"Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" Thomas chirped when Bella left the store.
"And you do everything I would do, right?" Bella laughed.
"Don't worry, boss; I'll make sure everything is okay before I close."
She was going on a date. And her date, Edward Cullen, was waiting outside Blue Door, leaning against his fancy sports car.
"Hi Bella!" he said and leaned to kiss her cheek.
This was their third date. Edward Cullen was a son of a publishing magnate Carlisle Cullen. They met when Edward had visited the store in March. Edward had told her that their Company was interested in buying her store, and Bella had thanked him for his honesty and told him it was not for sale, not now, not ever.
Edward had shown up again the next day and asked her out. Bella had refused, but Edward kept coming back. Bella wasn't going to give up, but then she became a victim of blackmail; Beth, her dear old meddling Beth, said that if Bella didn't take some time off and meet new people, she would move to New York. She had insisted on Bella going on a date with Edward Cullen and having some fun. Be young and merry.
So here she was, going on a date to have some fun. And Bella could have some fun. She knew her heart was not in danger with this man. For starters, she was sure that he only took her on these dates so he could try to change her mind. So far, he hadn't said as much, but she wasn't a fool. And even if Edward did want something else too, she wasn't going to fall for him. He was a bit too full of himself, and Bella didn't trust people with too much money. Maybe it was unjustified, but it was what her grandfather had always said, and it had stayed with her.
But Edward was charming, fun, and easy on the eye, not to mention he could show a girl a good time, so why not enjoy it for a while.
"Where are we going?" Bella asked after Edward sat next to her in his car. Wheeling off the roadside, Edward just grinned and said, "it's a surprise."
Okay, she usually didn't like surprises, but surely, she could handle one date, not knowing what would happen.
She could at least try.
But she couldn't.
"Give me a clue," she said
"Nope," Edward replied, smiling.
"Please," she tried her puppy eyes.
Edward blinked and cleared his throat. "You'll be with me until tomorrow, and you'll be on the water," he told her.
"What?! I can't stay away from work." Bella said. She didn't like this.
"Yes, you can. All is sorted. Beth helped me by packing your bag; it's in the booth, and your staff is taking care of everything at the store. You are free all day today and tomorrow."
Bella couldn't believe her ears.
"I would have wanted to have some say in this," Bella said. She'd been manipulated, and she hated it. She was irritated by her staff going on behind her back. "Is this a kidnapping? You'll keep me as long as I'll sell you my store?" Bella said, trying to make it sound like a joke. Failing.
"I might want to keep you," Edward said with a smirk.
Oh, now the seduction starts. Now she was pissed.
"I think I want to go back," Bella said. She had lost interest in this date that wasn't even a date. What the hell was it?
"Oh, come on, Bella. Don't do this. I'm sorry I didn't tell you we didn't tell you. But you would not have come if we had," Edward said.
He was right about that.
"We're going to my grandfather's boat. It's a big yacht, where you have your own cabin, and we'll have a nice lunch and dinner. We'll be back tomorrow as early as you want."
Of course, it was a huge yacht with ten cabins at least.
Bella didn't say anything but stared to the front, gritting her teeth. Beth could move to New York for all she cared. She should have told her. Bella felt betrayed. But at the same time, she knew her reaction was unreasonable. Beth had been worried about her for a while now, ever since... ever since she let Paul and Embry go and was heartbroken. She knew Beth meant well.
"Please. You need to relax, and a day on the boat will be so much fun, I promise," Edward pleaded.
"Please, Bella. I won't ever do this again."
Damn, right, you won't because there isn't going to be next time. Sneaky bastard.
"Please, Bella. I'll make this up to you. Our chef is one of the best ones in San Francisco. He can make you the best dinner you have ever eaten."
Bella doubted that nothing could surely be better than Paul's seafood paella. But she was feeling her resolution weaken. She had reacted hastily. It would be great fun to go on the boat. She'd never done that before, even though she had lived close to the ocean her all life. Only the ferries but never on a boat not to mention on a yacht.
"Okay. But you are definitely sleeping in your own cabin, alright," Bella said.
"Scouts honor," Edward said solemnly, making the three-finger salute.
Bella couldn't keep her deadpan face much longer, and she could feel a smile spreading on her face. And she decided to have fun even though she'd been cornered by those closest to her.
They arrived at the harbor full of big boats. She whistled; all this wealth was just ridiculous. Edward chuckled and parked his car. Before Bella could even move to open the door, Edward was there already opening it for her.
"Thank you," Bella said as she took the hand he offered her. The car was almost on ground level, so having some help wasn't a bad idea.
Bella looked around the Yacht marina, wondering which boat was Cullen's.
Edward took two bags from the booth, and sure enough, Bella's grey duffel bag was there.
"Can I see what Beth had packed for me?" she asked, stretching her arm to her bag.
"I'm sure she packed everything you need, and there is all you could ever need in the boat," Edward said.
Bella gave him an annoyed look, and he gave the bag to her. Bella knelt and opened it. She rummaged through the bag, and it looked like there were all the essentials. Her necessity bag, when had Beth snatched it? Her denim shorts, a couple of t-shirts, a sun dress, a change of underwear, and bikinis. Also, her green hooded sweater, a wind stopper, and pair of jeans.
"It looks like here is everything I need," Bella said, getting up from the ground, not accepting Edward's hand this time. She was still a bit annoyed by him.
"Okay, let's go," Edward said, pulling his hand away, and Bella followed him since she had no idea which way to go.
They walked to one of the piers that had the most ostentatious boats moored. Edward stopped in front of a huge beautiful old-fashioned yacht with a lot of wood and dark blue coloring. It had the name Beatrice written in cursive on its side.
"She's beautiful," Bella breathed.
"She's the pride of the Cullen family. My grandfather had it made in the 1950s and named her after my grandmother, Beatrice Hadley Cullen," Edward said with evident pride in his voice.
"Are you going to drive it?" Bella asked.
"Hell no, there's a four-person crew in the boat. A captain, a mate, a stewardess, and a chef."
Of course, there is.
"Good day, miss Swan, Mr. Cullen," said an older woman as they stepped on board.
"Hello, Madeleine," Edward greeted one of his crew members.
"Call me Bella, please," Bella said.
"Very well, miss ... Bella," the older woman said and smiled at her.
"Can I take your bag, Bella?" Madeleine asked.
"Thank you, but I'll carry it," Bella said, not knowing if she was being rude, but no way was she letting another person carry her bag, especially a woman who could be her grandmother.
"Alright, thank you, Madeleine," Edward said. "I'll take Bella to her cabin; I take it you made sure the blue cabin is ready for her?"
"Yes, Mr. Cullen. It is aired, and bed linen changed."
"That's great. Thank you. This way, Bella," Edward showed her to the narrow hall leading towards the back of the yacht.
"This is your cabin," Edward said and opened the door. Bella's mouth fell open.
It was like a big luxury hotel room with a double bed and a cozy-looking sitting area. It was amazing. There were fresh flowers and a big bowl full of different fruits and berries on the table.
Bella glanced at Edward, who was looking at her, and gave him a big smile.
"You know that this is totally unreal," she said, and Edward just shrugged.
"I leave you to freshen up and make yourself comfortable. My cabin is just the opposite. Knock on the door when you are ready to go for our drinks."
"Where are we going?" Bella asked.
Edward chuckled, rubbing his neck, "Well, that too was supposed to be a secret, but I've learned that you're not a big fan of surprises."
Bella gave him a sheepish smile. He was a quick learner; she gave him that.
"We're going to Drakes Bay and anchor there for the night. It will be a beautiful night with a sunset, and the cliffs up there are amazing in the sunset."
"I've once been in Drakes Bay. I was camping there with my parents," Bella remembered. "It's a beautiful place. It will be lovely to see it from the water."
"Yes, the setting sun paints the cliffs in amazing orange color." Edward said, "I'll see you in half an hour?"
"Yes, it's more than enough," Bella said.
"That's great. I want us to have the drinks and the lunch when we pass the Bridge. The bathroom is over there," he pointed at the door next to a bookshelf. Because, of course, there had to be a bookshelf on a boat.
Bella shook his head in amusement.
"What?" Edward asked.
"Okay. Come and knock on my door when you're ready."
Edward left, and Bella lifted her bag on the bed and sat next to it. She looked around and was in awe of the beautiful design around her. She'd never seen anything like it. The nautical theme in the cabin was very tasteful, and the fresh aroma of the flowers and fruits made her head spin. She realized that she was pretty hungry.
She got up from the bed and moved around the room. There was a good-sized wardrobe and a desk. On the bookshelf, there were mainly authors from Cullen's publishing house but also some of Bella's favorite classics, including Austen and Gaskell.
Opposite the bookshelf, there was a big mirror. She looked at herself. It was strange that she didn't feel awkwardly out of place. She wasn't set up for a luxury yacht for sure, but in her defense, she hadn't known it was on the menu. But she would probably have dressed just the same even if she had known. She had a white linen boat neck shirt with dark skintight blue jeans and loafers, so actually, her outfit was very nautical.
She took out her hairbrush and went to the bathroom to wash her face and untangle her hair. She gasped when she opened the door to the bathroom. Damn, there was a bath and a shower with a sink and cabinet. It wasn't a very big space but designed to look spacy.
She brushed her hair and tied it up into a ponytail; it would probably be windy. She put a couple of extra hair bands on her wrist if she wanted to tie it into a bun.
In 15 minutes, she was ready to go, and she left the cabin. Edward's door was just the opposite, and she knocked on it.
Edward opened the door and moved so she could go in. She hesitated for a second but stepped into the room. It was similar, but some details were slightly different, making the overall coloring green. In her cabin, it had been blue.
"I hope you can appreciate all this beauty around you," Bella said, looking around. "This boat is magnificent. I have never seen anything like this."
"Oh yes, I know a beauty when I see one," Edward said, looking at her.
Oh please, Bella thought. He was such a flirt. She just smiled and turned around to look at the painting on the wall. It was scenery with the yacht and lush tropical surroundings which looked like Hawaii.
"My grandmother loved to paint. It's her painting," Edward said and came to stand next to her.
"It's a good painting. Is she still alive?" Bella asked.
"No. She died two years ago. But my grandfather is and is as healthy as an ox. He probably outlives my dad."
"Are you two close?"
"Yes. I'm closer to my grandpa than to my father."
"Oh. But you have them both in your life, right? It is a good thing," Bella said.
"Yes, you're right. My father and I are too similar and fight a lot. My mum is bored being a referee, and I try to stay out of his way as much as possible."
"Did he put you after my shop?"
"It was grandpa. He'd been following your story ever since Blue Door was opened, and he admires the work your family has done."
"That's very kind of him. But I hope you've already told him that I won't sell it - ever," Bella said.
"Yes, I informed him right away. You made it very clear," Edward chuckled.
"Good. What did your grandfather say?" Bella was curious to know.
"Only that It was exactly what he'd expected."
"What do you think that means?"
"That he admires your spirit."
What the hell did that mean? And then Bella decided to put all her cards on the table.
"Let us be clear with this, okay, Edward? Nothing will ever change my mind. Not you taking me on this luxury boating trip and offering the best wines and foods or flirting or flattering. Okay? I won't sell Blue Door. It is my home and my whole life."
Edward looked at her with a smile that got wider every second, and he burst out laughing.
"Bella, you sure don't want us to hide in the bushes, do you? I have to admit that it was one of the reasons but as much or even more I just like spending time with you. You are an amazing woman; you must know that," Edward said.
Bella felt her cheek flush, and she looked away. But she was happy Edward was being honest.
"Shall we go?" Edward asked and went to open the door.
They left the cabin, and Edward took them to the next level, where there was an open deck with a freaking swimming pool and a huge inside area with comfortable lounges and a fireplace. Damn.
They went to the deck. The boat had left the harbor and was going past Alcatraz Island.
"The city looks amazing from here. We used to make day trips to Alcatraz and the parks at Oakland when I was a kid," Bella said.
"Your childhood sounds very happy," Edward said.
"It was," Bella agreed.
They sat down on the chairs, and Madeleine came to offer them something sparkling.
"Some Champagne, Bella, Mr. Cullen?" she asked.
"Thank you," Bella said, taking the glass.
Bella started to relax more as she drank the cool Champagne and another. Madeleine served the lunch as the yacht sailed under Golden Gate Bridge. The food was delicious, Bella admitted, but Paul's paella still held the first place. For a short awhile, she missed him. His smile and laugh. The way he looked at her when Bella woke up in the morning snuggled into his chest. She hoped he was happy and Embry...
"Bella?" Edward said, dragging her out of her thoughts. She blushed.
"Oh, sorry, what did you say?"
He just chuckled and shook his head. Bella smiled at him. Edward was an easy person to be with. He knew a lot of things and was very interested in literature which probably was for the best considering his field of work. But he had studied economy at the Uni, which he said he had enjoyed.
They swam in the pool and had more drinks. When they arrived at Drakes Bay, dinner was served on the back deck, and the sun was just starting to set.
"Your staff knows how to time things, huh? I bet this isn't the first time they've brought people to watch the sunset," Bella chuckled. The timing was perfect. The cliffs were getting more orange by passing second, and the whole sky was like it was in a fire.
"Yes, they are good at that. But this intense sunset is by chance; they're not that good," Edward laughed.
They were seated for dinner, and Madeleine brought them beautiful food, dish after another.
"So, you really hate people doing stuff for you, don't you?" Edward said when they were finishing their delicious strawberry dessert.
"Not when I'm paying them to do things," Bella answered. She knew what he meant but didn't want to talk about her being a control freak.
Edward poured her some more wine. Bella knew that she shouldn't drink anymore. She was not much of a drinker and got easily hungover.
"What if someone wanted to give you something?" Edward said, looking at her with an intense look in his eyes.
"It depends. What would that something be?" Bella said, leaning on her palm.
He leaned closer, his eyes flicking between her eyes and her mouth. Momentarily she was so captivated by his green eyes that she couldn't stop him before she felt his lips against hers. Soft and tasting of delicious wine they'd just drank. It did feel good. She'd missed this kind of contact, and she kissed him back.
Edward moaned into the kiss and deepened it cupping his other hand behind her head other one finding its way under her dress.
Bella could admit that she wanted to lose herself in this feeling of having a man close to her, kissing her, wanting her. She'd been without so long that she felt her decision not to sleep with Edward Cullen crumble, and she tugged her fingers into Edward's thick bronze hair pulling him closer.
"Damn, Bella, I want you so much," he said between the kisses.
Did she want to have sex with Edward? She wanted sex, damn how she missed having sex. Her first choice for having it wouldn't be Edward Cullen, but he was here. And it was time to move on.
"It would be only sex, Edward," Bella said.
Edward stopped kissing her, looking at her with an expression she could not read, and then started to laugh.
"You are something else, Bella. Yes, only sex, if that is what you want."
"Yes, it..." she said, but Edward's hungry mouth swallowed her words. The kiss got heated, and her head was spinning, partly for being a bit drunk but partly because Edward's mouth and his hands on her body felt so good.
Edward took her hand and led them to the corridor leading to the cabins. He opened the door to her room, kissing her neck.
"Tell me, Edward," Bella said, "were you ever a scout?"
"I thought so."
So, Bella is faring a lot better than the guys. But at least she still thinks of them.
Thank you for your comments and favs and follows. Special thanks to you, Sandy2348. Your comment gave me an idea for this chapter. I was going to use Edward a bit differently later on in the story, but your question made me think, why wait, and this ended up to be a perfect moment for him to show up. I love hearing from you. Thank you for reading.
I'll be leaving on a trip tomorrow and won't take my laptop with me. A break from all electronic devices is in order although I would like to write. But I'll come back to this and my other stories after a little break.