Song I listened to for this chapter: Daylight by Matt & Kim (This is the Bacardi commercial music with the guy walking back in time in bars… It just appealed to me..)
Bella is still laughing as Peter closes the doors to the closet. She is so happy, she cannot explain it. She continues to chuckle as she looks around his bedroom. It is done in browns and creams, very tasteful and restful. She already knows he has great taste with the decor for the house and the bar. But often you can tell someone’s true taste with their private areas. That he has no problem with her seeing his most private areas and invited her to look around, tells her he truly doesn’t mind her in his private life.
Before she can do more than look around, the doors open to show that Peter has changed to a teal button up, with the top three buttons undone with a black vest, black jeans and shoes. He doesn’t have a hat, causing her to have a flashback to Rose and Alice telling her he wears a hat everywhere. She enjoys his hair going wherever it wants and truly doesn’t mind seeing him without a hat.
Peter opens the doors to the closet and sees Bella standing there in his room in a shaft of soft morning light. His heart turns over in his chest at her beauty and the love he feels for her. He grins at her and starts to walk over to his bathroom to make sure his hair isn’t too bad when Bella walks over to him and hesitantly hugs him. His grin gets bigger as he kisses her head, pulls her closer and asks, “What’s this?”
Bella can’t help herself, she’d had this need to hug Peter when she saw him looking at her, but was unsure if it would be welcome. He puts that to rest when he kisses her and pulls her closer. When he asks why, she answers, “Just because… And I wanted to check on huginess.”
Peter looks at her with his eyebrow raised, “Huginess?”
Bella glances up at him with an innocent look and tells him, “Well I needed to see if this outfit was ok for hugs. You know some outfits are unhuggable.”
Peter chuckles to himself and asks, “And is it huggable?”
Bella keeps her straight face and tells him, “Yes. But I may need to check later in the day, it may change.”
Peter can’t help himself and laugh. “That’s good luv, I would have had to change if it didn’t pass the huginess test. And anytime you need to test the huginess, please feel free to do so.”
Bella loses it and starts to laugh. “I will be sure to inform you of any loss of huginess.”
Peter pulls her closer and shakes his head. Life with Bella will definitely be aces and that makes him, oh-so very happy. “You ready luv? Or should I say, do I pass all your tests for us to leave?”
Bella steps back, looks him over and makes a motion with her finger for him to turn around. Peter does, trying to hold in his laughter at her as he shows off for her. She walks up to him, puts her hands hesitantly to his hair and runs her hands lightly through it, throwing off shivers that Peter tries to hide from her. “You’ll most definitely not pass as Hatter,” Her voice drops as she lets her hands rest on the back of his neck. Staring at him, she adds softly, “But you will most definitely pass as Peter.”
Peter looks back in her eyes and slowly kisses her. When they break for air, he tells her, “Then I guess we can go, once you decide who you want to be with today,” and watches her, wondering at her answer.
Bella smiles and says, “Peter, of course. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Hatter once in awhile, but he belongs to a club, I am not sure if he wants anything to do with me.” She smiles at him watching his reaction.
Peter stares at her and tells her softly, “Bella, all of me wants you; I am just unsure how much you want of me.” ‘And more of you than you can ever imagine,’ but he thinks that it maybe be better to keep that part to himself for now.
Bella realizes this is something that worries him and she tells him, “All of you. But just think, that will help me put off starting with the harem with all your different selves!”
Peter throws back his head and laughs. He tugs Bella closer to him and murmurs, “Life most definitely will be aces with you!” Before she can say anything, he walks over, grabs a black jacket, carries it back to her and offers his arm to her.
Bella looks at it and then back at him, “No carrying me back down the stairs?”
Peter replies cheekily, “Not now, but I can later.”
Bella grins back at him, puts her arm through his. The two of them exit his room and go down the stairs to the front door. Peter moves forward, opens the door for her and grandly gestures her out of the house as she chuckles. Bella can’t remember the last time she has laughed so much and has had this much fun with anyone.
Bella looks at both, thinks of how nice it had been to be able to relax with Peter yesterday on the way here. But then she looks at the other car and something in her really wants to be in it. Then, her practical side comes through, reminding her of the hassle of parking and she tells him, “A driver for today but I really want a trip in that car, Peter!”
Peter comes up behind her, puts his arm around her and tells her softly, “We will soon, luv. If you want it that badly, we will.” And then he grins and says, “I am glad of the second choice, I have a feeling that I will need the services of someone else before the end of the day.”
Bella chuckles, realizing he thinks she is going to spend a ton of money and quips back at him, “This isn’t Rodeo Drive and I am not Julia Roberts, dear.” She laughs, goes to the door the driver had opened when Peter had signaled that they were taking the Jaguar.
Peter stands there and a wide grin stretches across his face at her endearment. He then chuckles and follows her thinking that she may be in for a slight shock. He has told Alice and Bella that he would take care of the problem, and he plans to do exactly that. Plus, she will need some clothes for some trips he needs to make in the future that he wants her to join him on. He murmurs to the driver, “Southworks and keep an eye out if you may?” The driver nods back at him and he climbs in after Bella.
He settles in, pulling Bella in his lap while asking her, “What part of Julia Roberts did you not like in Pretty Woman, besides the most obvious?”
Bella smiles and answers, “Besides she was a hooker? The fact she got hit by Jason Alexander.”
Peter nods and then says, “Not that she got taken care of by her rich and very handsome boyfriend?”
Bella looks at him and tells him, “Well, can Richard Gere’s character really be classified as her boyfriend?”
Peter grins at her and then in a serious tone tells her, “It, of course, depends on your take on it. But can we compromise and call them love interests?”
Bella grins back at him and answers back in the same tone of voice, “Yep, that can be agreed upon.”
Peter laughs, thinking of how much fun later will be and hugs her to him. “Well then, now that is settled, I do have some things I need to ask you.”
Bella looks at him and raises her eyebrow at him, encouraging him to continue.
Peter is still smiling and loves how she gave as good as she got with him. “I will need to go out of town in a couple of weeks. I would really like you to join me, Bella. Especially since we are not sure where we will be in the investigation.”
Bella stares at him and then asks, “What about my school and work?”
Peter answers her quickly, “Rose and Alice have spoken with your instructors and they advised me that, according to the instructors, you have one last test to take and you will be finished. Your sensei has said to not show yourself until this situation is resolved and said to follow your gi, whatever that means. Bella, you are important to not only me, but to Rose, Alice and Emmett, and now it sounds like others as well. We want you to be safe. Plus you didn’t tell me you were achieving your Doctorate.”
Bella is thinking about the words of her sensei, basically follow her heart and to trust in it. ‘I am beginning to Sensei!’
Then, Bella realizes that Peter has asked her a question and she answers, “It’s not a big deal. I just wanted to make sure that I knew what I could do, before I started to manage the family assets. I didn’t want to make a mistake and cost others their livelihoods.”
Peter shakes his head and really wishes he can get his hands on the bloody git, James.
He softly asks her, “You do have advisors who are running it now that you are going to keep on and ask for advice right?” When Bella nods, he continues, “Bella, nothing is going to take the place of actually doing it. Book knowledge is great, but you need to temper it with experience.” He stares at her and tells her softly, “You need to make sure you make time for the good things of life or else you won’t understand those working for you. They are working for those good things and working for you is a means to that end. Each one has their own idea of what their good thing is. Now I am not saying being a playgirl is what they need, but they also need someone who understands why they are working.” He hopes he can start to undo what that bloody arse rag has done to her which will make them being together more possible.
Bella stares at him, remembering Emmett telling her that Peter is the best manager that he has ever had and that Emmett has heard the same from the others in the bar. He has great business sense, which she knows already since not only did he have a thriving club business, he also has made his money young while managing not to lose it. Here is someone who has come from nothing and has worked very hard to get where he is now. Peter is trying to tell her that it’s okay to have fun, but also, to listen to others who may know more than her. It’s fine to work, too.
“Peter, I… I don’t know what to say. I have this need to prove myself that I can handle and make money on my own. But let me think completely about what you have said and let it sink in. It makes complete sense, but it’s contrary to what I have been told.”
Peter nods, telling himself Rome was not built in a day and then asks her, “Are you willing to come with me then?”
Bella looks back at him and says, “Well you managed to take away all my objections, so yep.”
Peter becomes concerned and tells her, “Bella, luv, I am not trying to take away your choices. This is up to you completely. If you don’t want to, then I will make other arrangements.”
Bella puts her hands on his face and says, “I was teasing you Peter. I understand and I suspect I will be going slightly stir crazy depending what happens in the next couple of weeks. But all in all, I like to spend time with you.” She leans closed to him, staring into his eyes as his arms tighten around her. “I really like to spend time with you.” And then she kisses him softly and leans back to see what his reaction will be.
Peter stares back at her and pulls her back for another kiss, then he gently holds her closer as he softly replies, “Hmm that’s good, since I don’t think I will letting loose of you any time in the future.”
They sit there like that, enjoying being near each other for awhile.
Before too long, they pull into the Southworks and their driver opens the door for them. Bella climbs out first and then Peter follows. He cocks an eyebrow at the driver and he nods slightly. They were followed but he had shaken them off. Peter wonders who had followed them; he has two arse wipes to choose from now.
Bella stands and looks at the area in front of her. She doesn’t mention to Peter that her family had a part in this area’s revitalization. When the steel mills shut down, her family had tried to help. They loved their new adoptive city and had been upset at the basic shut down of it. Many people were out of work at once and there were too few jobs available for all the people who had been highly trained in their field. These poor people were being told they were only good for minimum wage grade. The Hamiltons had instigated a couple of these projects and watched as the economy slowly took an upward turn over the last couple of decades. Bella looks proudly at the people shopping and children laughing in what used to be a steel mill only a few decades ago.
Peter walks up to Bella, grabs her hand and asks, “Well, it’s no Rodeo Drive, but I think you can find a new wardrobe here.” He grins down at her.
Bella’s eyes widened and she quickly says, “A new wardrobe? Peter! I didn’t need a complete new wardrobe, do I?” Bella didn’t think it was quite that bad. Then she frowns, she doesn’t normally spend that much money.
Peter saw her shock and quickly drops her hand to grab her arms while looking into her in the eyes. He didn’t realize that she’d not known how bad her house had been wrecked when it had been invaded. “Bella, after this, if you want, we can go to your place. I would advise against it. Alice, Rose and Emmett were upset as it was. But, please let’s just forget our troubles for now and enjoy a day together. If you want, we can just find some clothes and do whatever you want afterwards.” Thinking about it, he doesn’t think anyone has mentioned that her house had actually been trashed and is unlivable. He knows it will upset her, he himself had been livid. But now, Peter just wants this time together for them.
Bella nods, makes a conscious decision to enjoy the day and then smiles, “I guess I need a new wardrobe if I am going to be hanging around you. Don’t want you to be ashamed to be seen with me.” She grins mischievously at him, dismissing, as he’d requested, the bad for now.
“Oi! What you trying to imply?” Peter relaxes and releases her arms to hold her hand again.
Bella glances at him up and down, then pointedly looks at herself. “I dress comfortably, not like I am going to some magazine photo shoot.”
Peter shakes his head at her, “Is that what you think? You never sacrifice comfort for fashion, luv. You make fashion out of what is comfortable for you. Let me show you how it’s done.”
With that starts a whirlwind tour through boutiques, department stores and much, much laughter. True to Peter’s words, he helps outfit her in clothing that sacrifice nothing for comfort, but look great on her. The only time they actually argued was when she found out he was paying for it all. She only gave in when he reminded her that she had agreed that he will take care of it when she was told in the hospital. She told him that had been a dirty trick to pull on a weak, defenseless woman on the mend, but he wouldn’t budge. When she tried to add up what he was spending, she noticed there were no tags on anything. He was just a bit too innocent when she mentioned that tidbit.
But all in all, Bella enjoys their time together. They hold hands and steal kisses from each other and act generally like a couple. When she complains that she is hungry, he glances down at her quickly.
“I’m sorry luv, I forgot about feeding you.” Peter stops and looking around at what is close by, he asks her “Cheesecake Factory be fine?”
Bella closes her eyes and tells him, “They make some of the best fettuccine alfredo around.”
Peter laughs and starts to guide them to the restaurant. He gives them their names and is surprised when they are seated quickly. Peter glances at Bella and she looks away grinning. “Bella?”
Bella glances at him and sees him staring at her. “My family helped plan this area. This particular restaurant was one of the major places they worked to get here. To entice them, they gave them the pick of the lots as long as we never have to wait for a table.”
Peter laughs. “This is a first time for me. Usually I get the tables, not my dates, or in this case my girlfriend.”
Bella picks up on that quickly. “Dates? Girlfriend? As in many dates and singular girlfriend?”
Peter glances at her, decides to be honest with her and replies, “Yes. Like I have been on many dates, and you’re my first girlfriend. I have high standards you know.”
Bella almost chokes on the water she is drinking and fires back. “Either you lowered them for me, or I wonder about what those high standards of yours are.”
Peter’s smile fades for a second, would she never accept a compliment from him? He leans closer to her and softly says, “If anyone’s standards were lowered, it was yers fer me, a fact that I hav’ been rejoicing in.”
Bella stares at him; she hears the English accent coming though and notices that when he is being serious or emotional, it comes out stronger than other times. She wonders what makes him think she lowered her standards for him, especially as he has done nothing but treat her with love and respect. What woman wouldn’t be attracted to that?
Peter is staring in her eyes, watching her until they are interrupted by a waiter. They give their orders and Peter keeps his patience as the waiter flirts with Bella. She doesn’t react to it, and Peter wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t even recognize what the waiter was doing. This woman was totally unaware of her own charms.
Bella patiently waits on the man to leave, then asks Peter, “So are we finished shopping or is there somewhere else you like to take me?”
Peter leans back in his chair and stares at her. “Well you need some sleepwear, right?” He watches as Bella blushes and chuckles. Then, he leans closer to tell her softly, “I think you will definitely need to model those for me. I need to really make sure those are huggable.”
Bella laughs at him at that. “But isn’t all ‘sleepwear’ huggable?”
Peter grins back at her and tells her, “But I need to make sure!”
Before they can banter anymore, their food arrives. They share some of each other’s food. Bella is unaware of the looks they are getting from different people, but Peter isn’t. He notices from the older couples they receive knowing looks and indulgent smiles on their faces while watching them. From the girls, he gets admiring looks and they shoot either hateful or jealous looks to Bella. Bella gets guys looking her up and down, and he gets evil, measuring glances sent to him. He makes note of those and altogether enjoys it all.
When they are finished, he waits for the check to appear and when it doesn’t he glances at Bella. She smiles and tells him, “My treat for the day.”
Peter smiles and thanks her. He then rises and pulls out her chair, helping her out of it and putting his hand on the small of her back while escorting her out of the restaurant, smirking. Bella glances at him and shakes her head.
Peter and Bella leave the area and wander back to the shopping center. Peter sees a little boutique that he haa been looking for and guides her to it. They walk in and a bell rings. He glances down at her and grins before he hears, “Hatter, me mate! Ya been all right?”
He looks up and sees his friends Alistair and Maggie walking to them. They both pull him into a hug and then Maggie notices Bella. “Oi! And who is yer mate Hatter?”
Peter smiles and pulls Bella close to him. “Maggie, Alistair, meet me girl, Bella. Bella, this be some of me mates from across the pond.”
Alistair looks at Bella admirably and tells Peter, “Hatter, you be one jammy bastard! Bella, nice to meetcha.”
Bella is confused at the vernacular but she figures she will ask Peter what Alistair said later. “Nice to meet you both.”
Peter laughs and tells them, “Bella needs a new wardrobe and I brought her here last to finish it off.” He looks down at Bella and both Alistair and Maggie could see he is completely gone for Bella. They grin, happy for their mate.
Maggie speaks up. “Bella, if you follow me, I will show you what we have. Hatter, you stay right here.” When Peter makes to protest, she shushes him, “Hatter, you need to let the lady surprise you!” She grabs Bella and pulls her towards the rear, shouting out, “Alistair, keep him occupied!”
Alistair glances at Peter and grins, “So Bella huh?”
Peter grins and tells him, “She came into the club, and she caught me fancy. There was an altercation on the floor, some bloody git manhandling her, and I went to help. The rest is Bob’s your uncle!” He purposely leaves out the drama, his mates not needing to know about that.
Alistair laughs and claps him on the shoulder. “Hatter, you most definitely are one jammy bastard.”
Peter looks him in the eye. “You have no idea. She knows everything, and still wants to be with me. And she be blue blood here in Pittsburgh!”
Alistair stares at him. His mate has landed himself one that he doesn’t need to worry about is only around for his money. He is happy for his mate. He’s deserved this for long time. “Well, she must care for you.”
The two friends continue to talk while they wait on the ladies. Bella and Maggie come back and Peter looks at Bella. She is laughing and at the same time is slightly embarrassed. But she walks up to him and laces their fingers together, leaning her head on his shoulder.
Maggie watches them, happy at the sight they make. Hatter has found someone she approves of, but she notices the weary look on Bella’s face and tells Hatter, “You best be taking the lady home Hatter! She fair be knackered!”
Peter glances down, sees that Bella is indeed weary and he smiles. “This was our last stop, Maggie.”
Maggie hands the bags to him, he glances at her with an eyebrow cocked and she nods. Maggie had taken care of the bill. He says his farewells to his friends with Bella thanking Maggie for her help. He wraps an arm around her and they make their way out of the shop.
It has gotten dark and they both can feel the cold air coming off the Monongahela River. Bella has been surprised at how cold it has gotten. Before she can even react, Peter stops, puts his jacket around her shoulders and then puts his arm around her as they make their way to the car.
It is things like that, Peter not even thinking and just doing things for her, that make Bella’s heart beat faster. She works her arms into the sleeves and is grateful for the additional warmth. She normally doesn’t get cold easily, but she would not be surprised if they have their first big frost of the season tonight. She smiles in anticipation of the coming fall and winter seasons. She glances up at Peter and wonders how it will be with him, watching the first snowfall.
Peter is watching to make sure no one would mar today. It has been fun, he can see Bella is relaxed and happy. He doesn’t want anything to affect that unless it is him, and only in a good way. They make it to the car with no mishaps and their driver has the door open waiting for them. The ride home is quiet with Bella resting her head on him like yesterday.
The guards at the gate check them as thoroughly as they did yesterday. Once through the gates, the driver pulls up to the house and then goes ahead and pulls into the garage. Bella yawns, she is too drowsy to look around. She just gets out and when Peter sees her sway slightly, he picks her up.
Bella smiles up at him and tells him tiredly, “Hmm.. I could get used to this. Can we just have a cup of tea and relax for a little bit to unwind?”
Peter kisses her on the forehead and tells her, “Whatever you wish, luv.”
He carries her into the house and to the family room in the back. He settles her on the couch and tells her, “Stay here and I will be right back.” Bella nods and stares out to the city lights below them.
Peter goes to the kitchen, starts the tea and then helps the driver deliver all the bags to the upstairs hallway. He grabs one of Maggie’s bags, looking into it sees a lounge set in blue and grabs them. He also goes into her room, grabs the robe he’d left for her earlier and brings them down to her.
Bella is thinking about how wonderful today has been, besides James’s unwelcome interruption. She is smiling when Peter comes back in and hands her some clothes.
“Here, go get comfortable while I finish the tea.” He helps her up and walks her to a bathroom.
Peter then takes off up the stairs as she watches him, smiling. She changes, folds her clothes and makes a mental note to be sure she takes them up with her. The material for her pajamas is very soft, she loves them and the color, a midnight blue with light blue paisley designs on them. Maggie had sworn that Peter will love them too.
She comes out of the bathroom and makes her way back to the back of the house.
Peter is there setting out some tea cups. Hearing her footsteps, he looks up and smiles at her. He has changed into a soft dove grey lounge pants and a navy blue shirt.
Bella sits back down on the couch and Peter drops into the space next to her. He then reaches out to grab her tea and hands it to her, “One large dollop of honey right?”
Bella smiles at him, not surprised he had noticed how she took her tea this morning. He smiles back after grabbing his cup, leans back and puts one arm around her, pulling her carefully to him. They sit there watching the city lights and finish their tea.
After awhile, Bella sighs and tells him, “Thank you, Peter. Today was the most fun I have had in a long time.”
Peter kisses the top of her head and tells her, “You’re very welcome, Bella. I would love you to have days like this all the time. I certainly enjoyed it.”
He looks down, catches her yawn and tells her, “Time for bed luv.”
Bella groans, “Why do you have to have so many stairs?”
Peter chuckles as he takes her tea cup and his and sets them on the tray. “Why should you worry about stairs, luv? I seem to carry you up them more often than not.” And with that he stands and picks her up.
Bella smiles and tells him frankly, “I think you just like showing your manly muscles off.”
Peter begins walking to the stairs and replies, “Are you complaining, luv?”
Bella immediately snuggles closer to him. “Nope. Makes me feel girly.”
Peter laughs softly and thinks to himself she is no girl, nope, he has all woman in his arms. He reaches the top of the stairs and when he goes to open her door, Bella speaks up hesitantly.
“Peter, I…” And stops, she is embarrassed to ask this, it is too early for their relationship; it has just been over a couple of months! But she’d felt so safe last night…
Peter looks down at her, seeing her face and tells her, “You can ask me anything, luv. What you want?”
Bella still hides her head, but remembering this morning, how it felt knowing he had slept beside her, gives her the courage needed and she shyly asks, “Can I sleep with you tonight? Just sleep nothing else.”
Peter smiles and tells her, “I would love that.”
He turns, walks them down to his room and goes inside. He puts her down gently and leans past her to pull the blankets down. She smiles shyly.
Before she can get in, he reaches out to her and pulls her in his arms. “Bella, there is no need to be embarrassed. I told you I would love to repeat this morning, and that included waking to you in my arms. I am honored that you feel the same luv.” He kisses her gently and then as she gets into bed, he tells her he will be back in a few.
Peter walks downstairs to make sure everything is locked down. He cleans up their tea things and does a run through of security. He is smiling broadly as he does this. He stops in the downstairs bathroom and grabs Bella’s clothes, turns off all the lights. He makes his way to his room, dropping off her clothes in the guestroom and hoping this is to be a permanent thing, her being in his room, his bed. ‘Peter, don’t get your hopes up too high!’
Bella is lightly dozing and when she feels Peter getting into the bed. When he pulls her into his arms, she finally feels safe and at home enough to fall completely asleep.
Fairfarren ~ Wendy