A/N: I suck at life.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.


Bowed Down

My mother was standing at the front door in a dressing gown as Bella and I stumbled out of the car, breathless. I hadn't been able to keep my hands off her since leaving the hotel.

When we should have been talking, we had been kissing. Not that I minded too much.

She was laughing, but sobered up immediately upon seeing Esme. I hadn't thought about Bella meeting my parents, but now I realised that she would probably be nervous. I grabbed her hand and pulled her forward.

"Morning, mom?" I hoped my voice sounded innocent.

"I came down for a glass of milk, Edward. And do you know what I found instead? A strange blonde girl sitting at the table, reading a magazine." She said, using her "You have a lot of explaining to do" voice.

Well, shit.

"About her…" I mumbled, buying time. "Her name is Rosalie Hale."

"Well, I gathered as much after talking to her." My mother's lips curled up into a smile and I relaxed. "How long have her and Emmett been dating?"

"Since about the day we arrived in Phoenix." I replied. I was still nervous about this topic of conversation, obviously she didn't know about Rose's pregnancy.

Esme smiled before glancing at Bella beside me. Her smile grew wider. "I'm sorry, where are my manners? Esme Cullen, I'm Edward's mom. You must be Bella." She reached out to shake Bella's hand and Bella hurried to reciprocate.

"It's nice to meet you, Mrs. Cullen." She was being shy Bella now.

"You can call her Esme." I squeezed her hand.

My mother didn't miss this gesture as she let us into the house. By now the sun was starting to rise. We had been in the hotel room quite a while. And then outside…. And then the car….

Still holding Bella by the hand, I led us into the kitchen, which was now empty. My mother, as if reading my mind, said, "Rosalie is in the first guest room, sleeping. She looked tired, poor thing."

I cleared my throat. Yes, she would be tired. Pregnant women often were, weren't they?

"Right, well, so is Bella, so we're just going to go to bed now…"

My mother raised her eyebrows. "Bella can go to bed." She smiled kindly at her before turning to me. "You are staying right here. We need to have a little talk."

My shoulders slumped before I sighed. "I'll show Bella to her room."

I started up the stairs, Bella in tow, when my mother spoke. "The guest room, Edward."

Right, of course.

I grunted in response, my cheerful mood from earlier gone. I was not looking forward to a "little talk" with Esme. "Little talks" with my mother usually involved her trying to get me to "express my feelings" and let her "help me". I had had enough little talks to last me a lifetime.

Still, the sooner I got it over with, the sooner I could kiss Bella again. It had been nearly five minutes since we had left the car. Entirely too long.

I led her to the second floor and down the hall. When I knew we were out of my mother's sight and hearing I pulled her to me and kissed her gently. She smiled against my lips.

"Edward. Go talk to your mother."

I liked when Bella was bossy.

"No." I kissed her again.

"Edward. She has a right to know what's going on."

I pulled away and sighed. "How do I explain about the pregnancy test? It's not my place to say."

She contemplated this for a moment. "Tell her… tell her it was Alice's. She doesn't know Alice, and therefore won't care."

"Won't Alice be slightly annoyed?"

"No, she'll think it's funny. She'd probably even go along with it just to freak Jasper out."

"Okay." I grinned and kissed her cheek.

"Now, where's this room?" inquired Bella, swatting me away.

"Oh, right. You can have the room next to Rosalie's." I pulled her along until we came to the right door. I opened it with a flourish. "I'll try escape as soon as possible." I assured her; sorry I couldn't give her a proper tour. "And I'll bring your bags up from the car on my way."

I leaned in for another kiss but Bella laughed and pushed me out the door. "Go. Come back later when you're less horny."

I sighed, defeated and began my descent downstairs, not entirely sure of what I would say.

"Okay, I'm here. Let's get this over with…" I mumbled as my mother came into view.

"Don't sound so enthusiastic, son, we might think you actually enjoy talking to us." My father had appeared from the living room and was sitting reading the newspaper.

I grimaced and slid into a seat across from him at the table. My mother remained standing.

"Alright, explain." Was all she said.

"It wasn't Bella's test. It was…" I stopped, still unsure if using Alice as a scapegoat was a good idea.

"Some girl named Alice's, correct?" my mother finished.

"How did you know?" I asked, surprised.

"Rosalie told me. Really Edward, you shouldn't have been so rash… If you'd just trust people more…"

"Yeah okay, I get it, Edward has trust issues…." I rolled my eyes.

"Son, we're trying to help you. You and Bella obviously patched things up – I assume that's where you were this morning?" replied Dad.

"And she seems like such a lovely girl." Mom smiled before her expression turned serious. "Don't do anything stupid, Edward."

"Me? You act like I ruin all of my relationships. It's my fault that my girlfriend of seven months cheated on me and got pregnant, is it?" I felt my voice rising.

"Edward, calm down and stop jumping down everybody's throat. The world is not out to get you." Said my mother soothingly.

I ducked my head, slightly ashamed at my temper. "I really like Bella. I won't mess it up." I said, my voice barely audible.

"Then trust her. Trust that she's a good person, that she'll make good choices." Replied my father.

I got up from the table. "Are we done here?"

"Why are you in such a hurry?" mom's smile was back.

"I'm tired, I haven't slept in days." I feigned a yawn.

"Alright, go to bed then… will I call you and Bella for lunch?" asked my mother, sitting down beside Dad.

"Sure, sure." I glanced at my watch. It was now 7am.

Pulling my car keys from my pocket I went outside and retrieved Bella and Rosalie's bags. Rosalie's seemed to weigh half a ton. How long had she been planning on staying? Bella's was entirely too light for how long I wanted her to stay. That was a discussion we would need to have sooner or later. Later, hopefully.

I lugged the bags through the kitchen ignoring the bemused look my father gave me.

"Emmett called while you were gone. I told him you were MIA and he seemed happy enough, but he said to call him back when you got home."

I made sure my expression didn't change as I nodded. I carried the bags upstairs before returning to the kitchen to get the phone.

I really really needed a new cell phone…

I hurried up to my room, eager to get this conversation over with. Why was everyone trying to interrupt Bella time, dammit?

"Edward?" Emmett answered on the first ring.

"Did you even go to bed last night?" I said, surprised he hadn't fallen asleep after calling.

"No, and that doesn't matter right now. Did you talk to Bella?"

"Yes. And your girlfriend. How the hell do you put up with that crap?"

"Watch it." He warned. "You were a douchebag to her friend. Of course she's gonna lay into you."

"Bella could have just come on her own." I grumbled.

"Nah, you needed someone like Rose to call you out on your shit, Ed."

"Thanks, Emmett. That means a lot." I rolled my eyes.

There was silence on the other end of the phone, and I knew I was going to have to bring up why he had called this morning.

"Are we going to talk about the giant elephant in the room or just ignore it?" I asked.

I heard him sigh. "I don't know what we're going to do."

"Emmett how the hell could be so… stupid? You were using condoms, what the fuck happened?"

"I – we were…. But there was this one time…."

"That's what she said too." I replied dryly.

"I mean she isn't even supposed to be able…." He was talking to himself now.

"What? Rosalie can't… she can't have kids?" Now I was confused. "Then how…?"

"I don't know, okay?" snapped Emmett. "It's a long story… it… it's complicated."

"I have time." I didn't really, but I wanted to know now.

"It doesn't concern you, Edward. What should concern you is that I'm going to be a Dad. What am I supposed to do?"

It was rare for Emmett to get worked up over anything, and hearing him like this was always a sobering experience.

"I don't know. Shit, I'm sorry." I said sincerely.

"You haven't told Mom or Dad, have you?"

"No. And neither has Rosalie. We told them the test was Alice's."

Emmett laughed humorlessly. "Jazz would know how to handle this though, wouldn't he? He's gonna flippin' marry that girl."

"I know." I said consolingly. "Has she… Has Rose decided?"

"I think she wants to keep it." He said, resigned. "I can't stop her. I mean this may be her only chance… But Christ, she's nineteen years old, Edward."

I considered this for a moment. "And college?"

"She's talking about nursery during the day. She feels pretty strongly about it. I can't get a word in edgewise. I've never seen her so set on something. I mean she's always been stubborn but…"

I listened while he talked, both to himself and to me. He was so worked up, I'm surprised he even let Rosalie leave. After half an hour he hung up, and I felt a twinge of pity for him. He was twenty one, still in college, his whole life ahead of him…

I sounded like my mom.

Snap out of it, Edward. Think about it later.

That seemed to be my motto these days, but I didn't care. I could finally get back to Bella. I grinned at that thought and made my way down a floor to where her room was located. I knocked on her door, praying she wasn't sleeping, and it opened a crack before I was yanked in by my shirt.

I grinned at the sight of Bella, her hand gripping my collar tightly. "Hello."

"How did the talk go? Did your mom buy it?" she asked tentatively.

"Yeah, Rosalie already told her it was Alice's test." I paused. "Has she talked about… it… a lot?"

"No, not really. She's being… stubborn about it. She's adamant that she's going to keep it."

"And you don't think she should?" I asked, taking her hand in mine and sitting down on the bed.

Bella sighed before sitting beside me. "Rose has always wanted kids. Like, always. Even when we were younger she'd always make her Barbie pregnant." She paused for a moment, uncertain. "And then… when she was thirteen…"

"Yes?"

She looked at me, studying my expression. "She had a difficult year."

"You can't tell me, can you?"

"It's really not my story to tell. Of course, I'm sure Rose will tell you in her own time… or if…" she trailed off, as if realising she had said too much.

"That's okay, you don't have to tell me." I squeezed her hand.

It felt odd to be able to that – such a simple little gesture. But she was mine, I was allowed to hold her hand, and kiss her, and talk to her whenever I wanted to. I actually had her.

Bella, as if reading my thoughts leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek. "Thank you."

When she pulled away I spoke. "Is the Cullen household to your liking? Is your room okay? Because you can stay in the other guestroom if you'd like…"

"Just how many guestrooms are there in this house anyway?" she quirked one eyebrow.

"Too many. My room's the nicest. You should be staying there." I grinned.

She pushed me playfully and I fell back onto the bed. "You are such a teenage boy."

"I know. It's extremely unnerving." I pulled her down beside me.

We lay in silence for a few minutes, until Bella spoke. "Edward… how long is this… arrangement going to last?"

"Arrangement?"

"I mean…" I felt her fidget beside me, nervous. "Are you going to stay here? Or…"

I considered this for a moment. "What would you like to do?"

"Me? Why does it matter what I want to do?" she sat up, gazing down at me.

"Well, if you're going back to Phoenix, I'm obviously going to follow." Didn't she get that?

"I – That's – This is so strange."

"You mean this?" I gestured between us.

She nodded. "I mean we're actually… together. You want to spend time with me. You're not running."

"I'm not running." I repeated, testing the words out. "Except after you, if you go back to Phoenix. Which I know you want to." I glanced at her, confirming my suspicions.

"I have a job. And Alice would kill me if I left her for the rest of the summer. And Rosalie will need to go back…." She was blabbering.

I kissed her, effectively ending her speech. "Then I'll go with you."

This seemed to satisfy her, because she smiled and lay back down.

I could definitely get used to this.


My mom called us for lunch at 2 o' clock. I heard her voice from downstairs and was glad she hadn't come up to call us. I was supposed to be in my room. Not that Bella and I had been doing anything we shouldn't have been, in fact we had fallen asleep pretty quickly, but we had been lying on a large bed. I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea.

Not that it would be a terrible idea, and while I certainly wouldn't object if that were the case, I had a feeling Bella wouldn't be so willing. Yet, anyway.

Yes, I had definitely turned into a typical teenage boy in the span of a few hours. What the hell was wrong with me? Sure I had thought about sex before, fooled around with a few girls in high school, before Tanya. But I hadn't slept with anyone, and I was suddenly wondering what the hell was holding me back. Nothing now, that was clear. Bella had changed things. Bella had changed me.

Into a horny adolescent apparently.

I smirked as I sat down at the kitchen table in front of a plate of spaghetti that was quite possibly the size of Italy itself.

"You know I did eat while I was away." I commented, picking up my fork as Bella sat down in front of me.

"I know. But you like my spaghetti." Said my mom, bustling about the kitchen.

I rolled my eyes. She still treated me like a kid when it came to food.

"This looks lovely… Esme." Said Bella, unsure whether the offer of calling my mom Esme still stood.

"Thank you." Said mom, sitting down beside her. I distinctly saw Bella gulp.

"So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" mom asked, digging into her spaghetti, which was considerably smaller than mine.

"There's not really much to tell." Replied Bella shyly.

Now this would have to stop. My family probably loved her more than me already. She didn't have to be so afraid.

"Well," mom prodded, "Did you grow up in Arizona? What would you like to be when you're older? How difficult was Edward when you first met him?" she asked all of this in one breath.

Bella's reply was a nervous laugh, before she cracked a smile. "Yes. I'm not sure yet. And he wasn't too bad." She said, making sure she had answered all of the questions.

"Now why don't I believe that?" mom quirked one eyebrow.

"You act like I'm a sociopath." I mumbled, twisting my fork.

"No I don't. Now eat your spaghetti."

I shook my head, shooting an apologetic glance at Bella. My mother liked to interrogate any girls I brought home.

"Will you be staying with us for long? We'd love to have you."

"Um, actually I was thinking of going back soon." Bella said quietly.

"Oh? I thought…" she looked at me swiftly before returning to gazing at Bella.

"I'm going with her, mom."

"Well, if that's what you want. But don't forget you'll need to be back by August 25th. We need to get your stuff moved in at Penn."

Bella choked on her spaghetti. I guess I might have failed to mention where I was going to college in September. I was trying not to think about it, if I was honest with myself.

"You're – you're going to Penn?" she spluttered, shyness forgotten. "As in, across the country Penn?"

I swallowed. "Yes. Why, where are you going?" This couldn't be good.

"Stanford." She whispered.

My throat had gone dry all of a sudden, and my voice came out hoarse. "Stanford as in... California?"

"I don't know of any other Stanford."

Great.


I know. I'm so sorry. 3 months. That's kind of pathetic. Just yeah, school stuff as usual, real life, etc. I'm on midterm break (do you guys have that over in the US?) right now, which is why I have time to write. I actually had this written a few days ago but I was kind of terrified of posting it and having to explain why I didn't update for so long AGAIN. Also I hadn't really planned on bringing the college thing in in this chapter (I had wanted just one chapter of pure E/B fluff sans angst) but it was kind of unavoidable, so yes, don't kill me for that.

So even though I'm a horrible person who never updates, reviews would be lovely. I'm kind of afraid you guys might find this chapter a bit boring after all the ~drama that's been in the last few chapters, so feedback would be great.