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I'm not good at this…" I whined over the phone to my best friend Rosalie. From the moment I met Rose in college, I've been in awe of her knack to break up with a crush and move on to the next campus cutie in a matter of moments.
"Bella." I could hear Rose's finger wagging across the phone line that ran from Seattle to my home in Phoenix. "You just need to tell him the truth. Don't sugarcoat it because he'll think he has a chance. You've made your decision to move back to Seattle. You made this decision last year and he convinced you to stay. If you don't make a clean break of things, I'm going to hunt you down and kick your ass." Rose's "vicious" threat made me giggle. "I'm not kidding. You've wasted two years with him. You
would've left Phoenix after that first year if he hadn't dangled marriage in front of you."
I hated how Rose cut through all the bullshit. She was right. I didn't want to be alone like my dad so I stayed with James because I thought I wouldn't feel alone. Once I moved in and he promised me a life of happiness, reality crashed down in a matter of minutes.
James Dwyer was the principal's son of the school where I taught first grade. We met at the new faculty welcome party. The older teachers had warned me that he came to the party so he could meet a hot teacher; he struck out previous two years, but Phil assured his son a "sexy little number" was joining the faculty. When other teachers cautioned me about his past, I ignored them. But it turns out, James has always been about how much ass he can hit. I'm fairly certain
he cheated on me, but the best I did was catch him flirting with everything with tits.
Phil looked less than enchanted with my decision. At least I told him I was leaving the school because I wanted to move home. He had no idea my decision was part of "Operation Slay James" and that meant a clean break from Phoenix.
"Look, you've quit your job, you don't have a lease holding you hostage, and you have an apartment waiting for you up here in Seattle. You know what else? Your family and friends are here." Rose's pep talk shook the uncertainty out of me. I was ready to do this.
"Rose, thank you for giving me a compelling argument. But mostly, thank you for reminding
me about the most important aspect of this move: to return to my family and friends. I'm going to pack like a bat out of hell, load the truck, and pump myself to cut the ties. 'Operation Slay James' is a go. I repeat, 'Operation Slay James' is a go."
I heard a tiny giggle in my ear, followed by a side-splitting laugh. In between chortles, Rose used her most serious voice and stated, "When are you going to realize this isn't a military campaign? This is a war! 'Operation Slay James' will not do. It is of such utter importance that no words can describe it."
My best friend was mocking me. I can't remember a tense time since I met her during which Rosalie Hale wasn't doing her darnedest to lighten the mood; mocking me seemed to be her favorite method, though. "I love you and I'll
call you from the road. Keep sending good vibes my way!"
"I love you, too! Emmett and I will be dancing, singing, praising the gods of good vibes! Call me the second you get on the road. Good luck."
Rose was gone. I had to do this break with Phoenix and James on my own. First step was packing all of my clothes into my car. I jerked my suitcases out of the closet placing them atop the bed and carefully, but with speed, began the process of moving on. While I prepared for my future, I began to think about my past.
I met Rose during the first day of formal rush our freshman year at the University of Washington. Because school, dorm life, and sorority life was so overwhelming, UW paired
us up so we had someone to share our experience. Rose was my Rush Buddy. The second I saw her I realized we had nothing in common and that I wasn't going to receive a bid. In front of me stood this tall, blue-eyed blonde goddess dressed head-to-toe in designer labels. Her gait exuded confidence as everyone's eyes turned in her direction. Meanwhile, I slouched in the corner wearing the same blue sweater and khaki skirt I wore to my high school graduation.
Rose walked up to me, smiled, and in the sweetest voice said, "I'm Rose. I understand I'm the lucky person who gets to be your Rush Buddy." This girl knew how to put me at ease before she knew me! That night, Rose and I scoured my closet to find the best clothes for the rest of the week's rush events. Each morning she tapped on my dorm door and I dragged myself out of bed – just to do my hair and makeup. We spent the time sharing stories. By the time we both received bids to join the sisters of Kappa Gamma Zeta, we had become BFFs.
During the six years I'd known her, Rose was my rock.
At this point, I scanned the room with an eagle eye to see if I'd left anything laying about. I didn't see anything, so I packed up the car. I finished not a moment too soon because just as I slammed the truck bed shut, James rolled into the driveway.
"Oh, you're all sweaty and sexy. Let's go inside and put that sweat to good use."
"Um," I stammered. "We need to talk."
I was not looking forward to this evening. Almost every Sunday night's dinner was spent at my parents' house. My mother, Esme, liked to be surrounded by family so she insisted on these dinners once we all finished college. I was glad to see my brother, but my mother could not cook which meant I had to endure my weekly torture session at the Cullen household. I suppose I could look at having to eat Esme's dinner as a way of seeking revenge on Emmett, my twin who had moved to Seattle for college and never returned. Because of his busy medical practice, he didn't spend too many Sundays shuttling between Seattle and our tiny hamlet of Forks. At least that was the excuse he gave. I knew he was lying. After all, we did share a womb for over nine months and were the best of friends. Oh well, time to get this ordeal over with.
"Girls!" I shouted for my twin daughters, Elizabeth and Renee. I always thought the occurrence of twins skipped a generation. Turns out my wife's mother was a twin. When Angela was pregnant, I joked that if I had known this about her early on, I wouldn't have married her! Their mother had been named appropriately – she was an angel.
The memory of the first time I met her is emblazoned in my mind. It was my last semester at Stanford and I was taking a women's studies class to fulfill the general education requirement I had avoided during my previous four-and-ahalf years.
My teacher had called on me and I coated my lame response in a docile tone, hoping to catch the professor and the other 29 women in the room off guard so I could avoid being dragged
into yet another contentious debate. As the unfortunate singular man among the bunch, my opinion was often sought. Most of the time I didn't mind, but I hadn't completed that week's reading so I knew any opinion I had would be attacked before it left my mouth. This morning, the quietly pretty girl with glasses in the front row turned and glared at me after I spoke. I didn't know what I did to offend this woman, but I had to find out. After class, I walked up to the girl and introduced myself.
"I know who you are. Remember, there's only one of you, but a classroom full of us. I'm Angela."
"Did I say something to offend you earlier?"
"If looks could kill, I'd be dead from that look you gave me."
"Oh." I couldn't believe that was her response. I stood waiting for her to elaborate. I watched as a thousand thoughts ran across her face. She finally opened up, "I didn't expect much of you the first day of class. I figured you took the class to meet women." That was a plus. "But you always provided thoughtful and unbiased viewpoints to our discussions. Today, you phoned it in. I lost some respect for you."
In that moment, I knew the gauntlet had been thrown down. I had to prove to Angela that I was worthy of her respect. Before I knew it, we were spending much of our free time together. We started dating after a couple of months and
married a few years later. When she got pregnant during that first year of marriage, I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning. My wonderful wife was going to have my child. Angela had been blessed with an easy pregnancy, which was fantastic as she was pregnant with twins. Everything had been smooth. The pregnancy, the early stages of labor, and then she started hemorrhaging during childbirth. The last image I saw of my wife as they shoved me out of the delivery room was of a ghostly pale woman with a bloated belly who laid unconscious on one of those tables with stirrups.
I shuttered at the memory as Renee tugged on my shirt cuff. "Daddy, we're ready to get in the car. Grandma will be mad if we're late." She had a point. At four years old, my daughters impressed me with their ability to deconstruct situations and people. Even without their mother around to influence them, the girls were exhibiting many of the qualities I had loved
about her. Days like these made me miss her: being around my family, talking about weddings, and watching our daughters.
With the girls loaded in the backseat of my Lexus RX450h, we left for my parents' house. We lived on adjoining lots that visitors often described as "massive." The long drive through my property was beautiful this time of year. There was a lot of land for the girls to explore, but they'd need a chaperone. I decided the girls were old enough for a dog. I would have to talk to their grandmothers about it. We pulled into the next driveway and wound through my parents' property. As we reached the clearing, I saw Alice and her fiancée, Jasper, step out of her yellow Porsche as Emmett leapt from his Jeep. Thankfully, we would all be on time so no diatribe tonight. My mother viewed lateness as the epitome of rudeness.
"Hey man!" I greeted Jasper Whitlock, who would become Alice's husband in a week. Alice Cullen was my cousin who grew up with us after her parents died in a car accident when she was a baby. We were six when she moved in, so we viewed her as our sister and we protected her the way any brothers would protect their 4-yearsyounger sister. Jasper endured a lot of abuse at Emmett's hands while they were in medical school at the University of Washington. If Jasper could put up with Alice's high-strung nature and endure Emmett's overbearing voice and physicality and still want to marry her, I knew he was alright. "Are you ready to make these dinners part of your weekly schedule? Maybe you'll start manufacturing medical emergencies every week to rescue you!"
"I'm a psychiatrist. We don't have too many of those. Maybe I can change my area of practice so I can avoid these dinners. Emmett, how often do you deliver babies during the weekends or at night?"
"Aw, man. It's rough." Emmett let out a big yawn to punctuate his point. "I haven't had a free weekend in years. If I didn't take vacation, I'd never spend a lot of time with Rose."
Alice slapped Jasper across the arm and stuck her tongue out at me and then Emmett. She abhorred our mother's cooking, as well, but she looked forward to the time they spent together. I didn't understand how those two could work together and socialize with one another as much as they did. They ran an architecture and interior design company, Cullen Designs. Mom was the architect and Alice designed. In fact, Alice was her own wedding coordinator and designer.
"Move it. I want to see those beautiful granddaughters of mine! Edward, you left them in the car while you joked around with your siblings? You should be ashamed of yourself." I knew my mother was kidding—the whole exchange with Alice, Jasper, and Emmett took less than one minute—but I could feel the blush warming my cheeks as I unclasped Elizabeth's car seat and my mother freed Renee. "There. Let's get you girls inside. It's a little cool tonight." My mother hurried around the car, delicately holding Renee's tiny hand. She reached out to scoop Elizabeth's waiting hand into her own and the three of them trudged up the stairs to my parents' front door, followed by Alice. I watched with pride as three generations of Cullen women entered the house.
Jasper, Emmett, and I followed the ladies. My father, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, was at the bar making drinks. He smiled broadly as we all
meandered into the family room to sit down for appetizers. After serving all of us, the Chief of Staff of the local hospital in Forks sat down next to my mother and opened his mouth with the most shocking of declarations. "Edward, we're all gathered here today for an intervention." What? As far as I could tell, I wasn't an addict.
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"Baby, baby. Whaddya mean, 'we need to talk'?"
"I've decided that I need to move back to the Northwest and my family and friends are there and nothing is really holding me here and the weather is so hot and so dry and we're just not working and I want to teach somewhere else and I've already packed the car and I leave in 10 minutes." I hoped that if I blurted everything out in one nonsensical jumble, this wouldn't be a long, drawn-out discussion where he convinced me to stay. Again.
"What? No. Bella, you're not leaving. We have plans. I want to marry you."
"James, we've been together two years and we've talked about marriage one other time –
when I planned on moving back to Seattle a year ago. You haven't mentioned anything since then." Truthfully, I wasn't ready to get married and I didn't have any hopes of marrying James, but it was a good excuse and an easy out. The idea of his promise, backed up by nothing caused Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" to echo in my ears and a giggle escaped my lips.
James shot me a nasty glare. "You think this is funny? You pack up everything, quit your job, decide we're over, tell me you're leaving minutes before you do, and you have the audacity to laugh?" Crap. So much for getting out of this break up without too much anguish or painful words.
"A song just popped in my head. It was funny. I…um…" I knew my face showed my embarrassment and the only thing I could do was nervously brush my hair off my face and twist my t-shirt around my clenched hand.
"I do plan on marrying you. I just don't have the cash for a proper ring right now. I pay this mortgage by myself, I have my car payments, everyone in the company just took 5% pay cuts so we could continue to keep the plant open. There's only so much money right now. We will get married. I promise you. What do I need to do for you to stay?"
"Stop it. This passive-aggressive bullshit isn't going to work on me anymore. You do this whenever I make a decision you don't like. I have this huuuuge mortgage… I am so sick of
hearing that crap. I've offered to pay half of it since I moved in, but you refuse me every time. It's just another way you try to manipulate me. It's not going to work anymore. And having money for the right ring? You expect me to believe that? You make almost $100,000 per year. That 5% pay cut barely made a difference in your pay. If you wanted to marry me, you would and you wouldn't use an excuse, especially one based on financial need. Instead, you'd rather chase ass around town. I didn't want to make this nasty, but you've led me no other choice." By this point, my face was red from anger. James could tell a different Bella stood in front of him.
"Um, what are you going to do?" I'm glad he didn't continue to challenge me. I didn't want to drive away angry, but rather with a sense of accomplishment.
"I'm going to look for another teaching job. It's going to be hard this close to the beginning of the year, but I've made my decision. I've got a place to live: Alice's condo."
I've known Alice Cullen since attending our small high school, Forks High School. I was a freshman when she was a senior. We weren't friends, but she was always very friendly to me. When I went to college, I found myself in Alice's company again – she was president of Kappa Gamma Zeta and Rose's big sister. She always had an innate ability to get people to do what she wanted. I think it was because she was incredibly tenacious. It was because of Alice that I finally decided to make this move back to Seattle. Alice was moving back to Forks in a couple of weeks, after she married Jasper, the handsome psychiatrist she had met six years earlier. I had called her a few weeks earlier to
ask a few questions about what I should wear to the wedding and we started talking about what held me in Phoenix.
"If you don't like Phoenix, you are ready to break up with your boyfriend, and you think you're teaching at the wrong school, move back to Seattle. My condo will be vacant. Jasper and I decided not to sell it so we could have an overnight place for whenever we're in Seattle, whether for a show, a late dinner, or work. If you allow us to stay in the guest room when that happens—which I swear will happen once or twice a year—you can rent my place for really cheap."
"Alice, I don't know if I'm ready to move back."
"Charlie will love having you within driving distance and away from that schmuck James. Rose will be ecstatic. You know she's going to move in with Emmett when her lease is up? But you'll love the place. I have a great view of the city. It's within walking distance of the city library. Well, you've been there. You know how great it is. Please, you'll actually be doing me a favor."
Alice had a point. "Well, let me think about it and I'll call you back. Hold on, Rose and Emmett are going to move in together? I wouldn't want them to rush into anything!"
We both laughed at my joke. Rose had met her boyfriend, Alice's cousin, when he visited UW's
medical school while he was finishing his senior year at Chicago's Northwestern University. I think they had met before Alice and Jasper met. We continued to talk about the wedding and make fun of Emmett and Rose.
It didn't take long, but I quickly found myself ready to take Alice up on her offer. "I'm going to do it."
"How soon do you want me? I'm ready to break up with James and move back up to be near everyone I love."
"Oh, Bella! I think you're making a wonderful decision. You can arrive anytime. I'm going to be in Forks most of the time. I'll stay with Jasper or with my parents. Just let me know when you can get here and I'll meet you outside with the keys. Oh, I am so excited! I cannot wait to redecorate so it suits you!" I don't know whether I felt relief. I just opened the Alice-hyper can. This could backfire.
"Your mind is made up, I assume?" James seemed to be accepting this.
James looked down and hunched his shoulders. Taking in a breath and letting out a slow, long sigh he stood up, walked over to me, and hugged me. My body stayed rigid against his, but I could still feel his rippling muscles underneath his thin t-shirt. I thought about the last time I had ran my hands over his pecs, his six pack that's really an eight pack, his triceps, his back muscles, and his perfect ass. He was going to make this hard.
James bent down and with his warm breath whispered into my ear, "C'mon, Bella. Our bodies have always fit well. Let me hug you so that your body knows I mean you the best." I relaxed. James was right and our bodies did fit nicely. We had enjoyed the most satisfying sex life and he taught me pleasures that I didn't know I could ever enjoy. His breathing became more shallow and he began running his fingers
on one hand through the ends of my hair while his left hand ran down my spine to my ass, which he cupped. "You smell so good and you feel amazing. Let's get in one last fuck."
"Look, this isn't what I want. I will admit that you and I have an explosive chemistry in bed, but outside of the bedroom, we're just explosion after explosion. I don't want to live like this any longer." James dipped one hand under my skirt while the other grabbed my hair and tugged lightly. He slipped his thumb down the front of my panties and he flicked my clit. I tried to stifle the groan that escaped my lips. In the split second I lost myself, he slid two fingers into me and my hips pushed against his hand.
"Your body doesn't seem to agree, Bella. Tell me to stop and I'll stop." James's hand released
my hair and snuck its way under my skirt where it began to remove my panties.
That was the final straw. I had to stop this. I needed to be resolute in my decision. I whispered in a cracking and unsure-sounding voice, "Stop. I need to go. NOW!"
I pulled away, looked at him, and walked out the door. I pulled myself into my truck and started the roar of the engine. I made my way through the streets to the freeway. Before I knew it, I had exited the I-10 and was heading north on I-17 on my way through Utah and Idaho. About an hour into the drive, my cell phone rang. Crap, I forgot to call Rose.
Without looking at the Caller ID I blurted, "Rose, I forgot to call, I know. You are not going to believe it. James took things well, but he tried to fuck me before I left. What an ass!"
"Ma'am, is this Miss Isabella Swan?"
A bright mask of crimson covered my face. I gulped, trying to compose myself. Thank god this exchange took place over the phone. "Yes, this is Bella."
"Miss Swan, this is Forks Sherriff's Deputy Tyler Crowley." Tyler and I had been classmates
in high school and my dad was his boss. Why was he using these formalities?
"Tyler. What's going on?" Honestly, as I began to think about it, a sense of doom washed over me.
"I am sorry to have to tell you this, especially over the phone, but your father and stepmother were killed by a drunk driver early this morning on their way home." As fast as blood had rushed to my face, it drained. In fact, I think the blood drained from my whole body. My father. Charlie. Dead. This couldn't be correct.
"I'm sorry, but I am not sure if I heard you. Did you just say my dad, Sherriff Charlie Swan, and his wife, Sue Clearwater, were killed in a car accident? Hello?"
Finally, Tyler answered, "Yes. Your father was a wonderful sheriff and a great man. I looked up to him like a father. He talked of you all of the time. He was really proud of you. Bella, how soon do you think you can be here?"
This changed everything. "Tyler, I was already on my way to Seattle. I am moving back to the Northwest. I'll change my route a little bit. If I drive through the night, I can be there in less than 24 hours."
"You don't need to hurry. Please be careful. Bella, take care. I'm here for you if you need me."
I pressed END and memories began to flood my mind. Charlie had been a wonderful father. He had a tough go of it. Charlie and my mom, Charlotte, married when she was 22 and Charlie was 25. I was born within the year. But my birth took its toll on their marriage. Charlotte endured a rough round of morning sickness, followed by an order of bed rest. I was born 2 months premature and during labor, my mother died. My father never seemed to move on. When he wasn't working, his mind always seemed to be elsewhere. I often wondered if he was imagining the situation in front of him as if my mom was by his side. I was always sad to see him alone. Things appeared to get worse when his best friend, Harry Clearwater, died while I was in high school. For about a month, my father was
inconsolable. I didn't know how to help him or what to say. Luckily, my dad and I were very much alike, so I just did what I would want if the situations were reversed. I let him talk to me when he wanted to talk. Otherwise, I kept my distance. And then one day, everything about him was different. His eyes had a smile in them and he had a glow. I never thought I would be able to describe my father as someone who had a glow about him. Turns out Harry's widow was the cause of my father's happiness. They married a few weeks before I left for college at UW. I couldn't have been happier. My father wouldn't be alone and a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.
I didn't have time to cry. I had a huge task ahead of me. My dad had worked for the Sherriff's Department from the time he graduated from college. He had been Sherriff for about 20 of those years. Between figuring out everything with his house and his pension, I knew I wasn't
moving to Seattle. Forks was my destination for who knows how long. I scrolled through my phone's contacts list and pressed SEND.
"Rose, patch Alice into this call. We need to talk."
"Hold on, honey. You were supposed to call me and you don't sound good. What happened?"
"Rose! Patch. Alice. In."
I heard the phone ringing followed by Alice's melodic sing-song, "Hi Rose! What's going on?"
"Alice, this is Bella and Rose. My dad died. Some drunk killed him and Sue as they drove home. I'm on my way there now. I am not going to be able to rent your condo. I need to handle things in Forks. I'm going to move into my dad's place. I'll keep you two updated on everything. Oh, yeah. I broke things off with James." I thought back to my initial description of the break up. Funny how different life was just a few minutes ago when I had made a fool of myself.
Did I hear my father correctly? I stammered out, "An intervention? You guys are kidding, right?"
"Edward." Carlisle had that serious look on his face with a tone to match. "It's been four years since Angela died. We thought that if we gave you time and didn't say anything that you would eventually start dating again. Instead, you seem to throw yourself deeper into your work. Your mother and Mrs. Weber and I sat down and we talked about the hours you're working. You're wearing yourself too thin. You spend 80 hours every week at work and another 10 hours in the car commuting. Business is great. You could walk away from that place for five years and it will run itself without a single hitch. It's time you found yourself some adult companionship."
"Dad, I don't think this is appropriate conversation in front of the girls."
"Where do you think we got the idea little brother?" I hated it when Emmett referred to me as his little brother; we were six minutes apart, although he was about 50 pounds heavier and 3 inches taller than I am. His words finally hit me. I turned to look at my daughters who sat on one of the couches. Their faces were beaming. This was their idea.
"What is this about, girls?"
"Daddy," Lizzie said, "We don't like seeing you alone. We want you to be happy. We think a girlfriend would make you happy. Just look at how happy Aunt Alice is. She and Uncle Jasper can't stop smiling. We've seen pictures of you from before Mommie's death. You used to look like that. We want to see it for ourselves." I felt like I was raising two miniature adults. Every time one of them opened her mouth to make some observation, a profound statement would escape.
I didn't realize the effect my widower status had on the girls. At the same time, nothing indicated to me that I was ready to date.
"I appreciate everyone's concern, but I'm not ready. I'm not closing myself off to dating, but I need to slowly ease my way back into things. It's been ten years since I went on a first date and I'm not ready for the mess that comes with dating." My heart still belonged to Angela and no woman could or would replace her. Knowing that my daughters wanted someone in my life is why I gave my family a ray of hope. In reality, I had no interest in dating. As I said, dating is about games and a mess follows. Coupled with the continued pain over the loss of Angela, I didn't expect to start dating anytime soon.
"Son, we're not going to let this go. We all love you dearly and your daughters have made a very good point." I hated it when my mom used my daughters to further a point or argument.
"Fine. Now, can we please enjoy our evening? I hear someone has a wedding next week." I knew the change in subject would divert focus from me back to someone who shone in it.
"You hear someone has a wedding?" I knew my comment would piss Alice off; she was so annoyed that her response was so high only dogs could hear it. "Edward Masen Cullen. If I hear you forget about my wedding one more time, I will personally run you down with my car."
We all shuffled into the dining room, where a huge feast awaited us. It was amazing how my mother was able to make a meal look so appetizing. I never understood why she didn't have Victoria, my parents' longtime housekeeper, prepare our weekly dinner.
As we settled into our seats, Emmett opened his mouth and one of his usually immature and crass remarks escaped, "Bro, you need to get laid. Get yourself some booty." I glared at Emmett and, even though I knew the girls couldn't hear him and wouldn't understand what he said, I made it known that I didn't think he should make such comments around them.
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I passed the "Forks City Limit" sign and slowed my truck, just in case my father was watching from heaven. He wouldn't want me to speed in his town. In deference to my father, I realized that I should obey as many laws as possible as long as I remained in Forks. I smiled at the notion, because I knew Charlie would get a kick out of the idea that it took his death for me to finally start following laws; Charlie always had a wry sense of humor
I started thinking about what it might be like to live in Forks again. I shuddered slightly, however, I suppose living the life of a spinster wasn't such a horrible thing. I could always head up to Port Angeles and try my luck with the
guys at the bars. A chuckle escaped my lips as I pulled into my dad's driveway. I wondered where he left the cruiser. And then I realized that he must have been driving it when… I couldn't allow my mind to finish that thought.
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and opened my car door. After the long drive and due to my clumsy nature, I stumbled out of my car and up onto the porch and grasped for the hidden key. I cracked the front door only to be hit by a wave of familiar scents that reminded me of my childhood with my dad. Instantly, my chest constricted and I crumbled in the doorway, consumed by the grief that I had stifled for 24 hours too long.
As the tears fell fast and fiery from my eyes, sobs erupted from my throat. My father may not
have been an overtly affectionate man, but I always knew he loved me more than anything. Thoughts and memories began swirling in my mind: the day Charlie won the election to be sheriff; our equally awkward "birds and bees" talk; my first driving lesson that ended when he scolded me for laughing nervously; and the look of pride and sadness as I drove away on my way to my college dorm for the first time. Those memories reminded me of the hole that seemed to open the second I allowed myself to mourn his passing. My crying grew harder.
I don't know how long I huddled in the doorway, but at some point I felt a pair of warm, strong hands, which I could tell belonged to Jake, as they securely lifted me from the cold porch and brought me into the living room. Jacob Black, my childhood best friend, was like a brother to me and a son to Charlie. As much as this death hurt me, Jacob must have been aching with pain, as well. To make matters worse, Jacob married
Sue's daughter, Leah, two years earlier; it was like he lost two parents.
"Hey Bells," Jacob comfortingly cooed into my ear as he wrapped me in a tight bear hug. His body felt toasty and all I could imagine was curling up in his arms.
"Jake. Thanks for coming. Shouldn't you be with Leah?"
I heard, "Hi Bella…" whispered from behind me. Leah stood in the door. As soon as our equally ruddy and puffy eyes met, we ran to each other and hugged. My stepsister and I weren't terribly close because of our age gap –
she was 12 when our parents married and I left for college – but we both lost our last surviving parent.
I closed the door and asked her, "Can you tell me what happened?"
"It was really bad. Mom and Charlie were driving around a curve in the road and as they exited it, a drunk driver hit them head on." Leah tried with all of her might to continue, but I could see she wasn't ready to talk, yet.
Jacob picked up the story and his young wife slumped on the coach. "The asshole was speeding and they collided with such force that
it was as if the cruiser hit a brick wall traveling 100 mph." Leah let out a loud sob and a small tear trailed down my cheek. His analogy managed to convey to me the destruction that must have resulted.
"What happened to the drunk driver?"
"He was ejected from the car on impact. Because he flew into some brush and it cushioned his fall, he managed to escape with a few broken bones. I better not see the prick on the street or I might be compelled to pummel him into the ground and then spit on his bloody remains!"
"Jacob Black!" I didn't know Jake could be so hostile to another person, even though the man killed Charlie and Sue. "I imagine he's been treated and released to the sheriff's custody? I know my dad's men won't let him have a single moment's rest. He'll be reminded of his crime every day."
Leah continued to yelp. With my eyes I ordered Jacob to comfort his wife. With a resigned look and a sigh, Jake plopped onto the couch and put one arm around his wife while the other stroked her shoulder. I wondered why I needed to prod him to comfort his wife, but I had to tell myself that I would ask him what it meant after everything I would need to do during the upcoming week.
I left the two of them and walked into the kitchen. It was nice to see that Sue had taken care of my dad: the kitchen was clean and I saw fresh-baked goods on both counters. Upon inspection of the fridge, I found it recently stocked. I decided to make us a pizza. I began pulling out everything I would need. I guess I created such a loud racket because Jake and Leah came running in to see what was wrong and why I was in the kitchen.
"Umm, Bells, whatcha doin'?"
"What does it look like? I'm cooking. What do you guys want on your pizza?"
"Honey, let's sit down. You're obviously in shock," Jacob suggested.
I glared at Jake and snapped, "Shut up, asshole!" Apparently his comment hit me the wrong way.
"Hey, c'mon. What was that for?"
"Look, I need to move around, do stuff, something to keep my mind off of what's happened. Cooking soothes most of my troubles, so this will have to help."
"Can I have mushrooms?" Leah inquired.
"Of course. Any other requests?" Leah shook her head. "Jake?"
Jake smiled and asked, "Do you have any sausage?"
Before I could answer him, we were surprised to hear a knock from the front door. Who could be dropping by right now? I peeked through the peephole to the sight of short, dark, spiky hair. My pixie-haired friend Alice stood on the other side.
I threw the door open and grabbed Alice into a hug. Alice said something like, "I'd forgotten how high strung you can be!" but I squeezed her tightly and the words came out sounding like gasps for air.
"Thanks for coming, Alice! I'm just making some pizza. Do you want to join us? You can choose your topping."
"I'm trying to lose weight for the wedding. My wedding is next Saturday and I barely fit into my dress! Oh, screw it. How often do I get to sit down with you for dinner?" I had a feeling my fashionable friend purposely designed her wedding dress on the snug side to drive Jasper wild as she had always been a lithe creature.
The four of us cooked, ate, reminisced, laughed, and cried. At some point, I looked up at the wall clock and read 2:27. Time had flown by. I figured it was time to end the gathering. With a yawn, I said, "Guys, it's really late and I am exhausted from driving. Thank you for being here for me. I can't speak for Leah, but I found all of this comforting and helpful."
Leah nodded and kissed me on the cheek as she and Jake walked towards the door. "I love you," she sniffed. Jake left her side and walked out to my truck and pulled my bags from the truck bed. "We'll be back tomorrow morning so we can get through this together."
"Thanks for getting my suitcases, Jake. I love both of you and I'm glad I have you guys as my family."
Jake kissed me on my forehead, snaked his fingers through Leah's, and together they left. I looked into the kitchen at Alice. She hadn't moved a muscle.
"I don't want Jasper worrying about you more than he already is, I'm sure."
"Nonsense. I told him I was going to stay with you," declared Alice.
With a mischievous grin I joked to my friend, "I think I may get lucky tonight!" Alice laughed, which made me happy. "Okay, woman, let's go upstairs to my bedroom and sleep."
Due to exhaustion, the two of us rushed through our nightly routines and hopped into bed. It was nice to have Alice near me. She comforted me by firmly gripping my hand and rubbing her thumb against its surface.
"Do you still plan to live in Seattle? I think it would be great if you moved here. So many people here love you. I really, really, really want you to live in Forks."
I chuckled. "Okay."
"What? You'll stay?"
"Yep. I was planning on it already. I had a lot of time to think during my drive through the desolate terrain. I realized I'd rather remain here near you, Jake, Leah, and everyone else I love. Rose has Emmett in Seattle, so she doesn't need me as much as I need you guys," I responded.
"Ohhhh. I'm so excited," squealed Alice. "After I get back from my honeymoon, we'll find you a
teaching job. You are still going to my wedding next week, right?"
I had been enduring quite a bit of anxiety over her wedding. A lot of friends from high school and college would be there, but I didn't have a date anymore. Until she mentioned the event, I had forgotten about Alice's wedding and the stress that would accompany it. Plus I was curious to see her brother, Edward, in person. I had seen photos of him over the years and he didn't take a bad picture. He was, quite possibly, the most perfect-looking man on the planet.
In a soft voice Alice inquired, "Bella? Did you fall asleep?"
I needed to stop thinking about Edward. I'd admired him from afar since middle school, but I had never met him or seen him in person. "I'm sorry. I was just thinking about your wedding. Of course I will be there. It would take a nuclear attack to keep me away!"
"I think you're being absurd, but I'll take it! Let's go to sleep. I don't want to look horrible in the morning and have Jasper change his mind."
Alice hugged me and I quickly drifted to sleep.
On my daily commute between Forks and Port Angeles, I often had a lot of time to think and last week's family "intervention" consumed my thoughts. The week crawled by as a result and I found myself ghosting through life at work and home. Because my family's opinion always mattered to me, I dissected the suggestion.
Should I start dating? I remembered enduring a Sex and the City marathon while Angela and I dated. In one of the episodes, the characters tried to determine how long to wait after a breakup. If memory serves right, one-half the length of the relationship was an appropriate time to wait.
Angela and I had met 10 years earlier and almost five had passed since her death.
I did the math. We had been together five years. Enough time had gone by. But I had felt ready for more than a year; no one caught my eye. I didn't want to force anything. I resolved to inform my family that I would know the woman when I met her. They would have to settle for my decision.
On Friday afternoon, we had the wedding rehearsal. Elizabeth and Renee would serve as flower girls and they couldn't contain their excitement as they marched down the aisle Alice had created in my parents' backyard. A few weeks earlier Jasper asked Emmett to be his best man, and tonight the two stood at the base of the gazebo as the girls passed. Rose, Alice's maid of
honor, followed Lizzie and Renee at a reasonable pace.
I watched Emmett's nervous expression as Rose neared him; Emmett looked as if he were getting married, not Jasper. Figures she'd use the mood of Alice's wedding to subtlety force Emmett to marry her. My disgust for Rose grew. And then Carlisle and Alice began their steady advance towards Jasper. Alice beamed. I could tell she would be a beautiful bride the next afternoon.
Something ached in my chest and I had to leave the rehearsal and return to my parents' house. Mrs. Weber had already arrived to pick up my girls. Their retired grandmother moved to Forks when Angela had become pregnant. Her presence has been invaluable. She and my mother helped me care for the girls by swapping
daily daycare duties. Tonight, the girls would go home with her as they did every Friday night.
"Edward. You're looking well. How was the rehearsal?"
I walked to my mother-in-law and lightly hugged and kissed her. "Hello, Tia. I left before they'd finished. It's still a little hard to be around so many happy people. I miss Angela more during these times," I ruefully related to her.
"I know it's hard and it doesn't seem like it will get better." She continued, "But I promise you Angela wouldn't be pleased to know that you are unhappy. My daughter loved you so much and
she wanted the best for you. I've never told you this, but I think you need to hear it. You can't blame yourself for being alive."
I stared at Tia with a confused expression.
She seemed to answer my question before I had even formed it. "You think she's dead because of you; that were it not for you, she would be alive. She wouldn't have gotten pregnant, or died during childbirth. But she would be so proud of your girls. And she would want you to be happy. When she was pregnant, Angela sat me down and instructed me to," and she motioned with air quotes, "'kick Edward's butt' if you ever lost her. Honey, I'm kicking your butt."
"Nana!" the girls shrieked. I didn't have a chance to digest Mrs. Weber's words before I needed to say goodbye. She bent forward and tickled her granddaughters, who giggled gleefully in response.
"Be good. Listen to your Nana," I instructed. My daughters nodded.
"Edward, my dahlings always behave," Tia asserted, using one of her favorite nicknames for them.
We helped Elizabeth and Renee climb into their car seats. Tia's comments had surprised me and I
didn't know how to react so I forced a grin and waved as she drove away. In a trance, I walked into Alice's already-booming party.
"There's my brother!" Alice cheered. My cousin flitted to my side and gave me a deep hug. "I know this is hard for you, but I appreciate you making the effort. I want you to relax and enjoy yourself. It's just the family tonight and tomorrow won't be too crowded."
My head bobbed in response as she steered me to our dinner table. She insisted that I sit next to her. I didn't let her know it enough, but I appreciated the love my cousin offered me.
Conversation hummed around me as I considered the meaning behind Tia's words. I ate the food placed in front of me, but didn't look at what it was or how it tasted. I was preoccupied with our talk, as well as the one my family had forced upon me the previous weekend.
"Tia and I have been talking and we feel it would be best for you to hire a full-time nanny for the girls," my mother announced. "They're going to start school next year and it would be good if you had someone trained in early childhood education to prepare them for school and to guarantee they excel. Tia and I have loved taking care of them, but we know we can find someone better suited for your family's needs."
I heard my mother's words, but I wasn't paying close enough attention to realize she had declared that I drastically change the lives of my daughters and myself.
"Edward?" my mother asked.
"I'm sorry mom. Tia and I spoke briefly when she grabbed the girls and I can't stop thinking about what she told me. Did I hear you correctly? Did you just suggest I hire a nanny?" I questioned Esme.
"Well, yes," she answered as a crease surfaced across her smooth forehead. "We can't take care
of them forever. We need to be grandmothers to them, not mothers."
I frowned as her words hurt me more than they should. I knew my mother hadn't intended to imply anything negative, but her response reminded me that I had stolen their mother from Elizabeth and Renee.
"Just think, you can hire a hot nanny and get laid finally, bro," my brother chimed in.
"Emmett, that is not appropriate conversation," Esme warned.
Alice sneered at Emmett, "Don't ruin my party!"
"I'll consider your suggestion. Really. Although you didn't have a very detailed argument, I think you may have convinced me that the girls will benefit from the influence of someone better able to prepare them for school." I was surprised the words came out of my mouth. Was I really going to let a stranger into my house and, more importantly, into the lives of my daughters? "And Emmett, I will not become a tired cliché of the rich man who sleeps with his innocent, but hot nanny."
"I think I know someone perfect for the job. You may have heard of Isabella Swan? She is Sheriff Swan's daughter. Um, she went to our high
school and then college with me and Rose. We're all in KGZ together. Does that ring any bells? Anyway, she majored in biology and elementary education at UW. She's lived in Phoenix the last couple of years, teaching first grade. She just moved back here and I think this opportunity will be perfect for all of you," Alice assured me.
Before I had a chance to react, Rose stated, "I think Bella would be perfect to care for them. She's wonderful with children and she's a very patient educator."
Rose's opinion had little effect on me. If anything, I was more apt to ignore Alice's suggestion and place this Miss Swan on my mental ignore list because she was Rose's friend. Regardless, I realized I should listen to my
family. "I'll begin interviewing people next week."
Within moments, Alice wrapped her arms around my shoulders and squeezed tightly. "Thank you," she whispered. I didn't know why she was thanking me. I hadn't agreed to hire her friend, only to meet with multiple people.
Next to me, Emmett cleared his throat and I noticed that nervous expression had returned. "I have an announcement," my brother anxiously stated. This couldn't be good. All eyes whirled onto my brother and the room grew so quiet that we'd all hear a pin drop. "Um, so the reason why I've spent so many Sundays in Seattle wasn't because I was worried about having to deliver a baby and not being able to get to the hospital in time. It was because I knew I couldn't bring
Rose and the idea of spending that much free time away from her was unbearable."
My brother, an incredibly imposing fellow who played college baseball and worked out everyday sounded like the most pathetic sap. I chuckled and he ignored me.
"So we've decided to take our relationship to the next level. Rose and I moved in together last month."
I groaned as I realized he was nervous because he had to tell us that they were living together and he wasn't sure how everyone would react. But the second after he announced the news, my
parents congratulated them and Alice seemed ecstatic. I remained in my seat with the same morose expression I plastered on my face during the nanny discussion.
In just one week, so much in my world had changed. My family expected me to date, hire a nanny, and accept Rose into our family. On top of all of that confusion, I wasn't looking forward to being peppered with questions by the guests at Alice's wedding tomorrow. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles
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The phone was ringing again. I wasn't prepared to have to tell another person that Charlie & Sue had died, or listen to the copious amount of condolences from those who did know. "Hello?" I asked into the receiver.
"How ya doin', girlie?" Phew. It was Alice. I didn't mind talking to her, but how was I, really?
This week had passed in a blur. Ever since Alice left Sunday morning, I had a flurry of work to
complete. There was the funeral and memorial service to plan, the meetings with my father's lawyer to take, as well as the one with the sheriff's department, shopping with Alice for my wedding attire, culminating in the closing chapter of my father's time on earth.
Jake and his father, Billy Black, who was one of Charlie's oldest and closest friends, helped with the funeral preparations. Deep down, I knew I would have to plan my father's funeral at some point, and its eventuality seemed sooner rather than later considering his chosen line of work, but I never expected to have this duty while I was 24, or 34 for that matter.
We decided the services would occur on Thursday, figuring enough time would be given to all who knew Sue and Charlie so they could
secure the needed time away from work. In honoring my father's wishes, the funeral and memorial took place at the Quileute Reservation. Sue was Quileute and Charlie ought to have been because he spent just as much time at La Push with his friends as he did in this house. While Sue was buried in accordance with Quileute tradition, my father was cremated and his ashes dispersed among four locales: poured over Sue and Harry's adjoining plots; mixed in with the dirt covering my mother's grave; thrown off the cliffs at First Beach; and encased in an urn for me.
Surprisingly, I hadn't expected to be emotionally and spiritually affected by the services, but tears streamed down my face throughout. The stoic façade I crafted throughout my life crumbled as soon as Billy stood up to give the eulogy. Dr. Cullen, who insisted yet again that I call him Carlisle, and Esme, as well as Alice, Rose, Jasper, and Emmett drove down to the
Reservation to offer their support. As Esme wrapped her arms around my sobbing shoulders, I thought about how beneficial her presence had been to me over the last eight years. She truly felt like my mother. I expected to need Esme's nurturing as my father's passing sunk in over the coming days, weeks, and months.
Following the somber activities, I returned home alone to a cold and quiet house. For the umpteenth time since arriving the previous weekend, I broke down in tears. Were it not for Alice's wedding, I'd probably be curled up in a tight ball on the floor.
I avoided Alice's question, and asked one of my own. "Aren't you supposed to be at your rehearsal dinner, or performing last minute preparations with Rose?"
"Everyone left a few minutes ago. Rose is off with Emmett, getting some action before she spends the night with me. I swear, those two are like rabbits!" Alice and I both bust up with fits of laughter. She was right about Rose and Emmett. They never did seem to have sex enough. When we roomed together in the sorority house, I was privy to far more than anyone should have to endure – and Emmett had his own apartment, which made all of it that much worse! "So," Alice continued excitedly, "We were talking during the dinner and my mom urged Edward that he hire a nanny to take care of his twin daughters. I suggested he consider you for the job, that is, if you're interested."
I had to admit, this was both a welcome and unwelcome surprise. On one hand, I needed a job and I hadn't spent a second searching, but I figured I would substitute teach because it was so close to the beginning of the year. As I briefly considered this alternative career, I wondered whether I could be an effective nanny. Admittedly, it would be nice for something to divert my mind from focusing on the pain my father's passing caused. But I wasn't sure that I had the time that a full-time nanny position would require because, after all, I had to decide what I would do with Charlie's house, I had to file all of his pension paperwork, and I needed time to grieve even though I didn't want to. Maybe there was something to this nanny work!
Why did Alice always have this knack for getting excited? Even if I didn't apply for the job, it couldn't hurt to make an informed decision. Now that a part of me felt energized at the prospect of caring for these two girls, I
peppered Alice with questions. "Tell me more about this job. How old are the girls? What are their names? What are they like? What would be my time commitment? How does Edward's wife feel about having a nanny? Why do they need a nanny? Share, share." I figured those questions were numerous and open-ended enough to get Alice talking for an hour.
Instead, I was met with dead silence, which I never encountered when Alice was involved.
"Alice, is there something wrong?" I asked timidly.
"Did you forget that Edward's wife died in childbirth?" Crap. How could I forget that? My mother also died in childbirth.
"Shit. I totally forgot. I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Bella. I'm sure if you weren't dealing with your own grief, you would've remembered. You're the most selfless person I know, so don't worry.
"Now where were we? Oh yes, I was telling you about the job, the girls, everything. Elizabeth – or Lizzie as she prefers to be called – and Renee are four, going on forty. Esme and their other grandmother, Tia Weber, have shared caretaking
duties since their birth because Edward has been so busy with work. He really threw himself into work after Angela's death and he's never really curtailed his workload since. So between Edward's absence, spending time with their grandmothers, and growing up without a mother, they've matured faster than most 4-year-olds. They're also super smart girls, so their perceptive ways shouldn't be a huge surprise.
"You would live with them and Edward, but as I said, he isn't home much, so it would be you and the girls for the most part. Um, you would feed them, bathe them, dress them, teach them, and be there for them in the same way a mother would be. You wouldn't need to feed Edward, but you could. He has a weekly service come in to clean, so you wouldn't be required to maintain the house in that way. What else? You would have use of one of the family's cars, you would have one day plus one evening off a week, the pay would be very good, and you would have
free reign of Edward's house and his expansive library and grounds."
I continued listening to Alice describe the position and sketch an image of the house, the girls, and Edward. She paused for a moment and hesitantly added another aspect to the job. "Oh, there is one deal breaker. I know Edward's thinking of getting a dog, so you may have a say in what breed he gets, but only because you'll also have a puppy to train and take care of."
Wow. I knew my questions would get Alice talking, but I didn't think she'd give me a monologue like that. She had details about the job that I didn't expect. "Has Edward written a description you're reading from, or something? I'm surprised your description didn't include
details of what I was expected to do every day for the first month," I giggled.
"You asked. I just wanted to give you a thorough understanding of what this job entails. Edward has high standards. But no, he hasn't decided on what a nanny in his house would do. In fact, he hasn't actually agreed to hire one, yet." Alice's last statement escaped in a whispered, sheepish tone.
"What?" I almost screeched at her. "You're telling me you've spent half-an-hour psyching me up for this job only to crush me by saying there might not even be a job?" Okay I wasn't crushed, or even shocked the job's existence was a sure thing, yet, but I liked to make Alice feel guilty. The girl had no shame and she had taken it upon herself many times over the years get me
to do things I never would that often caused me oodles of embarrassment.
"Well, Esme warned him last night that she and Tia needed to be grandmothers and not mothers and that he should hire a nanny and that the girls needed someone to take care of their educational needs and, and, and…" It was deliriously wonderful to hear Alice at a loss for words.
"Alice, it's fine." I could see she was feeling far guiltier about this than she should and it probably wasn't fair of me to me to do this to her. "Really. I was just giving you a hard time. Don't worry about it. Just keep me updated, okay? Now, you should get yourself some rest because I expect to see the most beautiful woman get married tomorrow and I wouldn't want a lack of sleep to diminish your
loveliness." I just hoped that my closing words would have the positive effect I intended of them.
"If I hadn't told you lately, you're more than a sorority sister to me, but also my real sister. I love you so much and I can't wait to see you tomorrow. In this little lovefest, I forgot to tell you that Lizzie and Renee will be my flower girls. So keep an eye out for them."
"Alice, I love you. I can't wait to call you Mrs. Whitlock!" And with that, we ended our phone call.
This was quite an interesting development. I had a job lead and it was with Alice's gorgeous cousin. I was curious what Edward was like. Emmett was loud and boisterous in all the best ways imaginable and Alice was sweet and generous. He and Emmett were twins, so I imagined he must've had some of Emmett's traits. And because Dr. Cullen and Esme – who had always been so wonderful to me – raised Alice alongside those two, I had no doubt he would be just as giving. Based on my observations of the Cullens, I wondered how he could be anything other than unique and marvelous.
I don't know how long I thought about Edward after Alice and I got off of the phone, but when I looked at the clock next to my bed, those bright green numbers told me it was Saturday and the hours until Alice's wedding were drawing far closer than I could endure. I hopped off my bed, walked down the hall to the bathroom, and into a
hot, steamy shower. I figured the pulsating water on my back would ease the tension in my body. I was happy to see her marry, but Alice's wedding wouldn't be one of my favorite events. Not only would there be throngs of people – well any event with more than ten people constituted "thongs" for me – but also gads of people from high school and college. I had promised to stay in touch with a lot people and failed miserably with that task. Plus, many of my high schools friends were friends only because I lacked any other alternatives. Forks wasn't exactly the big city and there weren't a lot students in our high school.
With my shower complete, my hair towel-dried, and my robe tied securely around my waist, I began digging through my bookcase for my yearbooks. I figured it would be smart if I reviewed the faces and names of people who might be there tomorrow, especially considering sleep seemed like a far-off concept.
I don't know when I fell asleep, but waking up with a yearbook page stuck to my face as if superglue had been applied to the surface wasn't a pleasant way to regain consciousness. I delicately peeled the page from my face, thinking the slow removal far surpassed the band-aid technique of a quick rip. My eyes came to rest upon the clock face and I realized I only had two hours until Alice's wedding. Jake and Leah would be here to pick me up in an hour and I had tons to do. Crap, this was not how I planned on spending the morning. I needed to change the day's carpooling plans. I ran around my room and then down the stairs looking for my cell phone.
Where could that sucker have run to? When my search of the downstairs was fruitless, I plopped
myself on the couch and tried to retrace my steps. As I recalled, I sat in bed while Alice and I spoke last night. Considering I hadn't come downstairs since then, the phone must've been somewhere upstairs. Running upstairs, I began to scan the room and wondered why I kept everything so tidy because it didn't help me find anything when I needed it. I started to sweat, though I couldn't tell whether the sweat was from the anxiety I felt over the impending nuptials and being around all of those people, or whether it was from this far-more-difficult-thanit-should-be search. I dove for the pile of yearbooks on my bed and started tossing them off the bed to resounding thuds when they smacked against the wood floor. All of this activity was going to require that I take another shower.
Instead of finding my iPhone by removing the clutter on my bed, Jake's familiar ringtone
sounded and the screen lit up, directing me to its location.
"Jake," I managed to sputter from my mouth.
"Bells, what are you doing? You sound out of breath," Jake responded in his comforting tone.
"I was searching all over the house and twice in my room for my damned phone. I swear, I need a GPS device to locate this thing sometimes! Anyway, I was just about to call you."
Jake snickered. It was a well-known fact that I lost phones. When he heard I was splurging on an iPhone, he told me I would regret it because I would lose it like all of the rest and this one wouldn't be as cheap to replace. "Woman, you need to tie that thing around your neck! Anyway, Leah and I will be there in about 25 minutes. We wanted to stop by a little early so we could wrap our present to Alice and Jasper. Sue has tons of wrapping paper for every type of event tucked away under the stairs."
"Um, about that Jake… You both are welcome over here, but I am going to head over to the Cullen's house alone. I am running rather late because I overslept and I don't want to keep you guys." I hoped Jacob would be okay with my plan. Leah barely knew the Cullens and Jake wasn't the best about easing anyone into situations. The plan was that we'd all go together so I could be an extra arm for Leah to latch onto during the schmoozing.
I heard Jake cover the phone so their conversation wouldn't be overheard. After hearing the muffled exchange, Jacob cleared his throat and said, "Yeah, that's fine. We'll wrap the presents and let you get ready. Do you want us save you a seat?"
"No, that won't be necessary," I assured him. "I promised Alice I would sit on Jasper's side to try to even the numbers. Most of the guests from Jasper's side are family or close friends because the journey here was a bit expensive and lengthy for a lot of his friends back in Texas. Does Leah have her key to the house, or should I leave it unlocked?"
"Leah has her key. So hop in the shower!" Jacob instructed me.
"Okay…sheesh. If I hear you guys when I get out, I'll give you a shout out. Drive safely." I pressed END and placed the phone next to my bed.
I walked to my closet and grabbed the dress I would wear today. Alice had asked me to be a bridesmaid with Rose, who was serving as her maid of honor, but the idea of standing there in front of all those people made me nervous and anxious. So I agreed to let her clothe me instead. She decided on a slinky, flowing blue chiffon dress and matching stilettos. Alice also made me promise to wear my hear a certain way and apply my makeup how she wanted. We'd
actually had two practice sessions earlier in the week. It always amazed me what lengths I'd go to for that little pixie!
Just as I stepped into the shower, I heard Jake's booming voice call up to me. I didn't bother to answer because I knew he wouldn't expect it. I quickly shaved my legs and lathered and rinsed my body. Once I finished, I toweled off. After applying moisturizer and sunscreen to my face and body, I not-so-expertly styled my hair as best I could without the constant instruction of Alice. I threw on my robe and sauntered downstairs, figuring it would be better to wrap Alice and Jasper's presents before getting dressed. Once I completed that job, I returned to the bathroom and made myself presentable. No matter how much I tried, I would never be able to replicate what Alice would do. After slipping into my dress and shoes, I carefully stepped down the stairs and out the door.
I wondered to myself how I had allowed Alice to dress me in stilettos. Not only were they impossible to balance on, thanks to my alreadyklutzy self, but they also pinched my toes a little. It was too late to find any alternatives.
The often dreary weather of Forks was perfect today as if Alice could tell the future and knew which weekend to hold her wedding. I drove through town and came upon her family's lush, green property and turned in. Glancing at my watch, I realized I was arriving minutes before she was set to walk down the aisle. Knowing Alice, her flower girls would march down the aisle the second the clock ticked 1:00 PM.
The valet opened my door and I sprinted for the house, barely slowing down enough to grab the ticket he held in his extended arm. Even though there was a clearly indicated entrance to the backyard along the side of the house, I knew I would save time cutting through the kitchen. My heels clicked loudly as I navigated the house's rooms. I tried to keep myself upright and managed to make it out back without any unneeded stumbles or tumbles. Moments after I settled myself into the last of the remaining seats, the music began.
From my seat in the kitchen, I peered over the scene in the backyard. One seat remained and I knew I would have to fill it if someone didn't arrive within the next 30 seconds. Alice's instructions couldn't have been any clearer: the wedding would begin promptly at 1:00PM. Once all of the seats were filled, I was to notify the valets that they couldn't allow any other guests into the wedding until after waiters began serving h'or d'oeuvres. After I stopped the flow of guests into the wedding – Alice wouldn't consent to anyone upstaging her perfect wedding by interrupting the nuptials with their footsteps or whispers – I would signal my father that it was time to begin.
And then I heard a woman's heels skitter awkwardly across the floor. The noise sent jolts of electricity through every nerve in my body and my heart felt as if it would burst from my chest. Before I had a chance to search for the
origin of the sound – or what had caused my body to react in such a bizarre way – a blur of milky skin, rich chocolate brown hair, and a flowing blue dress rushed past me. I was glued to my spot, unsure of whether I would be able to carry out the simple tasks Alice had entrusted in me. Rather than endure the hell from Alice I would surely face if I didn't start the festivities, I struggled to my feet and followed her orders. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles Paragraph Font size
Path: p Use tinyMCE Rating: Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both. © 2009 - 2010 The Writer's Coffee Shop. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin creChapter Five: Nuptials
As I left the rehearsal dinner, the image of Angela's lifeless body burned itself into my vision and I fought the nausea that sought to cripple me. The bile had been collecting in my mouth and I didn't know whether I would make it home before I managed to lose control of my stomach or my emotions. The second I pulled into the garage, I threw the door open and ran to the bushes alongside the building. I heaved for a few minutes until there was nothing left inside of me. Unfortunately, the emotions I had bottled up for years came rushing out and I crumbled to ground, sobbing and gasping for breath. What was it about Alice's wedding that had this effect on me?
"Edward," Alice solemnly began, "I know tomorrow will be tough for you. But I have a feeling that my wedding will change your life forever and for the better."
I loved Alice and she knew of my pain more than any other person, but her non-specific predictions had made me weary over the years. Although she told me I would go to Stanford, meet my wife there, and have twins of my own, she was 11 at the time and going through a tarot card-reading period of her life. She'd long since given up the tarot cards, but she still liked to make non-specific predictions about everyone's futures. Frankly, her forecasting skills were better than I chose to admit, but I could never acknowledge this to Alice. If I made this disclosure, her already-absurdly high levels of excitement would skyrocket and it would be impossible to be around her.
I knew I would regret inquiring, but I had no idea how something good could come from my pain. "I haven't attended a single wedding since my own and I'm only going to yours because if I don't you'd attack me into unconsciousness." I stifled a chuckle at the last part – Alice hated it when I mocked her eagerness. "So what makes you think tomorrow will change things?"
"I just have a feeling. You know I can tell the future," Alice announced with certainty.
"Little sister," I choked out as laughter burst forth, "you are too much." My snickers quickly trailed off. I sighed, adding, "I would love for you to be right, but I have lived too many years to know that you aren't a soothsayer."
Alice huffed and stormed off. I felt bad for offending her, but unfortunately, her prophecy managed to consume my thoughts and I left the joyous affair with a frown on my face as I tried to push that image of Angela from my mind.
I continued to cry until the sun began to peak over the mountains to the east. Could it really be 5:00AM? Had I been lying in my side yard for over six hours? I pulled my stiff body off of the ground and walked into the house. Exhaustion threatened to devour me, as it had done for the last four-and-a-half years. Not a night passed during which I slept anywhere close to eight hours. But I owed it to my daughters to try to slumber through the night one of these days. At some point, this game of Russian roulette I was playing would ruin everything I had built for
them and I didn't want to be responsible for pulling both parents from their lives. I wouldn't be able to completely refresh before Alice's wedding, but I could rest a few hours before that pint-sized terror ordered us around.
I stripped my clothes from my body and looked at myself in the full-size mirror. Staring back at me stood a pale man with dark, deep-set bags under his eyes. Where did the happy-go-lucky man run to, the one who wooed Angela for a year until she finally agreed to be my wife? Where had the easy-going guy disappear to, the one who shouted from the rooftops when Angela informed me she was pregnant? I was a shadow of my former self and I looked far older than my 31 years. Because of the image of what stood in front of the mirror, all of this discussion around changing my life, and my brother's insistence that I needed to get laid, my mind was clouded.
I walked into my bathroom and turned the shower up high. I would need a release to clear my mind if I had any hope of capturing a few hours respite. Stepping into the shower, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine happier times. I wrapped my left hand firmly around my shaft and began stroking my dick, letting the sensations send shivers down my spine. I moaned as I continued to run my hand from the base of my cock to the tip, which I massaged. A drop of pre cum pooled under my fingers and I rubbed it into my skin as I sped up my motions. I could feel a groan grow in my throat and I knew it wouldn't take long for my orgasm to rip through me. I pressed my back into the wall and allowed myself to come as my juices squirted against the shower door. I sighed loudly and quickly washed my body and rinsed my mouth. I dried my body and paused long enough to brush my teeth, but then I crawled into bed, not bothering to put on boxers or flannel pants.
At 10:30AM, my alarm wailed and I cringed at the sounds emitting from it. I liked these Saturday mornings when I got to sleep in because the girls were with their grandmother. Then I remembered which Saturday today was – Alice's wedding. Shit. I had 30 minutes to clothe myself before Alice expected me at my parents. Not wasting a moment, a pulled the suit and shoes from the closet that Alice had selected for the day. I didn't have an official capacity for her wedding, but I had agreed to notify her when the ceremony would begin, in exchange for being allowed to watch from inside the house and not having to remain at the reception for too long. Although Alice wasn't pleased with my proposal, she begrudgingly agreed because she understood what the day meant to me.
Once I arrived at my parents' house, Alice showed me what I would do. It didn't take a
rocket scientist to understand her directions, but she insisted on walking me from location to location pointing out what I would do at each spot.
"I expect more people than there are seats. So keep an eye out. Remember, the second the last seat is filled, check your watch. If it's almost 1:00PM, you can begin your duties; if the audience is packed well before that time, just wait until 1:00pm. Got it?"
"Seriously Alice?" I responded. "I run a major company and you think I can't follow these simple directions?"
Alice had always been a control freak, but she needed to calm down because no one's wedding goes off without a single hitch. There was no way I was going to share this tidbit with her, though.
"You know how important it is that my wedding is perfect. Would you please just tell me you can handle this chore?"
I closed my eyes and sighed loudly, "Yes, Alice. You don't need to worry about me doing my job to a 'T'."
She nodded and skipped up the stairs to where my mother and Rose waited for her. Walking
into the kitchen, I plopped myself down on a chair and stared into space until Emmett woke me from my daze.
"Hey Bro," he greeted me with his booming voice. "Can you believe our little sister is getting married today?" Emmett patted me on my back and smiled proudly. His grin was contagious and I felt the corners of my mouth rise.
"Thank God Jasper loves her and knows what a handful she can be because otherwise, I'd worry about him. Heck, I worry about him regardless."
Emmett laughed loudly at my comment and walked out back, greeting the guests who began
to arrive. I returned to my imageless daydream, leaving it only when the hum in the backyard made me remember my job.
From my seat in the kitchen, I peered over the scene in the backyard. One seat remained and I knew I would have to fill it if someone didn't arrive within the next 30 seconds. Alice's instructions couldn't have been any clearer: the wedding would begin promptly at 1:00PM. Once all of the seats were filled, I was to notify the valets that they couldn't allow any other guests into the wedding until after waiters began serving h'or d'oeuvres. After I stopped the flow of guests into the wedding – Alice wouldn't consent to anyone upstaging her perfect wedding by interrupting the nuptials with their footsteps or whispers – I would signal my father that it was time to begin.
And then I heard a woman's heels skitter awkwardly across the floor. The noise sent jolts of electricity through every nerve in my body and my heart felt as if it would burst from my chest. Before I had a chance to search for the origin of the sound – or what had caused my body to react in such a bizarre way – a blur of milky skin, rich chocolate brown hair, and a flowing blue dress rushed past me. I was glued to my spot, unsure of whether I would be able to carry out the simple tasks Alice had entrusted in me. Rather than endure the hell from Alice I would surely face if I didn't start the festivities, I struggled to my feet and followed her orders.
After notifying Carlisle that it was time to begin, I heard my girls start giggling excitedly as they moved down the stairs, followed by Rose. A moment later, Alice and my father followed and all of them met me in the kitchen where they would begin the procession. I viewed the scene
around me. Although Lizzie and Renee took more after me, their raven black hair and olive skin tone came from their mother and the realization hurtfully tugged at my heart, as it did everyday when I looked at them. The jadecolored dresses Alice chose complemented their skin tone and their similarly-colored eyes, which were a shade of green different than my own. I wouldn't admit it aloud, but Rose looked beautiful. Her dress was a hue darker than the girls and was one of the three colors decorating Alice's wedding, the other two being pink and silver.
When she moved out of the way, a gasp escaped my mouth as I viewed Alice for the first time. I had never seen Alice look more beautiful. My obnoxious cousin had grown into a perfectly lovely creature.
She beamed at my reaction and walked over to me, taking my hand with her delicate fingers and whispered, "Thank you, Edward. Just seeing your reaction has made me the happiest bride. But don't make me cry because my makeup is perfect and no waterproof mascara is foolproof!"
I laughed and squeezed her fingers before releasing them. Alice nodded to the girls and they began their descent from the kitchen to the backyard, with Rose close on their tails. As soon as Rose's heels hit the bottom step, the wedding march began and Alice and Carlisle exited. I closed the door behind them, returned to my seat, and moved my eyes until they rested upon the figure of that mystery woman who seemed to awaken nerves in me I didn't know existed.
The wedding began, but I had no idea how long it lasted because I couldn't remove my eyes from peering at her. Everyone began clapping and she stood as Alice and Jasper walked down the aisle, completing the recessional just past her seat. As I caught a brief glimpse, her simple, yet amazing beauty caused me to lose my breath for a moment.
I walked outside and congratulated the happy couple, hoping to get another view of the woman or to accidentally run into her. I looked around, but didn't see her. Pulling Alice into a hug, I told my sister of my pride for her and thanked her for putting up with my moods since she joined our family. I let her go and turned to her new husband.
"Jasper, welcome to the family! You have a supportive wife and partner who will go to the ends of the earth to protect you, your life, and her family. We haven't had a chance to get to know each other well, but I know Alice would only select a gem to love and marry. Keep her close and love her more than you love yourself." I shook his hand and smiled at both of them.
As I walked away, I felt the jolt of electricity that accompanied my earlier all-too-brief encounter with the woman in blue. I turned to find her, but all of the guests began surrounding Alice and Jasper and I couldn't locate her.
About one minute into the service, I realized I should've eaten breakfast before leaving. I felt jittery, as if I had had too much caffeine earlier. In fact, I first noticed the sensation when I darted through the Cullen's house. And to make matters worse, I couldn't shake this odd feeling that someone was watching me. I realized this thought was irrational because the week had been full of turmoil. If anything, I figured the tension of being around a bunch of people was making my body uneasy. I took deep breaths, hoping all I needed was to relax.
Alice had planned a perfect service. The girls she told me about, Elizabeth and Renee, marched down the aisle while tossing large
fistfuls of pink rose petals up in the air and around them, showering themselves and the grass-colored rug. I watched them carefully, looking for some sign that these twins were little hellions I wouldn't want to tend to. But the only thing I noticed was the joy emanating from them. If anything, their actions drew me in and made me want to supervise their daily activities. I heard gasps from the other guests and looked up just in time to see Rose wink as she passed me.
Yet the attendees weren't reacting to the sight of Rose, it was at the beauty who followed. Alice wore a sleeveless, off-the-shoulder, floor-length, ecru dress made of rough silk. A one-yard train trailed behind her and when the sun hit her dress at certain angles, I noticed a rose pattern. Her simple veil was the same length as her dress and was trimmed with the gown's material. When I looked to her face, I caught a glimpse of delicate miniature pink roses securing the veil in place.
She completed the look with a bouquet bursting with regular- and miniature-sized pink roses. Looking at her, I understood why everyone gasped. I had never seen the bride look more perfect.
Like Rose, Alice, who had a huge grin on her face, winked at me as she glided past me. I turned and saw a beaming Jasper waiting for her under the cupola of the Cullen's gazebo, where Emmett stood next to him, the smile of a proud older brother covering his face.
I tried to pay attention to the service and the vows, which Alice and Jasper wrote to one another, but I couldn't ignore that eerie feeling that someone was watching me. I pushed that perception from my mind and focused on the scene in front of me, managing to catch the bride
and groom in a kiss and embrace before they entangled their fingers and walked down the aisle. We all stood and clapped and I turned to face them as they passed. Despite my own unease, I was ecstatic for my two friends and joined in the praise for them.
A moment later, Mike Newton, who had a thing for me in high school, came up from behind me and gripped my arm as he spun me around and pulled me into a hug. The close proximity of him stunned me, but I managed to squeeze him back, albeit rather weakly. He guided me away from the crowd gathering near my seat to the empty area alongside the gazebo.
With a smile, he excitedly proclaimed, "Bella! I haven't seen you in years. You look wonderful. How are you? What have you been doing?
Where are you living now? Are you dating anyone?"
"Whoah, Mike, one question at a time."
"Sorry, I'm just so surprised to see you hear. I didn't know you knew Alice or Jasper."
"Mike, Alice and I may have barely known each other in high school, but she's one of my best friends and we are sorority sisters from UW. As for Jasper, I met him about the same time as Alice. But back to your questions. Um, I'm doing alright. What was the next question?"
"What have you been up to over the last few years? The last I heard you were moving to Phoenix. Are you still living there?"
I realized then that Mike knew more about my life than he was letting on. A few moments ago he inquired where I was living; just now he slipped in the question wondering if I still lived in Phoenix. A feeling of dread came over me as I became aware that he was the one watching me during the ceremony. Apparently, Mike's misguided infatuation with me hadn't subsided over the six years since leaving Forks. Come to think of it, he probably also knew my relationship status and anything else there was to learn about me. This was a tiny town, after all. It would probably just be easier to humor him and answer his questions, rather than challenge him.
"Well, I was living in Phoenix until about a week ago. I have been teaching elementary school and decided to move back. Unfortunately, I moved back a few days too late."
"I heard about your dad and Sue. That's rough. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Ugh, Mike hadn't managed to outgrow his obsession for me. "No, but thanks. You know, there are a few other people I want to catch up with. Can I find you later?"
With a sad look on his face he responded, "Uhh, sure. Take care, Bella. Promise to save me a dance during the reception?"
"Of course." Yeah right, when pigs fly I'll do that! I barely gave him a second glance before I high tailed it away from him and joined the guests who surrounded the happy couple. That jittery feeling returned as I moved closer to them. I'd have to wish them congratulations later, because my body seemed to be telling me that I needed to find some food.
I wandered around the backyard until I found a waiter with a tray full of delights.
"Miss, would you care for an h'or d'oeuvre? I have lamb lollipops on my tray, but there are five other choices for you, as well."
"Oh, this is perfect. Thank you!" I grabbed a lollipop from the waiter's tray like a voracious wolf and nearly downed it in one bite. It tasted heavenly. I needed to find that waiter for another. Before I managed to fix my eyes on another lollipop, a different waiter walked by, this one carrying a tray with smoked salmon on a thin piece of toast, topped with capers and onions. I grabbed a napkin and an h'or d'oeuvre before the waiter had a chance to speak. I smiled sheepishly and sauntered away.
Once I had downed the tasty delight, I looked for the bar. I normally didn't drink, but if my encounter with Mike was any indication of how
the rest of the afternoon and evening would proceed, I would need a fair amount of liquor.
"Can I have an extra-dirty martini with extra olives and a shot of lemon vodka?"
The bartender, who had his back to me, jumped. "Of course, miss. You're starting a little early though, aren't you?"
"Well," I chuckled, "Yeah. But I've already been hit on by this guy who followed me around like a puppy dog in high school and I am worried about how the rest of the day will go. So I need to start early and strong."
"Understood," he said with a knowing grin. "Is there a particular brand of vodka you would like me to use?"
"No. Just something top shelf."
He placed the shot on the counter and I swallowed it instantly. "Another, please."
He laughed and poured me a triple shot. Clearly, this man could read my mind. I grabbed the tumbler and poured it down my throat in three gulps.
"Thank you. That hit the spot." As the words left my mouth, he placed the martini in front of me, which I quickly clasped. With a sly grin on my face, I nodded to him and placed a hefty gratuity in his tip bowl.
I knew the Cullen's property well, having visited here many times over the years. I carefully wandered to a bench that overlooked the creek that bordered the property and sat down. A huge sigh escaped from my mouth and tear trailed down my face. I began sipping my drink as my mind strayed to memories of my father. From behind me, I heard a slight ruffling and I felt a jolt of electricity shoot through me. I turned around and glanced up. In front of me stood Edward Cullen, a man who looked impossibly perfect and to whom photo companies did a
disservice, for pictures couldn't capture his beauty.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but I saw you walk over here alone and you seemed upset."
He ran his hand through his hair and I think I felt my heart skip a beat with the motion. I continued sitting on the bench silently, too stunned to open my mouth.
"May I join you?"
Edward Cullen noticed that I was upset and he wanted to sit with me? Was I dreaming?
"What?" Wow, smooth Bella…
"Did I surprise you? I'm Edward Cullen, I'm the other brother of the bride. I noticed that you downed a few shots and then walked over here, seemingly upset. Do you want to talk about it?"
"Yes. Please. Sit." Had I lost all ability to communicate?
Edward walked around the bench so we would both face the creek and he sat to my left, our thighs lightly touching. The warmth emanating from him comforted me. As I gazed at him, he took his left thumb and quickly brushed the tear from my face. His touch nearly burned me, but I immediately longed for the feeling again.
He asked, "A penny for your thoughts?"
"My father just died and I feel so alone and I'm not ready to be around people and a creepy guy was watching me throughout the whole ceremony and he pulled me into a hug making me uncomfortable and, and, and…" I stifled back another tear as I realized this virtual stranger wouldn't care about my mundane problems.
Edward stroked my shoulder as he cooed, "Shhh, shhh. There, there." In an instant, the world and all of its problems drifted away. "Why don't you start by telling me your name."
I felt like a fool. Had I just unloaded onto him without sharing my name? "I'm Isabella." Did I seriously introduce myself as 'Isabella'? I gave him a name that no one called me and I was pretending not to know who he was? What was I doing? Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review:
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Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin creaChapter Six: Flirting
After surveying the crowd for a few moments, I found the woman. I felt both the frown creep onto my face and the clench of my fists form as I watched her hug another man. Seriously? For the first time since losing Angela I saw a woman I wanted – no needed – to know and she was already taken? I stood firmly in my spot and observed their exchange. Her body language and the expressions on her face didn't indicate they had a history. Maybe there was a chance for me, yet.
"Edward, what are you doing?" a voice, which I knew belonged to Billy Black's son, Jake, called from behind me. Billy was Vice President of Employee Operations of Masen Mining, the company I took over after my grandfather, Edward Masen, passed away seven years earlier. Billy had worked there longer than I could remember, so when his son graduated from Washington State, I gladly hired him.
What was I doing? Oh, hey Jake…I'm just stalking a complete stranger at my cousin's wedding… I turned towards him, answering, "Hey, Jake! I was just staring off into space. Did you enjoy the wedding?" I really didn't want to talk with him – or anyone else – right now, but Carlisle and Esme would be disappointed if they knew I was rude to someone, especially a longtime-family friend.
"Yeah, man! Leah," he motioned towards his much-younger bride, "and I thought it was really special. Your girls were classic! They had a ton of fun throwing those petals about. Where were you during it all? I didn't see you."
"Um, I watched from the kitchen. It's still…" my voice trailed off, unable to talk about my pain with him.
Jake nodded. He understood and he knew pain, as well. His mother died when he was young and it wasn't a secret that Angela had passed away while in labor. Not only was Forks a small town, but also a town with loose lips.
He could tell my mind was elsewhere. "Well, I'll catch you later, man!"
"Huh? Oh, yeah. See ya, Jake," I mumbled after he walked away.
My focus remained on the woman wearing the dress the color of a perfect sapphire. She quickly left that man's presence and wandered over to a waiter. I smiled as I watched her quickly consume whatever he was offering. She had an appetite, which I liked. My grin grew when she found another waiter and quickly downed one of his offerings, as well. This woman didn't seem to care what others thought, that was for sure. Never before I had seen a female hunt for food
and devour it with such veracity. My curiosity was piqued.
She continued on her trek and I was transfixed. But rather than search for more food, she walked straight to the bar where she ordered a shot of something, not wasting a moment before gulping the concoction and grimacing. I was fascinated as she repeated this action with what appeared to be a triple shot. It wasn't even 2:00 PM yet, so her heavy drinking must've been triggered by something. I needed to know what made this woman tick. I followed her as she walked from the bar, with what appeared to be a martini in her hand, towards the edge of the property. Who was she and how did know where she was going?
I knew my girls and the rest of my family would be occupied with photographs and speaking with the guests, so very quietly, I followed her. She sat down on the bench overlooking the creek that marked the border to my parents' property. I heard a sigh escape her mouth and I think I caught a tear fall from her eye. I moved closer, but stepped on a branch and jarred her from her daze. She turned and glanced at me.
My heart stopped. Her eyes were the same warm, chocolate-color as her hair and they spoke volumes to me. As our eyes joined, I realized nothing could break the connection; I was hers. But I had been right, a tear had escaped from her eye, and I ached at the sight. This complete stranger managed to wrap me around her finger without speaking a word. I would do anything for her…how could that be possible?
I realized I needed to say something. I began, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I saw you walk over here alone and you seemed upset."
Did I sound convincing? Would she think I had been following her? She didn't respond. Instead, she just continued to inspect me. I felt as if she could see through my thinly-veiled attempt to talk to her.
Hrmm…now what? "May I join you?" I asked.
"What?" she asked in response.
Okay, this was going to be harder than I hoped. Maybe I needed to speak louder? Maybe I wasn't making sense? Maybe Greek had escaped my mouth?
Take three. This time I made sure to enunciate. With a simple smile I asked, "Did I surprise you? I'm Edward Cullen, I'm the other brother of the bride. I noticed that you downed a few shots and then walked over here, seemingly upset. Do you want to talk about it?"
"Yes. Please. Sit," she retorted.
I was failing miserably. I didn't know what to do, so I joined her as her body faced the creek. My need to be near her resulted in my decision to sit so close to her that our thighs lightly touched. I could feel the electricity surging from her body onto mine. Was I imagining it? I reached over and wiped away her tear, almost ripping my hand away from shock when I felt the burn that resulted from our skin meeting.
I didn't know what to do, so I asked the first thing that came to mind. "A penny for your thoughts?" I cringed the second the question left my mouth.
And then, she spoke. "My father just died and I feel so alone and I'm not ready to be around people and a creepy guy was watching me
throughout the whole ceremony and he pulled me into a hug making me uncomfortable and, and, and…" As she unloaded, more tears ran down her face.
Wow. I realized my lame attempts at conversation hadn't been a complete failure, but instead it was that this glorious creature sitting next to me was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. As I digested her words, I wondered if it had been me who she felt ogling her throughout the ceremony? I hoped not.
I wanted to hold her and let her know that I wouldn't let anything else harm her, but I didn't even know her name, so instead I tried to comfort her by running my hand along her shoulder – hoping the gesture wouldn't be too presumptuous – and said what I did whenever
one of my girls cried, "Shhh, shhh. There, there." Then I added, "Why don't you start by telling me your name?"
"Isabella," she said simply.
"Well, Isabella," I began, "I didn't mean to interrupt…would you feel better talking about it. Or I could leave…" Please don't ask me to leave, please don't ask me to leave.
"No," quietly escaped her mouth.
"Can I get you another drink? Or some more h'or d'oeuvres?" Fuck! She'd know I was watching her for sure now. Maybe if I continued talking she wouldn't notice. "I'm pretty sure the wedding party will be taking pictures for at least an hour, and the festivities won't really begin until after they're done…" I continued, "Or maybe we can sit here and relax while we stare out at the water?" I didn't know what she needed, but I needed to be next to her, holding her, supporting her, and keeping her safe from any other harm that could creep into her world.
"I would love another one of these," she said as she held up her martini glass. "And some more h'or d'oeuvres. Any type of them you can find will do!" she added as a slight smile escaped from her lips.
I tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear and ran my other hand through my own hair as I stood up with a grin. Was I really being this casual with a woman I'd just met? I didn't care. I figured if she didn't stop me, I would take advantage of the situation while I could.
"Umm, right. I'll be back in a few moments," I responded as I walked off towards the house, a spring definitely accompanying my step. Before I lost sight of her, I turned and sighed. Just a few hours ago, my life seemed to be on its autopilot of mediocrity and predictability. Could this be the change of which Alice spoke last night? I wouldn't allow myself to think about this prospect, because that would mean I believed Alice could predict the future, so I decided to grab us some drinks and food, as I promised.
"Little bro! Where've you been? We wanted to get a picture with just the family!" Emmett exclaimed. I chose to ignore his nickname for me because I didn't want to deal with this, but I owed Alice the opportunity to have as many perfect wedding and reception photos as possible. I didn't want her to have to spend a lifetime looking at them because her partner had passed away too early.
"Where do you guys need me?" I asked my brother.
"Alice wants you down at the gazebo," he responded.
"I'll be there in a minute, if that's alright?"
"Don't take any longer," he warned. "I've been looking for you for awhile and I can tell Alice was getting perturbed that you disappeared."
I nodded and headed towards the bar. As I neared the bar's counter, I asked the bartender, "Can I get two extra dirty martinis with extra olives, three shots of lemon vodka, and a Gibson on the rocks with extra onions? I'll be back in about 5 minutes for them." The bartender nodded and I dropped a $20 bill into his tip jar, intending to double it on my return trip.
As I continued crossing the lawn, I stopped to shake hands with people and greet them. I didn't have time for such pleasantries; I wanted to get the pictures taken so I could return to Isabella, but the life of a CEO always requires schmoozing. A few minutes and twenty or more handshakes later, I navigated myself to the gazebo.
"Daddy!" my girls squealed with delight. "Did you see us? Did you think we looked pretty?" Lizzie and Renee asked in unison. I kissed both on their foreheads and pulled them into a tight hug. "What's that for? And you're smiling!"
I hoped these girls would start speaking by themselves one of these days, because their knack for "stereo speak," as we called it, was unfamiliar to both me and Emmett, as well as
Tia, who was a twin herself. It was their only trait that reminded me that they were 4-and-ahalf and not 14-and-a-half.
"Can't I smile when I see my girls? Especially when you're looking this pretty and after you did such a wonderful job in your Aunt Alice's ceremony?" I asked.
"Oh, Daddy. It's more than that, your smile is different. I don't think I've ever seen a smile like that," Lizzie responded. If only I could tell them why I looked so joyous.
"Okay," I said as I clapped my hands to divert their attention. "I hear it's time for a Cullen
family photo! Let's get this party started!" I reached down and tickled the girls, causing giggles to fill the air, and then pulled them into me as I sat on the second step of the gazebo.
"Edward, don't move. You and the girls are perfect just as you are," Alice suddenly announced…that little pixie always seemed to appear out of thin air. I think it was the first time my cousin made such a declaration where I was concerned. I continued chatting with the girls while Alice told everyone else where they belonged. The poor photographer just stood and waited, knowing he wasn't in charge of any of this. "Okay, we're ready!"
The photographer took a quick succession of photos and walked over to Alice so she could inspect them. I heard her voice of approval so I
stood up and placed the girls on the ground, grabbing their hands and walking them over to Tia.
"Now you're going to be with your Nana again tonight. You listen to what she says. The caterers know to save you four pieces of cake so don't worry that you won't get any. When Nana brings you home tomorrow, you'll stop by here and Granny or Gramps will allow you to have one slice then. When they're ready, they'll return you home. If you want to have a sleepover here, just have one of them call me. You girls enjoy yourselves. Now give me a kiss. I packed another change of clothes, so grab your stuff out of my car. I love you two more than life – don't you forget that!" My girls pulled me into a hug and they kissed me on each side of my face. I tapped each on the nose and watched as they walked away, hand-in-hand with Tia.
I hightailed it to the caterers' tent and grabbed a tray, some cocktail napkins, and four of everything. Once returning to the bar, I found my drinks waiting on another tray. I downed one of the shots briefly – I needed my own liquid courage – and dropped another $20 bill in his tip jar. With my mission complete, a smile on my face, and carrying two trays, I hiked back to the bench where my beautiful Isabella awaited me.
As I neared her, I announced my presence, "I'm sorry I took so long. My brother, Emmett – have you met him? – cornered me and forced me to take Cullen family photos. They turned out well, I suppose because the bride didn't demand any additional rounds. I grabbed a few drinks and shots, as well as a hefty sampling of the h'or d'oeuvres. I wasn't sure what you wanted, but I wanted to make sure we had enough here so you wouldn't feel obligated to return to the
festivities, that is, if you wanted to stay here with me."
And then she smiled the most glorious smile I'd ever seen. Just like when I first saw her eyes, she took my breath away. The awkwardness I felt when we first met clearly left when I walked away. We talked and laughed and shared. Something about her stories seemed so familiar, but I was afraid if I gave too much thought to it, I would miss something she said and I wanted to know everything about this girl. I realized the wedding reception must've been well underway and people probably wondered where we were, but I didn't care. I intended to keep this angel to myself for the rest of the evening, and beyond if I could manage it.
I couldn't figure out what to think of Edward's attention towards me. Why would this gorgeous, or rather perfect human specimen want to talk to simple, ordinary Bella Swan? None of this made sense to me. In fact, the realization that he didn't know who I was, especially after hearing my name – although I told him my full name, which only my grandparents had used – didn't compute. As he continued to talk to me, I scanned my mind trying to determine why we hadn't met before.
Since Alice and I had become close friends, I had spent oodles of time with the rest of the Cullens, but never him. I missed her college graduation because my Nana had died a few days earlier, though Alice later told me Edward didn't stick around because his wife was pregnant and he was busy with the family's business. But I attended Emmett's medical school graduation and didn't remember seeing him. I tried to remember why he wasn't there. And then it dawned on me – Angela had died a few months earlier and he had thrown himself into his work far more than before, according to Alice. Surely he had seen a picture of us around the Cullen house? Apparently he must've been far too preoccupied to look at the pictures. Then why had he decided to single me out now?
I reasoned it was easier to just ignore the negative thoughts seeping into the forefront of my mind and try to enjoy my time with him,
however fleeting it would be. Crap, what did he ask me? Oh, he wanted to know if I wanted a something more to eat and drink. For some reason, I held up my glass and realized that moment that the alcohol I downed just a few minutes earlier was already affecting my body. I realized I would have to take a few deep breaths and try to calm myself while he was fetching us refreshments.
After a little time, I wondered why he hadn't returned. Apparently, asking whether I wanted anything else was his ruse to get away from boring women. Truth be told, I didn't do a very good job of trying to strike up a conversation when he was in my presence, so I didn't blame him. I wished I had worn a watch so I could see how much time had passed, but then I realized it didn't match my dress and Alice would've stopped the ceremony and ripped my arm out of its socket if I had because she was such a control freak. The image made me chuckle, or maybe
the influence of the alcohol did that. Because Edward hadn't returned and the idea of joining the party was the furthest idea from my mind, I decided to enjoy the weather and the solitude of my spot alongside the creek.
Surprisingly, he returned balancing two trays of food and I couldn't contain my joy at seeing the sight. He placed the trays on the bench. Damn, this man was gorgeous, I thought…I couldn't focus on what he was mumbling…something about Emmett cornering him.
"Mademoiselle…" he purred as he pulled a cloth napkin over his forearm and I tried to contain a snicker. How adorable was he? I beamed up at him as he handed my martini to me and I didn't waste a second before I took a sip.
"Ooooh, it's extra dirty. How did you know?" I asked as I tried to contain my excitement. This afternoon was shaping up as more than just a pleasant day for a wedding.
Edward moved the trays closer to the edge of the bench and squeezed in next to me. I felt my heart start beating and my body had that jittery feeling again, only this time it was stronger than it had been before and during Alice's wedding. I understood the origin of my heart's pounding – Edward and my nervousness at his proximity was surely the cause – but why did that damned feeling begin earlier?
"I guessed. In fact," he continued as he reached to his left with another glass in his hand, "I asked the bartender to make two of them so we wouldn't have to procure you another one anytime soon. And I also asked him to pour a couple of shots of lemon vodka for us to share."
Edward's ability to seemingly read my mind was refreshing and unexpected. Why was he single? Oh, right. His wife had died in childbirth. It was so easy to forget about that while I sat in his presence. Whenever Alice spoke of him, a sad tone always colored her voice. I needed to remember this. But I wanted nothing more than to enjoy this time with him, however fleeting it could be, because my life had been so hard recently. Heck, from the moment I breathed my first gasps of air, I had a tough go of it. I wondered if I should tell Edward why I was at the wedding and who I knew? Shouldn't he know? After a few moments of this give and
take inside my mind, I decided to stop thinking and start talking.
"So Edward Cullen, why didn't I notice you at the wedding?" I asked.
"Well, honestly, I was present, but from afar," he answered. "I actually noticed you run past me just as the ceremony started."
"How did you know it was me?" I inquired as a sly smile crossed my lips.
He chuckled. "First of all, Isabella, you're wearing the only sapphire-hued dress at the wedding. I would remember if someone else wore something similar. You see, I deal with colors for a living."
"Oh, really? Are you an artist?" I knew Edward's profession, but I decided to be Isabella, the mysterious stranger at the wedding. I hadn't played the part of 'Isabella' for awhile, in fact, it had been 3-4 years earlier since I last gambled with my alter ego. Could I manage to still pull off this flirty act? Hell, I decided to try.
As we continued to talk, I found myself grinning widely at Edward. Every so often, I would lightly stroke his arm or accidentally lay my hand across his thigh. I had missed playing this game… He seemed so uncomfortable each time
I touched him, but I didn't care. I was getting drunk and I was going to have fun.
A few minutes after I returned with our food and our drinks, Bella reached across me and grabbed both shots of the lemon vodka. With each clutched in her delicate hands, she threw them back in quick succession and grimaced as each burned on its way down her throat. Though the exchange took a matter of seconds, the effects on me lasted longer.
First, I felt that already-familiar jolt of electricity surge through my body. Second, blood rushed to my cock and my pants quickly tightened around it. Third, my breathing hitched for a moment. And fourth, my heart rate increased dramatically.
Would she notice these changes? My heartbeat was so fast and so hard that I feared Isabella couldn't miss its rise and fall reflected in my jugular. There was little I could do, especially because she locked eyes with me while we chatted, looking away only briefly while she spoke. I realized I had a more pressing problem, literally. I inconspicuously rested my hands in my lap, hoping that the motion wouldn't draw her eyes down to my growing dick.
Our conversation turned light and relaxed and I began worrying its easy flow was due to her growing inebriated state. Shit, everything was causing me to fret. Fuck it, I needed to relax so I took her lead and gulped down one-half of my vodka Gibson. I silently chuckled when I realized how much vodka the two of us were imbibing.
And then my body couldn't take it anymore: Isabella started to casually touch my forearm, run her fingers ever-so-lightly across my leg, and squeeze my knee. If my mother hadn't taught me to be a gentleman, I would've pulled her to the soft grass and taken her, ripping off her dress in the process. There was one other problem, there was no way Isabella could be aware of the effect her contact had on me. Hell, she probably didn't even realize she kept
brushing her hands against me because she was drunk.
She tipped her martini to her mouth and my eyes focused on her pink, slightly-full lips. Fuck, Isabella was glorious. Her tongue darted from the cage of her mouth and slowly ran along her upper lip, cleaning the traces of liquor from it. I didn't know how much more of this I could take… Isabella held the glass up and asked, "Would you mind getting me another one of these?"
"Umm…," I stammered. "Would you be interested in returning to the party so we can get you another drink, as well as some food in you?" I wasn't sure what response I hoped for, but she needed to eat because she had all but ignored the treats I'd brought back.
"How about we make a deal," she began as she leaned her body into me so close that I could feel her warm breath on my face. "Why don't we just leave and find somewhere else to get my drink? And I promise I'll eat a little, too…"
Isabella wanted to leave. With me. . I inhaled sharply, unsure of how to respond. "Suuure. Where would you like to go?"
"Where would you like to go?" she asked.
"It depends what you want," I responded. "If you wouldn't mind, we could head over to my house. I have a fully-stocked bar and a fridge filled with tons of food. I live close. How does that sound?" As soon as the inquiry left my mouth, I snickered.
"What's so funny?" A look of concern crossed her face.
"That – we keep answering questions with questions," I stated as my snicker turned into a laugh. When Isabella joined with my laughter, I chivalrously took her hand and stood up to leave. "Care to come with me?"
She met my question with increasingly louder laughter and tears that she carefully wiped from her eyes. "Lemme slip these stilettos off first. I'll break my neck if I try to walk in these a moment longer."
Rising to her heeled feet and still holding my hand, Isabella bent down to remove her shoes. It didn't occur to me that she would need my support for balance, until she almost lost it and I pulled her into me to prevent her tumbling to the ground. Her body molded itself against mine and pressed against the now unmistakably visible lump in my pants. I used all of my will power to stifle the groan that rose inside of me.
"I'm so sorry," I explained, full of embarrassment.
As she pulled slowly away from me, she growled, "Don't be." Chapter End Notes: Reminder: You can download the story! :) epub / https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/4sKWOJMJy5 dGiS mobi / https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/4s0s8855il8W ZM pdf / https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/4sXX3xAu7Y e3FE Previous
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Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin created by KaliChapter Seven: Lemonade
Wow. This woman was drunk. I wasn't sure what to do. I figured it would be best if I took her back to my place so I could sober her up with food and watered-down drinks, because remaining here wouldn't do her any favors.
"I'm ready to head to your house," she said with a sly grin.
"Ok. Yeah. Umm." I continued stammering, "We should. Uh. Yeah." Isabella jerked my hand as she headed towards the house, expertly avoiding the party, which sounded to be in full swing. As we reached the house, I took the lead and guided her through the house and the east yard to the garage, which held my parents and siblings' cars. I walked over to my beloved hardtop Volvo C70 convertible. I held open her door, shutting it behind her softly after she was securely in her seat.
I walked around the back, taking deep, slow breaths to calm my nerves. I began wracking my brain for instances of when I was this flustered
and I couldn't place a time in my life when anyone or anything had this effect on me. I was the always-unflappable Edward Masen Cullen, after all. Shaking my head, I opened my own door and slipped into the driver's side. I revved the engine and reversed, quickly turning the car around and driving faster than I should, but I knew the driveway like the back of my hand. At the end of it, I peeked along the edge of the highway and when I knew I could pull onto it safely, I gunned it, turning onto my own lot a few moments later.
Isabella sat silently throughout the brief drive, which surprised me because any other person would show some reaction to my sudden wildness, even I was a tad scared at how I maneuvered my car. I curved around the last set of trees before my house came into view. I looked to the gorgeous creature next to me and watched as her eyes widened with surprise.
"That's your house?" she asked.
Crap. She didn't like what it. "Uh, yeah," I responded timidly. "Is there something wrong?"
"No. It's…there are no words to describe it. I'd say, amazing, beautiful, huge, among other things, but they wouldn't do it justice." Her awed tone was genuine.
Phew, I thought. Why did I immediately jump to the conclusion that she didn't like it? Why did I keep jumping to such conclusions? What was it
about this woman that made me doubt everything?
"Thanks," I replied sheepishly. "I built it almost 7 years ago after my grandfather passed away. He left all of us a fair amount of money and I used some of it to buy this land and build a house I would want to remain in for the rest of my life. I don't know how much you know about my family's business, but he was the CEO and I took it over after his death." Why was I rambling about entirely irrelevant things? I should've just shut up after thanking her.
She replied with a simple, "Oh." After I pressed the button to open the garage door, she saw my Aston Martin Vanquish and added with a gasp, "Oh my!" And as we pulled into my spot, she
looked around at the other cars in the garage and another "Ooooooooh!" escaped her lips.
I didn't know how to read her 'comments,' so I remained silent until I met her at her door. Holding out a hand I asked, "May I?"
As she turned towards me, the look of shock left her face and a bright smile replaced it. "Thank you, kind sir." Instead of dropping my hand once she was out of the car, Isabella intertwined her fingers with mine. I began to relish the warmth resulting from her touch.
I led her through my kitchen and to the living room couch. She quickly settled herself into the
soft black leather and I felt my body relax in ways it hadn't in years. Isabella looked perfect laying there, her creamy skin practically glowing. "What can I get you?" I inquired.
"I would love another shot of lemon vodka if you have it?"
I poured the drink and brought it to her. Smirking and using my paternal tone, I warned her, "I thought you were going to eat something if you had more to drink. What would you like to eat?" I handed Isabella the shot and she tipped her head back and drank it in one sip.
I coughed. What the fuck did she just say? Did she just say she wanted to eat me? Fuuuuuuuck. I stood, glued to my spot. I found myself nervously running my hand through my hair, not sure how to reply. She didn't give me a chance as she swung her legs off the couch and stood, smashing her mouth to mine. As a groan managed to escape my mouth, my lips parted and her tongue met mine. Although I tasted vodka, her flavor was divine. Just as swiftly as she rose to bring her lips to mine, she ripped them away. The absence of her lips from my own left me empty inside.
"Now, Mr. Cullen, why don't we move this party to your bedroom?" she queried. Again, Isabella prevented me from responding. This time,
though, she asked another question. "Which way?"
She kissed me deeply again, taking my breath away. "Uhh, it's upstairs." I never had game when I was younger and it was becoming more evident to me by the minute that nothing had changed over the years. She took my hand in hers and pulled away from me as she moved from the room.
"Where?" Her question was simple, but I could hear the desire in her voice and see it in her eyes. Could I really be this fucking lucky to have this amazing woman in my house and for her to want me? I decided not to question her – or myself any longer – so I grabbed her ass, drew her to me, and raised her with one arm while the other yanked her leg around my waist.
As Isabella wrapped her other leg around me, I kissed her hard and fiercely. She moaned into my mouth as our tongues danced.
For a moment, my mind wandered and I internally thanked Tia for taking the twins home again this evening. I've always loved my mother-in-law, but in this moment, my admiration for her was absolute.
I couldn't move quickly enough, practically sprinting up the stairs and down the hall to my bedroom suite. Opening the door, I accidentally banged her knee into it as I walked through. Shit. I had to ruin the mood.
"I'm so sorry, Isabella."
"Shush. Now get me to your bed, because I'm starving."
With my mouth devouring hers again, I kept one arm along her back as I kneeled on my kingsized mattress, and used the other to guide me as I slowly placed her body delicately on it. I planted my weight against her, my already rockhard dick pressing into her. Isabella moaned when she felt my bulge and my chest swelled with pride knowing that this radiant woman was turned on by me.
My lips lefts hers and I began trailing them along her jaw and neck. A growl escaped from me, my primal urge for her growing exponentially as each second passed. Isabella purred beneath me and my dick twitched against her at the sound. As I slowly moved my mouth down to her collarbones, I found myself nipping at them, wanting, no needing to taste her and savor the moment.
"Edward," she whispered in a seductive tone. "Please."
What did I do? Did she not like it my tongue, teeth, or lips upon her warm skin?
"I need to feel you deep in me," she pleaded. "Please," she repeated.
Earlier in the day, I realized I would give anything to Isabella. The second she asked to feel my skin, I knew I could never deny her anything. I raised my body off of her carefully and tried to remove my suit jacket, which I had failed to remove earlier.
"No. I need to feel you."
What the fuck did she want? How did she expect to feel me and my skin if I didn't extricate myself from her gravitational pull by sitting up?
I just didn't understand this woman, but I didn't care. I needed her just as much. She wrapped her slender legs around my waist and her elegant arms around my neck. Then, Isabella thrust her body against mine in a fluid motion and smashed her mouth into mine, kissing me deeply and passionately. I didn't think it could be possible, but I felt my dick swell further as it begged me to release it and plunge it deep into her.
"Now get up," she half commanded and half whimpered.
How? She was stuck to me like glue and this wasn't an easy position to rise from. I don't know how I managed to maneuver it, but I brought Isabella and myself to a vertical
position, never letting an inch come between our pulsating bodies or mouths.
As I stood, her legs shimmied down my own and then she quickly placed her hands on my chest, propelling me backwards. Her fingers ran up to my shoulders and she slipped my jacket off, letting it fall to the ground. Isabella then untied my tie swiftly, followed by my shirt, both of which she quickly removed from my body and threw to the ground. One of her hands cupped my balls and cock through my pants and a sound, that could only be described as a yelp, gurgled from deep inside of me. Before I realized it, my pants, belt, and boxers became her latest victims, as they settled around my ankles. My cock was finally free.
I kicked my shoes off so I could step out of my slacks and underwear. And then I heard her gasp and followed her eyes, which were focused on my member. Confidence surged through me because I knew I was very well endowed. I didn't give her much of a chance to ogle before I drew her back against me so I could inch down her dress's zipper. It fell to the ground and I found myself gasping when saw her perfect, full, round breasts, which weren't covered by a bra.
I flipped Isabella around, and she pressed her back into my chest and ass against my erection. Fuck, I felt more alive than I could recall as the meeting of our skin radiated heat to all of my nerve endings. I reached my arms around, my right cupping her left breast and my left circling her still-covered, but soaking-wet pussy. My fingers pressed into her clit and a shiver shot through her. I smiled.
"Please," she mewed again. Anything you want, I thought. "Rip them off."
I hadn't spoken since apologizing for the door incident, but I wasn't sure whether I understood her or not. Did she actually want me to ruin the blue lace thong? "I'm sorry, did you just ask me to rip your panties off?"
Her reply was simple. "Rip. Them. Off." Afraid that I would piss her off if I didn't comply with her demand, and turned on even more – if that was possible – I dipped my fingers under the delicate material running along her hip and tugged hard, hoping that my action was hard enough to remove the thong, but not too hard that I would hurt her.
"Fuck," we both sang.
I tossed them to the ground and inched my fingers back to her warm center, which spread her lips allowing me access to her dripping pussy. I submersed one of my digits deep into her and I was surprised by how tight she felt. She yelped as I curved my finger inside of her and slowly stroked her g-spot.
"There. Yes," she whispered as her head flailed back into my chest. Isabella's legs began to quake and I realized she was struggling to stay upright. With my finger still deep in her and my right hand still playing with her splendid breasts,
I carefully lifted up her feather-light body. She screamed as my digit quickly thrust deeper, surprising her. "I'm going to cum. Please don't stop…" The walls of her pussy tensed around my finger and her body stiffened as it molded against mine. As her orgasm overtook her, my name escaped from her lips. I moved to my bed and sat down, pulling her onto me so she could ride out her orgasm as I buried my face in her rich brown hair.
A quiet, "Thank you," flowed from her lips. I pressed my mouth into her neck and left a simple kiss there as I slipped my finger from her dripping-wet pussy. I licked my lips and tasted a faint trace of salty sweat and laid down, guiding her on top of me. Then, I wrapped my arms loosely around her. We remained silent, both of us on our backs, mine against the mattress and her atop me, as her breathing and heartbeat slowed.
"You're welcome, Isabella…" I whispered into her ear as hugged her tighter into me. A moment later, she slid from my arms and rolled herself onto the bed. I looked down at her and found her disheveled hair only added to her beauty. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my dick stood at attention, desperately needing a release. She must have noticed it, too, because she bent down and placed a simple, yet chaste kiss upon my tip. "Uhhhhhh…" escaped my mouth. I couldn't remember the last time I had felt someone's mouth on me.
Isabella lifted her body from the bed and she straddled me, grinding her warm center against my lower belly. Not a moment of rest had dried any of the moistness of her pussy. When I looked up into her eyes, I saw desire. I circled my arm around her waist and up her back,
forcefully bringing her chest and head down to me so I could breathe her in more. My lips parted as they met hers and our tongues met. Within milliseconds, we both groaned into each other's mouths. Before she pulled away, I playfully bit her lip and she gripped my hair, which sent shivers through me.
With one hand still in my hair and the other lightly running along the skin of my chest, Isabella kissed and licked my face, neck, ears, and chest. Her teeth scraped along my nipples and I gulped in multiple breaths, shocked by the sensation, which I had never experienced before. I attempted to grip her waist, but Isabella shook them off, confusing me.
"Is something wrong?" I timidly asked.
She rocked her upper body away from me as she sat up with a Cheshire grin on her face. "Absolutely nothing," she answered before she dove back to my chest. Wow. Isabella was driving me crazy. I needed to touch her so I slid my hands to her back. She removed her own from my chest, which saddened me, and reached around, snaking her fingers through mine. I was pleased by her movement, even more so as she swung them above my head and onto the bed. Before I became too comfortable with the intimate gesture, she extricated her fingers and pushed her hand hard on my wrists.
"Look," she warned as she sat back up, "I would love to feel your hands on me, but they're insanely distracting. I want free reign over your body so I can give you as much pleasure as possible. Okay?"
Stunned by her unreserved comments, I just nodded.
Her Cheshire grin returned. "Good." She added, "Now may I return to focusing on your chest and body?"
I nodded again, trying to stifle the laughter that fought to escape in response to the look of sheer determination she had when she spoke the last part of her comment. She ignored me and continued her assault on me. I sucked in air as her mouth moved past my stomach and down to my desperate cock.
And then, without any warning, she took it so deep into her mouth that I almost came that instant. Like the grazing of my nipples, no one had ever tried to deep throat me, though I always doubted anyone could consume my generous length. Employing gentle suction and steady pressure from her tongue, she slowly worked her wet, warm mouth up and down my shaft, humming as she went.
Fuck, I wanted to ask her to stay and never leave, offer to give her anything she desired, just so I could feel this again!
She moved her mouth slowly up me, scraping her teeth along me, which drove me crazy. When she didn't dive back down, I whimpered.
"Don't worry, Edward," she said, her warm breath on my balls. And then she licked them. I briefly shook from the electricity jolt and goose bumps covered my skin. Fuck. Yet again, she was doing something no one had ever done. I knew I didn't have experience with a lot of different women, but I had been with each woman for a long amount of time and I thought we had experimented a lot. I was wrong. And then she did what I only saw in porn – she sucked my balls into her mouth, massaging them with her tongue, as her hand jerked me off.
"Isabella," I frantically said. "I'm about to cum." And then her mouth wrapped itself around my
dick as I felt my release. I came hard and long into her mouth as I gasped to breathe. "Fuck," I grunted as she continued to suck me, licking up the last drops and then swallowing my jizz.
She smiled and nuzzled her body next to mine, laying her delicate arm across my chest. I tried to regain my composure and come down before speaking.
"That was, without a doubt, the most amazing orgasm and blowjob I've ever experienced. You are incredible. Will you allow me to thank you properly?"
"I'm all yours." Isabella's words hit me hard and flooded me with emotion. If she only knew how much I wanted to make her mine, even though I'd only known her a few hours.
I scooped her up on to my chest and kissed her sweetly. I felt Isabella relax so I rocked her onto her back, intending to return the favor. Honestly, I wasn't entirely experienced giving head to a woman, but I needed to make her feel as special as I did, or I needed to try at the least.
I placed a few more kisses on her mouth and then scooped one of her breasts into my mouth, sucking her nipple and biting it carefully. Her hands gripped my hair and a moan escaped her lips. "Oh, yes…just like that." I moved to her other tit and repeated, while my hand massaged the one I had just left. I continued for a few
moments, but my desire to taste her forced me to work my mouth to her pussy. I spread her lips with my fingers and brought my tongue to her clit.
Because Angela and girlfriends before her only let me go down on them a few times, which drove me crazy with confusion, I allowed my senses to take control of the situation. Isabella's sweet aroma and juices drove me wild and turned me on, forcing blood back into my briefly flaccid dick. I began exploring, running my tongue up and down her lips. Her breathing hitched, which worried me. I looked up and pulled away, finding myself mesmerized by the light pink glow which covered her body.
"Don't stop," she pleaded with me. Her words surprised me and made my cock harder.
I returned to her delicious treasure, trying to wrack my brain for an indication of what I should do next. I flicked her clit with my tongue and she growled. I moved my tongue down to her opening and drove it into her. The word 'heaven' came to mind as I tasted her and felt her pussy clench lightly around it. I licked her clit again and pushed my finger into her, moments before she started to orgasm. Her thighs clenched around my head as she came. I continued drinking her in, not wanting to cease tasting her. I slowed my tongue and removed my finger.
More than anything ever before, I had to have her, consume her, feel her, be one with her. I scrambled up her body and began kissing her as
I thrust my dick deep into her waiting tight, dripping, and warm pussy.
"Edward," she shrieked. I stopped, worried that my desires had taken things too far. "No. Keep going. You feel so fucking perfect in me. Please, never stop."
Her legs wrapped snuggly around me, pulling me deeper into her. We groaned in succession as my dick spread her. I began slowly rocking my hips into her and she matched each movement, slapping her body into me to draw me even deeper. I kissed her deeply, slowly stroked her face, and wrapped my arm underneath and around her. Like before, Isabella began gripping my hair and I felt another shiver run down my spine. As if we were puppets being controlled by outside forces, we both sped up our connection.
I needed to devour her, I thought, as I breathed her in while kissing her. I had never experienced a physical connection like this before. But I didn't have a moment to consider this link as I felt the muscles of her body contract and her warm center clamp down on me, her orgasm ripping through her fiercely, bringing my own on far faster than I expected. I thrust one last time, diving deeper into her harder than all of them before and I groaned as she screamed my name.
We both held each other securely as we rode out our twin orgasms, our heartbeats and breaths in a synchronized frenzy. Once I was sure that we had both relaxed, I loosened my grip and pulled out of her, which was met with a disappointed
groan. I rolled off of her and pulled her tight to me, our bodies intertwining.
Kissing her forehead, I said, "Thank you, Isabella."
She murmured, "Mmmm…" in response and quickly fell asleep. I heard her quietly snore and mumble, "Edward."
My heart ached with pride as I ran the days' events over in my head. I knew I wanted her by my side like this for an eternity. I turned my head and saw the alarm clock read 8:45, but I didn't care, I was tired and I wanted to join Isabella in her slumber. In the morning, I
planned to begin my quest to know everything about her, because I hungered and yearned for this woman. I would make her a part of in my life. I realized I would need to start by learning her last name… Chapter End Notes: I may post another chapter later. With the twopart epilogue and three outtakes, there are 37 (I think) chapters. I don't want to fill your inboxes with updates, but since I'm just reposting, it seems pointless to string along the chapters. :) Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles Paragraph
Path: p Use tinyMCE Rating: Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both. © 2009 - 2010 The Writer's Coffee Shop. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin created- Text Size + Chapter Eight: Uncertainty
As consciousness slowly dawned, I realized my head throbbed far worse than it ever had before. Although I didn't want to open my eyes, I needed to see what time it was. Ugh, the light seeping through between my eyelashes was most unwelcome. Where the fuck am I? The daze of sleep slowly receded and then I felt the arm wrapped around my torso, the body pressed up along my back. Could this be any worse?
I closed my eyes, counted to ten, took a deep breath, and attempted to free myself from the cage of this mystery man. Once I managed to
shimmy my body away from him, I looked down at him and gasped. I had slept with Edward Cullen? Why couldn't I remember any of yesterday? Had I had that much to drink? I wrestled with my desire to touch his alabaster skin and his rock-hard biceps that had been curled around me moments before. He smelled divine, a non-specific scent I couldn't place, and it momentarily clouded my already-unclear senses.
Most parts of me wanted to stay, but I realized I had just fucked one of my best friend's brothers…at her wedding… This one-night stand was bad, very bad indeed. Thanks to some seriously poor decision making, I blew whatever chance I had with the potential job. Did I also ruin one of my few true
friendships? Rather than think about the fallout, I needed to get myself out of this house undetected. I didn't want to see Edward's disappointed face when he awoke and it became clear he hooked up with me. To make matters worse, Alice had confided in me her worry: because he blamed himself for Angela's death, he hadn't dated or slept with anyone since. Why would he break his vow of celibacy now?
I couldn't think about all of this. I resolved to leave his cozy, warm bed and sighed as I glanced over him one more time. His bronze hair sat in a perfectly disheveled mess atop his head and a small smile crept across his mouth. Sighing, I carefully swung my legs over the side and rose, hoping not to jar him awake with the movement. I tiptoed across his carpeted floor and rescued my dress, which sat in a pile mixed with his own. My panties weren't included in the mayhem on the floor. I briefly looked around, but didn't see them anywhere. It didn't seem like
a great idea to leave any trace of myself behind. Did I have any choice?
Walking to his bedroom door, I stepped across the threshold determined to find my way to out of here. Would I ever find stairs? I passed numerous rooms, each larger than the previous. Was it possible that his house was larger than the mansion his parents lived in? I shuffled down the stairs, pausing only when I came to a second flight. Of course, his house had three stories. I doubted we had spent any time on this level, so I continued down until my feet made contact with the rich mahogany floor of the first story.
I had held my breath during my careful escape from his bedroom. But now, I let out a loud exhale. I scrambled around, searching for my
shoes – even though they were stilettos, that much I recalled – and my purse so I could call someone to fetch me. Although I didn't have time to look around and linger, I took in my surroundings. Edward surrounded himself with the finer things in life: a shiny black baby grand piano, art lining the walls, and a humongous flat screen TV in what appeared to be the family room and another in the living room, alongside a bar. Sitting on the bar's counter was my purse. When I grabbed it and turned around to exit, I saw my shoes slumped next to a sumptuous couch. I picked them up and ran out the front door, pausing long enough to ensure the house alarm was disengaged.
Less than two seconds after I stepped onto the porch, the wet, cold of the very early morning hit me, penetrating my skin as it sunk into my bones. I shivered violently and regretted not looking for a sweatshirt before exiting Edward's gargantuan house. Fuck it…I would slip back in
and find myself something, especially because I would be outside for who knows how long. I returned to the living room and seized a blanket sitting on that inviting couch.
Once I found myself outside again, I pulled my phone from my purse. Both Rose and Jacob had called numerous times, leaving just as many messages. I didn't have time to listen to them, but I knew the general theme would be something like, "Where are you?" Since it was a few minutes past 6:00 AM, I had to weigh the costs and benefits of calling each of them.
If I dialed Rose, she wouldn't be entirely surprised that I had slipped back into "Flirty Bella" mode and managed to fuck a random guy. Plus, she would get here fast because she and Emmett planned to spend the night at the
Cullens' house. But did I want her to know who I slept with? Wouldn't she share that information with Emmett? I could feel the blush rush to my skin, embarrassed just by the thought of Emmett knowing. One other drawback of calling Rose, she would take forever to get ready because that girl couldn't fathom going anywhere without her hair perfectly coifed, her makeup drawn expertly, or a stylish get-up covering (or barely covering) her body.
Jake, on the other hand, would be disappointed in me for my careless behavior. He would judge me. Could I stand having him be disappointed in me? And then there was the time factor, however long it may take Rose to get ready, it would take him longer. He lived on the Rez, deep within its borders, and its speed limit was slower than that of Forks!
After this internal struggle and the understanding that Rose was my better option, I steeled myself for the call I needed to make.
"Bella," Rose declared in a stern voice. "You better be calling me from the beyond because we spent an hour looking for you and you're just now returning my call? And do you know what time it is? I need at least 6 hours rest."
Ugh, this wasn't the reaction I expected. "Hi. Umm, so I guess I got a little drunk last night and I went home with someone," I responded in the most pathetic, sheepish voice I could muster. Maybe if I sounded bad, she would take pity on me without too many questions and pick me up.
"Classy," she sneered. "What do you want from me?" She wasn't going to make this easy.
"Will you just come and get me?"
"Why don't you drive yourself? Oh right, your car is where you left it – at Alice's wedding, or did you forget where you spent yesterday afternoon?"
Ouch. I regretted not calling Jake. He wouldn't ask questions until after he retrieved me. It was too late for my contrition. I would need to suck it up and take her abuse.
"Rose, please. Look, take pity on me. I have zero recollection of last night and I'm standing outside, shivering in nothing more than my dress and a blanket. I can't put on my shoes for fear I'll break my neck and I seem to have lost my panties."
I heard her begin roaring with laughter and in the background I heard Emmett ask, "What's so funny, baby? Is she alright? Do you want me to go fetch her ass?"
"Em, she's misplaced her underwear," Rose managed to announce between giggles. I was so
glad she found this funny. Maybe it meant she would pick me up sometime this century.
"Hello? Are you still there, or are you two dying from the amusement of my misfortune?" I snapped in response.
"I'm sorry, Bella. It's just…" she wheezed, trying to catch her breath, "if you didn't have bad luck, you wouldn't have any luck. Okay, we'll come for you. Do you know where you are? Do you need me to bring you another set of undies?" And then her chuckling returned.
I decided to ignore her mockery. "Well, I could really use aspirin. A lot of aspirin. And fresh set
of panties would be divine. But here's the thing," I paused, not sure how to tell her where I was without facing the expected commentary I would endure. It wasn't a secret that she and Edward didn't get along. Plus, Emmett and Edward were twin brothers. "So, umm, I'm standing in front of Edward's house…"
And then she bust up anew. "You're where?"
"Look, please don't tell…"
"She's at Edward's house. Bella fucked your brother," Rose announced.
"Emmett," I quietly concluded. I should've opened with Don't tell Emmett. Oh well.
"Fuck, yeah! My baby bro finally got laid," Emmett exclaimed.
Could this exchange get any more mortifying? Oh yeah, Edward could march out his front door and order me off of his property.
"You're making me cry. This is too funny. Oh, my side hurts."
"I'm so glad to give you so much enjoyment, Rose. Now could you hop in the car and pick me up?" I pleaded.
"Fine. We'll be there in a few minutes," she said.
"Wait, just you. I can't face Emmett. This is too embarrassing." But I was speaking to a dead line. Rose hung up before I opened my mouth. Shit. I loved Emmett, but he would never let me live this down. At least she said they'd be here in just a short time, which meant Rose wouldn't go through her normal routine before leaving the house.
During our exchange, I stood erect on Edward's driveway, but who knew how long they would actually take so I climbed a few stairs in front of the house and leaned against the stairway railing. As they promised, Emmett and Rose arrived a few minutes later in his sleek black Mercedes CL63 AMG, which the large Emmett looked a little ridiculous driving.
As his car neared me, I rose, watching it slow down. I could feel the crimson warming my face. This was going to be weird.
"Hey guys. Thanks for doing this," I whispered.
"You fucked my brother! How the fuck did you manage to get him in the fucking sack?" Emmett shouted. For a man around women and babies on a daily basis, he didn't refrain from using 'fuck.' I smiled and shook my head. That boy was one of a kind.
"Hi Bella, how are you? I'm great, Emmett, thanks for asking," I responded, trying to keep the growing grin from my face. "But to answer your question – I have no idea."
Rose chimed in, "Bella, you're such a whore. Here's a bottle of water and a few Advil. I decided that I wasn't going to spare a pair of panties. You shall suffer a little longer because I'm suffering by being awake this early."
I nodded a thanks at her and reached for the water and Advil. I gulped them down and pulled the blanket tighter around me. Emmett could sneak it back to Edward's house some other time, or I would hold onto it as a souvenir of my lone night with the heartbreakingly beautiful man.
"Dude, you know he hasn't slept with a single woman since his wife died? That's fucking insane that he would hook up with you. Not that there is anything wrong with you…" he trailed off. "Shit, I should shut up."
Oh my god. This was so embarrassing.
"Ya think?" Rose asked between narrowing eyes. "Where'd you want to go? Home?"
"My dad's house would be great." It hadn't been my home for years… "And yes, Emmett, I know about his lack of loving over the last few years. Alice had mentioned it to me. She's been very concerned that he hadn't moved on, or at least sown some oats recklessly."
"Alice told you? Wow, my sister has a loud mouth. He told me last week that he was ready to date, but that he hadn't met anyone yet. I guess he met someone." I watched Emmett wag his eyebrows at me in the rearview mirror. Yeah, he was a ham.
"Well, you know," I began, "she thought I might have perspective. Charlie lost Charlotte when I was born, so we talked about what it was like growing up without a mother, when Charlie and Sue began dating, stuff like that. She wasn't telling me because she wanted to spread gossip about Edward, or because she thought I would tell the world.
"I suggested she seek advice from Charlie. I know they talked because Charlie told me about how uncomfortable the chat had been. Charlie always adored Alice, but talking about sex and dating makes," I paused, realizing I had slipped. "Made him uncomfortable."
Just the brief mention of my dad started the floodgate of tears. And the crying reminded me of the previous day's events – I got drunk in an effort to stifle the pain I felt over my father's passing. Apparently, I swallowed so much alcohol that I forgot my whole encounter with Edward. I sighed because I needed to push both events from my mind so I could focus on the upcoming week.
Rose turned around and wrested a hand on my knee, trying to comfort me. "Honey, I wish I had a tissue for you." She turned to Emmett, "Do you have any?"
He shook his head. "Sorry."
"Do you need me to stay with you this afternoon? I can figure out a way to get back to Seattle later. Or you can drive me back and we can have some girl time – it's been a couple of years since we spent quality time together. It will be good for both of us. You can't believe what an annoying pain in the ass this one can be," she said as she motioned her head towards Emmett, a smirk on her face.
Rose knew how to make me feel better, if only momentarily, and I giggled through the tears. "Thanks, but I have tons to do. Besides, I need to go to bed early. Tomorrow starts my serious search for a job."
"I joked with Edward that he could sleep with his nanny, so you're going to have to take that
job." I think Emmett was mocking me, but who knew with this guy. After waking up in Edward's arms, I knew I couldn't interview for the position in his house. "I cannot wait to give him shit for all of this. My control-freak of a brother lost control. He has sex at his sister's wedding and it's the woman he's going to hire as his nanny."
I sighed, "Please don't say anything about this to him. He doesn't know who I am and I would like to keep it that way. Besides, I am not applying for the job. I wouldn't be able to face him after this. Also, please do not tell Alice. I don't know how she'll react and I would rather be safe than sorry."
"Shit, Bella, he doesn't know who you are?" Rose asked with a disappointed look on her face.
"No. Can we drop this? We're almost to my house…"
The rest of the ride passed with nary a word from any of us. We pulled into the driveway and I fished for my keys, which weren't in my purse. I smacked myself in the head, coming to an obvious conclusion that eluded us all.
Already thoroughly embarrassed, I squeaked, "Uh, guys…my car is still at your parents' house. And my keys are there, as well."
"Just use the key from above the door. We'll bring your car to you later."
"That would be a fantastic idea, Rose, but I, umm, removed the key and placed it on my key ring. I didn't feel safe alone in the house with it out there."
"No problem, Bella," Emmett assured me. "I know where the valets left the keys. You weren't the only person who will need to claim a car today."
"Guys, I can't thank you two enough. You put up with me far more than you should."
"Nonsense. You do the same for either me or Emmett." Rose flashed her megawatt smile at me. It didn't reassure me, but her words had.
We spent the remainder of the ride in silence. When we pulled into the Cullen's garage, I stepped out and Rose warmly gripped me. Emmett ran around and lifted us both into a bear hug.
"Thank you for being my friends. I love you both," I said in my most appreciative tone.
We bid adieu after Emmett retrieved my keys. I shuffled to my truck and climbed in. Before I realized it, I was home, completely oblivious to my surroundings. I let myself in the front door and trudged up the stairs to the bathroom, shedding my clothes so I could take a shower before crawling into bed to sleep off my hangover.
A few hours into my nap, I awoke to the phone ringing and a lingering feeling that I had enjoyed a very erotic dream. I pulled my phone off my nightstand and saw Jake was calling. Shit. I forgot to let him know I made it home safely.
"Hey Jake!" I purred in my most docile tone, knowing he wouldn't be peeved with me if I used my velvety voice that always resulted in my getting my way.
"Bella, what happened to you? Rose shot me a text early this morning to let me know you were all right. But it should've been you." He paused long enough to let out a relieved-sounding sigh. "I'm just glad you're safe. Do you care to share where you were, missy?"
I stifled my giggles as I responded, "Missy? Since when did you become my caretaker? And no, you don't need to know what I was doing or who I was doing it with."
"Oooh, so there's a who?" His nosy timbre pissed me off.
"Jake, this conversation is over," I hissed.
"C'mon. Don't be like that. I didn't see you after the wedding and Leah and I wanted to spend time with you. Besides, there were two empty seats at our table. Both you and Edward Cullen failed to attend the reception."
I drew in a quick, loud breath and my heart ceased beating momentarily at the mention of Edward's name.
"Bella, are you alright?" Jake squawked, the worry evident in his voice.
"Umm, yeah. I uh, yeah," I stammered. "Thanks for checking in on me. I'm tired. I'm going to go. Call me soon? I'll need to have you two over for dinner this week, okay?"
"Take care, Bells. I'll give you a call. But I would rather just the two of us have dinner. I really wanted to talk to you about stuff."
There was that weirdness I had sensed the night I arrived back in town. Maybe he would tell me what was going on when we sat down to eat. "K. You and me. Dinner. Gotcha. See ya, Jake."
I hung up and reached for the bottle of Advil Rose left with me. I tossed a few into my mouth and chased them with the glass of stale water that had sat next to my bed for a few days. I pulled the covers back over my head, shielding my eyes from the sun that crept in and threatened to worsen my already-pounding noggin. Within a few moments, I was dreaming again of Edward Cullen and his mouth roaming my body.
The remainder of Sunday, once I decided to drag my ass out of bed, passed uneventfully.
On Monday, I resolved to contact Kate Garrett. Ms. Garrett ran a well-respected employment agency in Port Angeles, which also placed people in Forks.
"Thank you for calling KGE. How may I help you?" The woman on the line sounded too cheery and young, almost as if I expected the pop of a bubblegum bubble to follow.
"Yes, Kate Garrett please," I responded in a professional-sounding tone.
"May I tell her who's calling?"
"Bella Swan, Chief Swan's daughter." I knew name dropping was warranted if I sought Ms. Garrett's help, rather than one of her minions. Kate Garrett Employment recommended civilian employees to the Sherriff's Department of Forks over the years and as such she and my father had a long-standing relationship.
"One moment, please," the chipper girl replied.
For a few moments, I endured the muzak typical of hold music. I zoned out while the mindnumbing "melodies" drummed along. Images of Edward Cullen returned, just as they had when I slept. Unlike my previous fantasies in which he licked and tasted me, this time he was thrusting into me and my legs wrapped around his torso. His eyes thirsted for me and his hips rocked into mine. If only I could remember what happened on Saturday, I wouldn't have to suffer through these perfect illusions. The muzak ended, pulling me from this memory, which was too good so I knew it had to be false.
"Ms. Swan, how are you this morning? I was sorry to hear about your father and step mother. May I offer my condolences?"
"Now what can I do for you?" Kate Garrett's clipped, no-nonsense tone assured me that she would find me an adequate job.
"As you may have heard," I began pausing slightly, "I have moved back to the Pacific Northwest, but I did so without procuring employment. My father always had success with the people he hired from your agency, so I figured contacting you would be best."
"Tell me, Ms. Swan, what sort of experience do you have?"
"I graduated summa cum laude two years ago from the University of Washington with degrees in both biology and elementary education. During college, I served as a research assistant to Dr. Marcus Aro, studying the effects of growth hormones on the maturation cycle of flowering plants grown under Gro-Lights versus conventional fluorescent lights, which was funded in part by the Department of Agriculture. For the last two years, I've taught first grade at a suburban elementary school in Phoenix. I have teaching credentials in both Washington State and Arizona." I continued, declaring, "As you can ascertain, I have a varied background and I bring solid references."
"That's impressive Ms. Swan. Can you email your resume this morning so I can begin searching for appropriate placements for interviews?"
"Of course," I joyously responded, not expecting the exchange to be this easy.
"Ms. Swan, in order to find the most effective placements, I will need you to respond to a questionnaire, which seeks to detail your willingness to perform certain tasks and which areas of industry you would be amenable to working in. Where should I send it?"
"Thank you, Ms. Garrett. You can direct the correspondence to my email, which is firstname.lastname@example.org all one word."
"In order to guarantee that all of your documentation is kept together, please send your resume when you respond to the questionnaire. I will contact you by the end of the week with potential placements. I look forward to speaking with you further, Ms. Swan."
"Again, thank you Ms. Garrett. I will forward both to you once I complete the form."
Moments after hanging up, I heard the familiar beep of my phone, directing me to the awaiting email. I booted up my laptop and began the arduous task of ranking on a scale of one to five things such as, "Willing to stand for 5 hours at a time," and "Willing to lift 40 pound bags." The list, most of which didn't apply to me, went on and on. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles Paragraph Font size
Path: p Use tinyMCE Rating: Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both. © 2009 - 2010 The Writer's Coffee Shop. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin created by Kali by KaliChapter Nine: Alone
My bed was cold, my arms empty. Where had she gone? After throwing on a pair of pajama pants, I roamed the house, hoping beyond hope that she was curled up on the living room couch, or reading the spines in the library, or helping herself to the food in the fridge. I called her name a few times, but only deafening silence responded. Isabella was gone.
"I'm sorry. You deserve better," I said to no one in particular. The last 24 hours had been confusing and Isabella's absence perplexed me more. Had I imagined it all? How much did I drink?
I returned to my room and plopped on my bed, letting out a huge sigh. And there it was. Peeking out from under my crumpled slacks on the floor, sat Isabella's torn blue, lace thong. Jumping off my bed, I snatched them up. I felt like Prince Charming in the tale of Cinderella – however warped the situation was – holding on to the glass slipper. But unlike that tale, this had been real and I had the proof. I put them to my nose and inhaled deeply. An intoxicating scent filled my nostrils: a mixture of her juices and … was that mango? Huh, I hadn't noticed her sweet smell before. I wondered what else I missed during our encounter and what I might never experience again.
That was unacceptable. I couldn't just bow and roll over because she was anonymous to me. I resolved to hunt her down. A call to Alice was in order, even if she was on her honeymoon.
The front door creaked open, and a wave of sound filled the air. The girls were home so my quest for Isabella would have to wait, at least for the afternoon.
"Daddy! Where are you?" I groaned to myself as I became conscious of what a shitty father I'd been. Had I even given Lizzie and Renee a second thought? I loved them more than anything and would die for them, but too often their presence caused me to ache…constant reminders of their mother. I seemed to fail everyone I touched.
Bounding down the stairs, I fought to wear the happy mask I always displayed when I was
around my girls. "Where are my princesses?" Tia trailed behind them as they carted their backpacks into their room. Thankfully, their hulking bags no longer dwarfed them. There was one less thing for me to feel guilty about.
"Nana let us stay up late last night and watch a movie," Renee squealed with delight. "It was so good! But Lizzie fell asleep before it was over and she missed the ending. She was drooling."
"I was not," Lizzie yelled in response. I had to giggle. These sibling tiffs reminded me of me and Emmett when we were their age. My mind began to drift as the two squabbled. Hrmm… would Emmett know Isabella? He and Jasper attended med school together and I assumed she was a friend of Jasper…I'd have to give him a
call tonight, save Alice the annoyance of hearing from me.
I pulled myself out of my thoughts and tried to focus on the present, rather than continuing on this fantasy of the perfect woman. "How were they? Did they give you any problems?"
"Besides their evening surge of energy, the girls were perfect," Tia informed me.
"What do you mean, 'evening surge of energy'?"
"They're my granddaughters. I can't not spoil them."
Turning to Lizzie – who was normally the more compliant of the two – I inquired, "What did Nana let you two do?"
"She swore us to secrecy." A sly grin grew on Lizzie's mouth.
This was how Lizzie was going to play it? This meant war. I grabbed her, pulling her into me and she shrieked. "Sure you don't want to tell me?" I threatened.
"No. I'm not telling!" I began tickling her, knowing she'd fold in seconds. Its moments like these that made me glad Lizzie was ticklish. "NOOOOOOO!" Her laughter filled the air and she gasped to breathe.
Just then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. "Daddy, I'll tell." Oh, this was an interesting development. I looked up to Tia and the surprise on her face mirrored my own. Neither of us expected Renee to crack, but now we both focused on her. She was probably feeling a little left out since she often held our attention. "Nana let us make sundaes because we left the wedding before cake was served."
"Oh did she now? You're ruining my girls," I smirked at Tia. "When did you start the movie?"
"8:30 or 8:45. We watched 101 Dalmatians. It was Angela's favorite movie when she was a little girl. We made the sundaes just before I began the DVD."
I turned back to Renee, while Lizzie still clung to my arms as she tried to regain her breathing, "So how did you manage to stay awake during the whole movie?"
"Well," Renee began as she fidgeted with bashfulness, as if she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. "I covered my ice cream
with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. She stuck with boring vanilla."
I just shook my head. My girls were a trip sometimes.
"Did you stop by my parents' house so they could each get a slice of wedding cake?"
"Of course. These two have the memory of elephants! They wouldn't let me forget," Tia joked.
"It had whipped cream," Lizzie began.
Renee interrupted, "And rapsberry filling."
"Rapsberry?" I cocked my eye at my daughter, who could never pronounce 'raspberry.'
"Daddy…," she huffed. "It was yummy."
"Yeah," Lizzie agreed. "It was yummy."
"Well, I am so glad you're home. I missed you," I kissed each of my girls on their foreheads. "Now put your stuff away. Nana and I are going to talk for a little."
"Okay, Daddy," they chimed.
Tia and I walked down the hall to my home office and I shut the door behind us and motioned to the couch for her to sit. I moved to one of the chairs and angled it so I would face her.
"I've decided to take the advice of you and my mother. Tomorrow morning I'll give Kate
Garrett a call – she's the headhunter in Port Angeles I use – and see about finding a nanny. I'm not promising anything, but I'm willing to interview a few people." I paused before adding, "If I hire anyone, it will be on a trial basis. I understand what a sacrifice it's been for you both, watching the girls every day, and don't get me wrong, I do appreciate it more than you'll ever know, but welcoming someone new into the house and entrusting a stranger with my girls is going to be…" I trailed off, fighting to find the right word, "Difficult."
She extended her hand and reassuringly squeezed my knee. "Edward, give it a chance. Do you trust Ms. Garrett?" She waited for me to respond, so I nodded. "Be very specific of what you're looking for and when you're interviewing the women, pay close attention to their questions."
"I have interviewed just a few people before," I sighed.
"Yes, Edward," Tia said dismissively. "This is different. These women should be asking specific questions about the girls. Not the basics, 'When do they wake up?' or 'When do they go to sleep?' But the questions that show interest in them, 'What are their favorite books?' or 'What allergies do they have?' Do you see the difference?"
"Trust your gut. It's never steered you wrong. I need to get going. I'll be here Tuesday morning."
We both rose and I gave Tia a warm peck on her cheek. "Oh, Tia, do you think you can pick up the girls early on Friday? Maybe around 11AM? I want to try to interview people that afternoon." My saintly mother-in-law nodded and smiled.
I followed Tia down to the first floor, but I found myself pulled by the unseen force of my piano. A tune was bouncing around in my head and I needed to get it out and on paper. I dropped to the bench and began sounding out the somber melody.
Lizzie crept up behind me and pulled herself up. She leaned against me and I continued to play until it was time to begin dinner.
After a draining Sunday evening with my daughters where my mind kept wandering to thoughts of Isabella and our mind-blowing time together, I readied them for bed. Most nights – if I didn't get home too late – I would curl up with one of the girls and have her read beginner books to me. Honestly, I was chomping at the bit until I could call Emmett, but they insisted.
"But it's my night," Renee whined. "I haven't gotten to read with you for months! Daddddddddy!"
I had to chuckle and acquiesce at her persistence. "You read to me Wednesday night. That's not months." I let out a dramatic, albeit false sigh. "Okay. Pick out a book and I'll meet you two in a couple of minutes."
The two of them clambered up the stairs as they animatedly discussed which book Renee should choose. Let's get this over with, I thought to myself as I wondered which of three preferred books she would pick. Would she ever outgrow her desire to read the same stories night in and night out?
"You've reached the voicemail of Dr. Emmett Cullen. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 9-1-1. Otherwise, please leave a message and I will return your call within 24 hours."
Fuck. I wanted to talk to Emmett, not record some lame voicemail.
"Em, I need your help with something. It's 9 PM right now. If you get this before 10, call me back. Otherwise, catch up with me tomorrow."
I hung up, but the idea of waiting until tomorrow to find out more about Isabella was gut wrenching. How much of an asshole would I be if I called Alice? I wondered. Screw it. I'm calling her.
"Hey, it's Alice and I'm on my honeymoon. I'll consider returning your call if Jazz and I ever leave our bedroom."
Ugh. Did she really have to tell the world they were repeatedly having sex?
"Alice. This is your brother, Edward. I need you to call me back soon."
I wasn't satisfied with leaving a message for her, as well. I picked up the phone and called her back. I didn't expect her to answer this time, either, but I had to make the effort.
"Hey, it's Alice and I'm on my honeymoon. I'll consider returning your call if Jazz and I ever leave our bedroom."
"Alice. It's your brother, Edward. Again. This is an emergency. Call me back. Any hour." I stopped, momentarily contemplating my next
statement. "And change your goddamned message. It's fucking obnoxious."
I know she'd just mock me once she heard the message, but I didn't care.
I collapsed on top of my bed and stared at the ceiling as the memories of last night flooded my mind. I yearned to touch her again, to view that simple blush of her skin when she first saw me… It was getting late and neither my oftengregarious twin, nor my feisty cousin returned my call. I knew this would be a long, restless night.
Driving to work on Monday morning, I decided to bite the bullet and call Kate Garrett. I wasn't sure how I felt about having a nanny, but if anyone would find me a reliable employee, it would be this woman. I scrolled through my phone numbers and came across her personal cell. Looking at the time, I wondered if it would be too early to call. Well, I am the biggest employer in the Olympic Peninsula, I reasoned.
"This is Kate Garrett."
"Kate, it's Edward Cullen."
"Mr. Cullen. It's a pleasure to hear from you. How are things working out with Mr. Cheney?" she inquired with a slightly distressed tone. I intimidated the woman because of my high level of diligence and involvement with each employee search she oversaw.
"I need to hire a new employee and this one is going to require particular focus by you, specifically."
"How do you mean?"
"Well, Kate, this employee isn't someone I'm hiring for Masen Mining. Umm," I stammered, "I've decided to hire a nanny to help me care for my daughters."
"I wasn't aware you had children."
With comments like that, Kate was likely to lose me as her biggest client. Even though she was based in Port Angeles and was removed from the gossip of small town Forks, she should've known.
I sighed, "Yes. They're four-and-a-half-year-old twins. Do you think you'll be able to help me or not?" My level of agitation due to a lack of a
restful sleep, which wasn't exactly abnormal, wasn't helping this conversation.
"Of course, yes, uhh, yes," she stammered. "Have you figured out any specifics of what you're looking for?"
"Kate, I'll email you my job requirements later this morning. I expect to hear from you later in the day with a list of qualified interviewees. The interviews will take place on Friday."
"But Mr. Cullen, that isn't a lot of time. I'm not sure I can come up with a list that soon and schedule them for Friday."
"Will a bonus of $10,000 suffice if I hire one? Get me the list and schedule the interviews." I didn't want to shell it out, but money does result in action. And this incentive far exceeded all previous bonuses I had offered.
"That's so generous, Mr. Cullen," Kate gushed, laying on the gratefulness.
"Great," I said in an acerbic tone. "I'll email you my requirements. Fax me a list of resumes by 4:30 PM."
I didn't wait for her response before I dropped her call. If my level of patience with Kate – or rather lack thereof – was any indicator, then this was going to be a long day.
A few minutes later, I pulled my Volvo onto the Masen Mining property, which was nestled in between Olympic National Park and Port Angeles, along Highway 101.
I hurried into the building and ran up the stairs. When I entered, Maggie, my assistant, met me as she did everyday because the receptionist notified her of my arrival. I always insisted on knowing the status of everything that had happened during my absence. Some would call me slave driver. I considered myself exacting and thorough.
A frown was fixed on her face. "Sir, the investors are already here." The middle-aged woman, who had worked for my grandfather, skittered behind me. This development didn't please me.
"Fine. Move them into the conference room and take their refreshment orders. I need them pleased."
"Of course, sir," she confidently answered as she abruptly shuffled off.
I entered the anteroom of my office and glanced at the family pictures adorning Maggie's desk. Sighing, I said to myself, "I'm supposed to have that." The portraits of Maggie and her husband, their children and grandchildren reminded me of what I should've had with Angela. Could I find Isabella and have that with her? And then the guilt of thinking of them in the same thought hit me. God, I'm such a fucking prick with everything, I thought as I slammed my office door shut. I sunk into my seat, my shoulders hunched, and I clutched my head as this war waged inside my mind.
I needed to get into the right mind frame for the meeting with the potential investors, but first I composed the email to Kate with all I would require of a nanny, the primary of which were a college degree and experience with younger children. My fingers ghosted over the keys rapidly. Once it was sent, I grabbed the prospectus and strode to the meeting.
The Vice President of Development, Ben Cheney, stood at the head of the conference table and had already started introducing the executives who were present to meet with the Eleazer Investment Group.
"Oh, and gentlemen, this is our CEO, Edward Cullen."
I grimaced and took my place at the other end of the table.
Ben continued, but my mind wandered as it was focused on other things, specifically Angela and Isabella. Occasionally, my ears perked at certain words and phrases as he spoke.
"Started in 1875 and family-owned through the generations…"
"We're the DeBeers of precious stones…" I hated that characterization. Ben and I would have to have a discussion about that later.
"We supply 75% of the world's sapphires; we have a 51% share supplying emeralds, and 28% of the rubies…"
"We've more than doubled our hold on the market over the last 15 years…"
"Our privately-held mines can be found on three continents and we have multi-year, renewable deals as the exclusive source for distribution…"
"Want to increase shares of emeralds to 60% and rubies to 40% within the next two years…"
I removed my phone from my pocket when the vibration jerked me from my trance of boredom and daydreaming. Kate had already responded?
Dear Mr. Cullen,
I have three candidates for you to meet. I will fax their resumes to you for review. If they're satisfactory, please notify me at your convenience so I can schedule the interviews.
Principle, Kate Garrett Employment
I shot Maggie a text. Please bring me the faxes from Ms. Garrett.
A few minutes later, Maggie peeked in. I motioned for her to bring the pages she clutched. She crouched next to me and handed them to me.
"Thank you," I whispered.
"My pleasure, sir."
Reviewing the sheets, I found that one woman worked as a nanny for twenty five years, but hadn't completed college; the other two were recent graduates of Washington State University who had worked in preschools in the Pullman, WA area.
I supposed they would work … at least to interview. I replied to Kate.
These three will suffice. Schedule them.
CEO, Masen Mining, Inc.
As soon as I pressed "SEND," Ben's presentation ceased and the investors were
shaking the hands of him and other employees in the room.
"Thank you for coming out to visit us," I said. "I'm going to excuse myself. Mr. Cheney will take you on a tour of the grounds. I hope to hear from you soon."
I swiftly exited and returned to my office to focus on work. My phone vibrated again. Alice was calling.
"What is so important that makes you think it's okay to call me on my honeymoon?" she snapped at me.
"There was a guest at your wedding…"
She interrupted me, "Oh my God. Edward Masen Cullen, really?" she screeched. "Why can't this wait until I return?"
I wasn't prepared to tell her about this, especially as I thought back to her prognostication that my life would change at her wedding. Shit, I just needed to spill and get this over with.
"I met someone there."
"Edward, that's wonderful," her tone suddenly warm and animated. "Tell me everything," she shrieked, forcing me to wrench the phone from my ear.
"Umm, I'm not ready to really talk about it, okay?"
"Why not?" again, Alice's voice changed and I could hear that the anger had returned.
"Look, I just need to know who she is and how to contact her. If I describe her, will you know who she is?"
Even though Alice had been the focus at her own wedding, and any other bride would've been overwhelmed on the day, not her. I expected she would have memorized what everyone wore and contemplated how each outfit could've been fixed.
She whispered away from the phone, I assume to Jasper, "You're not going to believe it – Edward met his lobster!"
"Ali, just answer his question and get off the phone. We can talk about this when we return," I heard Jasper respond in the background.
"My what?" I asked her.
"Your lobster. You don't watch enough TV. It's Friends," she relayed dismissively.
"Sure, Alice. You're odd. Anyone ever tell you that? Anyway, she wore a sapphire blue dress and matching shoes. Her hair is chocolate brown, she has expressive, rich brown eyes, and she has a delicate blush coat her cheeks."
Hopefully Alice wouldn't pull an Emmett and give me shit for my description of her rosy blush. I can practically hear him calling me a "pansy" or something.
Knowing Alice, she would've identified the woman just by the dress, but I couldn't contain myself as I finally had the chance to discuss her, even if it was nothing more than what she wore and how she looked.
She squealed, "Oh, Edward! I am sooooo proud of you. I'm sorry, but I never heard you describe Angela this way."
A whoosh of air left my lungs. Why did she have to bring up Angela? This was hard enough as it was. Did she think that just because I was ready to meet someone new that I wouldn't still love my wife, or that I would be alright with negative words?
"Never mind." I hung up, regretting it moments later.
I needed to control my anger, especially where Angela was concerned. Not only did I still not know who my mystery beauty was, but also I didn't have a way to find her. Alice may have been my only link to her. I resolved that I would speak to Jasper once they returned from their honeymoon. If he didn't know her, he could speak to Alice so I could avoid this "lobster" talk and her over-exuberant response.
I couldn't focus for the rest of the day – or week for that matter. Emmett never called me back, which wasn't like him. Over the next few days, I tried calling him a couple of times, but like before, he neither answered nor rang me.
Friday rolled around and when I left at 11 AM in order to get home before the interviews, I reminded Maggie where she could reach me.
"I'll be in the car for the next hour and then in my home office. Should you need to get a hold of me, call, text, or email me."
"Of course, Mr. Cullen."
One of these days, I hoped that I would relax and trust Maggie. She could probably do my job without me, considering how long she had been with the company and how much information she had been privy to over the years. I resolved that if I hired a nanny, I would try to calm down and have confidence that she didn't require constant supervision.
"Maggie, have a nice weekend."
"Thank you, sir."
During the drive home, the phone rang. The caller-ID indicated it was Kate Garrett, which worried me. Why would she call minutes before the first interviewee was set to arrive?
"Kate, is there a problem?" I asked grimly.
"No, Mr. Cullen. I'm sorry for the late notice, but I have one more candidate for you."
"I don't have time for this."
"Again, I'm sorry," she emphasized. "But she's a new client of KGE and I think you'll agree that she's perfect for you."
"Fine." Chapter End Notes: I apologize for the spacing being off. Unfortunately, when you're lazy (as I am) and just cut&paste from a converted file, you get wacky spacing issues. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review:
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Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin created byChapter Ten: Interviews (Part One)
After spending what seemed like a month – but turned out to be just a few hours – slaving over the list from Ms. Garrett, I attached it and my resume in a reply to her email. Contact with KGE didn't guarantee me a job, but I felt relief that something would go my way following the tumultuous week since my return. I wanted to better my chances of securing a satisfying job, so I resolved to contact Phil Dwyer, my principal in Phoenix, by email to ask for a recommendation. Although I left Phil in the lurch when I resigned so close to the
commencement of the school year, good teaching positions in Phoenix were easy to fill and we'd always had an excellent working relationship and spent personal time together because of my relationship with his son.
I hope this note finds you well.
How is the upcoming school year looking? Were you able to fill my position easily? How is James?
Things for me haven't been as positive as I hoped upon my return to Washington state. I am not sure if you heard, but there was an accident that took the lives of my father and his wife. It happened the night before I left Phoenix. I've tried not to dwell on my loss, but honestly, I awake each morning feeling like I've been hit by a ton of bricks.
I appreciate how kind you've been to me over the last couple of years and I was hoping that you would be willing to continue the charity. I've contacted an employment agency to help me find a job because I've relocated to Forks – rather than Seattle – so I can be closer to my friends, who are a great support system for me. Needless to say, any little thing that can help me stand out from other applicants during my job search would be beneficial. Which is why I am writing – would you be willing to compose a recommendation for my file?
About fifteen minutes after pressing send, I heard the ding that notified me of a new email. Damn, Phil had replied already!
I am sorry to hear of your loss. Everything here is fine. I would be happy to write you a rec. Please send me the information of where I should send it. Also, include your address in Forks so I can provide you a copy.
My thoughts are with you,
A wave of relief washed over me. Phil wasn't peeved with me for my sudden exit from Phoenix and he seemed genuinely supportive in his short reply. I shot him a quick response with
KGE's information, including the fax number, as well as my own address.
I moved my laptop to the coffee table and curled up on the couch to take a nap. My eyes quickly drooped and I found myself in a deep sleep, dreaming of Edward Cullen. What seemed like moments later, my phone's ring dragged me from my mind's carnal reverie, just before my orgasm hit. Oh, whoever was calling me was going to pay. Glancing down at the caller-ID, I saw Jacob was interrupting my potential release.
"What do you want cockblocker?" I growled.
"Um, Bells, what're you complaining about?"
"I was napping and let's just say I would've preferred if you called a few minutes later."
"TMI, TMI," he cackled. "So anyway, I was calling to invite you to dinner on Thursday night."
"Would this be the mysterious dinner between just us?" Yeah, Jake had managed to rouse some major curiosity.
"Mysterious? Why mysterious?"
"Dude, you've been acting weirdly since I arrived. At first, I thought it had to do with my dad and Sue, but I noticed it again at Alice's wedding. And then you said you wanted to have dinner with just me. For a newlywed, that's some serious mystery."
He chuckled. "Fair enough. So whaddya think?"
"Let me check my social calendar. Oh, wait, I don't have an active social life." The sarcasm dripped from my words.
"I'll take that as a yes. Why don't you meet me at that sushi place in Port Angeles? Say 6:00 PM?
"Sounds like a plan."
"I take the Masen shuttle to work every day, so would you mind driving me home after dinner? It will give us more time to hang…" I remembered that Billy had convinced the executives at Masen Mining to start a shuttle service between La Push and Port Angeles, which had helped Masen fill positions with loyal employees. The initial expenditure was quickly covered when Masen was able to expand its operations thanks to the increase in productivity due to a larger potential employee pool. Billy was properly rewarded for the idea and its
implementation when the company promoted him to VP of Employee Operations.
"You've got a deal, Jake. But just so you know, you're paying for dinner."
"Ah, c'mon. How about we rochambeau?"
My best friend was such a cheapskate. I sighed, "Fine. But we're going best two out of three and, just so you know, I'm picking paper every time."
"Nice try there. You aren't going to trick me and force me to pick scissors."
"You're going to lose, you know it, right?" I challenged. "I'll see you Thursday, mon frere."
"See ya, girlie!"
When I hung up, a smile lingered on my face. Jake always managed to make me feel good and I realized how much I missed seeing him when I was in Seattle for college, followed by my random decision to relocate to Phoenix.
The next few days passed uneventfully. I hadn't heard anything from Ms. Garrett's office and I was worried. I resolved to call her in the morning because it was already past 5:00 PM on Thursday and I would be late for dinner with Jake if I didn't hop in the truck and speed away.
Along the drive, I spaced out. Luckily, the skies were clear and I didn't face traffic that could impede my progress along the 101 highway. I exited at Tumwater Truck Road and followed it north to Marine Drive, turning left onto the street the overlooked the Port Angeles Harbor. I'd always loved this restaurant for its view. As I neared, I kept my eyes focused on finding a parking spot. Much to my surprise, Jake stood in
one just in front. I shook my head as images came to mind of my bulky friend threatening drivers within an inch of their lives if they tried to take the space.
I rolled down my window and shouted to him, "What are you doing? Trying to get yourself killed?"
He smiled broadly and moved to allow my access to the spot. He opened my door and pulled me into a tight bear hug.
"How long have you been standing here?"
"Maybe 30 seconds. I arrived a few minutes ago, but someone pulled out and I took advantage of the situation. Only one car tried to run me over," Jake beamed.
"Oh, that's something to be proud about," I mocked. "Booth or bar?"
"Booth, without a doubt."
I snaked my arm through his as he led me through the front door. We settled into our seats and began the always impossible task of picking out what sushi and rolls we planned to devour. I
purposely ate little during the day in preparation for this feast. We ordered our drinks – Jake got his customary large Asahi and I decided on a coke – and I began staring at him impatiently.
"I have no clue what you're talking about, Bells."
"Whatever funny boy. What's going on that necessitated dinner without your wife, who also happens to be my stepsister?"
Our waitress reappeared with our drinks and was waiting to take our food order, giving Jake a momentary reprieve from my inquisition.
My normally garrulous best friend had turned taciturn, which pissed me off and he knew it. But he remained silent.
"Why are you being so infuriating?" I inquired. "You invited me to dinner, not the other way around. So would you care to share why we're sitting here?"
Jake began fidgeting where he sat. What could have him this on edge?
"So here's the deal. Leah informed me she's going off the pill because she wants to start trying to have children."
"What?" I practically yelled. "She's a child and you two haven't been married for three months, yet."
I watched my best friend cower in his seat in response to my reaction. "I know. She hatched this plan about an hour after we received the call from Tyler about Sue and Charlie. Leah said," and he motioned with air quotes, "'It was destiny.' I figured it was just shock talking, but the next morning she threw her birth control
pills out and started demanding we have sex. All. The. Time. I don't know what to do. Sure, I'm more than happy to have sex two to three times a day…"
"Jake," I cringed. "That's a little bit on the TMI side. Can you lay off the details a little?"
"Not really. I need advice and you're gonna need all the info in order to give me the best advice possible."
A shiver passed through me. "Ugh, fine. Proceed."
Although Jacob smiled at my words and actions, I could see he forced the grin. This situation really had him freaked out.
"So yeah, I'm a guy and having sex this often is awesome, but I've had to get creative to avoid ejaculating inside of her."
"Did you just use the word 'ejaculating'?" Gross. I think this line of discussion topped my list of 'Conversations I Never Planned on Having with My Best Friend.'
He ignored me and continued, "I've been doing everything in my power to abstain from e-jac-ulat-ing," he drew out the word intentionally, just to fuck with me and my squeamishness. "I make sure she gets hers and I pretend to cum, but after I pull out I go into the bathroom and finish myself off. She's not stupid, but we used condoms until a couple of months ago, so I'm hoping she doesn't realize that my cum dripping out of her is the norm, not the exception."
"Gah. Are you trying to kill me, I mean, did you have to go into such detail?" I shook my head at the image that would forever be burned into my retinas as if I had seen it happen. "Anyway, I've got a couple of questions I need you to answer, okay?" He nodded so I continued, "When did you two start dating?"
"Right after I graduated from college – when she was 16."
"Why did you two decide to elope?" Jake knew I was still irked and hurt about their wedding. The day after Leah graduated from high school, they flew from Seattle to Las Vegas and married in the infamous Little White Chapel, without any friends or family. In fact, they left notes for Billy and Sue, surprising them and everyone – myself included – who had no idea they'd been dating.
"I married her because I love her. We eloped because it seemed like the right thing to do. I don't know…" his voice trailed off at the end.
"Hrmm…did you guys talk at all during those two years about your hopes and dreams before you ran off and married? I just keep hearing you mention all of these impulsive things."
Jake's head fell into his hands. I hit the source of the problem. "No. I just figured we'd wait a few years, enjoy our time together. We still haven't discussed how many children we want. And Bells, we're not impulsive. Okay, maybe eloping was, and this plan of Leah's is impetuous, but we're not this irresponsible."
"Seriously? What are you thinking? God, Jake. I didn't know you were this stupid or immature."
"Fuck," he cringed at my accusation. "Did you have to be so mean?"
"I'm not being mean, I'm being honest. Just listen to yourself. You need to fix this before you find yourself miserable and you're asking for help finding a divorce attorney. She's trying to use the excuse of losing Sue to force you into having a child neither of you are ready for."
"Why do you have to be right?" Jacob looked defeated.
"This isn't about me being right or wrong. This is about your happiness. Marriage is about
compromise and communication – two things you appear to lack."
"I guess. You've given me a lot to think about. Let's just talk about something else for a bit. How's the job search going?"
I frowned. "Ugh. I contacted Kate Garrett with Kate Garrett Employment, but I haven't heard anything. Our conversation was short, but I had the sense that I impressed her and she would acknowledge receipt of my resume, at the very least."
"You haven't heard anything from her? That's really odd. I know Masen uses her – that's how I
got my job, well, there was also that connection I had thanks to Billy," he chuckled.
"Great, so you're saying I will only hear from her in cases of nepotism?"
We both laughed and continued our easy banter as we gorged on the sushi.
And then the bill came. "Ready?"
A sly grin snuck across his face. "On three?"
We chanted in unison, "One. Two. Three." And then made our selections; we both showed 'rock.' Repeating, I switched to paper, knowing he wouldn't switch. Ha! Jake is rather predictable. This process was repeated two more times until I managed to win 2-1.
"Victory is mine!"
Laughing, Jake said, "Okay, okay. We had a deal. This one's on me."
The drive back through Olympic National Park on the 101 and across the 110 to La Push was fairly quiet until a few minutes before we crossed onto the Rez.
"Hey Bells, thanks for listening to me."
"You're my best friend. Did you think I wouldn't?"
"I know, it's just with everything going on for you, I didn't want to burden you with yet another problem, especially one this, umm, unique."
"Whatever," I said in a dismissive way. "Look, when you get home, you need to talk to Leah. You are two of the few family members I have so you better not fuck this up, got it?" I frowned at my friend, but trudged on. "Please, make her see that the stress of a newborn is too much when you two are so young. And for the love of God, pound it into her brain that it's just the shock of her mother's and my father's deaths that has led her to believe she wants a child now."
"Yes, ma'am! I'm just going to have to make it clear what I want, ask what she wants and then try to find a compromise if what we want doesn't equate, right?"
"Yep. But be sensitive to her. Remember, she's grieving and wanting a baby is her way that she
thinks she'll get through this." I reached over and mussed his hair while a broad grin stretched across my face.
We pulled up in front of his house and he opened the door. "Thanks, Bella. Let me know what you hear from KGE." He let out a big sigh and hugged me. "Wish me luck."
"Good luck and I'll let you know my news!" He slammed the door shut and I idled until I saw him enter the house.
I returned to Forks and pulled into my dad's driveway. Shit, this isn't my dad's driveway anymore, I sadly contemplated. I pulled my
phone from my purse and looked at my missed calls and noticed the voicemail messages that awaited. Rose had called. Huh, I had one from KGE, which I needed to listen to immediately.
"Bella, I'm sorry that I've taken this long to get back to you. For whatever reason, your email ended up in my spam folder and I only just discovered it. I have a position for which I would like you to interview, but the interviews are being held tomorrow, Friday, afternoon. If you get this message this evening, please call me on my cell at 209-555-5283."
Shiiiiiiit. I looked at the time and saw I had a few minutes before 9:00 PM. I ran into the house and plopped down on the couch, needing to catch my breath before I called. I didn't desire Ms. Garrett to think some perverted, heavy
breather was calling. I chuckled to myself at my joke.
A moment later, I dialed my phone.
"This is Kate Garrett."
"Ms. Garrett, this is Bella Swan returning your phone call."
"Bella, thank you for your quick call. First, let me offer my apologies."
"Don't worry about it. I understand these things happen," I assured her.
"Well, let me tell you about the job. I realize you've been a teacher for a couple of years and that you'll probably have other options during this search. One of the wealthiest families in the Olympic Peninsula is looking for someone to not only care for their children, but also educate them. Compensation would be negotiable upon experience, but it would include room and board. Again, I'm sure you were hoping for something different, but we don't have these opportunities come around often. Would you be able to meet with the father tomorrow afternoon?"
I thought about what she said. Having grown up in this region, I recognized that her words were true – there weren't a lot of different opportunities in the region and this could be a good occasion to hone my teaching skills until a position opened at one of the three local elementary schools.
"I would be delighted to interview with him tomorrow," I responded.
"Great. You'll need to be there at 4:00 PM."
"Oh," she let out an embarrassed laugh. "Of course, do you know the Cullen residence just outside of town on Highway 110? You'll be interviewing with Edward Cullen. I'll notify him tomorrow to expect you. Please bring your resume with you in case I am not able to get it to him beforehand."
Crap. I had already decided the morning after our dalliance that I couldn't face him again, especially in any employment capacity. This would look bad if I suddenly changed my mind. Suck it up, Swan. You can do this. It's just one hour of your life. Why did my subconscious have to be right?
"Thank you, Ms. Garrett. I know the location and I'll be there at 4:00 PM with my resume in hand."
"Good luck, dear."
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.
I scrolled through my "Favorites" until I came upon Rose's name. I took a deep breath before I made the call.
"What's up, whore?"
"How much longer are you going to call me that?" I sighed.
"Um, for the rest of your life," she snickered. "So what's going on? Did you ever find out about the whole Jake mystery?"
"Yeah, but that's not why I'm calling. I just heard from Kate Garrett. She has an interview for me."
"That's great!" I could hear the genuine excitement in her voice. "You don't sound
particularly enthused, though. Who's it with and what's it for?"
I didn't respond.
"Bella, honey, speak to me."
"It's as Edward's nanny…"
I could hear Rose's stifled chortle. "You were bound to run into him sometime. You live in a small town."
"Yeah, at the grocery store, not at a job interview," I countered.
"I want to be supportive of your uncertainty, but I think you need to suck it up."
"Dude, are you listening to my thoughts?"
"What are you talking about?"
"My subconscious also told me to 'suck it up.'"
"Hearing voices are we? Just tell Edward that. You won't have to worry about that interview lasting long."
"Ha. Ha. Ha," I deadpanned. "I can see you're being so supportive. I'm going to go. I'll call you after the interview."
"Good luck. Really. If you need any words of encouragement beforehand, call me or Emmett. I'll smack him around a bit tonight to make sure he doesn't make any shacking-up-with-thenanny jokes. Sleep tight, okay?"
"Thanks, Rose. Say hi to that big galoot for me!"
"Of course. Good night."
I shuffled around the house aimlessly until sleep called.
When I awoke in the morning, I began my routine of prepping for an interview. I threw open the closet and began throwing shoes out until I found the pair I wanted, which were, naturally, buried in the back under some bags. My best suit – which I wore to the funeral – came back from the cleaners a few days earlier so I removed the cellophane in which it was encased and selected a blue blouse to match the delicate pin strip of the black suit.
I showered, shaved, and tried to make my hair seem elegant. Why did I even bother? About 3:15 PM, I tripped my way to my truck – why did I decide to wear heals? Would I ever learn? I was about as coordinated as an six-month-old baby trying to crawl. In other words, I wasn't.
Once my truck came to a stop in front of his house, I took a big breath, exhaling slowly in order to calm myself. Esme, who must've heard the crunch of the gravel, walked out to the porch and appeared surprised, albeit glad, that I was his 4:00 PM interview. Hadn't Ms. Garrett told him who would be coming?
"Kate, is there a problem?" I asked grimly.
"No, Mr. Cullen. I'm sorry for the late notice, but I have one more candidate for you."
"I don't have time for this."
"Again, I'm sorry," she emphasized. "But she's a new client of KGE and I think you'll agree that she's perfect for you."
I ended the call and felt the frown that now sat upon my face. I liked to prepare before an interview and this development could wrinkle my veneer.
I noticed two cars parked in my driveway, my mother's – she would be greeting the candidates – and an unknown one. After parking my own, I stepped into the house and called for Esme.
My young-looking mother kissed me on the cheek and looked at me with a joyous glint in her emerald-green eyes. "Good afternoon, my love! Was your drive pleasant?" She didn't wait for a response, not even a word before she continued in a whisper, "The first interviewee is here. Her name is Siobhan Ireland and get this – she's actually Irish. I think she's pleasant and I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy meeting her. We spoke
about our matching shades of copper hair." My mother giggled because we both knew her hair was aided by a professional stylist.
Being around Esme always helped me shed a little of the cool exterior I utilized for work, which emerged when I took over Masen Mining as a 23-year-old recent college graduate, the chip deep on my shoulder. That persona didn't defrost at all as I got older, especially following Angela's death.
"Mother, you look lovely today," I complimented her. "Thanks for letting me know. I'll meet her – Ms. Ireland is first? – in my office. Would you lead her up there in about five minutes?"
"Of course," her tender eyes dancing as she spoke. My mother was far too supportive of this nanny-hiring business. I guess she looked forward to her reduced caretaking duties with more jubilation than I expected.
Settling into my chair, I removed Siobhan's resume out of the folder sitting atop my desk. Oh yes, she was the one without a college degree, I thought to myself. On my mental demerit list, she had one mark against her. But to her credit, she worked as a nanny for over 25 years and the experience would come in handy.
I heard the tap, tap, tap on the door and Esme poked her head in.
"Yes." I motioned for her to bring Siobhan in.
My mother beamed with pride whenever she introduced me and it still managed to embarrass me like a 10-year-old meeting his parents' friends for the first time. "Edward, this is Siobhan Ireland. Ms. Ireland, this is Edward Cullen."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Ireland. Please sit." I extended my hand and shook her warm, large, paw-like hand.
"The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for meeting me. And please, call me Siobhan," she grinned, exposing a mouth of characteristically crooked teeth. The rotund, middle-aged woman had her wiry red hair knotted into a bun on her head. Laugh lines marked her genial, amiable face. Her body and clothing reminded me of Mrs. Doubtfire and I fought to stifle a chortle at the thought.
"Tell me about yourself and your experience."
"I was born in Cork, Ireland and I'm the oldest of ten. I helped my mother raise them so it would be safe for you to assume that I have spent all of my life raising children," she giggled with her infectious laugh. "I married my late husband, Liam, when I was eighteen and we moved to the United States when I was pregnant with our son, Jared. Now Jared is married and his wife, Kim, is pregnant with their own child."
"Oh, deary me. I've been carrying on talking about my family."
"No, I am glad to hear about them. It's important to me that the person I hire embraces family. How did you get into the nanny business?"
"Well, Liam died of cancer just after Jared was born and I didn't have much experience with anything else. I was lucky to find a family that didn't mind that I had my own child. Once Jared and my charges were all in elementary school, I earned my Associate's Degree. I wanted to complete my Bachelor's, but the combination of the cost and time associated with it was more than I could give.
"So I stayed with that family, the Youngs, for fifteen years. After all of the Young children graduated from high school, I took on a new challenge – the Collins' family. I adored them!"
"But I see you've lived in the Chicago area. What brings you to Washington?"
Siobhan glowed. "Jared and Kim relocated to the Seattle area and I couldn't imagine being thousands of miles from my grandchild."
"That's wonderful. But would you be able to commit the time I will require?"
"Of course, Mr. Cullen. As long as I am able to see my grandchild twice a month, then I'll be deliriously happy!"
"Not a problem."
Siobhan and I continued to speak for another fifty minutes. She asked insightful questions about the girls, Forks and the activities it offered, and about how I envisioned the arrangement to work. My mother-in-law was right: their questions were more valuable than their responses to my own. Although I had three more women to meet, I was confident Siobhan would be my choice.
Seconds after my mother escorted her out, Esme was back with another tap, tap, tap on the door.
"Your next appointment has arrived – Jessica Stanley. Would you like a moment?"
"Nope, bring her in." She nodded and ambled out.
Esme didn't knock upon her return and leapt right into the introductions.
"Dear, this is Jessica Stanley. Ms. Stanley, this is my son, Edward Cullen." I inwardly groaned as she referred to me as her son.
When I reached to shake Ms. Stanley's hand, she grabbed it with both of her own and lightly rubbed as she smiled in what I assumed to be a seductive grin. Shit, was this how it would be? I wasn't about to hire someone who flirted with me and would try to sleep with me at the first opportunity.
After this initial exchange, as expected, the interview proceeded with gads of sexual innuendo on Ms. Stanley's part.
"Mr. Cullen, your fingers are so long…" she growled. "I can only imagine all you're able to accomplish with them."
"Umm, thank you?" I loosened my collar, uncomfortable with the comment.
"Your eyes are so green. I bet they can delve deep into my soul. And your voice…mmm… there aren't words to properly describe it."
She fluttered her eyelashes at me and licked her lips more often than a horny cricket rubs its legs together. Could she be any more obvious? This interview was bordering on the obscene. When I managed to sneak in a question related to the position, Ms. Stanley supplied stock answers and failed to ask my girls' names or ages, which I intentionally omitted. Her only question was accompanied by a coquettish giggle: how close our bedrooms would be. Seriously, she had to be fucking kidding, right?
Once I managed to get rid of her, I heard squeals from the foyer. I cracked the door open, because I was mildly curious what mayhem my mother endured below.
"Oh. My. Gawd! What are you doing here, Jessie?"
"Mallory! I haven't seen you in months! Your hair looks great. The bangs work for you!"
"I know, right? So what's he like?"
"You aren't going to believe it, but Mr. Cullen is soooo hawt! He's a little stiff, but that's not a problem…I know where he can use that stiffness!" Ms. Stanley howled to her friend.
I shook my head and returned my office door to its closed position. This giggly exchange was annoying, as well as very inappropriate. Frankly, I wanted to hear as little of it as possible.
Tap, tap, tap. Esme opened the door as the cackles of delight managed to seep through my attempt to concentrate.
"Mom, is it as bad as it sounds?"
"Worse," she shook her head while she attempted to conceal a smirk.
"This is not funny. There are two harpies downstairs, gossiping about my looks and what they would do with me." I felt certain I was exaggerating, or at least I trusted I was. "Bring on the next victim."
Victim number three – as I decided to think of them now – was a Lauren Mallory. She spent most of her interview blowing smoke up my ass,
much like Ms. Stanley. To make matters worse, I recognized the dollar signs in her eyes.
"How often do you bring samples home?" She asked.
"You're the CEO of Masen Mining. I did my homework. So how often do you bring jewelry samples home?"
"Ms., um," I quickly looked down at her resume, as I didn't bother remembering her name from the initial introductions, "Mallory, I don't think you understand why you're here. Masen isn't hiring you, I am. I don't bring home 'samples.' I don't expect you to drive to the headquarters. This job is about my daughters and my daughters only," I warned her, as I ground my teeth to stifle the roar that fought to escape my mouth.
"I know. I was just curious." She didn't think there was anything wrong with that line of questioning. Sadly, she continued along this dangerous path. "What's the square footage of this house? It looks about 15,000 square feet. And how many acres are the grounds?"
I stood. This interview was over. "Thank you for coming in. Ms. Garrett will notify you of my decision." I opened my office door, barely letting her through it before I slammed it.
I groaned when Esme informed me that the fourth, and final victim had arrived. My mind was made up already. I didn't see the point of continuing this charade.
Tap, tap, tap.
"This is the final interviewee. May I bring her in?"
"Mom, this is absurd. Must I continue to do this?"
My mother winced at my words. "She's standing next to me," she mouthed. Fuck.
I forced a smile onto my face and nodded.
Esme walked into my office, followed by a petite brunette. Suddenly, the electric charge I'd noticed the previous weekend began to course through my body and a faint aroma of mango began to attack my senses. When she drifted a little to the left, thus unblocking my view of the woman, I gasped. The goddess was in my house again.
"Honey, this is Bella Swan." She turned to Bella while gripping her shoulders lovingly, "And this is Edward, my son." Bella? What the fuck? She told me her name was 'Isabella.' And why was my mother so chummy with her? I briefly searched my brain, having heard the name already. Of course, she was the friend Alice and Rose wanted me to hire. No fucking way. I wouldn't allow my kids near this lying slut.
"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Cullen."
"Sit," I spat.
My mother stomped across to me and stood less than an inch from me. "Do not be mean to her. She is like a daughter to me and one of your sister's best friends," she hissed.
"I don't care. There's stuff you don't know…" I responded a little louder.
"I don't care. You will not embarrass me or your father by being rude to Bella – or anyone for that matter. I don't know what your problem has been this week, but it's going to stop. Now." I flinched at her words. My mother could see through my carefully-crafted façade, which I wouldn't have had to create if this woman had been honest with me at Alice's wedding.
Esme sauntered over to Bella and rubbed her shoulder before whispering something to her. I watched Bella nod and saw the 'Thank you' that escaped her delicate mouth. She then sucked at her bottom lip and began biting it. Fuck. Neither my dick, which was already rock hard under the desk, nor my subconscious, which noticed more
than just that delicate mouth, would allow me to hate her. Chapter End Notes: Edward can be a douche. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles Paragraph Font size
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Rating: Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both. © 2009 - 2010 The Writer's Coffee Shop. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin created KaliChapter Eleven: Interviews (Part Two)
Esme blocked my view of him as I advanced into the room, but I could feel him, nonetheless. Once she shuffled to the side, my eyes focused on a series of distinct things, all of which combined to elicit the smallest gasp from somewhere deep inside of me. My nebulous memories of a conscious Edward couldn't compete with the reality: that unruly disheveled mess of bronze hair on his head sang to me, just begging for me to trail my hands through it; his strong forehead and brow, combined with his angular jaw, framed a perfect set of lips, a nose with the tiniest bump in it giving its wearer character, and almond-shaped eyes; and the vibrant, deep shade of green of those eyes bored into my chest. While I was internally drooling over his Adonis-like face, a thousand different emotions seemed to be reflected on it.
That initial moment after Esme revealed me to him, I thought I noticed pure joy and longing. Then she said my name. And faster than the
speed of light, anguish, anger, fear, and every negative emotion imaginable crossed his face. Apparently, Edward's memories of our lone night together were as I expected. I felt as if a sword had been pushed, and then turned, through my gut. Why would I suffer from so much pain after one night? It wasn't as if I hadn't spent more nights than I care to recall with nameless, faceless men who I didn't remember bedding the night before. Maybe it was the guilt of fucking Alice's brother? Maybe it was the lingering loss of my father? Maybe it was the fear that I may have ruined any chance for solid employment in Forks or Port Angeles? I couldn't figure out why this hurt, but I knew I ached to escape his gaze.
This situation called for a pep talk from my subconscious. Bella Swan, you can do this. Just breathe, keep your chin up, and don't let him defeat you.
"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Cullen." I forced a sweet, yet professional smile as I extended my hand.
He shut me down with one word and no handshake. Had our time together been that bad that he found it necessary to be so fucking rude to me? I didn't feel like I had a choice, so I followed his order and planted myself in the chair in front of his desk.
Esme stormed around to confront Edward and, although I couldn't hear what she said, his severe gulp, which was evidenced by the deep bob of his Adam's apple, spoke volumes.
"Darling, I don't know what his problem is today, but don't let him control the situation. He'll respect you more if you're the 'you' that I know you are," Esme whispered to me after she moved away from him.
In a voice as small as I felt, I thanked her and turned my gaze back to Edward. I heard the click of the door behind me, signaling the commencement of this interview.
She continued to hold that lower lip in the clutches of her teeth as if her life depended on it. My traitorous dick had already hardened at the sight. The strain made my pants uncomfortable. But then my mind replayed that night when she gave me the greatest physical joy of my life. I blocked the groan that threatened to erupt and weaken my resolve. How could this woman, this virtual stranger, control my body from such a physical distance? I couldn't deny that our time had been magical, but I now understood it was magical like the fairy tales my girls enjoyed.
"Ahem." Isabella, Bella my mind spat, cleared her throat. "Sir?" We weren't going to discuss the elephant in the room, it seemed.
I continued to gaze at her until I glanced at my watch and shut my eyes. We'd sat there silently for 10 minutes. I did everything in my power to regain a clear head so I could complete this interview, regardless of how Herculean it may be.
Why had she found it necessary to lie to me? What purpose had her actions served? My internal battle of whys and hows ceased; these rhetorical questions wouldn't get the answers they desired.
Surely, when I gave it thought, I realized I could've, should've, or would've known that Isabella was the friend that Alice and Rose raved about. But in reality, when I heard Rose mention that Bella was her friend, I tuned out the discussion and filed Bella's name in the trashcan of my brain. Heck, if I had refrained from getting liquored up at Alice's wedding, I may have recognized the name.
I struggled to consider whether I should thank Kate Garrett or tear her a new hole – she neglected to tell me the fourth candidate's name, but she had plopped Bella in my lap. Shit! Bella's pert ass in my lap made my already rockhard cock jump for joy at the idea.
Without opening my eyelids, because I fretted I wouldn't be able to remain composed, I dove into the first question. "Why do you think I should hire you?" There. No pleasantries or pussy footing, no 'tell me about yourself', just the nitty gritty, get-to-the-heart-of-why-we'rehere.
"Honestly Mr. Cullen, based on your demeanor I can already see you won't. So I don't see what the point of me answering your question is."
My eyes shot open at her response, shocked that she could read me that well and had the strength – or was it utter stupidity – to make such a declaration. It was as if we had begun a game of chess and she'd taken my queen. I recognized the irony of my musing as I had determined previously on taking her as my queen.
Finally, I brought my eyes up to meet her chocolate orbs. I stared into them for a moment, flabbergasted by what I observed in them: hurt, strength, warmth, fear, tenacity, determination. My chest ached. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I needed to keep my emotions in check. How could she affect me so profoundly?
I inhaled deeply and her mango fragrance instantaneously calmed me. In that moment, I resolved to obeyed my mother's warning and I gave her sixty minutes of my undivided attention.
"Edward. Masen. Cullen." My mother declared. My full name. Huh. This wouldn't be pleasant.
"You're still here," I stated in an exasperated tone.
"I've been waiting for you to finish meeting with Bella." She glared at me and I could tell I was about to get one of the more vociferous reamings in my life.
"Can we do this another day? It's been a long one."
"Your father and I expect you at our house in an hour for dinner and we're going to have a long talk." The expression in her eyes informed me this was not an option.
"Should I bring anything?"
"Edward, this isn't a social dinner. Don't be late."
My mother didn't pause for my response before she stalked out to her car.
The last time my parents sat me down for a "talk" was a month after Angela died and I still hadn't met my daughters. They had been right to speak with me, but the encounter had been less than pleasant and I had hoped to avoid any more of these in my life.
Forty-five minutes later, I sulked in my car in front of my childhood home. How bad could this be? I had never met Bella before Alice's wedding, so I doubted my parents were that close with her.
Carlisle knocked on my window. "Son, how long do you plan to sit out here?"
I nodded at him and exited my car.
"How mad is she?"
"We're both angry with you. Come inside. There are some things you need to know," my father cryptically stated.
All I could do in response was nod. Again. I've been doing a lot of that today in lieu of answering people. Maybe I should change careers and become a bobble head.
My father led me to the living room where my mom was already sitting. I couldn't tell whether she was melancholy or infuriated.
"What's for dinner? It smells great in here." Maybe diverting their attention to something other than discussion of Bella would earn me favor.
My mother let out a noise that sounded like a cross between a huff and a sigh. "Don't pretend
you're here to eat, Edward. There are other priorities right now. We're going to sit down and go over what took place this afternoon at your house."
"Son, would you care to share what happened? Because as it I understand it, you managed to embarrass your mother and myself and disgrace our name. Bella is one of your sister's best friends, she's very close with your brother, and Jasper counts her among one of his good friends," my father explained. "Furthermore, I have known her all of her life and we have welcomed her into our house countless times over the last six or seven years."
"So I've gathered from Mom's reaction this afternoon."
"Do not be flippant with either your father or me. You refused to shake her hand and then you demanded she sit." She turned towards my father and added, "Oh, I forgot to mention he wore a frown and 'sit' was the only word that managed to escape his mouth. No 'welcome' or 'pleasure to meet you' or 'thank you for coming today' – nothing."
"There's more to this than either of you know." Did I really want to share with my parents what happened? It was clear there were cracks in the dam already and the revelation of my one-night stand would surely open the floodgates of disapproval.
"Would you care to enlighten us?" My father asked.
I briefly weighed the consequences of revealing this secret, realizing I hid little to nothing from my parents. This would come out some time, secrets always managed to…
"Well, umm," I stammered.
"Edward," my mother crisply prodded.
"I guess it's just easier to tell you the whole story to help you understand," I began as they impatiently gazed at me. "I met her at Alice's wedding. There's this inexplicable gravitation to her that confounds me."
I paused and closed my eyes as the memories washed over me. How MUCH do I tell them? An urgency to reveal my feelings - both physical and emotional – about her and the night bubbled from deep inside of me. I'm closer to them than anyone else, so fuck it.
"She was perched on the bench overlooking the creek and I could see she was crying. I was drawn to her. I don't know if I felt the need to comfort her or what. No, it was more than a draw. I felt alive the moment she first crossed my path, before the ceremony started. There was
something unseen and unsaid that passed between us.
"Jealousy flared within me when I saw her converse with another man. Like, 'That's my woman'. I was instantly possessive over her. Then I watched her drink a lot of liquor in a short amount of time and I was curious and worried. So I followed her. I didn't want to disturb her, but my heart ached for her when I saw her light sighs while she cried. I wiped her tear away and my thumb was met with a sensation I felt throughout my whole body. Before I realized it, we were talking and drinking and she was getting drunk, really drunk.
"I only intended to try to sober her up by feeding her, but when we went back to my house, one
thing turned into another and we slept together." My voice cracked at the last part. It had to be obvious that I seemed to be at least a little bit ashamed at my reckless act.
I expected both of my parents to yell at me. Instead, my parents managed to shock me.
"Honey, I owe you $5. You were right."
"That's my boy!" my father exclaimed.
"Would you two care to clue me in to your secret?"
My dad just laughed and shook his head while my mother talked. "Well, Alice told us about her prediction for you at her wedding. But she shared the whole prediction with us."
"There was more than something about my life changing for the better?" I shook my head at them.
"Yep." My mother continued, "Turns out Alice predicted that your life would change because you would meet someone. Your father bet me that Bella would be the 'someone', while I
concluded that Alice's prophecy would result in nothing."
I considered wringing my cousin's neck when she returned. All of the Cullens – myself excluded – were shameless,I considered momentarily. Come to think of it, it was agonizing enough to discuss my sex life with my parents, but to learn they had talked about it to one another? Gah. A shiver ripped through me. This was possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life. I mean, what was next… them teaming with Emmett to order me porn? I cringed at the prospect.
"And why didn't you consider sharing this bit of information and your wager with me?"
Victoria, my parents' long-time maid, poked her head in the room. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but dinner is ready."
"Thank you, Victoria." My father held out his hand to my mother before he answered my question. "Honestly, we didn't think there was much to it. And we didn't really see you before the ceremony began, or at the reception for that matter. Come on, we can discuss it over dinner. Oh, and by the way, you're not out of hot water for your behavior during the interview."
"I figured as much."
As we sat down to dinner, I kept my mouth shut. After a few minutes of tense silence at the table, my mom resumed the earlier discussion.
"How much do you know about Bella?"
"I don't know. I learned a lot about her during the interview. Even though I was angry with her, I spoke with her for over an hour."
"You never told us why you acted so disrespectfully towards her." I was hoping my mother had forgotten.
"She told me her name was Isabella, not Bella. And, honestly, it was the greatest night of my life. But when I woke up, she was gone. No note, nothing. I've spent the last week agonizing over how I would find her. I called Alice and she didn't help. And that ass I call a brother – didn't even bother returning my call."
"So?" my father asked incredulously.
"The second I saw her, the short temper you and my employees all have endured this week washed away. I felt that amazing electricity rolling off of her and onto me; I immediately relaxed in her presence. Then mom said her name and instantly I realized what a fool I had been. She knew who I was. The only conclusion
I have is that she's come here to worm her way into my life. It may sound stupid to you, but it's how I feel."
My father, whose face became sad at my declaration, took over the discussion. "Edward, did you know she grew up without a mother?"
"No." Even though I didn't want to admit it to them or myself, that revelation made me want to find her, scoop her up, and comfort her. I felt a little disgusted with my actions earlier.
"She could be really good for the girls. Charlie Swan, who just died, was her father. Can you imagine that man's man raising a girl? Just think
how the talk about sex went." We all laughed at the image of Charlie going into a discussion of the birds and bees. Oh god, I was going to have to do that with my girls. That was something I would dread. "Cut her some slack. Charlie's death is hitting her hard. She was a mess at his funeral. Although she's close with the Blacks, she doesn't have any family. The grief she must be experiencing, coupled with the alcohol, should be taken into consideration."
"You have a point, dad."
"Of course I have a point," he said smugly. "But you need to make an informed decision about her. This isn't about what you feel. It's how you think her presence may or may not benefit the girls."
Was Carlisle Cullen born perfect? I couldn't think of a time when my father hadn't made the right decision or pronounced 'doing the right thing'.
"Look, her mother had a rough pregnancy and Bella was born two months premature and she almost didn't make it. That girl's a fighter. But her mother wasn't as lucky. The doctor in the hospital that night, Laurent Didyme, shouldn't have lost her and Bella's life never should've been in jeopardy. When Charlotte's blood pressure dropped, Didyme froze. I was at the hospital on a surgical consult and they called me in.
"It was too late by that point. I performed an emergency C-section. Somehow I managed to save Bella. Her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and getting her to take a first breath didn't happen easily.
"Even though I'm not a pediatrician, I took a special interest in her and remained her doctor until she went to college. We had many conversations through the years and the two of you have a lot in common. The most tragic of which is that she lives with the burden of thinking she killed her mother."
I took in a sharp intake of breath and shuddered as I fought to keep the bile from rising up my throat. Bella had been robbed of a carefree childhood. No one should have to perceive they're responsible for causing another's death,
least of all an innocent child. Seems like I should heed my own admission. Why can't I?
"Why is this the first time I'm hearing about all of this? We live in a small town and everyone talks."
"You were a young child when this happened. And a lot of the details and her thoughts regarding what took place were never available for public consumption." My father smirked, "Remember that whole thing about patient doctor confidentiality? I'm only sharing this with you because I want you to see her for who she really is."
"Tell us, regardless of whatever deception you might feel and what your father has shared, what did you think of her?"
"She's smart, feisty, caring, inquisitive, friendly, and she put me at ease…even if I did want to kill her." Hearing the words escape my mouth, I realized there was more to this. "Honestly, she's everything I hope Lizzie and Renee become."
"I doubt you would ever be so lucky to find someone so perfect for your family." My mother had a point, even if I didn't want to admit it. Still. "You need to make this right, or this discussion will have a second part. Apologize to her. And Edward, hire her." My mother's ominous warning hit home.
"I know. I'll make an offer. But guys, if you'll excuse me. I am going home and calling Emmett. He has some apologizing of his own to do."
My parents hugged me and told me they were proud of me, even if they weren't proud of my earlier behavior. They expected I would fix this, simply because I had to. I wasn't sure whether I could forgive what I saw as her deception yet, but hearing my parents' words helped me see the big picture.
"Hey Bro," Emmett shakily greeted me.
"Don't 'hey' me, asshole." This wasn't the first time, nor would it be anywhere near the last, when I referred to my brother as an "asshole" and actually meant it. "Why didn't you return my phone call?"
"Because I knew why you were calling."
"What? How did you know?"
"Okay, I assumed. But I was right, huh? You wanted to learn about Bells. And I understand you had the interview with her already?"
"I recognize we have some freaky twin connection, but how do you have knowledge of all of this shit? And 'Bells'?"
"Heh. Yeah. Bells. It's one of the many names I have for 'Little Miss Munchkin'," Emmett chuckled. I could see the connection between her name and 'Bells', but I was afraid to ask about the origins of 'Little Miss Munchkin'. "But my connection isn't of the twin variety, it's courtesy of Rose."
"Oh. So basically your girlfriend finds it crucial to share my personal business with you?" It wasn't a secret Emmett and I didn't see eye-toeye on the subject of his girlfriend.
"This is not about your distrust or dislike of Rose. And you know what, Bella's my friend, also. So although Rose told me about your interview today, it was Bella who divulged the existence of your, umm, encounter."
Wow, just when I thought I was warming to Bella again, I uncover another piece of information making me reconsider that thawing. "What did she tell you and who else do you think she's told?" I snapped at him.
"Dude, not much. The morning after you guys played doctor," my brother chortled at his juvenile description, "she called Rose to come and pick her up. We drove over and brought her home. Look, she was mortified so the odds that she shared the details of her whereabouts that night are slim. I've known her for years and I don't think I've ever seen her quite that red with embarrassment before."
She was ashamed by our night? I frowned. Was I that bad in bed? Did she regret it? Is that why she didn't bring up our earlier meeting during the interview?
While I fretted over these questions, I appreciated what she had done wasn't any worse than my own decision to share the basic details
with my parents. Would or could I stop judging her? It was imperative that I erased my mind of that night and instead focused on what she told me during her interview and what my parents had said. If I were to hire and live with her under the same roof, I would need to focus on that beautiful, fiery, warm woman I met earlier in the day.
My brother and I continued discussing my brown-eyed Bella. My Bella? Could this day get any more confusing?
The drive home transpired much like the previous one from Edward's house – without incident, but my mind was entirely oblivious to my surroundings. I sat in my car with my head resting on the wheel before I found myself pounding it lightly, up and down, up and down. What was I doing? Did I honestly think Edward would take me seriously and consider me for the position after my despicable behavior that night? But really, I had no idea whether my actions had been despicable. I would donate my left kidney to remember, if anything so I could determine what brought on his ire this afternoon. When my brain throbbed from the repeated self abuse, I resolved to enter the house and put everything out of my mind and relax.
Once I crossed the threshold of my father's home, I kicked off my heels in the living room, flung my jacket along the stairs, shimmied out of my suit's dress in the upstairs hallway, and peeled my thong and bra from my skin outside my bedroom. I turned around and peeked at the littering of clothes I trailed through the house and thought about how it reminded me of a couple's frenzied actions of lustfully ripping off each person's attire on their way to the bedroom to fuck. I could really use a good fucking, and preferably it was one I wouldn't forget because of drinking too much alcohol.
Rather than changing into sweats and a tee, I decided to do something about my need for release and relaxation. I opened my bedside drawer and took out my pretty pink vibrator and turned its dial, hoping its batteries were still alive. The questionable replacement for a man sprang to life and I grinned. Honestly, a pool of wetness had flooded my pussy during the
interview and I found myself pressing my thighs together as I fought against my oppressive carnal desire for Edward Cullen.
I reclined my naked body on my bed and closed my eyes. With my PPV – as I dubbed the pretty pink vibrator – gingerly humming, I trailed it down my chest and across one of my nipples, which sprang up in response. Mmm, that feels sooo good. My free hand dipped down to my warm opening to gauge my wetness. Not a drop had dried. Fabulous. Images of Edward swarmed through my mind as I dragged my moist fingers across my pubic bone and up to my full breasts. After the PPV elicited a few soft moans from the attention it paid to my nipples, I plunged it deep and hard into my center and screamed from the motion, imagining it was Edward's hips that pushed his dick fiercely into me.
It had been a couple of weeks since I last masturbated and I desperately needed to let go. I turned up the PPV's speed and started an agonizingly slow pace. In and out, in and out. Ohh, Edward. Just like that… I picked up speed as my longing to cum increased. Yes, you know just what my body wants… With each successive thrust, I pushed it deeper. Ungh… harder, Edward, keep pumping me! I rubbed my clit to help push me over and just before I unleashed my orgasm, I pinched my swollen clit. My muscles clenched, pulling the PPV further into me. The actions tipped me over the edge as I came hard. A sound similar to a purr passed across my lips. Thank you, Edward… With a hiss, I removed the vibrator and began a restful slumber.
What was it about my phone ringing when I was asleep? Without opening me eyes, which were still closed from my orgasm-induced nap, I slapped my hand along my bedside table as part of a blind hunt for the offending device. Once in my hand, I tapped the touch screen until the ringing was silenced. With it in my hand, I raised it to my ear.
"Hello?" the voice whispered. Rose.
"Rose? What's wrong?" I whispered back for some inexplicable reason.
"Edward just called Emmett and he's reading him the riot act for not calling him back this week."
"So?" I asked. Why would this affect me and why is she whispering?
"I ordered Emmett not to call him."
"Rose, I'm in the dark here. Can you just explain what you're trying to say?"
"Okay, so you know how you forbid Emmett from telling Edward who you were? Well, I know my man. He's like a little girl who has been told a secret and then is instructed to keep it to herself, but instead informs the object of said secret of its details. So, out of deference to you, I directed Emmett to keep it in his pants, so to speak."
"You are too much. I love you dearly, but he should be allowed to speak with his brother."
"Now he can. Edward knows who you are now."
"And what if it took longer for him to find out?"
"Well, he didn't. So it's a moot question." I chuckled at Rose's logic. She was too much.
"And why are we whispering?"
"I don't know why you're whispering, but I'm doing it so Edward doesn't detect my presence while Emmett gets the goods on Edward's opinion of you, from both the interview and your night of enchantment. He's doing intel for you, girlie!"
I could already feel the flush of my cheeks. I groaned at the idea of Emmett's misguided, albeit sweet, notion that he would tap his brother for information. Guess he didn't have a censor switch, either. I wasn't the least bit surprised.
"Enchantment? Nice," I said sardonically. "I'm going to rue the day I asked this question, but would you care to share what Emmett's learning?"
"Let me call you back when they finish so I can get the four-one-one. Okay?"
"Make it soon. I may chicken out and not want to know what he said."
Rose snickered. "Okay, girlie. But from Emmett's end of the conversation, I can assure you that you'll want to hear it."
I regretted my inquiry already, but she had ended the call before I could voice it to Rose.
After dressing in my sweats and plodding down the stairs to the living room, I plopped myself on the couch and gnawed on my fingernails, preferring them to eating a real dinner. My stomach was in knots while I waited for her return call. And then the phone rang with Emmett's caller-ID on the screen.
Before I said anything, Emmett bellowed, "Bella! I have such good gossip for you."
"I just realized why you're a gynecologist – you're more of a woman than your patients. Fuck Emmett, you're like one of those old biddies that sit around a table while they knit booties for their grandchildren," I guffawed. Heh heh…Emmett sometimes made it too easy.
"Shut it." Too bad, Emmett didn't sound pissed off. "So here's the deal, our parents ate dinner with him and made him explain his behavior towards –."
"No. No, no, no, no, no. No." I buried my head in my hands in a misguided attempt to make all of this go away.
"Ohhhh, yeah," he said in a titillated tone. Where's a blanket for cover when I need it? This is a disaster.
"Noooo. Oh. My. God. I can never face Esme and Carlisle again. I will die from the embarrassment."
"Ha, ha, Bella. My parents are going to think you're a little whore." This time it was Emmett's turn to burst out in laughter.
I heard Rose smack him in the head for that comment. Good. She definitely had my back. "Be sure to thank your girlfriend for that whack."
"Ow. Hey baby, c'mon. I was only joking," he whined. Yeah, Emmett was a total girl. "You know that, right Bells?"
"Sure. Whatever. Continue spilling." I attempted to use a flat tone in my voice to make him feel
guilty, or to hide my definite interest in what Edward had to say.
Emmett resumed speaking, "Okay, so you impressed him during the interview and he thought your night together was hot. And relax about my parents. Apparently, they were betting about whether you and Edward would hook up at Alice's wedding." Could my level of humiliation increase anymore? Wait, Edward enjoyed our time together? What was his deal then?
"Thanks, Em. I appreciate your help. But do me a favor, promise me you won't talk about all of this with him again? Oh, shit. I have an incoming call." I pulled the phone from my ear to look at the number. "Umm, I don't know who it is. I'll call you guys back later."
I clicked over to the other line. "Hello?"
"This is Edward Cullen." Holy motherfucking shit! This was unexpected! His voice was all caramel and I felt that damned flutter I sensed whenever he was near. Chapter End Notes:
I'm heading out on vacation tomorrow. I'll post chapters when I have a chance. I can't guarantee that there will be one per day. I will post another tonight. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles Paragraph Font size
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Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both. © 2009 - 2010 The Writer's Coffee Shop. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin creChapter Twelve: Brunch
"Yes, sir. I didn't expect for you to call this soon. Have you made a decision?"
"I'm going to offer the position to Ms. Swan. She was the final candidate."
"I recall. I'm so glad you liked her. I really think she's an incredible find. How much would you like me to offer her?"
"Actually, Kate, I would like to call her and make the offer myself."
"Oh." Kate sounded offended. Frankly, I didn't care.
"Don't worry. You'll still get your bonus," I sneered. Everyone seems to be greedy.
"No, it wasn't that. I'm just surprised you wanted to call her. You haven't done this before," she timidly replied.
"I really appreciate your help, but I think it would be best if she heard from me. Have a lovely evening, Kate."
"Thank you, s-"
I pressed END before I let her finish her thought. I clutched my phone in my right hand, as if my life depended on it. Time to man up and apologize to Bella. No, I should wait until the morning. It's too late tonight to call. I wouldn't want to seem rude…rather, more rude. Fuck it.
I punched the numbers listed on her resume into my Blackberry. After talking with both my parents and Emmett, I tried to see her through their eyes. I still questioned her intentions – and Emmett's judgment considering he chose to have Rose in his life – but I had to trust that Carlisle
and Esme argued in her favor based on evidence, so to speak. The line rang and a moment later, I heard her soothing voice.
"This is Edward Cullen."
And then I was met with silence that lasted an indeterminable amount of time. In actuality, it was probably a beat longer than I would've expected her to reply, but the stillness made me uncomfortable and I wondered whether it was best to reconsider making this call.
"Uhh, hi," she croaked. "It's, umm, a surprise to hear from you, Mr. Cullen. I expected a call from Ms. Garrett."
"I hope it's not too late in the evening. So, Ms. Swan-"
"Please call me Bella," she interrupted.
"Um, sure. So Ms. Sw- Bella, I must apologize for my behavior during your interview."
"What are you talking about?"
Seriously? I was a Grade-A ass. I concealed my laugh with a cough. "I appreciate your words, but let's be honest, Bella. I was rude and there wasn't any excuse for the way I treated you. My actions have made me an entire embarrassment to Carlisle and Esme and I wasn't fair to you. So please, accept my apology."
"Wait, you call your parents 'Carlisle' and 'Esme' – not 'Dad' and 'Mom'?"
"I'm sorry?" I paused. Was she unwilling to forgive me? "Uh, I don't call them by their first names to their faces."
"I used to do the same thing with my dad, but a few times I called him 'Charlie' and I think the only thing that saved my life was his knowledge that he'd have to call one of his deputies to come and arrest him." She spoke of her father with a certain amount of reverence in her voice.
"You miss him, don't you?"
When I heard a few sniffles come from her, I decided to return to the reason for my call.
"So I'm, uh, sorry for how I treated you." Why was it so hard to say 'I'm sorry'?
"Really, it's okay."
This time it was my turn to interrupt. "Edward."
"Call me Edward."
"Edward, thank you for calling. Was there something else you wanted?"
Oh, that was a loaded question. There was so much I wanted of Bella and for Bella. My dick sprang to life in response and quickly became hard. We – me and my cock – were facing some difficult times if she ends up accepting my job offer.
"Well, actually yes."
"Edward?" Hearing her speak my name caused my dick to strain against my pants. Again.
This woman does things to my body without even trying. And then it was like the clouds parted on a particularly stormy day – she wasn't even trying. I was repulsed for all of the negative thoughts I'd had today.
"Uh, yes. Sorry," I sputtered. "So my other reason for calling was that I would like to offer you the job as my nanny."
"What? Are you serious?" She sounded genuinely happy and I grinned from ear to ear because it was my words that did brought that joy to her voice.
"Yes," I chuckled. "Um, so based on your experience I think $50,000 annual salary, plus $2,500 to redecorate your room, would be sufficient?"
"That's, that's just too generous. I can't accept that."
"Well, that's what I'm offering." Was I trying to buy her forgiveness? Maybe a little.
"I'm going to have to decline then."
What? Nooo...this wasn't supposed to go like this.
"Bella, please don't be difficult. You're the woman I want." Shit, did I just say that?
She let out a loud and troubled-sounding sigh. "Okay."
"That's fantastic." I tried to contain the exuberance in my voice. Bella would be living under my roof. "As I said, you'll have $2,500 to redo your room to your liking. Your bedroom
will be on the third floor and there's a queensized bed in it. However you wish to spend the money, is fine with me. But I imagine you'll want to buy bedding that you like, as well as matching window coverings. Um, you can paint the room if you'd like. What else? Oh, there's a TV and DVD player in there, and a couch. It's a good-sized room. The closet's pretty big, as is the attached bathroom and there is a dresser," I babbled.
I wondered what Bella was thinking of me after this display of verbal diarrhea. I shook my head and waited for her to speak.
"That's actually super helpful. I would've suggested keeping the money and I would bring my bedding from my house, but it's not mine. My bedroom hasn't been mine since I left for
college. Whenever I visited, I always stayed on the couch. I really appreciate this. You can't even imagine."
"Since it's getting late, would you like to get together tomorrow for brunch and discuss more of the specifics?"
"That would be great. Where should I meet you?"
"Oh, umm, I was thinking that you would come over here," I sheepishly suggested. "And, umm, I would make us brunch."
"Well, not really. I was going to pick up lox, cream cheese, and bagels. I figured I could handle that."
She giggled. Oh, it sounded delightful. "That sounds great. Can you add capers and lime wedges to that list?"
"That sounds perfect. I'll see you then, Edward."
I hung up and ran a victory lap around the room. Bella would be in my house tomorrow and she'd be working for me. I'd have ample opportunities
to make her mine. Why had I spent hours hating her? I'm such a stupid fuck, sometimes.
Before I could head upstairs, I had to make one more call.
"Edward, how'd it go?"
"Hi Dad. I apologized, offered her the job, and came to the conclusion that I was an idiot for hating her."
Carlisle snickered. "No comment. But I'm glad you hired her. Bella's a wonderful woman."
"We had a nice chat and we're having brunch tomorrow to discuss more details of the job."
"Son, just tread carefully. I can sense your feelings for her aren't entirely of a business nature."
"No comment." I was almost as fond of the statement as my father. "But I'm going to keep it in my pants. Don't worry."
"Have your mother or I told you lately that we're proud of you?"
I could feel the rush of blood to my face from the slight embarrassment. "Yes, Dad. I know you are. Thanks for setting me right this evening. Pass along my best to Mom and I'll talk to you tomorrow."
As soon as we hung up, I squealed with delight and started to dance and jump around the room. And then my klutziness kicked in as I managed to kick a leg of the coffee table and I tumbled to the ground. I hit the floor with a thud and hurt my butt, but I didn't care. I had a job! And it was with Edward Cullen, the man who set my loins on fire!
After regaining my composure, I called Rose.
"Whore, when were you planning on calling me and Em back?"
"I'm giving you ammunition with this, but, guess what?" I couldn't contain my excitement and didn't allow her to respond. "The call I received while I was talking to Emmett. Well, it was Edward. He called to apologize for being an ass and he hired me. Thisisfuckingawesome!"
"Dude, calm down."
"Rose. I. Have. A. Job."
"Just a few hours ago you thought you ruined the interview and then you forced Emmett to pump Edward for info."
"I did no such thing!"
"You're too easy," Rose snickered. "But seriously. Give me the details on the job."
"Well, um, so, um, yeah." I stammered. "I sorta took it without finding out much more than the pay rate."
"How do you manage to get yourself out of the house in the morning?"
"Hey now!" I shouted.
"I'm not deaf woman!" she shouted back. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're smart. We both know it. Blah, blah, blah. Bella, we both know I only give you a hard time because I love you."
"Uh-huh…whatever. So anyway, he's paying me well and he is giving me an allowance to redecorate the room."
"Shit, you know Alice is going to have a field day." Oh, yes. My friend, the interior decorator, is bound to have far too much fun with this. "Have you told her about you and Edward, yet?"
"First of all, there isn't a 'me and Edward'. Secondly, she's on her honeymoon. I'm not interrupting that porno-in-the-making. And third, were you asleep when I made you promise not to share the details of our indiscretion – or its existence for that matter?"
Rose continued to giggle. "Porno-in-themaking? For someone who is as free with sex as you are, Bella, you sure are frigid. Now stop changing the subject. Job. Details. Spill."
"You changed the subject."
"Fine," I huffed. "He offered me $50,000 annually and the $2,500 allowance."
"And?" I could just see Rose stamping her foot on the ground as she impatiently awaited more information.
"That's it. But, before you say anything, we're meeting for brunch tomorrow to go over everything."
"Shut up!" I squealed. "On that note, this call is OVER. I'll call you tomorrow when I know more."
"See ya, whore!"
I wanted to kill Rose sometimes, but at least she kept me laughing…even if it was at my own actions.
Though I knew better, I resumed my dancing around the room and then continued it up the stairs and down the hall to the bathroom so I could wash my face and brush my teeth. Note to self: don't use water when dancing. I left puddles around the sink and my tee was drenched, but I didn't care. My future included living in the same house as Edward Cullen! And nothing could erase the shit-eating grin spanning my face.
Sleep escaped me as I tossed and turned because of nerves I anticipated would cripple me during my meeting with Edward. Was it a meeting? What should I call it? I just prayed that whatever he told me about the job wouldn't cause me to regret my decision to accept the position without all of the details. Swallowing my pride and going to Rose with the reality of a mediocre possibility wasn't an option.
Once light began filtering through my sheer curtains, I sought out my phone. 6:30? Seriously? I flipped over and shoved my face into the pillow, praying sleep would overtake me again. I repeated the motions at least a hundred times, finally giving in to the day around 8:30 – half-an-hour before when I was due to rise. Yep, I was having one of those 'Fuck my life' moments. Let's hope it's a moment and not one of those days!
I dragged my body down the stairs and started brewing some coffee. The caffeine would be required today. Trudging back up to my room while my dad's old coffeemaker percolated, I dropped onto my bed.
Seconds later my phone broke the silence. Motherfucker! Who in the hell would call at this hour on a Saturday? Suuuure, I was awake, but come on.
"What?" I groaned into the phone when I saw Jake was calling.
"Hello to you, too."
"In what universe did you think it was a good idea to buzz me this early on a Saturday?"
I heard Leah's voice in the background. "Mrs. Black would like to speak with you." Okay, that was not a name I expected to ever get used to.
"Bella! Tell me how the interview went. Jake and I have been waiting to hear from you for eons," she said. I thought children couldn't differentiate between units of time. Turns out 18-year-old child brides exaggerated, too.
I sighed, "Put the phone on speaker and I'll briefly tell you about it. I've got a meeting to get ready for."
"Whaaaaat? A Meeeeeting?"
"Leah, I don't have a lot of time. Just get on the speaker so I can be spared telling this twice."
Some shuffling and muffled voices later, both Leah and Jacob cooed, "Did you get the job?"
"Yes," I droned. "He offered me a lot of money, but not too many particulars. I'm meeting him for brunch in," I looked down at my watch, "eighty-two minutes to be specific. Now I need to get going so I can shower and dry my hair before I leave. I intend on making a good impression by arriving early."
They both congratulated me and then Jacob chimed in. "We're going to let you off the hook this time, but we expect a full report tonight. Dinner at our place?"
"If agreeing gets you off the phone, then I'll be there. 7:00 work for you two?"
"Perfect," they called out in unison. I found their saccharine sing-song sickening.
It was time for a yet another serious pep talk. Bella, calm the fuck down. You don't have a single reason to be nervous. You've got the job. Sure, you two have a sordid history, what with the anonymous sex and the bizarre-o interview…My inner voice apparently chose to fail me when I needed her reassurance most.
I tossed my pajamas into my clothes hamper and trotted into the bathroom. I shoved the shower's temperature lever all the way to 'H' and began my two-minute wait, complete with tooth brushing and a glance in the mirror.
"Fuck, Bella…you look tired," I spoke to my reflection while the toothpaste drooled from my mouth. Rather than focusing on the image in front of me, I resolved to clear my mind of all negativity and hopped in the shower with my toothbrush still lodged in my mouth. I ran my fingers through my waves only to snag a flurry of tangles. Fuuuuck, why didn't I brush my hair before sticking my head under the spray? Wow, that positivity kick lasted all of about 1.7 seconds. I pouted for a bit and finally resumed the sudsing of my hair and body. I didn't want to
leave the security and warmth of my shower, but eventually I pulled myself from it.
After wrapping a towel around my head and my robe around my torso, I returned to my bedroom and threw open the closet doors. What sort of look did I hope to accomplish today? I tore a bunch of shirts from their hangers and grabbed a pair of jeans, thong, and bra – casual cool would be the way to go. I slipped my undies and jeans on while I fretted over the top. Going with blue, but short sleeve or long, v-neck or crew? I dragged a short-sleeve, v-neck over my head and peered in the mirror. I was satisfied with my decision and saw my wall clock read 9:15. Damn, not a lot of time to do my hair or wand on some mascara. Rushing out of my room, I stubbed my toe and I collapsed on the floor rolling in pain. Would I ever outgrow my klutziness? Doubtful.
Because time was limited and limping to the bathroom took far too long, I coated my lashes with mascara and threw my hair into a high ponytail. I rushed down the stairs and out the door where I was rudely shocked to find I was without shoes. This morning continues to get worse and worse. I returned to the house and smelled the coffee that I forgot to pour. No time, no time. Ignore the tempting aroma. Before I managed to kill myself or burn down the house, I flipped the switch to OFF and grabbed a pair of flip flops. A little too casual? Perhaps, but I didn't care in light of my aching toe.
Twenty minutes later, I crossed onto Edward's property and weaved through the trees that sheltered it from the highway. As his house came into view, Edward walked out to the porch and waved. The smile on his face was one of those panty-dropping grins you only hear about,
but never see with your own eyes. I'm totally fucked.
Orange juice? Check. Champagne for mimosas? Check. Come to think of it, I should probably shelve the Moët for another day…wouldn't want a repeat of Alice's wedding…at least for now. Fresh fruit salad? Check. Bagels, lox, and cream cheese? Check, check, check.
What am I forgetting? Already, my anxiety had led to sweaty palms and more hair fussing than normal. Now it seems my mind decided to go the way of my hands and fail me. I ambled into the family room and situated myself on my piano bench. Just perching my body in front of the instrument calmed me enough for my focus to return. Yes! Prepare coffee, slice limes and onions, and spoon some capers into a bowl.
I felt infinitely better after I readied everything for the brunch. Now, I just needed one Bella Swan. Providing she didn't run late, she was bound to arrive within the next ten to fifteen minutes. Like clockwork, I peered outside the door every sixty seconds until her truck meandered at an agonizingly slow pace across my property. Could she get here any faster? I stepped out and raised my hand in greeting. Once she stopped, I wandered around and opened her door.
"Good morning. I'm glad you could make it."
"I'm sorry for the flip flops," Bella expressed with a frown. As she swung her legs out, she pointed to the shoes that matched her blue top. Fuck, she was in blue again.
"Umm, you think I'm dressed any differently?" I smiled at her, attempting to shove her worries away with the smile on my face.
Bella's eyes swept from my similarly-clad feet, up past my jeans and crewneck tee, to my head. Her face calmed infinitely and she beamed at me. I felt my cock twitch slightly, trying to decide if this was the right place and time for it to propel itself between her warm, wet folds. Learn some control, I implored my other head.
"So what're we having?"
"Uhh," I stammered. Didn't we already discuss this last night?
"Oh yeah, bagels and cream cheese." And then she blushed and my dick began to press against my jeans' zipper. "Sorry, I'm a little nervous."
"You and me both." Did I just admit to being nervous? We would never make it to day one. An agitated chuckle and more hair fussing later, I stated, "Follow me. I've set up our breakfast on the back patio."
I held the front door for her before leading her through the house and another door, whereupon she gasped lightly.
"I thought the view from your parents' house was pleasant, but this is sublime."
"Well, the weather seemed too perfect to pass up. Please, have a seat." I motioned towards the table and fought the urge to reach a hand out to touch the ends of her hair. Was it as soft as I recalled? "If you wait here, I will go grab the food and drinks."
"Do you need help?"
"No, you're my guest. Sit." I flinched at the word – it was the same way I addressed her the previous day. "That came out wrong."
She just chuckled, thankfully. "I insist." Nodding my assent, she trailed behind me.
In a rare moment of thanking Alice for her insistence that I choose our grandparents' silver trays among their belongings, I grabbed two with a smile on my face. Sometimes that pain in the ass had good ideas.
We returned to the back porch and dug in. Bella took cream and sugar in her coffee. Was she drinking it to please me? "I can make tea if you would prefer it."
"Edward." My chest swelled at the sound of my name rolling off her tongue. It wasn't the first time she had this effect on me and I prayed to whatever God took away Angela that this was
His way in making it up to me. "This is all perfect." Turns out it was her turn to reassure me.
I nodded and we ate, easing into light conversation. Her lilting laugh at the stories of Lizzie and Renee regaled me. Please stay. Don't ever go. As much as I wanted this morning to continue until the end of time, we had business to delve into and I preferred to talk about the particulars before Tia returned with the girls.
"Right, so I asked you over here not only to get to know you better, but also so I could tell you more about the job." When she expressed her understanding, I continued. "I've already told you the salary. You'll be an employee of me personally, but I'll talk to the administrators of Masen Mining's 401(k) to determine whether we
can add you to the plan. I don't expect there to be a problem. You'll be paid on the 31st of each month and I'll deposit 5% of your after-tax income into the 401(k). That's, of course, in addition to your salary."
The look she gave me made me want to cower in a corner. I guess I wouldn't have to worry about the girls misbehaving around Bella – the expression was downright terrorizing. "Edward, you are being too generous. Stop. I will not accept it." Even with a tone to match the smirk on her face, my name being spoken by her elicited the same chest swelling as when her voice was soft.
"Fine, fine. Would you acquiesce to participating in the 401(k) if the money came from your paycheck?"
"Good. I'm glad we can agree. Now, some other aspects of the job: when you are driving the girls, you will always use my Lexus SUV. In fact, you are welcome to make that your primary vehicle for as long as you stay with me." Did that sound bad? "I meant, as long as I employ you."
"Sounds reasonable. I don't exactly have seating for the girls and their car seats in the truck."
"Oh, you probably are wondering about your hours?"
"Yeah, that might be helpful."
"Well, Tia – the girls' grandmother – picks them up on Fridays for sleepovers around noon. They remain there until about 1:00 on Saturdays, which means they should be home soon! You'll get to meet them."
"I can't wait." Her responsive grin would've lit up the backyard if the sun wasn't shining.
"Where was I? I work from my home office on weekends, so once they leave on Friday, it's your time. You wouldn't be expected back until bedtime on Sunday. You could remain here or go to your place in town, or whatever. And if you decided to stay here, you could come and go as you please. Feel free to date, whatever." Please don't date anyone, please don't date anyone.
"Honestly, Edward, this all sounds great. I don't know if you need to hear it, but I would still love the job if it's mine."
"Great, so when do you want me to start?"
"Did you want to start moving in next weekend? I'll be here to help with everything. In fact, I can take Friday off…"
"That would be great. All of it."
Once we finished our chat, Bella assisted with the cleanup and accompanied me as I toured her around the house. Just as we exited her room – her room! – the girls' shouting two floors below announced their arrival. Lizzie and Renee spent an hour getting to know her before she excused
herself. I was slightly devastated to see her leave. But at least I knew all of my girls would carry on famously. My girls…huh. I like the sound of that.
"Give me a call if you have any questions. Oh, and my assistant will call you on Monday."
"Tax stuff, the 401(k), direct deposit…boring stuff. But if you want to head to Port Angeles to do all the paperwork, I can arrange my schedule so we can have lunch."
She smiled that gorgeous smile again. "I'm in. But only if we go for sushi." Bella walked out before I could respond. She loved sushi, too? Bella Swan, you are perfect.
I looked to my left and to my right, shocked to see expensive cars surrounding me. I grew up with the knowledge the Cullens were wealthy, but I couldn't anticipate such a gross display of it through the autos they drove.
My door opened and a hand reached out to take my own. "May I?" As I turned and angled my head up towards its source, the deep, yet bright green eyes of Edward Cullen gazed at me.
My mind was in a haze, but I feared that if I shook my head in attempt to clear it, he might misinterpret the motion as my way of turning him down. Instead, I muttered something to him and delicately placed my fingers in his upturned palm. The initial contact almost forced me to rip my hand away; a shock akin to that of static electricity jolted me. Once I stood, I slid my fingers to join his, reveling in the warmth of our connection. He led me into his house and into a room with a bar attached, asking whether I desired anything. Did I?
"I would love another shot of lemon vodka if you have it?"
He nodded before pouring it and bringing it over to me. Edward instructed me to eat, but there was a tinny quality to his voice, and I wasn't sure whether he was speaking or if I imagined this warning. Before I could stop myself, I downed the drink and then informed him that I would eat him. As if a demon possessed me, I rose from the couch where I suddenly noticed I'd been sitting and crossed the short distance between Edward and myself and kissed him fiercely while I snaked my leg around his waist. As if taking my cue, he gripped my other thigh and lifted me so I straddled his waist. His long fingers deftly cupped my ass as he walked us to the staircase and up a couple of flights. The never-ending hallway passed by me as I gawked,
until my knee slammed into a door jam, as if a finger and thumb snapped me into consciousness.
"I'm so sorry, Isabella."
"Shush. Now get me to your bed, because I'm starving."
Were those words spoken by me? Before I had a chance to consider whether the salacious comment was my own, Edward passionately pressed his mouth to mine. Fuck, he tastes good. Oh! His hard cock poked me and I moaned before I started begging for him to touch me.
When did we lie down? My eyes glanced down to our bodies, which were still very much covered. More words and sounds erupted from me and before my muddled brain could make sense of everything, I pushed him off of me and forced myself up behind him, but our bodies continued to touch.
A flurry of movement led to a pile at our feet, my dress on top of his suit, him whipping me around, so one of his hands could massage a breast while his other circled my clit over my panties. Did I wear a pretty pair today?
A jolt of that already-present electricity coursed through me and I shivered in its wake. I needed
to feel the tear of the material as it was forced from my skin.
"Please," I begged. "Rip them off."
"I'm sorry, did you just ask me to rip your panties off?" Why was he asking and not doing?
I whined, "Rip. Them. Off." Before I had to ask again, the friction created by the rough lace rubbed against my clit and we both groaned at the movement. While the sensation sunk in, Edward plunged one of his dexterous fingers deep into my pussy and stroked my g-spot. I couldn't stand or focus and my tongue wouldn't respond. I was about to lose my footing and I
needed Edward to return me to his bed. As if he could read my thoughts, he lifted me up, forcing his finger deeper inside of me. Holy shit!
"I'm going to cum. Please don't stop…" And then it hit. "Edward," trailed from my mouth, followed by an even quieter "Thank you."
He moved us to his bed and he held me tight against his chest while my heart rate returned to normal. I took the opportunity to take in my surroundings, or at least try. The muscles of his arms were sinewy and he smelled of man and it was divine. Honestly, I didn't give a shit about the surroundings, other than his body.
Blinking my eyes, I felt the haze of the alcohol again as just a second earlier I laid in his arms and now my mouth was running along his neck and torso and I ordered his hands off of me.
Gripping his cock – truthfully, the largest I had ever seen or imagined – I moved my tongue over the tip, lapping up the pre cum that dripped from it. My Greek God moaned in response, spurring me to take his length into my mouth, which I inched further and further back until I took all of it in. I sucked and licked and hummed and dragged my teeth away while he writhed and groaned.
Yep, Edward…you'll rate this a ten on a scale of one-to-ten. Wait, this is an eight. Let's make it a ten! Agonizingly slowly, I lifted my jaws from his generous length and he whimpered. My
mouth wrapped around his balls and my hand grasping his penis, I continued to work my magic. Now you'll rate this a ten and as your best blowjob ever. When I heard him squeak that he was about to cum, I positioned my mouth along his slit and pressed my tongue into it before pulling his head back into me. His salty, sweet juices erupted and I sucked and licked until he was dry.
I curled my body around him so that I could clutch Edward's delightfully sweaty body.
"That was, without a doubt, the most amazing orgasm and blowjob I've ever experienced. You are incredible. Will you allow me to thank you properly?"
"I'm all yours."
Shit! Edward abruptly grabbed me into him and began brushing his lips against my own before rolling me onto my back. Oh, yes, Edward Cullen was about to go down on me. Or so I thought. Instead, he littered my neck and chest with kisses. Keep moving down, down, down… He paused on my breasts, nipping at them and biting my nipples, while I yelped with delight. I threw my hands into his hair to slow and steady his ministrations – he grazed too fast. But it didn't matter because he was finally listening to my silent pleas. Edward's face hovered above my wet pussy and I held back the urge to shove it into his lips. His warm breath caused me to shiver and then he tentatively licked me. I gasped at the sensation and he ceased his movement.
"Don't stop," I pleaded. And for seconds, minutes, hours? – I didn't know how long, Edward plunged his tongue into me, along my lips, and across my clit. I could feel my impending orgasm, but suddenly he sank one of his exotically-lengthed fingers into my center. I ached to cum, but I also ached for the friction that he just introduced to continue for a lifetime. My body lost the battle of holding on as all of my muscles clenched before my release.
But he left me wanting for more because his finger and tongue soon retreated from my folds. In a most unexpected maneuver, he rapidly submerged his huge member into me. "Edward!" And then he stopped. "No. Keep going. You feel so fucking perfect in me. Please, never stop." Afraid I would be required to force him to fuck me, I snaked my legs around his torso and drew
him closer to me. The action spurred him on as he began a slow march toward another round of orgasms. I joined him with each thrust, matching his movements.
Our eyes met and unknown urge overtook us both as we began kissing and holding each other close. Edward's hands ran along my face and mine pulled at his hair. Our horizontal dance sped up, my legs around his middle, his arms gripping me against his chest. And before I realized what was happening, we both came, grunts and shouts escaping from our lips. Edward collapsed onto me and our quickened breathing and heartbeats became the lone sounds in the room…
When I awoke from the dream, my sheets were twisted around my feet. Those sheets weren't
needed – my body was covered in a sheen of sweat and my appendages tingled from the orgasm I'd just had. That's when it dawned on me: this morning's brunch managed to jostle my subconscious memories of what happened that night Edward and I were together. Enclosed in the cold darkness of my room, I felt weightless and sated. My lips curled up with the memory. Yes, we both enjoyed ourselves. Previous Next [Add Story to Favorites] [Add Author to Favorites] Name: twilight25 Review: Styles Paragraph Font size
Path: p Use tinyMCE Rating: Note: You may submit either a rating or a review or both. © 2009 - 2010 The Writer's Coffee Shop. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Original Stories belong to the authors on this website. Fanfiction, books, songs, characters and scenes belong to the relevant original authors. No Copyright infringement is intended. Terms of Service | Rules | Contact Us Skin created by KaliChapter Thirteen: Commencement
Sunday and Monday were like any other Sundays or Mondays, with the exception of one thing – Bella. Whether I wanted to forget it or not, her presence in my life had become a necessity. She would influence every decision I would make in my personal and professional life. The rational part of my brain kept wondering the same thing: how could this woman, who had shared little of herself with me, affect me this profoundly after such a short amount of time?
The second I saw Maggie on Monday morning, I instructed her to contact Bella about filling out employee and tax documents. Although we could go over the paperwork on Friday, this would be an excuse to see her earlier. Brunch had gone better than expected and I found myself missing her moments after she left. What
didn't help matters was seeing her with Lizzie and Renee that afternoon – it cemented things for me. The path of my life had shifted irrevocably.
Although I would treat her with the utmost respect as an employee, I would make it my goal to show her my growing admiration with the hope that one day she would see me the way I saw her – as part of my future and as my partner for life. I wished I could erase my earlier doubts of her, which managed to color my treatment of her on Friday. Maybe this would be the one bump in the road to our eventual 'happily ever after'? Only one person could help me with my quandary, but she was still on her honeymoon and I was still peeved at her for sharing her prediction with Carlisle and Esme. I guess I could call in secondary reinforcements for advice.
"Dad, do you think I can join you, mom, and the girls for dinner tonight?"
"Of course. You know Victoria always makes too much food for the four of us – just in case my workaholic son wants to make an appearance. When do you think you'll be done?"
"Umm, I expect to leave around 6:00 so I should be there by 7:00. Is that alright?"
"Sure. Is there a particular reason you'll be joining us for dinner?"
"I need some advice about Bella."
Friday. The day loomed like a shining beacon of my impending idiocy and made me question my decisions since leaving Phoenix.
Friday. The day I would begin moving in with Edward.
Okay, not moving 'in' with Edward, but living under the same roof. Although I couldn't wait for the prospect of waking up every morning to those eyes that penetrated my soul and the face that would make angels weep because of its entire perfection, a big part of me felt trepidation at the prospect. Neither of us mentioned our onenight stand. I didn't know how I would be able to work for him without blushing: between hearing about our night from Emmett, being around Edward's nervous graciousness, and the images from my exceptionally vivid dream, I
realized our night was more than just two hurt souls coming together to grieve.
But now I would wonder many things, some of which were easier to answer than others. Who would mention our sexy time first? Would we get a replay of it? How much time would we spend together away from the girls? How early did he leave for work? Would I see him before he drove to Port Angeles? Would we eat dinners together after his long days in the office? Should I cook something special for him each night, or would he want whatever I fed the twins – if anything at all? And the most important question of all: why couldn't my mind concentrate on Lizzie and Renee – the two who should be the focus of my thoughts?
My dinner with Jake and Leah went as expected, I suppose. Their sickeningly sweet, lovey-dovey shtick gave me an opportunity to lose myself in my own thoughts without seeming rude. Hopefully, Jake didn't think I was a bad friend for not asking about his problem where Leah was concerned, but considering how they were practically humping each other in front of me, I figured everything had worked itself out. Jake agreed to seek a PTO day from work on Friday and help me move. I figured everything I would need would fit easily in the bed of my truck, considering I left Phoenix less than a month earlier.
Had it really been less than a month? The ache in my chest, which I had successfully held at bay for more than a week, erupted with more force than before. My father – my world – was gone. The fire within burned and my tears burst forth.
"I'm sorry, Dad. I'm sorry I wasn't here to tell you how entirely I love you. I was trying to come back. You were always right – I deserved better and I should've stayed in Washington, or at least returned Washington a year earlier. Why did I insist on being stubborn and not listen to you?"
The tears continued until sleep overtook me. After napping for an hour or two, I had the distinct displeasure of waking to lashes that were glued to one another due to my earlier sobs. I stumbled to the kitchen sink to wet a towel to release them. When I checked the time on my phone, I noticed the alert to the missed call and awaiting voicemail. Maggie, Edward's assistant, called in order to schedule an appointment to fill out my tax documents. She hoped I would be free on Wednesday at 10:30. I immediately phoned her – almost two hours
after she called – and let her know the time would work for me.
How long had I dozed? This grief-induced snoozing didn't bode well for my nanny duties with Lizzie and Renee. I wonder whether I could work my fits of tears into their sleep schedule?
I left work early and managed to dodge traffic so that I pulled into my parents' driveway almost half-an-hour early. Like Friday night's dinner, I sulked in the car until Carlisle roused me from my thoughts with a knock on the Volvo's window.
"You coming in?"
I nodded so my father turned and disappeared through the front door. After pulling a deep breath into my lungs, I followed his lead.
"Daddy!" Lizzie and Renee sang in chorus as they tackled me in one of the most heartwarming hugs. I was thankful for having such
admiring girls. How I dreaded puberty; surely their loving disposition now would have a 180degree turn and result in little hellions who I would be forced to ground until they turned 21.
I kissed them each on the forehead and squeezed them tight before releasing them. "What did you and Granny do today?"
The girls gave me a play-by-play of their day, and then they began nagging me about getting a dog. I didn't recall mentioning to the girls whether we might adopt a puppy, so I knew my mother must've been to blame. When I looked up at Esme during their giddy discussion of what they would name the dog, she wouldn't meet my gaze. I decided then that she would be responsible for training the dog, whether she wanted to or not. That'll teach her!
After we gorged on Victoria's homemade spaghetti, garlic bread, and Italian salad, my parents and I retired to their living room to discuss my conundrum, while the girls joined Vic in the kitchen to make some sort of dessert that I was sure would rot everyone's teeth. As soon as I was sure Lizzie and Renee were out of earshot, I announced my reason for coming over.
"I'm worried about living under the same roof as Bella."
"Are you now?" my mother asked, while concealing a grin. These two drove me crazy.
They knew what I wanted to discuss before I did.
"Mother… I can't stop thinking about her. Everything about her calls to me."
"Edward, I know I've told you to tread lightly, but you're both adults," my father stated. This man was beginning to give me whiplash. "Would a relationship between the two of you be such a horrible thing?"
"Uh, yeah. Two reasons: Lizzie and Renee."
"Bella's got a good head on her shoulders. She's going to put their concerns first. If you two decide to succumb to your obvious chemistry, it will only enhance the growing bond you two are developing."
"I may not agree with your father," my mother began before turning towards my father, "And we're not betting on this, so stop encouraging him," she smirked as she focused back to me, "But you two have something between you that you need to figure out. Your happiness is one of our greatest concerns. If she brings joy to your life, then don't avoid it because you're concerned about what may or may not happen and how your daughters may or may not be affected. You've blamed yourself for Angela's death and, as a result, you've been alone for so many years, Edward. That's had an adverse effect on the girls. Start living, dear."
This back and forth with Carlisle and Esme proceeded for another hour. I prayed this talk would somehow squelch my desire for Bella, but I found myself more confused than before. Had my family been correct with their lame attempt at an intervention? Was it time for me to move on with another woman?
Eventually, Lizzie tottered in and declared dessert was served.
"Thanks for watching them," I whispered to Victoria when I joined my girls at the kitchen table.
Smiling, she responded, "You know how much I love your girls. Don't give it another thought."
Well, there was one thing I didn't have to focus on. I wasn't sure what to do about Bella. My father was correct – we had chemistry. The only question was whether I could – or should – stifle it.
Packing had progressed about as well as I expected it to – not at all. My father's admonishing rang throughout my head: Isabella Marie Swan, don't wait until the last minute. You'll regret it. Sometimes I hated it when the 'father knows best' words spoke to me through my conscience. Even though my father could no longer hug me, his words would.
I tried to justify my procrastination to myself that I was moving across town and that I wouldn't be at Edward's seven days a week. I replayed brunch with Edward in my head. Maybe I would stay there every night, after all this house hadn't been mine since I left for college.
"You're the beautiful one."
A happy sigh escaped my lips as he opened the condom package and rolled it down his erection – we weren't taking any chances. Very carefully, Edward entered me, filling me. Once he was deep inside of me, I wrapped my legs around his waist. He grunted and stilled.
"Fuck, Bella. You're so tight."
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