A/N: I own Four Inch Suede Open-Toed Booties
SM owns Twilight
Please be warned, this chapter contains assault.
Chapter 13 – Party for the King
Beginning of June
The crowd of people gathered on the sleek white vessel. She was magnificent. Her windows were highlighted by a bold black strip. Her name was displayed in large gold script as she parted the waters with her powerful body. Inside, cocktail tables were scattered on the lower floor dining area where a few guests preferred the quieter setting. However, the real party was on the upper deck where writhing bodies clad in summer white swayed together to the low insistent bass.
The party was in full swing and I was counting the minutes until I could be rid of the King for good.
Irina had been livid – not because we were losing a client, but because I had failed to inform her of Royce's impromptu visit. She assured me we didn't need Mr High-and-Mighty's business. She insisted that I had to tell Royce tonight that this would be our final event together.
After the first few hours on the ship, I couldn't be more relieved by Irina's order.
He had been a nightmare to work with these past few days, always see-sawing with last minute ideas. Should he follow through with the casino theme, or was that passé? Should we rent a bigger boat or would it look too needy? I wanted to pick him up and throw him overboard the first chance I got.
I had already had to douse the fire of Royce's outburst as to why some of his guests were not in the strictly-white attire he had mentioned in the invites. He had loudly berated the guests who had the audacity of ignoring his command. He threatened to refuse passage and they had no other choice but to scurry to the overpriced Waterfront boutiques and drop small fortunes on outfits deemed suitable to meet the King's needs.
"They almost ruined the perfect summer cruise image on my blog!" he whined; I wanted to paint his pristine white shirt with red wine. Gah! Could he not hear how grossly pathetic he sounded?
He was no better with the staff. He made lewd remarks while they served appetizers; I wanted to sneak a laxative in his Roast Beef and Asparagus Roll. Then he nearly attacked the DJ who had the nerve to ask for a washroom break, I wanted to ask said DJ to take a piss on Royce's shoes.
I did none of these things. I decided that it would be in my best interest, as well as that of Irina and the company, to save face and try to end this working relationship on a positive note.
I bided my time, chatting with the staff and making sure everything was running smoothly despite Royce's constant interference. I was happy to see Alec there and a bit surprised to notice he steered clear of Royce for the majority of the night.
Royce continued to make a nuisance of himself, fawning and groping the female guests within his reach. I was ready to intervene when a striking man with coffee-coloured skin and dreadlocks flung his arm playfully around Royce while discreetly motioning to the women to make their getaway.
I chanced a moment and cautiously moved to the bow of the boat to make a call to Edward.
"Hey baby," he answered, his voice low and instantly doing things to my lady bits.
"Hey yourself," I smiled into the receiver. "So, I should be back at around 1AM, I can just take a cab if it's too late."
Please don't let it be too late, please don't let it be too late.
"You're mad, there's no such thing as too late. I'm coming to get you. Je te veux dans mon lit ce soir." I want you in my bed tonight.
"Yes, okay, thank you."
"Don't thank me yet, Isabella. Thank me later."
I could almost feel his smirk across the phone line. Frigging cocky boyfriend.
"So, guess where I am." I could hear the amusement in his voice. I hung onto the railing of the ship and looked to the skyline of the city. I pictured Edward there, in the midst of the millions of people and longed to be beside him.
"I'm at Rosey's."
"In the guest room."
"Lying on the bed."
"Je me remémore la sensation de ta bouche qui m'enveloppe. Toute chaude… et humide." Remembering how your mouth felt around me. It was so warm… and wet.
"Mmmmmmm. I loved it. It was–"
"Fuck hot," he groaned. "I can still picture you Bella, here, wearing my tie. Legs spread wide. Your fingers, inside… I loved watching you."
"I can do that again – if you want," I mumbled. "Only if you want."
"Oh yes, baby. I want. Tonight. I want that." He was determined and so so hot. "I'll be there when you dock. See you soon, love."
"A tout à l'heure, Edward." I'll see you soon, Edward.
I tucked my phone away and sighed.
"I didn't know you spoke French, Bella."
Royce's voice jumped out of nowhere and made me cringe. I exhaled a puff of air through my mouth, trying to restore my composure.
"There's lots you don't know about me, Royce," I muttered.
"But I want to know all about you, Bella," he pleaded. "I think that we're great together, don't you? Look at tonight, it's been my best party yet and it's because we work so well together."
What the fuck? He was delusional.
"It's because we are so in tune to each other's needs, right Bella? You give me everything I want and I can't wait to reciprocate."
He was inching towards me, his palms open, his head bobbing steadily, like he was willing me to agree with this statement.
I raised my hand in the universal "stop" sign and braced myself for his reaction.
"Royce, while I'm glad that you're pleased with the outcome of this evening, I have to tell you, that line – you've crossed it."
"What line, Bella?" he cocked his head to the side. His smile was still painted on his face but now, it felt forced. His fists were clenching and unclenching rapidly. It was like he was trying to get a physical hold on something but all he was coming up with was air.
I took a deep breath in and let it out. Professional or not, I wasn't going to let him get to me. I would have rather had this conversation back on dry land, but his persistence was chipping away at me.
"Royce, I'm no longer comfortable with our working dynamic. I've spoken to Irina and she supports me in my decision to cease any future business with you."
His face morphed in slow motion.
His face twitched and his nostrils flared. The cords in his neck strained as his jaw tensed. For a moment, my heart sank into the pit of my stomach. I was fearful of some sort of backlash, verbal or physical from the Almighty Royce King the Third. His steps were slow as he continued his approach but thankfully, he didn't come close enough to grasp me.
"Exactly who do you think you're talking to, Bella?" His tone was menacing and low. "Just because you're fucking a Cullen, you think you're the shit now?"
What was he going on about? And what the holy hell did Edward have to with this?
Movement from behind me caught his eye and a voice I did not expect sliced the tension in half.
"Back the fuck up, Royce," Alec commanded, coming before me and using his body as a shield against my opponent.
"What's this, Alec? You're her bodyguard now? That job's been filled, bro. Hasn't she told you that Cullen fills her panties now?" Royce clicked his teeth at Alec and wiggled his finger back and forth. "I guess working with the lowly folk has made you soft. Daddy must be so proud."
Alec took my elbow to lead me away, trying to defuse the situation by taking the high road.
"You think you're so special, Bella?" Royce raged, "You think you're the only bilingual brunette with a smoking ass who could snag your man?"
My head whipped towards Royce as uncertainty seeped through my veins.
"What the fuck are you talking about, Royce?"
His menacing laughter pierced the cool air, causing the hairs on my neck to prickle. He strode right up to me and smiled devilishly when Alec came between us again.
"How much do you know about your pretty boy, Bella? You're sloppy seconds compared to what he had." His words slapped me hard across the face; I had never felt so out of sorts before.
"Royce, leave," Alec warned again.
Royce glanced at Alec quickly before shooting his glare back at me and spitting out a few more harsh words.
"I don't even know why Cullen's bothered with you; better yet, I don't know why I bother with you."
I stared at his retreating form, the weight on my shoulders still heavy from his words.
I was boiling with anger but tried to rein it in to a low simmer. I threw myself into the closest chair and powered up my tablet. I tried to sweep my shaking finger across the screen but my nerves were too scrambled.
Alec took a seat across from me, silent and steady in his support.
"Has he always been a dick?" I asked.
Alec's laugh was short and held no humour as he thought of his response.
"I don't even know why I still hang out with him, ya know? We grew up together. Our parents are close, but not only that, our extended families as well. We were always lumped together, same age and all." He shrugged his shoulder and I saw the silent apology in his eyes.
The DJ announced the last call and we heard the hollers from the crowd to get their last bits of alcohol into their systems before docking.
We sat in companionable silence as the minutes ticked by and the skyline of the city slowly grew before our eyes. The lights of the massive office buildings glittered in the horizon, casting a stunning reflection on the water at their feet.
Warmth spread inside my chest knowing that somewhere amongst those concrete structures Edward was making his way towards me.
I sent him a quick text saying I'd be at the Harbourfront dock in ten minutes.
"Excuse me while I say goodbye to the few people I like here. Can you do me a favour, Bella?" Alec waited until I nodded yes. "Let me hang out with you until your man comes to pick you up?"
"Uh, that's unnecessary, Alec. I'll be fine," I answered.
"Just, let me do this Bella, alright?"
His expression convinced me so I agreed. He turned to leave when my manners finally returned.
"Wait, Alec," I called out, "I never thanked you for – for…"
"Don't worry about it, Bella. I'm just glad I was there."
He told me he'd meet me by the ramp then walked away to say his farewells.
My phone pinged alerting me to a message from Edward.
Sorry babe, running late, be there in 5. –E
I pouted slightly then went to thank the Captain and the staff. I gathered my belongings and did a last quick walk-through to make sure everything was in order.
A rough shove to my side caused me to be pushed back against the wall, my bag tumbling to my feet. He hid us under the canopy that covered half the dance floor which moments ago was littered with gyrating bodies. Royce's dark hostile eyes stared down at me as one of his hands covered my mouth. His other hand gripped both my wrists together, folding them up to my chest and holding me in place. His sweat-stained body pushed against me and the scent of his perspiration assaulted my senses.
"Think you can get away from me, Bella? Did you really truly think you could be rid of me so easily?"
His breath reeked of liquor as it passed the small space between us. I struggled to move away from the horrid stench. Away from the cement-like hold. Away from this man who had transformed into a monster.
My mind was in chaos, questions were whirling through my brain. Where was everyone? Where have all the staff disappeared to? Where was Alec?
Where is Edward?
"You should be mine, Bella. I could have made you happy. But you chose him…" His words dripped with venom and my mind tried to process what he was saying. "You chose him instead of me."
I was in utter disbelief. I never thought that Royce had it in him to turn violent.
I was terribly wrong.
His anger permeated the air. I felt every inch of him pressed against every inch of me. I should have been more frightened. I felt ill from his proximity. My emotions were on overdrive, but above it all… I was pissed.
I thought of Charlie and how he used to bring Seth and me to the center where he taught self-defence. How he would eventually use my brother and me as volunteers to show the women of Forks how to handle your attacker.
I calmed my breathing and made a concentrated effort to relax my muscles.
"I knew you'd give in Bella," Royce cooed in my ear as I coaxed my body from trembling. "I know how girls like you are. Willing to give up your pride, spreading your legs for anyone with cash. Too bad I didn't get to you before Cullen. That's alright though; it won't to stop me from making you my bitch."
I whimpered at the sound of Edward's name, my anger flaring underneath the surface.
"I must say though, his taste in women is superb." His nose sniffed at my neck, before he came back to whisper in my ear, "Did you know that Gianna and I are acquaintances? She's fuck hot as well as… a hot fuck – At least that's what I've heard. You should ask Edward about her."
Fuck this shit.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
Two, Jimmy Choo…
"Royce?" I mumbled from behind his hand.
He lifted his hand from my mouth, and then moved it to hold my waist. His head leaned back and his hold slackened minutely.
I lifted my head, silently coaxing him to come closer. He smiled down at me and I pulled every emotion in me to summon a smile in return. I steadied my stance waiting for the perfect moment.
Closer, Royce, closer.
I could feel the lobe of his ear at my cheek and then I turned and…
I bit down hard.
"Fucking bitch!" he screamed. His body coiled back against the railing, his hands cradling his bloody ear.
I spit the skin out of my mouth, clutched at his shoulders and stepped towards him, lifting my knee up hard to his crotch. He fell to his knees cupping his groin as red stained the collar of his immaculate white shirt.
"Fuck you Royce! Don't ever touch me again," I hissed and shoved him to retrieve my possessions.
I managed to maintain my footing as I fled down the stairs and across the ramp. A number of Royce's party-goers appeared back near the boat and were shocked at the scene before them.
I could only imagine what their thoughts were as they watched their host suffering on his knees and the woman who had put him there.
Dropping my things on the ground, I searched for my phone with shaky hands. I needed Edward. I needed to know he was near.
"Bella!" A warm hand touched my back and I steadied my stance with fury, my hand automatically curled into a fist, waiting to come in contact to whoever was stupid enough to approach me.
I turned to see Alec step back, his hands lifting in a show of peace.
"Sorry, I just– I can't–" I said, frazzled and wholly on edge.
"You're bleeding, Bella!" he pointed to my mouth.
"It's not my blood, Alec," I assured him and trained my eye over his shoulder as Royce staggered towards us.
A handkerchief was plastered to the side of his head, his face pure rage. Alec looked back and forth between us, his own anger blistering and narrowing at my attacker. "What the fuck did you do?"
"You stupid little whore," Royce fumed.
He had blinders on, and his target was me.
"Royce, what the fuck do you think you're doing?"
The man I had noticed earlier yelled out. His dreads swayed as he circled his arms around Royce's torso, easily holding him in place.
"Back off Laurent! That bitch is mine," Royce snarled.
"Bro, you've been drinking, it's time for you to back off," Laurent said, his tone calm but full of authority.
I turned towards his voice. He was here. Edward was here for me.
My breath escaped my body and I fell instantly into his arms.
"Baby, I'm here. I'm so sorry I'm late." He held me close, my head tucked into his neck and my hands clutched at his body. "I've got you babe, I've got you, Bella."
My body shook in his embrace and his hands ran up and down my arms, coaxing me to calm.
"What the fuck happened?" he asked, his question hanging in the air.
I turned in Edward's arms and saw that Laurent had addressed him.
"Laurent?" Edward answered him and then quickly re-focused, "Did he do this to my girl?" He pointed to Royce who held a strip of red stained fabric to his ear. The hold Laurent had on him was still firm around his waist.
Royce laughed without humour and threw the handkerchief at my feet, his arms flailing in my direction.
"That whore of yours bit me! She's a crazy freak. She tried to fuck me on the boat and I told her no – then she bit me! Crazy bitch!" Royce lied.
I didn't know what came over me. Maybe it was the fact that his words were dripping with false accusations, or that he thought people actually believed them, or that Edward heard them; it all fueled my rage.
Before I knew it, my feet pounded on the concrete, closing the distance between my attacker and me.
It was as if everyone was frozen in place as they watched me stalk towards him.
My blood was pumping but my thoughts were calm and clear; I could hear Charlie's voice in my ear, "Not to the head, Bells. Your intent is to cause your opponent to stumble."
I was quick, too quick for Royce to react. My fist connected with his stomach and it was easy because Laurent still had a hold on him. Royce's body slumped and when Laurent released him, he crumbled to his knees.
Royce heaved heavy breaths and looked up at me, shock and fear splashed across his face and I did the one thing I had wanted to do since he laid his filthy hands on me. I slapped the fucker clear across the face. My ridiculously heavy flowered ring may have been faced inward so as to scrape the shit out of his skin. You know, by accident.
"Who's the bitch now, Royce?" I hissed down at him as his hand cradled his red, injured face.
Edward's arms wound around me again and he turned me to walk away from Royce.
I noticed a crowd gathered and saw a number of girls giving me the eye. Fuck that, I thought. I didn't deserve the judgement, so I stared right back.
But what happened next surprised the fuck out of me. One of the girls marched straight up to Royce. He had finally managed to get on his feet and smiled creepily when he saw her in front of him. I guess the look on her face confused him and he shook his head minutely before she drove her stiletto down onto his sandaled foot, then shoved him back with her finely manicured fingers.
Another girl pushed Royce and landed repeated slaps on his back, causing him to fall onto his knees. Over and over she continued to smack blows to his head. Her tiny hands were lightning fast and the sound echoed on the Harbour.
The small pack watched, astounded but mostly amused before Laurent finally intervened and then gently removed Royce's assailants away.
I was in shock. Apparently, I was not the only one who deserved to unload her pent-up fury. Alec kept his balance on the balls of his feet, crouched over Royce who was curled into a fetal position. We watched as Alec took on a dominant pose, obviously setting Royce in his place. For a split second, I almost felt sorry for how pathetic he looked, but my senses returned quickly as the sting of his actions felt so fresh on my skin.
"What the fuck, baby? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" Edward asked as he pulled me into his chest again.
My heart was pounding hard in my chest, but his was too, seemingly from his worry for me.
"Is your girl okay, Cullen?" Edward had his right arm around my shoulder and he fisted his hair with his left before bumping fists with Laurent.
Edward looked down at me as I nodded to him.
"Ya, she's good." I clutched my hand around the fabric at the back of his shirt. I felt grounded now, with Edward by my side, holding me.
"Good, good to hear." Laurent looked at me and his smile was genuine. I had a feeling he enjoyed how I reacted towards Royce and his outburst.
"I wanted to call you, man," Laurent said to Edward, "I haven't seen you since–"
"New Year's," they said simultaneously.
They twitched their heads at each other in confusion. Edward looked at Laurent like he'd grown three heads.
"New Year's, bro," Laurent laughed, "we were at that club, remember? Then we went to that after-hours downtown? Jared, Eric, Bree? G joined us after?"
I looked at my man as his face paled in the moonlight. He recovered slightly and shrugged without comment.
"I guess I was really drunk that night, I barely remember it." Edward shook his head and I could tell he was really annoyed he couldn't remember. "Laurent, I'm taking my girl home. I'll call you, we'll do drinks?"
"Laurent, why don't you come out on Wednesday? We're doing a thing for his birthday," I spoke up, seeing the perfect opportunity to invite a friend of Edward's to his party.
"Ya, man, come out," Edward urged and they exchanged a half man-hug before I promised to text Laurent the details.
I hastily sent a text to Irina informing her of the drama.
Royce assaulted me. Don't worry, I'm ok. His face & body paid for this mistake. I'm staying with Edward. I'll fill you in tomorrow. I promise I'm ok. -B
Edward stopped us at an all-night convenience store and immediately poured bottled water onto a handful of napkins.
He dabbed at my lips softly, cleaning my face of the grime and filth that was Royce. "Rinse and spit," he ordered. Embarrassment washed over me as I was basically asked to hork in front of my fuck-hot man. I sucked it up and did as I was told, cherishing the way he took care of me.
Since the scene at the dock, Edward had kept his hands on me like a life line. It was like he was scared or something. I understood. I had gone all psycho bitch back there and it was like he had to reassure himself that I was okay.
His right hand encased mine as he drove steadily with his left. His arms rocked my body slowly in the elevator of his condo. His lips peppered me with kisses in my hair and on my neck.
He turned on the water in his ornate shower and slowly and adoringly cleansed my body of this cruel night. He brought his fingers and eyes to my face, cradling, searching, and loving.
After a thorough cleansing, he covered me up in a fluffy cotton robe and gently ran a towel through my damp hair.
He pulled on a pair of flannel PJs for himself and turned to me, holding the matching PJ top for me to wear. He let my robe fall around my feet and helped me put my arms through the sleeves.
I couldn't keep my eyes off of him as he loved me without words. Silent tears escaped the corner of my eye as the night's events caught up with me.
"Fucking Royce," I mumbled.
"I was so scared, baby," Edward whispered as he slipped a couple buttons through the holes of my top.
"Me too. A little scared and a lot pissed," I said, my eyes still watering.
His large hands cradled my head, carefully, like I was the most fragile crystal. His long fingers rested at the back of my neck under my tangled hair and his thumbs feathered lightly on my cheek, catching my tears and wiping them away.
"Baby…" we said in unison.
We shared a short laugh as he brought me closer to him. My arms circled around his neck and his did the same around the small of my back.
I was so raw with emotion, I felt so naked and vulnerable. I realized it was the first time I had truly and completely let my guard down with Edward and instead of being frightened, I was strengthened.
I untangled my hands and traced his lips with my thumb while my other hand rested on his heart.
His eyes were deep and dark as he searched mine.
"Edward, I, I–"
"I love you, Bella." His smile melted me where I stood.
"I love you too. So much. So so so much, baby," I said, and I felt so much lighter and happier and complete for telling him.
"I love you so much, my Isabella."
He held me tight to his body, breathing me in, his fingers running up and down my back, soothing me and in turn, soothing him.
He led us to the bed, turning down the covers. He hopped in and opened his arms for me to join him. I snuggled into his chest, fitting my head underneath his chin. I folded my left arm into the small space between us, curling my fingers at my side, while my right arm circled around his body. He coaxed my leg between his, overlapping our limbs.
My heart was filled with our declarations now that I knew he felt the same. Exhaustion crept upon me and my eyes fluttered closed.
I wasn't thinking about my job. Or about Charlie and his lessons. I wasn't thinking about the smell of Royce's breath or the look on those women's faces as they got their blows in.
I was breathing easily knowing that for once, I could let go and Edward would take care of me.
I was safe.
I was cared for.
I was loved.
"Sleep baby," Edward whispered into my hair, his voice is warm and soothing, "I love you."
Yes, I know I suck for not posting on the regular. I'd list my excuses here, but I think you'd rather have me spend time writing, non?
My neverending thanks to:
Emc3015, for lending your words to add to RKIII and his all 'round douchiness. Delicious fruity cocktails for you tomorrow!
Alterite, for your sexy French words that make Edward oh! so much more délicieux. (Gah - I hope google got that right!)
bornonhalloween, for your constant guidance and support. I sing my praises to you in the middle of my living room.
Oh - and a big shout out to those ladies who post inspriring scandalous photos - at all hours of the day.
You know who you are, dirrrrrty dirrrrrty dirrrrrty FRIENDS.