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The Root of All Evil

When Bella Swan goes to plead with mobster businessman Edward Masen for an extension to her sick father’s loan she asks to work off the debt by waitressing in one of his restaurants. Edward has an altogether more sordid proposal. After all, money is the root of all evil. A, M for language, violence, drugs and sex.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

2. Chapter 2

Rating 3.7/5   Word Count 2617   Review this Chapter

Bella didn't know what to expect. She wasn't sure if he was just a rich crook, or if he was a dangerous rich crook who had actually murdered people before. She remembered how scared her father had been the day the bank seized his restaurant. He was more scared of Mr Masen finding out, than he was of the prospect of his family being broke and out on the street. But Bella was determined that she wouldn't be afraid of him. She wouldn't give him the pleasure of seeing her sweat.

She sat in his office, staring around the large, cold area. She couldn't believe that something this chic would be located in the back of a restaurant. Everything in his office was black and white, including the art work on the walls. She assumed one of his paintings was probably worth more money than she made in a year. He didn't have any personal pictures on his desk. He actually didn't have a desk. It was just a large glass table with a fancy chair on the opposite side of her.

She jumped when she heard the door open. She quickly stood up and faced the men entering. She recognized the first man that entered. He was the security guard who kept giving her a hard time. He narrowed his eyes at her, and she rolled her eyes back at him. The next man that came through the door, she didn't recognize. He was a tall, blonde guy with piercing icy blue eyes.

The last man to enter was tall also. He brushed right past her and sat down in the fancy chair, before he acknowledged her presence. This was Edward Masen. She remembered him from the day he came into her father's restaurant a few years ago. She had tried not to look at him then, as her father, Edward and one of his men went into the kitchen to discuss business. The other guy stood on the outside, daring anyone to enter the kitchen. She had just caught a glimpse of Edward, but she had been completely thrown off guard about how young and handsome he looked. She had been expecting some old craggy-looking fellow, like a godfather or something.

And now looking at him, he hadn't changed at all from that first day she had seen him. He had beautiful, bronze hair that he kept pushed away from his face, but it was longer than she remembered. If it were wet, it would probably fall to his ears. But the way he styled it kept it away from his face, made him appear menacing and handsome all at the same time. She could also tell that he had a nice body underneath his suit, judging by the way he walked with his shoulders upright and his chest out, which...wait, she needed to seriously pull her mind together. What the hell was wrong with her?

"Mr Masen, I just wanted to..." she started, but he placed a finger to his lips...his small order for her to be quiet. She immediately shut her mouth.

"Isabella, my security guard, Newton, told you that I was busy, correct?" he asked her.

Bella nodded her head.

"What? I didn't hear you," Edward said.

Bella wanted to roll her eyes at his arrogance, but she knew she had come here to ask a favour of him. Better to play the nice card.

"Yes," she answered.

"I thought so. So, you should have come back or called to set an appointment like everyone else does, instead of interrupting me."

"I tried calling. But the appointment time they gave me was two months from now," Bella replied, raising her voice a bit.

"Yes, that's because I'm a busy man."

"I just wanted to talk to you about my father," she said.

Edward turned to Jasper. "Hey, Jazz, do you remember the days when if a man had a problem with another man, they would handle it. I don't recall the man sending his daughter to do it, do you?"

"No sir, I sure don't. Seems like something a pussy would do."

Edward turned back around to glare at Bella. "I agree."

"My father—"

"--your father is the one who owes me money. He needs to come see me. Not you."

"He's sick, that's why I'm here," Bella whispered, nearing tears.

Edward looked at the poor girl in her cheap black dress. She was a pretty girl. Beautiful in fact. Nowhere near as tall as Tanya, but definitely more shapely. Truth be told, her body was starting to make him think thoughts that he shouldn't be thinking. She was wearing too much makeup though, and her thick curly hair was pulled back into a ponytail. He would love to see what it looked like down around her face. Her skin was a delicious, creamy colour, and she had wide chocolate brown eyes, with long eyelashes that were caked in mascara. Edward wished he could tell her that he sympathized with her father being ill, but in his line of work, showing sympathy was a weakness and a definite no-no.

"Do you have my money or not?" he asked, ignoring her last statement.

Bella wanted to smack that bastard. She hated his frosty stare and nonchalant attitude. She was talking about her family here! They were drowning, all because of him.

"How much exactly does my father owe you?"

"Seventy thousand," he said, without flinching.

Seventy thousand dollars!

Edward could tell by her widened eyes and slightly parted mouth, that she wasn't expecting the figure to be so high. Interest was a bitch.

Bella tried to regain her composure. "Mr Masen, we don't have that kind of money. We never had, and probably never will."

"Your father should have thought about that, before he asked my father for the loan years ago. I never would have given him the money. Trying to open a new restaurant in the middle of that neighbourhood was a dumb fucking idea. Why either one of them couldn't figure that out, is beyond me. So that's the situation we are in."

Bella stared down at her hands. Well, now was her time to offer her proposition to him. Her last shot.

"Well, I have a potential solution, Mr Masen," she said, looking up at him.

Edward stared at her warm eyes, and then his gaze lowered to her lips and then her full breasts. His eyes lingered there for a moment, before he looked back at her face. He smiled on the inside when he noticed her narrow her eyes at him.

"Go ahead," he said, as he started jotting notes down on a piece of paper.

"Well, I was thinking I could work in your restaurant or club, to work off the money. I mean, I could work morning, noon and night. Around the clock until I get the money paid off. I'll be a waitress, busboy, whatever you need."

Edward stopped writing and looked up at her. A small crooked smile spread across his face. With Tanya gone, he knew exactly how he was going to entertain himself. He leaned back in his chair and stared at her for a few seconds before speaking.

"You want to work with my kitchen staff so you can work off money you owe me? Do you know how long that would take?" he asked.

Bella shook her head.

"I don't read fucking sign language. Yes or no?" he bit out, frustrated.

"No," Bella said, wishing so badly she could punch him. She wasn't even a violent person, but she guessed being in the company of violent men was starting to rub off on her.

Edward turned to his friend. "Jasper, how long would that take, to earn seventy grand as a waitress?"

"Long fucking time, sir."

"Yeah, that's what I thought," Edward said, turning his attention back to her. He stared her down, taking in her disappointed face. He was used to these club girls throwing themselves at him. Drunk, loud, slutty girls, who all wanted to bag a guy like him, so they could be taken care of the rest of their lives. But he figured a girl like Bella was different. She was nothing like those girls, and that's what would make this whole thing amusing to him.

"No, I have another idea. Newton, leave us for a moment. We'll be done with this meeting soon."

"Yes sir," Newton said, as he turned to exit the office.

Once the door was closed, Edward stood up and walked around the table to stand by Jasper. Bella was nervous. She didn't know what they were planning to do. They were both just staring at her. Jasper laughed when Edward whispered something into his ear. She felt so uncomfortable. When they were done whispering, Edward turned to look at her.

"So, you want to work off your father's money, huh?" Edward asked her, narrowing his eyes, and then slowly letting them roam over her body.

Shit. Bella could see where this was going. She was so stupid. Her mother had told her. She would never hear the end of this 'I told you so' from Renee.

"I believe in being blunt, Bella. I'll erase your father's debt, if you stay with me for a week in my house."

Bella swallowed. She prayed it would be as his cook or masseuse or something along those jobs. But in her heart, she knew better.

"What would you want me to do for the week?" she asked, dreading the answer.

Jasper chuckled. "Anything I want," Edward said, without cracking a smile.

Bella quickly stood. She had heard enough. At least she had tried. "Well, thank you for your time, Mr Masen. But I'm not a whore, so I'll be on my way. And I'll try to get your money to you." She was about to walk out, when Edward grabbed her hand. The way he gazed into her eyes started making her feel...feel...something.

"Your father owes me more money than your family has seen in a lifetime, and I'm growing impatient. I live by a strict set of codes and rules. If a man owes me money, he either pays me back, or I make an example out of him. I'd hate to do that to your father. And now that he's sick, it looks like I'll never see that money, so my men may be coming to call on him very soon," Edward spat at her, still tightly gripping her hand. "So, is your pride worth your father and mother being hurt?"

Bella's mouth dropped open. She couldn't believe that he would threaten her parent's right in front of her. Fucking bastard! God, she needed some help. She didn't know which was worse, being his whore for a week or knowing her family would be hurt. She could never in a million years do something like that. She wasn't like those types of women.

But...just seven days, and she could easily erase this black cloud over her family's heads. They could go back to their normal, happy lives before her father got tied in with this horrible Masen family and entered his deep, dark spiral of depression. Just seven days, and she could burn this horrific experience out of her mind. Seven quick days, and she would have a new start for herself and her family.

Bella closed her eyes and exhaled. She knew she'd have to make the decision quickly or else she'd back out. "Okay," she whispered to him. She felt like she was going to throw up. That one simple word burned leaving her tongue.

"Good girl," Edward said.

She watched as he turned to the other man in the room, Jasper. "I always wanted my own personal slut," he taunted, and smiled back at her. She felt the tears coming to the surface. She refused to cry in front of this evil bastard. Why the hell would he want to make such a despicable deal with her, when she was sure he could get any girl to do this for free?

"Now that that's settled, take your clothes off," Edward commanded. He knew he was being a jerk, but she was getting some payback for threatening to cause a scene at his restaurant. He absolutely would not tolerate behaviour like that. Plus, she needed to know how their relationship for the next seven days would work. What he wanted and expected. And he would always get what he wanted.

Bella couldn't have heard him right. It would be a cold day in hell before she stripped her clothing in front of both of them. In his office, where anyone could come in at any given moment? No way in hell. She stood there staring at him, like he had lost his damn mind.

"I you are serious about our arrangement you’d better get out of that dress pretty quick. If not, then you can get the fuck out," Edward stated, as he made his way to the door.

Bella knew she was between a rock and a hard place. Shit!

"No, wait! I, um, okay," she sighed.

Edward stopped and turned back around. Bella slowly and clumsily started removing her dress. It slid down to the floor, and she stood there in a lacy strapless bra, lacy panties and her black heels. She was praying that her undergarments didn't have any holes in them. It's not like she went shopping for new ones every day, and she hadn't worn this lacy set in forever.

"Leave the heels on, take everything else off," Edward demanded, leaning against the wall. She turned to face him. She really felt she could be sick at any moment from the utter humiliation he was subjecting her to. At least he was on the opposite side of the room, and she wouldn't have to look at the other guy, while she did the most embarrassing, degrading thing she had ever done in her life.

She slid her panties off first. She was neatly trimmed, but not like that many people had seen her down there, so she probably wasn't as neat as he was used to. She knew she had reached a new low. She felt like shit. She slowly reached around and unhooked her bra, and it dropped to the floor.

Edward stood there gazing over her perfect body feeling his pants grow tighter. Her tits were the perfect size for him. She was definitely busty, but they weren't too oversized. Her tiny waist was toned, and she had a small butterfly tattoo on her left pelvic bone. In short, she was utterly gorgeous, but he had to get his mind straight. He was a business man, first and foremost.

"Isabella, here are the rules. When I ask you to do something, I am only going to ask once. If you don't comply, then you add another week to your stay. If you disobey or disrespect me in anyway, you add another week. Stay out of my business, and only speak when spoken too. Got it?"

Yes, she was in hell. How could she ever face her mother and father again? And she was even more mortified when he opened the door and let Newton back inside. She started to shake from the embarrassment.

"Newton, escort Isabella to my downtown loft and make sure she gets a change of clothes. If she needs to stop by her place, that's fine," she heard him say as he quit the room, leaving her standing in the middle of his office, completely naked, with two other men staring at her.

She wanted to die.