For nine years the happiest memory my mind held was the day that Jacob asked me to be his wife. Jake and I had known each other since we were in diapers. Our father's were best friends and we spent every weekend together, every holiday for as far back as I could remember. We went to different schools since Jake and his father lived on the reservation, but once we hit our teens, it didn't stop us from spending almost every day together after school and it couldn't have pleased our fathers more. Jacob's mother died when he was three, leaving Billy to care for his young son and two teenage daughters alone. My own mother decided she didn't want to be tied down when she found out she was pregnant with me, as soon as she and I were released from the hospital she left her two day old daughter and husband of two years, never looking back.
I was nineteen and Jacob eighteen when he asked me to marry him. Our fathers were concerned in the beginning because of our age but soon gave us their blessing when Jacob explained we were still going to attend college, that we just wanted to do it together as a married couple. I never questioned his love for me, nor mine for him. We never had a serious fight, when we argued it was quickly settled with reasoning from both sides. I graduated six years later with a degree in art and English literature. Jacob continued his schooling and was accepted into a law firm right after his graduation in Seattle.
I was now twenty eight, Jacob twenty seven. We lived n the outskirts of Seattle, wanting to raise our future children out of the city. Jacob found a house that he just had to have, though I was hoping for one less portentous. He assured me that we could afford it with his new job and that we needed a house to show how hard he was working. I smiled and told him whatever made him happy would also make me happy.
All these memories were flowing through my mind as I looked out the front window, waiting for the headlights of Jacob's car to come up the drive. I was wearing his favorite dress, a black tight fitting number, stilettos, and the diamond necklace he gave me for our fifth anniversary. Tonight was our ninth, and I smiled at the thought as I looked at the portrait we had done last year of us, it's place of honor above the fireplace in the formal living room. Looking at the grandfather clock in the hall, I saw he was forty five minutes late. This has been happening more frequently, late nights quickly becoming the norm. I understood he was working hard, but tonight was our night. He promised to be home early for our celebration. Taking my phone out of my small clutch I dialed his number, listening as it rang till his voice mail picked up.
"Jake, it's me. You aren't home yet so I will meet you are the restaurant, I don't want to lose our reservations. I love you."
Hanging up, I walked briskly to the car, hoping I would still have the table I had requested waiting for us and that he wouldn't keep me waiting alone for long.
I was nursing my third glass of wine, watching all the couples that were sitting at the tables around me. They all looked so happy, whether in love or not, happy none the less. I scoffed silently at myself. It was our anniversary for gods sake and I was sitting alone, slowly growing past the buzzed stage. My phone alerted me I had received a new text message and I hurriedly picked it up hoping Jake was telling me he would be here soon.
Hey Bells, working late on a case, still haven't left Port Angeles. Going to get a hotel room here for the night.
He wasn't coming. He hadn't called. He left early this morning without saying goodbye. He forgot about not only our reservations, but our anniversary. I stared glassy eyed at the candle flickering in middle of the table, trying my hardest to keep my composure.
"Damn him." I muttered under my breath.
I shouldn't have been surprised, but damn did it hurt.
"Would you like another glass of wine?" The waitress asked, coming to a stop at my table.
"Why not?" I said dully with a shrug.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but our next reservation is here. They have been waiting for the table for quite some time." She informed me timidly, indirectly asking if I would be leaving soon.
"And?" I snapped at her harshly.
"I will find them another table." She murmured, hurrying away.
Sighing, I picked up my glass and drained it quickly, standing up on slightly wobbling legs.
"Wait, they can have their table. I'm terribly sorry to have kept them waiting." I called after her, trying to rush my way out of the restaurant and leave the embarrassment behind me.
I earned quite a few stares as people heard me yell out and my noticeably drunken state. I was out the door before I allowed myself to let out a sob. Pressing my knuckles to my mouth, I tried to hold them in. I refused be one of those women getting upset because their husband is working hard to provide for them and missed a date.
"Excuse me." A strong voice called out behind me.
I turned to see a tall man standing a foot behind me watching me with worried eyes.
"Can I help you?" I snapped more harshly than I had intended.
"I wanted to apologize if you were asked to leave on our account."
"No, I was leaving anyway." I insisted, again trying to hold in my tears. How pathetic I must look to this stranger.
A woman who was eating, or rather drinking, alone and now standing on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant with tears in her eyes.
"We are here to celebrate my parent's anniversary. If you have no other arrangements, you are more than welcome to join us. I'd feel terrible if we ruined your evening."
Upon hearing the word anniversary, I could no longer hold in my dignity as a sob escaped. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to keep the tears from flowing. I turned and ran to the nearest corner, hoping to find an available taxi to bring me home.
"Miss!" I heard the stranger calling out to me.
"I'm fine. Please, I need to go home."
"This will come off as unusual I am sure, but here is my card. If you need anything..."
"Thank you, but again, I am perfectly fine."
"Please." He insisted, holding out a business card. I grabbed it from his hand thinking he would leave me alone if I appeased him by taking it. I shoved it into my clutch just as a taxi stopped in front of me.
"Enjoy your celebrations." Bidding my goodbye and quickly got into the car, shutting the door as I named off my address.
I took my phone out again, checking to see if Jacob had left me another message or called. There was nothing. I went to my contacts and called my best friend, Leah. Tears running down my face as I waited for her to answer.
"Hello?" She rushed out in answer, sounding out of breath.
"Leah? Are you busy?"
"Hey Bella, a little. Why, what's up?"
"I was wondering if you wanted to have a girls night? We haven't done that in a while."
"I'm sorry, if I had known earlier I would have certainly come over, but I'm kinda on a date."
"I didn't realize you were seeing anyone."
"It sort of just happened." She mumbled. "I'm sorry Bella, I need to go."
"I understand, enjoy yourself."
She hung up without letting me finish or saying goodbye. I felt more alone than ever. My husband forgot our anniversary and my best friend rushed me off the phone. I mentally shook myself. I needed to stop with my self pity. I should be happy Leah met someone and is enjoying her date. I shouldn't be holding a grudge against my husband who is working to support us. I needed to suck up all my hurt feelings and move forward. I had too much to be thankful for. A wonderful husband who loved me, a beautiful house, and my friendship with Leah whom I have known almost as long as Jacob. I steeled my shoulders as I stepped out of the car and walked into my dark house. Without letting my eyes wander around the empty rooms, I walked straight up the stairs to my bedroom, leaving a trail of clothes as I entered my bathroom and started the tub to have a nice long bath before bed.
After soaking for a while I realized maybe Jake thought I had forgotten since I hadn't said happy anniversary to him either. Picking up my phone, I snapped a picture of myself in the tub and typed out a quick message.
I hope I'm not waking you. I just wanted to say Happy Anniversary, and that I love you. Thank you for making me Mrs. Jacob Black nine years ago. I can't wait to see you tomorrow morning. -Bella
I waited for him to respond, but after thirty minutes he still hadn't. I presumed he was already asleep. Stepping out of the tub, I laid in bed without putting on pajamas and tried my best to fall asleep. I knew I had nothing to worry about, but there was something in the back of my mind that wouldn't leave me be. I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong, that something was going to happen and I had no idea what it might be.
"Leah, I cant help but feel like there is a distance between Jacob and I. It's been three weeks, he still hasn't mentioned missing our anniversary."
"So, he forgot your anniversary. It's not uncommon for a man to forget things like that." She responded, rolling her eyes slightly. "He is so focused on work and making sure he can give you everything you desire, he forgets what certain days are."
After her statement the feeling of something being off deepened. I didn't respond and instead studied the menu in front of me. After we ordered I returned my attention to Leah, though she still seemed disinterested with my presence. She was behaving so oddly.
"So, what's with the mystery guy?" I asked, bringing up the new boyfriend she had been on multiple dates with.
"He's wonderful." She sighed with a smile and sparkling eyes. I couldn't help but smile at her wistfully. "I have never been so happy, Bella!"
"I'm happy for you, you deserve happiness. Will I be able to meet him soon?"
Her face morphed into an expression I couldn't read, her eyes focused on something behind me. I turned to look over my shoulder to see what held her interest. A big smile formed when I saw Jacob walking toward us, his face holding the breathtaking smile I fell in love with. I felt proud as he placed his hands upon my shoulders, leaning down to kiss me softly.
"Hello, my Wife." He whispered.
"Hello, my Husband." I whispered back.
"I would like to introduce you to Edward Cullen." He said as he straightened, motioning behind him to bring my attention to the man who was now standing beside the table.
I gasped, recognizing the him as the man from the restaurant the night of our disastrous anniversary celebration.
"Edward, this is my beautiful wife, Bella." He said, introducing me.
I glanced up at Edward and gave a small smile. I kept my fingers crossed that he wouldn't reveal that we had met already and how it had come about.
"A pleasure, Mrs. Black." Edward said as he bent slightly, reaching out for my hand and bringing it to his lips for a kiss, his eyes focused on mine.
My breath caught as I was left stunned by the sudden burst of butterflies.
"The pleasure is mine." I was finally able to respond.
I tore my gaze from Edwards to find Jacob had already been seated between Leah and myself, they were conversing while Edward and I had made our introductions and seemed oblivious that we were now silently watching them. Leah threw her head back, laughing at something Jacob had said before my husband finally returned his attention to me.
"Bella, my Love, I really hate to do this but I have an unplanned dinner meeting tonight."
"Our reservations..." I pleaded with my eyes, begging silently for him to cancel his meeting in favor of our scheduled date.
"I know Bells, but this is a very important client. There is no way I can cancel. I promise to make it up to you." He smiled.
He knew that normally I couldn't deny him anything when he flashed it my way, but it was slowly making me wonder how often he used it to his advantage.
"Jacob, why don't I take your place?" Edward offered.
"You don't work at my firm, Cullen." Jacob chuckled slightly, giving him a questioning look.
Edward laughed softly with him. I silently wondered if Edward was just appeasing Jacob by sounding entertained. I saw no humor in his eyes as I took a sip of my water.
"Of course not. I meant, as long as neither you or Bella mind of course, I could go to dinner with Bella in your place. You wont have to cancel the reservation and lose the deposit and your lovely wife can still have her night out."
"Mr. Cullen, though I appreciate the offer-" I started before Jacob interrupted me.
"That is very generous of you Edward, I am sure Bella would love to have your company." He said, giving me a pointed look that said not to argue with him.
Edward smiled and nodded his agreement while I gazed at my hands, nervously twirling the rings on my left hand.
I sat at my vanity table getting ready for dinner. I couldn't get myself to feel any sort of excitement over going out, I would have been just as happy to stay home. I only planned this dinner because I wanted to spend time with my husband. It felt like we hadn't spent time together in months. He was always working and when he was home we didn't really talk. The seldom occasion he was home for dinner there were few words said and then he would go off to work in his office. Other nights I left a dinner plate in the warmer which he would eat and then fall asleep directly after. Of course, then there were the nights he never came home at all, those seemed to outweigh the rest.
I looked at the picture of the two of us that sat on my vanity table in a gold frame. We were looking at one another lovingly, neither noticing my father taking the picture as we sat in front of the Christmas tree two years ago. It was only weeks later that things began to change between us. I felt tears prickle my eyes as I thought of our devastation.
My gift that year had been a box holding my positive pregnancy test. I had never seen our fathers or his excitement so strong. Two weeks later, I had a miscarriage. My guilt grew as I thought of how I had failed him. Jacob worked so hard, giving me everything I could ever want and I couldn't even do the one thing I was meant to. Give him a child. My Doctor told us there was no reason I couldn't get pregnant again, though it has yet to happen and the past few months he hasn't even given us the opportunity to try.
The sound of the doorbell brought me out of my dark thoughts. I grabbed my clutch and shoes as I walked out of the room and down the stairs to answer the front door. Edward stood with his hands shoved into the pockets of his dark dress pants, a navy blue dress shirt without a tie and the top few buttons undone, his suit jacket open.
"You look lovely Bella." His voice deep.
My body reacted to his voice, a slight chill working over me.
"Thank you. I am running a bit late, please come in. I just need to put my shoes on."
He stepped past me, looking around the room as I sat on the couch to slip on my heels.
"Your home is beautiful."
"Thank you, though it's all Jacob's doing. He hired a decorator soon after buying the house. My only contribution was my art studio which he can't stand to enter, he calls it my mess."
"You paint?" He asked with evident surprise.
"I do." I admitted with a small smile.
"I would love to see your work."
"One day." I said softly, looking down.
I couldn't remember the last time someone has asked to see my paintings. My father was the only person in my life who showed a real interest in my work.
"Have you sold to any galleries?" Edward continued to ask.
"Of course not, it's a hobby. Nothing that would provide income." I said flatly, repeating Jacob's words. He had said as much after he had graduated which effectively stopped my efforts to help bring income into our household.
"Are we ready?" I asked once my shoes were on and I had made sure I had everything I needed in my purse.
We sat silently in the restaurant sipping wine as I looked around, avoiding Edward's gaze that was focused solely on me.
"Are you enjoying yourself?" He asked, breaking the silence, tension thick in the air around us.
"Of course." I said with a tight smile.
He scoffed at my words and I looked at him pointedly.
"Isabella, I can see that your boredom matches my own. Do you always say what you are expected to instead of how you truly feel?"
"I don't know what you are talking about." I snapped.
I was frustrated that he could read me so easily. He was practically a stranger yet he seemed to see through me better than my husband of nine years did, the person who has known me my entire life. He raised a brow at me while bringing his phone to his ear.
"Jacob, I just wanted to check in with you. Do you mind if I bring your beautiful wife dancing?"
I glared at him, upset that he never asked me what I wanted before speaking with my husband.
"Wonderful, I promise not to keep her out too late and I will see you tomorrow. Better practice on your swing." Edward chuckled at some response from Jacob and hung up.
"Your husband and I are going to the batting cages tomorrow. I finally got him to loosen up a little. Lets get out of here so I can get you to loosen up too." He said standing and pulling my chair out carefully.
"I never said I wanted to go dancing." I declared obstinately.
"That's because I never asked." He smirked.
I huffed and allowed him to place his hand on my lower back, escorting me out of the restaurant and into the car the valet had waiting. He was just packed full of surprises tonight. First the shock of his car, I never expected a 66' Mustang picking me up, and now his request to take me dancing. I sat stubbornly, looking out the window as he drove us through town. He parked in a tiny lot next to a small, yet busy building.
"Where are we?" I asked looking around at the unfamiliar area.
"I told you, I'm taking you dancing." He said while holding a hand out for me after opening my door.
He again placed his hand on my lower back and led me to the front of the building. I was surprised to see a line wrapping around the side of it. Edward brought me to the front of the line and a man smiled once he caught sight of him and moved so that we could pass through.
"Hey Em, nice seeing another busy night."
"Business has been booming ever since Alice made all the changes last year."
"She does have a gift." Edward chuckled as the man named Em patted his back.
"Who's your date?" He asked with a tilt of his head, his gaze now focused on me.
"This is Isabella Black."
"Did you say Black?" Em asked, his expression a mixture of confusion and shock.
"Jacob's wife." Edward stated with a nod and a smirk.
"What the fuck is she doing here with you?" He asked bluntly, causing me to blink in surprise.
I was starting to get annoyed over being talked about right in front of me and being ignored at the same time.
"My husband had a meeting tonight and Edward was kind enough to take his place as my date." I interrupted with a lift of my head, turning sharply to move past them and enter the building.
"Watch your tone." I heard Edward say under his breath at Emmett before I was far enough away to not be able to hear.
I felt, rather than saw, when Edward was at my side once more.
"Sorry about that. My brother is a bit nosey. Well, all my family is, so be prepared when my sister Alice approaches us at some point during the night." He said with a chuckle.
I realized he did that a lot, found humor in everyday things. I was a bit envious that he could enjoy his life so simply. I would love to find things humorous in my daily activities, instead I have allowed it to become dull and full of disappointment. I looked around us, every table that I could see was taken. The bar was crowded, people standing around it in masses. There was a stage where a band was playing jazz music mixed in something else I couldn't identify. The end result created a beautiful sound, pleasing to the ear.
"Want to get a drink?" Edward asked me, yelling over the music and never losing his ever present smile.
I nodded my head in reply and followed him to the bar.
"Jazz!" Edward called to a blonde man who was manning the side of the bar closest to us.
"Usual?" He called over the heads of the other patrons.
"What would you like?" He asked looking down at me.
"I don't know. I doubt they serve a good chardonnay here." I said with a shrug.
I knew I was acting like a snob, but for some reason I felt the need to keep my walls up around Edward. I barely knew him and I was feeling much more comfortable in his presence than I thought appropriate for a married woman.
"Get me a French seventy-five and Jack Rose." Edward yelled over to Jazz.
A few minutes later I was handed a pink colored drink.
"What is this?" I asked, sniffing the liquid.
"Just try it. Trust me, you'll like it." He said with a look of with amusement, a grin tugging at his lips.
I took a small sip and was pleasantly surprised to find it lightly sweet and very much to my liking. After we finished our drinks Edward quirked an eyebrow at me and smirked as he pulled me by my hand to the dance floor. I was a bit shy at first but after watching him dance in front of me without concern I felt myself loosening up and allowed my body to flow with the beat, replacing the rigid movements I had been making at first. Before I knew it, we had been dancing for almost forty minutes when he asked if I wanted another drink. I didn't hesitate to follow his lead, enjoying his slight dominance. This time after ordering he led me to a table that seemed to be reserved just for him, the others were packed but this one sat empty, no one even attempting to take one of the chairs to bring to another spot. I couldn't help but laugh out after taking a sip.
"Whats so funny?" Edward asked with a smirk, his eyes sparkling with humor.
"I just felt like laughing!" I said, feeling myself blush slightly.
"I take it you are having a good time then?"
"I am, thank you, but I should head home soon. I'm not sure when Jacob will be coming home and I want to be there when he does."
That and I was feeling a good buzz coming on, I refused to let Edward see me drunk.
"Why don't you call him and find out?" He persisted, ordering us another round when Jasper stopped by despite my warning look as he did so.
I took out my phone at his suggestion and dialed Jacobs number.
"Hey Jake, I was wondering when you would be home?" I asked, looking over at Edward to find him still smirking while taking a sip of the amber liquid in his glass.
It was loud where ever he was and then I heard a familiar voice. I felt a cold chill go through my body. Why would she be with him tonight at a dinner meeting? It didn't make any sense.
"Did I just hear Leah in the background?"
"Oh, um, yeah. She showed up at the same place we were having the meeting so I asked her to join me for a drink afterward."
"That was sweet of you, is she there with her date?"
"She has been seeing someone new, I figured maybe that's why she was out tonight."
"Right. Her date had ended when I saw her. She's leaving after this one drink. I gotta go, some of the men are coming back to the bar, I will talk to you later okay?"
"Wait, when will you be home?"
"I'm not sure, I'll text you."
He hung up on me, not waiting for my response. No goodbye. No I love you. No I wish you were with me. I sat there stunned, staring at my phones now black screen.
"Are you alright?" Edward asked with a look of concern.
Instead of answering his question, I grabbed my new glass and drank half of it in one sitting.
"Whoa, thirsty?" Edward laughed.
How was it so easy for him to find the humor?
"I think I'm just going to go." I said, quickly standing to my feet. Without giving him a chance to protest I pushed my way through the crowded club and ran out the door past Emmett.
"Bella?" I heard Emmett call after me with confusion.
I didn't stop till I was back in the parking lot, breathing in the cool night air with big gulps.
"Bella?" Edward placed his hand on my shoulder, his voice sounding worried.
I turned around to look at him with watery eyes.
"I think my marriage is in trouble." I blurted out without thinking. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. I'm sure its just the alcohol." I rushed the last part, trying to turn away once more.
He wouldn't allow it, grabbing my hands with his own. I looked down at our hands, tears running down my face. Chancing a look at him from behind my lashes, I saw the sad look he was giving me, though his eyes were hard as stone.
"Edward, what kind of work do you do for Jacob?" I asked, just now wondering how exactly they knew each other.
I could tell from our interaction that he didn't work at the firm with Jacob.
"I am a very good client." He chuckled.
"Meaning you are in need of his services quite often?"
"Something like that."
I felt uneasy at his evasiveness.
"Either you get into legal trouble frequently or you don't. Which is it?"
He didn't answer me, instead tilting his head to the side and studying my face.
"Would you please bring me home?"
"Of course." He agreed dully.
It was a silent drive to my house. Our comfortableness with one another vanishing after the phone call to Jacob. He got out of the car once he was parked in the drive way and walked me to my front door, waiting while I unlocked the door.
"You have my card still, right?" He asked once I stepped inside of the house.
I turned to look at him, meeting his eyes for the first time since we left the club.
"Yes." Knowing I never threw it away.
"Bella, please call me if you need anything, okay?" He asked, placing his palms on either side of my face, his face coming closer to mine as he stared into my eyes intently.
My body betrayed me and I felt butterflies form over his closeness, wondering what his lips would feel like. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, filling my senses with his scent. I felt slightly off balance and opened my eyes just in time to see him drawing closer. I was fully prepared to fight him off, slap his face for thinking he could take such liberties knowing I was married. Before I could do any of those things though, his lips brushed against my cheek softly. My mouth was left hanging open as he stepped back.
"Goodnight, sweet Bella." He bid, turning to walk back to his car.
He sat in the running vehicle till I shut and re-locked the front door, sounding the horn on his way out of the drive.