A Woman of Conviction Ch 10

Chapter 10

“Mmm, you smell good, baby.” I could feel his breath on my shoulders as he kissed his way up until his lips were on my neck. I moaned at the tingling feelings Edward was giving me. “Please, Edward, I need more.” I turned to capture his lips with mine.

My eyes shoot open. What the hell was that? I cover my eyes with my arm, thinking of the past week. After the embarrassment of packing up my apartment, the Cullen and Whitlock clan decided to paint and furnish my apartment while I was packing. Emmett and Jasper would drop the boxes off, so I had no idea what was going on until yesterday.

Everyone left me alone downstairs at the truck. “Wow, thanks for all the help,” I said sarcastically to myself. Even my children abandoned me.

I rode the elevator up, opening the door to a chorus of surprise.
Esme, Rose, and Alice decided to paint and decorate the rooms, while Carlisle, Emmett, and Jasper paid for the furniture, and Tanya, Irina, and Seth did all my kitchen supplies. I almost broke down crying at the generosity of it all.

Edward was a big help with packing and not giving me a whole lot to do at work. He made football practice every other day, and today is a non-practice day because I have to go over and meet my old building supervisor to get my deposit back after he checks over the apartment. Edward refuses to let me do it alone. I can’t get too mad, I really don’t like dealing with him on my own anyway.

I manage to crawl myself out of my queen-sized heaven to get myself ready to go to work. I find myself about to just holler at my kids when I remember they’re on the other side of the apartment. I smile widely; we all have our own rooms, and they each have a full-sized bed and dressers filled with clothes.

I walk to Lucian’s room first and open the door. I assume between Edward, Tanya, and Irina, the Cullen-Whitlock women must have known how to paint and decorate his room. It’s the ultimate room for him with a drawing table, and a bookshelf full of fantasy, sci-fi, and computer books.

“Lucian, time to get up, buddy.” I kiss him on the forehead.

I go to Damon’s room next, thinking they got good information when they did up his room as well. He’s more outgoing, really into sports, and the room reflects that. “Damon, wake up, kid.” I brush his shaggy brown hair out of his eyes. I sigh, knowing he needs a haircut.

I see his brown eyes open, so I walk back to my room and into my own bathroom that has all new fixtures and perfect water pressure. My own slice of heaven.

Edward meets us in the lobby of our building; I found out that he owns the condo above us. I’m happy that I won’t have to worry about catching the bus to work now. I have the feeling Edward is hiding something else about this building, but whatever it is I can’t find the time to care.

I pull out the tablet that I actually bought myself with my own money. “Okay, looks like we have a meeting with Mr. Hunter at nine to finalize everything, and Heidi is going to be after him. I left your lunch hour free after you very aggressively told me never to schedule a lunch meeting again.” I raise my brows at Edward.

He doesn’t look at all ashamed. The lunch he had with Heidi was awful according to him. The food was cold, the staff was ignorant. Edward told me the only thing he liked was the proposal Heidi came up with.

“Good,” he growls, again not in the least bit apologetic.

“So, mostly it’s conference calls and emails and whatnot.” I put my tablet back in my bag, looking back to my boss who I can’t help notice is just so hot.

“Mom, Mike wants to know if I can stay tonight at his house after you get out of work, or he says his mom can come get me around two when she’s done with her last client.” Lucian looks at me excitedly. My baby is going to have his first sleepover. God! My kids are getting too big.

“Of course, Lucian, have her come get you, because I have to run over to our old apartment for an inspection.” Then another thought hits me. “You didn’t pack any extra clothes for an overnight stay, and what about the game tomorrow?

“I have my house key, Mike’s mom said she’ll bring me home to get some clothes. And I’ll just ride with them tomorrow,” Lucian states matter of factly.

I nod my head. “Okay, you seem to have it all planned, then.”

“Yep,” he replies with a pop on the p.

Edward tries to hide his chuckle but fails.

The office is fairly quiet and easy for me to get paperwork done.

“Bella, I want to steal Damon for the night,” Emmett’s loud voice echoes through the entire floor.

I quickly get up and see Damon hanging from the big oaf’s back, smiling wide. “First, you better hope that you didn’t interrupt your brother’s meeting, and second, you really want him for the night? You would have to stop at the house and get him clothes.” I’m sure worry is laced in my words.

“Yeah, Rose wants to take him out, and we figured that we’re all but family, so we might as well start getting to know our nephews. And don’t worry, since I’m the coach, he will be at the game tomorrow.” Emmett’s grin is contagious, but it’s my heart the gets huge and I feel warm with Emmett’s confession.

“Mom, please!” Damon gives me his puppy-dog eyes.

I chuckle at their antics. “Sure, I guess I’ll just hang out with myself after meeting with the super at my old building.”

Emmett smiles widely as they disappear back into the elevator.

Bored for the time being, I text Tanya who is now Jasper’s assistant since he fired the two incompetent, prejudiced bitches.

Before she can respond, Edward and Heidi come out, smiling. “I’ll go through all this new information and have Bella get back with you, Heidi.”

“Thank you, Mr. Cullen. I hope what I gathered for you will get you to partner with us.” Heidi is a fierce looking woman with bright blue eyes and dark hair.

Edward just shakes her hand and watches her walk away before turning to me. “I have something for you to do.”

I raise my eyebrow, intrigued at what he could possibly need me to do.

“Come into my office.” He waves his hand as he goes back to his desk. I follow and shut the door behind me and take a seat across from him.

“Heidi wants to expand into the fanfiction market.” Edward hands me a folder. I open it and see lots of graphs and pictures.

I look up. “Okay?” I say questioningly.

“I want you to look into it. See if it’s worth getting involved in.” He puts his hands together like an evil villain of sorts.

“I don’t have any experience with this kind of stuff. I wouldn’t want to mess it up,” I reply to him shakily.

“I think it’s something that you’d be more than capable of doing.” His voice is full of confidence. He’s confident in me. I keep my tears and emotions at bay despite how amazing this feels.

“Okay, how long do I have to research and gather some information?” I ask, straightening myself out.

Monday; that gives you the weekend.”

I nod my head, feeling overwhelmed but excited for the opportunity he’s giving me.

Edward’s cell rings and he answers quickly, “Edward Cullen.”

I watch his eyebrows knit together, his fingers tapping the desk with little thuds as each fingers hits.

“Okay, we’ll come right down.” He hangs the phone up and sets it down, looking at me with what seems to be a nervous expression.

“Jasper and Irina want to see you, and if you would like, I can accompany you down to their office.” He keeps his eyes on me.

I take a deep breath, wondering what is going on. “Could you come with me?” I feel so vulnerable admitting that I want him with me.

“Of course.” He gets up, and I follow him out. The elevator ride is quiet and uncomfortable with my worry.

“It’s not bad, Bella.” His breath tickles my ear as he whispers comforting words.

I take a shaky breath and clothes my eyes. “Okay.”

I hear him take his own shaky breath behind me. Before I can turn around to question it, the elevator door opens and Irina and Jasper are waiting for us.

“Hey, Bella, let’s go into a room so we can talk.” Irina reaches for me and wraps her arm around my shoulder.

We settle in a room and I am so anxious at what the hell is going on. “Okay, I know we’re making you worried, but I promise this isn’t anything bad,” Irina assures me.

I feel the weight fall off my shoulders and the smile I have is no longer fake. “You really had me scared to death, so what’s going on?” I look between all three of them.

Jasper clears his throat. “Irina started a file on Jake since he left the threatening note on your door. We started to add more after he showed up at the game. We wanted to inform you that we have a good criminal case, and we have everything in order so we can go after him for child support. All we need is for you to sign all the papers and be at the court date when it comes.”

I’m stunned, in shock, and maybe numb. I have no idea how I’m feeling. “Um.”

“Isn’t this what you wanted?” Irina asks me in a concerned tone.

I look over to her. “Yes, I mean, I don’t know. I wonder if going after him for money would just cause me more problems than it's worth. The boys don’t want him, and he certainly doesn’t want them.”

“After everything, you want to just let him walk away?” Irina’s voice is high pitched.

I shake my head. “I want to think about it, when do you have to file?”

Monday,” Jasper answers me in a calm manner.

“You’ll have my answer by then.” I get up and walk quickly away.

Edward doesn’t say much to me as the day progresses and he eventually takes me over to the old apartment for the inspection.

I walk in with Edward tense behind me. “He isn’t here yet.” I look at the empty, clean apartment that I spent so many years in with my kids trying to survive and give them everything they needed.

“Hopefully, he won’t take too long getting here.”

I turn and look at the man who has given me all the breaks lately. He seems to be stressed, with his hair looking like he ran his fingers through it a million times.

He meets my eyes. “What?”

“I was wondering if you had your own thoughts on filing for child support and criminal charges for the threats.”

I watch him rub his neck and let out a sigh. “I think you should do what you think is right. I want to see the man fry after hurting Lucian like that. Hurting you all, for all this time, to be honest. But all I can do is be supportive.”

Before I can reply, the super comes in. I watch him walk around and check everything out.

“Looks like you can have this.” He hands me a check for three hundred and fifty dollars.

Edward takes me home where I’m alone with no kids or adults.

For the first time since I lost my diner job, I cry. I cry for the lost father my kids will never have. In the deepest parts of myself, I always hoped Jake would come around, but here I am and he doesn’t want the boys; they’ve even heard him say so. Maybe what I need to do is talk to the boys and see what they think about it. After the game tomorrow, we’ll talk about it and come to a decision together. 


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