An "Old School" Sequel


There are times in every healthy relationship when brevity trumps intricacy, and distance trumps intimacy. In other words, when texting trumps talking.

Shocking, right? Apparently, Bella has taught me much in the two years we've been dating. Call me "Old School" if you must, but I'm adaptive. Charles Darwin would love the hell out of me. Granted, some lessons had to be learned the hard way. Nobody ever said the old dog got every new trick right on the first try.

I suppose I've attempted conversation at the wrong time once or twice, enough to know this morning would be a particularly bad time for more depth than the feeble text I just sent her: Don't forget your umbrella.

She'll glance at her phone and smile (hopefully), a momentary break in the stress as she prepares herself for this day of reckoning, the assignment of the all-important final project. Bella could not possibly be expected to hold up half of a conversation right now.

My phone chimes with the incoming text: Not a cloud in the sky. A cute sun-wearing-sunglasses emoji makes me grin.

As if the forecast for rain can just be ignored! I can picture her evil grin as she tortures me. Good. Distraction is good.

Better than dwelling on the questions stampeding through both our minds: What case study will be Bella's to crack open like a patient on an operating table? What kind of challenges will she encounter on the way to the knee-knocking final presentation to her professors and peers? Which of her classmates will be assigned as her partner for countless hours of research, meetings, and head-banging over the next four months?

If I could, I'd drive Bella to school today and keep her focus elsewhere. Tell her a few horrible knock-knock jokes. Commiserate over the latest crop of "Bachelorette" choices. Most importantly, leave Bella with a decent "Have a great day" kiss before letting her out of my car and into the world.

Alas, I have an early client this morning, so the best I can do is send another text: This is the calm before the storm. Take the umbrella.

My trusty Keurig fires up a dark roast while the oatmeal bowl spins in the microwave. I hate these lonely mornings when Bella doesn't stay over. Coffee for one. Cereal for one. If today were a Bella breakfast day, I'd be up to my elbows in waffle batter and bacon grease right now—and loving every messy minute.

I get it, though. Early classes, late shifts, and Bella's commitment to Mrs. C . . . She doesn't need me to add to her pressures. And of course, my calendar is constrained by my clients and the increasingly difficult visits with Mom. Not a great place to dwell . . .

The good news is that with a little planning—my specialty!—Bella and I have settled into a schedule that works well: four nights a week at my place, three with Mrs. Cope. I try not to be a sore loser on my off nights, especially after Bella spent a whole ten nights at my place over the holidays so Mrs. Cope could host her family visiting from the east coast. I remind myself to suck it up as the first taste of oatmeal reaches my mouth.

Bella's reply makes me chuckle around the spoon: But if I bring my umbrella, you won't rescue me.

I'd be a fool to argue with that invitation. As usual, I bow to your logic. Leave it home.

Already did, she texts back. Don't forget your superhero tights! *WINK*

A little glob of oatmeal shoots out when I chuckle. Bella would never let me live that one down. She happens to think I have impeccable manners, and I prefer to keep it that way. Yet another advantage to texting.

I set my spoon inside the bowl and push my breakfast to one side. I'll finish eating after our conversation is over, when it's safe again. Meanwhile, Bella's given me an opening I cannot resist. You know I only wear those for you in private.

The world's loss is my gain.

I love picturing the big grin she must have on her face right now. It's so much better than picturing myself in tights.

Speaking of underwear, what are YOU wearing? Yeah, my sexting skills are on point, if I do say so myself.

Keeping it simple today- gotta make an impression on the new prof. Just white cotton bikinis and bra.

Annnnd, now I'm picturing Bella riding the bus in nothing but her sweet, innocent white cotton set. Not an unpleasant fantasy, but definitely the wrong time to carry this conversation to its logical, explosive conclusion. You're killing me here! Hold that thought?

*giggles* Don't worry, baby. I have super boring, baggy clothes on top.

Nice try. We both know she's stretching the truth. Even the more conservative pieces she's bought for Shady Acres visits are nowhere near boring or baggy.

Aww, I wouldn't want to get you all hot and bothered before you meet your new client!

I appreciate that. That would most definitely be awkward and awful. Fortunately, I have a perfect record in that regard, not counting that time with Bella in my studio—which was a date, not a shoot. So far, so good.

Coming up to my stop. Bye for now. Love you.


Yep, I typed that. Anything to make my girl smile. I might be grinning around the last spoonfuls of my breakfast, but oatmeal tells no tales.

Author's Note:
Hi again! Back for round three (if you count the original contest entry)! Welcome to Edward's head, where we shall dwell for this story. Thank you all for your love of Old School and Hooterella; it was your reviews and PM's and to be quite honest, your voting Old School as your top fanfic pick for February (WOOHOO!) that inspired this sequel.

Many thanks to my big enough umbrella: Patrizia (photographic genius and whip-cracker-in-chief), Ladyeire (plot coach extraordinaire), Jan (expert medical witness), and OBVIOUSLY, my more-than-a-beta, Chayasara. Thank you all for dancing with me in the rain!

See you guys soon! MWAH!