A/N: Happy Memorial Day Weekend. I don't know how often I'll be able to update over the weekend, but I will try. Starting next week, updates will be slower. Sorry!
#Belward – Chapter 8
Some people say that it takes 30 days to develop a habit. Other say that it takes 60 or even 90 days. Regardless of what anyone said, Edward had quickly developed a habit of texting Bella at least once a day. He would text her just to say good morning, and she would text him back. This would then lead into a short conversation over text message. Eventually their texts got longer and happened sporadically throughout the day.
They both still had their busy schedules and would continue their text conversation in and round their appointments. Sometimes it would be a few hours before they could continue whatever it was that they were discussing or sharing, but they would always end up saying goodnight to each other.
The day that Bella text him first, Edward felt like he was walking on sunshine and rainbows all day. He happened to have a photo shoot, and the photographer was thrilled that Edward was so agreeable and naturally cheerful. No one had to coax him to smile, and he looked like he was genuinely having fun.
During the whole week that they were both in LA together, Edward and Bella learned more about each other. Their text messages hadn't yet progressed to phone calls, and both of them were fairly comfortable with that. Neither side pushed for more, and they both felt like their friendship was developing naturally and organically. There were no pretenses, and neither of them felt like they had pretend to be anything that they weren't for the other person.
When Edward got back to New York City, he went to Emmett's to have dinner. He brought the beer and wine for Rosalie, and Rosalie's housekeeper made the food. Since he'd already had his pepperoni pizza for lunch, he was up to anything for dinner.
Emmett grabbed a beer for Edward and one for himself and put the rest in the refrigerator. He sat at the counter next to Edward and asked, "Are you staying at a hotel again?"
Edward took a long sip of his beer and nodded. "Yeah. I'm at the Ritz. Why?"
"Why do you do that? You know you can always stay at Mom's, at Alice's or here at our place. Why do you choose to stay in a hotel every time you come to The City?" Emmett asked.
Edward just shrugged. "I don't know. I guess it's just a habit to stay in a hotel. I don't want to impose and be the third wheel, and that's what I would be at any of your places."
"You know we don't feel that way about you, Edward," Emmett said. For as much as he was the joker of the family, he could be serious when the time came, and he had a lot of heart when it came to his baby brother.
"Are you still planning to go to the Movie Awards tomorrow?" Edward asked.
"Yeah. Alice even made me come in for a fitting. I'm not the star. I don't get what it matters what I wear," Emmett said just as Rosalie walked into the kitchen.
"Because, doll face, you're my arm ornament," Rosalie said. Taking a wine glass out of the cabinet, she opened the bottle that Edward brought over.
Edward took another long sip of his beer and looked at both Emmett and Rosalie. "So, I was wondering if you guys could help me do something tomorrow night. It's not my usual style, but I'm just so tired of these media fuckers thinking they know everything."
Emmett's eyes lit up with a mischievous glint before he stopped himself. Turning to Edward he said, "Bro, you know I'm down for anything, and I will always help you hide the body. But you have to know that I'm on warning from Goodell. He had a sit down with me at the end of last season and told me that I need to grow up. I'm not a young kid anymore, and I need to start showing these young kids how to be a professional representation of the National Football League."
"Wow, Em, I'm impressed that you actually articulated that as well as you did, "Edward said in shock.
Emmett pouted and stared down at his beer. "That's because Goodell made me repeat it back to him five times before I could leave the office. He said starting next season, he wants to see a more mature Emmett Cullen."
Smirking, Edward clapped his brother on the shoulder. "Then it's a good thing the next season hasn't started yet."
"Holy shit! You are my brother!"
Bella wanted to die. She really, really wanted to die. She was lying in Angela's office on the couch with the hood of her sweatshirt pulled over her face as far as it could go. It felt like everyone was ganging up on her, and she didn't like it.
Angela and Ben were on one side of her, and Jake and Vanessa were on the other. They were prepping her for the Movie Awards, and they thought they were easing her anxiety by talking her through it. The reality was that they were making it worse. The more they talked about press, cameras, and fans, the more she started to lose her mind.
Grabbing the pillow off the side of the couch, she pulled it over her face and started to push down in a futile effort to smother herself. As soon as she got it over her face, Jake's big mutt hands grabbed it and pulled it away. But she was determined and she held on for dear life. Unfortunately for Bella, Jake was much stronger than she was and all that ended up happening was the top half of her body was dangling from the pillow about three inches above the couch.
Giving up, Bella let go of the pillow and plopped back down onto the couch. Groaning, she turned on her side and curled up into the fetal position. "I think I'm going to have an anxiety attack. I don't want to do this."
Vanessa stood up and went to sit next to Bella's feet. She lay a hand on Bella's leg and said, "I know you don't want to do this, but Bella this is good for you. It's the right step in your career, and you'll be just fine."
"I don't feel fine," Bella mumbled as she curled tighter into a ball.
Jake tucked the pillow back behind Bella's back on the couch and said softly, "Bella, you are a kick ass writer. You might be obsessive and controlling when it comes to your work, but you are the best at what you do. No one is as good as you, and that's why you were able to turn an awesome book into a fuckawesome movie. You have fans, and they want to see you. They want to get to know the person that provides them with the entertainment that they crave. Some of them have supported you in everything that you do, and this is your chance to get to know them. I know it scares the shit out of you to take down that wall of protection that separates you from the masses, but you're stronger than anything that might threaten you. You have to give yourself more credit."
Bella looked at Jake as if he'd grown a second head. She blinked a couple of times and reached out to poke him in the forehead. "Did I just hallucinate that?"
Angela shook her head and stared at Jake with the same awestruck look as Bella. "If you did then I had the same hallucination. I'm shocked, Jake."
Jake sat back in his chair with a smug expression. "See? I'm fucking amazing. I keep telling you guys that, and no one seems to believe me."
Ben looked at Jake and said in a stage whisper, "Dude, I'd quit while you were ahead. You're losing momentum fast."
Quickly, Jake cleared his throat and sat back up again. "Bella, everyone believes in you-"
"Shut up, Jakey," Bella said. Sitting up, she stomped her feet a few times before standing up. "If this backfires and the world sees what a dork I really am, then I blame you, Jake. I'll never do anything like this again, and you'll have to answer to Mr. Grey as to why I refuse to do any more public appearances."
"Wait a minute," Jake said. "Why is it automatically my fault if you fuck up?"
Vanessa smacked herself on the forehead, and shook her head. "My god. This is one of those moments where the reality of forever with you just seems terrifying."
Jake looked over at Vanessa and leered at her with what he called his "sexy eyes", and said, "Let's go back to our office, and I'll show you why forever with me is-"
"NO! Do not finish that sentence," Bella yelled. "I will have nightmares if I have any mental imagery of you in any way that is remotely sexual."
Ben looked over at Jake and gave him a high five. "These walls are surprisingly soundproof huh?"
Angela dropped her face into her hands, and Bella looked between the four other people in the room. "You mean to tell me that office sex is a normal occurrence around here?"
"Bel, what other perk is there to working with your spouse than work sex?" Ben said. "Every guy fantasizes about bending his wife over the desk and just-"
Angela threw her hand over Ben's mouth and smiled at Bella through her blush. "Bella, I think you have your last fitting with Alice. You better get going."
"Thank god," Bella said. "I never thought I'd be happier about going to a clothing thing than I am right now. I am thoroughly scandalized."
It was the day of the MTV Movie Awards, and Edward was a little nervous. He wasn't usually nervous about award shows, but tonight was going to be a little bit different. He was going to mess with the media a little bit, and he had never done anything like that before.
Rachel had just done his hair and left him to take care of her other client when Alice text him.
"On my way over now, Bub. Don't you dare dress yourself. Wait until I get there."
He was a guy. All he had to do was put on the clothes hanging on the closet. How hard could that be? Why couldn't he be trusted to do these things by himself? Just as he was about to sit down to watch some television, his phone chimed with another text from Alice.
"BTW, Bella looks hot af if I do say so myself."
"Alice, turn your autocorrect on. What is af?"
"Bub, really? AF = as fuck. I said Bella looks hot as fuck."
"Oh, well why didn't you just say that to begin with? Why do you have to abbreviate everything? And why would it matter to me what Bella looks like? Everyone you dress looks good."
"Don't lie to me, Bub. I saw you eye fucking her the other week at my place."
"Seriously, Alice. How can I eye fuck someone when I don't even know what that is? You're so ridiculous. Will you just hurry up before I start dressing myself? I need to leave soon."
Not a minute later, there was a rapturous banging on his door. Within 10 minutes, Alice had Edward dressed with threats not to mess himself up in the car on the way to the red carpet.
Bella was so thankful that Alice and Rosalie were at her fitting the day before. They taught her how to walk down the red carpet and how to stop and pose for the cameras. Rosalie showed her how to stand so that her butt and boobs looked good, and how to tilt her face to eliminate any chance of a double-chin. Rosalie had shared with her what to expect, and she knew that she was scheduled to walk down the carpet a few minutes before Rosalie.
When she was almost three quarters of the way down the red carpet, she started to feel some relief. She was almost home free for this part of the evening. Just as she was about to turn to face the other side of the carpet, she heard the other end of the red carpet erupt in a cacophony of noise. Turning her head, she looked to see what everyone was looking at. Maybe there was a wardrobe malfunction.
What she saw made her laugh out loud.
Holy shit, he did it! Bella thought.
There in the middle of the red carpet was Edward with Emmett on one arm and Rosalie on the other. As they changed positions for each of the cameras, they got more and more Zoolander in their poses with each other. Eventually, the two boys ended up with Rosalie in the middle grabbing both of their asses.
Before they walked down the red carpet, the three of them lifted up their left hands to show off the huge Ring Pops that they had on their left hands. Each of them took an exaggerated lick of the Ring Pop before heading down to the next stop on the carpet where they proceeded with the ridiculousness one more time.
When Bella got into the theater and was seated, she took out her phone and sent Edward a text.
"Oh my god, that was great! I can't believe you did that. I don't think anyone expected you to be so ridiculous. The screams were so loud! I'm proud of you."
About ten minutes later, Edward sat down in his seat which just happened to be behind Bella.
"Thanks. Emmett was more than willing to help me, and Rosalie is always down to give the media the finger. I have one more thing in my pocket, so we'll see how it goes. Alice was right. You do look hot tonight."
"Thank you. You look quite nice yourself."
"This is the coolest thing. For the first time, I can see you blush. It's adorable."
"Oh my god. My ears are glowing red aren't they?"
"Yeah, they are. Don't worry. It's cute."
"Easy to say when you're not the one with the glowing ears!"
The Awards ceremony started and when Bella's category was announced, Edward could see her tense up a little. He wished he could reach forward to put a comforting hand on her shoulder, but he couldn't. When her name was called and she won, he wanted to jump up and hug her. But he restrained himself and watched her walk up to the stage.
When Bella got up on stage, she could feel her whole body shaking. She clutched the popcorn statue to her, so she didn't drop it, and took a deep breath. She stepped up to the microphone and willed her voice to be strong.
"Wow, this is really unexpected. Thank you so much to every person who has ever read any one of my books. You drive me to keep writing, and I can't thank you enough for the support you've given me year after year. Thank you to Fox Studios for wanting to turn 'Born in Blood' into a movie, and for allowing me to adapt it myself. You took a chance on me, and I appreciate your faith in me. Thank you to everyone who worked on this film. You made my dream, the voices in my head, turn into a reality, and you guys are phenomenal. Thank you!"
Edward watched Bella walk off stage. He knew she'd have to do a few more press interviews back there, and he pulled out his phone to send her a quick text.
"Congratulations, Bella! I'm so proud of you. You made a great speech, and you didn't look nervous at all. You did it!"
He knew it would be a little while before he heard back from her, and before he knew it he was being called up to present. When he got backstage with Neil Patrick Harris, he stood in the wings and whispered to Neil, "You sure Dave's okay with this?"
Neil just laughed and clapped Edward on the shoulder. "He thinks it's funny as shit. He just wishes he could trade places with me."
Edward let out some nervous laughter, and took Neil's hand. Together, they walked out on stage hand in hand. When they got to the microphone, Neil pulled Edward closer, and put his arm low around Edward's waist.
"Ladies and Gentleman, I want to share with you that David and I have found someone that makes our little family of four into an unbelievably happy family of five. Now, I'm a little jealous that he pulled that stunt outside. This ass is mine."
With that, Neil grabbed a nice big handful of Edward's ass. Ducking his head bashfully, Edward lay a hand on Neil's chest and said, "Babe, you're embarrassing me. Come on, we're supposed to announce the nominees for this next category."
"Shoot, sorry. You know I get distracted easily by the hotness," Neil said without letting go of Edward's butt. "The nominees for Best Kiss are…"
When they got to the winner, Edward said a few quick prayers in his head. There was only one more thing that could make this night perfect. Opening the envelope, he did a mental fist pump.
"The winner for best kiss is Rosalie Hale and Laurent Tourandeau!"
From his place on the stage, he could see Rosalie smirk. He watched her run to the stage and push Neil out of the way. Loudly enough for the microphone to catch, Rosalie said, "He's mine, Bitch."
Pushing Neil out of the way, Rosalie grabbed Edward's collar and pulled in for a kiss. Not to be outdone, Neil leaned into the microphone and said, "I can share."
Wrapping one arm around Edward's waist and one arm around Rosalie's waist, he pulled the two of them to him and added his lips to the mix.
The cat calls, laughter, and shouts in the auditorium were deafening. Edward was a little worried that Laurent would be offended that he wasn't getting his due for winning the award, but he was happy when they all broke a part and saw Laurent laughing and clapping next to them. When Laurent gave him two thumbs up, Edward turned back to the audience and gave them one last wave before grabbing Neil's hand to walk off stage.
When they were backstage, Edward pulled Neil into a hug. "Thanks, man. That was awesome. Please tell Dave I said he's a lucky man."
Neil just laughed and said, "I'm the lucky one. Any time you want to throw the finger to these voracious, rumor spreading bastards, I'm in. This was awesome, Edward. I haven't had this much fun in years!"
When Rosalie and Laurent finished their acceptance speech, Rosalie ran off stage laughing and jumped into Edward's arms. "That was the best, Hubs! You were awesome tonight. I'm so proud of you for finally sticking one to the paps."
Setting Rosalie on the ground, Edward turned to Laurent and extended his hand. "Congratulations, Laurent. I'm sorry for wreaking havoc on your award."
Laurent shook Edward's hand and just shook his head. "No way, Edward. That was the most I've enjoyed an awards show in years. Next time you decide to do something I want in."
Edward just laughed and walked back to his seat. When he sat down, he pulled out his phone.
"Thank you! I was so nervous. I thought I was going to drop the statue and break it. That would have been mortifying. I don't even remember what I said. I trust you'd tell me if I sounded like an idiot, right?"
"Holy shit! That was awesome! Neil had one hell of a grip on your ass. It looked like you'll have five fingerprint bruises on your right cheek later. So, what does a three-way kiss feel like?"
"Thanks. I'm on such an adrenaline rush right now. I had to beg and plead with the producers to switch the line-up so I could present this award on the hope that Rose would win. I thought she might, and it was such a rush. That was by far the strangest thing I've ever done. Having two mouths on mine at the same time was not something I want to repeat ever again. I am a one woman kind of a guy. That much is for sure."
"Good to know…"