting, he asked, “How did you get that?”
Bella looked at where he was pointing. “She left all her artwork that was not sold to me.”
“Oh. By the look of this apartment, your business must be good.” He grimaced.
Bella knew what he was getting at. “My business is just that, my business. This apartment was not purchased by any money I have made, but with the life insurance policies that Esme left me.”
Edward head whipped around. “What do you mean?”
“Esme had taken out two very large insurance policies and made me sole beneficiary.”
“Then why the hell are you selling your body to strange men?” He grumbled.
Bella temper began to rage again. Pouring herself another glass, she downed it all. She knew that she had to try to explain to Tony, no, Edward, why she chose this life. But she needed to know if he even thought of her all these years.
“I need to know one thing from you. Did you even think about me at all?”
Edward gasped. How could she asked that? She was always on his mind and always in his heart. “How can you ask that? You have always been on my mind and…” Edward said as he unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it back. “In and over my heart.”
Bella looked and saw that he had gotten a tattoo of what was on the necklace that he given her all those years ago. Tears ran down her face; he had not forgotten her, and, by the look on his face, he still loved her as much as she still loved him.