“You’s here to pick up Miss Swan?” the red-haired boy asked after opening the hallway door.
“Yes, sir, I am.” Edward bowed and smirked.
“Tommy’s my name, and I wants ya to know, she’s a nice lady. Nothing bad ‘bout her, so you’s better be polite and decent to her, or I’ll find someone to hurt ya.” Tommy pointed at him with an accusing finger.
“On my honor, she will be as safe as she ever is,” Edward promised. It was easy to do since there was no telling how safe she truly was, living in this deplorable place. His promise did not include, however, the way she would be treated in a sensual manner by him.
By his estimation, she was in danger most of her day by merely being near him.
Rap, rap, rap, rap, rap.
Edward’s new, pristine cane knocked on her door, making it rattle a little.
He smiled. If he wanted to crack that door into kindling he could without much effort.
And it might be worth it to see her shocked, angry expression.
That woman was more than enticing when enraged.
Rap, rap, rap, rap, rap.
“Isabella, it is I, Mr. Masen,” he called out through the door.
Tommy was staring until Edward cut him a curt look over his shoulder.
“Is she at home?” Edward asked him.
“I ain’t her keeper.” Tommy shrugged. “But I did hear someone leave earlier. It might’ve been her. I'n it a weeknight? Probably not her.”
Edward glowered. “Would anyone else in this tenement know who left?”
“Nope. We don’t pays much attention to stuff like that.” Tommy went back into his hovel and shut the door.
“Stubborn woman.” Edward left in a rush, paid his driver extra to get him to Central Park for the tenement society rally.
She had better be there, and when he found her, there would be many words exchanged about his displeasure with her.
When the carriage rolled to an abrupt stop, he groaned.
“I can’t go any further, sir,” his driver called out.
“Fine,” Edward said, getting out and paying him another two dollars. “Park nearby. I’m uncertain how long I’ll want to stay here.”
His driver nodded and drove off.
“Need to get a motorcar,” Edward said to himself as he drifted into the park—alone.
Damn woman. She was told not to embarrass him, and already he was uncomfortable, walking solo down the lit up path.
Evening was closing in.
When he got to the Bethesda Terrace, overlooking the lake, he searched for her.
There was quite a gathering though, of rich and poor, tenants and landlords.
“Mr. Masen, I’m so glad you’re here!” a woman called out.