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Bar Room Angel

Summary:
A night out leaves Bella terrified at the hands of a predator. The devil will try to make her pay for daring to turn him down, while an angel will capture her heart in ways she never imagined. AH Bella x Edward, Rated M for lang/lemons/some mild violence. Originally posted on Fanfiction.net as a one shot and then expanded due to reviewer requests.


Notes:


3. Chapter 3

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5244   Review this Chapter

CHAPTER 3:

And I don't want the world to see me

'Cause I don't think that they'd understand

When everything's made to be broken

I just want you to know who I am

Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls

BPOV:

Monday morning rolled around fairly quickly. I’d spent a large chunk of my time since Friday night thinking about what had happened. I was angry with myself for allowing James the opportunity to corner me like that. If my father knew, I’m not sure who he’d be more pissed with, James for his actions or me for my lack of them. During high school Charlie had been a ‘tour de force’ when it came to my personal safety, making sure I always had a can of mace in my purse or school bag, and that I knew how to avoid putting myself in dangerous situations. He even went as far as to teach me some basic self-defence, but that seemed to just leave my mind the moment James put his filthy hands on me. Then Edward appeared…sigh!

I was so thankful for Edward’s intervention that I couldn’t even articulate it properly, and ‘Thank You’ just seemed totally inadequate. So I spent Sunday finding a way to truly convey how grateful I was for his assistance. I’d toyed with the idea of writing him an email seeing as his business card was burning a hole in my wallet, but that seemed a little impersonal…as did sending him a text. Thoughts of him had flooded my mind, his beautiful features framing his wonderfully striking green eyes. My gesture needed to be more personal, perhaps giving him a glimpse of the real me and not the frightened little woman he’d seen on Friday night. So I did what I do best (other than my job at Hunter)…I baked!

Leaving my apartment earlier than usual, I’d taken a slight detour and dropped off my gift for Edward at the reception desk of Masen and Platt which was only a block away from my office. Hopefully right about now, sitting on Edward Cullen’s desk would be a large white box, tied up with emerald coloured satin ribbon. Inside he would find a dozen decadently rich chocolate cupcakes with velvety smooth chocolate ganache frosting piped on top. They looked a bit boring when I’d finished them, so for a bit of fun, I had sprinkled some brightly colored sugar stars on top. I’d also placed a notecard inside the box to thank him once again along with my own business card…just in case he needed it!

As a result of my early morning parcel delivery duties, there had been enough time to grab a coffee before heading into the office which meant I didn’t have to risk an early morning encounter with James in the staff kitchen. The silence of the office at eight in the morning was a welcome comfort as I plugged my laptop in and got logged on to the company network so I could check my emails. My hope for today was that James stayed out of my way from now on, fingers crossed Edward and Emmett’s warnings had given him food for thought and I would now be off his radar. After his comments about nobody believing me if I said anything, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about what might happen next.

I just prayed that he would leave me alone, then I could get on with my job and prove how much of an asset I was to Hunter Publishing (my dad would be spitting bullets if he knew what had happened and about my reluctance to involve the authorities – quite literally given that he was Chief of Police back in my home town of Forks).

Within half an hour people had started to trickle in to the office and the place was starting to have that gentle hum of activity, almost like the noise of a printing press. It was a relentless yet comforting sound to me as I went about my usual morning duties. Emails had been checked, prioritised with the urgent ones and forwarded to my boss, voicemail had been emptied and I had a nice list of call backs that needed doing. I was just waiting for the guy from the mailroom to deliver the weekend post and the next set of manuscripts for Kate to review.

With some time to kill, I figured I’d pop to the employee lounge to grab a coffee for Kate so that she had a drink waiting for her when she got in to work. It wasn’t something she expected me to do, but I enjoy working for her so it was no chore. To be honest, Kate drank more coffee than I did, so it wasn’t unusual to find that she’d fix me a drink when she was up getting hers.

The elevator dinged as I was just adding creamer to Kate’s drink, sounding the arrival of another batch of Hunter employees ready to start their working week. Through the throng of people who had vacated the elevator, it appeared that Jessica and Lauren had arrived judging by the rather loud conversation that I could overhear, which to my mind was completely unprofessional given that the subject of discussion were employees of this company.

“Honestly Jess, you missed all the excitement on Friday night. While you were off fawning over your geeky lover boy, lovely Mr Hunter was being manhandled by the owner of the bar and one of his minions for no apparent reason,” Lauren bristled

“I wasn’t fawning Lauren, I just wanted to tell Mike how much I enjoyed the band’s performance,” Jess sighed

“You say potato…same difference hun. None of that matters to me. I want to know what happened with James. We were having such a wonderful time together at the bar and he was flirting with me shamelessly, but then he went to the bathroom and the next thing me and his friends knew, he was being kicked out of the bar. I have no idea what happened but I’m sure James will tell me when he comes in.” Lauren prattled on.

I think Jess had tuned her out by the time they had reached their desks, because she hadn’t uttered another word to Lauren. I slipped out of the lounge with Kate’s coffee and strode with purpose back towards my desk, my footsteps picking up pace as I passed by Jessica and Lauren’s desks. I wanted to get past them without stopping to discuss Friday night if I could avoid it.

For once, my feet were at least on my side and I managed to half jog through the office in my heels, which considering I was wearing a pencil skirt that normally restricts movement to a brisk walk at best, I was a tiny bit proud of myself. I placed the coffee on Kate’s desk and went back to my spot outside her office, slumping down in my chair with a feeling of relief at having escaped having to discuss James’ removal from Eclipse at the hands of Edward and Emmett. I went back to checking my emails once more.

“Morning Bella, did you have a good weekend?” I was snapped out of my concentration by Kate’s cheerful greeting as she breezed into the office.

She really was a joy to work for, terribly focussed on her work, could command a boardroom full of the Hunter Publishing ’old boys network’ who believed still believed that a woman’s place really was in the home, or in some of the more ’less taxing’ roles in the organisation like on reception or secretarial support. Sometimes this place felt like it took its values straight from some early 1900’s Victorian novel, but Kate didn’t let that stop her.

“It was okay thanks Kate, drinks on Friday with some of the girls from here. Then just puttered around my apartment doing chores the rest of the time,” I responded with a smile, before asking, “How was yours?”

“Fairly similar to you actually, although my Friday night was dinner with Mom and Dad, and what a joyous event that was,” she grinned.

“I tell you, if I have to sit there and listen to the great Eleazar Denali drone on and on once more about how I’m bringing shame on the family name by spending my days reading stories and not following in his footsteps being a lawyer then I might just have to kill myself! Nope, scratch that, I’m too pretty to die so young,” she giggled.

I laughed along with her, because the tales of her crazy ass family were ridiculously entertaining. It was quite sad that her father had such a low opinion of the career she’d chosen for herself because if he stopped to look properly, he’d see that she was amazing at what she does. You wouldn’t know from talking to her that she’s from one of Seattle’s oldest families and I get the impression that her mother wishes she was more like her younger sisters who are (according to Kate) the stereotypical blueprint of Seattle society trust fund babies. They don’t do much of anything, although they are both college educated, and they’re just sitting around waiting for a couple of equally rich trust fund boys to swoop in and marry them.

I shuddered at that thought and smiled at Kate again before handing her the post she’d need to deal with first thing this morning.

“Here’s your urgent stuff Kate, I’ll bring the fresh manuscripts in once they’ve come up from the mailroom. Oh, and there’s a coffee on your desk for you.”

“Oh Bella, you’re a gem! What would I do without you?” she exclaimed as she marched into her office ready to tackle today’s mountain of work.

Chuckling to myself, I turned back to my laptop to carry on with my work while waiting for the manuscripts to be delivered. Just as I was about to forward an email on to Kate from one of her most popular authors an instant message popped up on screen.

AWebber: Hey Bella, have you had Lauren banging on about Mr Creeptastic being kicked out of Eclipse on Friday night?

ISwan: Hi Ange, nope, not had the pleasure, but I do know the cause of his “ejection”. I’m avoiding her cause I don’t want to have to share the deets which would then get round the office quicker than you can blink.

AWebber: I can understand that hun. I’m guessing he overstepped his boundaries once again.

ISwan: And then some Ange. You free for lunch so I can fill you in?

AWebber: Absolutely, 12:30pm in our usual place?

ISwan: See you there!

I knew that I could trust Angela if I told her what had happened and she would not betray my confidence, so lunch would lead to a pretty interesting conversation. I was also hoping to get the scoop on Jess and Mike from Friday, he’s a nice guy and I think he could be good for her, plus it would annoy Lauren to no end!

Today was ramping up to be a good day so far, and there’d been no sign of James either which made me immensely happy. I could hear the faint squeaking sound of the mail cart coming along the floor which meant that Tyler would be here with our manuscripts shortly. This was one of my favourite parts of the job, getting to see unpublished works before they got anywhere near a print run. Hopefully one day I’d be sitting in Kate’s chair, scanning my eyes over someone’s wordy creations.

I’d dabbled a bit with writing during college, taking a creative writing class as a bit of light relief from the heaviness of other subjects such as Shakespeare, Classic British Literature and the American Classics. I passed the assignments okay, but I often felt that my compositions fell way short of some of the standards set by my peers. Maybe one day I’d give it another go, but not right now.

I was lulled from my reminiscing by the sound of my cell phone announcing that I’d received a text. Grabbing the phone from my purse, I unlocked it to see who had contacted me. It was a number not stored in my phone, but I knew who it was as I’d spent the weekend staring at the very same number. Opening the message with slightly trembling fingers, there was a picture of an empty cupcake wrapper and some crumbs on a desk with the message “Nom, nom, nom!”

EPOV:

Who in their right mind arranges a meeting for 7:30am on a Monday morning? My fucking secretary, that’s who! I swear to God the girl was at the back of the line when it came to dishing out common sense, but at least this time she’d got the location of the meeting and the name of my client right. I’d love to get rid of her, but she’s the niece of one of the firm’s more senior lawyers and Caius won’t let me get rid of her, even though she’s borderline incompetent and flirts with me in the most ridiculously blatant way, all the while thinking she’s being a subtle little fox. It made me dream of the days when Shelley Cope had been my secretary, when I was fresh out of law school and she looked after me just like a mother. She was also mad as a box of frogs, but her attention to detail was first class. I think I might have wept the day she retired from the firm and I landed Jane as her replacement.

With my business concluded and the client happy with the amendments made to the contract they were putting together for their management buyout, I was walking back to my office by 8:30am. Thoughts of Bella penetrated my mind over the weekend, and were starting to do so now as I had a spare five minutes. Maybe it was purely a bit of friendly concern on my part after the stunt James had pulled on Friday; maybe there was some kind of attraction there. Perhaps it was a combination of both, because who am I kidding; she was hot as hell and didn’t deserve anything that Hunter had done to her. Hopefully she would take the initiative and get in touch with me now that she had my business card.

As I waited for the elevator to deliver me to my floor, I wondered what kind of shit-storm would be waiting for me in my inbox and voicemail. There was a vague hope that for once at the start of the week Jane might have made it to work on time and already prioritised my messages for me, but there was often some lame excuse for why she waltzed in at 9am when her contract states her hours are 8am-6pm.

The elevator dinged and announced my stop bringing me out of my speculating. Stepping out onto the floor where Masen and Platt held their offices, I was greeted by Siobhan at the reception desk with a warm smile, “Good morning Mr Cullen. Pleasant weekend?”

“Morning Siobhan, yeah, not too bad. Spent it with the family and catching up on some paperwork…the usual,” I chuckled.

“You’ve had a parcel delivered for you. It looked kind of fragile so I popped it on your desk for you. Didn’t want it to have any accidents if I passed it on to a third party,” she winked at me with a sly grin.

Now before you get it in your head that every woman I meet or know just throws themselves at me or wants to get in my pants, Siobhan’s in her mid-forties and took a part time role with Masen Platt when her husband’s company cut his hours a couple of years ago. While things were back on track now for them, she found she enjoyed working here and decided to stay on. Since Shelley’s departure 6 months ago, Siobhan had taken to keeping a bit of an eye on me and occasionally helped out when Jane was ’struggling’ with the workload.

“You’re a doll Siobhan, what would I do without you?” I winked back before walking down the hall towards my office.

“If you want a coffee you’ll have to wait till I get my break sunshine,” she whisper yelled after me with a chuckle.

I waved her off shaking my head, because honestly while it was nice to be looked after at work sometimes, if I didn’t expect Jane to get my coffee for me then I sure as hell didn’t expect Siobhan to fix it. Jane wouldn’t make me a drink on principal because the one and only time she’d done so, I’d spat the vile concoction out across my desk across a load of important case files. Jane just huffed and told me that from now on if I wanted coffee to get it myself because that kind of task was beneath a woman in her position.

Yep, you heard me….a woman in her position. I was tempted to question what the hell she thought that position was, but it was her first day and I was stupid enough to think she might actually do a good enough job, given that her uncle worked here and she wouldn’t want to let him down. Oh how wrong I was!

As I approached my office, I must admit my curiosity about this parcel was getting the better of me. The only things I tend to receive at work are case files and contracts, but they could hardly be described as a parcel, and those sorts of things would normally be received by the mailroom. I was baffled to say the very least.

Surprisingly Jane appeared to be in the office already, which for a Monday, her being anywhere near her desk before nine am was a miracle to say the very least. Her purse was on her desk and her computer was switched on, although she hadn’t logged on yet so she can’t have been here that long. Where the hell was she?

Then I heard her, she was talking to someone and it appeared to be coming from inside my office. Quickly checking my phone to make sure I wasn’t running late for any more meetings, I was relieved to see that I was clear till lunchtime when I was meeting Jasper for a catch-up. Who the hell was she talking to and why was she in my God damn office? She had no business being in there unless it was to ask me something, and seeing as she’d arranged my meeting this morning, she knew I wasn’t there.

“Honestly Tan, he’s a nightmare to work for. Expects me to type his letters for him, sort his case files, manage his diary, and take his messages. It’s like he’s totally incapable of doing anything for himself,” she whined to whoever she was talking to.

“Oh honey, he can’t be all that bad. He’s very easy on the eye, and I’m sure he’s got other redeeming qualities….I mean, have you seen the size of his feet!?” A second voice replied.

Oh shit me, there’s someone in there with her, and they’re talking about me. Could she be any more unprofessional? No way was this one going to slide with me, I was going to Caius and I would get him to do something this time. I decided to hang back outside my door a little longer to see where their conversation was going.

“No denying Tan, he’s definitely been blessed in the looks department. I spend half my day flirting with him in the hopes that he’ll cut me some slack, but it just doesn’t work,” Jane’s moaning continued.

“Well don’t panic sweetie, we both know it’s just a matter of time before I land him and having him wrapped around my little finger,” her companion cackled.

Oh Christ, she’s got Tanya Denali in there with her, what the hell could she want?

“So what’s with the box on his desk?” asked Tanya.

“Dunno, it was there when I arrived this morning. Looks like it was hand delivered, and there’s no label on it either so I’ve got no clue which store it’s from. I’d say it’s from a woman though judging by how it’s decorated, it’s too pretty for it to be something a man would send.”

“I agree, competition maybe? Or could be his mother, it’s the kind of thing Esme Cullen would do as a thank you. Shame we can’t open it or get rid of it….eliminate any potential threats to my plans.” Tanya drawled.

Jane giggled, “Maybe it could have a little accident before he gets back from his meeting, perhaps rough the contents up a little bit.”

I was about two seconds away from losing it. The pair of them were so out of order it was unbelievable, and I’d had enough. Trying to contain my rage, I pushed the office door open and stormed in, glaring at the pair of them who looked like a couple of kids who’d been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

“Would someone like to explain what the hell you’re both doing here?” I raged.

Jane went pale and looked like she was going to be sick, Tanya on the other hand was looking at me like I was something to eat and licking her lips. I stalked around them towards my desk, slamming my briefcase down on the filing cupboard by the window with a loud bang.

“Sorry Mr Cullen, I was just making sure making sure Ms Denali got situated comfortably till you got back from your meeting.” She tried to backpedal.

I would have laughed at her trying to cover her tracks if I wasn’t so pissed at this point.

Tanya decided to chip in at this point, “Oh relax Eddie, Jane was just being a sweetie by letting me wait in here rather than the entrance with your ghastly receptionist. I have important business to discuss with you.”

God this woman was everything I hated about society trust fund bunnies, she was privileged, spoiled, and felt that she was irresistible to any man. Quite often the size of her bank balance and her willingness to spread her legs meant that was often the case. I dreaded to think what it was she wanted from me this time. I just wanted her to keep her hands to herself and get out of my office so I could find out what this gift was.

“Well go on then Tanya, seeing as you most definitely don’t have an appointment with me and my time is fairly expensive – you’ve got two minutes,” I barked.

“Oh darling, Daddy’s invited us to dinner tomorrow evening. He wants to meet the man that’s been able to capture my interest for more than five minutes! Can you believe it?” she squalked.

By this point Jane had beat a hasty retreat to her desk, no doubt wondering what the fallout of her letting Tanya into my office would be. I was not in the mood to be messed with by Tanya and her meddling little friend. There was no chance I was going to dinner with her in any capacity, and definitely not with Eleazar Denali. She was honestly barking mad, she knows I’m not interested in her or her father’s attempts to lure me away from Masen Platt – neither are ever going to happen, and the sooner she got the message the better.

“Tanya, I’ve told you a number of times, I have no interest in dating you, having dinner with you, or your father for that matter. My future lies here at Masen Platt and I am definitely not looking for a superficial trophy wife, so you might as well leave.”

She didn’t even flinch at my words, she just sat there grinning at me as though she expected me to change my mind after I’d had a chance to think…err, I don’t think so. She lacks the substance and style to hold my interest. When she saw I wasn’t about to add anything to the conversation she finally spoke.

“One day you’ll come around to my way of thinking Eddie, you know we could be good together darling.” She drawled as she rose from her seat stepping towards me before adding, “It’s not in my nature to give up when I see something I want, and it’s not in Daddy’s either.”

“Goodbye Tanya, don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” I commanded.

“See you around Eddie,” she smirked at me.

“My name is Edward as you well know, so if you want me to reply when you speak to me, I suggest you remember that. Now get out of my office before I bill you for my time!” I barked at her retreating form.

Hell, it wasn’t even nine am and I already had a splitting headache. How I was going to get through the rest of the day, I had no idea.

Sinking down into the soft leather of my office chair, my eyes were drawn to the white box sitting on the far edge of the desk. To say I was intrigued about its contents was an understatement. It looked like a box from one of those high end bakeries, all glossy white cardboard, tied up with a silky forest green ribbon. There was no label on the outside to identify which store it had come from, so I was left with no option but to open and explore.

I gently slid the box over to me and fingered the luxurious binding that held the parcel closed. Gently pulling on one end of the ribbon, I teased it open slowly. As the ribbon fell to the desk, I gently lifted the lid on the box and immediately started to salivate when I saw the contents. Someone had sent me twelve of the most amazing looking chocolate cupcakes I had ever seen (and I grew up with Esme Cullen feeding me – she baked almost daily for us!).

I think I might have just drooled onto my desk looking at the yummy goodness in front of me. Opening the box fully and reaching in to take one out so I can get a taste of my treat, I realise that I don’t have a drink. I pick up the phone and dial reception…time to cash in that drink offer from Siobhan.

“What do you want Cullen?” Siobhan chuckles down the phone. Oh, she knows me too well.

“Well, seeing as you asked me…I was hoping to cash in that offer of a drink. I’ll make it worth your while if you’ll bring me a coffee,” I whine down the line to her.

I hear her groan at the other end and I know she’ll sort it out for me, “Go on then Edward, this had better be an outstanding trade off.”

“Don’t you worry Siobhan, the pay-off will have you licking your lips and begging for me,” I laugh out.

The line goes dead and within five minutes Siobhan is waltzing through my door with a steaming hot mug of coffee for me and a sly grin on her face. I slowly turn the box around and lift the lid to show her the contents of the box.

“Oh my, aren’t they just the prettiest things you’ve ever seen?” she enthuses.

“Thanks for the coffee Siobhan, help yourself” I say before I eagerly tuck in to my own cupcake. Oh boy, it tastes better than it looks, and I think I might have just had a food-gasm (yes, I did say food-gasm!).

Siobhan smiles at me and takes one of the cupcakes before heading for the door.

“You know, the girl that dropped these off was a pretty little thing Edward,” she says with a knowing look.

Polishing off the last of my treat I decide that I have enough room for one more. After all I am a growing boy and I skipped breakfast because of my ridiculously early start. Taking another cake out of the box I spot an envelope tucked into the side of the box. Maybe this will give me the answer of who sent this gift.

Opening the envelope, I slide out a thick laid card with the simple words “Thank You” printed on the front. Inside is a note, scribed in the most lovely handwriting I’ve ever seen, and the sender has even used a fountain pen . I was convinced the art of handwritten sentiments was dying out these days, but apparently not and I’m pleasantly surprised to have this confirmed to me with what’s in my hands.

Dear Edward,

I just wanted to offer my thanks once more for the help you gave me on Friday night. Words can’t express how grateful I truly am for your assistance and support. I thought about texting or emailing you to say thank you, but both seemed like such empty gestures, so hopefully these homemade cupcakes will give you an understanding of my appreciation.

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention” Oscar Wilde

With kindest regards

Bella Swan

I was totally blown away by this act of thoughtfulness from someone who to all intents and purposes is a complete stranger to me. It was quite possibly the most genuine gesture anyone had ever made towards me and there was no hint of an ulterior motive either, which was just so refreshing. I sat back in my chair and thought about BBG and her beautiful smile, how she’d seemed so tiny sitting on the couch in Em’s office, yet so steely in her determination to just go about her role at Hunter and not let James wear her down.

The more I thought about her, the more curious I was to get to know her. She was a unique creature with a very different way of handling things, so my approach to pursuing this needed to be a little bit different.

Looking down at the cake wrapper on my desk and the crumbs that surrounded it, I had an idea. Her business card had been inside the note, she wanted me to have her contact info, so why not start with a cheeky little text to let her know I’d received her gift.

I pulled out my iPhone and took a quick picture of the debris on my desk, then sent it to her in a text message to show my appreciation. Thinking back over her words about a text message being an empty gesture, I pulled out my phone and placed a call to Esme’s favourite florist, I had the perfect gesture in mind that had plenty of meaning.

So what do you think he’s ordering from the florist. Somehow I don’t think Bella is the kind of girl who would appreciate an over the top kind of bouquet you see in the movies. Edward’s a thoughtful kind of guy, so I wonder if anyone will guess what he has in mind.

The next chapter is a work in progress, so it may be up to 2 weeks before the next update I’m afraid.

Thank you for reading