The truth about lies
When Bella’s father dies, he entrusts his friend Billy to raise her. What happens when Bella begins to question everything Billy has taught her? Can a motorcycle riding, tattoo covered Edward show her what life has to offer. Or will the lies that Bella believes end them before they have a chance at love. CC,AH, and as always HEA. Rated M cause that is how life is.
- Chapter 1
Truth about Lies Chapter 1
Have you ever told a lie?
Of course you have, we all have. But have you ever wondered what kind of impact that lie had on the person? Did it change their lives for the good or make is worse? Did it give them comfort or cause pain? In my experience, I have found that there are degrees of lies. The lowest and most common is the little white lie. That’s the one you tell your friend when she gets a new hair cut that is not very flattering on her.
Next is the get out of trouble lie. As you can already guess, you tell that one to your boss or the cop that has just pulled you over. The most significant in my opinion, is the intentional lie. You tell this lie to hurt someone. It’s malicious and can damage relationships.
Lastly, is the lie that can and will change how a person looks at the world around them. Sometimes the person telling the lie does so without really believing it is a lie. They have either invented the story or heard it passed down so many times that they too believe it. The tragic part of this particular lie is it becomes hard to separate the truth from the lie. Sadly, some will never know the entire truth.
My name is Bella and this is how I had to sort through the lies I was told by someone who swore to love and protect me.
My father was a single parent. My mother had taken off in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again. My Nana said she was on a mission from God; lie number one as I remember it. My father was an amazing man; he made certain I never missed any important events in my childhood. However, when I turned twelve, he began to have problems with being tired all the time.
Nana made him go to the doctor and it was then he was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My dad’s doctor told him to travel to Phoenix and see a specialist there. His doctor in Phoenix told him that he had a long road ahead of him, but he felt good about his treatment. We returned to Washington and my father went back to work. Everything returned to normal for a few years.
My father was the chief of police in our small town of Forks. When I say small, I mean one stop light small. Everyone knew everything about you, and what they didn’t know they made up. My dad’s best friend was a man named Billy Black. Billy owned a construction company with his brother-in-law Harry Clearwater. Billy’s son, Jacob, helped him out during the summer and on his other school breaks. Jacob and I didn’t get along, he made fun of me and called me names, and I avoided him at all costs.
When I started my junior year of high school, my dad began to complain of headaches and blurred vision. Nana again insisted that he see the doctor. This time he chose not to listen to her and lied to us both. That lie would change my life and the path I would follow. It changed the way I look at everyday people I meet.
Dad told us that his doctor said he just needs to change his eye glass prescription, which ironically never happened. He also quit complaining of the headaches and we all thought everything was fine. That Christmas, my Nana died in her sleep. She left the house that we lived in to my father and her life insurance to me. My father placed it in an account for me that I wouldn’t have access to until I turned nineteen. This was the last good thing he ever did for me.
Two weeks later, my father was hunting with Billy and Jacob when he collapsed. They life flighted him to Seattle where they were able to stabilize him. The doctor told me that the headaches and blurred vision were related to the bleed he had in his brain. If he had only seen the doctor sooner, they could have prevented this. If I live to be one hundred years old, I will never forget the day I told my father goodbye.
His hands were so cold as I sat and held them. I listened as the beeping of the heart monitor echoed in the room.
“Bella?” My father’s gritty, dry voice spoke.
I looked into his brown eyes, the exact same as mine, only his now had huge purple lines under them and were now dull and empty.
“I’m so sorry baby girl; I should have listened to your Nana.”
A single tear slipped down his pale cheek. There was nothing to stop the river of tears that rolled down mine.
“Please say you forgive me?”
I kissed the hand that I was holding. “Daddy, please don’t talk like that, there is nothing to forgive.”
He began to cough and I looked around for a tissue to hand him. Once his coughing ended, he took several minutes to catch his breath and I waited patiently.
“There is still so much to teach you, so much I wanted to share with you.”
“You are the single most important thing in my life and being your father was the reason I was placed on this earth.” His shaky hand began to wipe the tears away.
“Billy is the only man I can trust to take care of you, teach you the lessons you still need to learn.” I wanted to argue with him, beg him to stay with me.
“He has the paper work already Bella; you have nothing to worry about.”
My father told me he loved me and then fell into a coma. He never regained consciousness and died three days later. His funeral was one of the largest events Forks had ever seen as nearly the entire town showed up for it. Billy gave me space in the days following his funeral.
He and Jacob moved all of my belongings into his house on the reservation. To this day, I don’t understand why he did that as his house was only a one bedroom and he and Jacob slept in the living room. Living in the same house with Jake made the days seem long and the nights even longer. He took every opportunity to be mean to me, one being syrup in my shampoo, was his favorite.
I returned to school two weeks later. The administration chose not to have me make up my work only to progress from where the rest of my class was. The summer between my Junior and senior year, I volunteered at our local hospital. It wasn’t much, but it gave me an insight as to what I wanted to be when I graduated.
I turned eighteen during my senior year. I told Billy that I wanted to move back to my house in town but he forbid it. He told me he swore to keep me safe and he couldn’t do that if I didn’t live under his roof.
Things began to change between Billy and me after my birthday. He stopped calling me Bella and started calling me sweetheart. He would hit Jake when he did mean things to me. He even began to bring me gifts, like wild flowers and tiny trinkets. The most expensive gift he got for me should have sent red flags up for me, but it didn’t. He bought me a new queen size bed and told me that a woman should have a bed fit for a queen. I just thought he was making up for Jacob’s bad behavior.
It was right before Thanksgiving when I woke to a strange sound. I found Billy standing in my room at the foot of my bed. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he thought he heard me call his name. I told him I was fine and he could go back to bed. After that night, I never slept soundly again.
It was during dinner that week when he made his true intentions perfectly clear. Most of Jacob’s friends had come over to watch football and eat. I had forgotten to get the cranberry sauce out of the refrigerator and headed back into the kitchen. I turned to head back to the table and found Billy blocking me in the kitchen.
“Sweetheart, you don’t know the things you do to me.” His eyes were locked on mine and I could feel the fear trapping me where I stood.
“I swore to Charlie that I would make you the most important person in my life and Bella, I love you. Not like a father, but as a husband should love his bride.”
I could feel the vomit rising in my throat. Billy was at least ten years older than my father had been. I had trusted my father’s decision to let Billy take care of me.
Before I knew what was happening, Billy took my face in his hands and kissed me. It wasn’t soft or loving; it was just lips together and moaning from his throat. I never even closed my eyes.
After that, I was expected to sit beside him as he would place his arm around me. The boys in town left me alone, I felt completely alone. Looking back, I wanted to shake myself. Shout at the shell of a girl I was that this wasn’t normal. I didn’t have to be with a man because he said so. However, I reminded myself that the few years following the death of the only two people who truly loved me caused me to not think rationally.
I graduated in June from high school. There was no large party or brightly wrapped gifts. There was take out dinner from the gas station on the corner and Billy kissing my face and lips after he finished eating. During my volunteering at the local hospital, I decided that I wanted to become a nurse. I discussed this with Billy and at first he was hesitant. When Harry heard about it he reminded Billy that the clinic on the reservation would need a good nurse. Billy allowed me to enroll at the community college and pursue an associated degree in nursing.
Billy made it a point of informing me that since I was an adult, there would be more things he expected out of me. First, I was to make sure the house was clean and the cooking done. More things changed in the weeks following. Billy would question me every day when I would return home from class if any boys were interested in me. I told him there were no boys in any of my classes. It was a lie, but it was easier than listening to him telling me the evils of young men.
“Bella, young men have only one thing they want from a girl like you. They are out to hurt you. Get what they need and then discard you.”
Thanksgiving rolled around again. Billy proudly boasted that his Bella would make the dinner. The night before, he told me that he was getting rid of his bookkeeper and that paying his bills was now my job. He would still take care of the household bills, but his business accounts would now be done by me.
“Bella that is what having a woman in the house is for. When the time comes for me to give you a ring, you will need to be able to handle running my office.”
So I began to keep track of his business dealings. I continued to attend classes and even took some over the summer. Jacob was always out running around with his friends to all hours of the night. However, when I asked to go to a movie or shopping, I was told I had to stay home. I asked why it was alright for Jacob to run around and yet not me. “Boys can’t get pregnant.” I was told.
I was in my third month of clinical when I overheard a conversation between two other nurses. I was waiting for Jacob to pick me up, because he had been working on my car.
“I’m telling you Jane, he had the most amazing tongue and I nearly gagged when I took him in my mouth.” The nurse I knew to be Jessica spoke to her friend as she drank her coffee.
“You are so lucky. Jeff is so damn tiny that I can’t even feel it when he’s inside me.”
Her statement got my attention. I knew from one of my classes that oral sex was something that couples shared. That night I asked my neighbor Sue about oral sex.
“Any woman who puts her mouth on a man’s parts like that is a whore. And any woman who would allow a man to get his face near her like that is just as bad. Don’t ever let a man disgrace you like that Bella.”
I continued to hear Jessica and Jane have many conversations like that one as my clinical continued. I was so confused as Jessica only talked about the same man. Wasn’t a whore someone who slept around with different guys? I tossed it to the back of my mind as getting through nursing school was all I wanted at the moment. I never once thought Billy would lie to me.
When I was a few weeks away from graduation, Billy brought an application home. It was for the clinic on the reservation. I tried to act excited. I just didn’t want to work in a clinic that only treated cuts and scrapes. With a heavy heart, I filled out the information and attached my current resume.
Fate had to be watching out for me that day as I had no more than handed the paperwork to Billy that the local news reported the closing of the clinic on the reservation. Seems some illegal activity had been going on and the government was investigating. Billy had wanted me to wait until it re-opened and I neither agreed nor disagreed. I just stay silent.
Weeks went by and there was no word as to when the clinic would open. Many of the locals said that they liked going to the doctors in Forks anyway because the care was better. Billy wouldn’t budge, he told me to wait.
It was a Thursday when my world made a drastic shift. I had cleaned the house, done laundry and even had a roast in the crock-pot. I had just gathered all of the bills and was about to make out checks to be paid. As I did the mundane job of opening envelope after envelope, I nearly missed the blue and white envelope.
It was a Zale’s jewelry store credit card bill. When I looked it over, I noticed that the one and only charge was two weeks ago. It was for one thousand dollars and for a ring. I quickly took the serial numbers off the credit card bill and entered them into the website for Zale’s. My eyes became huge as I looked at the diamond engagement ring. He intended to marry me.
Billy would never know the amount of fire he lit in me that day.
A/ So this is my new fiction. I know it seems like Bella is naive, and she most defiantly is. She is going to learn about the real world around her and not the one that Billy and Sue created for her. I love to hear your thoughts and who knows, maybe I will add one of your experiences into this fiction.
- Chapter 2
“Bella, I’m home!”
Every day he enters the house with the exact same greeting. I can set my watch to when that door will open.
“Are you sick? I don’t smell dinner cooking.”
That was my role, feed him, pick up after him and take care of his paper work. I wanted more.
The sound of his boots clomping on the floor announced his arrival. He would tell the boys to pick up their feet; however, he dragged his every step.
‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ Was always his comeback.
“Hey, did you not hear me?
I looked into his face, the same face I had looked at day after day. Somehow with what I uncovered, it looked different to me, unfamiliar….unfriendly.
“Yes, I heard you.” My voice was calm and even.
“Then answer me!” His clipped tone rebounded off the walls. In the past I would have flinched and hurried to do whatever he had demanded of me.
“No.” My eyes locked with his, my spine straight, my courage strong.
He turned from the open refrigerator and looked at me with shock covering his face. He couldn’t even respond to what I had just said.
“Billy, we need to have a discussion.” I patted the seat beside me, giving him a gentle smile.
“Damn right we need to talk. I didn’t raise you to sass me.”
Pulling the chair out aggressively he pulled the pop top on his can of beer; the carbonation making a hissing sound.
I picked up the credit card bill and placed it next to his beer. My eyes never left his face as I slid the print off of the ring I found on the website. “I was paying your bills when I found this today.”
He looked at the picture and then took a long pull from the beer, leaning back in his chair as he belched loudly.
“Yeah, so it’s a ring. A man gives a ring to the gal he is gonna marry.” He shrugged nonchalantly.
His words held no emotion, his thoughts were no different if he had been changing the oil in the car or throwing a horseshoe during a game. This was just another step he had to take, no thought of feelings behind it, no love or passion for the one he would ask.
“Billy, I’m not ready to get married.”
“There you go sassing me again. You sleep in a bed that I provide for you. Eat food that I pay for. It’s expected for us to get married. I already have an appointment with the council for next week.”
“Then you will be going alone.” My statement clearly angered him as he shoved the bills that I had in piles to pay across the table and onto the floor.
“I knew letting you go off to that school was the wrong thing to do. College isn’t for people like you, Bella.”
His statement caught me off guard….people like me?
“What does that even mean, people like me?”
Truthfully, his words stung a little. I have lived in this house for years. Did he not consider me to be a part of his family? Was I not important?
“A woman. You have a job right here in this house, not out there flaunting yourself to every Tom, Dick or Harry. You have a life here in this house!” He slammed his hand down on the table, the remaining pieces of paper falling to the floor.
Now I was angry. It was alright for me to go to nursing school if it meant I could return and service the people in this town, but not the people, specifically men anywhere else. My job, because I am a woman, is to be under his foot?
I pushed my chair back and left the table. He wasn’t going to listen to anything I had to say so this conversation was pointless. I made my way to my bedroom; his shouting for me to get back fell on deaf ears. I pulled out my back pack that I had used to carry all of my school books and began to fill it with the few clothes I had. Pictures of my parents and the little money I had saved from odd jobs I had done over the years. I heard the sound of the back door open, shut and I prayed it was Billy leaving.
A moment later, Sue Clearwater appeared at the door, “What in the hell is going on in here? I can hear Billy screaming all the way from my kitchen.”
Sue had been our next door neighbor for as long as I have lived here. Her husband was Billy’s brother and business partner. She was also the most nosiest person you have ever met.
“You tell me Sue, you know everything around here.” My tone was clipped, but I didn’t care. I wanted to leave this place in my rear-view mirror.
“Now listen here Missy, you don’t get to talk to me that way.”
I spun around tossing my backpack over my shoulder. “Oh really? How would you like me to speak to you?”
She tried to grab the bag from my shoulder, but I pulled back and walked quickly around her.
“How can you do this? After all he has done for you, break his heart the way you are doing?”
I stopped at the door frame, looking over my shoulder, “Leaving is what children do when they grow up. Go out into the world and find themselves, not marry the man they consider their fathers.”
I watched as her mouth opened and closed like a fish, “But….”
“It’s alright Sue. I’m certain that Zale’s’ can make that ring fit you. I know you have always wanted to warm Billy’s bed, well now here is your chance.”
I didn’t look back as I began to hike down the road. It was only a mile to the general store where I could call my friend from school to come get me. The more steps I took the freer I felt. I had traveled this very road thousands of times; however, today I decided that this is how Dorothy felt as she walked down the yellow brick road.
Sam’s general store was the only place for miles here on the reservation. The highway that it stood alongside was the dividing line between government and tribal land. Due to the density of the trees, cell service was hit or miss out here. Sam kept a pay phone for travelers who needed help with broken cars or other emergencies.
I placed my back pack on the ground as I dug the folded up piece of paper I had from the first day of clinical. Tucking the receiver between my ear and shoulder, I dropped a quarter and listened for the dial tone. Pressing the numbers on the phone, I was surprisingly calm. I needed this, to get out and find myself, be responsible for providing for myself, see what wonders the outside world had to offer.
The phone rang three times before the soft voice of my friend sounded in my ear.
“Hi, is this Alice?”
“Yes this is Alice, who is this?”
“Oh good….Alice, this is Bella, Bella Swan, from school?”
Suddenly I was nervous, I wished I had interacted more with my fellow students instead of off at a table to myself, listening to their conversations. Alice had been a whirl wind the moment I met her. She was always organizing parties and study sessions. She would also bring coffee to early morning rounds and donuts on really cold days. She had given me her number right before graduation and told me if I ever needed anything I should give her a call.
“Yes, Bella how are you? Did you start working on the reservation yet?”
Alice had the ability to remember things that normal people would forget. I told her about the reservation prior to its closing. She also suspected I didn’t want to work there.
“I’m good, I guess. Um…listen I know you said if I ever needed anything to give you a call and I know that sometimes people say that and don’t really mean it, but I’m hoping that you did.”
Alice began to laugh, “Of course I meant it silly, how can I help?”
So I told her my story, most of it anyway, I left out how my pseudo father was going to ask me to marry him.
“So you see Alice, I need a place to live and a job…well, the works.”
“Well Bella, today is your lucky day as I am currently in Port Angeles getting my official transcripts. I’ve decided to pursue a career as a nurse practioner. I can be in La Push in an hour. I’ll take you back to my house and we can get you settled?”
Alice came from a medical family with both of her parents being physicians; so it always surprised me that she didn’t go off to a major university. I overheard her once tell our professors that her parents were more than willing to send her to any nursing program she wanted. She checked around and found the cost of a few universities and then she looked at Port Angeles. She asked her parents to give her the money for the higher priced universities and with what she paid in tuition here she was able to purchase her dream car as well.
“I’ll be there in less than an hour. Oh my gosh Bella! This is going to be so much fun!”
She ended the call before I could say anything else. I sat down at one of the picnic tables they had and waited for Alice to drive up. True to her word, forty minutes later her bright yellow Porsche was screaming to a stop, dust flying all around.
“Come on Bella! We’re burning day light!”
Alice never stopped talking the entire trip to Seattle. She told me that she had been on the phone with her mother who insisted that I stay with them.
“Alice, I don’t want to impose and be in the way, just drop me off at a hotel and I can find my way.”
“Seriously Bella, my mom would flip if I did that. She is looking forward to having another female in the house, besides my father wants to meet you. He is looking for a nurse to work in their clinic.”
A small part of me became slightly excited; however, I tried to remember that I wanted to do this on my own. On the other hand, I did need a job and it never hurt to use the resources available to you.
I expected her parent’s clinic to be this architectural master piece, with glass walls and a perfectly manicured lawn. Although, when we pulled behind a building that had graffiti covering the back and bars on the windows and doors, that thought flew right out of the window. I followed Alice around the building and passed a line of people waiting to get in. She said hello to many of them and several ladies hugged her. A man who had his arm in a cast held the door open for us, tipping his head as I walked by.
“Thank you.” I smiled at him.
“Bella, always be nice to people, you never know when you may need their help.” I remember when Nana Swan and I would be out grocery shopping and she would give me pieces of advice. She was always right.
The waiting area was just as crowded and I looked around the room at the various types of people; from crying infants, to elderly men and women. Some were sitting in plastic chairs while others leaned against the wall or sat on the dirty floor.
One particular woman had her head hung low and I could only see the curtain of dark hair that hid her face. Her skin was pale and her hands were holding something to her face. As I passed by her, I noticed a trail of blood that was running down her arm. The nurse in me reacted and I tossed my bag to the floor and got Alice’s attention.
“Ma’am?” I called to her, but didn’t get a response.
Clearing the distance by stepping over several people, I gently raised her head to find her eyes had rolled to the back of her head and her nose was bleeding into the towel she held to her face. Alice appeared at my side and handed me a pair of gloves which I didn’t even really think about before. I began to apply pressure to the bridge of her nose while I tilted her head back.
“We need some help here!” I shouted.
Seconds later, her body began to convulse and I was forced to help her avoid any further injuries. It was then I noticed her protruding stomach; she was very pregnant. My suspicion was that she had preeclampsia. Her seizure would stop once the baby was delivered. But until that happened, the seizure would only get worse. She needed a hospital fast.
Next thing I knew, a very masculine voice was beside me helping to place her on a stretcher. The paramedics were there and began to get vital signs on her. The masculine voice beside me belonged to a very handsome middle-aged man. He had a white t-shirt and blue jeans with a stethoscope around his neck. He began to tell the paramedics who the young woman was as they quickly rushed her out the door. After the door closed and everyone seemed to resume to what they had been doing, I picked up my backpack and asked Alice where the sink was.
She led me to an area just off the waiting area where there was a sink and a long counter. I removed the bloody gloves and washed my hands in hot soapy water. I could feel the sweat running down my face and back, a side effect of the adrenalin rush I just had.
“Alice, is this the friend you told me about?” The masculine voice was back and standing in the doorway.
“Hey daddy, yes this is Bella.”
Even with what had just happened, she was still dancing off the walls. Alice’s dad took a few steps over to hug his daughter. His eyes then met mine.
“Bella, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” His hand out stretched.
“Thank you, sir.” I smiled and shook his hand.
“Well, it’s nice to know my new nurse can tell the difference between an emergency and something that can clearly wait.”
My eyes became huge as I looked between him and Alice.
“Although her ability to say thank you needs work.” He replied as he began to laugh along with Alice.
Carlisle Cullen, as I found out, had me move over to an area he called his office. It had two plastic chairs and a small desk. He told me he and his wife ran several clinics in the Seattle area. This one that was open two days a week and one that was closer to downtown that was open every day.
His soon to be son-n-law, Dr. Whitlock, ran that facility. Dr. Cullen told me he would rather care for people who really needed him, yet had little to no money to pay. He explained they saw a variety of things in this and another clinic that was a few miles away. It wasn’t unheard of to have a gunshot wound come in from time to time.
My heart began to beat wildly and I hoped he wasn’t kidding about being his new nurse. Real medicine with real patients was a dream come true for me.
We discussed salary and what he expected out of me. I tried not to let the money frighten me, but it was more than I expected.
“So I understand you left home just today, am I correct?” His face was warm and friendly. I’m sure his patients felt at ease with him.
“Yes sir, I felt it was time for me to make it on my own.”
“Well I’m certain there is more to the story than just that. As long as you’re not running from the authorities, you have just landed yourself a job as my nurse.”
I shook my head quickly as I thanked him. “No sir, never been in trouble with the authorities, my father was in law enforcement.”
Carlisle explained that when we worked in the free clinics, he wanted me to dress in jeans and t- shirts. He told me to only wear white t-shirts as this was an area that some pretty dangerous gangs hung out. He didn’t want me to be mistaken for belonging to one of them and possibly get shot and killed. When we worked in the downtown office, they had a uniform for me to wear that was a little more upscale.
Alice had a few things for her father to sign pertaining to her application to a nurse practioner’s school, so I decided to take a look around and see if I could lend a hand to anyone. The waiting room was nearly empty and so I began to straighten chairs and pick up some trash that was left behind. As I rose up, I noticed a woman standing by the gas station next door.
She had two small children and she must have just spilled her groceries, because her oranges were rolling down the broken side walk. I exited the building and ran over to help her. Once I helped her get her things back in order, I noticed a used car lot across the street. I crossed the street and made my way to Jim’s used cars.
‘No credit needed, everyone drives.’ His lot looked organized with balloons hanging off every car. I noticed a really cute two door car that had 2000 cash written on the wind shield. I had enough to buy the car so I could get to work every day.
“Hello pretty lady, what can I help you with?” The man was clean cut and wearing a suit and tie. His smile was welcoming and he had such good manners.
“Always trust a man who wears a suit.”
When Billy’s business fell into the red one year, he took me with him to the bank to get a loan. I remember him telling me this as we left the bank, cash in hand.
“Hi, I’m looking at buying this car.” I pointed to the blue two door.
“Oh, this one? Yes, she is a beauty. One owner, the grandmother who owned this, only drove it to church and the bank. I’ll even knock off three hundred bucks since you are so pretty.”
I knew he was buttering me up. Car salesmen used tactics like this to make a sale. However, if he was willing to take three hundred off, then I could afford to have a mechanic look at it. I have watched enough Judge Judy to know you should have a used car checked out before you buy it.
“Hey Bella, I was wondering where you ran off to.” Alice came running up behind me and placed her arm around my waist.
“Hey Alice, do you know a good mechanic?” I looked to the salesman and watched his smile fall.
“Actually I do, my cousin is a mechanic and his shop isn’t far from here.”
Turns out the sales guy was actually the owner, so Jim, Alice, and I piled into the car and made our way over to Alice’s cousin’s shop. As I turned the corner, I was shocked to go from run down homes to Porsche dealerships.
“The second driveway on the left Bella.” Alice called from the back seat.
‘E and E Automotive’ was written in big bold letters on the sign. When I pulled into the lot, a ding-ding sounded announcing my arrival. When I shifted the car into park, I noticed two very shiny motorcycles.
“Men who ride motorcycles belong to hells angels. They are dangerous men who will rape and kill you.”
Billy’s voice blared in my head. We had passed a line of men on motorcycles one afternoon when we had gone to pick up supplies. I had made a comment about how loud they were.
My heart rate increased and I nearly started the car back up. However, Alice was pushing against the back seat to get out. Jim looked nervous; he must have seen the motorcycles too. With Alice so excited, I opened the door and quickly got out. Alice ran up to the open garage door yelling for E.
I slowly walked in the direction that Alice had disappeared to.
“Hey Miss Bella, I’ll knock another five hundred off if you forgo this inspection.” Jim said from beside me. I was about to agree when Alice came back dragging a very tall man who was trying to wipe his hands on a red cloth that I had seen Jacob use when he worked on the cars for the business.
“Bella, this is my cousin Edward, but we all call him E. E this is my best friend, Bella Swan. She is Daddy’s new nurse.”
I looked to her cousin, fear running throughout my body. There he stood in blue jeans and a black tank top. His arms decorated in tattoos.
“Tattoos are for gang members, stay away from people who have tattoos.” Again Billy’s words shouted in my head.
“E is that the new bike you bought?” Alice was now standing beside one of the motorcycles that I noticed when I first pulled up. I slowly began to take steps back to the car. Maybe if I got out of here quick enough, I would be safe.
I watched as she got on her tippy toes and straddled the motorcycle. Did she not know what kind of man she was dealing with?
“James Hunter.” E’s voice startled me and made me stop my escape.
“Hello Mr. Masen.” Jim’s voice was full of fear and I couldn’t blame him. We were standing in a parking lot with a member of the Hells Angels. I knew they were a gang, so there must be more of them around here. When Billy first told me about them, I came across a documentary on the history channel. No two words about it, they were a very tough gang.
“Seems you didn’t heed my warning from the last time I saw this car.”
I looked to a very nervous Jim who was now looking at his feet.
“Let me guess James, brake fluid mixed in with the transmission fluid.”
Jim only nodded his head, his eyes still focused on his feet.
“Did you change that odometer back like I told you?”
Jim only shook his head, still not looking up.
“Let me further guess that you called her pretty and offered to take a few hundred off the top, a little more if she didn’t have me look at it?”
My mouth was now open and closing like a dying fish. How did he know all of this?
“Ms. Swan, I’m glad Alice brought you over. This man who wears his fancy suits and has a way with pretty words is an ex-convict, James Hunter. He has been in and out of prison for most of his life for taking advantage of honest people such as yourself.”
I couldn’t breathe, he was a criminal. He looked so honest in his nice suit, the way he carried himself, and his polite words. I didn’t understand.
“Now we can add liar to the long list of crimes you have committed.”
I looked to E who had his hands on his hips looking directly at me. His eyes were so green and intense, his jaw firm and chiseled and he was like no man I had ever seen.
“I could overlook the fact that you are still conning people, but you called Ms. Swan pretty which is a lie; she is gorgeous.”
Seems Mr. Masen had some issues with lying as well. I am far from gorgeous. Billy told me several times that I had very plain features. I looked in the mirror every day and I knew this to be true.
“Now Bella, if you are in need of a reliable car I have one that I can sell you very cheap. It’s not much to look at, but it won’t break down either.”
I smiled as I thanked E. With my luck today, I would get pulled over and they would find the drug stash that he had forgotten to remove. He owned a motorcycle and was covered in tattoos. That made him a man I would need to avoid. Although, Jim had fooled me too, I guess even criminals know you can’t always trust a man in a suit.
So we have Edward. Bella isn’t going to make this easy for him. As you have read already, she has gotten some very wrong advice from people she thought she could trust.
- Chapter 3
E insisted that Jim or James take his car back to the lot. He told him he would be talking to his parole officer. Carlisle showed up and offered us a lift. I was never so happy to see someone in my life. On the way to their house, Carlisle had to stop and get gas. I took the opportunity to grab a local paper. I wanted to find a place of my own and soon. Just as I paid for the newspaper, I noticed a handmade sign with the words:
‘Garage apartment for rent. All utilities included, off street parking. Call Mike or Jessica.’
I quickly took one of the tear off tabs that were along the bottom. I would call as soon as I got to the Cullen’s house. The owner Mike was very eager for me to see the apartment. He said it was furnished and move in ready. Alice told me that she was spending the next day with Jasper, but that I could use her car.
As I pulled up to the address that Mike had given me, I was surprised to see a very well kept home with a manicured lawn. From the drive way, I could see the garage and the apartment above. I got out of Alice’s car and walked to the front door. A man about my age opened the door and introduced himself as Mike Newton. He was a handsome man, six foot I would guess, with blonde hair and deep blue eyes.
“You must be Bella? Come on around and let’s show you the apartment.”
I smiled as I shook his hand and walked around the side of the house and up the stairs to the apartment. I noticed that the door had two locks, one on the door knob and a dead bolt above it. Although the neighborhood was nice, I knew that the clinic I would be working in was only four blocks away.
Mike opened the door and you could smell the fresh paint and cleaning products. The space wasn’t large but it would only be me living here. The living room was nothing special with a couch, a table with a small lamp and the small kitchen to the left. Across the way was a small bedroom with a bath attached.
“Its four hundred a month and that includes utilities. I require first and last month’s rent and we will have you on a month to month basis. That has worked best in the past.”
Mike went on to tell me that the grocery store was within walking distance and the bus stop was on the corner. I loved it, it was perfect.
“I’ll take it.” I handed Mike the cash and he wrote me out a receipt along with the keys. He smiled as he began to walk out of the door leaving me to my new home.
“Oh and Bella?…If you need anything, and I do mean anything you know where to find me.”
Mike was a very nice guy who I hoped I wouldn’t have to call on very often. I needed to get Alice’s car back to her and my things moved in. Today was Sunday and I would start my new job tomorrow. I thanked Carlisle for allowing me to sleep at their house and he told me I could come back at anytime.
I took a taxi back to my apartment, my apartment, how wonderful that sounded. Carlisle had given me a cell phone; he wanted to be able to get in touch with me immediately. I thanked him and then climbed into the back seat of the taxi.
I found the little store that Mike had told me about. I walked down and grabbed a few things to make for dinner as well as my lunch tomorrow. I had just pulled out a pan of brownies when there was a knock at the front door. Leaving the chain attached, I peered around the door to see Mike standing on the stairs.
“Just thought I would check on you Bella, can I come in?”
I smiled as I removed the chain and let him in.
“Wow something smells amazing.” He said as he closed the door behind him.
It was then I noticed the bottle of crown in his hand; the smell of it finally reaching my nose.
“Um yeah… I made brownies for my coworkers tomorrow. Thought I would have something to break the ice so to speak.”
I was a nervous laugher, always had been. Mike was starting to make me nervous, so the giggles came out.
“Well aren’t you just Ms. Suzie homemaker.” His free hand came up to trail down my cheek, the smell of the alcohol overpowering me. I took a few steps back.
“Oh darling, you don’t have to be frightened of me. Now come on let’s have a drink to celebrate you moving in and your new job.” He placed the bottle on the counter, but not before taking a large swig.
Billy had always drank at night when he was home, it never bothered me. He used to say, “People who go to bars are sinning in the eyes of god. Only drunkards go to bars.”
“You know Bella…if you are strapped for cash we could work out an arrangement. You scratch my back and I scratch yours?” His cold finger ran up my arm sending chills down my back.
I knew exactly what he wanted. I hadn’t done that since just after my eighteenth birthday and I certainly didn’t want to do it with this man. It was Sue’s voice this time that I heard,
“Men only want one thing from you. Once they get it they move on.”
I moved away from him and pulled my phone out of my back pocket. I would call the police if I had to. I began to press buttons trying to get the key pad to come up. The phone making several beeps, but all I could see was a red flashing dot on the screen.
“Oh kinky Bella, I love it.” Mike grabbed my hand and tried to place his lips on mine. I shoved him away, dropping my phone in the process.
“I think it’s time for you to leave Mike, go home and sleep this off.”
I walked around him and opened the door. I watched as he staggered back outside. I shut the door tight behind him locking it. I crossed the room and picked my cell phone back up. It was then that I figured out I had managed to record everything that had just happened. I would keep it around just in case he did anything like that again.
I cleaned up from the brownies I had made and packed them in my backpack. I was about to crawl into bed when again someone was pounding on my door.
“Open up you stupid bitch!” It was Mike again.
“I said to go home Mike.”
“You don’t get to tell me what the fuck to do! Now open up!”
I began to worry that he had a second set of keys. I hoped the chain would keep him out.
He pounded a couple more times and I heard the sound of a bottle breaking against the door; then the sound of something hitting the stairs.
I moved closer to the door and listened but I couldn’t hear anything. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a frying pan. With the pan in my hands I slowly opened the door. The deck was covered in broken glass and the smell of alcohol was so strong. I looked down the stairs to see Mike flat on his back trying to get up. Grabbing my phone, I quickly took several pictures of the door, deck, and Mike at the bottom of the stairs.
I went back inside and started packing my things. I called a taxi and once I saw them parked in the driveway, I left the apartment and walked around a still struggling Mike. Tossing the keys on his chest, I stepped over him.
“Consider that my 30 day notice.”
The taxi driver was an older gentleman. He asked me where to and I thought for just a second. I could go back to the Cullen’s house or I could really try to do this on my own. In the end, I instructed him to take me to a safe hotel close by. He smiled and placed the car in reverse.
“Glad to see a young lady sticking up for herself. You don’t ever take that kind of treatment from any man.”
I smiled and thanked him, placing his advice safely with the others.
Monday morning I arrived at the clinic as Carlisle had asked me to. His red truck was parked in the rear so I knew he was here. I made my way into the office to find patients lined up as they had been last week. I didn’t waste time as I quickly jumped in and began helping them.
My coworkers loved my brownies and they did their job as breaking the ice for conversations. It was just before lunch when a very angry woman came through the doors. She was very pretty with long brown hair and sunglasses covering her eyes. She marched over to the check in desk, shoving a patient who was also trying to check in.
“I need to speak with Bella Swan.” She hissed at the receptionist.
I placed the chart that I had in my hand on the counter and walked over to her. I didn’t want her to upset the patients who were waiting to be seen. They had enough to deal with.
“I’m Bella, what can I help you with?”
Her faced flashed to mine and she quickly removed her sunglasses revealing a black and blue eye.
“You can stay away from my husband that is what you can do.”
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea who her husband was.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t catch your name.” I said calmly to her.
And like a bucket of ice water thrown into my face that name haunted me again.
“He told me how you came onto him and when he turned you down, you shoved him down the stairs.”
I couldn’t help myself as I began to giggle.
“Mrs. Newton come with me, I have something to show you.”
She was corporative and followed me back to the break room. I pulled my phone out of my back pocket and found the video clip I had. “You may change your mind when you watch this.”
Her fingers held the phone and I watched her eyes as they dilated while she watched the clip. You could see her face turn from anger to sadness.
“That’s not all, I have the pictures of how he broke a bottle against the door and then fell down the steps, he was drunk Mrs. Newton.”
She raised her eyes to mine, handing me back the phone. Anger was now radiating off her.
“I’m sorry Bella I really thought this time was different.”
I placed my hand on her shoulder, “Did he do this to you?” Indicating to her black eye.
“No, I work for my uncle and he has a horse ranch. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking, stepped on the metal end of a garden rake and it swung up and caught me in the eye.”
She began to laugh and I joined her, “Maybe I should tell people he did it, sounds less stupid huh?”
I gave her a hug and she gave me my money back from the apartment. She gave me her number and said she would give me a reference for my next apartment.
I hadn’t noticed Carlisle was standing in the doorway while I spoke with Jessica. He crossed the room and gave me a hug. The hug reminded me of the ones my dad gave me, full of love and understanding. I had missed them more than I realized.
“So, you will be moving back to my harem huh?
I laughed, “Dr. Cullen it isn’t a harem if you’re related to two of the women there.”
“Hey, let an old man have his dreams. I would really like you to come back.”
I gave him a pleading look with my eyes. I wanted to be on my own, do things for myself.
“Alright, I can see you are determined. However, I will tell you that a certain nephew of mine is waiting to speak with you.”
I was more than shocked, why would….. Oh god, Hells Angel had found me.
I slowly walked back to the lab. E was standing against the counter, laughing with one of the kids who were getting stitches in his hand. He had fallen down in an alley and his hand landed on a broken bottle. E was making him laugh while they stitched him up.
“Alex, you are doing great buddy.” E said as he kept the little boy’s attention. He had his arm out letting Alex look at the tattoos that lined it.
“My brother has one kind of like this one.” He was pointing at what looked like a face of a dog.
“He is a marine; he’s in Afghanistan right now.”
I had never really thought about members of the military having tattoos. I knew they weren’t in gangs, they had no time. Furthermore, why would someone in a gang want a picture of a dog on his arm?
“Well this is Bruiser; he was my dog when I was younger. He died a few years ago and I wanted to have him with me always. So I had his picture tattooed on my arm so I can see him where I want to.”
Alex continued to look at E’s arm asking him about a foot print, the name Nathan was under the footprint.
“Nathan was my baby brother; he died when I was twelve. He and Bruiser are in heaven together.”
Alex looked at the footprint tracing it with his index finger. I watched as E continued to tell him stories about both of his arms.
“Alright Alex you’re all finished.”
Everyone looked at his bandaged hand. Alex was so occupied with E’s tattoos that he never felt the stitches.
Tanya was one of the physician’s assistants who worked here and she had been the one to stitch him up. She was drop dead gorgeous with a skinny body. She was also sweet too from what I have seen. She reached into a drawer and pulled out a lollypop and gave it to Alex. He jumped off the chair and had E unwrap it.
“Alex you take care of that hand alright, and no more running with your shoes untied!” Tanya shouted to him as he dashed down the hall.
“You’ve got to love kids, not a lick of fear in them.” Tanya laughed as she cleaned up the area.
“I know what you mean, there are days that I wished I was more like them.”
E looked to me and then pulled a large bouquet of roses from the table beside him. I was so engrossed in watching him interact with Alex that I missed them.
“Bella, I feel like I offended you somehow the other day. I’ve gone over and over our conversation and I can’t seem to figure out how I did it.”
I wanted to tell him it wasn’t anything he said I just didn’t want to hang around someone who planned to hurt me.
“I was raised to apologize when I wronged someone, so these are for you.” He passed the roses in my direction. “I also wanted to know if I can take you to dinner.”
I held the flowers, their wonderful fragrance filling the air around me. The silkiness of the petals, the dazzle of the colors with each one symbolizing something different. I thought of how roses were beautiful to look at but had thorns as a warning to stay away. Was there a correlation between the roses and E? Was he a rough exterior, with beauty to admire? Or was he rotten to the core?
“E that is a very generous offer, but I have to decline. The roses which are truly beautiful are also completely unnecessary. You said nothing to offend me.”
I watched as his eyes shifted between mine. His body never moving, but he was pondering something. I was certain that I didn’t want to know.
Alice had brought in boxes of pizzas late in the afternoon. Carlisle explained that many of our patients didn’t have food at home. So once in a while, he would have something delivered so that he knew they at least ate today.
“Bella, I so have to talk with you.” She grabbed my arm and dragged me outside. For someone so small she was a force to be wrecken’ with.
“E asked you out and you said no, why?”
I looked at her with surprise and then responded, “Yes, he came by with flowers, said he was sorry and then asked me to dinner. Alice I just got here and I don’t even have a home yet. Going to dinner with your cousin is the last thing on my mind.”
She placed her hands on her hips and gave me a look that scared me to death. “Be honest with me Bella, is that the only reason you said no?”
I hated being lied to and I hated telling lie. Alice was a friend who had helped me more in the past few days then some people did my whole life.
Sighing heavily, “No, it isn’t.”
Alice looked at me waiting for me to continue until finally I couldn’t take her eyes staring me down any longer.
“Alright Alice, I’ll tell you.” I told her about Billy’s warning against tattoos and motorcycles. I watched as her face contorted then she doubled over laughing.
“Are you serious?” She shrieked.
I was a little offended that she was laughing at me.
“Bella, you are a college educated woman, you cannot possibly believe that every person who has a tattoo is a ruthless killer, or every guy who rides a bike is in Hells Angels.”
I was near tears as she continued to laugh at me.
“Come here, I want to show you something.”
She pulled my hand so rough that I was tripping down the hall. She was moving so fast that I was scared we were going to end up falling and needing stitches like Alex did.
“Daddy?” Alice called. Carlisle responded from the back of the clinic where the medication was housed.
She rounded the corner coming to a halt before we collided with Carlisle.
“Whoa….where is the fire sweetheart?” Carlisle chuckled.
“Bella, do you find my dad to be a good man?”
I looked to Alice then to Carlisle. What was she trying to do?
“Yes, he’s a very good man. He is helping the community by treating them for free.”
Alice began to walk back and forth between Carlisle and myself, like an attorney in a court room.
“And would you ever think he could belong to a motorcycle gang?”
I scoffed at the thought. Carlisle was a physician, a man sworn to treat the sick and injured.
“No, I wouldn’t.”
“Daddy can I show her your arm and back, please.” Alice asked, excitement coloring her features now.
Carlisle smiled as he turned towards me and raised his shirt up over his head. There in cursive letters across his heart was the name. Alice. On his deltoid was an intricate design that looked to be a something from the renaissance age.
“When Alice was born, I was so happy that I had her name tattooed over my heart; a place where she will always live. This is our family crest.” He pointed to his shoulder. “All of the men in our family have it tattooed somewhere on their body. It’s a rite of passage for us.”
I couldn’t believe this.
“Wait Bella, there is more!” She was so excited as she pulled Carlisle’s shirt back down.
“Daddy, tell her what mom got you for your birthday last year.”
Carlisle looked at her and rolled his eyes, “You know what your mother got me.”
Alice had her hands on her hips, “I know that, but Bella doesn’t.”
He looked to me as he smiled, “She had a custom made Ducati for me. We took a trip to Italy so I could watch it being built. It was such a surprise. E and I go riding all the time.”
My legs started shaking and my hands became clammy. All this time I believed a lie. I had avoided looking at people who rode motorcycles because I was afraid. I spent all of this time being afraid of something that wasn’t even wrong.
“Oh Bella, I nearly forgot to tell you, I got a tip from a friend for a house that is available.” Carlisle said as he placed several bottles of pills in a paper bag.
My mental break down was put on hold for the moment so I asked him for the details. He gave me the name and number and told me to give the guy a call.
“Listen, I have had bad luck with talking to men about places to live, can I trust this guy?” I questioned Carlisle.
“I can guarantee you can trust this guy; Emmett is a really good guy. Besides, his brother-n-law would kill him if he upset you.”
I didn’t give a second thought to his statement. I needed a place to live besides a hotel room, so I called him from the office.
“Hello?” I could hear machinery in the back ground, he must be at work.
“Um…hello is this Emmett McCarty?”
“Yep, the one and only, what can I do you for?” He chuckled.
“Yes…well Dr. Cullen gave me your number; he said you have a place for rent.”
“Dr. Cullen you say? Is this his nurse, Bella?”
His voice was weird, the way he said my name was like he was announcing it to the room.
“Yes sir. I’m Bella.” I sat down in the chair, my nerves getting the best of me.
“Please Bella, call me Emmett. Calling me sir is like putting a screen door on a submarine, it’s not needed.”
I laughed at his analogy, for living in Washington he had a slight southern drawl.
“Alright Emmett, Can you tell me about the place you have for rent?”
He explained to me that it was a little bungalow style house that his family owned. His mother and father-n-law had purchased it when they first got married. When they started having children, they couldn’t bare to sell it. He and his brother-n-law had been doing some repairs, but there were still several projects that needed to be done, the roof included.
“Basically, we want someone in there who can occupy the place and do a few of the projects we need done.”
He told me that the yard had gotten out of control with weeds and the entire house needed painting along with a really good cleaning.
“Well Emmett, it all sounds pretty simple. The big question is how much?”
Emmett laughed and then responded, “Well Bella, Carlisle speaks very highly of you and when I spoke to the in-laws they said as long as you did a few improvements every month you could stay rent free for the first year.”
I nearly fell out of my chair, free rent?
He gave me the address and directions on how to get there. Carlisle said he knew the very house that we were talking about and he insisted that he take me over. When he pulled into the driveway, I nearly cried as I looked at the little house that sat in the middle of the block. The roof was in disrepair, but you could see that the house had good bones.
A white picket fence surrounded the yard. Big chunks of paint were missing and I decided that would be my project this month. The flower beds were there, just severely over grown. They would take work, but I could see them blooming in the spring.
I was told that the lady next door, a Mrs. Coop would have the keys and that I could just go on in. Emmett said they would give me until the end of the week to get the utilities turned over into my name.
“Hello?” A pleasant voice called. An older woman with a wide brimmed hat rested on her knees, gloves covered her hands and a garden shovel was griped in her left.
“You must be Bella, I’m Mrs. Coop.” For an older lady, she could move. Her house was so pretty with ferns hanging from the eves on her porch, it gave me inspiration as to what to add to this house.
“Little Emmett told me you would be moving in.” She wrapped her arms around me kissing my cheek like a grandmother would do.
“Oh, but he never told me you would be so pretty.”
I smiled and hugged her back. I remembered hugging my own grandmother this way.
“Goodness gracious listen to me, you have things to do and I’m keeping you from them. Listen, I am thinning out my plants so I will stick them in some water so that you can plant them when you’re ready. I am so happy to know someone will get to enjoy this house. I so miss Elizabeth, we used to garden together. Oh say, we can garden together and turn this house around, just you wait and see.”
I swear if I didn’t know better I would think she was related to Alice.
“Oh and before I forget, do you two know anyone who needs a good used car?”
Mrs. Coop explained to us that her daughter and ex son-n- law had each bought her grandson a car for his graduation.
“You certainly can’t drive two cars at once now can you?” she chuckled.
They needed to sell one of the cars but couldn’t find anyone who needed one.
“They are asking one thousand dollars, which is a steal if you ask me.”
I waited for her to finish telling us about how her ex son-n- law who had an affair with his secretary much like Mr. Wilson who used to live across the street.
“So anyway, the car is sitting in my garage just collecting dust.”
I placed my hand on her arm, “Mrs. Coop, I would really like to see the car if that’s alright.”
She walked us over and opened her garage door. Sitting in the middle was an older model Jeep. It was bright red and I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.
“Now Mark had it checked out by the dealership and not a single thing is wrong with it. My grandson doesn’t like that it doesn’t have the right kind of stereo?”
Mrs. Coop dug the paperwork out of the glove box and sure enough an inspection was done on the car just last month.
“Can I take it for a test drive?”
Later that night, I laid on the bed that I removed dust covers from. Mrs. Coop brought over clean sheets and towels as well as a tuna casserole that was to die for. My life was heading in a good direction now. I had a cute house that I could improve on. I had a reliable car that I loved and the job I always dreamed of.
As I closed my eyes that night, I tried to come up with a reason why I couldn’t accept E’s invitation to dinner. None came to mind, so I decided that I would stop by his shop and see if his offer was still open. Maybe if I made him some cookies, he would say yes.
- Chapter 4
I woke before my alarm sounded and just laid in my bed looking around the room, the sunlight breaking around the corners of the curtains, the dust particles dancing in the rays that filled the room. I did a lot of thinking last night. I was having an internal battle within myself; how I wished my father was still here. I could crawl into his lap like I did when I was little and he would make all my worries disappear.
With a new resolve, I decided that I would allow myself to have coffee with E. I would head over to his shop during my lunch break and see if his offer still stood. Maybe I should contact Alice and get his phone number, but either way I needed to speak with him today.
I had just shut the door on my Jeep when my phone began to ring. I looked to the screen and seen that it was the clinic. I checked the time to make sure I wasn’t running late, which I wasn’t.
“Hey Bella, this is Alice, how are you this morning?”
I smiled as I started the car. A warm feeling filled my chest as I realized this was my car and I was leaving the driveway of a house that was rented under my name. I was finally living the life I wanted. It was, for the first time in my adult life, making choices for myself and it felt amazing.
“Hey Alice, what up?”
“Well call me crazy, but I just had this feeling you needed to talk to me.”
I began to laugh, “You’re not off base with that one and I do need to talk with you. I need to get E’s phone number.”
The line was silent for several minutes. At first I thought the call had dropped until Alice’s excited voice came through the phone.
“Does this mean you are going to give him a chance?”
I smile at myself, “Yes Alice, I am going to talk with him today.”
The clinic was extremely busy, so much so, that lunch was completely forgotten. The doors had barely opened when a man came in with a large piece of fencing in his hand. I worked alongside Tanya to help get him comfortable and the metal out. The next few patients were children who had gotten into some strange chemical. Their poor hands were covered in blisters. I questioned Carlisle and he reminded me that this wasn’t a tiny town; meth labs were very common.
I cringed at the thought of innocent children being exposed to that. The only non-urgent patient was a teenager who had come in with her friend. Seems one of the neighborhood boys had taken a liking to her. She said that he told her she couldn’t get pregnant if she wore red socks while they did it. She was at least smart enough to come ask us first. We gave her three months of birth control pills and Tanya gave her a firm instruction not to even look at a boy until she had finished that first package and had a period. It felt good to finally sit down late in the afternoon.
“Bella, I can’t tell you how much having you here has helped.” Carlisle had joined me, sitting in a plastic chair in the lab.
“It feels good to be helping people. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” I couldn’t get rid of the smile on my face if I used a magic eraser.
“Well get out of here, the law says I have to give you a lunch break and since that was lost hours ago, go ahead and have a great evening.”
I stood up and walked back to the waiting area straightening the chairs and emptying the trash. I just couldn’t leave things in a mess. When Carlisle found me in one of the exam rooms he playfully escorted me out the door.
Once in my car, I picked up my phone and began to punch in the number Alice had given me earlier. Just when I was about to hit send, I changed my mind and decided to drive over to his shop. As I drove past the clinic, I noticed some of the children from earlier walking with their mother. I was surprised when they began to wave at me shouting, “Isabella!” It made me smile to have that kind of reaction.
As I drove down the street, I stopped at an intersection and noticed Alex playing with an older looking man. He saw me and starting waving, and then said something to his friend. They both walked over to my passenger window.
“This is my brother, Marcus. He has a tattoo like E’s.”
Marcus was a very well defined, handsome man. His t-shirt was tight across his chest with the letters USMC proudly resting in the center.
“Hello Marcus, I’m Bella, one of the nurses at the clinic.”
I had checked my rearview mirror as I pulled to the corner; no one was waiting behind me so it was fine to talk for a moment.
Marcus had a smile to match his pecks, “I’ve heard only good things about you Bella.” He smiled as he nudged his little brother’s hip.
“Tony said you were the hot new nurse at Dr. C’s clinic. He was so bummed when I told him you helped with my hand.”
Confused, I looked to Marcus having no idea who Tony was. “Tony is one of the older boys in the neighborhood. He keeps an eye out on the younger kids. I gave him that job when I shipped out.”
Marcus was one of the good guys, it was clear he cared about his community and his country as well. This caused me to question the tattoo theory once again.
“Well Alex you keep that hand clean and Marcus if I don’t see you again, thank you for your service.”
Marcus winked at me, “Too bad I have to leave in the morning. I would love to get to know the hot new nurse a little better.”
I rolled my eyes as I waved goodbye to them. I felt better knowing people like Marcus lived in the same world I did.
E’s shop was only around the corner and I began to feel nervousness in my stomach. Maybe I should have grabbed something to eat before heading over. As I waited for the light to turn green, I had an opportunity to really look at the area around me. This section of the street had several automotive shops that offered everything from parts to window tint to detailing. It was a one stop shop for any car guy.
A car coming from one of the business driveways honked their horn causing me to look in the direction of E’s shop. What I saw nearly made my heart crumble.
E was standing outside of the main entrance, his signature black tank and blue jeans. However, he now had a very leggy and beautiful blonde wrapped in his arms, her feet dangling off the ground and he was kissing her forehead. To any normal person they looked to be deeply in love.
Taking a deep breath, I turned my signal off and quickly switched lanes making a U-turn in the detail shop parking lot. E had certainly moved quickly, it wasn’t that long ago that he brought me flowers.
“Men only want one thing from women.”
Sue had been right. He didn’t get what he wanted from me and so he kept moving. Part of me was thankful that I had dodged a huge bullet. E was clearly a man who could have any woman he wanted, and it was clear he did. With a new mission, I quickly made my way home.
Shelly was out in her garden again. She was humming a tune I didn’t recognize when I came out of my house dressed to tackle these over grown flower beds.
“Bella, the mail man had no mail for you. Have you changed your mailing address yet?”
Shelly was going to be even nosier than Sue was; however, she at least looked out for me.
“No Ma’am, I didn’t even think to.”
Shelly handed me the forms that she got from the mail man. I smiled and thanked her as I headed over to tackle the first flower bed.
The ground was full of old head roots, it felt good to tug and pull them out ridding the dirt of their negative effects. An hour later, I had the flower bed completely bare and had started on the second one when my cell rang.
I looked up to see Shelly move closer to the fence that separated our homes and so I decided to go inside and get a drink when I took the call.
“Hello?” I answered as I opened the screen door.
“Ok, tell me everything! Where are you going, what are you wearing…?”
“Alice!” I shouted getting her attention. I took my gloves off before getting a clean glass out of the cabinets.
“Sorry, I’m just so excited that you are going out with E!”
I shook my head as I filled my glass with cold water. My anger from before coming back and I would gladly welcome it as I had several more flower beds to clean up.
“We aren’t going anywhere Alice, he’s not available.” I responded as I let the cool water glide down my throat.
Taking another long drink, I paused before I told her the story of him and the beautiful blonde.
“Something just isn’t right. E isn’t like that.”
I let Alice know that I had things to do and that perhaps it was for the best. I had no real time to pursue a relationship anyway.
I ended the call with Alice and slide my gloves back on. Shelly was still humming away in her yard as I returned to pulling the dead weeds from the beds. It was nearly dark when I finally stopped. Shelly had long since gone into her house and I could smell something really good coming from it. I put away my tools and secured the lawn bags on the curb so the city could remove them tomorrow along with the rest of the garbage.
Once inside, I headed straight for the bathroom. I had dirt and sand in places that even I didn’t want to consider. I filled the ball and claw foot tub with hot water and a squirt of my shampoo. Sue had told me that having all those fancy bath salts and the like was just a waste of money. She had bought me a bottle of shampoo when I first moved into Billy’s house. It was a brand I had never heard of and didn’t like the way it smelled. “Soap is soap Bella.” She would say.
As I climbed into the tub, I made a promise to myself that I would go to the mall and get some bath products. It may be a waste of money, but now it was her money to waste.
I nearly fell asleep in the tub. Billy only had one bathroom and he would have the guys pounding on the door if I took too much time. It was so nice to have unlimited time to relax. I drained the tub, closed the curtain, and washed my hair. That was another thing; I would be finding new shampoo and conditioner this weekend. Something that made me smell like a girl and not oatmeal.
My dinner consisted of a bowl of cereal. I didn’t really mind it. I made myself a bowl and settled on the couch that I cleaned yesterday. The thought made me smile. When I was almost finished with my dinner there was a knock at the door. Placing the bowl on the coffee table, I adjusted the tie on my old robe, another upgrade I had planned, and went to answer the door.
Looking out the side window, I turned on the porch light. I was surprised to see who was standing outside my door. Slowly I opened the door leaving the chain intact, the beautiful girl on the other side began to wave and smile.
“Hi, are you Bella?” Her voice was certainly friendly, however she remained cautious.
“Yes?” I responded questionably.
“I’m sorry to come by so late, but I had to speak with you. I’m Rosalie, E’s sister.”
Well kick me while I’m down. The beautiful woman who E had wrapped in his arms was his sister?
“I’m sorry…. why are you here again?” I felt out of sorts in this. I could not fathom what was going on here.
“Can I come in? You deserve an explanation and I really need to use the bathroom.”
I weighed out my options and decided to let her have her say. I had no ties to E, so I had nothing to lose. I closed the door, unhooked the chain and let her in. Without asking, she quickly ran to the back of the house where the bathroom was. I was shocked for two reasons, one, how did she know where it was and two, how did she run in those heels?
I sat back down on the couch and waited for Rosalie to return. I heard the toilet flush and then the water running. Less than a minute later, she came strolling back into the living room like she owned the place.
“I noticed you made a huge dent on those flower beds.”
I gave her a questioning look as she sat in the chair across from me.
“How did you know about the flower beds and how did you know where the bathroom was?”
She smiled her crest worthy smile and then reached into her purse getting out a peppermint.
“I’m sorry I thought Emmett would have told you.”
“Told me what? And what does Emmett have to do with this?”
Her smile faded from her face as she swirled the peppermint around her mouth.
“Do you have some tea?” she questioned.
“Iced or hot?” I responded.
She laughed as I rose from the couch and went into the kitchen and poured us both a glass of iced tea. Once I returned, she took a long drink and then looked me directly in the eye as she told me a story that blew me away.
“Bella, Alice called me this afternoon after she spoke with you.”
I adjusted my position on the couch, I wasn’t certain I liked where this was heading.
“She was so excited…well, we all were so excited that you had changed your mind about E.”
Rosalie took another drink and then rubbed her stomach, her face turning slightly pale.
The nurse in me was on my feet in a second as I watched the sweat accumulate on her upper lip.
“Let’s get you lying down.” I assisted her to the couch as I placed her legs above her heart. The color still not returning to her face.
“I’m sorry, I am so embarrassed.” She said as I placed a cool wash cloth to her forehead. I had grabbed the jar of honey I found in the cabinets beside the tea.
“How long have you had this?” I questioned as I watched her color slowly return, the sweat decreasing.
“Emmett and I found out last week and that’s why I was with E when you saw us.”
I sat back on the coffee table, confused as to why she said this.
“We have been trying for so long to have a baby that we were afraid to even take a test.”
She was pregnant, but why would Emmett care?
Her lips returned to the health pink that they were when she first came in the door.
“E knew it was a hard road for us. Our mother suffered from the same condition and so he made us see the best doctors in the country.”
I knew the color had left my face this time. Rosalie and E were siblings. I recalled Shelly saying how she missed having Elizabeth around to garden.
“I can tell by the look on your face that you have no idea what I’m talking about.”
I lowered my eyes as I place the jar of honey on the table. “Why don’t you tell me?”
She smiled and then patted my hand. Rose was a good person, with great character, and she seems to care about those around her. She would make an incredible mother.
“When my parents were first starting out, they purchased this home. My father got a job with a local law office and my mom worked at the hospital not far from here.” Her hands waved in the direction I am sure the hospital was in.
“They tried for years to have a baby, but mom just couldn’t get pregnant. It was a hard time for them. Finally, one of the nurses had my mom see a doctor she knew in Chicago and with a quick surgery my parents conceived E.”
Her face was again bright with her pregnancy glow.
“When they started trying again she had the same problems as before. Daddy took her back to Chicago and she had the procedure again. This time they gave her a name for what was wrong with her, endometriosis; she had it all over the inside of her uterus. Nine months later I came into the world, but something went wrong and they had to take my mother to surgery. She had to undergo a hysterectomy due to all the areas of the endometriosis.
“She always told E and me that we were her miracle children. When Emmett and I were married, we started trying right away. I was diagnosed a year later, only my lesions are on the outside of my uterus. As I said, E made us go to the top physician in this field and it worked, I’m pregnant! That is what I was doing when you saw us today, telling him that he is going to be an uncle.”
The embrace that I saw was of love but not between lovers. It was sharing joy. I was so blind.
“I am going to guess that Emmett didn’t share with you who really own this house did he?”
My attention was brought back from my mind’s eye of watching their embrace. “I assumed he did.”
Rose asked for her glass of tea and she laid back down on the couch.
“I have a suspicion that my husband and brother are in on this together. They are thick as thieves those two.” She shook her head then looking back to face me. Where E had vivid green eyes, Rosalie had deep blue, like the purest part of the ocean. Her skin was so perfect, not a flaw that I could see.
“When Emmett shared with me the fact you turned E down for a date, you would have thought the earth stood still.”
This caused me to sit up a little straighter, look a little longer to see that Rose was indeed alright.
“It is no secret that my brother is easy on the eyes. He has never had an issue with lack of female attention, but you denied him something he isn’t used to.”
I grabbed my glass of tea and took a drink. Should I tell her the real reason I had told him no?
“Alice told me your reason and I can completely see where you are coming from. I mean when an adult tells an impressible young girl something, who is she to question it?”
I still feel stupid that I had been so naive. Carlisle had printed out some information on the history of tattoos. The Smithsonian magazine had a picture of a mummy from Peru that was tattooed with symbols on its fingers. They stated that the earliest known evidence of tattooing was of female Egyptian hands found during archeological digs. Clearly no hells angels present in ancient Egypt or Peru. The clincher for me was when he showed me a tribal tattoo that was used by the Quileute Indian tribe. The very tribe Billy was a descendant of.
“But E is good to the core. I know he tried to sell you a car and you chose to catch a city bus then take him up on his offer. I suspect that is why he used Emmett to get you into this house.”
Her admission caused me to nearly choke on my tea, “What do you mean?”
Rose sat up and patted my back. “Careful Bella.”
Once I gained control of my breath, I took another drink before I encouraged her to continue.
“My parents gave this house to E. He had rented it out to a couple but they skipped town after letting it go into disrepair. Shelly had tried to tell him, but he believed he could trust them. When we came in after they left, it took nearly a week and over one hundred trash bags to clean it all up.”
I looked around the room and for the first time I noticed the crayon marks on the mob board and the stain in the corner on the wood floor.
“He wanted to burn it to the ground, but we convinced him that when mom and dad retire, they may want to move back; live near the grandchildren.”
I could see children playing in the back yard with a huge swing set in the center of it.
“When Alice told him about you living in a hotel, he must have talked Emmett into making it seem like it was his house.”
I stood and paced around the room. I felt just as stupid as I did when I found out Billy had lied to me about the tattoos and motorcycles. A part of me wanted to pack up my belongings and move back to that hotel, but the independent woman inside me put her foot down.
I loved this house and the potential it had to offer; to see the work I had planned come to life. I wouldn’t run from this. I had asked to be independent. E wasn’t giving me a free ride either, because I had to make repairs and pay my own utilities.
“Bella, just promise me one thing.”
I turned back to Rosalie; she had gathered her purse and was standing near the front door.
“If I can…sure.”
“Even if you don’t develop feelings for my brother, please stay friends with me. I really like your spirit.”
I walked over to her with the intention to shake her hand, but Rosalie had other ideas as she hugged me tight. We exchanged phone numbers and planned to have lunch in the coming few days. I watched as she backed her car out of the drive and waved as she drove away.
I grabbed my phone and dialed the number I had for E. It rang several times before his tired voice spoke.
“Hi….um is E available?” I was biting my bottom lip awaiting his answer.
“This is he, what can I do for you?” He sounded as if I had awoken him. I felt bad, because it was already late.
“I’m sorry did I wake you?”
He laughed slightly, “No, I was watching a movie and about to head to bed.”
“Um…well this is Bella…Bella Swan, Alice’s friend?”
“Bella?” I could hear movement on his end and I thought he might be sitting up.
“Yes, I know it’s late; I can call you back tomorrow?”
“No, no it’s never too late to hear from you. How are you?” I smiled at his concern, it was genuine and I welcomed it.
“Well, I have a question for you.”
“Is your offer for coffee still open?”
- Chapter 5
“Heidi that had better not be nail polish I smell.”
I knew the answer to my statement before the words even left my mouth. Heidi has never been a girl who could follow rules. That’s part of the reason she is answering my phones. Her father called me and asked me to watch her for him. Heidi has had a long history of hanging out with the wrong people and getting involved in situations that have nearly killed her a few times. She has made finding the worst men an art form. Her last venture landed her ninety days in the county jail for possession.
One look at her and you would never guess she has a huge drug and gambling problem. Her poor dad has bailed her out more times than I can think about.
“Oh Eddie….” She cooed as she continued to brush on the blood red polish.
I wasn’t having it. When I asked someone to do something, I expected it to get done. I had told her twice already that this is an automotive shop, not a beauty parlor. Not caring if I broke one of her fake fingernails, I snatched the brush and bottle out of her hands and tossed them in the trash.
I didn’t give her time to protest, as I meant business when I told her to keep her crap at home. She was startled at my outburst but recovered quickly. She settled back in her chair, her lower lip pushed out in a pout and her arms crossed over her surgically enhanced chest. If I hadn’t been so irritated, I would have laughed at her childish behavior.
“Save it Heidi, I’m not one of your admirers. Your pouting is only pissing me off.”
She quickly put her lip back in place and rolled her eyes. “Yeah and who’s fault is that? You know my offer is always open to you.”
Not giving her time to dig her hole any deeper or bigger, I pulled open the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. Twisting the cap open, I chugged nearly half of the bottle before turning around to finish with Heidi.
“Not going to happen sweetheart. For one, you’re not my type at all and two, you are too much work.”
Heidi had made it perfectly clear that she wanted something with me, something that involved spending huge amounts of money just to see it disappear up her nose. I wanted nothing to do with drugs of any kind. I liked being in control too much and I wanted to be with someone who enjoyed life without chemical enhancements.
The subject of my love life had come up several times recently during conversations with my Ma. Don’t get me wrong, I do want someone in my life. I just don’t want to be their entire world.
I want to be the person who adds something to their life, not be their entire existence. I want to be able to continue to jump on the back of my bike and not be chastised for not spending every waking minute with her. My Ma would roll her eyes and tell me that I was going to be surprised when I found the right girl. She said that when I found the one, she would want to either ride her own bike beside me or wrap around me on the back of mine.
My reality was that I was surrounded by the likes of Heidi. Girls like her could be found at every turn. I just didn’t want to get involved with all of the work that came with them. They come in pretty little packages, but once you peel off the layers of makeup and high end clothes, your left with nothing but screeching little leeches who want to bleed you dry.
I’ve had my share of women who swayed their tiny hips and batted their eyelashes when they found out who I was and how much I was really worth. It’s sad really what some women are willing to do just to get a little money without working for it. I loved working.
I find joy being buried deep under the hood of a car trying to figure out what was wrong. The sound of an engine roar after being brought back to life was more rewarding for me then the money we charged.
I felt the same when I sat atop my bike and blazed down the open road. My uncle Carlisle was the same. He loved to escape from the stresses of his life and we made it a habit to ride together as often as we could. He was the reason I had that new Ducati parked outside. My aunt surprised him last year with a new custom bike. I contacted the same company in Rome and had one made for me.
“Hey E! It looks like Jimmy didn’t listen to you about taking that car to the junk yard.”
I looked up and sure enough Jimmy was walking this way with what was clearly Alice in tow.
“Oh look, the troll came along with him.”
I tossed the grease rag I had just used to clean my hands at Heidi. “Careful….she is dying to kick your ass.”
Heidi rolled her eyes and continued to file her nails grumbling, “Bitch can’t reach my ass so how can she kick it.”
I was about to tear into her when I noticed the girl who was following behind my cousin. My Ma would be laughing and dancing the jig if she could have seen me right then.
My throat was instantly dry and I had to concentrate to even breathe. She was so beautiful. She didn’t have a stitch of makeup on and that made her much better in my book. I quickly checked her left hand and shouted with joy internally as her ring finger was bare.
I wasn’t lying when I told Jimmy that I would call his probation officer. Alex was a good friend of mine from high school. I helped him with several of the guys in the neighborhood. Jimmy was constantly pushing the line with his parole. Currently he was messing with the wrong girl, a girl I planned to get to know a whole lot better. While I stood there watching her, I couldn’t help but notice how she was avoiding even looking in my direction. I had never had issues with getting any girl to look my way, but this girl was making it a point to avoid me.
When Alice told me Bella would be working just a few blocks over with Uncle Carlisle, my mind began to create plans; but first I would get her into a reliable car. Bella was quick to dismiss my offer of a good used car, but I knew there was more than one way to skin a cat.
“Ma, you will never believe what happened today.”
I filled Ma in on the visit from Bella. I told her how she caused my world to turn upside down and how she completely avoided looking at me.
“Ma, I even tried the Masen smile and nothing…she completely ignored me.”
I explained to her that if I didn’t know better, I would swear she was afraid of me.
“Edward, my best advice to you is to be patient. Maybe she had a bad day? I mean she was dealing with a sleazy used car salesman. Maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend? In any event, you need to take it easy on her and find out why she seemed so fearful of you.”
I laid in my bed that night going over the entire conversation with Bella in my head. I couldn’t remember one thing I did or said that could be taken badly. Regardless, I would make certain to head over to her office and apologize. My dad told me years ago that sometimes women get their feelings hurt and you have no idea why. Just say you’re sorry and buy her something nice and all should be okay.
I called Alice to try and get any information from her that I could. Never in a million years would I ever believe what she told me.
“I’m serious E. He told her that only bad men have tattoos and ride motorcycles. You should have seen Bella’s face when she saw daddy’s crest. I mean I thought she was going to pass out when she found out that mom bought dad a motorcycle. I have a feeling there is so much more that she has been told and it’s going to take solid proof to convince her otherwise.”
Alice further informed me that Bella was hell bent on getting her own place. My mind was in overdrive as I began to formulate a plan to show Bella that just because I had a number of tattoos and a few motorcycles, I was a really good guy and wanted to be her guy.
With a new found determination, I called my brother-in- law Emmett. I was going to need all the help I could get if I wanted to pull this off.
My next call was to my Ma. I told her everything I had planned.
“Edward, what happened to the days where you called up a young lady and asked her to coffee? Is all of this really necessary?”
“Ma, Bella isn’t just any girl…I can’t explain it; I feel like a fourteen year old boy.”
I could hear the smile in my Ma’s voice, “Oh Lord Edward, it finally happened.”
I was confused, “What happened?…What are you talking about?”
I settled back into my desk chair as I listened to my ma. “Edward, for every soul out there is another soul that is its perfect match. Your charms don’t work on Bella and that my dear boy is a good thing. My concern is that you do all of these things behind her back and she finds out and is angry with you. I know your intentions are good ones, but Edward if she is as independent as you say she is this could backfire in your face.”
I spent most of the night thinking about what my Ma had said. I decided it was worth the risk of Bella being angry with me. I had nothing to lose at this point as she avoided me to begin with.
Standing in my Uncle’s clinic the following Monday, I could feel the sweat as it ran down my back. Never in my entire life had I experienced this kind of nervousness when it came to getting a girl to like me. Hell, I can’t even remember the last time I had to do more then look in a girl’s general direction. But as I watched her help with the little boy, I knew she would be worth the effort. I loved kids and I knew I wanted a houseful of them. I just needed to work on getting the perfect mother for them.
I was pleasantly surprised when she looked at me as I apologized for whatever I had done to her. Her fear seemed to shift and I was quite turned on by the new look on her face. I laid it out for her and asked her to have a cup of coffee with me. When I left my uncle’s office that day, I wasn’t certain if I had done the right thing or not. All I could do now was sit back and wait.
When I got back to the shop, Heidi was talking a mile a minute to one of her friends. Rounding the corner, I noticed it was Jessica Newton. Jessica was a local girl who had been in trouble as a teen. I had helped her out several times when she had gotten involved with the wrong guy. I didn’t know much about the guy she had married, but the rumors were good.
“Heidi, he swore to me that he quit drinking.”
“Jess, how do you know this chick is even telling the truth?”
“Because she showed me this.”
I had every intention of going to work on the Jeep I had gotten for Bella, until I heard Bella’s voice. I stepped around the desk as I caught the last few images on Jessica’s cell phone. She told me the entire story and it took everything I had in me to stay calm in front of Jessica and Heidi.
“Heidi, I just remembered something I need to take care of.”
Seattle in general is a huge city. However, in the section of town we were in, everyone knew everyone. I took my time as I drove over to Jessica’s home. I needed to calm down before I confronted Mike. I turned on to the very quaint and quiet street. Manicured lawns with professional landscaped yards, it was the Norman Rockwell picture of the American dream. I removed my cell phone and crucifix as I got ready to confront Mike. I rang the doorbell and waited for the door to open, I wondered what Bella thought as she waited on these very steps. Was she fooled by the perfect exterior? Did she fall for the illusion created by a hired hand?
“Can I help you?” A dark haired man questioned. He looked like a good honest man who worked hard and took care of himself. Who would suspect that the man that stood before me had a violent temper that was fueled by alcohol.
“You my friend tried to hurt someone who is special to me.”
Once Mike and I….talked, I made my point clear. Mike won’t be bothering Bella or anyone for that matter as chewing may be an issue for a while. I drove back to the shop and made certain everything was perfect with the Jeep. Even if Bella didn’t give me a chance to show her how good I could be for her, I wanted her to drive a safe car.
Mrs. Coop was a god send. She was ever so excited to help me with my plans for Bella. She even came up with the idea of telling Bella that the Jeep was her grandson’s. Mrs. Coop assured me she would keep an eye on Bella and tell me if she seemed in trouble. Once Bella was in the house, I contacted a roofing company and had them head over there to give us an estimate. I had driven by several times and couldn’t wait to see what Bella would do with the house.
I was happy to hear that my sister was expecting; she was going to be a great mom. I also learned that Bella isn’t one to start a fight and cause drama which I was so grateful for. She had assumed I had moved on and simply turned her car around and left. She was also quick to jump to conclusions and I hope we would get an opportunity to work on that. I got my answer when my phone rang as I was watching television. I was so tired from the amount of work we had and the extra work I had placed on myself by keeping my own eye on Bella. I didn’t recognize the number but took a chance and answered it anyway. Was I ever glad I did as Bella’s voice sounded on the other side.
I will proudly admit that I did several fists thrust in the air when I got off the phone with Bella. We had a date, granted it was for a cup of coffee, but it was a start. This was going to be the best cup of coffee Bella ever had.
I changed clothes three times before I gave up and went with the first outfit. Bella was very adamant that she would meet me at the coffee house. I arrived ten minutes early so that I could watch her come in. I wanted to impress her and show her the man behind the tattoos.
I watched Bella walk down the side walk, her hair pulled back into a high pony tail. She had come from Uncle Carlisle’s office in downtown Seattle because she was still in her uniform. The office was in a high end part of Seattle and the patients expected certain kinds of treatments when they came in. Aunt Esme contracted with a uniform company supplied pressed uniforms for all of the staff. A catering company supplied fresh coffee and on certain days pastries.
I stood carefully when she pulled the door open and smiled as she walked around a young man, who in my opinion, looked at her a little too long. Her shoulder bag began to slide down her arm and I wanted to take it from her as my Ma had taught me. I watched as she scanned the room until finally finding me and the smile that formed on her face was enough for me. Even if she told me to pound sand today, that smile would be in my memory forever.
“I’m sorry I’m late.” She said as she reached to pull out her chair. I was quicker, so I took the bag off her arm and then helped her to sit.
“You’re right on time.” I smiled as I sat across from her. She was even more beautiful than I remembered.
“Do you come here a lot?” She questioned as she looked around the room again.
“Couple times a week, they have really great tea.”
The waiter came by and took our drink orders winking at Bella as he thanked her. He was lucky that he was probably still in high school, because he would have gotten an ear full from me.
“Thank you for agreeing to meet me E. I didn’t really think you would.”
Looking across the small table at her, I could only smile. Her nerves seemed to be gone and I loved the calm, warm woman who sat across from me.
“I should be thanking you. I really owe you an apology.”
After I got off the phone with Bella, I called my Ma and told her about my date. She insisted that I admit to Bella all of the things I have done for her behind her back.
“Why do you need to apologize?”
I cleared my throat and confessed everything I had done. She smiled and told me she already knew. It seems that my sister had already told her my attempted good deeds.
“E, I know why you did it and I have to say thank you. Thank you for helping me to be something I have wanted to be for a long time.”
Smiling the cheesiest smile, I told her she was welcome. Conversation with Bella was easy, like talking to a friend I have had for years. She didn’t pretend to be interested in the conversation only to shift it to her advantage. She was polite to the wait staff as they refilled our drinks several times.
“E, can I ask you something personal?”
I sat back in my chair, “Sure.”
“Do you really prefer being called E? I mean…it is a little odd to me.”
I crossed my arms across my chest and watched as Bella’s eyes grew slightly bigger. Seems Bella has a thing for tattoos after all.
“It’s not that I prefer it, it’s just that I have become used to being called E. The only person who calls me Edward is my Ma. She refused from the beginning stating that she named me Edward for a reason.”
Bella’s reply was one that shocked me and yet thrilled me.
“Well, I prefer Edward. It sounds very classic and old world. Some of the most famous characters in the books I’ve read have been named Edward. They are always romantic and get the girl in the end.”
I smiled, hearing her say my name did things to me.
“Bella?…Do you want to call me Edward?”
She took a sip from her coffee cup. Her fingers wrapped gently around it and I wanted so badly for that cup to be certain parts of my anatomy.
“I would like to yes, but only if you are okay with it.”
I smiled as I knew what I was about to do was sneaky, but if I wanted to show Bella who I was I had to use everything I had.
“On one condition.” Looking her square in the eyes I gave her my demands.
“Name it.” she responded with her confidence radiating off her.
“Have dinner with me….go out with me again.”
She calmly placed her cup back in its saucer.
“I would love that, Edward.”
*Any mistakes you see are mine and not Cayce’s. Although, I don’t believe there are any. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now we have to continue to harass Cayce for another EPOV soon. ~~Kim Roland-Edwards (Kimmie41)
- Chapter 6
For the first time in a very long time, I had a since of real purpose. I felt good in my own skin and that was something I never thought would happen. I enjoyed transforming the overgrown flower bed and planting new healthy plants. Currently I was working at removing the old paint from the front porch and planning what I would cook Edward for dinner later.
Even thinking his name made me smile and sigh. He was nothing like I thought he was going to be the first time I laid eyes on him. In my mind, he had me pinned to the ground sucking the life out of me like a vampire. I have come to learn that Edward is a genuinely good man, who goes out of his way to be nice to people and do things for them to help them. He was someone I wanted in my corner.
“Bella. Your daylilies are just beautiful.”
Mrs Coop was another good person. She has made certain I have a decent meal at least once a night every week. She is always leaving me flowers that she pulls from her garden, which is saving me a lot of money.
“Thank you, they are really doing well.”
I continued to scrape the very loose paint that was literally falling off the wood. Edward had contacted several roofing companies to fix the roof, but everyone was booked up for weeks. I told him it could wait since there wasn’t a leak.
“I noticed you got those yellow stickers on some of your mail. Glad to see you are getting important papers from where you used to live.”
Mrs Coop was also a big snoop. I had my suspensions that she went through my mail once it was placed in the box every day. Hell if she had a key to my house, she would more than likely go inside and have a look around.
“I did, thank you for getting me the forms.”
“Seems like a lot of notices from Pacific Northwestern bank.” I heard her mumble.
She was right, I had received several envelopes from that bank, I had no idea why as I had never had an account with any bank so I had yet to open them.
“Any plans for your weekend Isabella?”
I smiled at the thought of having Edward over for dinner tonight.
“Yes, Mr Masen is coming over later.”
Mrs. Coop continued to clip her rose bush and avoided looking at me. “Oh, something broken?”
This was one thing I wasn’t going to share with her. Edward had agreed to come over in exchange for me being able to call him Edward. With a quick look to my watch, I noticed I had to get to the market if I wanted to have dinner on the table on time.
Cooking had always been something I did because it was expected. Billy and Jacob never bothered to even clean up after the meals I would cook and they usually complained about whatever I did prepare. Just another reason I didn’t regret moving away.
Living in Billys house, we didn’t have a single plate or cup that matched. However Mrs Masen had left an entire set of the most beautiful dishes in the china cabinet. I took my time while setting the table. I checked on the internet for the proper way to place the utensils. I sighed as I took a step back and looked at the tablescape I had created. Completed by a small jar of roses that I picked from the bush in the back yard.
At half past six, the door bell rang and as I opened the door, I was pleasantly greeted by a freshly showered Edward. His hair still wet and combed back. The front was already sticking up in different directions as if he had ran his finger through it several time. I watched in awe as he took a look at me, starting at my gold ballet flats and then to my white leggings that peak out form my long shirt. I had seen this outfit in a magazine once and wanted to buy it, only to have Billy remind me that it was impractle as I had work to do around the house, besides he wouldn’t let me go anywhere so that I could wear something like this. Those days were gone and I had made a promise to myself that I would buy myself nice things, even if it was for my enjoyment only.
I watched as his eyes immediately left my legs and landed on my face.
“H-Hello.” His voice cracked and yet held that velvetiness that made me want him to continue to talk to me.
“Please, Edward come in.”
I opened the door wide for him and stood to the side. I watched as he walked into the room with the confidence that only he possessed. His normal attire of a muscle shirt and ratty jeans were replaced with a sophisticated dark grey v-neck sweater and what appeared to be new blue jeans. I inwardly sighed as I missed having his arms on display.
I walked around him as I watched him take in the room. Since I spent so much time in the living room, it was the first one I tackled with a scrub brush. It was also the first to get a new coat of paint, I had just finished that two days ago.
“Im going to take that as you approve.” I chuckled.
I glanced at him as he turned to look at the mantle. I had discovered an old clock packed away in my closet. I dusted it off and placed it in the center of the large area that hung over the fire place. I loved hearing the chimes it gave as the hour came.
“My Ma hated that clock, well not the clock but the reason she got it.”
His words peaked my interest as I crossed the room and stood beside him.
“My father decided to go on this hunting trip with his buddies.”
His eyes never leaving the clock as if he was actually seeing the story as he told it.
“He didn’t understand why my Ma was so upset, I mean he just thought it was a long weekend away with his friends. So he left my Ma very angry and went on his trip.”
He then turned to look at me with the beginnings of a smirk. His green eyes glistening with amusment.
“His friends told him they would stop by an antique shop and pick my Ma up something nice.”
I smiled as his face just got more excited with the story he told. I knew he was about to tell me something earth shatteringly funny.
“So my dad got my Ma that clock and he just knew she would be so happy to have something so nice that she wouldn’t be mad at him anymore.”
Edward began to laugh as he turned in my direction, his eyes now glistening with happy tears from the laughter I was waiting for.
“However when he came back home, she was so mad that she had packed her things and left him a note that basically informed him that she hoped he had a great time hunting as she had spent their wedding anniversary alone.”
My eyes went big as my hand immediately shot to my very open mouth.
“My father was horrified and called my Nana who told him he would be lucky if they ever had children because she wanted to rip his manhood off.”
I was now giggling as Edward was holding back some major chuckles.
“When he saw my Ma the next day, he did everything in his power to beg her forgiveness. Eventually she did move back in, but wanted nothing to do with that clock. And to this day, he showers her with attention on their anniversary.”
“Oh my gosh, maybe I should put it back in the closet.”
I made my way over to the mantle. I didn’t want Mrs Masen to see that if she ever came over and have the memory resurface.
“No, Bella. She would only laugh and remind him of that day. She would then suggest something he could buy her that would help her forget.”
It had been a long time since I had laughed that much. To hear that Edwards parents had been faced with a challenge and seemed to sail through it was a huge comfort.
“Well at least things turned out well. Can I get you something to drink?”
As we sat down to dinner, I asked Edward if there were any special story behind the china. He chuckled and said no. The conversation was easy and light, we laughed at nearly everything we spoke about.
“Bella, this pasta is really great.”
His compliment was unfortunately hindered in apprehension. I had made this exact dish for Billy and Jacob several times and had always been told it was either too spicy or they didn’t like the “green shit” I placed in it.
“My Ma makes chicken rigatoni, but this is even better than hers.”
I could only smile as I thanked him. I looked into his face to see if he was only being polite or if he was being sincere. However the three plates full he consumed should have been a better answer.
“Bella can I ask you something?”
I nodded my head as I took my final bite of pasta.
“Im not used to wearing shirts like this, would it be alright for me to remove this sweater, I am dying here.”
I smiled as I brushed my napkin over my mouth.
“Of course, I don’t want you uncomfortable.”
I read once that a good deed never goes unpunished. Truer words have never been uttered as I watched Edward take his sweater off. The t-shirt he had underneath rode up to reveal not only his six pack abs, but the tattoo that was hidden by his jeans. I could only make out what I though was a cross but I couldn’t be certain. However, I now had an unhindered view of the tattoos that lived on his arms.
“Thanks, that is so much better.”
Even his words did nothing to stop my starring. It was then that I grew a set and decided to cast fate to the wind.
“Edward can I ask a favor of you?”
I didn’t look in his eyes as I made my request, I could pull them from the set of baby foot prints that I was currently looking at.
My fear was that he would tell me he had a family. A little boy that looked just like him and a wife or girlfriend who didn’t know or didn’t care that he was with another woman. However I wasn’t made like that. I could never be with someone who was bound by someone else.
“Can I see your tattoos? Will you tell me about them.”
For reasons I may never know, he stood slowly and removed his shirt completely. I was stuck in my chair as if being held there by an invisible weight. The sight of his skin and the pictures that rested on his arms and back, a story behind each one.
“This was my first.” He pointed at the tribal that went all the way around his bicep.
“I had a dare going with some of my friends on the football team. We wanted to see who could last the longest in getting a tattoo completely around their arm.”
I remember clearly reading that for some people the pain of having a tattoo performed under the arm is too much and many have given up. I didn’t know when I got out of my chair but as I stood with my body facing Edwards, I watched my index finger trace the Celtic design as it connected under his arm.
“You won.” My voice a whisper, the words only a reflection of my inner thoughts.
“No, I just didn’t tell the guy to stop. No one wins when your doing something illegal. I wasn’t 18 and should have been at home studying instead of out showing off.”
My eyes flashed from his inner arm to his shoulder where the footprints rested.
“Is-is this your son? Is Nathan your son?”
A large part of me didn’t want the answer and I had no idea why the thought of him having ties to a faceless boy scared me so much.
“No Nathan was my twin brother. He died when we were little.”
This confused me as I clearly remember Rose talking about her mother having only two children.
“I remember so much about him and the things we used to do and when I got this done, I didn’t want people to question why I had some guys name tattooed on my arm. The girl I was dating at the time gave me this idea and I went with it.”
He continued to tell me about the dog, even though I remember that one from the clinic. He talked about the phoenix he had on his rib cage and how he got that one after a motorcycle accident that should have killed him.
I was mesmerized at the colors and the intricate work that went into each of them. I trailed my fingers down his arms as he pointed and told the history behind each one. I noticed that on his right wrist was the same crest that Carlisle had on his arm.
“I got that when I turned twenty five. My uncle went with me and it is my second favorite I have.”
I looked into his eyes as I questioned him.
His smile was genuine; it matched his personality, his character. He slowly turned his entire body around and that is when I saw the word Masen in elegant script written between his shoulder blades. As if watching someone else, I witness my left hand gently and slowly trace the letters that graced his skin. The warmth and softness of his skin only intensified the moment. I could feel his skin shiver and could smell the wonderful manly scent that Edward seemed to have. I watched as his right shoulder flinched as I added my left hand in the adventure. The movement sobered me and I suddenly realized what I was doing. How utterly rude I was being and I quickly pulled my hands back.
“Oh god, Edward. Im so sorry that was…completely inappropriate and I…”
Edward didn’t give me time to finish my apology as he quickly turned back to me. His eyes now dark and his skin flushed.
As my name left his ips, his lips covered mine. The kiss was so soft and welcome. I allowed myself to get lost . His arms wrapped tightly around me and for the first time in ages I felt wanted. I felt his thumb come up to just under my chin as he changed the angle of the kiss. Suddenly I felt very nervous as Edward was only the second man that had ever kissed me. However this time I wanted it, welcomed it.
“You have no idea how long I have wanted to do that.”
His words floating in waves across my face. My eyes remained closed as I wanted to stay in this moment just a little longer. I felt the tip of his nose as he brushed it across my face.
“You always smell so good.”
His voice husky and deep. With my eyes still closed, I clearly remembered how Billy would tell me my perfume made him sick.
“Your skin is so beautiful, so soft.’
I could feel his callused fingers as his traced my cheek. Billy had always made jokes about my skin being so pale that you could see through it.
Edward pulled my body until I was flush against him.
“I’m the one who should apologize about doing something inappropriate.”
He used my words and I couldn’t help but to smile.
“Are you saying you regret kissing me?” I teased.
He pulled his face away from mine and looked deep into my eyes.
“The only regret I have about kissing you is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
That night as I crawled into bed, I began to analyze everything we had shared. From the many kisses to the way he would play with my fingers as we shared more information about each other. Being around Edward was easy and I liked it more than I should have. I didn’t know him well enough to say that he was everything I wanted in a man, but from what I have to measure it with, I cant imagine it getting any better than this. As I closed my eyes a final time that night, I made myself a solum vow that I would put my life with Billy in the past and concentrate on my new life here. I wanted to forget all of the things he told me, all of the lies he has spun in my head. I didn’t know it yet, but the biggest lie that Billy ever told me, I haven’t even heard it.
Edward and I shared dinner together every night for the past week. Our kissing remained PG rated and for now I was okay with that. Rose had called me earlier this morning in a panic as Emmett had to go to a meeting in Chicago that he couldn’t get out of and she had started to have some bleeding. I told her to hang on and I would be there as soon as I could. She didn’t have an appointment, but Carlisle made a call and we were rushed back into the room where the ultrasound machine was waiting.
“Emmett will get here as quick as he can.” I told a very emotional Rose.
I called Edward and he was searching the internet for a flight for Emmett, he even assured me that if he could get a commercial flight, he would rent a plane.
“Rose, what exactly is the problem.”
Roses doctor was a beautiful Amazon looking woman. Everything about her was perfect, even her bedside manner. Rose told her everything that had been happening and it was decided they would perform a pelvic exam as well as an ultra sound. As Rose began to remove her pants, I excused myself to give her some privacy. The room they had rushed Rose into was at the very end of the hall and around a sharp corner. I could hear the sounds of machine coming from another room as I leaned my back against the wall and waited. I could hear what I assumed was a very happy lady who had just learned the sex of her child. I smiled to myself as I could for the first time in my life actually think about the possibility of having children. Edward and I hadn’t labeled what we were and I want trying to get ahead of myself.
The door that housed the happy mom quickly opened.
“Oh Jess, I cant wait to tell E he is going to be a father.”
My head shot off the wall, yet I kept my back to the wall. The voice was Heidi, Edwards office clerk, there was no mistaking that.
“Don’t you think…”
The second voice who I was certain was Jessica Newton questioned Heidi.
“No Jess, this is just the push he needs. I am going to show E these pictures and just you wait and see, I will be Mrs. Edward Masen before the year is out.”
I gasped and quickly slapped my hand over my mouth. I didn’t want Jess or Heidi to know I had just overheard their conversation. The door to Roses room opened and I walked quickly and quietly in to the room. I remembered how scared Rose was and so I pushed my feelings about Edward behind me. Rose was my friend and she needed me. After a pelvic exam and a lengthy ultrasound, Roses bleeding was contributed to Emmett and the excessive sex they had been having. Rose admitted she couldn’t get enough of him. The doctor gave Rose what she called pelvic rest, which included no intercourse for the next week. I sent a quick text to Edward that he could call off getting air force one to get Emmett back here. Edward called me back as I was leaving my office that day.
“Hey, I heard about a new Mexican restaurant that just opened? Want to meet me?”
I wondered if Heidi had given him the news that he was going to be a father?
“Oh um. I have to take a rain check. I have..plans.”
It wasn’t a lie, I did have a plan. I planned to stay out of the way of the relationship he and Heidi either had or needed to build. He needed to be there for Heidi and give her the emotional support she required this early in her pregnancy.
I managed to avoid Edward for several days after that. I hoped Heidi had given him the news about the baby. It was Thursday and the clinic was really empty. It had been raining really hard for several days and Carlisle felt that was the reason for our slowness.
“Can I see you in my office Bella?”
For a split second, I worried thsat I had done something wrong. However I knew I hadnt and walked quickly into Carlisle office. As he closed the door, he looked at me with such sad eyes.
“Listen, the last thing I want to do is to put my hand in your kool-aid”
The kids in the neighborhood had been teaching Carlisle some street terms. We all laughed when he would use one. I knew what he meant, he didn’t want to get into my personal business.
“But..” I prompted him, effectively giving him permission to…put his hand in the kool-aid.
“I had a rather interesting conversation with my daughter and nephew.”
I suspected he was going to ask me about my most recent avoidance of Edward. The family had made plans to attend an event where there would be people showing off their bikes. Edward wanted me to ride over with him and then stay the weekend at his family’s cabin. I had turned him down, again telling him I had plans.
“Do I have to pull this one out of you or are you going to just spill.”
I rolled my eyes as I tilted my head against the concrete wall. “Carlisle…its…complicated.”
Carlisle was a man of strong convictions. He was the person who would help you no matter what team you were on or who you voted for.
“Then uncomplicate it. If you don’t want a relationship with E then tell him.”
His words were harsh, but needed. He was completely right, I needed to set the record straight.
“Bella, I know how my nephew feels about you, hell the entire family can see it. He does after all let you call him Edward.”
So I told him the story every slided detail. I watched as his face went ash and his eyes dilated. He was silent for several minutes and then looked me in the eyes and said.
“No matter what you hear, don’t say a word.”
I watched as he rested his elbows on his desk. I could see the hint of the tan he had received while at the bike show last weekend. Alice told me this year wasn’t as fun because Edward wasn’t really into it.
“Hey it me, you got a second?”
I looked back at Carlisle who had dialed the phone on his desk, he then pressed a few more buttons and the phone crackled as speaker phone turned on.
“Ive got nothing but time these days.”
Edward velvet voice poured through the speaker filling the room.
“I need to ask you a serious question and I need the truth.”
There was an edge to Carlisles voice that I had never heard before, it was a little frightening.
“Word on the street is that you are going to be a father.”
There were now unrecognizable sounds coming from Edwards end of the phone.
“Who the fuck told you that shit?”
“It is true?” Carlisle voice was now full of anger.
“Why would you…”
“Answer the fucking question Edward. Is it true are you having a baby?”
I closed my eyes and willed myself not to get emotional, I had no real ties to Edward and this would give me the answer I needed.
“Fuck no, I haven’t even slept with Bella.”
“I wasn’t talking about Bella.”
Carlisle voice was now low and very angry. I moved my body away from his slightly.
“Then its even more impossible as I haven’t stuck my dick in anyone since Lauren.”
Several minutes of silence passed before Edward spoke again.
“Now tell me who the fuck told you that I got someone pregnant?”
I zoned out for several seconds, my mind in a whirl. I wondered who Lauren was and how long ago they were together. Then I began to really think about the obvious lie that Heidi told Jessica. I heard Carlisle say my name causing my attention to return to the room.
“She isn’t the type of girl who creates drama. She was willing to let you have your time with Heidi and not make you chose.”
Carlisle knew me pretty well as that is exactly how I looked at it.
“Well, it’s a lie that has cost me Bella. I knew something was up when she didn’t want to go to the Mexican restaurant with me. Goddamnit…..”
I could hear the sound of glass breaking followed by Edward telling Carlisle he would catch him later and thanking him for the heads up. I waited until after Carlisle had left the room before I pulled myself from the chair. I expected Edward to be waiting at my front door but he wasn’t. I waited for several hours for him to either call or come by but he never did. I sat at my kitchen table, drinking my tea and just waiting. I could hear the sounds of the mantel clock ticking and I smiled as I remember Edwards story. With every noise I heard outside, I would glance out the window only to again see no sign of Edward. As I turned off the lights, I noticed that I had again neglected to open the numerous envelopes from the bank. Tomorrow I said aloud. I would handle everything tomorrow.
- Chapter 7
“E do you want me to find out what happened?”
My uncle Carlisle had been really supportive of my decision to head back early. Bike fest had always been such a great time and I looked forward to it every year. This year was going to be like it was when I was younger; before I thought I had life figured out.
“I don’t know Uncle C. I’ve tried everything I know and she just tells me everything is fine.”
I had everything in place. I had her favorite wine and the shampoo she used-please don’t ask me how I figured that one out. But when I asked her to come away with me, she told me she had other plans. That had been her answer to everything the last week. Maybe she doesn’t feel for me what I feel for her.
“Women can be funny E. Maybe it’s her time of the month or you said something that upset her. I’ll do some digging and see what I can get for you.”
I left the cabin early and drove the bike through the national park. It had been years since I had taken this road. Years since I had felt the way I do. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever want to be with someone again until I saw Bella. I pulled over on the side of the road and watched the sunset. I didn’t even appreciate it like I used to, I just wanted to find out what the hell happened and fix it if I could.
“Heidi is out sick again and so you’re going to have to answer the phones with me.” I told my workers in the shop. Heidi had been to several doctor’s appointments and I was honestly worried if she was alright. She came to work the other day and seemed really happy until Jessica Newton showed up and they had words in the parking lot. Something told me Heidi was up to no good.
My friend, the parole officer, had asked me to take a look at an old Studebaker he got out of a junk yard. He wanted to know if it was worth the time and money to bring her back to life. Marcus shared my passion for old cars and I agreed to help him get the old girl running. Once he brought her in, I worried I might have spoken too soon. She was a rusty shell with no windows and very little original hardware. I told him it was going to take time and money but he said he really wanted to have her singing again.
I had just pulled out the remaining scraps of the engine when my Uncle called me. I knew he was pissed when he started swearing at me. As I listened to what he had to say, my mind went flooding back to Lauren. I met her at the bike show that I wanted to take Bella to. She was a quick, witted beautiful blonde that took my breath away. We hit it off and the next thing I knew we were planning a wedding.
Lauren owned a bakery on the other side of Seattle and loved motorcycles as much as I did. Every chance we got we headed out of town on the back of our bikes and let the road carry us. Her sister had just had a baby and was very sick. Lauren told me she was going over there to check on her and the baby. I remember kissing her lips and telling her how much I loved her. She smiled at me and returned the words.
Next thing I know Uncle C is knocking on my door telling me that Lauren was killed in a head on crash. My world crash hard that day and I began to devote all of my energy into making old cars new again. I couldn’t fix Lauren, but if I could keep safe cars on the road I would. However, having to say her name to my uncle caused the pain of that day to return. Instead of doing the right thing, I went home and drank myself to unconsciousness.
“Boss, you don’t look so good.” Eric, one of my workers, commented as I walked into my shop.
“Funny, I don’t feel really great either.”
Because Heidi had been out so much, I had to hire a second girl to cover for her. Trust me when I say it was slim pickens when the girls showed up wanting the job. Bree was the only girl who seemed to have two brain cells that were currently talking to each other.
“Good morning Mr. Masen.” She said in what I assumed was a sexy voice.
“Morning.” I grumbled back to her, reaching for a cup of coffee.
“You know if you need anything from me, just ask.”
She was no different from Heidi in the boundary department. I gave her a go-to-hell look and headed into the garage.
That was another thing I would need to handle, Heidi. She had lied to Jessica and who knows who else about being with me. I wouldn’t tolerate this from her or anyone else.
I had the Studebaker on the lift when I thought I heard her voice. I stopped what I was doing and listened and sure enough I heard Bella saying, “Hello.”
I rounded the corner in time to hear the entire conversation between her and Bree.
“Oh Honey, you can just leave those right here and I’ll make certain he gets them.”
“Well, I really need to speak with him; its important.” Bella argued back.
“Yes, well he has more important things to do then to have conversations with some Betty Crocker from the neighborhood.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to talk to Bella and get rid of Bree.
“Let me tell you something!” I shouted as I slammed my fist on the desk. This, of course, did nothing to help my throbbing head and I winced slightly.
“This isn’t just some Betty Crocker from the hood. This is my girlfriend and not that it matters to you one way or the other, because at this point I want you out of my shop. Get your shit and pack it up!”
I shoved the pen holder and credit card slide machine to the floor. I didn’t even look at Bella as I grabbed her arm and made my way to my office. Once inside, I slammed the door and let out a loud, “God damn it!”
Bella flinched slightly as I grabbed my aching head with both hands.
“Sit down, please Edward.”
Her voice was so soft and was the first thing that didn’t hurt to hear. I did as she asked, laying my head on the desk. I could hear shuffling in the attached bathroom and then felt a cold washcloth being placed on my neck. Bella began to hum as she massaged my scalp. I kept my eyes closed focusing only on her hum. It was a song I had never heard of but so relaxing and before I knew it, my head ache was gone.
“Better?” Her voice still soft and quite.
“Much.” I replied just as quietly afraid my headache would return if there was too much noise.
I lifted my head and took in her form. She had her scrubs on that she had to wear to the Seattle office. I watched as she sat in the other chair that was in the office.
“I’m sorry Edward.” Her voice still very soft and her head was down.
“It’s not true you know.”
Seeing her sit there remorseful and fragile, I wanted to comfort her; but I was supposed to be angry with her. Angry for her avoiding me and not coming to me. Maybe it had something to do with the way she was brought up. Maybe she was afraid of confrontation. Maybe she really didn’t want to be in my world.
“That’s what I came to talk to you about.” She looked up at me.
“Alright, do you want to talk here or do you need to get to work?”
She smiled as she placed her purse on the table beside her.
“Well, Esme gave me the afternoon off because she wants you happy again. So here is fine, although, you do look like you need a good hang over meal. I know a really great diner near here where they have the best home fries; a sure way to cure any hang over for miles.”
Twenty minutes later and one and half cups of coffee, I sat in that very diner. I ordered their breakfast special and was currently making myself eat. Bella had ordered the biggest plate of French toast and was eating it like she hadn’t eaten for days.
“Slow down beautiful, no one is going to take it from you.”
She tossed her napkin at me and took a drink of her iced tea.
“So…tell me your side of this.” I prompted her.
I sat and continued to eat as Bella shared the story of overhearing Heidi. How she felt like she was doing something unethical by coming directly to me. She felt I needed to be there for Heidi and the baby.
I cleared my throat to speak.
“You’re right on several points, but wrong in just as many.” I paused while the waitress refilled my coffee and Bella’s tea.
“First, I have to commend you for not running and spreading what you heard. I know lesser people who would have shouted it from the tops of all the tall buildings, but I’m also disappointed that you didn’t come talk to me.”
I watched as she nodded her head in agreement.
“Bella, Heidi wasn’t your patient so you wouldn’t have broken any ethical laws.”
She turned her eyes from me and looked out into the street.
“I know what you’re saying. I just didn’t want the baby not to have a dad. I mean I know what it’s like to have a really great father then to have him taken away. I never want that to happen to an innocent child.” Her eyes still focused outside while she confided in me. She was obviously thinking of her own father.
“I would have been there for her-had it been my child- but I still would have wanted to have a relationship with you.”
Her eyes snapped to mine.
“But I couldn’t let you do that. I couldn’t have been an obstacle in your relationship.”
I smiled at her and I knew at that point I was well on my way to being completely in love with her.
“Sweetheart, I would have made certain that baby wanted for nothing. I would have been available to Heidi to help her in any way I could, but I would also be there taking care of you the way a boyfriend is supposed to be. Nothing or no one is going to change that for me.”
Bella sat perfectly still as she picked at her food. The once ravenous eater had suddenly lost her appetite.
“Talk to me, baby.” I pleaded with her taking the fork out of her hand.
“You’ll just think it’s stupid.”
Bella was boring a hole in the plate that sat in front of her. I leaned my face down so that she couldn’t help but look at me.
“Hey, this is me, talk to me please.”
She closed her eyes tightly as her face contorted into a frown. “When I turned eighteen, Billy told me that it was time for me to be his girlfriend and that he would someday place a ring on my finger.”
My anger began to bubble and then fear began to creep up my neck. Was she engaged to Billy?
“I didn’t really understand what he meant by that. So, he told me he would be allowed to touch me and kiss me when he wanted and he also expected me to take care of more things in the house. One of the things I had to start doing was taking care of his books for his business.”
I tried to keep my cool at the fact that a man, who was placed in the position to care for Bella, had slowly begun to take advantage of her. I made a mental note to read up on this Billy Black she was speaking about.
“See Edward, I don’t want to do anything like that. I want to focus on becoming a better nurse and maybe even some traveling; not get married and being a free bookkeeper.”
And there it was. She had again been lied to, told that these duties were all a part of a role she really didn’t understand.
“So, you’re worried that I’ll want to marry you and make you start keeping up with my business affairs?”
She didn’t look at me as she nodded her head.
“Well then, maybe you should listen to my story.”
I told her everything about Lauren. How we met and quickly fell in love. How I wanted to give her the world. I told her of how Lauren spoke of getting married not even two weeks into the relationship. I told her how I was placating her by getting engaged. How I thought we could have a really long engagement and then a nice wedding. How at times I wondered if I was doing the right thing. How when she died a small part of me died with her.”
“Do you still love her?”
Staring into her eyes, into the face of the girl I had waited my entire life to meet, the last thing I wanted to do was lie to her.
“I loved the idea of Lauren, having someone who had the same ambitions that I had; someone who could share my hopes and fears with.”
Her expression didn’t change as she asked her next question.
“Um…what if I wanted to travel and not ask you along?”
Her question wasn’t what I expected, but I wanted her to have no doubt about what she could expect from me.
“Bella, let me just lay this out for you. I have two accountants, one for my personal finances and one for my business. I have traveled a great deal and there are several places I chose not to return to. You are a young beautiful woman who has the world at her feet. I want to be the man who helps her to see and do everything she dreams of. I want to take our time to get to know each other. And maybe, just maybe, we find that we complete each other so much that we decoded what we want to get married. That, however, isn’t even on the table. I don’t expect you to cook and clean for me, I have a cleaning lady who comes in three times a week. I have a sister and an aunt who make sure I always have a healthy meal several times a week. Also, you say you may want to travel and not take me, the same goes for me. I will want to jump on the back of my bike and go where ever the road leads. I only have one expectation from you.”
I watched as the look of worry disappeared and relief wash over her face.
“I expect you to one day fall hopelessly in love with me.”
Bella insisted on paying the check and I agreed only if I could leave the tip.
“Hey, I wonder if I could come by and look at the roof really quick. I just want to make certain it will hold up a little longer.”
Bella agreed and I told her I would meet her there. I called a buddy of mine who worked for the sheriff’s office. I wanted to know as much as I could about Billy Black. He said it would take a little while but he would get back to me. I explained to him the relationship between Bella and Billy. He couldn’t remember the details, but he said the name stuck out for him.
I parked my car outside her house and waved to Mrs. Coop. Shelly called me almost daily with reports on Bella. She repeatedly told me about a number of letters Bella had received from a bank in Forks.
As Bella opened the door, I found her holding a stack of the envelopes Shelly was telling me about.
“What you got there beautiful?”
She looked down at the envelopes as I kissed her cheek.
“Well, I’m not sure. I don’t have an account with this bank.”
There had to be at least a dozen envelopes with an address from La Push that was covered by the postal service’s yellow address change label; all from a bank in Forks.
“Well, banks don’t usually send personal letters to just anyone. Open it up.”
She tore into the first envelope, removing the letter and slowly began to read.
“Edward, I don’t understand.” She said as she handed me the letter and opened the next one.
I read over the letter which was a notification from the bank that an account was about to mature and they needed her to contact them so they could disperse the funds.
“Baby, it’s just a notice regarding your trust fund. It must be close to your birthday.”
Bella’s eyes never left the letter in her hand as she responded, “Edward I don’t have a trust fund. My father died and left a little money for me to live on, but that money went to Billy to help with the cost of me living in his house.”
Something was off and I intended to get to the bottom of it. Maybe her father left her more money than she realized. Before I could suggest it, the doorbell rang.
“Are you expecting anyone?” I questioned.
She quickly shook her head and moved to open the door. I stood slightly behind her just in case she needed me.
When she opened the door, Bella gasped.
“Jacob, what are you doing here?”
- Chapter 8
My breath left me seeing Jacob standing on my front porch. My world had changed so much in the past few weeks that I nearly forgot he even existed. Such a large part of my past; a part I wanted to move away from.
“How did you find me?” My words were full of anger and resentment.
Being lied to for many years will do that to a person. The cocky look on his face when he tried to walk around me was enough to cause my anger to excel. I could feel Edward against my back now, a low growl vibrating from his chest.
Jacobs’s very diverse vocabulary was still present. His eyes locked on Edward, sizing him up and down.
“Name isn’t dude and you can answer her at any time.”
Edward was quite intimidating. I felt amazingly safe with him standing there, not that I would suspect Jacob to ever physically hurt me. He had always preferred to call me names or play jokes on me.
“Huh?” was Jacobs’s slow response.
“Bella asked you a question…Is English your second language or are you just really stupid?”
I wanted to laugh at Edwards’s statement. I wanted to slam the door in Jacob’s face but I chose not to do either one.
“Why are you here and how did you get my address?”
The stare down between the two men could go on all night. I, for one, didn’t want Jacob here any longer than necessary.
“Interesting place you got here, Bella…real fixer upper.” His tone was exactly the same when he used to pick on me. He took great pride in breaking me down every chance he got. He tried again to walk around me, but Edward quickly changed places with me and stood nose to nose with him, well nose to bridge of nose as Edward is slightly taller than Jacob.
“You have three seconds to answer her questions before I personally toss you off this porch.”
Jacob’s eyes narrowed as he pushed against Edward’s chest.
“I bet you’re the pussy who is riding that piece of shit bike out there. What’s wrong? You can’t handle a real bike?”
Jacob had no room to talk when it came to riding small bikes. His wasn’t even street legal. He had to ride it in fields and on the back roads.
“I suppose you would know what a real bike looks like?” Edward was baiting him.
“Any real bike rider wouldn’t touch some pussy assed bike like that. Harley Davidson is the only true bike maker.”
Like Jacob would know. His bike was put together with barb-wire and bubble gum. I doubt if anyone could even tell what type of bike he rode as he had mismatched parts that he “made work” with a hammer and a welder.
“Harley has a good line of bikes. I actually have a couple in my garage. But my “pussy bike” as you call it, has undeniable speed that Harley just can’t touch.”
Again I couldn’t sit here and listen to this pissing match any longer. I was already getting a headache from hearing his voice as it is.
Sighing heavily, “Jacob, what is it that you want?”
Both men turned their heads in my direction as if suddenly remembering that I was even in the room.
“Pops wants me to bring you back home. He said to tell you that you have work to do and it’s time to get home.”
Billy had no clue. He seriously thought I was planning to return to the life he wanted for me. A life that would have me pregnant in a year and married to a man that I currently hate with a passion.
“Jacob, I’m not going back with you.”
He quickly snorted as if to imply I had no choice in the matter; oh how wrong he was.
“Cut the shit Bella, pack your stuff and let’s get out of here.”
He looked around Edward and made motion to grab my arm. This was a huge mistake when Jacob’s body was suddenly flying across my porch.
“She said she isn’t going with you.” Edward kept pushing me further into the room while he walked closer to where Jacob landed.
Jacob was quick to stand back up, only stunned briefly from Edward’s shove.
“Listen dude, she’s my pops’ property and he wants her back. I don’t know what she is doing with you, but she’s engaged and has responsibilities back home.”
Jacob tried walking back up my steps when Edward again towered over him.
“I said she doesn’t want to go.” Each word was emphasized with a shove to Jacob back down the steps.
Jacob was smaller than Edward, but he was also several years younger and began to shove back.
“STOP!” I shouted. I didn’t want anyone getting hurt because of me. Jacob and Edward both turned to look at me; each had a fist full of the other’s shirt in their hands.
“Jacob, you aren’t welcomed here. I don’t know how you found me, but you can forget me going with you.”
Edward let Jacob go at that point, roughly shoving him backwards as he released his shirt.
“You forget that Sue’s sister works at the post office. You changed your mail, so she told us your new address. Pops wanted to come, but he’s having some trouble back on the rez.
I had forgotten that, she bragged about working for the government and being set for life once she retired. Again being away from there, for even a short amount of time, was enough to start forgetting about it.
“Listen Bella, I’m glad to hear you don’t want to come back. Everything was better when you left, but pops took care of you when your dad died. The least you can do is tell him to his face that you have a new life.”
Jacob was correct. Billy did take me in and give me a place to live. Besides, I had to visit this bank that kept sending me letters and get that straightened out.
“Tell Billy to expect me next week; not to stay, but to tell him goodbye.”
Jacob left after that. He and Edward continued their stare down. I sat down on my couch laying my head back. The old feeling of being trapped was coming back.
“I’m going with you.” Edward was stating a fact and not a question.
Honestly, I welcomed his presence. I could have him with me when I dealt with Billy and the bank.
“I need to talk to Carlisle and get a couple of days off; banks aren’t open on the weekend in Forks.”
Edward sat beside me with his forearms resting on his thighs, his face focused on the coffee table in front of us.
“He was right, you know?” His voice was low and raspy.
“About what?” I quickly questioned; nothing Jacob had said could be classified as correct.
“This place is…. a real fixer upper. It’s a shit hole and I never should have let you move in here until I fixed it up. I mean the roof is going to leak at any moment and the floors need to be replaced and…”
“Edward….” I shifted my body to lean into him.
“No Bella, I should have hired a contractor and had this place ready for you, not looking like some…some…”
“Edward!” I scolded him. I loved this house and every little piece of character it had.
“I love this house. When I look around, I see good bones and character spots; each one having a story to tell me, a history, or a memory.”
It was less than five hours later, I could have kicked myself for even thinking those words while climbing a ladder with a blue tarp in hand during the rain storm that had moved in overnight. I had just drifted off to sleep listening to the rain hitting my window when the ceiling came crashing down on my bed, water shocking me more than hurting. I was nearly finished when I felt a large hand on my hip. I quickly looked over my left shoulder to see Edward demanding that I get my ass off the roof.
“I just have one more nail and then I will!” I shouted at Edward over the wind and rain.
Edward jerked the hammer out of my hand and quickly slammed the nail into the blue plastic and then guided me back down the ladder to a waiting Mrs. Coop. I rolled my eyes while she held the ladder steady as I carefully climbed down. Shelly looked like the Mrs. Paul’s fish guy in her yellow rain gear and matching hat.
“What in the fuck possessed you to climb on a roof in the middle of a storm?” Edward shouted at me when we entered my kitchen door.
I was angry for the way he was talking to me. “Oh I don’t know….I’m sure it had something to do with the wave of water that woke me up!”
Mrs. Coop had clearly called him. This was marginally annoying, because I wondered how much she really spied on me.
“Do you not have a working phone?”
Wh…what?” I stammered.
“Your phone? The little black thing you press…”
“I know what a fucking phone is….”
“Then why didn’t you call me? I could…”
I was pissed, like heat rolling off me pissed, like tears stinging my eyes pissed.
“I can take care of myself!” I shouted with clinched fists and narrowed eyes. Without warning, I felt my body being moved across the kitchen, my back connecting with the wall. Edward’s hot, wet body was pressed up against me and his lips dominating mine. His hands were wrapped tightly in my wet hair while his leg parted mine pressing his thigh against my core.
I could feel the anger and aggravation in his kiss. He didn’t give me a chance to argue or even respond when he began to tear away my rain coat. He didn’t break his hold on my mouth when I heard the sound of his wet clothes hitting the floor. He lifted my shirt searching for my bare breast, his cold hands cupping and massaging them while kissing down my throat. With his lips and teeth assaulting my neck and his hands working to get my shirt off, my mind traveled back to a conversation I had over and over with Sue.
“Bella, boys are only nice to you when they want something. Give it to them and they will go right back to the way they were before.”
“Stop.” My voice was cracking.
“I want you so much,” was his reply while he toed off his shoes.
“Ple…please stop.” I said slightly louder, pushing his hands away from my chest and pulling my neck away from his mouth.
“Bella?” His voice was still dripping with want.
I stepped around him grabbing a towel from the basket that sat on my kitchen table. I had forgotten to put them away earlier in the night. I tossed one to him as well and made my way to the sink. I took out several large stock pots and carried them to my bedroom. My bed was completely drenched and I prayed it wasn’t ruined.
“Bella?” Edward stood in the doorway, his left hand holding the towel I gave him, rubbing it against his hair.
“Edward, you are going to have to move soon on that roof. I have no idea how long that tarp will keep the water out.”
I couldn’t look at him; I continued to move my things away from the large hole that was still dripping water.
He called my name again but I continued to ignore him, finally he grabbed my wrist and spun me around to look at him.
“I’m sorry Bella. I really got carried away in there.”
I could only nod at him. I felt the tears threaten to fall, so I took in a deep breath and forbid myself from crying in front of him.
“Bella, come sit and talk to me.”
He didn’t give me an opportunity to argue with him as he pulled me back into the living room. I sat beside him where he guided me, hoping that he would say what he needed to and then leave. However, when I looked into his eyes I nearly lost my battle with the tears.
“Baby…. please know that what happened in your kitchen was all my fault. I was angry that you had climbed on that roof and could have killed yourself.”
I opened my mouth to argue but by the look on his face I remained silent.
“When I saw you up there…I thought about….”
He didn’t need to finish his sentence.
“Lauren…” I added for him.
He shook his head. “I want you to know how much I really care about you. How much I want you, and not just sexually, although that is a pretty constant thought that I have, but more importantly just in my world.”
We were both silent for several minutes. Edward was looking at his fingers as if they held all the answers he needed.
“Bella, did….did Billy force you to do things you didn’t want?”
My eyes snapped up to his, and the look on his face was of a caged animal ready to pounce.
I began shaking my head, “No….he only kissed me once. But I think it was only a matter of time before he did.”
He seemed to calm down nodding his head and then lowered his eyes back to his fingers.
I decided to be honest with him. I mean it is only fair since I expect him to be honest with me.
“It’s just that…Sue told me.”
I felt his hand wrap around mine pulling me closer to him.
“Sue said that guys are only nice to you when they want to…”
“Fuck you?” he finished for me, returning the favor.
This time I nodded my head.
“Well Bella, maybe some guys are but this man,” he pulled me completely against his chest, “this man isn’t going to change how he treats you because you aren’t ready for that step yet.”
Carlisle practically shoved me out the door when I told him what I had to do. He offered to have Emmett come along in case things got rough. I assured him that I would be fine.
Edward insisted on driving and for once I didn’t argue. It felt so strange to be heading back to the place I ran so quickly from.
“Bella, before we get to Billy’s house, there is something I need to tell you.”
Edward was holding my hand tightly as he drove.
“What is it?”
“I had a friend do some digging on Billy. He called me this morning with some information you should know about.”
I turned facing him; his eyes never leaving the road.
“It seems that the government has opened an investigation on him recently. Did you know he doesn’t have a contractor’s license?”
I didn’t know much about Billy’s business, only that he was able to get work very easy.
“No, I didn’t know that. Is that something you need?”
He snickered as he replied. “It is if you are getting paid to do work for not only the US government, but also the tribal government. Seems he did some work on the reservation and there was an issue with it.”
I turned to look out the window now in deep thought. Billy always bragged about how good his work was. He said that’s why he was always busy.
“Bella, he did some work on a public building and used sub-par materials. The roof caved in and a few people got hurt.”
That got my attention. “Where?” I gasped.
“It was actually in Portland. A contract he won from the government a few years ago. My buddy told me the project was in the process of being inspected when the new roof caved in. One of the inspectors was injured.”
I could feel it in my core that there was more to the story than what Edward was telling me. It was just a while later that we pulled into the parking lot of the bank in Forks. Edward looked around at the businesses that sat on each side of the highway. I noticed there were several people who were outside staring at us.
Edward laughed as he opened the door for me, “I guess you don’t see cars like mine in Forks every day.”
We walked through the small lobby to an older lady behind a desk and sat down in front of her.
“Good morning, how can I help you?” She questioned. I didn’t get to come to Forks very often when I lived here, so I had no idea who she was. I pulled the stack of letters from my bag handing them to her.
“Yes ma’am, I have been getting these notices and I’m concerned because I don’t have an account with this bank.”
The lady took the letters and quickly looked over them.
“Just a minute dear, I will get you someone to help you.”
I turned in my chair placing my face into Edward’s chest and inhaled. He always smelled so good, like clean laundry and shampoo.
“Ms. Swan?” A gentleman’s voice called.
“Yes?” I said as I stood up.
“I’m Mr. Jenks, manager of this bank. Can you follow me to my office please?”
I nodded my head and grabbed Edward’s hand. I was determined to find out why I was getting these letters.
“Well Ms. Swan, I must say you are not an easy person to track down. The address we had for your father started to be returned shortly after his death. It was when Mr. Black came in about a month ago inquiring about the account balance that we had to mail out a new notice. This time we were so glad to not get a return to sender.”
“I’m sorry; did you say that Mr. Black inquired about this account?”
Mr. Jenks removed his glasses and leaned against his desk. “Mr. Black was given access to an account that your father set up after he was hospitalized the last time. He personally called me from the hospital to do just that. He also set up an account that would mature when you reached your twenty second birthday. That is the account Mr. Black was questioning. Since he was not given permission to have access to it, we could not discuss it with him.”
Why would Billy need to have money for me after I left?
“Ms. Swan, I just need to get a few signatures from you and a current bank account number. Once your birthday passes, we can wire transfer the money into your account.”
He opened a file folder and handed me a pen. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw that 150,000 dollars would be mine in just a few days.
“I don’t understand. My father wasn’t a rich man, where did this money come from?”
Mr. Jenks paused his writing on the paper in front of him.
“Mr. Swan had taken out a life insurance policy on the day you were born. You were listed as the sole beneficiary with the stipulation that you reach the age of twenty two before you could have access.”
I signed in the spaces he instructed and handed him a cancelled check from my check book. He shook both mine and Edward’s hands wishing us a good afternoon.
I was still puzzled as to why Billy would try to get money from that account.
“Where to Babe?”
I thought for a second where I wanted to take him first, Billy’s or to show him the college where I learned so much. But suddenly, I knew exactly where we needed to go first.
“Edward, take a left at the stop light, there is someone I want you to meet.”
“Alright, do I need to behave or are you saving Billy’s for later?”
I smiled as I took his hand in mine. “You need to behave, but we are saving Billy for later. I want you to meet the most important man in my life. I want you to meet my dad.”
**Beta-Note** Hello all, any mistakes are mine and not Cayce’s if you happen to see any. Sorry for the wait in getting this back to Cayce. You mothers know how busy it is in the first few days of school. I have 3 boys, and each school sends home this stack of papers I have to sigh my life away every single year, then organizing their stuff; binders, dividers, papers…. They are boys, so they need help organizing. Anyway, here it is. I hope you enjoyed reading this chap. I would have been pissed if I got woke up when the ceiling fell in on me. Oh, one last thing, Cayce told me there were be a little lime or zest or something, can’t remember…Honey, you are just teasing us. If there isn’t any lovin’ coming any time soon, then we need some heavy pettin.’ Kimmie41 (Kim Roland-Edwards)
- Chapter 9
All of these years hadn’t changed the way the house looked. The shutters were still a little crooked from when dad tried to paint them. The rose bush on the side of the house was still over grown and leaning into the drive way. My yellow curtains still covered the window on my upstairs bedroom.
“Bella, is your dad buried here?”
The last thing Mr. Jenks had told me was that the house had been placed in my name. A small trust had been established to maintain the yard and pay the property tax. The question now was what do I want to do with it?
“No Edward, he’s buried just outside of town in the cemetery next to my Nana. This was where he lived his entire life.”
I hoped that my father’s things were still inside. I wanted to share with Edward the memories I had of living in this house. The house where I learned to ride my first bike, tie my shoes and dance on my daddy’s toes.
“I could take you to the cemetery where we can sit and talk about him; you could see his name on a marble stone. But I want you to see him as I remember him. His eyes that are the same color as mine, the clothes he wore, and the chair he sat in when he watched every game that was broadcasted.”
When I was a little girl, my father would always hold my hand when I walked up the stairs. Out of pure habit, I grabbed Edward’s hand when I took that first step. The door held a number of old faded fliers from different sales people. The key had to be jiggled a little to get past some rust from nonuse. However, when I opened the door, I was taken back to a time when my father was alive.
His smell filled my nose and I could only smile from the instant comfort. I walked around the room remembering different events that took place. I saw the hook by the door still hold his flannel jacket and I made a mental note to take that one home with me. His coffee cup sat empty on the end table beside his chair, and the stain on the carpet when I spilled his coffee when I was ten. We tried everything on the market to get that stain up, only making it bigger.
“I remember one time when I was maybe eight or nine, I wanted to make a cake for my dad’s birthday, but I wasn’t allowed to cook.”
The kitchen table was still against the window, but now it was covered with envelopes and old newspapers.
“So…I came down very early on his birthday and I made him a frosting sandwich.” I chuckled. “He had the biggest smile on his face as he ate every bite of it.”
Edward wrapped his warm arms around me, caging my arms to my body. I closed my eyes and leaned into him.
“Your dad had guns in the house?” He nodded to the shotgun shells sitting next to a gun cleaning kit on one of the chairs.
“Yeah, he was the Chief of police; we always had a few guns in the house.” I responded automatically.
“Show me where the safe is Bella.” He cautiously said.
My father had come home one time from a convention where they discussed keeping the home safe when you have small children in the house. He instantly went to building a gun safe under the stairs. He had it so well hidden that you couldn’t tell there was an opening there. When I was older, he gave me the combination in case I needed to protect myself.
I walked around the corner noticing the picture that covered the key pad was missing and the wall around it was damaged.
“What is the code Bella?”
I continued to look around. It looked as if someone had been in here because my dad’s desk was opened and some papers were scattered. I walked over and pressed in the code hearing the door click as the locks opened.
“This is quite clever Bella. Had I not seen the key pad I would not have known it was here.”
The door opened and I was relieved to see all my father’s guns neatly stacked in their place. I watched as Edward picked up one particular shotgun and examined it.
“This was the first shotgun my grandfather ever got me. When he was alive, we would go hunting at the cabin, I have a one like it in my safe at home.”
Edward placed the gun back behind the safety strap and took a step back. I quietly shut the safe door and listened to the locks engage.
“Babe, who knew this safe was here?”
I didn’t want to say that answer out loud, hearing his name would only make me hate him more.
“Besides myself? Billy Black.”
We spent several hours going through the house. I showed Edward where my tire swing hung in the backyard until a heavy snow storm caused the limb to fall. We sat inside my father’s bedroom for a while and I told him story after story of things we did when I was little. I even showed him my old room. I watched as he looked at the pictures on the wall and played with the afghan that was still on my bed. I didn’t want to leave this bubble I had created for myself. Having my father’s things around me made me feel closer to him somehow. However, I had to talk with Billy; close that door for good.
“Well…let’s get this over with,” I grumbled as I took my father’s jacket off the hook and stepped on the front porch. I was about to lock the door when I noticed a young couple standing on the sidewalk next to the house.
“Can I help you?” I questioned the couple.
The man was about Edward’s height, dark short hair and black rimmed glasses. The girl that stood beside him was at least a foot shorter with long dark hair and matching glasses and clearly pregnant.
“Um… I was about to ask you the same thing.” The man responded. His tone was respectful, yet cautious.
“I used to live here.”
His eyes widened and he quickly made his way up the walk.
“I’m Ben Chaney and this is my wife Angela. I never thought I would ever meet you.”
His handshake was solid and it shook my entire body.
“I’ve been taking care of the maintance on this house for several years. I had asked Mr. Jenks if he could contact the owner and see if they would be willing to sale.”
His wife was quiet, but she had a huge smile on her face. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where.
“Actually, I’ve just learned that I even own this house.” I pointed over my shoulder.
“Well, I would love to discuss renting or even buying it if you ever decide what to do. Ang and I are expecting and I’m trying to get my business up and running. It’s tough though, not a lot of work to go around here.”
“What kind of business do you have?” I had nearly forgotten that Edward was behind me.
“Oh, I’m trying to start my own construction company. Right now, I have the bank and the city hall using me as their maintance guy on their bank owned properties. It isn’t what I want to be doing, but I have to support my family.”
I had been listening to Ben, but watching Angela. I just couldn’t shake the feeling I had met her before.
“I’m sorry, but have we met?” I questioned her.
Angela smiled and then looked to her husband, “Yes, you were one of the nurses who helped me during a car accident.”
I tried very hard to remember the incident, but came up blank.
“You were there when they did the ultrasound and discovered this little peanut.” She spoke softly rubbing her swollen stomach.
Then the memory came flooding back. Angela and Ben had been arguing and he had broken things off with her. She was driving home clearly upset when a drunk driver crossed the center median and she was hit head on. At the time we weren’t even looking for a baby, we were checking for internal bleeding. I found her cell phone in her purse and called the last person she had called, which was Ben. He was there in less than ten minutes and never left her side.
“I do remember; you two had just broken up.” I smiled as I said the words, not meaning anything was funny, just glad I had remembered.
“Worst mistake of my life.” Ben responded. “A mistake I will never repeat.” He pulled Angela into his side as he kissed her temple.
“So, what have you done so far to start this business?” Edward questioned Ben.
Ben smiled, “I was wondering when you were going to ask me that.” He spoke holding out his hand to Edward.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Mason, I’m a huge fan.”
“Fan?” I hadn’t meant to speak my thoughts out loud.
Edward chuckled while shaking Ben’s hand.
“Yes, a fan for several years. I’ve read every one of your books and I attended your seminar two years ago in Spokane.” Ben admitted as I stood there in shock.
“Bella isn’t familiar with my business side.” Edward teased. “Yes Bella, in addition to the garage, I have several businesses around Seattle. I also have a consulting firm and I have written a couple of books on starting a business from the ground up.”
I stood there speechless with my mouth dropped open in shock. It wasn’t that long ago I thought he was a hells angel’s member. Edward ignored my stunned look and continued speaking with Ben.
Staring at my old house, I ignored the conversation that was currently going on between Edward and Ben. I instantly recalled the last time I stood on this very side walk. My father had gone fishing and I had been working on my school science project. I had created the overdone volcano that you add baking soda and vinegar to making it look like an eruption. I was so excited to show him that I came out here and waited for him to return. When he pulled up, he ignored the fish that Billy was reminding him about, to come inside and see what I had created.
“My Bella is going to be something someday Billy, come on and let’s see what my brainiac created.”
My father ran as fast as I did that day and his eyes were so bright while he watched my lava run down my clay volcano onto the newspaper that covered the kitchen table. I got an A on that volcano and my dad took us to Port Angeles for dinner to celebrate. I had so many happy memories in this house. It seemed wrong to let it waste away to nothing. It should be filled with laughter and family getting together around a dinner table, sharing their day.
“What would you change about this house, Ben?”
I’m sure I interrupted whatever they were discussing, but honestly I didn’t care.
Ben turned and studied the house, his face contorting with what I’m certain were images of his family playing in the yard or his children playing with a barking dog. Perhaps even himself running down the porch steps carrying Angela’s suitcase while they dash to the hospital for the birth of the baby.
“It needs to be painted, the roof will need to be replaced in a few years, but that’s about it.”
Instantly, I knew Ben and Angela would carry on with all of the love that this house held.
“Doesn’t really matter though, as I was telling Mr. Masen, the bank won’t give me a loan for my business so there is no way they would give me money for a house.”
I looked to Edward who had to have known what I was considering.
“Bella, I was just about to ask Ben to meet me later to discuss his business plan; do you want to discuss the house as well?’
I smiled turning to Angela. “From what I remember, the stove needed some work and the kitchen faucet dripped.”
Angela’s face turned into this huge smile, her eyes glistening as she stepped toward me wrapping her arms around me.
“Thank god for people like you, Bella.”
I never thought it possible for a house to grow smaller and older in such a short time. However, sitting in Edward’s car that was parked in Billy’s drive way, the tiny red house appeared to have shrunk or maybe I grew, I didn’t know.
“You alright?” Edward questioned and squeezing my hand. I glanced over at him, his warm eyes telling me everything I needed to know. I would say what I needed to and leave. I would have Edward and my new family to help me get through the aftermath.
I clicked my seat belt off and exited the car. Glancing from the rough gravel of the driveway and back to the house where I noticed three bodies standing on the leaning porch. Billy had said several times he was going to replace the rotting wood that made up the structure. I swear the white painted two by fours would give way at any second. I also noticed Billy’s eyes were trained on Edward. When we climbed the three steps, Billy turned his eyes on me. I could hear the television blaring from inside the living room. A look over Billy’s shoulder confirmed what I feared; the living room was littered with trash, used food containers, dirty dishes and the ever present empty beer cans.
“About time you got your fat ass home. The house needs to be cleaned.” He turned slowly and walked into the house with a limp in his step that wasn’t there when I left.
I stood there still as a statue. I’m not certain what I actually thought he would say to me. At least, a hello, you look good or something like that would have given me a clue how this visit would have gone.
A few months ago, I would have quietly done as I was told, but that was the old Bella; the Bella that believed everything Billy had ever told her. I kicked an empty cereal bowl when I crossed the threshold. The contents stuck to the inside and never ventured out, can’t say that I blamed the pieces of cereal. I wouldn’t want to touch this floor either. I stood in front of the big screen TV, one of the few items we took from my home after dad died; Billy sat in the recliner that he picked up from a job one day.
“Then I suggest you get off your lazy ass and clean up after yourself.”
Edward chuckled as he kicked an empty case of beer out of his path where it landing directly in front of Jacob.
“Hey, are you the owner of the kiddy bike out there?”
I hadn’t noticed Jacob’s homemade bike that always sat beside the porch, clearly Edward did.
“Fuck you dude, I built that bitch myself!”
Edward stepped closer challenging Jacob. “Oh I have no doubts you glued it together. Did daddy help you with the training wheels and pull string so it could make engine noises instead of you having to make them with your mouth?”
I waited for Jacob to hit Edward or at least shove him, but it never happened. Jacob seemed to know he was out muscled and frankly out witted. Edward never dropped his glare at Jacob as he spoke firmly to Billy.
“Show her your left leg old man.”
Edward had noticed the limp when Billy walked into the room, however, how would he know it was new?
Billy didn’t move while he kept his eyes fixed on me.
“I didn’t stutter motherfucker. I’m going to tell her regardless, so you better be a man and come clean.”
I knew in the car that Edward wasn’t telling me everything about Billy. Billy continued his stance; holding his beer was the only part of him that moved. Jacob seemed to grow anxious as he turned and headed back outside. I could hear him trying to start his bike when Edward chuckled walking closer to me.
“You could at least give the boy a push start on his little toy.”
Billy ignored Edward’s jab. Edward did let up, with no respect for Billy or his feelings, he openly began to tell the truth about all the lies he had filled my head with.
“You are such a cheese dick motherfucker. You sit here on yourself imposed throne acting like the king of England. While the truth of the matter is, you are the lowest of lows, pure scum of the earth; and I’m not just talking about the shit job you did on that student center…am I dick head?”
Billy never moved except to raise his beer to his mouth.
“See Bella…what Billy didn’t tell you when he was scaring the life out of you with his factitious bullshit about the bad men of the world, is that evil takes many forms. In this case, it was a man who gave his word to his dying friend that he would take care of his only daughter.”
Billy shifted slightly and closed his eyes quickly at the mention of my father. I had to hear the truth, know what had happened while I was gone.
“Ever tell her how you and Charlie met?”
Billy’s eyes flashed to Edward’s. I started having a nauseous feeling inside my stomach; I just knew this was going to be painful to witness.
“Yes…William Stewart Black, born January 17, 1961, married Constance Janine Lightfoot, June 1, 1987; Jacob William Black born six months later…oops!”
Edward had such an authorative tone to his voice. He wasn’t being rude, he was stating fact and it both thrilled me and scared the shit out of me. How was he able to know all of this in such a short amount of time?
“Constance’s daddy didn’t approve did he William?”
Billy’s head hung heavily. It seemed he was almost ashamed, maybe remorseful?
“Daddy cut her off, took away her trust fund, said she could have her money when she got rid of you.”
Edward took my hand, continuing to talk to Billy while looking at me.
“Constance died three months after she gave birth to little Jakey, he was the sole survivor of the crash, but you planned that didn’t you William?”
My eyes became huge. I knew Billy’s wife died but I never knew Jake was in the same car. My shocked expression was easily ready by Edward.
“You went to her father at her funeral and demanded for Jake to get her trust fund, but Sam wasn’t an idiot. He agreed to give Jake the money….upon your death.”
Billy smashed the now empty beer can in his fist then threw it in Edward’s direction. Edward didn’t flinch as the can bounced off his chest.
“How did you know about Sam, you one of his hired hands?”
Edward’s voice became very low and dangerous. “Samuel Lightfoot is a pillar in the Seattle community, a good and honest business man. I make it a practice to surround myself with good and honest people. Samuel and I serve on several boards together.”
The silence that followed was eerily frightening. The way Edward spoke of Jake’s grandfather made me question if Edward was sugar coating the truth and that Sam was really a mobster or something. However, I rationalized that Edward really was spilling the truth.
“You’ve been on the wrong side of the law for a long time, haven’t you William?”
Looking at the man who I once considered my protector, I no longer recognized him. I could only assume by Edward’s words that the information I was hearing now was only the tip of the iceberg. Billy shifted in his chair, wincing as he lifted his left leg.
“What happened to your leg?” The words left my mouth on auto pilot. In the past, I would have just have kept it shut.
“None of your business, and I told you to get this place cleaned up!”
Before I could say anything back, Edward took the few steps that brought him within inches of Billy.
“First off, you don’t get to order her around anymore.” Edward said; his jaw clinched and his body ridged.
“Oh?…So, you get her in the sack and now she’s your little whore?”
His words hit me like a brick wall. Billy had never been this cruel. Suddenly Edward reached down and grabbed Billy’s left leg making him wince and shout in pain.
“See this Bella!” Edward shouted into the room.
Looking at his leg, his ankle was severely bruised. There was a large gash that looked to have been recently stitched. However, that was only the beginning, because I noticed a large black metal bracket that was now wrapped around his ankle. The letters, WCC, was painted in bright white along the band. I had seen this type of device several times before.
Portland, Oregon was a county seat and it housed one of the country’s federal detention facilities. Port Angeles was a stopping point for anyone being moved from one federal prison to another. I have worked with two prisoners that came into the emergency room during my clinical. This was a tracking device. One of the doctors I worked with called them the lo-jack system for the feds. Billy was in real trouble.
“This is what happens when you cross the wrong people.”
Edward slammed Billy’s foot back down, making me jump slightly at the sheer force Edward used.
“That’s how you met Bella’s father isn’t it? You had been drinking and he pulled you over. He was kind to you and drove you home to your father. But that didn’t deter you, you did it several more times after that, and Charlie covered for you. Once you married Constance, you cut off the drinking and seemed to be headed in the right direction. Only you got worse…much worse.”
I could feel the unease creeping into my body. Did Billy start taking drugs, stealing, or gambling?
“You took advantage of your good friend Charlie always questioning him about how his job was going; only you were using him to monitor police activity in the area. You traded drinking for a bigger thrill, a bigger payout, but you quickly got burned and in over your head.”
Looking over at Edward, he was as calm as if he was discussing the game scores from last night, but I realized that I was now trembling.
“See Bella….Billy became involved with a man not long after Constance’s death. This man isn’t one you want to have an association with or have as an enemy. He began to work for him, doing little jobs here and there while still running his construction company. However, the economy took a down turn and new homes and businesses were less and less. Even the government cut back on the number of contracts they handed out.”
I was having a hard time believing what he was saying, Billy was always busy with more work than he could handle.
“William here was one of the few construction companies that didn’t lay off their workers. One of the few that remained working for the government was still going to. All in thanks to one man, Aro Volturi.”
I sucked in a gasp as he spoke that name. Just a few weeks ago, I was reading a newspaper in the downtown office when I came across an article about a man who was being sought after by federal agents. He was allegedly responsible for several US Senators being investigated for illegal doings. One of which, was granting government contracts to companies with no license or insurance.
“But, William got greedy recently wanting a bigger cut of the pie. So, he began to steal from Aro, which, by the way, is one of the most stupid things you could have done, next to getting involved with criminals.”
The weight of everything was causing me to become dizzy. Ignoring the trash that filled the chair, I sat down.
“Babe, you alright?” Edward was beside me in an instant.
“That’s why he was at the bank.” My voice was shaky with fear and anger.
“He was going to steal from me.” Looking into Edward’s eyes; his care for me radiating from his soul.
“That’s why the papers on my father’s desk were a mess and the gun safe….” My voice trailed off as the reality began to sink in.
“Yes sweetheart, he was trying to take your trust fund to pay Aro. That’s why he wanted you to work at the hospital on the reservation and why he wanted to marry you. So he would have access to the bonus the Quileute tribe offered for new nurses and he would be entitled to all of your trust fund as your husband.”
I wrapped my arms around Edward’s waist placing my nose as deep in his neck as I could. I had to rid myself of this place. Edward continued to talk to Billy as he held me tight.
“My suspicion is that you told her about all of the evil that was outside of this reservation to keep her here, keep her afraid to even leave the house I’m sure. But you underestimated her, just like you underestimated the guards that slapped that ankle monitor on you. “
My head snapped up at his words, I turned to look at Billy’s ankle.
“He tried to pull the monitor off. A couple of guards showed him what happens when you mess with the big boys who are playing for the good guys.”
I took a good look at his ankle. The bruising was almost black and looked fresh; the yellow had not appeared yet. The white letters of the ankle monitor were like a beacon for me and my thoughts, and I was angry. Angry at the reality of believing the lies and deception from a man that was trusted to care for me.
“You lied to me the entire time I was here. Made me believe that men would use me and hurt me; when all along the real danger was sitting next to me.”
I was so angry I rose from my crouched position smacking my hand against the monitor causing Billy to cry out in pain and grab my wrist. In the blink of an eye, Edward had his booted foot sideways against Billy’s throat, effectively pinning him against the chair.
“Hurt her and I will fucking end you.” His voice was wild and domineering, he was telling the truth; he had no issue with hurting or even killing Billy if he tried anything with me.
I took one final look at Billy. I closed my eyes, shaking my head I reached out for Edward’s hand.
“When I walk out that door I will do it for the last time. I never want to see or speak with you again. Once you’re tucked away safely in prison, I will forget about you entirely.”
I straightened my back dropping Edward’s hand and walked around him and into the yard. I didn’t turn back while I opened the car door settling inside. I kept my eyes trained on the wood work of Edward’s interior, when I felt him slide into the driver’s seat.
“I’m proud of you baby.” His voice was gentle and loving.
“This changes everything.” I confessed.
“Everything?” Edward questioned unsure.
“Everything I knew I have to learn over again; how to trust, how to believe in people again.”
Edward pulled me into a hug as he spoke into my ear. “Bella, the majority of people are good most of the time. We all have times when we make the wrong decisions, that doesn’t make us bad people. “
I had to agree with him on that, but I still felt I was going to have to learn how to read people all over again.
“Hey.” He whispered as he cradled my face in his hands.
“What do you say to having a dinner meeting with a couple of honest people.”
I smiled silently nodding my head. I had already decided what I wanted to do with the house my father left me. Angela and Ben were about to get some very good news.
“Sound great, let’s go.”
Beta note: Hello Ladies, sorry for the delay in getting this back to Cayce. RL and all, ya know? Hope you enjoy and any mistakes are mine, although I don’t believe there are any. I hope not. *shrugs* Kimmie41 (Kim Roland-Edwards)
- Chapter 10
We ended up staying in Forks the entire weekend and met up with Angela and Ben for dinner, which proved to be one of the best nights I’ve spent with people in well….ever. Edward had placed a call to one of his attorney’s, yes he has more than one on retainer. Ben would be given a low interest loan through Edward’s company. He would also be placed with many organizations Edward was a member of. I didn’t really understand much of it, only that when a company Edward was associated with needed services Ben offered, he would get the job. I decided to let them rent-to-own my father’s house. I expressed concern I wanted it checked out and made certain there wasn’t any damage below the surface. I didn’t want the struggling couple to land in a money pit. So Edward assured me that he had a perfect contractor who would go over the house with a fine tooth comb and make the house move in ready. Thus, Ben had his first job.
“Edward, I can’t let them move in with old appliances.”
Edward was able to take each and every one of my concerns and give me a positive solution for them.
“My contractor can get anything you want put into the house.”
He was right, it had been decided at dinner that Ben would simply give me a bill in the end. The money from my father’s insurance would be in my account by the end of next week; which brings us to Edward’s latest request.
“Bella, you didn’t get to go away with us when we went up to the cabin. I was wondering if you would like to go for your birthday.”
I remembered I was avoiding Edward then. I couldn’t very well do that again, besides what was the worst thing that could happen?
I was so tired when I walked into my house after we left Forks. It had been an emotionally draining weekend. However, during my time away, there had to have been a storm due to my living room ceiling now sitting on the hard wood floors. I groaned and let my bags fall to my sides as I took in the sight. Edward’s words were more colorful and he began to make calls. The contractor he had hired clearly failed to show up while I was gone.
Unfortunately, the storm that caused the damage to my house, also wreaked havoc across town. Every contractor was over booked. With no one available to help, Edward did what any man would do; he called in his friends. So, on a bright and beautiful Monday morning, I had a yard full of jean clad men. All of my female neighbors stood along the fence line taking in the magnificent view. It wasn’t even eight in the morning and the temperature had already raised enough for sweaty shirts to be removed. I made certain plenty of water and snacks were available, while my neighbors actually brought out lawn chairs to watch the men work.
“Bella, I want you to try and stay inside today. We’re going to be tossing old shingles off the roof and I don’t want you to get hurt.”
I rolled my eyes at Edward’s concern. Like I was going to stand in the direct line of fire for those guys? I played it smart and went next door to Mrs. Coop’s house and sat on her front porch. During my time at my father’s house, I found an old journal of his. I wanted to have a time where I could read his inner most thoughts and get a feel for who he was inside; a side I may have never known.
However, just when I settled into my seat, I heard a loud thud and my eyes instantly went up to my roof. What caught my eyes wasn’t someone falling off or getting hurt. No, it was the sight of a shirtless Edward standing beside an equally shirtless Emmett. The sweat running down their backs as they tossed large hand fulls of old shingles into the metal dumpster that rested in my backyard. I watched as the muscles contracted under the glistening skin, wet from the sun. The tattoo I had seen up close and personal contorting with the movement of his muscles. I was never so grateful for the posts that held her porch up while I had to lean my entire body against them.
“Oh…my… good…God.” Was the words that finally fell from my mouth, hushed and desperate.
Edward never looked in my direction and I was so thankful because I’m certain he would have given me a cocky smirk. I slowly made my way back to my seat smiling to myself. The last time I had a reaction to a man like this was while watching last season’s “Arrow”.
The ride to the cabin was long and yet I enjoyed it more than I thought possible. Edward shared story after story of some of the wild things they did as kids. This cabin had been the epicenter of much mischievousness. We slowly drove down the dirt road and I marveled at the leaves that hung in the trees. They were bursting with beautiful fall colors. I could sit and look at this all day, but Edward was now acting like a kid going to summer camp.
He parked the car quickly, whisked me up the steps and into what I assumed was the family room. I expected it to be over the top, like his cars and his life of being so successful, but it was warm and welcoming. The fireplace was a decent size and the furnishings added to the charm. No huge flat screen hung above the mantle just a painting of the cabin itself. Edward gave me the twenty five cent tour and I was more than surprised at how simple this place was. I was also very excited to see the hot tub that resided on the back deck overlooking a small lake. Edward insisted I sit back and either watch a movie in the bedroom or read a book on the deck. I chose the deck. An hour later when the sun began to set, Edward appeared at the door with two glasses and a bottle of champagne.
“Happy birthday, Bella.”
I smiled turning in my chair to face him, my hand outstretched to receive the glass. With a loud pop, the champagne was opened and we toasted to my growing old gracefully. Once the sun went down and Edward tried to sing “You Say it’s Your Birthday” by the Beatles, he guided me into the cabin where he had the table set with china and crystal.
“Oh my gosh!” I was so surprised he went to all of this trouble.
“Don’t be so sure’ you haven’t tasted it yet.”
I needn’t have to worry because Edward made perfect shrimp scampi. I ate and moaned with every bite.
Once he cleared the dishes, we sat in front of the fireplace. Wrapping his body around mine, he played with my fingers kissing me gently. It was pure heaven. I had threatened Edward that if he bought me anything for my birthday I would be upset. Taking me away for the weekend was gift enough.
“Tired?” Edward questioned gently.
I only shook my head as I place my glass on the floor beside me. Taking his face in my hands, I began to kiss him with a purpose. I had decided the day he was shirtless on my roof that I wanted to take things further. I was ready for the next step in our relationship. Edward needed no cues from me as he began to return my kisses with just as much fervor. I couldn’t help the noises I was making while Edward’s hands moved from my face, down my shoulders and were now kneading my breast.
“Baby….swear to me that if you want to stop at any time you will tell me.”
On the way back from Forks we had the discussion about past partners. Edward was quiet for an entire minute when I confessed I was still a virgin. However, I had started birth control last year when my periods began to change.
“I…plea…plea-…ugh…Yessss.” I should have been embarrassed by the way my words came out breathless…but I wasn’t and I didn’t care.
Edward reached behind him and removed his shirt. I followed trying to unbutton my shirt, but Edward quickly placed his hands over mine stopping me.
“Oh no, it’s a rule that a present has to be opened on a birthday. Let me unwrap you.”
My heart was in my throat while he slowly ran his fingers between the buttons, slowly removing my shirt and then my bra. My back now flat against the rug that rested by the fireplace. Edward’s left hand kneaded my left breast while his mouth had nearly the entire right one prisoner. I could feel his teeth nipping at my nipple and it caused a stirring inside my lower belly. I felt Edward’s fingers begin to remove the button and zipper on my jeans. With his eyes locked on mine, he motioned for me to raise my hips so he could remove my jeans. I smiled at him as he tossed them behind him. With my knees bent and together, Edward stood slightly and removed his jeans. I wanted to look at him, but I worried if that would be creepy. Once Edward was completely naked, he placed his hands on my closed knees and encouraged me to part them. It suddenly dawned on me that he hadn’t put on a condom. We had decided that our first time he would use a condom, so for one he could last longer and two, I was worried about bleeding on him.
“Aren’t you..?” I began to question.
“Oh sweetheart, you’re not ready for me to take you yet. I need to taste you first.”
Suddenly, Billy’s words about going down on a woman being disrespectful began to over shadow the pleasure I was feeling. I clamped my knees tighter and shook my head.
“No?” Edward questioned.
“I-I…don’t want you ..to ..do…t-that.”
Edward began to kiss my knees while still having his eyes locked in mine.
“Baby, I really want to. I have thought about it for a while now and it will help you be ready for me.”
I began to violently shake my head no. I didn’t want to have Edward think ill of me in the light of the morning.
He began to kiss up my thigh and continued over my abdomen and up my chest. My neck seemed to be his favorite and mine as well as he placed open mouth kisses up and down it.
“I’m ready.” I whispered.
Edward hesitated when he pulled back from my neck and looked at me. I should have known that he could read me better than I could myself. I wanted to get the pain over with. I was so focused on that, that it was consuming the pleasure he was trying to give me.
I looked up at the ceiling of the cabin while Edward reached for his jeans retrieving a condom. He carefully nudged my knees apart as he placed himself between them. He began to kiss me again as his fingers gently slid along my slick folds.
“Baby, you have to relax.” He whispered into my ear.
I nodded my head and closed my eyes, waiting for the life altering pain I had heard so much about. I felt Edward place the head into my opening and I winced when he tried to go further.
“Relax.” He encouraged softly.
I tried to relax, I really did. But all I could think about was how much this was hurting and how I just wanted this to be over. I felt him try again to go further, only to have me whimper when the pain increased. This time when Edward pulled back, he didn’t try again.
“You’re not ready.” His voice was stern, maybe a little agitated.
I watched as he walked across the room and tossed the condom in the trash. I could feel my eyes watering, but I held my breath, blinking and trying to will them away. Edward asked me if I was ready for bed and I only nodded to him. I wrapped the blanket from the sofa around me as I followed Edward down the hall. Once under the sheets, Edward wrapped himself around me and fell silent. When I heard his breathing change, I allowed the tears to silently fall. I had failed at giving Edward what he wanted. He would most likely pack us up in the morning and remove himself from my life. That thought made my chest ache. I slipped from the bed, grabbing the same blanket from earlier and lightly padded to the french doors escaping to the chairs that I had seen out there.
As the cold September air swirled around me I began to remember the way Edward had touched me earlier; he had been so gentle.
“They get what they want and then they treat you differently.”
So many lies I had been told, and yet I still believed them. I hadn’t asked Edward to go down on me; he had made it clear that was what he wanted. Edward had never lied to me; in fact he had made me see the truth time and time again. I had lived so long in fear of the world around me, the people around me all because a bitter old man wanted something from me. Edward only wanted to give me things, not take anything from me.
“Get the fuck out of my head.” I said aloud as I rose from the chair and walked back into the bedroom.
Edward was now on his back with his arm resting above his head. I let the blanket fall to the floor and climbed into bed straddling him. I started kissing his bare chest, everywhere within reach. He moaned when I nipped his collar bone. When his eyes fluttered open, I kissed him again like I did earlier with all the passion I could muster. Edward stopped me, searching my eyes and I could see the confusion that I had to get rid of.
“There isn’t room enough in this relationship for three people, so I kicked Billy out.”
My words were barely out of my mouth when Edward flipped me onto my back. This time he dominated the kiss, his tongue massaging mine, while his hands roamed and knead my chest and breast. This time when he began to kiss me lower, I let him. I closed my eyes and just let myself feel.
I felt his callused hands as they roamed over my ribs. I felt his teeth as he gently nipped the bones in my pelvis. Finally, I let my knees fall further apart as he moved his face between my thighs. I had to grab hold of the pillow under my head when I felt his tongue brush across my folds. I felt his lips when he sucked on my entire clit and hummed around it. How his fingers followed his tongue while exploring a place that no man had ever gone before. His tongue was quick at times, then slow and calculating. It felt like waves of pleasure building only to fall away when he changed his direction.
He started sucking on my clit again, but this time he didn’t change the direction and that wave began to build; only this time I couldn’t stop, nor did I want to, the noises coming from me. The tingling, almost painful feeling I was craving, was getting stronger and stronger. Just when I didn’t think I could take it anymore, the wave crashed and I cried out from the most amazing feeling I had ever felt.
My breath, which I hadn’t even realized until now, was ragged like I had ran a marathon. Edward was now kissing up and down my neck again and this time he was balls deep inside of me. The pain that I had expected didn’t happen. The fullness that I was now feeling was welcomed and I began to feel that pleasurable tidal wave approaching again. I know Edward said things to me, but I was so lost in this new wonderful feeling that I completely went on verbal vacation. It wasn’t until I felt Edward get noticeably bigger inside of me that I turned my full attention back to him…all of him.
“Baby, I’m so close.”
“Please.” Was all I could muster, but it was enough for him to spill inside of me. He thrusted several more times, which caused me to climax again. He slowly pulled out of me and pulled me close.
“Got him out of your head finally?” He chuckled kissing my temple.
I turned my body so that I was leaning over his right side. I kissed him chastely to assure him.
When Billy told me it would be disrespectful, he was wrong on so many levels. Being that intimate with someone takes trust, something that he would never have from me. It takes selflessness, because you are giving pleasure without necessarily getting any back and finally, it takes love. Whether its love for the act or love for the person, it’s still very much there.
Beta Note-I just want to apologize for taking so long getting this back to Cayce. Although, she just sent it to me earlier in the week. Regardless, of how many days I have a chapter, she’ll still update once a week. Now, Cayce might think that B and E’s first time wasn’t perfect, but I did. On the SECOND try. I think Bella had to clear her mind of all the lies that has been told to her, kind of being set free? Before she could really feel with Edward and not just sex; everything. Now, I’m gonna make sure Cayce has more lemons in her stories, maybe not every chapter, but more and Bella has to learn new things right? Also, she has to do an EPOV. I know she is not comfortable, but everyone wants to hear from him. Right?…Right? Thank you all again. Any mistakes are mine. Hope you enjoy.~~~Kimmie41 (Kim Roland-Edwards)
I have read a number of lemons in the years I have been reading from fan fiction. It seems that the first time for her is the wonderful magic event. This Bella had too much going on in her head to have that perfect first time. In reality, when I questioned my friends about their first…its been more about the fumbling to find where to put things and it’s over before it begins. Just wanted to change things up a little. Thanks for reading.
- Chapter 11
It’s been three months since that trip to the cabin.
Three months of getting to know more about myself and how Edward fits in. Actually, he fits in rather nicely; we rarely sleep apart these days. I’ve come to love the weekends when Edward and I hop on his bike and take a ride. He has offered many times to purchase me my very own, but I quite enjoy being wrapped around him.
I remember the morning after my birthday when I finally woke up. Edward was in the kitchen making the most amazing breakfast I have ever eaten. He was standing by the sink washing fruit when I noticed him, his lower half only covered by a towel. It was right after my ogling of his back side that I noticed a new tattoo on his ribs. A pair of swans, their necks circled. I crossed the room quickly to get a better look.
“Good morning sunshine.” Edward spoke as I touched his skin.
“When did you get this?” He raised his arms so that he could see what I was talking about.
“Oh, it’s new, do you like them?”
My eyes met his, his deep green swimming with playfulness. “What are they for?”
I knew Edward had a story for every drop of ink on his body. I had to hear the reason for this new addition.
“Well, I found out recently that swans mate for life.”
My eyes fixed on the pair, their necks drawn so intricately; united together for eternity.
“I happen to have a swan in my world that I want to be mated with for life as well.”
I know my eyes were bulging out of my head at this point. Was he proposing after only a short time?
“Calm down Bella, I’m not asking you yet.”
He took my hand from his ribs and held it to his chest.
“You can’t be surprised that I want that with you though. I’ve made my feelings for you very clear.”
His honesty and his permanent show of his feelings were enough to put me into overdrive. Edward scooped me up quickly and returned me to the large bed. We ate that breakfast several hours later.
Ben completed all of the repairs on the house and they were able to move in three weeks later. Angela has been doing small projects here and there getting ready for the new baby to arrive. Ben has more work than he knows what to do with thanks to Edward. He has even been able to hire three guys.
Billy, however, hasn’t been quite as blessed. The leg, which the monitor was on, had to be amputated from infection. The judge didn’t even blink an eye when he sentenced him to fifteen years for his involvement with the construction scandals. He had the nerve to write me a letter shortly after he arrived in prison asking if I would be willing to buy him a television for his room. I started a fire with the letter later that evening in my fireplace. Edward and I made love a few hours later as the letter went up in smoke.
Edward has been nothing short of amazing since the night I came to my senses. He has encouraged me at every turn to spread my wings and discover the world around me. Carlisle has been a huge help in opening my eyes to the career possibilities that lay at my feet. I’ve been milling over the possibility of returning to school and becoming a Physician’s Assistant. Carlisle offered to help with the expenses if I would work with him for a few years after my internship was over. I’m considering that one very heavily.
Tonight though, tonight I am having Edward’s parents over for dinner. It was the first opportunity they’ve had to come for a visit. With Rosalie’s pregnancy and my and Edward’s new relationship; Elizabeth and Edward Sr. had arrived.
Elizabeth was a female version of Edward. She was breathtakingly beautiful; however, Edward Sr. was a force to be reckoned with. His charm rivaled even Edward’s.
“Look Ed, she is more beautiful than her picture.”
I hadn’t realized Edward had any pictures of me.
“And look at those hips; she will certainly need a C-section with tiny hips like those.”
Maybe she thought she was whispering, but I clearly heard everything she said.
“Oh! And what gorgeous grandbabies she will give us.”
I tried to let Elizabeth’s words be just that-words. Edward and I hadn’t been together even six months, not to mention, I hadn’t had enough time to discover who I was yet.
“Bella, you have to share your secret with these potatoes.” Elizabeth spoke.
“It’s no secret really…an error if anything. I accidently poured some of the beef juice when I went to mash instead of milk.”
“Well, mistake or not, these are wonderful.” She sprang back as she placed another fork full into her mouth.
I smiled and winked at her. I wanted her approval desperately, but I was uncomfortable with her talk of grandchildren.
“Edward, I noticed that the land near your sister’s is for sale. It would make a great place for you and Bella to build a house and raise a family.”
I could feel my insides jump at her statement. I studied the ice in my glass of water so hard, I’m surprised no one seen heat rays shoot out from my eyes making the ice spontaneously combust.
“I mean you have all that money your grandfather left you just sitting around collecting interest.”
“Mom….” Edward began.
“Mrs. Mason….” I interrupted.
“I appreciate your kind words about my cooking and how Edward and I would make these super model babies, but I must inform you of something.”
I didn’t want this to be another one sided relationship between Edward and I. He knew I wanted to have time to explore the world around me.
“However, Edward and I haven’t been a couple long enough to even have the discussion of marriage and children on the table. I have only recently begun to use my degree and have feelers out now to possibly return to school to further my education. Although, I do see myself with Edward for a long time, it will be as his girlfriend and not his wife.”
Once my words were out, I waited for the anger or rejection, but certainly not what actually happened.
“Very good choice Edward, she passed with flying colors.”
I looked at Edward Sr. clearly confused, but he only smiled reclining back into his chair.
“See Bella, Elizabeth is somewhat of a worrier. She was concerned that you would hear about Edward’s fortune and be ready to conceive a child even before the dishes were washed.”
This had been a test. This entire evening had been to test my intentions with Edward.
“I’m so glad you gave my son a chance. I have always told him the best things in life or the ones you have to work hard for.”
Later that night after his parents wished me well and made me promise to keep in touch, Edward and I settled in with a glass of wine beside the fire.
“Bella, I want you to know I had no idea she was going to do that.”
I snuggled in closer to him. “I know Edward. I was a little surprised that’s all.”
He kissed the top of my head as we sat silently for several minutes.
“I bought that land she spoke of.”
I didn’t even open my eyes as he spoke.
“I want to be ready when the time comes.”
“Ready for what?” I questioned quietly, not wanting to break the magic we had created.
“When I do ask for your hand; I want to carry my new bride over the threshold and into our marital bed.”
I pulled away from him looking deeply into his eyes, there, all I found was love and honesty.
“Edward, I thought we had tabled this discussion?” I stood up and walked towards the fireplace.
“Bella, tabling it doesn’t make it go away. It’s no secret I’m getting older by the minute and sadly, so are you. I would like to discuss at least a time table for us.”
I spun around quickly to look at a completely relaxed Edward looking back at me.
“Ok, from what I’ve gathered, the Physician’s Assistant program is two more years of school. Luckily, all of my credits from the nursing program will transfer. I can start in the spring if I want to.”
Edward gave me the look I knew all too well; he didn’t have to say a word.
“I want to travel Edward. I’ve been in school for most of my life and I have never been out of this state.”
I should have known the crazy devil had a plan before I even answered.
“Well then, it’s a good thing you have been such a good girl this year.”
He rose from the couch approaching me like a lion after its prey.
“I happened upon a very good deal earlier this week and I couldn’t help myself. I’ve booked us on a trip to Florence, Italy. Merry Christmas, baby!”
My eyes grew huge and I was speechless.
“I’ve talked to Carlisle and he had planned to close the office anyway to give all of the employees the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.”
He was quickly closing the gaps in my excuses that I hadn’t even shared.
“You can travel on your breaks from school and two years is nothing. We can get to know each other much better in two years.”
That night I dreamt of Italian villas and a naked Edward. Around three am I woke with the worst sinus headache I had ever had. I stumbled my way to my medicine cabinet and retrieved two ibuprofen. I tried hard to go back to sleep, but the pain and the pressure was too much. I left the house early and had Carlisle take a look at me. In addition to a sinus infection, Carlisle gave me the grand news that I had strep throat as well. So back home and to bed I went. Edward was amazing; he brought over more movies than I could watch in a month. He made certain I took my medicine when I was supposed to, but best of all once I was better, I was ready to return to work. He turned my bedroom into this very romantic oasis.
“You are beautiful even when you sick. It has been very hard for me to not touch you.”
That night by the glow of candles, Edward reminded me how deeply I was in love with him.
“Just make sure you have your passport, we can buy anything else you need.”
I had been making lists for two weeks for what to take to Italy. I just didn’t want to leave anything behind I would need, but with our plane leaving in three hours my time was up.
“Your right; if I have forgotten anything I’m sure they sell it in Florence.”
Even though the plane was an overnight flight, I tried to sleep but was too excited. I was finally doing something I always wanted to do. When we exited through immigration, I smiled at the pleasant lady wishing me a good day.
Edward hailed a taxi, which shocked me to see it was a Mercedes. The older gentleman was quick with the compliments as to how pretty I was.
“You on honeymoon?” He questioned with a thick accent.
“No sir, just trying to show her the world.”
“Well then, welcome to Firenze-the city of lovers!”
The taxi guy was right. Everything about this city screamed love, from the winding brick roads to the intricate buildings; the small cafes and souvenir shops. I was instantly in love. Once we had checked into our hotel, I wanted to see everything this city had to offer. Although, watching Edward change his shirt gave me something right in this room I wanted to see first and more.
Florence had been more than I ever expected. The ancient buildings held secrets from long ago tales. Oh, how I wished these ancient walls could talk. We dined outside every night, listening to the sounds of couples talking and the music that was played by the restaurant. I have never eaten such wonderful food or drank wine that was so robust. I loved every second of it.
“Baby, we can come back anytime you want. We can see a different city this time.”
Edward knew I had fallen in love with Florence. I didn’t want to go back to real life. I wanted to stay in this bubble of love and discovery.
“I’m holding you to that.” I responded with a kiss.
“I love you.” He whispered in my ear then nibbling on the lobe.
That was perhaps the best part of the trip, the second night we were here, we had just finished dinner and decided to taste gelato. Edward had been here a couple of times before, so he knew of a place not far from the hotel that had been making gelato since the forties. It was so worth the walk and the wait as the cold and creamy goodness awoke my taste buds. We found this quiet table that over looked a quiet, serene garden. Edward took my hand and smiled while I thanked him for the hundredth time.
“Bella, the last time I was in Florence, I came to this place and sat just over there. ” He pointed to another table that was closer to the chipping brick wall.
“I took in the look of this garden and I just knew that when I met the girl I wanted a forever with I would bring her here and tell her how I feel.”
He scooted closer saying the words that would send my heart into my throat.
“I love you, Bella.”
I was so happy that I nearly cried. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect man and a more perfect setting.
I caressed his face softly, “Oh Edward, I love you too.”
We solidified those declarations for many hours that night.
I had decided to go ahead and enroll in the Physician’s Assistant program. I had only one more thing I had to turn in which led me to tearing up everything in my bedroom trying to find my receipt for my SAT exams. I had to turn in a copy or retake the exam. While I was tearing up my house, I came to the realization I must have left it at Billy’s house. I would call Port Angeles College in the morning to see if they could send me a copy, until then I would keep looking.
I was rummaging around in my backseat of my jeep, not sure what I thought I would find back there, but I wanted to look everywhere. I did stumble upon a grocery bag that had been wedged under the front seat. I pulled it out to find the bottle of shampoo and conditioner that I bought to go to Italy, I was mad that I had to use Edward’s while we were there, along with a pack of gum and a travel size box of tampons. I tucked the bag under my arm and continued looking, only to freeze when it hit me.
I was due to start my period while in Italy, I completely forgot while I was there that I was expecting it, and we had been back from Italy for nearly three weeks.
“Don’t panic Bella; you take that pill every day when you brush your teeth.” I tried to assure myself.
I locked up the jeep and rushed into the house to the bathroom to verify that I had taken my pill and that I hadn’t missed any. However, the reality was I had never been this late before. Edward called later to say that he wouldn’t be over tonight as he had a client that needed his car by tomorrow morning. I told him I loved him and released a deep breath. I needed to figure this out before I spoke with him about it.
“Ok….my last period was at the end of October. I remember having it while handing out candy with Edward. November…yes I had it just after Thanksgiving. December…what happened in December?”
I tried so hard to remember what had happened in December. I finally laid down around midnight hoping some sleep would clear my head and help me to remember what happened in December. I had just slipped into sleep when I bolted straight up in bed.
“Holy hell Bella, you’re an idiot.”
I tossed back my covers and went to the medicine cabinet. I still had some prescription decongestant that Carlisle prescribed me when I got sick. The prescription date was December 5th. I grabbed my lap top and googled the antibiotic I had taken for the strep throat.
There in black and white:
Use of this product may render oral contraceptives less effective. An alternative method is recommended while using this product.
I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been. I’m a nurse for Christ sake, I remind women all the time to use a backup method. I tossed on some shoes and my heavy coat. I wanted an answer now. I passed Edward’s shop on the way to the pharmacy, the lights inside still glowing and his car parked just outside the front door. Maybe I should pull in, tell him what’s going on.
“You don’t know yet, dumbass. First take the test.” I said talking to myself.
I pushed the gas harder and sped away. Hoping my issues would be left at the red light. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was relieved to see only one car parked in the back isle. Maybe, if I’m lucky, it will be an employee and not a patron.
I locked up my car and headed in. The ever popular elevator music played overhead while I quickly walked to the back of the store. I scanned the isle noticing that pregnancy tests and condoms were located next to one another. This had to be someone’s poor attempt at humor. Finding the exact ones we used at the clinic, I snatched it up and headed for the counter to pay. Once I reached the checkout, I noticed that no one was behind the register.
“Hello?” I spoke loudly.
“Sorry, give me just a moment.” A voice called out from my left.
I looked in the direction of the voice when my eyes landed on a kiosk of bumper stickers. Pharmacies are famous for having loads of crap at the checkout desks that calls out, “buy me.” Some of them were cute and I got a good chuckle, but the last one really spoke volumes.
Want to make god laugh? Tell him what your plans for the day are.
I had made plans with Edward to wait until I finished school to even consider the next step. In one moment by no fault other than my own, I threw those plans away.
“Sorry to keep you.” The young man in the red vest smiled brightly, too brightly for one o’clock in the morning.
“Will this be all?” He question brightly.
I smiled and nodded my head. He was only being nice and doing his job.
After I paid, he smiled wishing me a good rest of the night. I quickly took the box and headed back out into the cold. As I started my car, I wondered if I should just stop at Edward’s shop and talk with him. If the roles were reversed, I would want to be there for him. Before I was even aware of what I was doing, I had my cell out and listening to Edward’s phone ringing.
“Bella, what wrong?” His voice was full of concern.
“I…I… did something stupid.” The flood gates were wide open and I couldn’t hold back the body jerking sobs I began to have.
“Baby, where are you?”
I couldn’t even answer him I was crying so hard.
“Baby, please calm down. I can’t help you until I know what’s wrong.”
I tried taking deep breaths, but hearing his voice just made it worse. Finally, I squeaked out one single word that I hoped he would understand.
I hung up the phone and began to type as fast as I could.
I’m down the street and I have to talk to you. I did something really stupid and it will affect you.
He was sitting outside his office when I pulled up. He opened my door and kneeled beside me.
“Just answer me this.”
I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my shirt and tried to look at him.
“Did you kill someone?”
I shook my head.
“Did you cheat on me?”
I shook my head faster and my eyes grew bigger.
“Then I doubt what you have to tell me will affect me too much.”
He tried to smile in an attempt to make me smile, but I could only cry harder while reaching over to grab the bag. I pulled out the box and handed it to him. He looked from the box to me and then turned the box around a couple times.
“Are you late?”
I shook my head yes.
“Then go inside and let’s take this test.”
He reached over and grabbed my purse, and then he pulled me up wrapping me in his arms.
He sat me down on his desk going back to lock the front door. He placed the box on the desk beside me. My sobbing had decreased considerably and I hoped I could talk now.
“So, how late are you?”
I took in a deep breath while he handed me a tissue.
“I was due to have it while we were in Italy.”
I watched as Edward nodded his head. His calmness was rubbing off on me.
“That was a month ago, but why did you wait until now to tell me?”
I blew my nose and began to tell him how I found the box of tampons in the jeep. Edward was patient and let me take my time in telling him.
“Edward, I’m just so stupid for not taking extra precautions.”
“Hold on there… You’re not the only one at fault here. I was a very active participant and if I was concerned, I could have pulled out a condom at any point.”
I wanted to hug him for what he was saying; he wasn’t going to ditch me if this was for real.
Edward wrapped his arms around me while we were standing in his bathroom. He took the test out of my hand and lifted my chin to look at him.
“Nothing changes between us, no matter what this test says.”
I nodded my head as the tears began to fall again.
Three minutes felt like an eternity when you’re anxious. Edward made me leave the test on the bathroom sink while we waited. When my cell phone alarm sounded he grabbed my hand and we walked over to see the results.
Like a flashing emergency light, the two pink lines got my attention. I was pregnant.
“I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I’m not really happy about this.” He said as we looked at each other in the mirror.
“Edward, do you not realize that my life is going to change so much. I can’t possibly go to PA school now.”
He gently grabbed my face and made me look at him.
“Don’t you do that.” His voice was rough this time.
“Don’t you make this into something it isn’t. You can still go to school and travel and do everything your heart desires.”
I tried to pull my face out of his grasp, but he wouldn’t allow it.
“We are going to have this baby. You are going to PA school. And I’m going to be there every step of the way.”
Beta Note-*Squeals* A baby! Love babies…And yes Bella, when you have kids, your life doesn’t just stop. You want to go somewhere? Take them with you. Where I went, my kids went. Love Edward. *sighs* What a man!
- Chapter 12
Even after six months of watching Bella’s belly expand, I couldn’t get enough. I would purposely wait until she drifted off to sleep just so I could watch her. A few days ago, that beautiful belly began to move. I wanted to wake her up, but I selfishly watched my baby kicking madly inside Bella’s stomach. The next day, Bella called me squealing that the baby had moved for her at work. I smiled and told her I couldn’t wait to see it when she got home that night.
When I first learned that we were expecting, I wanted to tell the world. Yet, a huge part of me wanted to panic. Lauren had been carrying my baby when she died. I knew I wouldn’t survive it if I lost Bella. She had awoken something in me I never knew existed. She made me want to be a better person, try harder to make the world a better place. Now, I wanted to do everything in my power to make things as wonderful for her as she does for me.
“Hey little one, it’s your daddy.” I whispered. “You stay in there a little longer and get big and strong. You have a beautiful mommy that can’t wait to meet you.”
And like every night I kissed my baby and drifted off to sleep holding Bella in my arms.
~~~~~TAL TAL TAL~~~~~
“Bella, I don’t see what the problem is?”
Bella stared intensely at me while gnawing on bottom lip.
“Edward, I’m pregnant.”
I laughed pulling her into my arms.
“Yes love, pregnant but not dead, and besides my Aunt Esme has delivered her fair share of babies.”
Esme had invited Bella to go to London with her. She wanted to attend a seminar given by her mentor. Carlisle couldn’t get away due to having too many obligations, so she invited Bella.
“Listen Bella, it’s a great opportunity. You just said you wanted to travel and experience the world. This is just another stop you can make.”
Bella opened and closed her mouth several times, the internal battle she was having within her mind was written all over her face.
“Go to London with Esme, have fun, see the sights and miss me a lot.”
I had my own reason for wanting her to go on this trip.
Bella had been acting strange lately. She was still happy, but I would catch her starring off into space and when I asked her what was wrong she would slap on a fake smile and wave me off.
I called my aunt and asked her if something was going on at work.
“Oh Edward, I thought she would have spoken to you about this.” I nearly dropped the phone at my aunt’s words.
“She hasn’t said anything. Is it me, is she not happy?” I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I knew Bella wanted to see the world and get her education before starting a family. She didn’t hold a lot of faith in the institute of marriage and she knew I wanted it all, the house, the wife, even the messy dog. She also she knew I wanted it with her.
“Well then I won’t betray her confidence, but…”
I sat down hard in my office chair while my hand gripped the phone tightly. I had to loosen my grip afraid it would break into pieces.
“Do you remember a conversation the two of you had about family and the future?”
Of course I did. It was the same conversation when she told me she didn’t want to get married until she reached all of her goals.
“Yes.” I answered not meaning for it to sound like a question.
Esme sighed and then made my day with her answer.
“Well…she changed her mind.”
Carlisle and I drove our girls to the airport. Bella was so excited that she didn’t sleep the night before and I didn’t get to have my nightly conversation with our baby. Bella and I had been in agreement that we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby until he or she was born. We also agreed on names.
“Carlisle, you’re sure you’re comfortable with me going on this trip?”
Bella had been worried that she would leave him in a lurch by going to London. He had assured her over and over that he would survive in her absence. I kissed her goodbye just outside security and waved until I couldn’t see her anymore.
“When does your flight leave?” Carlisle bumped my shoulder as we turned to leave.
Once I found out the reason for Bella’s strange behavior I enlisted the help of not only my mom, but Esme as well. I smiled pulling out my bag. Once I had gotten off the phone with Esme, I got on the internet and booked my flight. I would allow enough time for Bella to get acclimated to the time difference before I made that smile of hers real once again. She was everything I ever wanted and some things I never knew about.
As the plane landed, I grabbed my carryon from the overhead compartment. I didn’t bring much because my plans didn’t include staying for long. I was serious when I told Bella I wanted her to enjoy herself and to miss me. I had been to London a few times and I wanted her to have this opportunity to discover it by herself.
I thanked the flight attendants swinging my bag over my shoulder and walking down the gangway. I sent a quick text to Esme letting her know I was here as I hailed a cab to the London eye. When I had discussed my plans with my mother, she was the one to suggest the eye.
“Edward, it has a spectacular view and you can see for miles and miles. Besides you will be alone with her for several minutes while you ask her.”
When I arrived, I was pleased to see everyone had made it except Rose and Emmett. With the baby due any day now it just wasn’t possible. However, several video cameras were at the ready to record this event.
“Oh Edward, could you have changed into a suit or something?” My mother scolded me as she tried brushing my hair out of my face.
“Mom, you know that isn’t how I dress every day. Bella will see me in a tux soon enough, just not today.”
My phone alerted me of an incoming text. Pulling it out of my pocket, I smiled as I announced they were around the corner. I quickly checked with the attendant, who my father had already spoken with and paid heavily I might add, to stop the eye and allow me to get on the car that held Bella. I quickly ducked into the attendant’s building with the rest of the family while the taxi that held my beautiful girl pulled up.
Since the first day I saw her walking across my parking lot she has always taken my breath away. Today however, it was tenfold. She carefully extracted herself from the cab with her hand resting on her belly. I had to grab my father’s shoulder to keep from running out there and helping her.
“Easy son.” He whispered to me while we watched Esme and Bella walk onto the platform.
Once the doors closed, I walked out to where the attendant stood. There was now a line of about twenty people and I feared this wouldn’t work out like I planned it.
“Ladies and Gents….” His thick English accent announced.
“If I can have your attention please…” He raised his arms about his head commanding everyone’s attention.
“This lucky bloke is about to propose marriage to a very lovely lass that is in car number nine. Now, because me wife would kill me if I didn’t help him, I am asking each of you to be patient and wait while he boards the car.”
The people in line instantly smiled and I heard a few “awe’s” from the ladies.
“And since you’re being so patient, this bloke is paying for your ride today.”
My head whipped to the attendant who only winked at me.
“Didn’t think I was keeping your quid for myself did ya?”
I held out my hand to shake his while everyone in line moved back, so it was just me standing on the platform. Watching the cars move, at what felt like a snail’s pace, the number nine was only a few cars back. Esme was standing directly in front of me behind the glass door and I could see Bella had her attention to the opposite side of the car, her back was towards me. This was going to be perfect.
As the car slowly stopped and the door opened, Esme quickly exited the car as I rushed in. Bella was completely engrossed at the sight before her that she didn’t even notice the change.
“Look at that Esme…” She was like a school girl with the amount of excitement she possessed.
I walked closer pulling the velvet box from my jean’s pocket. I opened the box and lowered myself down on one knee.
“I think you will like this view better.” I spoke, my voice cracking with emotion.
Bella spun around so quick that I briefly worried she would fall over.
“Edward…What are….” Her eyes widen when she realized what I was doing. Her hand flew straight to her mouth covering it quickly.
“You can say no, but I hope you don’t.” My confidence was back when I saw her fingers tremble. I stood up taking her hand away from her mouth and holding tightly in mine.
“I’ve waited my whole life for you.” I whispered against her forehead. “Marry me?”
My question hung in the air like a heavy mist. I had never confirmed with Bella that she had changed her mind. I was going on the words of a friend. Her body was now jerking from sobs and I was about to cry myself. Had Esme been wrong?
“I didn’t know how to tell you.” Her voice was so frail and low.
“Tell me what?” I moved my body away from hers slightly.
Her big beautiful brown eyes looked up at me. The tears were fully rolling down her face. This was a side of her I had rarely seen. She was such a strong woman and to see her this upset did things to me.
“I told you that I didn’t want to get married and I…I…” her sobs returned. And I shushed her and held her tight again.
The car had made a complete circle when she finally calmed down enough to talk.
“I was remembering when my dad took me Christmas shopping. He let me just wander around the stores and let me decide what to buy. He never told me what I chose was silly or anything. He even helped me wrap my gifts.” She chuckled at her memory.
“I was at work one day and I saw a couple who was having their third baby. While the mom was in the room getting her exam the dad was playing with the other two, and it suddenly hit me that, although, you will be there for this little one….”
I felt her stiffen. “It just wouldn’t be the same…”
I knew exactly what she meant. She wanted what I wanted.
“I felt so stupid. I told you, in no certain terms, that I wanted things in an order.”
She pulled away and looked up at me giving me a beautiful smile.
“If it’s one thing I’ve learned, is that life isn’t always going to go the way you plan it.”
I smiled and reached out to rub her belly.
“Sometimes that’s a good thing.” I spoke more to the baby then to her.
“You’ve been nothing but amazing and have opened up a whole new world for me. So, yes Edward, I would be an idiot not to say yes.”
I grabbed her hugging her tightly. After I calmed down this time, I pulled away long enough to pull the ring from the box, before placing it on her already stretched out hand. The ring looked beautiful on her small hand and it fit perfectly just as I hoped.
Lowering my face to hers, I whispered, “I love you.”
The. Best. Fucking. Day. Ever!
Sorry for the delay in getting this to you. Thank you all for being patient. Enjoy!
- Chapter 13
Edward had been right I did need this trip. I had read many times of places across the ocean and only dreamed of visiting. Here was an amazing opportunity practically lying at my feet. So, when I couldn’t come up with a valid excuse, I decided to go for it. I was concerned about traveling while pregnant, but Edward was right, Esme had delivered her fair share of babies.
While packing for my trip, however, I had to catch myself when I tried to remind myself to pack tampons…..A little late for that! As I kissed Edward goodbye, I got the feeling that something was going to happen. Edward had been way too easy going about my leaving, Carlisle didn’t even blink when I asked for time off to go, and Alice was extra bouncy while Jasper could only smile at me.
For the past several weeks I had taken a hard look at myself, my beliefs and my aspirations. Having this little life growing inside me has given the world around me a different appearance. Even decisions I made a few months ago, doesn’t seem as important anymore.
Watching my baby grow and seeing the world through his or her eyes has become so much more of an importance. To have two active parents live together and share more than just a zip code. Looking back, I know that my parents were never meant to be together for the long haul. Although, I have no doubt that Edward would drag me to Vegas if I asked him to. Nevertheless, I know that isn’t going to happen, because I made it so abundantly clear that I didn’t want that from him.
How do you tell the man of your dreams you’ve changed your mind about nearly everything and yet feel even more in love with him then you ever thought possible? Esme found me lost in these very thoughts one day at lunch. When she questioned me as to what was wrong, I burst into tears and confessed my true feelings to her.
“Bella, honey you should just tell him.” This was her simple answer, but the old saying that it’s easier said than done was never more truer.
“Esme, would you look at the view!”
Since the moment I stepped off the plane, I’ve been the proverbial kid in a candy store. I pointed out the British accents the cab drivers had, the way the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car and even how they drove on the wrong side of the road. Esme, who is such a good woman, wasn’t frustrated with me; if she was she never showed it. Her conference was scheduled to start later this afternoon, but she wanted to take me to see the London Eye first. I begged her to get some rest, but she wanted to show me her favorite part of the city.
When I stepped out of the cab, I felt the same oddness that I felt yesterday at the airport. Then the world shifted again when I heard his voice. I couldn’t control my emotions when I seen him down on one knee facing me with the most incredible ring.
When the car finally stopped, there were at least fifty people standing on the platform all clapping while I continuously wiped my eyes still wrapped warmly in Edward’s embrace. I hadn’t even really noticed Alice standing there with a video camera until she bounced so hard that the camera fell out of her hand.
“So….what did she say?” A man yelled from the crowd.
I couldn’t respond, so I just held up my left hand that was now adorned with a new piece of jewelry. The crowd started applauding again.
I was hugged and kissed so many times and by people I didn’t know that I was never more ready to sit down. Carlisle wanted to take everyone to a restaurant that he and Esme frequented when they were in London.
“Is there really even a conference?” I questioned Esme.
I had tucked myself firmly under Edward’s arm while we sat in the back of the taxi. I couldn’t take my eyes off my new ring, but I let my mind wonder over the past few weeks and the oddities that had occurred. It all began to make sense.
“Yes Bella, there really is a conference that we both will be attending…. Tomorrow.”
My bottom lip pouted out against my own will knowing I wouldn’t get as much time with Edward as I wanted to.
“Pull that thing back in babe; I’m leaving in a few hours myself.” Edward voiced as he tapped my bottom lip.
“What?” I pulled away shocked. He wasn’t staying?
He gently held my face in his hands, “I was completely serious when I said I wanted you to see London on your own.”
He quickly kissed my lips then pulled back to wink at me.
“We’ll have the rest of our lives to celebrate this moment.”
After a toast to Edward and my engagement- ginger ale was ordered for me and Edward requested one for himself. Dinner was simply amazing and the entire restaurant clapped for us when the waiter announced the reason for the celebration. We said our goodbyes in the misty rain outside of his waiting taxi.
Esme true to her word did drag me to the conference the next day. She introduced me to her mentor before the lecture started. We were just getting ready to take our first intermission when Esme looked at her cell phone. I watched as her face changed from questioning to concern.
“Bella honey, we have to go.” She whispered in my ear.
I didn’t question her until we were safely in the hall.
“Is everything alright?”
We didn’t stop walking as we headed toward the exit. “Rose went into labor a few hours ago, on the way to the hospital, they were hit by a speeding car.”
I pulled her to a stop before we exited the glass doors. “Is the baby ok?”
She finally turned towards me, but her face was void of any color.
“They don’t know yet. She’s in surgery; she was on the side that was t-boned.”
Without hesitation, I pulled my phone from my back pocket and started to call Edward. Before I could hit send his picture flashed on the screen indicating his incoming call to me.
“Your booked on the next flight out, it leaves in less than two hours. I’ve arranged for the concierge to pack your things and I’ll be at the airport to get you.”
Even from thousands of miles away, he still amazes me.
- Chapter 14
No matter how much you train or how long you have been in the medical field, nothing prepares you for the look of despair on a man’s face as he waits for news of his family. The plane couldn’t land fast enough as I began to collect my items from around me and powering up my cell phone. Edward’s call came in mere seconds after my screen indicated I had service.
“I’m waiting in baggage claim.” His voice was clipped and full of worry. I didn’t take it personal as I knew how important this was to him.
“Do we have any news?”
Before we boarded the plane, Edward informed me that they had stabilized Rose and that the baby’s heart was beating. Emmett had some minor cuts and bruises, but he was fine otherwise…well as fine as one can be when their reason for living was headed into emergency surgery.
“They’ve called in one of my father’s friends from Ohio. He’s an expert in severe trauma and infants. Rose still hasn’t gained consciousness, but the baby’s heart beat is strong. Once Dr. Meyers arrives, they are planning a C-section.”
Edward held my hand so tight while we drove to the hospital. Now, I sat beside Emmett who hasn’t moved a single muscle in hours. Dr. Meyers had been given a police escort from the airport and was expected any minute now. Suddenly, a large group of people were storming down the hall. In the center was a man who looked a lot like Mark Wahlberg. I watched as head after head of every female followed him down the hall. I too, found myself captivated with the uncanny resemblance.
“Dr. Meyers?” Carlisle called as he shot out of his seat, Emmett only seconds behind. I watched in fascination as Carlisle spoke in hushed tones with Dr. Meyers nodding his head to whatever Carlisle was saying and glancing several times at Emmett. He then placed his hand on Emmett’s shoulder and said something very short, but powerful enough I saw Emmett wipe a tear from his eye. It was then that my own flood gates opened up.
Esme and Elizabeth both insisted I head home and rest. Esme challenged me to defy a physician’s order, so with much sadness, I complied. Edward followed behind me and we crashed into bed with our street clothes still on. Five hours later, our phones beeped indicating a text message.
Rose had baby girl
7 pounds 8 ounces, 22 inches long
Rose still unconscious.
After a quick shower and an even quicker meal, we jumped back in the car and headed toward the hospital. Dr. Meyers was still at Rose’s bedside, reading her chart and checking the machines that monitored her vitals. Emmett was at the head of her bed with her tiny hand wrapped protectively in his massive one.
“Bella…Edward.” Carlisle greeted and motioned for us to follow him into the hall. Once out of the room, he smiled at a few coworkers and then began to fill us in on what was going on with Rose.
“The C-section went text book perfect, the baby pinked right up and the Apgar was normal. They used a local anesthesia on her due to the concern of a massive head injury. It appears that Rose’s head bounced off the passenger window several times before it finally broke.”
I closed my eyes shaking my head. I knew that it took some force to shatter a car window, they were designed that way, and a human head wasn’t designed for that kind of trauma.
“Her CT showed no bleeding or fracture of any kind.”
My head shot up at that information. With no bleeding and no broken bones, we were looking at a true miracle or that Rose had a really hard head.
“So now it’s a matter of just letting her wake up; should be hopefully in a few hours.”
But Carlisle and Dr. Meyers were wrong, three days later, Rose was still unconscious and we couldn’t figure out why. Emmett had refused to even hold his new daughter, saying he couldn’t survive this if he didn’t have his Rose. Dr. Meyers and Carlisle both threw up their hands as they had no clue why she wouldn’t wake up.
In the early morning of the fifth day, I had just gotten to the hospital when I found her room door was closed. Esme informed me that the nurses were cleaning her and changing the bed linen. I had offered to do it, but was informed a staff nurse had to be the one to actually move her.
“Let’s go visit that beautiful little girl of hers.”
Esme took my hand and we made our way to the nursery. Esme wasn’t the least bit happy with Emmett and his lack of interest in his daughter. She told him on more than one occasion that he was still that baby’s father and to start acting that way. He had ignored her and refused to leave Rose’s side.
Esme introduced me to the nurses inside the nursery and I was quickly shown how to scrub in and dress. I was asked several times about how far along I was and about my beautiful ring. It seemed like ages ago that Edward had asked me to be his wife.
“This little beauty is Baby Girl McCarty.” A nurse that I hadn’t met yet appeared with a tiny pink bundle.
Esme quickly took the baby and began to coo at her. I watched in awe as she touched her nose and kissed her tiny forehead. I faintly heard the sound of several infants crying in the nursery and a sudden sharp pain radiated in my breast. I began to rub the sides as Esme chuckled.
“I remember that look.” The nurse that brought the baby in said.
“When I was expecting my third baby, my boobs would ache every time one of the babies cried. It’s one of those mother’s intuition things. Even if it isn’t your baby’s cry, your body reacts.”
Her words hit me like a freight train. “Oh my god, Esme, I know how to wake Rose up.”
An hour later I stood outside Rose’s room, “Ok, little one, no pressure here but I need you to cry when I tell you.” She just stared at me, still trying to focus, and continued to suck on her pacifier.
Emmett was talking to Rose very quietly while brushing her hair. He didn’t even bother looking my way.
“Emmett, can you please give us a few minutes with Rose?” He shook his head violently as he moved closer to Rose.
“Emmett… Bella and I want to try something.” He kept shaking his head no, looking wide eyed at the baby I held in my arms.
Esme continued, “Emmett, whether you like it or not, this is your daughter and your responsibility. She needs you.”
Emmett’s eyes welled up with tears as he stroked Rose’s pale face. “I know, but my world doesn’t work without her.”
“Fine, but I want it to go on record that we told you to hold your baby.”
Esme reached over and took the pacifier out of the baby’s mouth and like a good girl she began to wail. My boobs began to harden and hurt like a bitch.
After a few minutes of the baby practically screaming, and honestly I was about to scream with her, Rose’s eyes began to flutter.
I walked closer to Rose and began to bounce the baby.
“Rose, honey, we need you to wake up. Your daughter’s hungry.” Esme’s voice wasn’t soothing; it was calm, yet alarming.
Rose began to moan as her head turned slightly. Tiny wet areas began to form where her nipples rested behind her gown.
“That’s right Rose, the baby needs to nurse and Emmett refuses to help.”
It was as if a light switch was suddenly turned on. Rose’s eyes opened fully and she tried with all of her might to take the baby in her arms.
We had consulted with Dr. Meyers who assured us that he didn’t think Rose would be able to produce any breast milk due to the number of days that had passed since delivery. Esme rolled her eyes at his statement.
I bent closer to Rose while Esme tore the snaps that held the gown around her shoulder. Emmett began shouting for the doctor to get his, “Fucking ass” in here. While Elizabeth helped Esme scoot Rose up in the bed, I placed the still screaming baby on a very groggy Rose. Her hand trembled as she placed it on the baby’s head cradling her against her now bare breast. And like the miracle of life itself the baby latched on. Rose moaned in discomfort and both male doctors shook their heads but smiled.
Rose was now awake and Emmett was going to be in a lot of trouble.
This scene was told to me by a nurse I once worked with. She had been so excited when she helped a mom wake up. The attending that was there said he wouldnt have believed it if he hadnt watched it himself.
- Chapter 15
It had been three weeks since Rose gave birth to Lilly. Emmett had taken every ounce of punishment Rose had dished out. Now she was frantically planning little Lilly’s christening. Emmett had only, in the last few days, been allowed back into his marital bed. In true Rose fashion, he had to work his way up to touching her again.
“You know I don’t care if you wear a tie or not.”
Once the words of Bella and mine engagement were announced, things went from crazy to chaotic. Elizabeth wanted to do everything over the top and Esme was pushing from Bella’s end. Carlisle was sitting back and laughing at my grimacing face as Alice showed me three ties that I had to choose from.
Bella was sitting beside me, her face glowing more than normal.
“Which one do you like?” I questioned my bride-to-be.
“Oh, no! Edward Anthony!…”Alice screeched as she pushed the ties in my face again.
“Babe, please just pick one, you will look great no matter what you wear.” Bella’s soft spoken voice sent a calming wave through my body as it usually does.
In the end I chose the blue-green tie and Bella winked as she left with Alice.
“I’m so glad I have been happily married for as long as I have.” Carlisle spoke as he stood and headed toward the bar for another drink.
“Well if Rose would touch my dick again, I would wear a pink tutu if she asked me.”
Poor Emmett had been heartbroken that Rose was not wavering from her decision.
We had been kicked out of the house by our significant others so that they could put the final touches on Lilly’s christening. I was happy for the opportunity to have some guy time as I needed to speak with Carlisle. Emmett found a game on one of the corner televisions and had yet to return. Carlisle sat beside me and handed me a fresh beer. I took the cold glass from him and swallowed several gulps.
“Are you going to spill what’s on your mind or do I have to pour more beer down your throat?” Carlisle knew me more than I knew myself.
“I’m a little freaked out.” I confessed, my eyes fixed on the signature mirror that hung behind the bar.
“Weddings will do that.” He replied, a chuckle in his voice.
“No, I am very ready to marry her, I just…”
Carlisle set his half empty glass down and then turned his body toward me. “Talk to me son.”
After two more long pulls from my half empty glass, I looked at Carlisle knowing I had his full attention.
“I’ve had this dream lately.” My eyes were now focused on the carbonated bubbles at the top of my beer.
Carlisle stayed silent while I told him every detail of the dream that had been on repeat the last few weeks.
“Lauren is walking toward me on a beach that we used to go to. She is still pregnant, smiling and laughing. When I finally get to her, she throws her arms around me and I feel so happy to have her back in my arms. Then she pulls back and she’s crying. She tells me that I didn’t love her enough to save her.”
I tried to hide the emotion that was breaking to the surface. Lauren’s death hit me hard. I didn’t let anyone in after I learned about the accident. I dove head first into a bottle for several days, missing her funeral all together.
“Edward, I wish I knew more about the circumstances with you and Lauren.”
I closed my eyes as his words filled my ears. I knew this day would come eventually; even falling in love with a woman like Bella can’t chase every demon away.
“I had asked her to marry me.” My voice was full of regret. I couldn’t even look at Carlisle because of the pure shame I felt.
“She told me that she was having my baby and I believed it was the right thing to do.”
Leaning back in my chair, I ran my fingers along the side of my head, a nervous habit I developed early in my life.
“She was only supposed to be a weekend thing; a quick release for each of us and then empty promises to call each other. Then she started showing up at the shop and she offered to help me one day when I needed her. She seemed to like everything that I did, so I thought what the hell.”
“I liked having her around and she knew when to give me space.” My dry mouth craving a drink, however, my beer now tasted rancid.
“She came by the shop one afternoon and said she needed to talk with me. We went back to my office and she told me she was pregnant. She left and I spent a couple of days thinking. Later, I called her and told her we needed to talk. She came back to the shop; we went into my office again for privacy. I asked her to marry me and move in with me.”
Carlisle took a drink of his beer and leaned forward grasping my shoulder to show his support.
“Did you love her?”
I shook my head, “No, I thought that once the baby came I could learn to love her.”
“Edward, love isn’t something you plan to do later. It’s either there or it’s not. Is this why you never brought her around the family?”
I shrugged my shoulder, but kept my eyes down.
“When Rose came and told us that you had lost someone close, I didn’t pry for more. I’m sorry I didn’t try harder to talk with you about it. I won’t make that mistake again.”
I tried to assure him that it wasn’t his fault, but he cut me off.
“Tell me the rest of the dream.”
I opened and closed my mouth several times surprised to hear he knew I was far from finished.
“She…um….Lauren tells me that she loved me more than anything and that she would have done anything she could to have me love her back. She said that she was so excited to be having my baby and that she had many plans to make sure I was happy. Then the wind picks up and suddenly Lauren is screaming, she falls to the ground and I try to find out what was wrong. I look down and notice all of this blood that is covering my hands and then Lauren starts to scream at me that I failed her, that I wanted her and my baby to die. Then her face turns to Bella’s and I wake up in a cold sweat.”
My hands were now gripping my hair while I tried to get Lauren’s face out of my head.
“I wake up and pray that I didn’t wake Bella then I would lean over and start talking to our baby and that does seem to help me calm down.” I confess.
“You didn’t go to her funeral did you?”
I shook my head, knowing I would find disappointment on his face if I looked at him, but instead his expression was unrecognizable.
“No, I got drunk instead…really drunk. Then I pushed away every woman that crossed my path…until Bella.” Her name was like a prayer from my lips.
“Edward, I know you’re thinking this nightmare is someone trying to send you a message, but I want you to look at the bigger picture here. Lauren wasn’t the girl for you, and yes, it is sad that she died a tragic death, but none of that was your fault.”
Leaning away from him, “I should have driven her to her sister’s. I should have made sure her car was at least safe.”
Carlisle cut me off again. “So, you’re the preventer of death now? You couldn’t have known what was going to happen anymore than you know what you will have for dinner next. When it is your time to die, no amount of precaution or preparation will prevent that.”
He was right. I knew he was right, but it did little to settle the ill feeling I had.
“I know what your saying is true, but…”
“But you still feel guilty.”
I could only nod in agreement.
“You feel guilty because you’re still alive and the lady you asked to marry and your unborn baby are buried in a grave somewhere.”
Again I only nodded.
“Let me ask you, have you visited the grave, or told Lauren you were sorry?”
That was another story, Lauren’s sister…
“I tried calling her sister, but all I ever got was a voicemail. I wanted to take care of the costs associated with the funeral.”
Carlisle nodded his head and took another drink of his beer.
“Listen Edward, you have an amazing girl in Bella. You’re getting married and having a baby. Don’t let these dreams derail that. Think of this as your second chance at happiness.”
What he said made sense. I wouldn’t allow anything take Bella and my baby away.
“Why don’t you head over and rescue her from my wife and your mother and sister. Take her to dinner and then rub her feet. Don’t worry about this dream, it will eventually go away and you will get to live your happy ever after.”
I knew he was right, but silently decided to try and contact Lauren’s sister again. I really did need to say goodbye to Lauren and the baby.
Watching the man that I considered a son sitting here defeated left me with more questions than answers. Edward had finally found his perfect match and I would do anything to keep those two together. I know only one person who could shine some light on this crazy situation. I waited until Edward was out of ear shot, dug my cell from my pocket and quickly dialed a number I very rarely had to use.
“Hey, it’s Dr. C….Get me all you can on a Lauren Mallory…I’ll double your usual fee to make it quick.”
- Chapter 16
“I baptize you in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost.”
I could never decide if I wanted either a boy or a girl worse. A young son that would insure the Masen name be passed down, or a little girl that would have both Edward and myself wrapped securely around her finger. Healthy is what everyone always says they want in a child, but I want our baby to look just like Edward. His eyes twinkled as we watched Emmett and Rose share a moment with baby Lilly.
He has always been a handsome man, but recently, and I’m not certain it isn’t due to pregnancy hormones, that he has become more attractive to me. There hasn’t been a night in a very long time that I haven’t woken him by giving him a blow-job or full blown sex. I just can’t seem to get enough of him. I watch him as his hands grip my hips while I ride him as if my life depended on it, or how he moves my hair to the side so that he can watch me suck him as if he is my life source, and in a technical way, he really is.
“Hey, you ok?”
Edward has always been very protective of me, from the first encounter when I pulled up to his shop, and more so now that I’m carrying our baby.
“Couldn’t be better, although I can’t wait to get you alone.”
I really shouldn’t be having these kinds of thoughts in church, but can you really blame me?
“Soon, sweet girl, soon.” He said giving me that sexy smirk.
Our engagement announcement was posted in the Sunday paper. Edward informed me it was also in three other large city newspapers as well. I didn’t question why, I assumed it had something to do with his business dealings.
“You know, if it gets to be too much, I’ll cancel it all and we’ll head to Vegas.”
Edward was entirely too cute for his own good. I knew he was serious and that all I had to do was say the word.
“It’s fine, only a few more weeks anyway and then we’ll be awaiting this little one.” It seems I always have my hand on my stomach these days, Edward almost always joined me. Once again the look on his face caused a hormonal explosion. I quickly pushed him back against the sofa. With his shirt completely unbuttoned, I began to remove my own as the rather rude intrusion of the doorbell rang.
“I swear to god….” He grumbled while rebuttoning his shirt. He stomped over to the front door like a displeased child who didn’t get their favorite toy.
“Edward, I’m sorry to stop by so early, but I had to speak with the both of you.” Carlisle’s voice sounded urgent and stressed. I sat up to adjust myself.
“Come in, come in. Bella’s in the living room.”
Edward moved to the side opening the door wider allowing Carlisle to walk into the room. I was pleasantly surprised to see Alice following behind.
“Good morning sunshine.” Alice called out as she darted around the two men to get to me.
“Hey girl, what’cha doing?” I said giving her a hug and noticing Edward and Carlisle move toward the couch to sit down, Edward sitting beside me.
“Dad mentioned he was headed over here and I begged to tag along.”
I was happy to see her. Alice had become like a sister to me; one I never had. Looking closer at Carlisle, I noticed an envelope in his hand and a new expression on his face. Carlisle almost always had a smile on his face, but today it was clearly forced.
“Again, sorry to come over unannounced, but I needed to talk with you, privately.”
A sinking feeling started in my stomach at his words. It was clear that something bad had or was about to happen.
“Carlisle, I have no secrets from Bella, I plan to keep it that way.”
I knew by the tone of his voice that Edward was as worried as I was.
“Have you told her about Lauren?”
Edward looked to me and then to Carlisle. “Yes, we have discussed her.” He took ahold of my hand kissing my palm and fingers.
Taking a deep breath, Carlisle handed Edward the envelope. “When we spoke the other night in the bar, I was honestly troubled by what you said. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something missing from the picture. I learned a long time ago that you should always follow your gut.”
I looked to Edward, but all his attention was on Carlisle.
“With having a practice in the area of town that I do, I have made many acquaintances I have helped when they were in tough situations. They may have expressed their gratitude with telling me they would owe me one. One in particular, is a man I pulled a bullet out of a few years ago. He had refused to go to a hospital and showed up at the back door of my clinic. I helped him and he told me that if I ever needed a situation taken care of, he would be available to me.”
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the man in question had done something illegal and was a criminal. Carlisle had taken a great risk in not calling the police.
“I used him a few years ago, when I had a few thugs that were causing some havoc in the neighborhood. He took care of them and again told me he would always be available to him.”
That sickening feeling got worse the more he spoke. I knew we dealt with some pretty dangerous people in the clinic, but I never felt threatened. The majority of our patients were good people that were in bad situations.
“I gave him a call and had him dig up all he could on Lauren. Once he got back to me with what was on the street, I contacted another man who could give me police records. Those records are there in that envelope.” He pointed towards the envelope.
Edward looked down to the large white envelope in his hands. He quickly ripped the seal open and pulled out a small stack of papers.
Carlisle cleared his throat and started reciting the information as if he had memorized it.
“Lauren Ann Mallory, aka Lori Murray, aka Lola Man, aka Lindsay Reynolds. The list goes on of her aliases. She was born at a women’s correctional facility in Gig Harbor, Washington. Her mother, a convicted murderer, was serving a life sentence when she gave birth. Her father was assumed to be one of the correction officers, but it was never determined. Her mother died during an altercation shortly after delivery. Lauren went directly into the system due to no family coming to take charge of her. She was in foster care until she turned eighteen, and arrested for the first time at age sixteen for shoplifting. Three more times after she turned seventeen before spending eighteen months in the same correctional facility for armed robbery. She has been arrested more times for identity theft than I had time to count. She has a current warrant out for her arrest for grand theft auto where she stole a Porsche from a dealership in Los Angeles.”
That caught my attention…current warrant?
Before I could voice my concerns, clearly thinking he was mistaken, the doorbell rang again. Alice quickly jumped from her chair to answer it, and for some reason, I was anxious to see who it was. Edward was still reading and the crease between his perfect eyebrows grew deeper and deeper.
Alice came back followed by a woman. Edward was still reading the papers and didn’t notice the blonde standing beside Alice. Her clothes appeared to be designer and I suspected she had something to do with a service for the wedding. I shoved my fists into the couch in an attempt to get up when I heard Edward take in a sharp breath.
Looking to Edward and then to the blonde, I noticed she wore a devilish smile, like she had a secret she was dying to tell.
“Hi, babe…miss me?”
OH YES I DID!
- Chapter 17
“As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted.”
Carlisle didn’t skip a beat as the blonde woman look at him, astonishment and, dare I say, rage on her face.
“Lauren Mallory, has seen the inside of a jail cell more then she has seen the light of day.”
It was like watching a tennis match and the players were as lost as I was. Who was this woman standing in my living room? And why was Edward about to have a stroke?
“Her latest stay in the LA County Jail was for credit card theft. She managed to convince a guard that she was in love with him; seems that’s her style. She plays her looks and gets the men into bed with her, once she has them seduced, she goes in for the kill.”
Edward’s head dropped down and I reached over to rub his back. He was in pain and I felt at a loss on how to help him.
“She has been able to slip out of a number of tight situations. Isn’t that right Lauren?”
My gasp could be heard echoing in the room. Edward’s head snapped to mine as my hand dropped from his back and gripped my belly. This was Lauren….but she was…dead?
“You nearly had Edward until things got a little….sticky, would you say?”
Edward was shaking with rage beside me as the blonde, which had been glaring at Carlisle, shifted her feet and walked in Carlisle’s direction. Even with all the accusations flying around her, she still had amazing poise.
“A little, perhaps.” Her tone was even, not anything like mine would have been.
“So, please share with the class Lauren, why did you feel the need to fake your own death?…
Although, you might want to perfect that one a little better next time.”
In the time I have been working with Carlisle, I had never heard such anger in his voice than I do now. I don’t believe I have ever seen him angry at all.
“Oh, and faking a family member was the first thing that tipped me off by the way.”
Just when things were a seven on my freaky-shit-meter, Lauren started laughing. It wasn’t a
giggle either, but a full on this-is-some-funny-shit-laugh.
“Oh honey….you have no idea what I am capable of.”
I had no real idea who this woman was, but I knew, in my very soul, I believed her.
She walked over sitting her ass on my glass coffee table directly in front of me and Carlise. Her long legs slowly crossing like Sharon Stone’s in the movie, Basic instinct.
“Please Lauren, I’m a Doctor and I assure you that I’m immune to having women show me their vaginas.”
My eyes nearly popped out of my head, this was not the Carlisle I knew.
“I bet your wife appreciates that.” She replied with malice in her voice, her eye brow raised.
“My wife knows how to carry herself and how to properly groom.”
The room was full of so much tension that it was starting to make me nauseous. I started rubbing circles slowly on my belly hoping the movement would calm my stomach some.
“I guess I owe it to you for the phone call I received yesterday.”
Carlisle only nodded.
“I have a friend that works in the D.A.’s office in LA and she informed me that some detective had pulled my file. Had been running all kinds of reports on me. I had a few people in mind that could be looking for me, but when she overheard him talking with a Dr. Cullen, I knew it had to be about Edward.”
She glanced over her shoulder, winked at him and then just as casually, spun herself around and leaned toward him.
“Hi baby.” She purred, running her perfect, manicured, index finger up his leg.
Edward looked at her finger and then at her. “If you want to keep that fucking thing, get it away from me.”
She laughed, yet continue to stroke his leg in a slow and calculated manner.
“Oh Eddie, you would never hit a lady, you don’t have it in you. Besides, I remember a time when you loved to let me touch you. Remember the time we went riding and you ate my pussy when we pulled over on that dirt road? I still think of that every time I see a motorcycle.”
She then turned to me and said, “Has he fucked you while sitting on his bike?”
Her words were meant to hurt me, but they only cause my nausea to increase.
“Let me tell you a few things.” Edward’s voice was low and full of anger causing me to jump and the baby to start kicking. I tried to soothe not only the baby, but my nerves as well.
“Your right in stating I would never hit a lady, but given the fact you’re a lying whore, I wouldn’t hesitate. As for your comments about touching you on my bike?…I did that as a horny and hormone filled idiot. I fucked you like the whore you are. I bet you have always been fucked, never loved or cherished. Only one lady has ever gotten that from me and it sure the fuck isn’t you.”
If Edward’s words affected her, she had a good enough poker face not to show it.
“Really Eddie, that’s not what you said when I let you fuck me in your bed that last night….You swore that you would always protect me, love me till you had no breath left in you.”
Turning to me, she said, “By the way, I hope this is really his baby, because as you can see, these motherfuckers are crazy about finding the truth.”
I didn’t get a chance to speak up before Edward stood abruptly grabbing Lauren’s arm and hauling her up off the coffee table. With his face inches from her’s, his raging breath caused her eyes to close, as he spit the words at her.
“You don’t fucking talk to her!”
Like the crazy bitch she is, she smiled then reached up licking his face from his chin to nearly his lips before he shoved her back down on the table. Edward remained standing looking over at Carlisle.
“What else?” Edward questioned.
“When you mentioned that her sister didn’t return your calls, I had my….associate do some digging on that too. Seems Lauren here lied to you about everything except for her name. She made up the story about having a sister because she was seeing another dick on the side.”
Looking down for just a short moment, Carlisle looked back up to Edward before asking,
“You remember James, from the car lot by my office?”
Edward nodded his head and then pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Yes, well, it seems that James and Lauren here have been friends for a while. He contacted her after the last time you called his parole officer. He let her know that she could make a killing on the kind of money you had. He only wanted to get you back for sending him back to jail, he couldn’t think of a better way to get to you then using a girl.”
My mouth was suddenly dry as I realized what Carlisle was saying. My stomach was now in knots as I remember the first time I had met Edward. I had been standing beside James. Would Edward now question my presence in his life? Would he wonder if I was like Lauren and trying to steal from him? Oh god….would he not want our baby?
“I…I’m sorry, I’m not feeling well….I…I’m going to lay down.”
I didn’t wait for anyone to say anything and I’m not certain I would have as I closed the door to my bedroom. Looking down to my stomach, I whispered a promise to my unborn child.
“No matter what, I will keep you safe…even if your daddy don’t want us anymore.”
- Chapter 18
“Edward, let her go. She’s been rubbing her stomach since this leech walked into the door.”
I could only stare at the now closed bedroom door. “Then I should…” Carlisle interrupted me before I could finish.
“I’ll go…” Alice began, I had completely forgotten she was even in the room.
“No honey, give her a minute before anyone goes in there. This is a lot to take in and she is just overwhelmed. You forget she is a nurse and a good one. If something was wrong with the baby she would have told me.”
Carlisle was right, she was an amazing nurse. Even I heard people talk about how gentle she was. People in the neighborhood loved her.
“Listen, I would love nothing more than to hang out and watch this “made for television movie” but I have a plane to catch.”
Lauren went to grab her purse that was beside her on the table. Looking at her now, I questioned what I ever saw in her. She was beautiful, there was no questioning that, but that’s where it ended. She had lied to me about everything. Her desire for me, carrying my baby. She even lied to Bella about the entire pussy eating encounter, it never happened. She just wanted a reaction and she got one, but from me and not Bella.
I wasn’t surprised in the least to learn she was friends with James. He had been a bad guy from the word jump. I had always kept an eye out for him, but even I was shocked at the length he had gone to in order to get me back for reporting him.
“Have a seat Lauren, we still have such a story to tell…don’t we?” Carlisle was pissed. I could see it in his face and the way he held his phone in his hands. Carlisle had always been a man of peace. Always finding the good in everyone. But this side of Carlisle was one I had never seen.
“Where were we?…Oh yes, James.”
Carlisle reclined back and crossed his ankle over his knee. His eyes never leaving Lauren.
“You and James studied Edward. Learned his schedule and if my suspicions are correct, you even did a little investigating of your own. You soon learned that his true alliance was in his family. You figured if you could win the love of us then you could weasel your way into Edward’s bed and into his bank account.”
Lauren hadn’t move a single muscle as he told the story. Her hair slightly moving with the movement of the ceiling fan above. Looking at her clothes and shoes, it would seem she was playing another part, scheming to get into someone else’s bank account. When she was with me, she always dressed in tight jeans and T-shirts that showed a little skin, sort of a sexy girl next door look.
“You thought he would be an easy target. Show him some attention, maybe a blow job thrown in and all of this would be yours.”
Carlisle motioned around the room. I remember bringing her here once, collecting rent that was late. She went on and on how she loved the way the front porch was, how she could see children playing in the back yard.
“But Edward has never been one to just open his world to anyone. He is fiercely loyal and it will take more than a good fuck to change that. Our Bella is proof of that.”
Saying her name made me look to the door, oh how I wanted to go running in there, making absolutely certain she was alright.
“You figured out that by telling him you were knocked up would open that door you were desperately trying to get into. But you had a major stumbling block, you can’t get pregnant.”
At his words, Lauren looked down before she started of what was to be her admission.
“My friend, Janie, told me the week before that her boyfriend had ditched her when she told him she was pregnant. I made a deal that I would take care of her if she gave me the baby when it was born. The day I said I was going to my sisters, she called me from the clinic over on Clemens to tell me she had miscarried. They were sending her to surgery to get it out of her. I knew then that I couldn’t fake a pregnancy and a surgery. Edward would want to be with me at the doctor’s office, so I cut my losses and ran. My friend Janie, was the one to call Edward and tell him I died. She used one of those prepaid phones that I gave her and told her to toss it in the trash once she made the call.”
The odds were against her that she was telling the truth, but since I wasn’t floating on the bottom of a bottle of Jack, I could argue.
“So, now we all know the awful truth, completely over rated if you ask me…” She rose from the sofa with her purse in hand. I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Carlisle was typing away on his phone.
“….I will be on my way.”
Carlisle stood abruptly blocking her path. “Not so fast….seems you have one final debt to repay.”
Lauren rolled her eyes as if Carlisle was out of his mind. A soft knock at the door and huge smile spread across his face. He reached behind him twisting the door knob without removing his eyes from hers. A man dressed in a black shirt, jeans and a ball cap stood towering inside the door. He was even bigger than Emmett and that was saying something. His eyes were covered with dark sunglasses so I couldn’t make out his eyes, but once he opened his mouth, I knew immediately who this was. Alex Moore, known in the neighborhood as Moose. Once upon a time, Moose had tried to get a job with the secret service guarding the president or some shit. He never told anyone why he didn’t follow through, but his reputation in the neighborhood was one of being an enforcer. He had taken on a gang of thugs a few years ago and none has seen or heard from them since. It’s rumored he has ties to the Italian Mafia, but that’s just talk. He has come in several times to the shop for work on his Harley, always on time and always pays in cash.
“Lauren, I would like for you to meet my good friend, Moose.”
Lauren took in the huge man, swallowing and trying desperately not to piss herself. Carlisle looked like the smug bastard who had just out smarted the casino on payday.
“It’s funny how you think you can just walk away from this because you failed at taking any money from him, but you’re wrong.”
I looked to Alice whose eyes were as big as saucers. Clearly she was just as in the dark as I was. I moved closer to wrap my arms around her. Moose would never hurt her, but she didn’t know that.
“My friend of mine, Dr. Marcus, who I have known for many years, lost his wife to breast cancer several years ago. He sent me an email showing me a picture of him and the new girl in his life. He raved to me how she had fallen into his lap…literally while attending a breast cancer fund raiser. Once I had your mug shot, I couldn’t figure out where I had seen you before. It wasn’t until being woken from a sound sleep that I remembered why you looked so familiar. Imagine my surprise, when I actually called my friend Dr. Marcus, and had to hear the unfortunate news that the new beautiful girl had run off with a substantial amount of his money. He had reported the event and they had issued a warrant for her arrest.”
Moose moved closer to Lauren, his hands were clasped in front of him and his face still showed no emotion.
“Furthermore, he found two other men who had been conned just like him.”
Carlisle moved to the side and let Moose approach Lauren.
“So, I called my friend here and he did his own investigating. Turns out, you my friend, have a bounty on your head. One of your cons had a little money left over and has placed a pretty price on your head for your capture.”
The color completely left Lauren’s face when Moose stepped around her pulling her arms behind her back before snapping the cuffs on. He wordlessly escorted her out the front door and into the yard.
Bella was curled around her pillow when I opened the door. My heart shattered as I quietly closed the door and crawled into bed with her. Wrapping my entire body around her, she flinched and then melted into me.
“Baby, are you alright?”
She didn’t answer and I thought she was asleep, but her breathing was off.
“Bella?” I whispered.
She slowly turned over, but instead of looking in my eyes, she looked at my chin. Her eyes showed worry and I needed to change that.
“Is she gone?”
I nodded my head and then kissed her forehead, feeling the baby kicking excitedly at my stomach. I loved feeling him or her kick; silently telling me they were alright.
“I…I have to know…”
“Baby, everything she said was a lie…”
“…No, listen to me Edward.” She rose up from the bed, resting on her elbow.
“I’m not like her, I would never trick you into anything…”
Quickly sitting up, I gently cradled her face as her eyes filled with unshed tears.
“Bella…. I know, but what makes you think I would ever think that?”
She looked down at her pillow.
“Carlisle said she was friends with James.”
Lifting her chin up and wordlessly pleaded for her to look at me.
“The first time I met you, I was standing beside him.” She murmured.
All the pieces started to click together and I instantly knew why she was so upset.
“That’s true, but I remember it a bit differently.”
I pulled her to my chest and kissed her hair. I love how her hair smelled, clean and floral.
“I remember a beautiful girl who wouldn’t give me the time of day. A girl who turned me down several times before she would let me take her out. A girl I had to employ the help of others to get her to accept my help. If anything Bella, you should be worried about me.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at my own words and I was relieved to feel her laughing along with me.
“I love you crazy girl and I’m sorry you had to hear all of that. I swear the majority of it was a huge lie.”
The room was silent for several seconds after her laughter diminished.
“It’s funny how we are alike this way.”
I pulled back to look at her face, curious as to what she meant.
“Funny how?” I questioned, worried I had missed something.
“Well….Billy lied to me, stole from me and didn’t blink an eye at it. He told me lies to keep me from seeking the truth and I fell for it. Lauren did the same thing to you. I wonder what would have happened had I never questioned my life, followed my gut and met you. And what would have happened if you and Lauren had worked out.”
I hugged her tighter and proceeded to fill her in on the story she had missed. She laughed as I told her in detail how Moose had caused Lauren to nearly shit herself.
“He is a big guy, but he has a heart of gold.” She responded.
“I’m just glad we both know the truth…the truth about the lies.”
I couldn’t agree with her more.
- Chapter 19
“You look beautiful.”
Turning my eyes from my reflection in the mirror to the one owned by Rose. She was right, I even felt beautiful. Elizabeth had found this dress and as soon as I tried it on, I just knew it was the right one. She didn’t even let me see the price tag. She gave very firm instructions that I was not allowed to pay. However, I put my foot down when Esme wanted to cover the cost of the reception. My father had left me a nice nest egg and I felt it would be his wishes to pay for his daughter’s wedding.
“Thank you.” I replied with a smile.
Lauren was somewhat safely behind bars, apparently she attempted to jimmy her way out of the handcuffs, and Moose had no clue how her nose got broken. All of the men who she had coned were anxiously awaiting their turn to testify. I asked Edward if he wanted to attend her trial, but he adamantly said no. He wanted nothing to do with her ever again.
When we were planning the wedding ceremony, I realized I wanted Carlisle to walk me down the aisle. When I asked him, several different emotions flashed across his face, before pride settled and he said he would be honored to escort me.
“He is waiting for you.” Rose said in a sing song voice.
Rose had surprised me the most with her acceptance of me. I really thought she would be a tough cookie to sell, but I was very wrong. She, like her brother, was fiercely loyal. In a few short minutes she would be my sister.
As I stood behind the closed door waiting for my turn, I glanced up at Carlisle, he smiled down at me and squeezed my hand.
“I would tell you that you can just say the word and we can jump in that waiting limo and skip town. However, by the look in your eye, I know you would never dream of it.”
I had never imagined a love like Edward’s. The way he made me feel like the only girl in the room. How I would wake to find him looking at me, studying me. I know he thought he was sly, but I knew he talked to the baby after he thought I had gone to sleep. I loved him even more for that. When the white doors opened and the violins started playing their sweet music, I looked straight ahead to my future. To the man who fulfilled every single dream I ever had. He encouraged me at every turn. Cheered for me when I met a goal and cried for me when I failed.
“Who gives this woman to this man?”
Carlisle had mentioned that the chaplain at the hospital was a jubilant man who loved life. From the moment I was introduced to Father Tom, I loved him.
“Her father in spirit and her friend at heart.”
I nearly cried at Carlisle’s words. It was true, in this relatively short time, he had become someone I trusted and confided in. When he placed my hand in Edward’s, I kissed his cheek and told him I loved him.
The words we shared had been recited millions upon millions of times, yet they still felt overwhelming to me. Looking deep into Edward’s green eyes, I just knew he was my forever. When Father Tom pronounced us husband and wife, Edward picked me up and carried me bridal style back down the aisle. I giggled and hung on for dear life as Edward kissed me the entire way.
The reception was everything I wanted and then some. The florists hit the mark when I told her something bright, and yet simple. The caterers had given me so many choices that I had to close my eyes and just point. Edward had insisted on choosing the band and I was glad he did. They played mostly cover songs, but they really entertained our guests. Edward got a little miffed when the lead singer insisted on dancing with me. When he noticed Edward’s anger, he told Edward that he was happy to dance with him as well, this made the entire crowd erupt in laughter.
I once told Edward I wanted time to travel and see the world, however, when he told me to pick out where I wanted to go on our honeymoon, I insisted on going to his cabin. He asked me three times if I was certain and when I said yes, he made it happen.
For the first two days we remained naked. Edward showed me new and exciting positions and made me cum more times than I could count. Although, my favorite was on the same balcony where I made up my mind to love Edward and get Billy out of my head. He took me in his boat and we fished, made love, rinse and repeat. Coming home was a welcome too, because I really missed my bed. Edward and I decided to live in the house that I rented from him, although I told him he was bat shit crazy if he thought I was going to continue to pay rent to him.
“Oh, you’ll pay alright.”
And as usual he was right, but I got more out of his payment system then he did. A week later, I returned to work, but Carlisle refused to allow me full time. Esme lovingly told me that he did the same to her when she was expecting. Elizabeth had become a third mother to me and called me at least three times per day. It was a Friday evening and I had just placed the chicken in the oven for dinner. Edward was watching a ball game on the television when my back started to ache. I had been talking to Elizabeth about her and Edward Sr.’s upcoming cruise when I gasped into the phone.
“Bella, what is it?” I heard her, but couldn’t respond immediately.
Looking down at the kitchen floor, I nearly fainted when I saw the puddle of water between my socked feet.
“Oh my god, my water just broke!”
- Chapter 20
Seven years later
“Daddy, tell me the surprise story.”
I smiled at the face of my seven year old. Green eyes like mine, but the rest was all Bella.
“Haven’t you heard that enough? How about we read one of your books?”
“No, I want the surprise story.”
“Alright, snuggle under the covers and close those eyes.”
“I was sitting in the living room watching a ball game when I heard your mother yell. I ran into the kitchen and found her with her cell phone in one hand and water on the floor.”
That night had changed my entire world. Bella and I had decided to not find out what we were having until the birth. We had each picked a name, a girl from her and a boy from me. She had begged me not to make our son a junior. I had agreed, but we decided to keep it a secret from each other.
“I got your mother into the car and we headed to the hospital.”
“Where Grandpa Carlisle works?” My baby reminded me. This story has been told so many times that it was legend around our house.
“Yes, baby. Your mother was being very brave and she didn’t want to have any medicine, but after several hours and no sign of you, the doctors decided they needed to help you come out.”
“So, that I could have a birthday?”
Bella had added that in her version of this story.
“Shh, you’re supposed to be trying to sleep.”
“Anyway, they gave her special medicine and I stayed with her the entire night. Just before the sun came up again, Mommy woke me up crying. The doctors and nurses came running in to find that your heart beat was dropping. They moved mommy in her bed and started getting her ready to get you out of her tummy.”
I looked down to make sure eyes were still closed and sleep was creeping in.
“When you finally came out, I was so happy. Mommy was crying happy tears and told you over and over how much she loved you.”
The first time I saw my daughter’s face, I knew there would be nothing I wouldn’t do for her, no one I wouldn’t fight her for. This tiny little creature took my heart and ripped it from my chest.
“But then mommy started….”
“Hey…I told you to try and fall asleep.”
Looking at my Maggie’s eyes and the slight grin she inherited from me, I knew I had met my match. Bella told me over and over that she was a mini me and she was right. I waited until those eyes closed again before I continued.
“Yes, mommy started to panic and the doctor told her it was just the afterbirth. She began shaking her head and begged him to have a look.”
Bella entered the room and noticed that Maggie was peaking from under her eyelids. She smiled that same smile that won me over all those years ago.
“And imagine our surprise when this little monster was trying to get out.”
From behind her, our son ran around her jumping into Maggie’s bed. Peter had been a complete surprise. He hadn’t shown up in any of the scans or any of the exams the doctor had done. When I began thinking about what I would name my son, if I ever had one, I remembered a guy I went to school with. Peter Santana, he was an easy going guy who stayed out of trouble and helped to raise his two younger brothers. One night after a football game, he came across me while three of the opponent team had jumped me. Peter didn’t hesitate to help get them off me. He worked all through high school and right after graduation he was picking up a gallon of milk when he was shot and killed in an armed robbery gone wrong. He was a hero in my eyes. When I told Bella what my choice in name was, she completely agreed that our son should have the name of a person such as my friend.
Looking back on my life, I know that everything happens for a reason. Bella always said that I saved her from the lies that people told her, but the truth is, she saved me. Saved me from a life I had decided I didn’t deserve. A life I would live alone. Now even with late night feedings and not owning a shirt that didn’t have a stain on it for years after the twins were born, I wouldn’t change a thing…well that was a lie. I would have wanted to meet Bella sooner, fall in love with her, and been able to show her the world she deserved.
“Alright you two, bed time…for real this time.”
Kissing Bella as we turned off the lights, I know that everything will be okay. Sure we will have our fights and disagreements, but at the end of the day we will have each other ….and that is the truth…without the lies.