|Pretendre Desir Amour
Author: carmelinagunn PM
Pretend. Desire. Love. Bella Swan is good at pretending. Edward Cullen is good at making it all too real. "You cannot desire what you do not know". ExB, some OOC, canon loves. started as a one shot but now a full storyRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 16 - Words: 110,073 - Reviews: 965 - Favs: 560 - Follows: 639 - Updated: 12-06-10 - Published: 06-19-09 - id: 5150946
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
CHAPTER 15 - Maggie May
"You lured me away from home
Just to save you from being alone"
- Rod Stewart "Maggie May"
brrring ring ring
My head hurts a little bit and I feel slow today, but I'm going to answer the phone anyway because it's Edward calling.
I smile at the sound of the classic old telephone ring. He set that himself. Even though we have iPhones he didn't want a song to be his ringtone. Even when I offered up a Stones or Muddy song. He wouldn't have it. He fell in love with the classic sound that the iPhone comes with and this morning it's acting as my alarm.
brrring ring ring
"You sound lovely this morning."
I groan and he laughs. It's not the same sound it used to be, it's sadder and doesn't last as long, but I'm happy to hear it anyway.
I most certainly do not sound lovely at all. I do not feel lovely.
"My mom and I celebrated... something last night. I know her birthday was thrown in there but I think her and Phil got engaged? I don't really remember. I only remember sangria."
"Ah, that would explain the text messages."
I pause and rack my memory.
"What text messages?"
His chuckle is low and a little bit more like it is supposed to be, which worries me because that means that whatever the heck he's talking about isn't going to be good for me.
"Why, the dirty ones of course."
I feel my face heat as I groan at myself. It's not like anything I said in the messages could possibly be anything Edward doesn't already know I think, or feel, or want. He knows I want him, I'm actually more handsy than he is at times. But still, it's a little embarassing. Hitting on your boyfriend over texts that you don't even remember sending?
Come on, Bella. That's not classy at all.
"Oh God," I whine, earning more chuckles. "How bad are they?"
"Oh, I'd say they're very good, Miss Swan."
His voice deepens and I really, really miss lying in bed with him.
"Edward, what do they say?" I try again, with more force, hoping that he'll just tell me and get it over with.
"Let's just say I now know that you enjoy dessert in bed. On me, apparently. Or off of me..."
"The whipped cream," I gasp, quickly flashing through flashbacks I just got of my mom shooting whipped cream into my mouth from a can.
"Yes, that was mentioned. Quite extensively. There's something else in here about strawberries, too. Chocolate dipped, I believe. It's all pretty fucking delicious sounding, Bella."
He's far too amused by this and I'm flooded with a torrent of pictures of my mom and I the night before, laughing and drinking sangria and eating strawberries with whipped cream. There are a lot of spots where there's just black, no memory, but I'm getting enough to know that we had ourselves a good time with dessert.
Of course my first reaction to that, and really any, situation was to want Edward there with me.
I guess under extreme amounts of inebriation I also feel the need to contact him and give him the low down on my need for him, and then also detail all of the fantasies I have running through my head at the time.
"They are all saved on your phone, too, so you can look at them yourself later if you wish. I know I'm never deleting my copies. It's good really, for us both to be on the same page with things of this nature. Now I know how to bring my A game to your fantasy pool."
I want to be mad at myself for acting like such a fool, but what's the use? It's not like any of it is a lie. And actually, I think that Jasper, for one, would be proud of me. I've never gotten his take on strawberries but he's never said anything ugly about them so they are probably acceptable and I know he'd be on board with me expressing my desires more often.
But on top of all of that this little trist into dirty texting has gotten the edge back in Edward's voice that I have missed over the past week or so. He sounds confident and carefree again, just for a few moments as he taunts me about it, and it's all worth it even if I do feel a little bit like a drunk hussy.
xXx xXx xXx
Thanksgiving sucks, just as I knew it would.
It's just me and my mom and Phil, and they are disgustingly happy.
They did get engaged after all. The ring is pretty. It's simple and she won't stop playing with it. They also won't stop smiling at each other.
At least this is different, better, from when I was here in the summer, alone and unloved and bitter. At least this time I can excuse myself from the table and dial someone that I can be as equally sickingly infatuated with.
"Bella, where are you sneaking off to?" my mom's voice stops me before I get too far down the hall into the privacy of my room.
She's been stalking me the entire time I've been here. Whenever she suspects I'm going off to speak to Edward she pops out of the wall and asks me what I'm doing, where I'm going, who I'm calling. I don't really understand why. It's not like I'm going to put him on speakerphone and share him with her or anything. I think if I asked her why she was doing it she'd give me some motherly answer like, "I just want to hear the happiness in your voice when you speak to him," or something like that. She definitely says things like that to me. I know she means it, she really wants me happy, but I still don't feel like sharing him with her yet. She's... excitable.
"I'm going to call Edward," I sigh, hoping that swiftly conveys that I'd rather be already completing this action.
"Oh, how nice. What time is it in Minnesota?"
"Illinois, Mom. Edward's family is in Chicago."
"Oh, right. Burr, it's cold there, too."
I nod and internally roll my eyes. She never listens to details, this woman.
We stand there for a moment, neither of us making a move to leave because she clearly has more to say and it's awkward because I clearly don't want to be standing here waiting for it, but she'll just follow me if I don't wait and listen.
"What's up, mom?"
"Oh, nothing really. I just want to make sure you're ok. You were awfully quiet at dinner, dear."
"It's nothing to do with Phil and I?"
She raises her hand and wiggles her ring finger. And she smiles widely.
"Of course not. I'm happy for you guys."
She pushes her hair out of her face and nods at me with a smile. I really do love my mother's smile. Every single time she graces the world with is she looks genuinely happy, like she couldn't fake it if she tried.
I say, "all right then," and lift my phone in the air as I turn around, silently letting her know that I'm off to do what I should already be doing.
Right when I get to my door her voice stops me again.
"I'm really proud of you, Bell. I hope you know that."
This is odd. We don't talk like this. We don't discuss accomplishments or pride or any of that. I always just assume that she's fine with my life choices, that she doesn't look down on them because she's led such an unconventional lifestyle herself. How could she hold me to any normal standards when she spent most of her life pretending to love things she only wished she could and then running away from them when she realized she couldn't? It hasn't been a stable way to live and hasn't conceded to any conventional family or career choices on her end. As long as I provide myself with the basic necesseties she really has no place to intervene and I don't expect her to. I really have never thought she has any desire too, either.
"Thanks?" I say as a question. I'm so damn confused as to where this came from.
She closes the distance between us and hugs me and sighs and sniffles. Because she's dramatic sometimes.
I sigh and hug her back but I'm a little bit annoyed since I still have no idea what she's getting at and I want to call my boyfriend.
"Can I ask why?"
She laughs. It sounds nice, matching her smile, so I hug her a little tighter and remind myself not to be annoyed with her. She's my mother. She's crazy and loves me.
"I know I don't know much about it, but it seems really nice, what you have with this Edward. I'm just happy to see you happy again. With someone."
"Phil has really made you a sap, mom. You're happy to see me with someone? What happened to the importance of being an independent woman? You shouted that from the mountaintops for years. My whole childhood, practically."
"I know I did, and I still believe in being a strong woman, in not needing a man. I guess I'm just proud of you for opening up to one again after what happened with..."
"James, mom. It's ok to say his name."
"Right. Well, you were very effected by how things ended with him and I worried for you, that you'd become closed off to the idea of love like I did after things between your father and didn't work out."
She's pulled back some and is now holding my shoulders and touching my hair. It's all very sweet and I start to realize that I don't see her often enough. I don't know if I'll put any real effort into changing that, but those are the things you think when your mother is being sincere and kind to you, and looking at you with the loving eyes that mine is looking at me with now.
"I was afraid for a bit, too, honestly. Except I never regretted loving James. I never once thought that I was a fool for doing that. I was just really hurt by what he did, I was in disbelief. And I wasn't sure if I could trust again even if I wanted to."
"Hmm. Yes. And look at you now, fully healed and in love once again."
I freeze up.
It hasn't been that long since I've been with, or even known, Edward. Jasper accused me of being in love with him before I even let him touch me and now my mom's mentioning it.
I'm not terrified of it or anything. But it's a bit intense. I cannot imagine myself not with him now that I've found him and let him in. I really, really can't.
But the "L word" isn't something to be taken lightly, and it carries weights that might be too heavy for a relationship that's only a few weeks old.
My mom just chuckles and kisses my forehead. She knows me pretty well and can probably tell that I'm having an internal mini-freak out.
"Don't worry about it, sweetie. I'm just making silly mom observations. I probably don't even know what I'm talking about."
I love her for not pushing the matter and for letting me be once it becomes obvious that I'm not going to give her statement any sort of real response. I can tell when she winks at me that she meant everything she said, though, and that she's just doing that thing where she's decided to wait until I confirm that what she's said is true and she can tell me that she knew all along.
I sigh and push the door open to my old room.
I guess we'll have to wait and see if all this love stuff works out for Edward and I.
I don't see it not, but, still.
I also thought I was going to marry James...
I flop down on my old bed and decide to let it go for now. I hit the screen of my phone, tapping Edward's name. I watch as his picture comes up and fills the screen. I smile at that, it's all I need right now to cheer all the way up, because I found him and he helped me feel free again and no matter what happens I can always be grateful to him for that.
His smooth, "Hello, lovely," comes through the reciever after the very first ring.
"I get to see you in two days," I say happily.
"Indeed you do. That is so much better than the five days I haven't had my fucking hands on you, Bella. Time, as the great Stones' would say, is once again on my side."
xXx xXx xXx
As I pack my things I grow more and more anxious. Why did I throw my clothes all around my room during the week I was here? Packing always gives me too much time to over think.
I'm excited too, obviously, but this is kind of huge and I just realized it.
I'm meeting Edward's parents tomorrow. The Cullens. The parents.
I'll land in Chicago and then - boom! I'm the girlfriend from crazy California that he's brought home for the holidays. Well, I guess technically it's the post-holiday weekend, but whatever. It's still sort of a big deal, isn't it?
I'm growing a little worried, too, because it's like 4:12 and Edward hasn't called yet. So far today, since like nine, he's called every hour on the hour to count down the time until we're together again. It's very cute, and sort of overwhelming, and definitely ridiculous, but I feel just as excited so I've been encouraging it.
He missed 4:00, though. He's not usually this shotty with the silly things he commits himself to.
I decide to call him instead, just to make sure everything is all right. Counting down by yourself isn't as much fun.
There it is. His voice is thick and sleepy and I know right away why he missed the 4:00 call. He's probably still got his eyes shut because he didn't greet me by name like he usually does, which means he didn't look at his screen before he answered. I sort of feel bad for waking him with my call, but not really. I love sleepy voice Edward.
"You're late," I tease softly.
"Shit, what time is it? Sorry Bella. Fuck."
I hear him shuffling around and something drops when he says "fuck" and I laugh a little bit because he's usually like this when he wakes up. Clumsy and groggy.
"Are you ok?"
"I'm, yeah. Damnit!"
I'm laughing some more because he's clearly trying to be quiet, to keep his voice down, but things don't seem to be going to well for him.
"What are you doing? Why didn't you call at four? Nap time?"
"Yeah I fell asleep, hold on."
I can tell that he's pulled the phone away from him because all I hear for a few seconds is the air. Then there's more shuffling. Then Edward mumbles something faintly and I hear a deeper voice mumble something quick back.
"Ok, sorry. I'm just switching mom shifts with dad. He was outside making Jorge, our gardner, listen to Led Zeppelin."
"Your dad was makning your gardner listen to Led Zeppelin?" I laugh.
"Oh yeah. He'll probably buy him a fucking Les Paul for Christmas now. He's been complaining about that mariachi shit Jorge plays on his portable radio for years. Apparently today was the intervention."
"Good to know your father is looking out for everyone's musical well being."
We laugh a little bit and I grow a little more nervous about meeting Edward's dad. He seems like an older, almost more extreme version of Edward. Like he's the original model.
"So, hi," Edward says after a pause in the laughter. His voice is softer and wherever he's moved to in the house is much quieter than where he was before, even though it was never loud. "How are you? Sorry for missing four. Are you packed yet?"
He also sounds more awake now and I'm a little bummed about it. I decide that if I can pull it off while I'm at his house in Chicago I'll keep him sleepy for as long as possible Sunday morning.
"I'm pretty much done. And it's fine, you obviously just feel asleep. But I worried."
"No need to worry, I accidentally knocked out while watching TV with my mom. We got her Weeds on DVD for Christmas. She can't get enough of that shit."
He laughs his new, sad laugh and I sigh. In all my excitement to see him I tend to forget what I'm walking into by visiting Chicago.
"No problem, that's really sweet. But, wait, Christmas? That's not for another month."
"Yeah, uh. Well we did Christmas early this year. Last night. Since everything is all screwed... we just thought that while we were all still together for this holiday we'd take care the next one, too. Just in case we can't all be together by then."
I want to off myself for how stupid I feel. He sounds so, so sad talking about them taking advantage of the time they know they have together. Because who knows how much time they have in the future? From what he tells me his mother is not doing good.
I've never delt with anything like this before. I've never been around such deep sadness, not while I've been old enough to comprehend it.
"I'm sorry, Edward."
"Don't apologize, Bella. Just get here safe tomorrow. I need you to remind me that everything doesn't just fucking suck."
"I'm sort of worried that I'll just make things worse, though," I say, deciding that I should just tell him what I'm feeling since he loves honesty so much.
"That's impossible. Stop being crazy, woman."
"No, really. I have no experience dealing with something so serious... or, you know, sad. I just don't want to make it more awkward or anything. I don't want to let you down."
He sighs heavily and I feel even worse. Maybe I should have kept it to myself. He's dealing with so much already, he's told me about how Alice has basically fallen apart since being home, and now I'm dumping my dumb insecurities on him.
"Well, I have a few questions for you," he says with a voice that is now one hundred percent awake, and a little bit hard.
"Have you cheated on me?"
I'm completely thrown off by his question. Where the hell did he get that from?
"Edward, what the hell? Why would I cheat on you?"
"I don't know, things happen," he says in the ironically nonchalant way only he can when he's talking about serious, serious things. "Have you?"
"Of course not-"
"All right. Have you decided you don't want to be with me? That I'm not what you want?"
"What? No. Of course not."
"Then you are in no danger of letting me down, Bella. I understand that you have nerves coming into this situation. It's not normal, it's not comfortable, and it's probably not fair of me to ask you to walk into this shit storm with me, but I need you here. I want you here. And unless you do anything related to leaving me there is no way you can let me down. Ever."
The hardness in his voice has turned to conviction and I sit down on my bed and sigh.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"Nope. No apologizing. I understand your worry but I just needed to tell it to fuck off ASAP. You have nothing to worry about aside from being turned off by watching me pathetically trying to hold my shit together. It's not flattering. I should probably be worried about letting you down."
"Eh, I'm not really. I believe in us, Bella. Our journey so far has been unusual. Why not throw a gigantic family crisis in during the preliminary dating period?"
We both darkly chuckle at that and then it gets quiet again, fairly quickly.
"Thank for all of that, I guess I needed to hear it. Even though you have made it pretty dang obvious that you're not going anywhere... perspective gets scewed when things get real. I just really want to be there for you because I know you'd be amazing to me if the tables were turned."
"I would be, wouldn't I?" he asks with another chuckle.
I huff into the phone and smile very widely.
"Seriously though, Bella, that's what this is all about, right? Whatever we're doing together. I know we're technically dating but it really is more than that. You make me happy even when nothing inside of me feels like being happy. I just, fuck, I know that you being here is going to help me because I really love everything about you."
I suck in a silent breath because he did it, he dropped the L bomb. He did it in a round-about way. A safe way. He said "everything about me". I understand the difference between what was said and what could have been said, but still.
"I love everything about you, too."
There's a heavy pause. This isn't the same as saying "I love you". I know that. I know that he knows that, too. But it's still a step in that direction, it's a definition that these feelings are seriously serious. It's letting our minds, our mouths, our hearts get used to the sensation of correlating love with each other.
"Shit, when did we turn into such Hallmark cards? I can't wait to taste your skin again, Bella. I can't wait for tomorrow. I want to say these cheese ball things directly to your pretty face."
I laugh and swoon and zip up my suitcase.
"Only twenty more hours left."
xXx xXx xXx
In the airport I have to ignore a lot of Edward's calls. He's resilient, that one. But no good can come from speaking on your phone while trying to get through securtiy, so I'm ignoring him for now. It's only been about seventeen minutes sicne I texted him and told him I was at the airport anyway.
Once I get to my gate with a Starbucks in hand I pull out my phone and laugh to myself.
The blue information bubble that has popped up on the home screen of my phone tells me that I have:
Edward Cullen Missed Call (5)
Edward Cullen Text (4)
Alice Cullen Text
I roll my eyes and smile at all the missed calls. Of course he didn't leave a voicemail, he never does. He's too enthralled with the little speech bubble-like form of the text messaging on our phones. He says he'd rather produce more of those than ramble endlessly to the nothing that is my voicemail inbox.
I open Alice's text first.
Bella! I want you to know that I cannot wait until you get here, and I hope your flight goes safely. I also really hope you like it here no matter how gray the moods are. PS one night we are having a sleepover in my room, Eddie be damned ;)
I smile wider after reading her words and appreciate that we have become friends outside of me just being her brother's girlfriend. Then I immediately start making plans to sneak out of my sleepover with her because I love the girl dearly but I doubt her cuddle is as fulfilling as Edward's.
Jasper's text is next. It's short.
Fly safe, love strong, bring them home whole. Hearts, Miss Maggie.
I have a different, special smile for Jasper's text. It's filled with love and warmth but also amusement. He's started calling me Maggie in reference to Rod Stewart's song "Maggie May". He claims that I am like Rod's Maggie, alluring and persuasive while altogether unaware of it. I humor him and dance to the song whenever he plays it and dedicates it to me, but I don't see it. He actually has it backwards. I've never been Maggie. Not even close. I've always been like Rod, especially with James. It scared me how much I related, actually, the first time I really listened to lyrics.
Anyway, I made that song my ringtone for him and now I'm humming it because it's stuck in my head. I think of Edward as my internal voice sings of keeping someone else from being alone, and then I read his texts and my most special, best feeling smile takes over.
If you aren't answering because you're already on the plane I'm going to feel like a jackass for thinking you depart later than you do...
Nope, I just checked the flight status online. You don't leave for another hour and three minutes just like I thought. Which means you should be answering, shouldn't you? Yes, yes you should.
Things Edward Cullen Doesn't Love At All Right Now: 1. When his sister claims she will steal his gf from him for a night of girlie sleepover, 2. The fucking peppermint schnapps that his dad bought for "dessert", and 3. Being ignored. By you. Right now. When I miss you so damn much.
Ok, are you engaging in an airport hook up? Is that why you are so MIA? I'm only ok with it if it's with a pilot. Or a female flight attendant. No matter who it is, you make sure to hook us up with free miles, baby ;)
I'm still laughing when he picks up the phone and I don't stop when he speaks because he actually sounds really happy, for the first time in a while.
"So which is it, Bella? The pilot or the hottest airport fantasy I've ever had? Please say lady attendant... please..."
So how was your Thanksgiving? (If you celebrate it, of course. Some countries don't, obviously, but I'm not sure if I have any international readers on this story)
Mine was awful, I hate T-giving. Always have. I can't stand the food. If you were a reader of my first fic, IEWIS, then you'll remember the phenomenon of Pizza-giving. I really will enforce that more someday so I don't spend the whole day hungry like I did this year! When it was over I went to my friend's house and finally found some bliss in his macaroni & cheese and white wine ;)
Anyway, thanks again for coming back if you are still sticking around. If there are any newbies, welcome!