Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
A second disclaimer:
I'm not a professional writer. I write Twilight fanfic simply because I love this fandom.
I apologize in advance for any errors.
The Road Trip
After receiving the unexpected call, I released a soft groan before burying my face in the palm of my hand.
My office-mate noted my distress and asked, "What's wrong, Swan? Bad news?"
Not bothering to lift my head, I peeked at him between my index and middle fingers. He was watching me intently, waiting for my response.
But there was no way I was going to tell him what had me so upset.
Only a few people, most of them online friends, knew my deep, dark secret, and Edward Cullen wasn't one of them.
I was a closet Arrowhead.
Arrowheads were fans of Aro Volturi—film star extraordinaire. I had been infatuated with the Italian actor since seeing his debut movie four years prior. With his boyish good looks, sexy accent, and alluring charisma, he encompassed everything I desired in a man.
And since I lived in Kentucky, I never had the opportunity to see Aro in person. Most of his appearances at film premieres and conventions were either on the east or west coast.
Sometimes, it felt as if the only stars who ever graced the Bluegrass State were country singers and NASCAR drivers. So when I learned Aro was going to be in attendance at the Savannah Film Festival, I knew I had to go.
As soon as the tickets went on sale for the event, I had purchased two; one for me, and the other, for my best friend, Alice.
Even though she wasn't as passionate about Aro as I was, she had jumped at the chance to go on a girl's trip with her best friend. She had even talked me out of flying and suggested we drive instead.
"It's only nine hours away. We'll save money and get to see parts of the country we've never seen before. Come on, Bella; it'll be an adventure."
It hadn't taken long for me to agree, but now, three days before our trip was to begin, Alice had canceled, and I was heartbroken.
As much as I wanted to, I couldn't go by myself. The main reason was my car; it was a complete piece of shit. There was no way it would be reliable enough to make the trip. Alice had kindly offered me hers, but I worried about driving someone else's vehicle for that long of a distance. And unfortunately, when I considered flying, the cost of tickets along with having to pay a hotel bill on my own was just too expensive for my budget.
So instead of telling my colleague the entire truth, I told him only a part. His ridicule was the last thing I needed, and knowing Cullen the way I did, I knew he would tease me relentlessly if he knew my secret. "My friend just backed out of our vacation. Her boss needs her to fly unexpectedly to Chicago," I said, giving him a weak smile. "It's probably for the best. Now, I can get caught up on some chores during my time off of work."
"That sucks," he said, noting my expression. "Where were you two going?"
Biting my bottom lip, I hesitated.
Would he know about the film festival?
Deciding he probably wouldn't, I replied, "Savannah."
"Ah. Home of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Are you a Berendt fan?" he asked.
"Not in particular. I liked the movie though." He rolled his eyes at my response.
As much as I adored the big screen; Cullen loved books. He was an avid reader, and we often debated whether a novel or its film adaptation was better. Most times, I didn't even bother reading the book before watching the movie.
That drove him insane.
Like the time he found out I hadn't read the Harry Potter series; I thought he was going to have an aneurysm.
"How can you be twenty-seven years old and not have read The Sorcerer's Stone?"
"I was only ten when the movie was released, and at that time, I had no interest in seeing the film, let alone, reading about some wizard boy," I explained. "Anyhow, that was the same year the first X-Men movie came out, and I was obsessed with superheroes. Oh, and The Beach came out that year as well."
Edward looked at me incredulously. "The Beach? Seriously? You can't be talking about the Leonardo DiCaprio film. Both the book and the movie were horrible."
Now that I thought about it, the movie hadn't been that great. "Okay, it wasn't that good, but I had a small crush on Leo at the time," I mumbled.
"Figures," he muttered before adding, "Hey, wasn't that movie rated "R"? Your dad allowed you to see it when you were ten?"
I twirled a lock of my hair. "I may have lied and told him I was seeing The Emperor's New Groove."
He shook his head and chuckled. "But that doesn't explain how seventeen years later you still haven't read one of the best-selling books of all time."
"Why would I read it now?" I asked. "I've already seen the movie." Sometimes he could be so obtuse.
After I gave him my response, he groaned and threw his hands in the air. "I give up."
"So why were you going to Savannah?"
"Um, just to sightsee. You know, nothing in particular."
He stared at me for a moment and rubbed his chin. A gleam of mischief glowed in his eyes. "So, it has nothing to do with the Savannah Film Festival?"
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Feigning innocence, I inspected my fingernails before replying, "Oh? Is that going on? I hadn't heard."
"You are such a terrible liar," he said with a chuckle. "Is your boyfriend, Leo, going to be there or something?"
Ugh! He could be such an asshole sometimes. Ever since I had told him about my childhood crush, he continued to rub it in my face. That's why he could never learn about my feelings for Aro.
"You're such a pain in the ass." My cheeks flushed from being caught in the fib. There was no use in lying to him now. He was like a dog with a bone, and he would not quit until I admitted the truth. "Okay, we were planning on attending the festival, but Leonardo won't be there." Turning toward him, I gave what I believed to be my most intimidating glare and added, "And I've told you time and time again that I don't have a crush on him anymore."
"Sure, you don't." He continued to laugh. "So why aren't you still going?"
Even though he had been teasing me, I knew he wasn't facetious, so I explained how I couldn't afford to fly, and he knew my car well enough not to ask that question.
After a few moments, he said, "Unlike some people, I actually happen to be a Berendt fan. And since I've never been to Savannah, I guess I could go with you."
With her mouth gaped open, Bella stood and stared at me before blinking several times and stating, "Are you shitting me?"
Well, that wasn't exactly the response I had expected or hoped for, but at least she hadn't turned me down.
"No, Bella. I'm not shitting you as you so eloquently put it."
"B-but why do you want to go?"
"I just told you; I've never been before, and I really would like to visit the Mercer House."
After walking across the room and popping a pod into our shared Keurig machine, she sighed. "I just don't know. I still don't think I can afford a hotel room on my own, and it's probably too late to find something else that's reasonably priced and decent."
"Why would you be paying for the hotel room by yourself? I'll pay half."
"We can't share a room!"
"Why? Do you snore or something?"
"No! I don't snore!" she said with a huff. Her cheeks turned red before she whispered, "The room only has one bed."
"Oh, I see … you're a blanket hog."
After swatting me in the chest, she growled in frustration. "You drive me insane!"
"Relax! I was just teasing." Stepping back, I said, "There's no reason to go all Jack Reacher on me."
After stopping her assault on my torso, a dreamy expression crossed her face. "Did you mention something about Tom Cruise?"
Yanking my hair, I huffed. "No, I said something about the fictional protagonist from Lee Child's novels."
"No, it's really not. Anyway, Cruise was a poor choice for that role; he's ten inches shorter than the character."
Bella gasped. "How can you say such a thing? Did you even see the movie? Tom was fantastic."
"Oh, Tom is it? You better not let Leo hear you talk so intimately about another actor."
She shot me a glare before fetching her brewed coffee.
Wanting to return to the original topic, I said, "I'll sleep on the floor."
"At the hotel. I can sleep on the floor, or maybe they'll have one of those rollaway cots I can use."
"I can't ask you to do that —"
"You're not; I'm offering."
"Because, as I said before, I've never been to Savannah, and I've always wanted to go."
She eyed me skeptically. "You're really sure about this?"
"Yes, Swan, I'm certain. So, are we going to Georgia or not?"
Welcome to my new story! Updates will be on Fridays.
I started this story when I first learned Robert Pattinson would be at the Savannah Film Festival back in 2017.
FYI - Aro does not represent Rob in this story, and even though I am slightly nuts about Rob, Bella's thoughts/actions do not reflect mine.
K, Kay, and Fran - for giving the story their magic touch.
Cheryl - for helping me choose which story to continue out of the many I have started.
Gail - for giving my work a final look and her encouragement.
And finally, Lizzie Paige - for making so many fabulous banner options.
I love you all!
Thank you to all my readers for your continued support.
Until next time,