A/N: Hello again! Thank you for your interest in this story. I was quite nervous about posting here, but you've made me feel quite welcome. I hope you continue to follow it and maybe you wanna mention it to a friend : )
A few answers: The entire story will be in Bella's POV, but that's not to say that I wouldn't consider an outtake if there's a particular event that people are interested in hearing more about. I'll post on Wednesdays (fingers crossed!) until "Trip" is finished, then I might posts twice a week. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, the story is sad in spots, but it's also filled with humor and love. Someone referred to Jake as Bella's cheerleader…I rather like that!
All Twilight characters are owned by Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.
"Hello, everyone. Glad to see you're all here this morning. Let's get started," Reverend Weber, Angela's father, began. He led the grief support group at the hospital, and he was a very compassionate man.
As I sat in the circle half listening to what the others were saying, I couldn't help but dissect everything that had taken place a mere half-hour before. When I'd arrived at the hospital with my daughter in tow, I ran into Emmett and asked about Rosalie.
"She's listing a house today, and the only time the owners could meet was early this morning. Why? What's up?" Emmett had asked.
"Nothing important. I was going to ask her to watch Jax for an hour so that I could go to group, but I'll just take her with me. Was it busy overnight?" I asked as I noticed Jax talking to Dr. Whitlock. He always had toys in his pockets because he was a pediatrician…Jax's pediatrician as a matter of fact…and she knew it, so when he was around, they made a game of her searching his jacket pockets until she found something. That time, it was a miniature Etch-A-Sketch.
"Leave her down here. We'll watch her. I just got on, but I think Cullen's going to be free for a while. I'll check on 'em between patients and Whitlock's around, so we'll be fine. If something comes up, one of us will bring her up to ya," Emmett offered.
"What's Cullen free to do?" I heard behind me. I turned to see Edward standing at the nurses' station signing off on charts.
"You, me and Whit are gonna watch Jax while Bella has an appointment. You're finished for a while, right?" Emmett asked. I wasn't so sure about it. Edward had talked to Jax before and seemed comfortable around her, but I was pretty sure that his exposure to children was very limited.
"Sure. I was just on my way down to the cafeteria to get breakfast. Miss Black, would you like to accompany me to breakfast?" Edward asked as he squatted down in front of her as she played with the toy.
I looked at Emmett, and he nodded subtly. Just then, Jasper spoke up. "I'll go too. I just finished my shift, but I don't mind hangin' around for another hour. I need to eat before I have office hours, anyway. She'll be fine with us, Bella," Jasper assured. I walked over to where my daughter stood and stooped down.
"You'll be okay going with Dr. Cullen and Dr. Whitlock to breakfast, right? I'll be back in a little while, and then we'll go to the playground," I asked.
"Sure, Momma. I play wiff this," she answered showing me the toy in her hands. I looked at Edward and Jasper and they both smiled.
"Go on. We'll be fine," Edward responded. I reluctantly agreed and rode the elevator to the fifth floor where the meeting room was located, all the while hoping things were okay with Jax and the doctors.
I was pulled from my trance when I heard my name. I turned to see Reverend Weber looking at me, clearly waiting for some type of a response. When he got none, he asked his question again. "Bella, you weren't here last week. How are you?" he asked.
How was I? That was a very good question. I decided to open up to the group of five sitting before me because maybe, just maybe, one of them could help me. "Um, I'm okay. I've have been struggling with a little bit of guilt lately. See, I've met someone, and I'm actually thinking about going to a function with him," I responded honestly. Was I truly thinking about going to the wedding with Edward Cullen? I supposed I was if it was coming out of my mouth.
"Oh, dear, that's wonderful. You shouldn't feel guilty about that. You're far too young to be alone. When my Walter passed, it was ten years of loneliness for me before I met Joseph," Sophie Klemp responded. She was a very nice older woman who attended the group because her son had died in a car accident two years prior.
"Did you feel guilty about it?" I asked sincerely. I needed to know if I was completely betraying Jacob by even considering going to the wedding with Edward Cullen.
Mr. Jonas, who was attending the group because of the loss of his wife, spoke up. "Honey, you can't feel guilty about moving on. I was with my Mae for forty years, but if I'd passed when we were young, I'd have wanted her to find someone. I'm sure your husband would want you to find someone. Like Sophie said, you're far too young to be alone," Mr. Jonas offered.
Just then, the door to the room opened and Esme Cullen breezed in to join us. "I'm so sorry I'm late. I just wanted to come down and check in. I haven't been in a while, and I wanted to see how everyone's doing," Esme offered by way of an explanation as she pulled an empty chair into the circle. I immediately felt embarrassed about what I'd shared. She'd attended group before, as the Head of Psychiatric Medicine, but I never shared when she was around. I hadn't seen her at a meeting for at least four months.
Reverend Weber cleared his throat and smiled at her. "Welcome, Dr. Cullen. Bella was just telling us that she was experiencing some guilt because she's met someone with who she's considering attending a function. Some of the other members were just reassuring her that she was too young to be alone, and that she shouldn't feel guilty. So, Bella, what do you think about what Mr. Jonas and Mrs. Klemp have offered?"
I felt my face flame, and I really didn't want to answer, so I merely offered, "I'll take it into consideration." I checked my watch and saw that we still had twenty minutes left of group, and I couldn't wait to get out of the room.
"Okay. Bella, why do you think you feel guilty about considering a relationship with someone new?" Esme asked. I really didn't fucking want to answer her, of all people.
"Um, I guess because I feel like I'll be cheating on Jake. He was the only boyfriend I'd ever had, so I'm not sure how to act with another man," I answered. Fuck, if I wanted help, I had to be honest, I supposed.
I heard the door open behind us and saw Edward Cullen walk in with my daughter on his shoulders, both of them laughing all the way into the room. I glanced at Esme Cullen, who was taking in the sight, and then I saw her smile at me. I felt myself beginning to hyperventilate, and I had to get out of there. I grabbed my purse and ran away without a word to anyone. I went into the bathroom and into a stall, locking the door as if I thought someone was chasing me, and I sat on the commode and put my head between my knees to try to catch my breath. It had been a while since I'd had a panic attack.
I felt the tears of shame streak down my face. What the fuck was I doing thinking about going out with a man who wasn't my husband? I owed it to Jacob's memory to remain faithful, and as far as male influences, Jax had my dad, Jake's dad, our male friends on the reservation, and even Emmett McCarty as male influences. I didn't need a man in my life. I was being ridiculous even considering going out for so much as a cup of coffee with another man, much less anything that remotely resembled a date.
I heard the bathroom door open, and I saw a small brown paper bag thrust under the stall door toward me. I quickly took it and held it to my mouth. As I breathed in and out, trying to calm myself, I noticed the heels pacing in front of the door and realized it was Esme Cullen. That wasn't what I wanted at all.
"Bella, dear, come on out," she called as she stopped in front of the door. I really had no choice in the matter, so I got up from my precarious seat and opened the door, continuing to breathe into the bag.
"I'll tell you something I bet you don't know about me. My husband, Carlisle, isn't Edward's father. Edward's father was my first husband, Edward Masen, who committed suicide when my son was three. Ed was bi-polar, and he couldn't handle the pressure of having a wife and family. At the time I married him, I had no idea, and after he killed himself, I went to medical school and specialized in psychiatry. My last year of school, I met my husband, Carlisle. I felt bad at first for dating Carlisle, but as time went by, Carlisle got close to Edward, and I fell in love with him. I held off for another two years of Carlisle's pursuit, and I finally gave in and married him when we were both residents. We've been together for twenty-two years, and Carlisle adopted Edward when he was ten. I blame myself for the way my son is today because I was quite indulgent to his whims as he was growing up, feeling guilty that his father wasn't around. Carlisle is a good father to him, don't get me wrong, but it took time for me to allow him into Edward's life. Is any of that remotely close to how you feel?" she asked.
I pulled the bag from my face, finally able to breathe at a normal rate on my own. I could only nod to her because I still hadn't found my voice.
She smiled and pulled out several paper towels, wetting them in cold water and handing them to me. "I figured as much. Can I ask you something? Is my son the person you're considering going out with?"
I accepted the paper towels and wiped my face and neck, still trying to calm myself. I cleared my throat because after what the woman had just shared, she deserved a verbal answer and not just a head bob. "He asked me to accompany him to Dr. McCarty's wedding. I don't have a babysitter because my parents are going away for a long weekend, but he said he had someone who could watch Jax. Dr. Cullen, I'm not the kind of mother who leaves my child with a stranger. I considered it for half a minute, and I immediately felt guilty. I like your son, regardless of his reputation, but I just don't think I'm ready for anything more than friendship," I answered as the tears began to flow at my admission. I walked into a stall and grabbed a bit of toilet paper with which to dry them, and I waited for her response.
"Did Edward ask you for anything more than friendship?" she asked, almost sounding hopeful. I remembered the conversation Edward and I'd had, and I came to the stark realization that he actually hadn't even asked me for friendship. He'd only mentioned that he liked me and wanted me to be his date for the wedding. Suddenly, I felt like a foolish idiot for blowing the whole thing out of proportion.
"Actually, now that I think about it, he didn't even ask me to be friends. Great, now I'm not only talking to my dead husband in my dreams, I'm creating interest where none has been expressed. I'm a stupid crazy woman," I answered as the tears continued to fall.
"Oh, honey, that's not the case at all. Edward called me this morning at 6:00 AM and asked if we were planning to attend the McCarty reception. I told him I didn't think so, and he asked me to keep the evening open in case he needed to ask us a favor. I believe he was planning to ask us to babysit your daughter, which I'd be honored to do. It's just a wedding reception, not a weekend getaway. I really hope you'll think about it. It's still three weeks away," she reasoned.
I only nodded, confirming that I'd think about it, and she surprised me by hugging me sweetly. She truly was a lovely woman, and I felt quite comforted by her embrace. As we broke apart, there was a knock on the ladies' room door. "Everything okay?" we heard called from the other side of the door. It was Edward, of course.
Esme opened the door, and we were met with Jax in his arms still playing with Dr. Whitlock's toy, and Edward holding her, looking quite nervous in his own right. "We're fine. We were just having a little girl talk. Now, I'm going to take this beautiful little girl with me to my office because I have some candy, and you can come collect her when you're ready to go, Bella," Esme called as she pulled Jax from Edward's arms. He seemed reluctant to let her go, which surprised the shit out of me.
"Okay, Miss Black, I'll see you soon, hopefully," he responded looking first at my daughter, and then at me expectantly. I didn't actually know how to respond.
Once Esme and Jax were gone, he took my hand and led me to chairs outside of another meeting room where we sat down together. "Look, I know that I might not have reacted well to what you told me last night, and I'm really sorry about that. I had no idea…" he began.
I held my hand up for him to stop, and I responded, "Please don't do that. Please don't be one of those people who look at me with pity. One of the reasons I like you is because you've never given me that look. I know now that it's because you didn't know my situation, but now that you do, please don't treat me any differently. I'm so damn tired of people giving me that look. It makes me want to pull my fucking hair out," I ranted.
The next thing he did caught me by surprise. He laughed. It was a full-belly laugh, and I couldn't help but join him. I knew I sounded like a raving lunatic, but the fact that he laughed at me instead of giving me the sympathetic head tilt that I usually got put me completely at ease.
"Okay, so no sympathy for Bella Black. I can actually understand that. Now, I know you're not sure about the wedding yet, so let's start with something simple. How about you and Jax come to my parents' house on Saturday for a cookout?" he asked.
"Um, I'm not sure that's a good…" I began.
"Hey, it's just a hamburger or a hotdog. You can meet my dad, Carlisle. My mom obviously likes you, and she already commandeered your daughter, so it's no big deal. Here, I still live with my mom and dad. How's that for embarrassing?" he asked.
I laughed again. The thought of him living with his parents struck me as funny. He looked a little offended, but then he laughed as well, so I didn't feel guilty. Suddenly, my filter was gone, and I asked, "Are you still on duty, or can you go to the park and get lunch with us?"
I truly wanted to bite off my own tongue. I'd just asked him to go out with us, and I immediately felt horrible for it. He smiled at me for a moment and then he looked concerned. I assumed it was because of the look on my face, which I tried to soften. I thought about my offer and decided that I needed to back it up. "I'm serious. Maybe a swing at the park or a glide down the slide followed by a ham sandwich or, if you're of the mind of my daughter, a gourmet PB&J. The little deli by the park cuts the crust off the bread. It's first class," I proclaimed. For reasons unknown to me at the time, it seemed important to me that he accompany us to the park.
"I'm free until one o'clock. Let me get my keys and wallet. I'll meet you upstairs at Mom's office," he announced as he squeezed my hand. He rose from the chair next to me and walked away, strolling toward the elevator. Once he disappeared, I turned to my right and saw Jacob sitting next to me. It was the first time I'd seen him without being at my parents' house, his father's house, or in the kitchen of our little house in Ft. Hood. I wasn't asleep either, so I was pretty sure I'd snapped.
He was looking at me with a smirk. "What?" I asked incredulously.
"You like him. You really like him," he answered as he bent at the waist in the chair next to me, resting his elbows on his knees and giving me a sideways glance.
"Maybe? Hell, I don't know. Does that upset you?" I asked.
"No, Bells, it doesn't upset me. I'm actually glad. Now, go to the thing at his parents' place on Saturday. Seems Dr. Cullen likes our daughter, and you and I both know that you need to have more friends. You better get going if you're going to meet him in his mother's office. I'll see ya tonight," Jacob told me as he rose from the chair and walked away. I got up and walked the opposite direction and went to the elevators. Apparently, I was batshit crazy, and my dead husband was a Jewish mother playing matchmaker. I had no idea how the fuck to process that information.
"Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Roll it up and roll it up and put it in the pan," I heard in the hallway as I approached the hospital administrator's office. The door was open, and I saw my daughter sitting on the desk facing Esme Cullen as they played Patty Cake. I stalled for a moment taking in the sight, and the joy on Esme's face was something to witness. My daughter's lilting laugh was something to hear as well.
I suddenly felt an arm around my shoulders in a much more intimate embrace than I was used to and turned to see Edward standing next to me. "See, Mom would take good care of her if you go with me to the wedding. Come on, let's get going. That PB&J sandwich intrigues me. I hope they have cold milk to go with it," he remarked as he stood next to me in the hallway watching the sight before us.
"I'm not a big milk drinker, but Jax is, and she loves it," I answered. We walked into the office and I saw the look of disappointment on Esme's face. I was puzzled about it, but I was too afraid to ask why.
"Oh, here's your mom. Now, next time you come up, I'll teach you 'Mary Mack'. I remember playing it as a girl, and I'm sure it's still around. It's been lovely talking to you, Miss Jacqueline. I hope to see you again soon," Esme responded as she kissed my daughter on the cheek and lifted her to the floor. Jax ran over to where I stood and then grabbed Edward's leg instead of mine.
"Horsey ride," she called. He didn't hesitate to lift her onto his shoulders and smiled at me triumphantly. Obviously, my daughter could be taken in by a pair of green eyes and an easy smile. I worried about when she was older because I was certain I was going to have my hands full with her.
"Dr. Cullen, thanks for watching her. I appreciate it. I also appreciate your support earlier, as well. I hope to see you soon," I announced, feeling it was the right thing to do. She'd been so damned kind to me and I didn't know what else to say.
"Mom, I've invited these two beauties over for a cookout on Saturday. Put a little pressure on Bella to come. She's still not certain. I fear if I do, I'll be hauled back up here and suspended again," Edward tossed out and quickly galloped out into the hallway with Jax squealing the whole way.
I could see the light in her eyes, and I knew I'd lost the upper hand. "Oh, Bella, please come. Carlisle would love to meet you and Jax. Edward talks about you all the time, and Carlisle's been asking about you," she volunteered. That got my attention. I couldn't fathom for a minute that Edward had been talking about me, or us, to his father.
"Um, I'll check our schedule," I offered. She was certainly someone who was tough to say "no" to.
"Sit down for a minute. I want to talk to you about two things that came up downstairs. Look, I didn't just happen to show up at group today. I got a tweet that you were talking to my son and he'd been spotted with your daughter in the cafeteria, and I remembered that group was meeting today, so that's why I showed up. The second thing is something you said in the bathroom. Don't ever worry about talking to your husband in your dreams. We all cope with our grief in different ways. It's apparent to me that you loved your husband very much, and if talking to him in your dreams helps you cope, then honey, that's not crazy. You're as sane as anyone walking these halls. Now, think about Saturday. Oh, and Bella, nothing that's been said between us will ever be related to anyone else. It's just between us," she offered. That time, I hugged her. Her words were both a comfort and a confirmation of what I wanted to believe. I wasn't crazy and talking to Jake wasn't something that would get me committed. If anyone ever tried, I believed I could use Dr. Esme Cullen as an expert witness in my defense.
"Thank you. We'll see you on Saturday," I responded without thinking. The look on her face told me it was too late to take it back, so I was committed. It was, after all, just a hamburger or a hotdog.
"Higher," Jax called to Edward as he pushed the swing. He looked at my face as I sat at the picnic table where we'd eaten lunch, and I shook my head no. He laughed and pushed her a little harder, though likely not as hard as she'd have liked.
They had played in the sandbox at the park after we'd eaten, and then Jax wanted to slide, which he obliged, and then it was the swings. I watched the two of them with a smile on my face. They seemed to get along well, and I couldn't lie and say I was actually surprised.
"He seems to be good with her," I heard from my right. I looked over to see Jake sitting on the bench next to me with his elbows resting on the back of the bench I occupied.
"It's a first outing. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. He's a player, and I think he sees me as the impossible conquest. I'm not falling for that shit," I announced confidently.
Jake laughed his usual laugh. "I didn't think you would. Maybe he's not just a player. Maybe there's a decent guy under all of that arrogance," he responded.
"Arrogance? What, they have word-a-day calendars where you are?" I asked.
"Aw, now, I was never stupid, you know. I was a simple guy, and I wanted a simple life, but I was never stupid, Bells. You wouldn't have been with me if I was, and you damn well know it," he answered.
We watched Edward and Jax slide down the sliding board again, and I checked my watch to see it was just after 12:30 PM. I knew Edward had to get back to the hospital, and I had laundry to do, so I needed to end their fun. I wasn't looking forward to it because he seemed to be having as much fun with my daughter as she was having with him. The grin on her face was enough to tell me that she liked him and she trusted him. I wondered if I could because I didn't look at him with the eyes of a child. I looked at him with the eyes of a woman with deep scars who wasn't looking to get hurt again.
"Hey, guys, we need to go," I called. I looked to my right again and saw that Jake was gone, but I knew I'd see him in my dreams, so I wasn't bothered at all. I was worried about why he was randomly showing up during the day, but I wouldn't analyze it while I was in the company of Edward Cullen.
He was carrying my daughter on his back over to the bench were I was perched, her shoes in his right hand, his shoes in his left. It was quite a juggling feat to behold.
Once they reached me, I felt into my bag and pulled out sanitary wipes to wipe up Jax face, hands and feet, and I handed the container to Edward. "What else you got in there?" he asked as I put my daughter's shoes on. Clearly, he wasn't used to being around a mom.
"Well, what do you need? I've got a sewing kit, antibacterial gel, extra clothes for her, a brush and comb, dental floss, um, bandages, antibiotic ointment…" I continued.
"Stop. Obviously, you're like a drug store. I guess I'll have to get used to that. So, you're coming on Saturday? I got a text from Mom while we were on the slide," he announced confidently.
"I suppose we can come for a while. I make no promises beyond that," I responded.
"That's all I ask. Just give me a chance," he answered.
Mom stopped by the house to pick up Jax before I went to work, which surprised me. Usually, I dropped her off on my way to work, but Mom had been to the grocery store, and she was in the neighborhood, thus saving me a trip. I kissed the two of them good-bye, and I got to work half an hour earlier finding the ER in a state of chaos.
Apparently, there had been a bus accident outside of town, and all of the injured were brought to our small hospital. Triage was taking place on the parking lot, and there were wagons from Port Angeles and neighboring communities on the grounds. I knew it would likely be a busy night for us downstairs because some of the injuries looked absolutely horrifying.
I saw the God Squad, as Drs. Whitlock, McCarty, and Cullen were referred to around the hospital, and not because of the fact that they were doctors but because of the fact that they were so damn good looking, working feverishly to assist patients, and I felt completely helpless. It was like a fucking war zone and that only made me think of what it must have been like when my husband had been killed in an actual war zone.
I knew a little about what had happened when Jacob was killed, but I'd blocked out most of the details. Apparently, my husband was on a detail and volunteered to inspect a package left on the sidewalk outside of a market in downtown Baghdad. When the fucking thing blew up, it took my Jake with it. I vaguely remembered someone trying to comfort me with some bullshit about he didn't know what happened because he was killed instantly, but I still wondered.
I quickly put it out of my mind and grabbed the elevator downstairs to find Yorkie and Dr. Tightass working feverishly. She was usually gone when I showed up at 4:00 PM, but looking at the watch on my arm I saw it was only 3:30 PM, so I guessed she was still on duty.
"Black, it's about time," she snapped. I didn't bother to tell the bitch that I wasn't due for another half hour. I simply dove in. I grabbed charts and entered them into the system and assisted where I could with my limited medical knowledge. I was nothing more than a data entry clerk, but I couldn't help but pick up some things along the way.
Several hours later, after Dr. Tightass was gone, I took a deep breath. Things had calmed, and we were full up in the morgue, which was a sad state of affairs. Apparently, a church group was on their way to a camping trip in the Olympic Peninsula, and a tractor trailer collided with it when the driver fell asleep. There were multiple casualties, which always made me cry.
"Eric, why don't you go on break," I called as I looked at my watch to see it was after 8:00 PM. He'd been on duty since noon, and I could see the distress on his face.
"I think I will. I wish Newton was around. I could seriously use some pharmaceutical healing right now. Some of those casualties were kids. I hate that shit," he answered. I could completely relate. There were fourteen fatalities in all, and five of them were children. It was completely awful.
After he left, I turned on the radio, setting it on a Top 40 station, which Yorkie hated, just so I could have some noise as I worked. I heard the elevator chime outside of the double doors to the morgue, and I prayed it wasn't another casualty.
"Angel?" I heard called by the unmistakable voice of Dr. Cullen.
"Back here," I responded without really thinking. I saw him walk into the small office and sit down in Eric's wheeled chair next to me. He scooted over to where I was sitting, typing away, and pulled me closer, laying his head on my lap. I didn't think about anything, I just placed my hand on his head and felt his wet hair. I'd noticed that he was in crisp scrubs and a clean white jacket with a stethoscope around his neck, which led me to believe that he'd showered.
"Is it still bad upstairs?" I asked as I let him rest on my lap. I wasn't at all sure why the familiarity of his actions was okay, but I'd think about that another time.
"It's mostly calm now, but there are a few cases that are still touch and go. I know that you've been busy down here, but I just needed to be somewhere quiet for a few minutes," he answered not moving his head from my lap. I didn't move my hand from his hair either, just barely scraping my nails across his scalp.
"It doesn't get much quieter than down here…that is if Dr. Tightass isn't around, but I guess you'd know that better than anyone," I responded without thinking.
I heard him moan, and I immediately felt guilty for my comment. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
He laughed humorlessly and raised his head to look at me. "It was a moment of stupidity that caused me to ask her out. Please don't hold it against me. Now, how's my girl?" he asked. I wasn't sure who he was talking about, but I chose to assume it was Jax.
"She's great. Mom picked her up, and she was explaining to her how her new friend had taken her to the park. I owe my parents an explanation for that. Obviously, you made an impression on her," I responded. She hadn't shut up about him the whole day.
"God, she's incredible. She was telling me stories about books that you read to her and the games you two play together. Apparently, you're not very good at hide and seek. She said you always hide in the closet in your bedroom," he answered, finally sitting up and looking at me. Clearly, talking about my daughter took his mind off his troubles.
I laughed. Jax got very indignant when she couldn't find me, so I'd taken to hiding in the same place every time. When I jumped out at her and tickled her, she didn't seem to mind. Apparently, she was on to my game. "Well, she gets pissed when she can't find me, and I hate dealing with her when she gets in a mood, so yeah, I hide in the closet. She, however, gets very creative. Once I found her in the laundry room behind the dryer. I actually had to get Dr. McCarty to come over and move it so she could get out. She got in, but she couldn't get out, and I couldn't move it more than an inch, which wasn't enough for her to get free," I responded, thinking about how we filled our days. I was so grateful for my daughter that I could never shut up about her if anyone within earshot was willing to listen.
"I heard about that. McCarty told me that story my first night on duty with him. He didn't say whose daughter it was, he just mentioned that his neighbor had this great little girl, and then he regaled me with her many escapades. She's an adventurous one," he responded.
I laughed at his remark, and then his beeper went off. He looked at it and sighed. "I better get back. Mom's looking forward to you two coming over on Saturday. She asked if either of you were allergic to anything because she's wants to do a New England crab boil for the grown-ups and a hamburger for Jax. So?" he asked. I couldn't help but notice that his hand was holding one of mine, and I could barely comprehend what he was saying to me.
"Um, no allergies, and she doesn't have to cook anything special for Jax. She likes shrimp, if you can believe that, and she'll eat fish of any kind. You're not Charlie Swan's blood relatives if you don't eat fish," I answered, trying not to dwell on the heat coming from his hand on mine.
"I'll tell her. I'm actually off tomorrow, so I guess I'll see you at my parents' house at 3:00 PM on Saturday. I look forward to it, Angel," he called as he rose to leave. I could only nod.
When Eric walked back into the morgue after his break, I saw him smile. "Dr. Fuck-Em-All was down here, wasn't he? I could tell his smell over the chemicals in here anytime," he announced.
Of course, my blush gave me away. I couldn't help myself, and it was yet another thing I had to think about. How had I let a rogue of a doctor capture my attention? I was smarter than that. I had no desire to keep the company of any man other than my husband, but yet, Edward Cullen had slid under my radar. It was a disarming realization.
End note: So, there you have it. I hope you'll let me know what you think.
Till next time…xoxo