A Woman of Conviction Chapter 2
I’ve always wanted to own my own company. I went to college in Seattle and began studying business management, eventually finding myself investing and buying and selling which landed me as one of the wealthiest men in America.
I decided to help my siblings get started, and now my brother Emmett owns a very well-established construction company. Through that he found his wife Rose, who is a mechanical engineer. My baby sister Alice has several clothing lines and boutiques. She married my college roommate, Jasper, who became a successful lawyer. All of us share a tall office building in Seattle; I have the top floor, Emmett the next floor, then Jasper, Rose, and Alice have the bottom offices.
I never dreamed I would share a building with my siblings and their spouses, but after nearly being taken for everything I worked so hard for, I don’t trust anyone but them. Kate, my girlfriend of nearly four years, faked a pregnancy, got all my account information and attempted to drain them. Thank God for all my security measures and Jasper being such a good lawyer.
Now I’m twenty-eight, and my day consists of going through paperwork about upcoming mergers and requested raises. I try to reach for my coffee but it's not there. I look up from my screen and see my new PA on the phone at her desk. I stand up from my chair and see the coffee cup not in the spot it’s supposed to be in. Instead, it’s sitting on top of important papers waiting for my signature. What the fuck! These assistants seriously seem to be getting more and more fucking stupid.
“Chelsea!” I yell from my office. I see her quickly get off the phone and come into my office with fear on her face.
“How many times do I have to explain to you where to put my coffee?” I grind out.
Her mouth forms an O and her yes go wide as she stares at the misplaced cup. “I am so sorry, sir.” She quickly moves it back to its rightful spot. “Anything else, sir?”
“Okay.” She walks out, shutting my door.
I get comfortable again, taking a seat and getting back to work. Before I know it, I see all my siblings in the reception area. Puzzled as to why they are up here, I walk out of my office and go to them.
“What’s going on?” I put my hands in my pockets.
“I told her it’s a bad idea.” Jasper's southern drawl comes out slightly.
“What is?” I ask, feeling my patience wearing thin.
“We’re going to this diner for lunch. I’ve heard amazing things about the food.” Alice smiles brightly at me.
“I’m too busy to go out to lunch,” I reply to my sister, trying not to look at her face so that I can stay strong with my resolve.
“Edward Cullen, you are coming with us to lunch. You are holed up in this office too much and that is final!” I meet her green eyes and know I’m not getting out of this.
“Fine, fuck it,” I growl in frustration.
“We’re going to have an amazing time,” Alice squeals in delight. My sister is tiny, with short dark hair cut into a pixie style.
“Jesus Christ, Edward, lighten the fuck up,” says Rose, my sister-in-law that has no couth. Rose is tall with long blonde hair and steel blue eyes. She is rough around the edges; being in a career field of all men she has to be, plus with my brother who has the mentality of a teenager most of the time she has to have a strong hand to deal with him.
“Fuck off, Rose,” I can’t help but smirk at her.
“Nope, I’ll be doing that for her later.” Emmett slaps me on the back, wiggling his eyebrows at me.
I push him away as he laughs.
When I see the place that Alice wants to eat, I can’t believe a good word could have been said about the place. There is vomit by the door with cigarette butts everywhere and trash overflowing.
“You have to be fucking kidding me.” I glare at Alice, who’s smiling and ignoring me to open the door and walk in.
The inside of the place is much cleaner and smells of pie and fries. There aren’t many people seated, and I see two kids off on their own. I can feel the staring of the patrons and the two waitresses at the counter attempting to hide their gawking.
“You can tell we don’t fit in,” I mumble as we find a table. The two boys turn to watch us as we sit. I feel so uncomfortable and this place is not somewhere that I would ever eat.
I watch a young waitress that could be so beautiful if she had more meat on her bones. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and she is wearing black jeans that seem painted on, deliciously defining her legs. I continue to check her out with the mustard yellow shirt that says Paul’s Diner. She has pale skin and chocolate eyes with dark circles underneath. It’s obvious she doesn’t sleep or eat well. I watch her scold the two young boys with just a look, but as she walks over to us she has a smile that could light up any room.
“Welcome to Paul’s Diner, I’m Bella and I will be taking care of you today,” her voice washes over me like honey.
I don’t hear much of what my sister says, but apparently, we’ve begun to order drinks. Shit, she is getting under my skin in a bad way. Angry with myself, I order sharply. “Coffee, black, freshly brewed too, please. Also, make sure the cup is clean.”
“Jesus, Edward, I’m sure they have clean glasses,” Alice scolds me.
“Alice, have you seen this dump? I can’t believe you talked me into this shit,” I reply angrily.
“Yes, our place has some character to it, but I assure you that our food is amazing. Seth, our cook, is attending Seattle’s best culinary school.” Our server defends her place of employment.
“Sure,” I answer her skeptically. I mean, seriously, why in God’s name would a chef with that under his belt fucking work here.
“I’ll just get those drinks for you.” She gets a bit tight-lipped and walks away. I can’t help check her ass out from the corner of my eyes. I bet I could pick her up by her ass. Fuck! I need to get the fuck out of here.
My family talks among themselves while I sulk on my phone. I look up once to see one of the young kids giving me a dirty look.
“Here we go. Diet Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, do the Dew for you, sweet tea for the gentleman, and your fresh coffee in the cleanest of the clean cups, sir.” She sets the cup in the correct spot in front of me. I look up to see her face has a defensive glare aimed at me. I can’t help but raise my brow at her.
“Are we ready to order?” She looks away and glances at everyone else.
“Yes, we are.” Emmett, Rose, Jasper, and Alice all quickly order.
“I want a sub, pepperoni, salami, ham, mustard and mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and pickle on whole grain with provolone cheese. Do you think your cook can handle that?” I can’t help but give her my power grin. There are very few, and by very few I mean none, that get my sub correctly made.
“I think you’ll find your sub more than satisfying, sir.” She fucking smirks at me and walks away.
“I like her, she actually doesn’t get intimidated by you,” Jasper says while taking a drink of his tea. Fucking southerner and his fucking tea. When Jasper and I first met he had the thickest accent, you couldn’t understand him half the time and he wore cowboy boots constantly. It took my hyper active diva of a sister to help him with the accent and his wardrobe changed to a professional one with shoes instead of boots.
“I know, I like her, too,” Alice agrees with her pussy whipped husband.
I ignore them, watching my surroundings while pretending to be on my phone. I notice our waitress go over to the boys and the chunky boy points at me, but she quickly pushes his hand down and by the look on her face I would say scolds him a bit and then kisses the top of his head. Could she be their sister? They look too old to be her kids, no way is she old enough.
Still puzzled at the relationship she could possibly have with the two kids, I miss how she grabbed our food and is now handing them to us.
She puts my sub in front of me and I can’t believe my eyes. The goddam thing is a smiley face. How in the hell? “Did you seriously have my food made into a smiley face?”
“Yes sir, I hope you enjoy your food. If you need anything, please feel free to ask.” She smiles and winks, then leaves us to eat. I am just staring at my food.
“Shit, this is good,” I hear Emmett groan in appreciation.
I pick my own food up and timidly take a bite, and I can’t help but close my eyes and moan. “This is fucking good.”
“Oh, shit you guys, Edward actually likes the food. We know the secret now,” Rose laughs.
“Whatever.” I can’t banter with her now, I’m enjoying the food too much.
We all eat quietly, just moans of appreciation and before we know it, our plates are clean.
“You were right short stuff; this place has fucking amazing food.” Emmett rubs his stomach.
“I know,” Alice shrugs. The woman who is always right, just like our mother.
“I hope the food was up to your standards.” Bella puts the tab on the table while looking around at us.
“It was the best I’ve had. This is going to be my lunch spot from now on,” Emmett replies and everyone agrees with him.
I don’t want to look at her face to give her the satisfaction, instead watching Jasper give her a card to pay with. While she runs his card, I grab a napkin and put down five hundred dollars with a note.
“Jesus, Edward, I’ve never seen you tip, and now you tip her a paycheck?” Rose says in astonishment.
“This is clearly more than what she makes in a paycheck. Just look at her,” I reply to Rose.
Bella gives us the receipt and walks away, allowing us to leave.
We get up and walk back to the office. I get back to work, trying to ignore my incompetent PA. I can't help but wonder how Bella felt about the tip I left her.
“Hey.” Jasper is leaning against the door frame to my office.
I lean back in my chair. “How can I help you, Jasper?”
“Why did you give that waitress five hundred dollars?” His blue eyes asses me.
I shrug, “The food was amazing, her service was the best I’ve ever had.”
“Sure, Edward,” he chuckles and walks out of my office.
Why did I give her five hundred? I don’t know. I have the money, so I can. Because I looked at her and knew she needed it. She needs to eat.
Shaking my head, I get back to work, putting Bella out of my mind.