His Royal Rectal Needs

Is There Trouble in Paradise Already?

Prince Edward Hits the Polo Grounds with Lady Irina Hollingsworth

Hang onto your man, Not-a Swan! Looks like he’s straying already. Spectators at the East City Polo Grounds spotted His Royal Hotness Prince Edward looking very cozy with Lady Irina Hollingsworth. According to our source, the pair was acting very flirty.

“Lady Irina seemed to hang on his every word. As they talked, she’d laugh and periodically touch his thigh or knee. His Royal Highness wasn’t quite so animated and kept his hands to himself. But he didn’t seem to mind the attention. There was no indication he told her to stop, and from time to time, he’d even smile.”

As well he should. Though Prince Edward has known Lady Irina his entire life—her father, Baron Hollingsworth is part of Prince John’s inner circle—he had to be pleasantly surprised when he saw her. Since going under the knife while Prince Edward was off on his last “humanitarian mission,” Lady Irina is a changed woman. In fact, there’s no longer any risk of His Royal Hotness confusing her with one of the horses. (Though if they happen to encounter donkeys, things could get dicey.)

So where does this leave His Royal Main Squeeze, Isabella “Not-a” Swan? We never thought we’d say this, but based solely on appearance, Not-a is by far the better choice—unless, of course, Prince Edward is into roleplay kink and wants to pretend he’s Catherine the Great.

There’s one thing we are sure of—if Prince Edward is considering dumping Not-a, she’s completely in the dark about his plans. Just this afternoon, she was spotted at the Drug$Mart across the street from Dot Swan. Now, why on earth would Not-a Swan need to run into a pharmacy in the middle of the day?

As an employee of the discount pharmacy chain told us, “She was a woman on a mission. Upon entering the store, she went directly to the condom aisle. It was the strangest thing ever. She spent a good twenty minutes there, mostly taking rubbers off the rack, reading the back of the packages, then putting them back. Eventually, she moved onto the next aisle where she made a phone call. I didn’t hear much of her conversation, but she seemed to be getting advice on what type of condoms she should buy.”

And what a photo it was! As if the thought of Not-a Swan buying love gloves wasn’t entertaining enough on its own, we now have a picture of her standing under an enormous “Rectal Needs” sign. Needless to say, none of us here at Royal Bitch have ever had any need to venture into that aisle, so we did a little research into exactly what kind of products fall into that category. Turns out, it encompasses everything from enemas to speculums. Apparently, being full of shit IS a medical condition.

As we were told by the Drug$mart manager, “If you shit on it, in it, or with it, you can find it in our Rectal Needs aisle.”

And that’s exactly where our most-recent pic of Not-a was taken. Sometimes, reality is better than anything we could even think to whip up in photoshop.

Wonder what Not-a would do if she knew that when she called Prince Edward to ask him if he preferred ribbed or glow-in-the-dark, he was in the process of chatting up another woman. Only time will tell!

COMMENTS (showing 11 of 564)

HRH Princess Edward

What a shitty post.

Anon

I’m confused. Is lube in the condom aisle, or the Rectal Needs aisle?

Lady In Waiting

Edward is such an asshole! I swear, if my boyfriend pulled that shit with me, he’d find a nasty surprise waiting for him in bed.

My Narcissistic Alias

When doesn’t your boyfriend find something nasty waiting for him in bed? (P.S. It stopped surprising him YEARS ago.)

His Royal Gayness

I know all about His Royal Rectal Needs, and Not’a ain’t one of them. Cock, on the other hand, followed by a good rimming…

Assman 11

Are rectum needs and needing rectum the same thing? I could use some ass, and there’s a Drug$mart around the block from my office.

Boners for Bomer

There’s something about Prince Edward that screams dirty sex. He’s probably all about rimjobs and anal play. I bet he’s also a talker. I can just hear him. “Lick my ass. Lick it…aw yeah…lick it, baby… lick it like you need it.”

Troll E. McCavetroll

How do we know Not’a CAN’T fulfill His Royal Rectal Needs? Haven’t you people ever seen The Crying Game?

Lauren M

I want to know what the condoms were made out of. Isn’t Edward is allergic to both latex AND polyurethane?

swatchdogs-n-dietcokeheads

Nice try, Troll E. But considering we were just talking about Edward’s POLYESTER allergy the other day…

Leisure Suit Larry

They make condoms out of polyester? SWEET.


 

Since arriving at my office three hours ago, I’ve dodged four supposedly urgent client calls, cleared my calendar for the rest of the day, and activated the out-of-office reply on my email. It’s the least productive I’ve ever been at work, but I can’t bring myself to care. I’d rather spend a few hours doing nothing than risk getting sloppy because I wasn’t paying attention—and where work is concerned, I’m definitely not paying attention.

No matter how hard I try, I just can’t. I’m too nervous about seeing Edward tonight.

It’s not because I haven’t been out on a date in forever (though I haven’t) or even that I’m still not sure how I feel about Edward as a person (though I’m not). It’s more that when we’re together I feel completely out of control when it comes to my actions, and if I have any prayer of keeping my wits about me, I need to decide what my limits are before I arrive at the Palace. The problem is that I’m no closer to figuring it out now than I was when I woke up this morning.

For the next several moments I just sit there, drumming my fingertips against the cool mahogany of my desk. The better I feel about myself going into tonight, the less likely I’ll be to get swept up in the moment and do something stupid. My mom always told me that confidence should come from within, but when it’s being an uncooperative motherfucker, I should buy an outfit that conveys self-assuredness and try to absorb some through osmosis.

I’ve never been one to ditch work to go shopping, and despite the fact I’ve already clocked well over eighty hours in the office this week, I feel guilty for even entertaining the thought. Still, when I think of the decided lack of sexy in my closet, the more getting a new dress for tonight appeals to me. Suddenly, it hits me. There’s a boutique nearby Esme likes that’s by appointment only where, in theory, I’d be able to try on dresses without worrying about the paps snapping my picture through the slats of the fitting-room door. If they have an opening, I’ll take it as a sign I should go buy a dress. If they’re booked up, I’ll scrap the whole idea and force myself to have the most productive Friday afternoon in the history of Dot Swan.

I get the number from Google and give them a call. They have an opening in an hour that’s mine if I can make it there in time. Done and done. I grab my bag and hightail it to the elevator. Just when I think I’ve managed to sneak out undetected, Heidi calls after me.

“Stepping out?” she asks.

“Yes.” I turn on my heel and walk over to her desk. “I have an errand to run, but I should be back later this afternoon. Why?”

“Your mother’s called six times in the past hour…”

I slump my shoulders forward and let out a long sigh.

“I know you don’t want to hear it,” Heidi says, “but she made me promise her I’d give you her message today and that I wouldn’t let you interrupt me until I read you the whole thing. Then she reminded me that while you may be my boss, your father is your boss—”

“And she’s my dad’s boss—I know, I know.” I roll my eyes. “Just give it to me straight. I promise I won’t kill you for being the messenger.”

“The next time you go this long without taking her phone calls, she’s going to assume you’re dead and write you out of her will. She said all this incessant worrying about you is going to, and I quote, ‘send me to an early grave…'”

“‘…or at the very least, make me need more Botox.'” We wag our heads from side to side as we finish the sentence in unison.

“None of this is news to me, Hei.”

“She also wanted me to remind you that despite the fact your sister’s wedding is only two weeks away, it’s not too late for you to learn how to dance before the reception. She said…” Heidi looks up from her laptop at me. “…and this is a direct quote, ‘Esme didn’t nab a prince doing the goddamn chicken dance, you know.'”

“She didn’t nab him doing the effing foxtrot either, but whatever. Next.”

“Hang on.” She scans the screen again. “She said she took the liberty of hiring you a stylist to conceptualize your look for the reception and that the utilization of said stylist was not up for negotiation.”

“It never is.” I shake my head and let out a long sigh. “What else?”

“I think that’s everything.”

I straighten my back. “Really?”

“Yep,” she confirms. “That’s it.”

“You know, if I’d known she was going to go that easy on me, I wouldn’t have spent the past few days hiding from her. When she calls back, thank her for hiring me a stylist, but remind her my wardrobe hard limits remain non-negotiable.”

“Done.”

“And tell her that if she can find an instructor willing to come here, I’d be more than happy to humor her with a dance lesson or two.”

Heidi wrinkles her forehead. “Do such instructors even exist?”

“I’m thinking not.” Smiling, I make my way to the elevator and push the button. “If anyone asks, I’m unreachable.”

Funny how a simple change of scenery can bring clarity. By the time I step out of my office building, I’ve already decided that I’m not going to sleep with Edward tonight—no matter how good he looks or how well he behaves himself. It’s just not me. The number of sexual partners I’ve had is equal to the number of long-term relationships I’ve been in: one.

Even if that has had more to do with lack of opportunity than morality, there’s no way I’m screwing anyone on the first date—especially not a bad-boy prince with a reputation for not taking anything seriously. But having sex with Edward feels more like a when than an if, so I make a quick detour to Drug$mart, just in case.

Before I run head-on into the irony that is the condom-and-pregnancy-test aisle, I do a quick scan of my surroundings. When I’m sure I’m not being followed by paps, I take the plunge. Just as I pull a pack of condoms from the rack, my phone vibrates.

Esme.

I put the condoms back and jet over to the next aisle to take her call. Though I don’t think anyone is around to take my picture, I’ve now been burned enough to know this could change at any time. The last thing I need right now is a picture of me standing in the family-planning aisle of Drug$mart with rubbers in my hand getting plastered all over internet.

Confident that I’ve covered all the bases, I finally answer my phone. “Hey, Esme. What’s up?”

“I hear you’re coming to the Palace tonight and that you’re not coming to see me.”

“That would be correct.”

“I see.”

I wait for her to say something else, but there’s a long silence that makes me wonder if the call dropped.

“Are you still there?”

“Yes…just be careful, okay?”

I laugh. “Don’t worry—I already thought of that! I don’t think things will go that far, but I stopped at Drug$Mart just in case.”

“I’m not talking about safe sex. Shit.” She sighs. “I don’t even know how to put this…”

“Whatever it is, just say it.”

“Edward’s a great guy—one of the best, really. And I’ve known him long enough to know that he’d never hurt anyone intentionally…”

“Okaaaaaay. You realize we’re just having dinner, right?”

“Promise me you won’t fall in love with him.”

She did not just say what I think she said.

“Excuse me?”

“This isn’t about me thinking the two of you won’t hit it off. I’ve no doubt you will—that’s why I’m telling you this. If I didn’t, and you got hurt…I feel bad enough about everything as it is…just be careful.”

“All right. I don’t know what the hell is going on with you, but you’ve been acting really freaking weird.”

“What’s weird about trying to look out for my little sister?”

“That’s not weird; it’s your complete 180 on Edward I don’t get. When I thought he was a waste of oxygen, you were up my butt for me to give him a chance. So I did, and it turns out you were right. I do like him. But now you’re changing your tune again?”

“There’s a whole lot going on that you don’t know about. Bella, I wish I could—”

“Are you sleeping with him?” I ask.

“What? No. God, Bella. No.”

“I didn’t think so, but I had to ask. You have to admit…” I stop when I notice an employee standing a few feet away holding his iPhone.

Shit.

All this crap with the tabloids is making me lose my mind. Though I have no reason to believe this guy’s been listening to my conversation with Esme, there’s an off-chance he was, and the last thing I need is to give him any more material than I might have already.

“Esme, I’ve got to go, but this conversation isn’t over.” I end the call, grab a pack of condoms, and head to the front of the store to pay for them.

There’s no way I’m going to let Esme’s weirdness chip away at what little confidence I have about seeing Edward tonight.

Maybe I should also treat myself to a new pair of shoes.

 

The moment Edward and I are alone, he pulls me into his arms, hugging me tightly. I want him to kiss me so badly that when he takes a step back, I close my eyes and lick my lips in anticipation.

Then I hear him laugh, and I want the floor to swallow me up whole.

“Sorry,” he says. “As much as I’d like to pick up where we left off, I promised myself I’d be a gentleman and feed you first.”

“Oh. So dinner isn’t a euphemism after all.”

“No—at least, not tonight.” With his eyes trained on me , he takes another step back. He doesn’t even bother to hide the fact he’s checking me out. “You look beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

I smile, though in all honesty it doesn’t have anything to do with his compliment. For the first time since I became a tabloid obsession, I actually feel beautiful.

It’s funny. I’ve never been a fan of wearing red, mostly because it’s a look-at-me color, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s being the center of attention. But the dress I bought for tonight is a darker, more muted shade that’s less in-your-face while still being vibrant enough to make my hair color look less blah. And the way the bodice crosses in the front and gathers at the waist? My curves have never looked so good.

Neither has Edward.

Though I won’t claim he put as much effort into his appearance as I did—men never do—it’s obvious he didn’t roll out of bed five minutes before I got here. This is not His Royal Vomitous Prince Edward the Pothead. Oh no. This is His Royal Hotness, clean-shaven and well-coiffed, wearing a perfectly pressed white dress shirt and dark gray trousers cut to accentuate His Royal Ass.

“You know what would make this better?” he asks.

“No, what?”

He nods toward the floor.

Oh no. He’s got to be fucking kidding me.

After everything that happened yesterday, he has the audacity to ask me for obeisance?

I fold my arms across my chest. “No.”

“No?” he repeats, narrowing his eyes at me.

“Oops!” I cover my mouth with my hand and pretend I’m embarrassed. “You’ll have to forgive me. I’m so in awe of your princeliness my manners went poof! Right out of the Palace. I meant to say, ‘No, You Royal Asshole.’ And on that note, I should be going.” I grab my bag and head for the door.

“Oh no. Don’t even think about it.” He catches my wrist in his hand.

Trying to wrestle myself from his grasp is useless. Even if his physical grip weren’t unyielding, I still wouldn’t be able to leave. His hold on me is just too strong.

Thinking he’ll get bored if I don’t struggle, I freeze in place. Though I don’t attempt to pull away from him, I don’t turn around and look at him either. It’s not because I’m worried he’ll say something that will make me swallow my pride and bend my knees. Now that he’s seen me in my underwear, the thought of curtsying to him is too morally repugnant for me to even consider it. But if I turn around to find he’s giving me that cocky, self-satisfied smile he wears when he knows he’s got me, I can’t trust myself not to smack it off his face.

With his hand still clutching my wrist, he wraps his free arm around my waist and pulls my back against his chest. The way he’s manhandling me pisses me off, but I can’t deny the extent to which this little power struggle is turning me on.

And if what I feel pressing into my back is any indication, neither can he.

“Bella—”

“I agreed to have dinner with you because I thought we were beyond you thinking of me as one of your subjects.”

“I don’t think of anyone that way—especially not you.”

“Then why the hell do you expect me to curtsy to you?”

“I was just teasing you.” He brushes my hair away from my face and, with a low voice, speaks directly into my ear. “Remember the steam room? You curtsied, and your towel fell off. I could give a shit about displays of obeisance. Most of the time, I don’t even notice them. But you in your underwear? Believe me; I noticed.”

I can’t help my smile. “Oh.”

He relaxes his grip.

I linger in his arms for a moment then turn to face him. “May I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“How can you not notice when people genuflect and call you Sir?”

“It’s like anything else you see all the time. Eventually, it just becomes part of the scenery. There are exceptions, of course. Obviously, I noticed when you did it—mostly because of the huffing and stomping that came with it. Then you kept it up even after I told you to cut it out—”

“Hang on a second.” I hold up my hand. “I do not remember you telling me to cut it out.”

“Oh. Well, I did. I assumed you kept doing anyway it to piss me off.”

I roll my eyes. “If you think obeisance pisses you off—”

“Obeisance embarrass me; you piss me off. You realize what a pain in the ass you are, right? I’ve never seen you open your mouth except to complain, and on the rare occasion you’re not spouting off about something, you’re either rolling your eyes or doing this thing where you drop your jaw and squint at me like I’m an idiot.”

“That’s because you are an idiot. Tell me something: if you dislike me so much, why the hell did you keep asking me out?”

“Because I knew that when you finally said yes, it wouldn’t be because I’m a prince, but in spite of it.” He runs his hand through his hair and sighs. “I’m sorry. This isn’t how I wanted things to go. I wasn’t trying to offend you, but I understand if you want to leave—”

“I don’t.” I lean back against the wall of the foyer and empty the air from my lungs. As much as I want to feel insulted, I can’t. I get where he’s coming from. “What you’re talking about—this fear of being used—it’s why I haven’t been on a date in four years. Growing up, my mom always warned us to be careful, that guys were only after one thing.”

He smiles. “That’s not entirely untrue.”

“It is in my experience. There’s this guy I dated all through college. We had fun, but we knew we didn’t have a future after graduation. A year or so later, I get a email from him saying he loved me and needed me, blah blah blah. Turned out what he really needed was a job.

“I don’t know. Maybe he was only after one thing, but it wasn’t sex. Sometimes I wish it were—at least that would’ve had something to do with me.”

“You know nothing like that is going on here, right? This thing…” He waggles his hand back and forth between us. “I don’t even know what to call it. It’s an unneeded distraction at a time in my life when I have no business getting involved with anyone. And yes, you frustrate me to no end. Half the time I’m not sure if I want to have you forcibly removed from the Palace or if I want to forcibly remove your clothing. No one’s ever made me feel this way, and I don’t know what it is, but I like it. I like you. And even though you infuriate me, I’d still like you to stay and have dinner with me.” He reaches out to me and tugs on my wrist. “Keep me company while I cook?”

“So much for never lying to me,” I say, laughing. “I might be able to believe you when you say you like me—I like me, too—but you can’t seriously expect me to believe you’re cooking dinner for me yourself. ”

“Except I am.”

“R-ight.” Rolling my eyes, I push myself away from the wall and peer down the hallway. “Now, where did you hide the caterers?”

“So you refuse to believe I know my way around the kitchen. Is this because I’m a guy or because I’m a prince?”

“It’s because I can’t boil a pot of water without starting a fire.”

“Good to know.” He’s laughing as he puts his arm around me. “In that case, I’d better not let you anywhere near the stove.”

On our way to the kitchen, I notice a grand piano in the space once occupied by a couple of purgatorial-looking sofas. However, there are no caterers to be found.

Maybe he really can cook.

“Have a seat,” he says, gesturing to some bar stools flanking a large center island. “Would you like something to drink? I’m not as stocked as I’d like to be.” His expression is sheepish as he proceeds to the other side of the island. “Still settling in, you know? I’m equipped for martinis, and Esme sent over a bottle of the Chianti you like, so there’s wine, if you’d prefer.”

“I’d love a martini. Extra dirty.”

One corner of his mouth turns up into a half-smile that’s all sex. “My kind of girl.”

I try not to let on how much his comment excites me.

As he goes to work on our cocktails, I stare at his hands, wondering how it would feel if they went to work on my body. Watching him is such fun, I’m almost disappointed when he comes over to my side of the island holding two dirty martinis, one of which he hands to me.

He raises his glass. “To new experiences.”

After we each take sips, he returns to the other side of the island.

“Let’s see…” He pulls a saucepan from an overhead rack, places it on one of the burners, and heads over to the refrigerator.

Then he opens the refrigerator door and I see it— the now-infamous list— hanging in plain view from a magnet that reads: ‘Keep calm. There’s still one Prince left.'”

Not knowing what the list is for has been driving me insane, but it wasn’t something I felt comfortable asking him about under the circumstance. After all, if I hadn’t been snooping, I never would have seen the damn thing in the first place. But now that Edward has it hanging on the fridge as if it were something he’s proud of…

Game on.

“Nice magnet, but that’s one hell of a grocery list.”

“Thanks,” he says, still leaning into the fridge. “Carlisle gave it to me as a joke.”

“Really? Usually I get his jokes, but I can’t see how a list of single women could possibly be funny.”

“It isn’t.” He returns to the island holding a carton of heavy cream and a jar of tomato sauce, both of which he empties into the saucepan. “I was talking about the magnet.”

“So?”

He shrugs. “What?”

“The list.”

“Oh. Just some friends I need to see now that I’m home.”

I don’t believe him for a second, but I let it go—for now. So what if those women are hanging up on his refrigerator? I’m the one in his kitchen watching him cook.

And much to my amazement, he actually seems to be good at it.

“I have to admit,” I say, changing the subject, “your culinary skills are impressive.”

“Thank you.”

“And I’m guessing from the recent addition to your living room that you also play the piano.”

“I do, but I’m a bit out of practice. I hoping that will change now that I’ve been removed from active duty.” He shrugs. “I don’t have much else to do with my time.”

“Can’t count on spending hours trapped in a steam room every day, I guess.”

“Only on very good days.”

There’s something about his tone of voice that makes the room suddenly seem ten degrees hotter.

“Anyway,” he continues, “having the piano brought over from my mother’s old apartments was part of my make-the-most-out-of-being-pulled-out-of-active-duty-and-stuck-here-in-the-Palace plan.”

“Have you considered living elsewhere? I mean, I get why you’d be miserable in Masen Palace. When Esme moved in here, she thought it would be great for her, that the twelve-foot-high iron fence would eliminate the feeling of living in a fishbowl. But it’s just the illusion of privacy, isn’t it? The paparazzi may not be able to get to you here, but you’re still never truly alone. It seems so…I don’t know…” I try to phrase this as inoffensively as possible. “…stifling.”

He laughs. “Not a fan of the Royal Ghetto, huh?”

“Royal Ghetto?”

“That’s how my grandmother’s staff refers to Masen Palace. The joke is that this is where she houses the family rejects.”

“Really?” I ask, wrinkling my forehead. “I thought you grew up here.”

“That’s what they keep telling me. My mother’s apartments are right next door to this one— but I don’t have any memories of ever living with her here. I was sent to boarding school when I was seven…” He shrugs. “I suppose Masen Palace has always been my official residence, and I’ve had this apartment since I finished school.”

“You’ve been here that long? I just assumed…” I cut myself off when it occurs to me what I’m about to say will probably offend him. “Never mind.”

“No, tell me.”

“It doesn’t seem very…I don’t know…you.”

“It’s not. But I’ve never spent more than a few weeks here at a time, so I never saw the need to change anything. In fact, with the exception of the piano and updated electronics, my apartment looks exactly as it did when my mother used it to house overnight guests. It does have some neat details—like the hidden passageway connecting this apartment to the one that was hers. Legend has it my great-great grandfather had it built so he could sneak his lovers into his bedchamber undetected.”

I count backwards in my head. “King Edward III?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” I drag out each syllable as I lower my head and roll it from one shoulder to the other. “Now you’re just making stuff up. King Edward III would have no reason to sneak his lovers anywhere. Everyone knew he was a manwhore, and on top of it, he was King! It’s not as if he had to answer to anyone. Building a secret passage to sneak women into his room seems like a waste of effort.”

“It wasn’t built so he could sneak in women.”

My jaw drops. “He was into guys, too?”

“He was into everything.”

As Edward works on the rest of our meal, there’s a certain finesse to his movements—a practiced grace so enthralling it makes me wonder if, with the obvious exception of the time he threw up on me, the man has ever had an awkward moment in his life. Then he catches me staring at him, and my emotions are a cross between how I felt when my mom found my stash of contraband candy when I was ten and how I felt when Edward caught me snooping in his bedroom last week. It’s the kind of embarrassment that has little to do with my actions and everything to do with what my actions say about who I am. I don’t want Edward to notice it, let alone analyze it, so when he tells me to take a seat at the dining room table and that he’ll be in with dinner shortly, I’m grateful to have something to focus on besides how much I want to jump his bones.

“Esme didn’t start to feel at home here until she redecorated her living space. I don’t know. Maybe you’d feel better if you made your apartment more a reflection of who you are.”

“Possibly. Then again, I don’t anticipate being here that long. It’s fine for me, but there’s not enough space for a family.”

“Is that something you want?”

“It’s expected of me.” He looks down at his plate and stabs a piece of penne with his fork. “What about you?” he asks, before popping it into his mouth.

“Honestly? My career has always come first, and I can’t imagine that ever changing. My dad’s worked so hard his whole life. Someone has to make sure his legacy is carried on, and it’s not as if Esme’s willing to pitch in.”

“So you do it out of duty.”

“What? No. I mean, that’s part of it—I’m close to my parents, but I also love what I do.”

“Let’s say for the sake of argument that you didn’t. Would you still do it?”

“But I do love working for my dad, so your question isn’t relevant.”

“It is because it says a lot about who you are.” His face is serious as he leans in a bit closer. “Please. I’d really like to know.”

I take another bite of pasta and chew it as slowly as possible, thinking I need all the time I can get to figure out my answer. Would I devote my life to something I didn’t enjoy out of a feeling of familial obligation?

I know I wouldn’t be happy about it, and I’d probably resent whomever created the circumstances that would require me to make such a sacrifice, but ultimately, I’d do what was expected of me and try to make the most of it.

“I’d do whatever I had to do.”

He smiles, but his face shows no joy. “We’re more alike than I realized.”

At no point during the evening does our conversation lull. From time to time, we touch each other as we talk—a pat here, a squeeze there. There are even a few times I think he’s going to kiss me, but he doesn’t. Even as he helps me into the car, he’s a perfect gentleman.

It’s unbelievably disappointing.

After Edward closes the car door, I replay the past few hours in my head, wondering if maybe I got things wrong.

A moment later he re-opens it. “How good is the security at your building?”

“Lately there have been a few paps outside, but they never manage to get past the doorman. Why?”

He gets into the car beside me.

“Edward, you don’t have to—”

“Remember the night you crashed here? I put you to bed, and you said it felt like that awkward moment after a date when a decision needs to be made about how you want things to go, and even though you had plenty of time to think about it, you still don’t know what you want?”

“Yes, but—”

“I know exactly what I want. ” He lays his hand on my knee. “And it starts with walking you to your door. ”

Half an hour later, having driven across town and successfully dodged the paps, we’re standing in the hallway outside my flat.

“This seems private enough,” Edward says.

I look over his shoulder to where his guard stands a few feet away. “If you say so.”

“He doesn’t count.” He pulls me into his arms and hugs me tightly. After a few seconds, he lets go. “I’ll call you.”

It isn’t until he turns to leave that it hits me. The last time he tried to kiss me, I smacked him. Of course he’s not going to initiate anything—after that, it’s on me to make the next move.

So I do.

I throw my arms around his neck and press my lips against his. At first, there’s nothing. He doesn’t react, nor does he respond.

Fuck. Why didn’t I think to invite him inside first?

Maybe kissing him out here in the hallway wasn’t the best idea, but since I can’t take it back now, I might as well make it memorable. With all of me pressed against all of him, I tug on his hair and run my tongue across his lower lip.

Almost instantaneously, his hands are in my hair, and his tongue is in my mouth. It’s intense, it’s amazing, and I don’t doubt for a moment it’s real. It’s also over far too soon.

“Would you like to come inside for a bit?” I ask.

“It’s late; I really shouldn’t.”

I’m crushed, but I don’t let it show. “I understand.”

“Tomorrow, though…” Smiling, he leans his forehead against mine. “May I see you tomorrow?”

I say yes, but it’s only part of my answer.

I think I’d let him see me whenever he wanted.





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