22. How to be a girlfriend, week 1

When I saw you standing there
I said to myself
M-m-m here's a place
I could break down and care
I'll give him my sweet love
Taste his sweet love
Real sweet love
Woman to man

"Man To Man" (Joni Mitchell)


Was there any better way to wake up on a Sunday morning than this? It would have been perfect, if he only wouldn't...

Jesus Christ!

"...yes, right there... I... oh... God... fuck, no!"

I didn't actually intend to verbalize my slowly increasing frustration but just couldn't help it. Immediately, Kiddo's head jerked up from between my legs.

He looked at me quizzically, "No?"

The sight of him, all tousled hair and hooded eyes and swollen pouty lips, made me giggle.

"What?" he demanded.

One corner of his mouth twitched, as if fighting the urge to curl up to my favorite lop-sided Edward-smile. I loved his new, relaxed confidence... I mean, how many men do you know who would smirk at a 'no' and a 'teehee' emerging from the woman they are just going down on?

I know right?

I giggled even more. "You're looking cute down there."

"Cute?" He rolled his eyes, "Annie, I'm trying to -" He rested his head on my thigh, his breathing still a little labored. "I'm glad I amuse you, but I wasn't exactly planning on making you giggle, to be honest."

My hand was in his hair before I knew it, curling into the silky strands. "I know, baby. Sorry."

He leaned into my touch and closed his eyes. The smile still lingered as he let go a quiet moan, like a purr. He wasn't upset at all, but he wasn't willing to take this setback either. His hands moved down from my hips and under my thighs, lifting them up. I bent my knees willingly and suppressed another giggle.

"Cute, huh?" he mumbled, and then I felt his hot breath on my center, a second before he licked from my entrance up to my clit, and I moaned loudly. Immediately, my breath quickened again.

"God, Annie, you taste so good... I'm not done with you yet. Please tell me... what did I do wrong?" His groaned question sounded muffled due to the pleasant fact that he was nuzzling his nose between my wet lips.

"You did nothing really wrong, it's just, you know... you kind of missed the, um... target, repeatedly, so I couldn't..."

"No way..." he muttered, still muffled.

"Yes way! You were – oohhh..." The point I was going to make was ripped from my conscience, as his tongue once again lapped at my most sensitive spot.

"I missed this?" he whispered against said target, making me shiver. "I'm sorry. Let me try again."

Yeah, why not? Ung...

And boy, did he try. My hips bucked under his ministrations, and he groaned against my aching center – the deep vibration adding to the pleasure. Quickly I felt myself spiraling upwards one more time to my release, only to fall down again when I suddenly felt the loss of friction where I craved it the most. I whimpered in frustration.

Fuck! What's your damn problem, for crying out loud?

"Edward... please, I need..." Without an exact idea what I was going to do, I reached down and pressed my fingers on my mound. I pulled a little upwards, stretching the soft flesh, which noticeably heightened the sensitivity of the whole area and made my clit stick out. Immediately, Kiddo closed his lips around it and sucked.

"God... yes!" I cried out, relief and pleasure washed through me.

He released me for a moment, looking up at me. "Annie, you're so goddamn beautiful," he panted, "cum for me... I want to make you cum like this." He dove back down and swirled his tongue around my throbbing bud. "Please show me how..."

I arched my back and moaned, "Shit... yes, love." With my index and middle finger forming a V, I shoved my hand down a little further to spread my lips, until my clit rested in the small hollow between my fingers. That was all he needed for an invitation...

In no time he was working me towards an epic orgasm. My legs started to quiver uncontrollably, as he licked and sucked and moaned between my thighs, and all coherent thinking left me.

don't stop … don't stop … don't stop … don't stop ...

"Mmmmhhhh...," he groaned, which I assumed meant something like 'Now!', because next thing I felt were his fingers inside of me, and that was it. I came hard, every nerve ending in my body on fire, and I swear I saw the white light. And a bit of fireworks, too. Maybe this synesthesia thing was contagious, after all...

I was still riding out my orgasm when both his hands landed on the mattress next to either side of my head. Our bodies bounced a little and then his mouth crashed on mine; taking away what little breath I just had caught again. My legs were still bent and now trapped under his arms, my thighs pressed against my shoulders. The tip of his hard, velvety cock skimmed my entrance. He didn't need to use his hands; I'm not even sure he intended to enter me, but he slipped in effortlessly, just like that.


"God, no more... Edward, I can't…," I cried, and yet my fingers dug into his back, belying my objection.

He tipped his head back and stilled on top of me, panting. At first I thought he hadn't heard me because he didn't seem to see me either. His eyes were glazed over, wandering restlessly, taking advantage of the white screens of my bedroom. I could tell he was totally lost in his very own enchanting universe of color and light. It only lasted for a few heartbeats, then he forced his glance down. I watched his pupils contract as he locked eyes with me.

"Yes, you can," he breathed.

Briefly shifting his weight onto one arm, he put his free hand under my knee and lifted it to release my left boob which I hadn't even noticed was awkwardly trapped underneath my thigh. I mouthed a thanks, and he chuckled and let himself fall forward on both arms again.

He began moving in me... slowly, very slowly. With each meaningful thrust, he arched his back forcefully like a big cat. He held his breath and his whole body trembled when he pushed forward, inch for inch, with intent. And he released a shattered breath each time he pulled back in the same slow way. I watched his muscles tense and relax above me, totally enraptured. I couldn't get over how gorgeous he was.

Shit... yes, maybe I can...

With a quiet whimper, I grabbed his ass to urge him on. But he shook his head ever so slightly and maintained his steady rhythm, not taking his eyes off of mine.

"I don't want to come yet," he rasped between his ragged breathing, "I just... please, I don't want this to end. But if you want me to... are you close?"

I wasn't close, but I didn't care, because my heart swelled with love for him. To prevent it from bursting, I whispered, "I love you."

Kiddo gasped, and although he continued moving torturously slow, his breath sped up considerately. "Say it again," he panted, a glorious smile looming on his parted lips.

"I love you, Edward."

He moaned loudly and knitted his brows. "Fuck, Annie, I can't... I can't help it...," he choked out. His beautiful face crumpled, registering a pleasure that bordered on pain, and then he stopped moving and breathing altogether. Time seemed to stand still for a moment as he looked down at me wide-eyed, as if in complete wonder.

As I felt him pulse within me, I deliberately constricted my muscles and clenched around him as best as I could. Kiddo squeezed his eyes shut and collapsed on top of me. With a low groan against my neck, he climaxed inside of me while I stroked his hair, whispering to him how good he felt and how much I adored him.

Still panting heavily, he lifted himself on his elbows and, one after the other, released my somewhat tortured legs – only to let himself drop down on me again as soon as I had stretched myself out with a sigh of relief.

I chortled quietly. "Are you alright? Or should I call 9-1-1?"

Without moving otherwise, Kiddo held one finger up to indicate that he needed a minute or two but was basically fine. After a few moments he mumbled, "My arms are jello. Legs too. And most of all..." he chuckled into the crook of my neck, "my dick... definitely jello. I think even my brain has turned into jello. It's very happy jello though..."

His breath tickled my skin as he laughed again, and I joined in spontaneously; euphoric Kiddo was simply irresistible. With a girlish giggle, I kissed his temple - the only spot I could reach with my mouth.

"I'm glad you're happy jello."

He hugged me tightly.

"Yes... me too, Annie."




Fifteen Minutes later, I could hear the water running in the bathroom and smiled as I briefly considered joining Kiddo in the shower. But I was just too relaxed, too content and... yes, too happy to even move. With a sigh, I leaned back into my pillow, surprised by how natural and right it felt to have him around in my personal space as if nothing had happened.

We hadn't talked too much last night. But I guess both of us had said what needed to be said.

For now.

Fact was, I just felt better with him around. Even after the 'Black' incident, when I so desperately had wanted him to go away... I somehow had felt better before he had left my apartment. Besides, it wasn't a Ming vase, and I had still three kitchen chairs left.

Schizo, much?

When I couldn't find him and freaked out because I thought he might have done something to himself... it wasn't so much about feeling guilty, admittedly. Hell, I wasn't a character out of a Stephenie Meyer book! It was the idea that I could have lost him, that I might never see him again. Just that. So what did we learn from this lesson? Annie Portman was a selfish bitch!

Not proud of it, ok? Sue me...





"Ok, when are you going to tell me about him?"

I choked on my coffee and almost spit it all over my chief editor's designer dress. "What...?"

Beatrice narrowed her eyes at me. "Look at you! As if I needed any more confirmation... come on, who is he?"

"Am I that transparent?" I took another sip in a fruitless attempt to appear somewhat aloof.

She wasn't buying it.

"Hello? You've been walking around with your head in the clouds for days. I know that look. Found someone to get yummy Edward-on-the-train off your mind finally, huh?"

This time I spit out my coffee for real. Fortunately, Beatrice was quite nimble on her feet and brought herself out of the danger zone with a quick jump. I wasn't that lucky; I had successfully ruined my white tee before my working day had even begun.


My nosy boss ripped some paper towels from the dispenser and handed them to me, wide-eyed. I took them and futilely wiped my shirt, avoiding her gaze.


I looked up to see her shake her head, her face registering a wild mixture of emotions: disbelief, amazement, excitement... yes, most of all excitement.


"Oh. My. God! Really, Annie? It's him?"

I disposed of the useless paper towels and buried my face in my hands, unable to stifle the laugh that bubbled up from inside of me. Then I felt Beatrice's hands on my shoulder, shaking me.

"I don't believe it," she squealed, "you did it! How... what... oh my God, what happened? You need to tell me all about it! How old is he? Is he smart? How far did you... and how long? Holy shit!"

"Beatrice..." I took my hands of my face, still laughing.

"Shit, you are happy!" she blurted. I had never seen her grinning like that.

"I guess I am, yes."

She clapped her hands. "Go girl!"

"I need to change my shirt."

Ignoring my attempt to distract her, Beatrice took a step back and tilted her head. I felt uncomfortable under her survey. When she spoke again, there was an odd melody to it, like the first line of 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'.

"You are in love, honey."

Fuck, yes!

"Fuck, yes!" she repeated my thought and pulled me into a hug. "When can I meet him?"

Someone shoot me please!





A quick glance at my watch confirmed me that Tom/a.k.a. James/a.k.a. my neighbor/former friend with benefits had been wordlessly staring into his coffee mug now for exactly two minutes and twenty-six seconds.




"So..." he finally said, "this is serious then? You and this k... guy? That's it for you, Annie?"

He still didn't look up. Well, I knew before that he wouldn't like what I had to tell him.

"It is, yes. I'm in love with him."

He screwed his mouth and snorted. "You want me to apologize or something? Not going to happen, just so you know."

"No apologies necessary, Tom. What has happened was as much my fault as it was yours, maybe even more my own fault. I just wanted to let you know where we stand."

"Where we stand?" He shook his head and chuckled mirthlessly. "Jesus, Annie." Then he fell silent again.

one mississippi...

two mississippi...

three mississippi...

His chair almost fell over when he suddenly stood up. He took one last sip of his coffee and set the mug down on the table with a loud clank. "Congratulations, girl. And good luck. See you around."

He still hadn't faced me one single time when the door slammed shut behind him.

Um... that went well, I think?





I opened my eyes with a gasp and found myself sitting upright in bed within a second. It was still dark and I had no idea what had ripped me out of my well-earned slumber in the middle of the night. I held my breath and listened anxiously for noises or footsteps from a possible intruder, but everything was quiet except for Kiddo's rapid breathing. No burglars.

Wait – why is he breathing rapidly?

I braced myself on one elbow and bent over to look at his face; but my eyes hadn't adjusted to the darkness yet and I couldn't see whether his eyes were open or not.

I whispered, "Edward?"


He was sleeping. Maybe a bad dream? Should I wake him? A quiet moan, almost a whimper escaped him. I gently put my hand against his cheek and winced. Startled, I touched his forehead, chest and arms - he was wet all over with cold sweat. I switched on the bedside lamp.



"Wake up, baby, there's something wrong!"

Another moan, but his eyes remained shut. I started to feel somewhat hysterical and patted his cheek a little more forcefully.

"Edward, you're covered in sweat and kind of hyperventilating; you need to wake up! Now, Kiddo - come on!"

Finally, he opened his eyes, but I could see it was not without effort.

"Is it your blood sugar? How do you feel?"

"Dunno..." he mumbled, and his eyelids threatened to fall shut again.

I decided to not take any chances and jumped off the bed to find his backpack. Snatching it from the bathroom, I turned on my heels in one movement and I was beside him again in no time; rummaging the polka dot offence for his diabetes gear. Given that time was a crucial point, I figured I wouldn't benefit in another attempt to wake him up for this. So I just prepared his lancet and set it against the tip of his index finger. I squeezed my eyes shut and pressed the button. It clicked loudly when it pierced his skin, and I'm sure it must have stung, but even then he didn't budge. It was only when I watched the crimson pearl of blood appear on his fingertip that I realized I should have set up the meter first.

Way to go, nurse Portman!

I held up his leaking finger in one hand, while my other hand fumbled awkwardly with the sensor stick and the measurement device for what seemed like forever until I had it ready. With a loud sigh, I tipped his finger against the sensor, and that darn thing began to count backwards. When it stopped after fifteen seconds, I stared at the number that popped up and my brain went blank for a moment.



What the fuck?

I remembered an episode of 'House' and that young guy he treated – that kid's whole body shook with cramps because his blood sugar had gone down to 35. Yet Kiddo lay perfectly still, except for his breath which became more frantic by the minute. Bloody TV producers...

I had some sort of déjà vu as I turned the backpack upside down and emptied it on the floor. My eyes darted around its spread out contents and I let go a string of expletives. No dextrose!

"You sloppy, stupid son of a bitch!"

I paced into the kitchen, cursing under my breath, and tore the fridge open. My eyes caught on the three vials of insulin we had carefully stored in there yesterday – unfortunately the exact opposite of what I needed now. I had a feeling that now was the perfect time to panic!

I barely took the time to whip on my bathrobe before I was out of my apartment and running down the stairs to bang on Alice's door. It took ages... ages! When the door finally opened, the sleepy face that showed up in the crack was less fancy Alice and more grumpy Eric than I'd ever seen before. Still half unconscious and in nothing but a pair of boxers with... wait, were there winged piglets on them?

"Annie, what the hell...?" More-Eric-than-Alice absentmindedly scratched his junk. I couldn't care less.

"I need something sweet; a chocolate bar, cake, fruit juice... now!"

"Are you pregnant?" There. Squealing Alice was back, wide-eyed.

"Dammit, no – it's Edward, his blood sugar..."

I couldn't even finish my sentence. The face disappeared, and a second later Alice high-speed pit-patted past me and upstairs, the blue silk of her open Kimono billowing out behind her like a sail. I followed her as fast as I could, and almost bumped into her back when she suddenly stopped in the frame of my kitchen door and let go a high-pitched squeak that would have suited one of the little animals on her undies.

She turned around and shoved the pack of orange juice she'd been carrying into my hands. "Jesus Christ," she muttered, her voice dropped down three octaves minimum, "are you guys trying to kill me?"

I peeked around her square shoulders and saw Kiddo leaning against the counter – one hundred percent fiber-free, in all his naked glory. The look on his face couldn't have been any more puzzled if Alice and I had been eight-legged alien intruders. His toned chest was glistening with sweat and gosh, he looked hot!

Alice grabbed my shoulders and took a deep breath through flared nostrils. "You... he..." she started, and then a brief shudder went through her. "I'm out of here. If I turn around I will probably do something I'll regret later. He looks pretty much alive to me, everything will be fine. You go and take care of him, and I'll go and... take care of something else... um, good luck. And you're welcome. And bye."

What the...?

I caught her by the tails of her geisha costume to keep her from leaving, as Kiddo murmured something that sounded like 'Bye, Alice'. His eyelids fluttered closed for a moment, and he held onto the edge of the countertop, staggering noticeably. An even stronger feeling of déjà vu washed through me now... Me in my bathrobe, Kiddo shaking, Kiddo passing out in my hallway.

Not this time!

I forced the juice pack back into Alice's hands. "You stay! There are clean glasses in the dishwasher. I'll get something to cover him. Get a grip, for crying out loud!"

"Gawwwwd...!" Alice ostentatiously covered her eyes with one hand before she turned around. I heard her mutter under her breath as I went for the bedroom, "Sure, Hooker, make me serve naked Edward a drink with a boner at 4 o'clock in the morning. It's just Alice – she can take a cold shower, right? Fuck..."

When I returned with a blanket, Alice had maneuvered my semi-conscious boyfriend to my new cherry-red canvas couch. She held a glass of orange juice out to him, and he was staring at it as if he had trouble figuring out what he was supposed to with it.

"You need to drink this, Beautiful." She helped him out, and finally he moved his arm and took the glass from her hand.

As soon as his fingers closed around it I realized this wasn't going to work. Kiddo's hands were shaking so violently that the drink Alice had generously poured him was slopping over, and he was barely able to lift it to his mouth. It was a miracle that he wasn't out cold yet.

Thankfully, Alice noticed his trouble too. She snatched the glass from his hand a second before it was about to slip from his weak grip. Then she slung her arm around his shoulders and held the glass against his lips. Kiddo closed both his hands around it and drank in greedy gulps.

Watching this, I briefly felt an irrational sting of jealousy. I knew Alice was just helping him, but I wanted to be the one doing this for him. This whole girlfriend thing was clouding my mind, apparently.

Don't be silly, Portman!

The glass was empty; Kiddo let go of it and his hands dropped onto his lap. Alice pulled him against her kimono clad chest and placed a kiss on top of his head. To my amazement, Kiddo closed his eyes and leaned into her touch with a sigh.

Ok – that does it!

With one swift move I threw the blanket over my naked lover and pulled him towards me and out of Alice's embrace, making her jump. "Refill," I spat at her, "he needs more!"

"Whoa... mellow greetings, what seems to be your boggle?" she huffed, quoting 'Demolition Man'. But before I could go all Wesley Snipes on her, Kiddo said something. It sounded like 'covered'?.

"What did you say, love? Are you better?"

"Cupboard," he repeated, "There's dextro in the cupboard, next to the sugar."

"Oh great," Alice rolled her eyes and set the empty glass down on the table. "I'm out of here. Jeez - for all that's holy and the tits of Judy Garland, it's 4:25 am! If you guys need anything else... more juice, a shoulder to cry on, foot massage, pole dance, a gay friend to bitch at for no reason... I'm downstairs, rubbing one off, ok? Then I'll try to get another two or three hours of sleep if you don't mind. 'Night."

And with that, she turned around, pushed her chin up dramatically, and stomped away. I wanted to call after her, but the door slammed shut before I had the chance.

"She's mad," Kiddo stated, slightly confused, "What did I do? And why was she here anyway?"

I sighed. "She'll get over it, everything's fine. Do you feel better?"

"Yes, thank you. Sorry for the... I found my gear on the nightstand. Did you check my blood sugar?"

"Yes, I did."

"How was it?"


"I would have just slept through it, you know."

I snorted. "I seriously doubt that. You were shaking."

He looked at me silently with green eyes under heavy lids. He still seemed a bit dizzy, but his hand didn't tremble any more as he raised it to run his index finger along my collarbone towards my shoulder. There his hand slipped under the fabric of my robe, pushing it slowly aside and down my upper arm, until my left breast was uncovered. My nipple, suddenly exposed to the cool air, hardened immediately.

"What are you doing?" I giggled.

Instead of an answer, Kiddo leaned over and closed his lips around my taut peak. I gasped with surprise and pleasure, and my hands found their way into his hair all by themselves. Not breaking contact where his mouth had settled on my skin, he shifted his weight and drew one knee up and under himself. He wrapped his arms around my upper body, underneath the now widely gaping bathrobe and started half-crawling over me, losing the blanket in the process. I helplessly reclined on the armrest, and Kiddo hummed in contentment.

"What are you doing, baby?" I repeated, a little breathless now.

"Christening the couch."


His lips had interrupted their delicious work just long enough for him to answer, before they kissed a path right below my collarbones over to the left, where he nuzzled the terrycloth aside to pay my other nipple equal attention.


"Edward, you just... do you think that's a good idea?" My question came out like a moan, betraying me. I instantly felt a moist heat building in my pussy which definitely considered his idea a very good one.

"U-huh," he confirmed between open-mouthed kisses on my neck, "I'm going to make love to you, Annie..." kiss "...right now..." kiss "...here..." kiss "...couch..."

Well... ok then... whoa!

Kiddo gently, but purposefully, nudged my thighs apart with his knee and settled himself between them. With one hand under my back he pulled me closer and ground himself against my hot center. It felt good, but different. It felt unexpectedly... supple. I reached down between us and palmed his soft and unusually uncooperative manlihood.

"Baby," I whispered, "are you sure?"

"Just give me a minute," he murmured, nibbling gently at my earlobe. We kept on making out for a few more minutes, kissing, stroking, grinding, moaning and whispering words of endearment and adoration to each other, until he suddenly stopped and rested his forehead against mine. His eyes were closed and he was breathing heavily through his nose.

"Dammit, I want you so badly," he groaned.

I kissed him and pulled his head down to my shoulder. His whole body relaxed as he nestled his face into the crook of my neck and sighed.

"I know, love," I said, "but part of you doesn't. For good reason. Your blood sugar went through the floor, you are exhausted, you had an attack of sweating and now you're cooling off. Look at you, goosebumps everywhere."

"I'm sorry I wrecked your night."

"I'm not. I would like no one better than you to have my nights wrecked."

He snorted and shook his head. "I'm a mess."

"Yes, you are," I giggled, stroking his hair, "let's get you into the shower and back to bed, shall we? We still have a little more than two hours left to get some sleep. And we can christen the couch tomorrow."

He nodded yes and, half asleep again already, murmured, "Love you."




Later, in the remains of that night, I found myself on top of him, straddling his hips and riding him gently. Neither of us was vocal; all that could be heard in the confines of my bedroom was our breathing. A second before he tensed underneath me, he moaned my name. I relished the feel of him pulsating inside of me, it didn't matter that I was actually too tired to find my own release. I just stayed there, hovering over him, imagining the way his face looked like when he came undone.

In order to give us as much peace as possible to rest successfully in the wee hours of the morning, I had shut down the blinds to keep the lights and noises of the awakening city from sneaking in. The room was pitch black. And when Kiddo whispered, "You're so goddamn beautiful, Annie," I smiled, because I knew my exceptionally gifted boyfriend was in fact able to 'see' me in the dark.

Now aren't you special, Portman?






"Your visitors are here, Annie," Charlie, the doorman informed me. "Want me to send them up?"

"Wait, wait – I'm not expecting anyone. Who are they?" I clamped the receiver between my ear and my shoulder and kept on collecting my personal belongings from the desk and throwing them into my purse. Beatrice and I had an appointment for lunch today, and I was already running late.

"The two, um..." he paused to clear his throat, "gentlemen introduced themselves as Mr. Grey and Mr. Newton."

"What?" The receiver slipped from where I had tucked it and hit the floor, just when Beatrice entered my office. "Fuck!" I hissed.

"Well, nice to see you too," my boss laughed.

I heard the faint treble of Charlie's voice emerge from somewhere under my desk, "Wait, I'll ask them what they want."

Good idea! What the hell...?

"Are you ready, doll?" Beatrice raised a brow at me. "I'm starving, to be honest. But if you need one more minute?"

"No... yes... I don't know. I have a bit of a situation here, I'm afraid."

I picked the receiver up off the floor, just to hear Charlie explain, that the 'gentlemen' were here to just say hello. Then his tone suddenly became somewhat confidential, "You know, I'm glad my daughter isn't here. The younger one, Mr. Grey – for a moment I thought he was the actor who plays that Twilight vampire. My little girl and her friends are completely crazy about that guy..."

Holy shit!

"I'm coming down, Humphrey."

I hung up, took a deep breath and turned to Beatrice. "Ok, the thing is that... well, it seems you're going to meet Edward. Like now. As in, he's waiting for me in the foyer."

Beatrice eyes widened. Then she gasped. Then she squealed. Then she laughed. And finally words came back to her, "Awesome! He can join us for lunch; I can't wait to finally meet Mr. Handsome-Train-Man. Oh my God, the real Edward – let's go!"

I felt the strong urge to raise my hand and shout 'Objection', but I was still too flabbergasted. Besides that, I highly doubted there was any way of stopping Beatrice in her enthusiasm. Her shit-eating grin spoke volumes.

"I can't be-liiieve it..." she repeated to herself in a sort of sing-song while we stepped into the elevator. On the way down I explained that I didn't invite him. "Doesn't matter," was all she said. I also told her that I didn't encourage him to make any surprise appearances at my job. "I don't care," she replied happily.

It was hopeless.

Your boyfriend is becoming public now, Portman. Deal with it!

I made one last attempt. "He is a vampire, Beatrice!"

"I know!" she exclaimed, and we both burst into laughter.

Oh well...

It was only when the elevator doors slid open that I realized I hadn't even told her that Kiddo wasn't alone. I saw them at once. Law was leaning casually against the reception counter, chatting away with Charlie the doorman who was apparently highly amused about something Law had just said. He threw his head back and roared with laughter, while Law's mouth curled into that wicked lop-sided grin. He looked sexy as hell in his khakis and worn out biker leatherjacket.

Kiddo was a few feet away – black jeans, black tee, no backpack! He stood there, stiff as a board, hands buried deep in his pockets, and he wasn't amused at all. He was frowning down at someone who was almost completely hidden by one of the huge marble columns. I couldn't see his eyes from that far, but I could immediately tell from his body language that he was feeling highly uncomfortable. Static, flickers and shit for sure.

Hang in there, baby, I'm on my way!

In my haste to come for his rescue I had almost forgotten about Beatrice, when I heard her gasp next to me, "Oh my God, you didn't lie..."

I winced at that. Why did I wince at that? Only a few more feet...

"Annie, you're a lucky girl," Beatrice chuckled, trying to keep in step with me, "he is absolutely gorgeous!"

Yes, and he is mine – bear that in mind!

Wow, where did that come from?

I shook my head. There wasn't much time for me to muse about that disconcerting thought, because we had almost reached the spot where Kiddo was uncomfortably shifting from one side to the other on his legs. He looked up, as if sensing my presence, and his eyes darted around just as restlessly and lost as I had suspected. Then they found me, and his face immediately registered deep relief.

I smiled assuringly at him as I rounded the column, and then I froze. All my blood went to my feet. And then the same way back up into my cheeks, and within seconds I was fuming.

No. Fucking. Way!

There in front of him, lasciviously leaning back against the column and repeatedly winding a single strand of her blonde mane around her index finger, stood office-bimbo Rosalie. Fucking Barbie from hell, of all people? Batting her lashes at my boyfriend? A single word in flaming red letters lit up in my mind like a neon sign:


She hadn't noticed me yet and was still gibbering non-stop, "...the DJ is a friend of my cousin, you know, and when they have live bands there, he would take us backstage and shit, really cool. My friend Jessica goes there every Friday, and she and I..."

"What are you doing here?" I snarled at her, interrupting her brainless litany.

Her head spun around and she stared at me, positively shocked. "What... why?" She swallowed a few times, obviously working up the nerve to give a retort that wouldn't make her look like a sheep in the eyes of her latest score-to-be. Then she literally spat at me, "It's my lunch break, so I guess it's none of your business."

Wrong answer, slut!

I could almost feel her thin neck in my claws already, when suddenly Beatrice laid a hand on my shoulder and said, "Barbara, I'm still missing those copies I asked you to get for me this morning. I suggest you go back and make quick work of it beforeyou take your break, ok? See you then."

"Yes, Ms. Cruise," the bitch muttered and then, luckily for her, left without another word.

Beatrice briefly squeezed my shoulder and brought her mouth close to my ear. "Jesus Christ, Annie, what's wrong with you? That was completely unnecessary," she whispered through clenched teeth, before she turned towards Kiddo with a bright smile and reached out her hand. "Hi, I'm Beatrice Cruise, Annie's boss. I'm very glad... no, actually I'm thrilled to finally meet the infamous Edward."

Kiddo took her hand and introduced himself in his usual, polite manner. But his eyes darted to mine. Questioning. Confused. Uncertain. The whole situation was clearly bordering to sensory overload for him. He hadn't even recovered from the Barbie attack and my stupid outbreak...

I mean, really... what WAS wrong with me?

… and now he was meeting my boss who was beaming at him, and he had no idea how much and what I had or had not told her about him, about us.

"Will you give us the pleasure to join us for lunch, Edward?" Beatrice invited him.

Kiddo tensed even more, if that was possible, and once again glanced over to me. "I don't know...?"

He was completely at a loss about what to say or how to behave. Kiddo hadn't had any anxiety attacks since I had professed my love to him, but the look on his face showed he was dangerously close to having one right now. The look on his face said, she will deny me again. The look on his face made it painfully clear that I hadn't really earned his trust yet in this matter.

During the past days I had psyched myself up for a moment like this; I just wished it would have been less chaotic. But now was the time, and to my surprise I suddenly felt quite eager to do all of this... in public.

Closing the small distance between him and me, and greeting him with a kiss on the lips.

Taking his hand in mine and not letting go while I turn around to my boss and call him my boyfriend.

Wrapping my arms around his waist and leaning into him when Beatrice winks at him and tells him she'd been suspecting quite awhile that I was finally in love with someone.

Saying out loud that yes, I'm in love and that it is wonderful.

And looking firmly into his eyes as I do so.

Oh god, his eyes...

The way he held my gaze – I could see disbelief fighting relief, a state of shock that didn't allow the freeing realization to rise to the surface yet. He just didn't expect this.

For a moment, it saddened me terribly to know he had braced himself against another disappointment, another round of 'This is Edward, a friend of mine'. And it saddened me even more to know that he would have bitten down the hurt and played along.

Breathe, Kiddo, say something...

Before the silence could become too awkward we were saved by Law.

"Hey, are you guys alright?" Laughing, he pulled me into a tight hug, lifted me up and spun me around in a half circle. A high-pitched squeal escaped me, and a lot of heads were turning in the hall. I could already hear the office grapevine starting to buzz before my feet met the ground again.

"We were just in town, so I said, 'hey let's go and embarrass Annie with a surprise visit,' and here we are. So come on, tell me!"

"Tell you what?"

"Did it work? Are you embarrassed?" He winked.

I looked at Kiddo as I answered, "No, I'm not. Sorry, Law."

The smile that finally found its way onto my love's beautiful features didn't even falter when Law's paw slammed down onto Kiddo's shoulder.

"See? Told you, E!"

Beatrice who had watched Law's big entrance with interest, to put it mildly, cleared her throat which I took as my cue. "Law, please meet my boss, Beatrice Cruise. Beatrice, this is Lawrence Newton, Edward's um... uncle."

Law turned around and instantly provided my unsuspecting chief editor with his panty-dropping smile. The effect was stunning. Her jaw slightly dropped, and the arm she was reaching out once again faltered midway. It didn't help a bit that Law slowly bent down to forego the offered handshake in favor of a kiss on her hand, never taking his eyes of hers in the process, and breathed a husky "It's a pleasure, Beatrice Cruise."

My boss said, "Nngh."

Or something like that.




They didn't join us for lunch, and to be honest, I was glad. Kiddo looked like he already had enough to process, for the moment. He didn't need an instant lesson in business dinner small talk on top of it.

According to Law, they'd really just wanted to say 'Hi' and needed to leave right now because he was parked illegally. The way he oddly stressed the words coincidence and spontaneous during his explanation made me squint my eyes at him. I felt like I had just passed a test without even knowing there was a trial.

My worst suspicions were confirmed when Law hugged me goodbye and murmured, only for me to hear, "You were amazing, girl. Lucy owes me 20 bucks now."

He chuckled, and I stiffened in his arms.

A fucking bet? With fucking Lucy?

I tried to shove him away, ready to give him hell right here and now. But he wouldn't let me. Suddenly serious again, he tightened his grip around me and whispered, "Don't be mad, Annie - he needed that. He needed that, ok?"

I know...

I took a deep breath and nodded yes.

I know...

"Ok, Annie?"

Hells, I know...


I needed it too.




After they had left, I spent the next twenty minutes of my lunchtime with an unusually silent Beatrice who dreamily poked around in her mushroom ravioli without actually ingesting any food.


"Is he single?" she eventually asked.

Of course I knew who she was referring to. But I teased her anyway.


"Oh, come on!"

I giggled. "As far as I know, Law is single. He's a charmer, huh?"

"Jesus Christ!" she moaned, and exhaled through pursed lips.

"He is the groundkeeper in a retirement home for old ladies," I offered.

"Really? That's kind of... sweet."

"And he eats like an animal."

Heck, why am I telling her this?

"Even better," she laughed enthusiastically, "you know what they say, right? A man's eating manners tell you how he-"

"He has only one leg!" I blurted out.

"How intriguing! How did he lose it?" Now she was actually beaming with enthusiasm.

It was hopeless.

"Why don't you ask him yourself?"

"Oh, I will! I most definitely will. Coffee, Annie? Lunch is on me today." She cocked an eyebrow, "In exchange for his number?"

"Deal. But I must warn you..."

"About what?"

I smirked. "He is a werewolf."

She tipped her head back and gave a heartfelt laugh. "I know, Annie, I know..."

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