Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight, no copyright infringement intended.
Oodles of love to Pixiekat7 for the Beta and Jen for the pre-read, and heartfelt thanks to everybody still reading and reviewing.
Small time jump time :)
"Seize every opportunity along the way, for how sad it would be if the road you chose became the road not taken."
~ Robert Brault
Sinfully wicked witch.
Jesus H Christ. What the hell ever happened to slapping on a warty nose or wearing a ripped up old bed sheet? Halloween could kiss my ass at this rate. This website had even managed to defile Minnie freakin' Mouse!
"Uh... Edward, what do I wear for Halloween?" I scratched my head, seriously confused by what I was seeing. By the looks of things, my definition of spooky costume design was a little outdated. Apparently, the objective was to no longer look in the least bit scary.
He cleared his throat. "Are you looking for an appropriate response to that question, Bella?"
"Sweetheart, I don't think I can give you one."
"Oh don't you start!" I huffed, pinning my cell between my shoulder and ear while hastily googling other sites. "Emmett's been winking at me all week while throwing out random words like milkmaid. I expected more from you."
Edward merely laughed. It was a sound I'd come to almost treasure during his growing-ever-longer absence. Two weeks had rapidly morphed into five for his Sydney trip. By the time he was ready to fly home, he was already due to head over to the West Coast and start construction on some fancy pants Los Angeles apartment building. I hated to think what the starting price would be for the complex. We were nearing seven weeks without the architect. Not that I ever had long to dwell on him being gone - Emmett had forced me into joining his garage's paintball team. Nearly seven weeks of hating Em for this was proving a little exhausting.
"Is he behaving himself?"
How to answer that?
I'd been dragged into more sports bars than I cared to remember, subjected to hours' worth of innuendos from his mechanics, had learned some extremely disgusting language and I got shot in the ass last Saturday with a blue paint pellet. Brady's finger 'slipped'. But at the same time, Emmett repaid Brady for said 'slip' by stealing the guy's gun and then blasting him with his own pellets. He also picked me up on time every day after my classes were finished and was fiercely big brother protective of me any time we were out.
Did Em behave himself?
Yes and no. He chuckled when his 'boys' asked me which pin up was hotter, but threw heavy metal objects at them if he sensed so much as a shred of discomfort being projected from me when they took things, 'too fucking far, you prick!'
"Sure, he'll be here soon."
"Ah, paintball again?"
I groaned. "You know, you say you talked to him about it, but somehow I don't believe you."
"He's not easily swayed."
"Not easily swayed," I grumbled. "Admit it, you said nada."
"Now that's not true." I could hear the damn smile in his voice. "I mentioned it, as per your request, but he started to give me a complex with all of his, 'stop being such an old fart' remarks. Suffice to say I felt compelled to drop it."
I shook my head. "How very manly of you, Cullen."
"I'm forty next year and in denial. Sue me, Swan."
"I'll find that lawyer we talked about at the beach. Consider it done."
I think he growled.
I giggled. "'Kay. How was dinner last night?"
"About as much fun as a kidney infection, thank you for asking. I want to come home - I miss you."
I swallowed and started to take a great deal of interest in all the dust particles hovering in the air by the windows.
I still wasn't sure how to respond to those three little words. Did I miss him? I guess I did...? But I actually enjoyed being on my own and loved exploring the city. I liked hanging out with my friends and the rush to cram for my midterms had kept me more than occupied when Emmett, James and Vicky actually left me alone for ten minutes.
Alone. It was something I was used to being, but never really felt. Odd, I suppose.
In all honesty, missing Edward was a bit like a behaving Emmett. It was a yes and no kind of deal. Something told me that I was supposed to miss him, but there was also something telling me not to. I didn't miss him in a conventional sense, perhaps that was the best way to put it. I was independent and happy with my own company. Desperate and pining would chafe like sequined fabric.
I was looking forward to seeing his smile again though, and to morning coffee wake up's and stolen kisses over breakfast.
"Well, you'll be back soon," I tried cheerfully, just as the front door slammed shut downstairs.
"SWAN, ass down here pronto! We've got shit to shoot, kiddo!"
"The baboon arrives," Edward quipped. "I'll let you get going. And by the way, if you just so happen to pop him in the head today, I think the stupidity might reverse itself."
"You realise it could make him worse, then who's looking after him?"
"Point taken. I'll call later, have fun angel."
I ended the call and continued to frown at my laptop screen as Emmett bounded his way up the stairs in record time.
"Thank God, you're not hiding today!" He breezed into the room with complete familiarity, waltzing straight over to me. "Watcha looking at?"
"Halloween costumes. I've just discovered I have two options - slut and desperate."
"I love Halloween."
"So says the very married man." I smacked a hand at his chest. "Seriously Em, what am I going to wear tomorrow? None of this is me, but me isn't an option either."
"I'll take you shopping after the game. We'll find something."
"You'll help?" I turned my worried eyes on him, most likely looking all kinds of pathetic. "Like, really help?"
"Oh ye of little motherfucking faith!" He knocked his head against mine. "Sure I'll help. After the game, of course."
My ass hurt.
The pellet was green today; much like the now forming bruise was going to be in a few days time.
"Totally worth it!" Brady winked as he walked by, nursing a fat lip. "See ya next week, Bells!"
I glared, semi hoping that Emmett's threat to drop a car on him Monday morning was followed through. The weasel actually remembered which cheek he'd hit last week and aimed for the other one this week.
"You're officially scratched off my Christmas card list!" I hollered after him.
"Worth it!" He threw back.
I climbed into Emmett's jeep and waited, fiddling with his iPod until I found something worth listening to. He was a fan of hardcore rap, the really gritty, underground kind. I wasn't. There was only so much, 'I'm gonna fuck yo mamma' crap I could stand. It made me feel like me ears were bleeding.
It wasn't music.
Eminem was vocally tearing his mother to shreds when Emmett finally wrenched open the driver's side door and climbed in.
It took us a while to weave our way through the Saturday afternoon traffic and get back into the heart of the city, but instead of heading home, Em followed through and pulled up outside a small shop front called, 'Ricky's Costume Superstore', looking far more excited than a grown man should.
I shook my head.
Figuring Emmett out was like trying to complete an unsolvable Rubik's cube. He had this immense capacity to act like a total goof, there were times where it literally felt as though you were around a hyperactive puppy. And then he seemed to flick a switch, and it was like he became a completely different person. He'd be sharp as a tack, professional and all about business. Hearing him converse with customers fascinated me, he was so confident, so assured in his abilities. Then there were times where his vulnerabilities played out and he revealed his softer nature. He really was a gentle giant and like every other flawed human, Em had his weaknesses. Rosalie, I'm sad to say, was one of them. I hadn't heard a peep out of her, though from the tiny snippets Emmett had let slip, he and Edward had both, 'been torn a new asshole, several fucking times.'
I kind of felt bad about that.
"Ready?" He asked, kicking his door open gleefully.
"Your eyes look very sparkly all of a sudden. I think I'm worried."
Emmett grinned, quirking his eyebrows in such a way that told me I definitely should be.
"I can't believe I let him talk me into this," I muttered, somewhat petulantly, as I tried to hoist the dress up over my chin, only to then have to tug it back down again when it became too short. This, I had done a few times already. Unfortunately, the material didn't seem to want to stretch. I was considering putting in a complaint.
"Oh hush!" Siobhan scolded me as we melted into the crowd. "You look hot, Bella!"
I semi sneered at the back of her head as I started another tug-of-war round with the lace.
Now, yes, I'll admit it, it was me who suggested the flapper girl costume. I just hadn't suggested this particular one. This was all Emmett's doing. My pick had been absolutely incredible – classy with a slight hint of allure. And OK, sue me; I'd liked the faux fur coat that came with it. The one that nearly reached my ankles. Emmett's choice on the other hand, well, it was different. Black lace, too short (it only seemed much longer because of the fringe), strapless, and basically just too sexy for me to pull off. Throw into the mix fishnet tights, black five inch Mary Jane's, a cigarette holder and a black feather boa, and I was standing at the gates of Hades ready to pee my little girl panties.
"Will you stop that? It isn't going to magically sprout ten inches in length!" Siobhan's tone was playful, with an underlying hint of stress. Maybe I'd been complaining about the dress too much.
She rolled her eyes. "You need a drink. C'mon."
I didn't argue.
I slammed my shot glass down and whooped. I didn't know what the others were complaining about; I thought the Sambuca went down great.
I couldn't feel my tongue.
"Hey flapper, take it easy!"
I stuck said tongue out at Alistair, who'd decided to dress up as a Go-Go dancer and offer Tyler all the free dance lessons he wanted. I'd tried to tune him out after that.
"I wanna dance!" I yelled over the music. I didn't wait to see if anyone was following me to the dance floor. Sometimes the mood just takes you – the hell with waiting.
And I would just like to let it be known, that my version of the Monster Mash was the best.
Tyler and I were amusing ourselves by stumbling all the way down Bethune Street and playing Vincent and Mia from Pulp Fiction. The boy could move.
""C'est la vie", say the old folks," Tyler sang.
"It goes to show you never can tell!" I finished.
We looked at each other, ginned, and both belted out, "They bought a souped-up jitney, 'twas a cherry red '53!"
We dissolved into a fit of giggles with Ali and Siobhan sniggering behind us.
I eventually found the house, don't judge me – they all looked the same, and we tumbled in, heading directly down to the kitchen to make waffles.
"This place is amazing!" Siobhan managed around a bite of banana.
We set off the fire alarm twice and the bag of flour exploded.
It was a good night.
Two weeks later, Vicky and I found ourselves strolling through Central Park with vanilla lattes in hand and the crispy, late autumn leaves crunching beneath our feet. The weather had remained dry, though there was a subtly cold bite to the air that forced us to huddle closer together and tighten our linked arms.
We'd spent the morning at a very chic, boutique-styled salon having our hair and nails done. I know, I know. It was frightfully girly and so not me, but Vicky insisted on some pampering and I'd missed her company enough this last week to shut up and actually go and enjoy the indulgence. My nails were now a light, shimmering gold and my hair was trimmed, layered and healthy again.
Work had been manic for every single employee over at Cullen Architecture from what Victoria had been telling me. While she and James both worked there, they'd hardly seen one another recently. He'd taken to sleeping at the office most nights to keep on top of Edward's still absent body and she was now struggling to stay on top with her boss being away on maternity leave. When they were at home together, the atmosphere was tense and the arguments began.
"It's his mother's fault, old witch that she is. She keeps on asking him why we're still not married yet, which frustrates me and hurts him."
I paused mid-sip to raise my eyebrows questioningly.
She blew out a breath, looking very much like she had the weight of the entire world resting upon her shoulders. "He's asked, a few times. I keep saying no."
"Wait... James proposed?"
This was news.
"Yes. Every six months or so he gets up the courage to ask again."
"Again? Vic, how many times has he asked?"
She tilted her head sideways, looking thoughtful. "Five."
I choked on my coffee.
"I know," she patted my back, nodding. "But I don't want to get married, I don't see the point. We're as committed as we can be. We've been together four years, Bella. We live together, we own the house, we already split everything between us and we've talked about having kids in the future. Why do we need a piece of paper to confirm what we have? It's silly."
"I guess," I responded carefully. "But it's something he wants?"
Truth be told, the whole marriage thing puzzled me. Hell, the whole feelings thing had me breaking out in hives whenever the subject came up, how could I ever understand that level of devotion between two people?
"You know, I'm not even sure he does really want it. I think it's more a case of he sees it as something we should aspire to. He says things like, 'It's the next step, Victoria. It's what normal people do!'" She huffed, rolling her eyes. "What a crock of shit."
"So, is he hoping you'll change your mind or does he not understand that it's not something you want?"
"He's a human being, he sees my no as a rejection, which it isn't, not really. I'm not rejecting the idea of spending my life with him, I'm just happy with the way things are – I'm content. I don't need a ridiculous ceremony to prove that I love him. If it ain't broke..."
"Why try and fix it?" I finished.
"Is there any way to maybe, I don't know, compromise?"
One wants marriage, the other doesn't. Was there a middle point they could reach amicably, one that would suit both? I wasn't sure.
"Edward doesn't understand why I don't just accept. We both know it would make James happy, but I'd only be doing it for that reason, which doesn't seem like a healthy way to enter into a marriage. But then he's unhappy if we stay as we are. I don't know."
"I thought Edward was kind of against the whole white picket fence deal?"
Vicky smiled. "Edward's complicated, Bella. What is it now, eight weeks he's been away?"
"Nine on Tuesday, I think."
"Over two months. You think many people would be willing to stick around in a relationship they only managed to get a few weeks wear out of? This trip isn't a once a year thing, it's constant. He's not home much. I think it took him a while to figure it out, but to want the white picket fence deal brings nothing but heartache when you know that realistically, you just can't achieve it. He says it's not something he's interested in, that he doesn't have time for it, and I think there's a level of truth behind that. But honestly, I know Edward and I know his heart. If he wants something badly enough he'll make time for it."
I hummed my agreement, trying to sound as though I was on the same page when really, I wasn't. At all. I didn't mind Edward being away, he'd always been very open and honest about his work commitments and I accepted them. Of course I did. Why be with a person you can't accept? How ridiculous. Not that we were really 'with' each other. Or were we? Christ, I couldn't keep up.
"Of course," Vicky continued, "when you've grown up in a house with Carlisle and Esme, the white picket fence deal probably seems like some grand lie you don't want to get caught up in yourself."
"He doesn't talk about them much," I thought out loud.
"No, he doesn't. They're kind of special."
"And hard to understand. Surely they can't be that bad? They adopted two small children in need of a good home."
"True, they did. And no, they're not necessarily bad people, just different."
We located a park bench and decided to brave the chilly air for a short stop, adjusting our warm winter coats as we sat down.
"They're social climbers for sure, but whatever anybody may say or think about them, they love Edward and Rose. As kids they were fawned over and never wanted or needed for anything, but people change and grow apart, the goalposts move. Carlisle worked too much and Edward's dropped hints in the past about numerous affairs he had with other women. Esme was left alone a lot to think. I guess bitterness has a way of seeping in when the life you'd imagined leading turns out to be nothing but a successive line of harsh and embarrassing disappointments."
I began chewing my lip as I took in these little slivers of information.
"I think in the end, Esme just sort of snapped. She stopped trying to play dutiful wife and poured her energy into socialising. She changed, too. Demure lady to Upper East Side dragon, was how Edward once phrased it." Victoria barked out a laugh before sobering quickly. "He used to idolise her, him too, but Esme? God, Bella, he adored her growing up. But then she flicked her crazy switch and Edward didn't see his mom in there anymore. She's a strange one to be around."
"Do you know her well?"
"I've met her a few times. She's always well turned out, very polished and not a hair out of place. Imagine Kate in her sixties, but less happy-happy and more scary-scary. Life with Carlisle's soured her a great deal."
"And what about Carlisle?"
"Ah, Dr. Cullen," Vicky paused for effect. "Very much a ladies' man within their circle, he's old-fashioned and as clever as they come. His and Edward's relationship is a little strained. He has these warped ideals about men being men and women being women. Cullen men become doctors; Cullen women stay at home and look pretty. He wasn't happy when Edward decided against studying medicine. He's still not happy about Edward's choices and he never will be."
"But he's so successful."
Vicky snorted. "Bella, Edward may as well be a hippy smoking crack and living in the back of a VW Beetle as far as his father's concerned. He went against Cullen tradition."
"Like I said, they're special."
"They sure sound it," I agreed. "How can he not be proud of Edward? Look at everything he's achieved. Was his mom at least supportive?"
She scoffed. "No, Esme really hurt Edward by taking a back seat, she didn't defend his choices, didn't stand up for him. The hypocrisy of it's almost tragically funny. She's all too happy to be seen lunching with her worldly successful son now, naturally. As for Carlisle, Edward's achievements were the 'wrong' achievements." Vicky made a point of mockingly pairing little air quotes with the word wrong. "Not that Edward gives a flying crap about what he thinks anymore. It's no wonder he's fond of you, missy. You're both so stubbornly determined to do everything on your own and in your own way. I think he respects that about you above everything else."
Uncomfortable with the sudden turn into talk-about-Bella territory, I asked, "So Carlisle just cut him off before he went to college?"
"Oh, you better believe he did! Told Edward that he was a disrespectful brat and not to come back crying for help when his 'girlish drawing plans' all failed."
I shook my head, caught somewhere between feeling a strange, stinging sort of hurt on Edward's behalf and being stupidly pleased that he'd shown his father up.
"Well, he sure proved him wrong, huh?"
"Absolutely. He's not only made a name for himself and earned a fortune, he genuinely loves his work. It's no doubt the sweetest tasting middle finger he could've hoped to give the all-knowing Carlisle Cullen. Being proven wrong probably tastes like vinegar to the man."
Good, I thought internally.
"Especially considering Edward was always the golden child," Vicky continued without prompting, seemingly on a gossip roll with no plans to shush any time soon. "He never put a foot wrong growing up, he excelled at everything. Rosalie was always the problem child. Edward's rebellion was likely hard for him to swallow on top of her constant shit throwing."
"I haven't heard a peep out of her," I mused. "I was honestly expecting an ambush while Edward was away."
"You won't hear from her. Edward doesn't bite often, but when he does?" Vicky looked at me, shook her head and puffed out a breath. "Scary. Rose will be hiding under a rock somewhere, shedding skin and waiting until he's calmed down before she shows her face again."
"Emmett said she's been giving him and Edward a hard time."
"I have no doubt Emmett's received an ear lashing, but Edward? Not so much. She went too far, and she knows it. I'm not sure I've ever seen him that angry with her before. I swear, Kate nearly had kittens."
"Oh! She sent me flowers."
Vicky rolled her eyes. "Typical Kate. She doesn't like making waves, but she has this incredibly unfortunate tendency to create tsunamis, usually through a severe lack in thought or judgment."
"So she's not a Rosalie in disguise?"
"Kate Denali? God, no! Kate's a total flake. Personally, I never saw the appeal there, but Edward always had a soft spot for her. Perhaps because he was away so much, he never grasped how banally boring she really is. I mean, don't get me wrong; when she's not being a moron, she's usually very sweet and impeccably mannered. But Jesus, I'd find more mental stimulation in talking to drywall."
I smiled. "She reminded me of Nicole Kidman's character from The Stepford Wives."
Vicky burst out laughing, apparently appreciating the comparison. "Yep, that's Kate! That robotic thing she does with her head?"
"You mean the jiggle?"
"Yeah, I picked up on it. It must feel like a bowl of jelly inside her head."
Vicky mockingly started to wiggle her head about and I couldn't help but laugh. It may have been mean, but it felt good to try and make light of that day and of the crappy situation I'd found myself in, even if it was at poor Kate's expense.
"So," I eased off the chuckles and turned back to serious mode, "what are you going to do about James?"
"Ugh. Perhaps I should fling him in a locked room with Carlisle and Esme, he may come out put off for life, should he survive."
"You know, I once read this really interesting article about a couple who wouldn't get married because they came from such diverse religious backgrounds. Their families were making such a hoopla about the ceremony and how it should be performed according to their own beliefs that the couple opted out in the end."
"Yeah, instead they decided on this promise ring idea, or something like that. They went out and bought wedding bands, had them engraved with the date and used their wedding funds to go on this amazing world cruise. She applied to the state court to change her last name and for all intents and purposes, they live as man and wife, they just don't have a marriage certificate."
"And how did their families react?"
"I don't think they were happy, but they both seemed to agree that their decision saved a lot of arguments and stress. I don't know, maybe it's something you and James could think about? It's middle ground for you both."
Vicky flashed me a big, bright smile, the kind that warmed your heart and made you smile right back.
"Bella Swan, where have you been all my life?"
"Bella, can I have a world please?"
I startled, halting my movements and glancing up slowly. My Lit Humanities professor was smiling at me, though I couldn't begin to imagine what she wanted. I nodded carefully, finished packing up and made my way to the front of the class as the swarm of bodies around me slowly thinned and filed out.
"Don't look so alarmed!" She chuckled, her tone kind. "I just thought it best to speak to you privately."
Sinking dread began to seep in. "Did I not complete the assignment correctly?"
I'd spent hours and hours on it over the weekend. While midterms were officially over, our professors were still hammering us with projects.
"Oh, no, your work was near enough flawless, as always. I'll have your feedback ready by the end of the week. No, what I wanted to speak to you about was this." She handed me a folded bit of white paper, that when opened, revealed a name and phone number.
Frowning, I arched my eyebrows and asked, "Should I know what this is?"
"That's the name and contact number of the woman who manages the Butler Library here on campus."
"And I need it?"
"Well, maybe. There's a little part time job opportunity that's just opened up. The hours aren't great and they certainly won't make you a millionaire, but certain staff members from the English department have been asked to put forward suitable recommendations for the position. Your name was mentioned, quite a lot."
I just blinked as she continued packing up her supplies.
"Now I should tell you that the competition for these positions is usually fierce, they don't come up often and the reference that comes with the job is always held in high regard by future employers, so it's definitely something to seriously consider. Ultimately, it's up to Mrs. Adams who to employ, but she and I go way back and I've already spoken to her about you. She'd really like to meet with you."
She wanted me to apply for a job in the Butler library, was I hearing that correctly? I nearly snort-laughed right in front of her. Edward would be just thrilled. I was supposed to, 'focus on my studies'. Sheesh, could you imagine that conversation? Scratch that, I didn't even want to.
My professor's facial expression morphed into evident disappointment. "Shoot, please don't tell me you already have a job?"
"Well, no, but-"
"So you'll think about it? Bella, you're the perfect candidate for it and I'm positive Mrs. Adams will love you."
"Look, Clara, thank you for asking but my studies-"
"Have to come first, I know," she interrupted. "This is why the hours are so few, though you'd certainly have the chance to pick up more if you wanted them. And I would much rather see the job go to the likes of you, Bella, a person who genuinely has a passion for reading, than one of the many cretins floating around this place."
I was pretty sure I was gaping like a fish out of water, trying to form words and excuses that I just couldn't vocalise. Working in the Butler library actually sounded all kinds of wonderful, I loved it in there, but the reality of the situation was I couldn't do it, I couldn't accept. I'd made an agreement with Edward.
But the pathetic look on my professor's face had me scrunching up the bit of paper and pocketing it. I gave her a forced smile, nodded and said, "I'll think about it tonight. Thank you, Clara."
It was the least I could do, right?
Edward, I got a job working in the Butler library on campus.
It sounded effortlessly easy in my head. Unfortunately, saying it out loud was proving a little more difficult. Maybe I could email him?
Or maybe not.
"... so I should be home soon, sweetheart," Edward finished.
I'd completely tuned out and simply replied, "Okay."
"Bella, are you alright? You seem, I don't know, far-away."
I was far-away. I was remembering the wonderful smells of paper and books and knowledge that had awaited me earlier on during my first day of work. I was remembering how comfortable it felt to be surrounded by so many great authors. I was remembering how safe Mrs. Adams made me feel, how she reminded me so much of Mrs. Miller, Forks' head librarian. She was stern and cold-shouldered to just about everyone around her, especially the students, but warm and welcoming toward me. We'd definitely clicked.
"Sorry, long day," was all I offered.
Edward, I got a job working in the Butler library on campus.
Would he be pissed? Would he be happy? Would he tell me to quit? The latter didn't seem likely, but I wasn't sure. He'd been so adamant about me not working, would he tell me to give it up if I told him about it? I didn't want to, I already loved it. Even if I refused to stop working there, he had so many contacts at Columbia. Would my job still be safe if he called in a favour? I didn't want to acknowledge it as something Edward would do, but who really knew? If he thought it was for the best, thought the job would affect my studies, something told me he may well decide to 'take steps'.
The one thing he'd always asked of me was honesty, to open up and talk to him, and keeping this from him was incredibly dishonest. I didn't want to lie to him. But I wanted to keep my job. It brought back the few cherished childhood memories I held dear to my heart, it represented a sense of independence that my arrangement with Edward had demolished completely and perhaps most sacred of all, it afforded me some peace of mind when I thought to the future. I was securing funds now while I had the opportunity and resources to save what I made, so that I'd be able to stand on my own two feet then. My contract with Edward had a sell by date, in less than four years time; I'd be on my own. I needed a nest egg to help me get set up. I refused to even consider the possibility of relying on the architect to keep helping me out when we were no longer contractually bound. But would he understand this?
Damn. What a mess.
Why was this so hard?
"I tried calling earlier; did swim practice hold you back again?"
This was it – my chance, my opening for honesty.
Edward, I got a job working in the Butler library on campus.
Edward, I was late home because I was at work.
Edward, please don't get mad, but...
My mouth had suddenly filled with quick drying cement, rendering me incapable of voicing those words.
And instead of saying what I really needed to say, I responded, "I went to the library with Siobhan. My LitHum professor pulled me aside on Monday after class to tell me my assignment wasn't as good as it could have been. It just needed a little polishing. I'll hand it back in tomorrow."
Excellent. Lie to him, Bella. That's not a despicable thing to do to the man who's helped you out so much, is it?
It was scary how easily the lie came to me.
"Did Emmett come for you?"
"No, I just took the subway. I didn't want to drag him out so late."
Edward sighed. "Bella, he doesn't mind and it's the safer option. You never know who's lurking about at night and the thought of you on your own-"
"I was fine Edward, I promise," I cut in. "So you think you'll be back for good next week?"
"I'll definitely be back, I won't miss Thanksgiving. Is there anything specific you'd like to do for it?"
"I've already spoken to Vicky about it actually. You're all kind of stressed with work and travelling so I offered to cook. Do you mind having everyone here?"
"Not at all, just so long as it's alright with you?"
"I've already promised Emmett homemade pumpkin pie, there's no way he'd let me back out now."
The truth of the matter was they were all exhausted. James was practically frothing at the mouth he was so stressed out, Vicky was being pummelled by the HR team's laziness now that the big boss lady wasn't in the office, Edward had been away for weeks (he'd been called back to Sydney and then had to fly to Paris to sort out problems in the office over there. I think he was now in Seattle, though it was hard to keep up), and Emmett went home every night to a less than Dreamworks-like version of Shrek. Considering all of those factors, cooking a turkey and making up some cranberry sauce really didn't seem like too much trouble to go to on my part when compared to their daily routines of late.
"I'll end up having to fight him for a piece."
"I'll save you some and put it aside, how about that?"
"See, I knew there was something about you," Edward joked. "Okay, I need to hit the sack. Sleep well and I'll call tomorrow, angel."
"Alright, you too." I hit the end call button on my cell before he could voice any uncomfortable sentiments and burrowed further beneath my covers.
Pumpkin pie doesn't remove the lie...
Oh shut up!
I'd tell him. I would. Soon.
What? I would!
The Imprint by Kat097
Dusty by YellowBella
Shamrocks and Shenanigans by Mathisson
We Were Here by lola-pops