A/N: Hey everyone! Here is the first outtake from my fic You Were Mine All Along. It takes place directly after chapter 28. The outtakes vary between Edward's POV and Bella's with no particular order - I'll just point out whose POV is it next to the title each time. They're pretty pointless, I guess - they're just scenes I wanted to do but didn't feel they needed to be expanded into full chapters. Most of them contain the fluff that I've denied from you during the story itself, so I thought you'd want me to share these lol. Reviews are still - and always - welcome! Happy reading =)
Disclaimer: the Twilight characters are the eternal property of Stephenie Meyer. I mean them no harm – I'm only playing.
After the Storm (Edward)
After the Storm (Edward)
When I first opened my eyes, I thought I was dreaming.
My memory was fuzzy, my mind extremely disoriented, and so I couldn't figure out why the mattress didn't feel like my own, how I got here (wherever 'here' was), and who was this girl, sleeping so peacefully beside me. Then, about a second later, it clicked, and I could feel an idiotic grin curling on my lips. I didn't have to pinch myself to know I was very much awake, finally in my rightful place beside her. After all the stress and anxiety that shadowed the previous day, last night definitely had an interesting ending. Relief surged through me. Finally things were right again.
She was laying on her side facing me, all pallid skin and tangled brown hair. I toyed with the idea of kissing her awake, but it had been so long since I'd just sat there and watched her as she slept, so I thought I deserved a few moments of that. But then a few seconds later, she stirred, sighed, and slowly opened her eyes. They focused on mine instantly. "Mmm," she murmured drowsily.
"Why, good morning," I smiled. "Did you sleep well?"
She nodded with sleep still in her eyes. I scooped her in my arms as she lay her head against my chest. Even in her state of half-sleep, I could feel her fingers gripping at my shirt. I grazed my fingers along her back through her tanktop. She shivered, and snuggled closer, nuzzling her head between my neck and my shoulder. Her hair was still somewhat damp, so I let my fingers wander upwards to untangle it. With her body pressed so close to mine, still warm from sleep, I hardly felt the morning chill.
"This is how things should have been the first time I got here," I said, half to her, half to myself. "I wish you didn't have to go to rehearsals this morning," I added, dropping a kiss on her bare shoulder.
"What time is it?"
I glanced at the clock on the wall. "A little after seven. When do you need to be there?"
"At nine," she said through a stretch. Her toes brushed against mine for a second. Then she looked up and grinned at me. "Maybe I'll call in sick."
I gaped at her. She'd never ditched school once since I'd known her. I figured her attitude towards rehearsals would be just as strict, but I thought I'd question her statement anyway. "Will you do that?"
For a hint of a second, she seemed tempted. But then she shook her head. "You know I can't," she said. "But you're not going anywhere this time, even if I have to tie you to this bed myself."
"You've been speaking to Emmett too much," I mock-scolded her.
She laughed huskily and lay her arms against my chest. The tips of her hair tickled my cheeks as she hovered above me. When she next spoke, her voice was nothing but a seductive whisper. "Don't think I won't do it."
"Not if I do it first."
Taking advantage on her momentary distraction, I grabbed her wrists. She yelped as I flipped us over, then began to giggle and wriggle beneath me as she lay there flat on her back, her hair spilling on the pillows. The more she tried to struggled, the tighter I held her wrists. "Why, Mr. Cullen," she said once she got her giggles under control; "I suspect it's you who've learned a thing or two from Emmett."
"Well, considering it was you who came up with the shower idea the other night, and the tying-to-the-bed tactic, I think it's pretty obvious who learned what from my brother."
She pouted in mock-offense. "Are you underestimating my sense of innovation?"
"On the contrary," I whispered. I loosened my grip on her wrists as I placed a kiss on her temple. She snaked her arms around my neck. Her eyes were gleaming. I smiled down at her. "Do you realize this is the first time we're waking up together after a really long time?"
"I told you this time apart would be good for us."
The haughtiness in her voice made me laugh. "Took us long enough. But I guess I can't complain."
"Look at it this way. We did something good on the way here."
"That's true," I agreed, my mind momentarily drifting to Nathan and Claire. "Do you think they'll be okay?"
"Well," she said, and her arms slipped from my neck to my hair. "I don't remember hearing knocks on the door at any point of the night, so I think they'll be fine."
I pretended to be horrified. "Clearly I'm not very good at distractions if you were listening to the door all night." I ignored her squirming as I let my lips wander along her neck.
"Oh, no, you're actually quite good at – "
At that point her speech got incoherent. Her hands fell from my hair as she grabbed the sheets. I thought it was my name she moaned, but I didn't stop to make sure. "Are you sure you don't want to call in sick today?" I murmured, leaving her skin only long enough to utter the question.
"No… I mean yes, I'm sure," she breathed. "And you have to let me go or I'll have to stay extra time at the studio."
That worked like a charm. She laughed as if she'd expected it, but the sound was shaky. She lay a hand against my cheek. "Go back to sleep. I'll take you on a proper tour when I'm back this afternoon. And I'll leave you a key so you won't have to stay cooped up here."
"I sort of like the idea of being kept hostage by you," I murmured, leaning down to kiss her again. She kissed back, and her wriggling beneath me seemed to be getting the opposite affect than she'd probably meant it to. It surely didn't feel like reluctance.
"Have… to... go…" she whispered in-between frenzied kisses, and although it didn't sound as if she meant it, I let her go unwillingly. I was determined to stay awake long enough to see her off, but by the time I opened my eyes again, she was gone, and I was alone.
I spent most of the morning sleeping, and woke up several hours afterwards without remembering where I was again. I was so drained I could barely remember my own name. Exhaustion and jetlag finally got to me; I had to force myself out of bed at some point. I felt better after a warm shower, and I decided to go outside and get some fresh air. Bella left me a set of keys on the nightstand. I stared at it dumbfounded when I found it. I couldn't remember hearing her when she had done it. I guessed I was truly out of it.
It was about three in the afternoon when I left the apartment, but I wasn't going to go far. As much as I wanted to properly explore the city Bella seemed so taken by, I thought I could do it when I was a little more recovered. I was still too disoriented to have any real sense of direction, and I didn't feel like getting lost. I wandered around the park a little, and felt a bit frustrated with my lack of orientation in this strange place. I wished Bella could be here and show me around. Maybe I would take her on her offer when she was back this afternoon, if I were awake.
I wanted to pick up Bella from rehearsals, but I didn't remember the way there, so I thought I'd make myself useful in some other way. Passing by a supermarket on my way back from the park, I decided to cook dinner for her. I'd spent enough time with Claire to know I wasn't completely hopeless in the kitchen now. I could definitely handle dinner, even if I had to concentrate twice as hard because Europe was going by a different temperature system than the one I'd been used to.
I was going to make lasagna and mushroom ravioli, two things I knew for sure Bella liked. It was one of the first things I had asked Claire to teach me, one of the few things I had insisted to get right. Without being arrogant, I could pretty much do it in my sleep now. The unfamiliar kitchen threw me off a little at the beginning, but pretty soon I was so into my task that I'd forgotten about the strange surroundings. I was still a little drowsy, but with this new mission at hand, it was hardly felt now.
I made sure the temperature in the oven was right before I carefully placed the lasagna in it. I cleaned up quickly, got my cell phone and dialed Claire's number. Throughout the afternoon I had to stop myself from calling her, telling myself I needed to give her some privacy, but I couldn't contain my curiosity any longer. Bella was probably right, and if we hadn't heard from any of them until now, then things must have worked out. Nonetheless, I needed to hear this from Claire.
But the voice who accepted my call shortly afterwards, although familiar, wasn't Claire's.
"Umm, hi, Nathan, it's, umm, Edward. Cullen." I cleared my throat. I could feel my cheeks flaring. We weren't even properly introduced the other evening. It felt strange speaking to a man I'd suspected Bella had an affair with until not so long ago, someone I'd known so much about because of Claire, but still nothing at all. This was awkward, to say the least. "Is Claire there?"
"She left the room for a moment. I could get her for you."
"Oh, no, it's fine, I just wanted to make sure you survived the storm last night." It was true on so many levels.
On the other end, he laughed. "Everything is alright, don't worry."
I heaved a sigh of relief. "I'm glad to hear it."
There was a long pause, and then he cleared his throat. "Well, since we're speaking, I'd better… I guess I should use this opportunity to… There was something I needed to tell you. I should probably have said it last night, but under the circumstances, it just escaped me. I just thought you should know how lucky you are. Bella is very special. Don't let her slip away."
I laughed, softening instantly. "I wasn't going to."
"It feels necessary to apologize. I… unintentionally seem to have caused trouble between the two of you, and I thought you should know it was baseless. All of it. Bella became really important for my daughter and myself, but that's it. She has never been anything more than a friend."
"She loves you more than you know."
It was strange to hear a statement like that from a third party; strange, but amazingly comforting at the same time. I didn't need reassurances or confirmations as for how Bella had felt for me, but the unconfident part in me sort of feared that her feelings had been wavered or altered as a result of the past several months. If I hadn't figured it out after last night, there he was, saying what I'd already known. She was mine all along. "Thank you. For more than just telling me that. Thank you for taking care of her when I… couldn't."
"Don't mention it. I was happy to do it. I think I ought to thank you as well. For Claire."
"How… how did it go?" I didn't know if I was in any position to actually ask it. I barely knew him, but I fretted for her.
"It was difficult at first, but we had a long talk, and we're going to work it all out. It might take a while, but I believe it will be alright."
"I'm sure it will be," I replied, dizzy with relief. I almost couldn't believe that our plan had worked after all.
"I know you and I had a bumpy start, but I was hoping we could know each other a little better under the circumstances. Bella told me you're considering doctoral studies. Perhaps I could be of help to you in the short time you're here."
"That would be great, actually."
"Excellent. She isn't back from rehearsals yet, is she?"
"Not for another hour, I think."
"Could you please tell her to – Oh, here's Claire, just a – "
The rustling sounds that followed implied that she snatched the phone from his hand, which wouldn't surprise me one bit. "Are you friends yet?" She asked me as soon as the rustles ceased. Her voice was lively, happy, quite a change from yesterday's dread.
"Definitely heading there, by the looks of it," I replied. "How are you?"
"Tired. We stayed up all night talking – "
"Talking, huh?" Bella was right. I was getting somewhat like Emmett. It was unnerving.
Claire just ignored me. "But other than that I'm good. You were right – I should have come. I'm so glad I listened to you!"
"Well, isn't that a first," I chided her. "How did it go with Emily?"
She sighed. "I wasn't expecting it to be seamless. She's apprehensive, but I guess I can't blame her. I think I'm slowly getting to her, though. She's so smart, Edward, and I actually fear you might have a serious competition here – she never wants Bella to leave."
"I'll kidnap her, if that's what it takes."
"Does that mean you two are finally okay?"
"You know what? We should do something fun together. I need a few more days alone with Emily, but after that we could all get together. I really want you to meet her. The weather is supposed to be nice on Sunday – how about a picnic?"
"I'll have to check with Bella, but it sounds great."
"Excellent! I'll work things out with Nathan and we'll call you back."
I was still smiling to myself when we hung up shortly afterwards. I could bet they had a rough time talking things over, but at least both of them sounded at ease now. I could finally allow myself to be more optimistic. It was going to take some time and hard work, but they were slowly on their way to get better. And so were Bella and I.
I checked on the oven. The lasagna looked about done. I was okay on times; there was about half an hour or so before Bella was home. I turned the oven off and padded back to the living room where I sprawled on the sofa. There was some random cooking show on TV and I stared at it, fighting against my drooping eyelids. The thick British accent sounded too loud, lulling me to sleep even further. I guessed I'd lost the battle eventually, because when I next opened my eyes, I was snuggled into the sofa having the distinct feeling I was being watched. I gasped and sat up, squinting into the darkness.
Bella was kneeling next to the sofa, and a smirk ghosted at the corner of her lips. "Why, good morning," she laughed softly, echoing my words from earlier today.
"How long have you been sitting there?" My voice was hoarse from sleep. I couldn't have been asleep for more than twenty minutes, maybe less, but it was so deep it felt like so much more.
"Just a couple of minutes." She reached for the remote and turned the TV off. "I'm sorry I scared you. You looked so worn out. Long day, or is it my fault?" She winked, and her cheeks flushed at her own innuendo.
"A little bit of both, I guess." I stretched and groaned. My neck was sore. I ran a hand through my hair. She kicked her shoes off and came to sit next to me, scooting to my side. "Did you have a good day?"
"I did. I'm starving though. Do you feel like going out, or should I start on – " Her voice trailed off as I lay a finger on her lips. She pressed them shut and looked at me questionably.
"No, I don't feel like going out, but you don't need to worry about dinner."
It took her a second to get it. She sniffed the air, her eyes widening with shock. "I thought someone downstairs was cooking. Since when do you – "
"That's the price of leaving me to provide for myself," I mock-accused her, barely able to hide my grin. "And I learned a thing or two from Claire."
"It's a little offensive that in a few months she managed to do what I couldn't in five years," she pouted.
"You're too cute when you're jealous," I grinned, kissing her nose. "It's easier to keep my focus with Claire in the kitchen. I'm not prone to other… distractions," I pointed out, letting my fingers drift beneath the hem of her shirt while keeping my eyes on hers.
"Oh, I see." A slow, mischievous smile curled on her lips. "Well, let's see how good you are."
"And if I am?" I challenged her, letting her tug on my hand and pull me off the sofa.
"Well, in that case, we'll have to think of some sort of a reward, won't we?"
I gulped, loudly, and crossed my fingers for success as I followed her into the kitchen.
It wasn't until much later, when she drifted to sleep in my arms, that I remembered I hadn't told her Nathan had asked after her.