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“The whole kitchen is stocked with stainless steel appliances, and there is a double oven..” “I’m sorry that our usual realtor couldn’t fly out,” I murmured in apology as we trotted behind the shrill voice. Bella just scoffed in reply, but I was actually disappointed. The realtor that found our Forks abode and several other residences was a godsend. I’m sure he was disappointed to miss the commission, too, but he said had family problems of some sort. So, we’d have to make do with his local recommendation: an adequate female realtor with too much perfume. This is how we were spending our second day in Seattle. She gawked when she saw how young we looked. She gawked when she found out our nonexistent budget. And she especially gawked when I told her that Bella’s say was the only one that mattered. See, this is why I choose familiarity. It saves so much time. Dan knew not to gawk at our strange family. Even when we asked about nearby wild animal populations. “So what do you think?” the woman asked me, forgetting rule Number 1. “Bella?” I corrected. “It’s..nice,” she offered. The realtor’s frustrated thoughts assaulted me, but she still smiled stoically. Nice! She’s said that about the last five I’ve shown them. And this house has anything that anyone could ever want. What’s with her? I sighed. It had seemed like a good idea let my realtor’s license expire years ago to avoid attention, but now I regretted not getting a new one. She was just here for the paperwork at this point. “Do you like it?” Bella asked me quietly, an unsure look on her face. “I’m okay with anything you pick, remember?” She bit her lip out of habit. “Anything at all?” “Well, I’d like it to be at least 2-bedroom, 1 ½-bath. I think that’s reasonable?” I wanted a guest room in case we had any visitors that required sleep. Plus, I’d never seen an adequate 1-bedroom house before. She nodded and we moved on to the next house.
We’d seen more houses than anyone has business seeing in one day. I was worried that we wouldn’t find the perfect one before sunset, and that Edward would want me to choose one of the previous ones. And that would be difficult, seeing as I didn’t have strong feelings toward any of them. But finally, I saw it across the street from the mansion she had lined up next. I crossed the street eagerly without a word, simply pointing at the yard’s “for sale” in explanation when they followed me over to the modest, 2-story house. Despite its smaller size and older age, it still seemed to be in the upper-middle class range. It immediately reminded me of an expensive doll house I wanted as a child. I had imagined an entire dream home around it. “Are you serious?” the realtor asked with poorly-veiled distaste. Edward shot her a dark look. “You want to see it?” he asked me, sounding pleasantly surprised that I had found anything of interest. Damn, was I really being that difficult? I just didn’t want Edward to blow a bunch of money on a house I wasn’t in love with. And he said we had all day... I smiled despite these unwanted thoughts, and agreed. He grabbed my hand and beamed even more brightly than I before leading us up to the door. An older lady greeted us, looking a little surprised to see any visitors. It was understandable; she wasn’t having an open house and it’s not like we called. Plus, the house was not as flashy as the competition. Edward charmed her before the realtor could open her mouth, and we were ushered inside for an impromptu tour. “Here’s the kitchen. My husband started refurnishing it with a Tuscan theme but was unable to finish because he passed on.” My heart ached for the woman and her well-rehearsed line, while the rest of me was instantly captivated by the room. The lower wall space near the counter had started to be fixed with what looked like real stones. The rest of the walls were covered with golden stucco. Some of the cabinets had been upgraded to rich wood. The only untouched areas seemed to be the counters and floor; they were plain white and dull in comparison. “It’s beautiful,” I breathed. I always had liked the idea of a Tuscan kitchen over a modern one. “Well, it looks like it needs a lot of work,” charged the slightly-annoying realtor. She was ruining my buzz.
“Our family is really into home improvement, especially my mother,” Edward said, not missing a beat. I loved the way he said our family. “What do you think, love, some hardwood floors? Or do you prefer terracotta?” “Hardwood,” I answered softly, trying not to get my hopes up in case he didn’t approve of the upstairs. I ran my hand over the smooth countertop. Some painted tiles would be lovely... “Shall we see the upstairs?” the homeowner asked, breaking me out of my reverie. I smiled politely and nodded at her. There were two good-sized bedrooms and a full bathroom upstairs, much to my delight. Edward said we could design the bathroom to match the kitchen if I wanted. I squealed and attacked him with a big hug, making him chuckle. But I rightfully took that suggestion as an approval to the whole house. We were now homeowners. Well, this was probably the 20th house to have been bought by Edward, but still. I was included in this deed. It was ours. The previous owner was worried about signing it over now because she wasn’t going to move in with her daughter for another two months. But she agreed after we told her we would be out of the country, anyway. She could stay until December for free if she wanted to. The Cullens would then move the belongings I wanted from Charlie’s house since we would be gone until late in the month. I asked Edward about his stuff, but he said he would only ask them to transfer the clothes. He had few other possessions to take to the house and preferred to do it himself, claiming it would all fit in the Volvo. I shrugged. Aside from painting the walls in colors I requested or approved of, I declined any renovation or decorating help until our return. In addition to not wanting to stick them with all the work, I really wanted to be a part of the process. I even wanted to go furniture shopping with Alice, and that realization was kind of scary. I was so excited that I called my mom and promised to email her pictures of the house. And I hadn’t randomly called my mom to share exciting news since..ever. I blushed when I realized I must seem like a hyperactive child to Edward, but he was simply gazing at me with a serene expression. Like my happiness meant everything to him. So I let my mind wander on the way to dinner with Ben and Angela. I daydreamed about a world where vampires and suburbs were not an anomaly when paired. I hoped for four fulfilling years of college together. I hoped that everyone we cared about would share in our joy. But most of all, I hoped that a white picket fence could hold the beautiful creature sitting next to me.
The Pike Place market was bustling the next day, but that’s the norm, apparently. Edward and I had visited Seattle a few times before this, but we had never gone here together. It didn’t take long to find out why. “Ugh,” Edward complained as soon as Angela and Ben were out of earshot. I looked over at him, concerned. He had been acting strange since we got here. “What is it?” “The smell,” he scowled. A small chuckle escaped me before I could help it. He glared at me playfully. “It’s also the minds,” he explained. “Not just because it’s crowded, but because markets are especially bad. The haggling. The variety. The sensory overload. That stuff really excites people into a flurry of thoughts.” I frowned, not wanting him to be miserable. I suppose the fish would be especially unappetizing with his sense of smell. “Do you want to leave and meet them for dinner, again?” He shook his head. “No, this is our last day here. I want you to visit them as much as you can.” He paused. “Do you want to shop with them for a bit and call me when you’re done?” I agreed, slightly surprised that he would let me out of his sight in such a busy place. Then again, I wasn’t alone or anything. Edward waited until I caught up with them before waving and heading out. I missed having Edward next to me, but I have to admit that I had fun with my friends. I especially enjoyed the antique section, finding a watch made in 1918 for Edward’s Christmas present. I hoped he was having fun exploring the city.
After I left Pike Place, I went back to the suburb of the house Bella picked out. The home really does have a certain charm. It’s probably almost as old as me, actually. And anything that lights up my girl’s face like that is fine by me. I would have even dropped the 2-bedroom rule, but luckily there is plenty of space even though the house seems compact. But I’m not here for our house at the moment.
While we were signing the papers yesterday, distressed thoughts kept bombarding me from next door. It seemed like a father had lost his job and was about to lose the house to the left of ours.
This saddened me a surprisingly large amount. So here I am now, in their driveway, about to pay off a stranger’s mortgage. I really did hate that rotting market; I wasn’t lying. I probably would have stuck it out if it, though, had not been for this errand. I don’t want to bother Bella with it. I figure that it will also be nice to have neighbors in our good graces to start with. My family has almost always lived far away from anyone else. So, I’m not exactly used to smoozing with people who live 20 feet from me. But they’ll surely be thankful for this, right? Eh. Some people bring Jello; I pay off mortgages. Whatever works. I know that logistically, it would be more private if I just bought the house when it foreclosed or even before, asking them to move out and leaving it empty. But I’m not that heartless. And I really should get used to close contact with people residence-wise, like any other college student. I have a lawyer ready to meet me at their bank and we’ll go together if they agree. I thought about asking for a percentage of the ownership in turn, just to keep an eye on it and make sure they couldn’t sell it for drug money or something. But I know that would make them uncomfortable, so I’m trusting them enough to make it a gift. Most would say that their house is nicer than ours, which makes this all slightly humorous. But Bella clearly did not want a mansion, which is fine with me. They’ll be plenty of time for mansions after we graduate and live with the whole family. After she’s changed... Getting ahead of yourself, much? Perhaps, but I am quite excited at the thought of having Bella forever. And though I’ve always told myself not to get my hopes up, I can’t help it anymore. I’ve started making plans.
If you’re curious, this is what I imagined their house to look like (below), but with no purple. Theirs is historical so it wasn’t cheap, but it was still more reasonable than the newer houses they saw.
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