Chapter Two

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Damn you, ever-nagging plot bunnies ... I just can't get this one out of my head. I am focusing on one story, but I wanted to get a foundation on this new one. So, here we go ... This will be similar to Buying Love, Friends with Benefits, Mafia Princess and The One That Got Away, with shorter chapters and weekly updates: Sundays with teasers on Thursday.

Up next will be Edward's appointment with Bella B. Leave me some!

Chapter Two

EPOV

"When is this Bella person supposed to be here?" I asked, my fingers flying over my computer keyboard. "I've got the Larson case in the courthouse in an hour."

"Marcus! Can you take the Larson case?" Carmen asked, taking my files from my desk.

"Sure, Carmen," Marcus yelled from his overflowing cubicle. "I just need to find my car keys."

"Carm, the Larson's trust me," I argued. "Can't you take Bella's case? You've built a rapport with her."

"Larson's will trust anyone who prevents them from being kicked out of their house," Carmen snorted indelicately. "I think the case with Bella will be good for you, Edward. You're a great lawyer and I need you to take this."

"But, how is Marcus going to get the courthouse without his keys?" I asked under my breath, arching a brow. I felt a cool breeze and I shivered. Feeling my pockets, I tugged out a set of car keys. "What the ...?"

"Thank you, Edward," Marcus breathed, taking the keys from my hands. "Dude, your hands are like fucking icicles. Were you holding them over the blower?"

"Um," I stammered. "I just run colder than everyone else?"

"Whatever," he chuckled. "I'll get the Larson's to eat out of the palm of my hand. See you later, Carm!"

"Thanks, Marcus!" she bellowed from her office.

I stood up, shrugging off the feeling of unease. How in the hell did I get Marcus's keys? I was nowhere near his cube. I avoided it like the plague. Marcus was a stellar attorney, but organizationally he was a fucking mess. He had piles upon piles upon piles of paperwork, files, and books. It spilled out into the hallway and adjacent counters. I think he even had some of his shit in one of the conference rooms. We all teased him for him. Carmen indulged him, allowing him to keep his piles. But, once a year, we do have a bonfire. Marcus's reams of paper act like the kindling.

"You never answered my question, Carm. When is Bella coming?" I asked, stalking into her office. I was still shaken up by the almost magical appearance of Marcus's keys, but I couldn't dwell on that. "Well?" Carmen looked up at me over her thick glasses. "You said she'd be here by mid-morning. It's almost one."

With a smirk, Carmen pointed to Heidi, our receptionist. She was hovering behind me, wringing her hands. "Mr. Cullen, there's a woman here to see you. Bella?"

"Right," I said. I buttoned my coat, scooting past Heidi. I walked into the dingy lobby of the legal aid office. Huddled, almost hiding against the wall, was a waif of a girl. I saw a mess of brownish-red curls and too skinny limbs. I strode over to her and held out my hand. "Bella, I presume?" Bella squeaked, making herself look even smaller. I could see her arms and they were littered with bruises. Not wanting to spook her, I crouched down. "Miss, my name is Edward and I want to help you. Did you call our office? Asking for an appointment?"

"I did," she whispered, her voice trembling. "I wanted to get here sooner, but he wouldn't leave."

"Do you want to come in the back with me?" I asked, offering my hand. Please don't be freezing cold. "Someplace quiet and safe. We can talk, okay?"

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