Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Stephenie Meyer and are only used for fan related purposes.
My stomach growled again so loudly that, if it wasn't for my sudden realization of just how hungry I was, I might've been a little nervous that the other Cullens had picked up on the embarrassing bodily noise. Their hearing was exceptional; it wouldn't surprise me in the least that they could hear the rumbling of my belly from the confines of Edward's bedroom. But the aroma coming off of Edward's freshly prepared eggs took me over then, smelling almost as good as my boyfriend himself did.
This, I decided, just cemented the fact that he was too good for me.
With only one more small twinge of regret that I was about to destroy his handiwork, I obediently did what Edward told me to do in his note: I dug in.
The eggs were absolutely delicious, of course, and the potatoes were cooked to a perfect crisp. I expected nothing less from him… though I did study it pretty intently before I ate it at first. Maybe I was still a little sore over yesterday, but it would have been nice to find something—anything—wrong with the food. It got old being the plain, normal, entirely imperfect one in our relationship.
I started to feel a little full after I finished the hot food but I didn't want any of it to have to go to waste. After piling the empty, dirty dishes to the side of the tray table—I nearly knocked the flower decoration off but I just managed to catch it in time—I poured the cup of milk into the bowl of dry cereal and picked up the spoon. I took my time with the cereal, swirling the spoon in the milk, letting the flakes get soggy. It tasted better that way, and it gave me something to think about other than where Edward could be.
By the time I finished the last of the cereal, drinking the rest of the room temperature milk at the bottom of the bowl and trying my best not to gag, I thought he would have returned already. He hadn't. I needed something different to think about now before I started to pace around his room.
In the end, I decided that I'd probably be more entertained—and waste a good amount of time while I was as i—if I looked over the vast, eclectic CD collection of Edward's that filled up shelf after shelf of his room. Arching my back, stretching a little, I was just about to climb out of the couch when I noticed a second table set up just off to the side of the breakfast tray table. I was pretty sure that the second one was new; at least, it hadn't been in the room last night, though I couldn't say the same thing about this morning.
I got a better look at it, and I knew that the table had been set up just for me. There was a good-sized pile of stuff stack on top that I recognized—and they weren't Edward's.
They were mine.
A fresh pair of jeans was folded at the bottom of the pile, my favorite blue sweater placed on top. I could see a sliver of white sticking out from underneath the lightweight material and I paused for a second, trying to figure out what it could be. My face started to heat up when I realized what they were: my underwear. Not only did Edward bring me clothes for today, but he even brought me clean underwear!
I didn't know what was worse: that he had to go rifling through my underwear drawer when Charlie was sleeping down the hall, or that Edward had—with everything else on his mind—found time to bring me clothes… and underwear! And not only that, either. Nestled neatly on top of my sweater, I saw my deodorant laid next to a brand new toothbrush and two trial size containers of a matching strawberry shampoo and conditioner set.
Oh, yeah. He was definitely way too good for me.
Just then I could almost forgive him for sneaking off this morning to bring me my underwear… even if it did reinforce Edward's determination to keep me his prisoner in his family's home. But only almost. He had made me stay and there was no way I was spending another night here because he was acting paranoid. Unfortunately, if he had gone to the trouble to make sure I would be comfortable today, it was easy to see that he didn't have any intentions of letting me go home this morning.
That better change later.
Sighing a bit, I let my fingers reach out and run along the soft edge of my sweater. Like everything he did, I thought it was pretty thoughtful that he'd brought me this to wear today. It was the same sweater I'd worn the first time I met his parents, and one of the shirts I owned that he liked best. Even though it was summer, it was a thin enough sweater to keep me comfortable.
And it always reminded me of how much he loved me.
I was just about to pick the sweater up and pull it on over my bed-head and rumpled t-shirt when I noticed another folded square of paper set neatly on the far edge of this table. I immediately forgot everything else as I eagerly picked it up and opened the note.
Maybe, if I was lucky, it would tell me what Edward was up to this morning.
Quickly, I read:
Wait for me here, Bella. I'll be with you again before you know it.
I read it a second time and then a third before wrinkling my nose in thinly veiled frustration and folding the note back up. Slipping it into the back pocket of the jeans I was still wearing, I could almost hear Edward's voice echoing in my head with his message. He hadn't given me an answer with his note, but he'd definitely given me a thing or two to think about.
On the one hand, Edward had very nicely told me to stay where I was. He knew me all too well; he had to know I was itching to get out. Then again, he'd also been kind enough to leave me a pile of fresh clothes and enough toiletries to maybe make me wonder what I wouldn't have wanted to stay over last night.
And it wasn't like he told me to stay in his room, technically. He wanted me to stay—and I didn't plan on leaving the Cullen's house. Not yet, anyway. Now that I was done with breakfast, and he still wasn't back yet, I thought it might be a good idea to use the shower.
No surprise, it didn't take long for me to make up my mind. Shower it was. It would've been stupid to put a clean sweater on over dirty clothes… and, besides, he did bring me shampoo, a toothbrush and deodorant. It was almost like he was telling me to get washed up this morning.
I waited about half a minute on the tips of my toes, pleased with my logic, checking to see if Edward was going to turn up now or not. When he didn't even answer when I cautiously called his name, I figured it was safe.
After gathering my clothes together, sticking my deodorant and the toothbrush in the waist of my pants, and making sure that I had a good hold on the shampoo and conditioner bottles, I was all set. Trying my best to be sneaky—and only just managing to slip across Edward's room without actually, you know, slipping—I opened the door and peaked my head out into the hall. It was empty. The coast was clear.
I felt a little like James Bond, sneaking down the hallway the way I did. It worked, too. I didn't know where anyone else was in the house, but I made it down the hall and safely into the empty bathroom without anyone seeing me. Not that I thought it really mattered if they did see me… it was just more fun this way.
Once I entered the lavish bathroom, I flicked the light switch on and locked the door behind me. It was a habit I picked up when Phil moved in with my mom and me, and one that I kept with when I moved to Forks to live with Charlie; I barely noticed doing it anymore. I let my fresh clothes settle in the empty sink, moving my toiletries over to the pristine white bathtub.
Because the last thing I needed was to be stuck wet and naked in the bathroom, I checked to see if the Cullens kept towels in the bathroom. Two white, luxurious towels were hung over an ornate silver towel rack. Perfect. They looked like pieces of clouds hanging there, waiting to wrap me up in their fluffy goodness.
Like I had the other day, I didn't really spend too much time marveling at the simplistic beauty of the upstairs bathroom. The shower was calling my name and, feeling only a little self-conscious, I quickly stripped out of my dirty clothes. I had meant to crumple them together and leave them on the toilet seat but that didn't work out the way I planned. I tossed the pile down and it missed the seat entirely, falling on the ground just behind the toilet bowl.
I left them there as I pulled the shower curtain aside and climbed into the tub. I would just have to remember to pick them up when my shower was done before someone like Rosalie found them. Because that would just be great if that happened.
Giving my head a small shake as the image of Rosalie's disgusted sneer as she found my flower-printed panties on the floor of her bathroom, I turned my attention to the shower. This was the first time I'd ever had to use the fancy faucet in Edward's house and it took me a second to figure out how to turn it on. I must have turned the knob too far to the right because, when the spray first came on, the water was so ice cold that I let out a small shriek.
A quick turn back to the left remedied that and soon I was relaxing again under the warm spray of water. There was something about the feel of a steady stream of warm water that just seemed to wash all of my worries away. I closed my eyes, pushing the memory of a pair of flat, red, hungry eyes out of my head, and pretended like nothing was wrong. Besides, it wasn't as if I knew something was wrong… not yet, at least.
If only I could have stayed in the bathroom forever. I couldn't, and I was sure the running water had alerted the entire household that I was awake. It had to be as strange for them to have me here so early and for so long as it was for me to have stayed over.
Maybe that was what made me leave Edward's room in favor of my shower. I was trying to make my day as normal as I could make it, considering how not normal it was already starting to be. Sleeping over at Edward's with Charlie's permission? Breakfast in bed? My clothes picked out for me by someone who wasn't Alice?
Yup, definitely not normal.
The familiar strawberry scent of my shampoo helped me pretend that this was just another morning. As long as I kept my eyes closed, it was easy. Of course, I couldn't keep my eyes closed any more than I could stay in the shower. Before long I would turn into a wrinkled prune—and that was if I didn't run out of hot water first.
It was with a sigh that I reached my hand out and turned the shower off. Taking care that I didn't slip and fall, I walked over to where the towels were hung and took one down. I'd been right when I thought it would be like a cloud; the towel was so soft and comforting that I felt like the fabric was giving me a hug. It was just what I needed and I probably would have kept it on if it wasn't for the fact that I was in Edward's house. After the incident with the towel yesterday, I wasn't taking any chances.
Drying off more slowly than I should have, I used the lush towel to wrap my wet hair up in as soon as I was done. Getting dressed, however, was much less time consuming. It was just after I finished putting my underclothes on and carefully pulling my sweater on over the towel—which, in retrospect, it probably wasn't the best idea to put the sweater on after I wrapped my hair in the towel—that I heard a sound that made my heart jump up to my throat.
I heard a vicious snarl followed by the pounding of one—no, two—people bounding up the steps. The house seemed to shake and my heart dropped down to my stomach. I had no idea what was going on or who was coming up to the second floor but I'll tell you this: I basically flew into the pair of jeans that were still folding neatly and resting in the curve of the sink. If the sounds were the forewarning of a threat on its way, I wasn't going to be caught standing there in my underwear!
It was hard enough for me to get dressed quickly without tripping over my own two feet at times; it was even worse to have to do that when your heart is beating a mile a minute. The pounding came to an abrupt stop just as I was shimmying the waist of my jeans in place—it came to a stop and, suddenly, I could hear voices come from right outside the bathroom door.
There was another snarl, and then I heard Rosalie snap, "What? What do you have to say to me that you didn't already say to me downstairs?"
"I'm just doing this for your own good. You're my wife. It's my job to look after you."
If it were possible, my heart started to beat even faster. I was breathing easier, relieved that it was only Emmett and Rosalie who had run up the stairs so noisily, but it was still pretty uncomfortable. Whether it was intentional or not, I was basically listening in on their conversation.
I wondered if I should clear my throat, open the door and try to slip by them with a careful 'good morning'. I had a funny feeling that this was the type of argument that I didn't want to be mixed up in: the married people sort.
I should have been faster. I shouldn't have stopped to wonder if I had enough time to clean up my dirty laundry and my toiletries before I escaped back to Edward's room. I should have just opened the door and, despite the embarrassment that would have surely followed, let them know I was right here.
I should have, but I didn't. And Rosalie was all set with a fiery retort .
"My God, Emmett! After all these decades, you choose now to decide to prove to me that you're a man." She paused there and it was hard for me to tell if she was disgusted or exasperated. Rosalie usually sounded angry when I was in earshot; it was the nuances in her voice that I was still learning to pick up on.
From beneath my embarrassed blush—there was no keeping the blood from rushing to my face, and I couldn't imagine this situation getting any worse—I decided it was definitely exasperation when Rosalie added, "In case you didn't realize it, you already do that every single night."
I could just see the wolfish grin that had to be splitting Emmett's face as he said, "And some afternoons too, huh, babe?"
And I thought that this couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. This couldn't really be happening to me, could it? I was stuck in the Cullens' upstairs bathroom with Emmett and Rosalie blocking the door. They had to know I was in here—either from the shower water that had just stopped running a few minutes ago, or the strawberry shampoo I used so liberally—but they were talking so loudly it was as if they didn't care.
And now, to make matters worse, they were talking about their sex life!
I wanted to curl up and disappear down the shower drain with the rest of the soap and bubbles. There was no way this could end well. Of course, considering my luck, that meant that things immediately had to go from bad to worse.
Emmett must have realized that Rosalie didn't quite appreciate his little comment because he groaned. Loudly. The humor was gone from his voice as he tried his best to explain.
"There's a difference between pleasing you, Rose, and making sure no one else gets their grubby mitts all over you. This—" he said, and there was a sharp cracking sound that made me jump. The same sound, I remembered from the Cullens' baseball game, that two vampires made when they collided, "—is mine."
Another noise followed right after, louder than the first, and I was pretty sure the house shook underneath my feet. I had the sinking suspicion I knew what the source of that was, and I wondered if there would be an Emmett-sized hole in the wall outside of the bathroom when I finally got to leave.
"No," Rosalie snapped, and she managed to sound both vindicated and furious at the same time, "it's mine. I just let you have it because I love you. But I can always keep it away from everyone, if you'd like."
"That's what I'm t—"
"Including you, Emmett. For your own good, of course."
Oh, no. My hands flew to my face, covering my eyes and stifling my groan. It was bad enough that she'd thrown him across the hall—at least, that's what it sounded like to me—but now she was mimicking him? Rosalie was even angrier than I imagined. And at Emmett, too. I'd never seen her turn on her husband like that before.
Dropping my hands, I glanced over at the door handle. It was still locked. Good. Not that it would do anything to keep a vampire out if she wanted to get in, but it made me feel better anyway. Seriously, what was she going to do when she finally realized that I was stuck in here, listening to every word they said?
And where was Edward already? If he didn't hurry up and help me escape from this bathroom, Rosalie was going to kill me!
At least, for the moment, Emmett was taking up all of her attention. He was more than a match for his fiery wife—except for when she was threatening to make him practice abstinence. Then, even Emmett's strength couldn't even save him from his libido.
Clucking his tongue, groaning again under the weight of Rosalie's considerable threat, I heard him moan, "Aw, Rose. Don't be like that."
"Why shouldn't I? You… you're treating me as if I was a human! Newsflash, Emmett: I'm not that fragile little girl I was when I was really eighteen. I can take care of myself."
Rosalie's hiss sent a shiver down my spine. Edward told me before that the reason his sister hated me—well, he said she didn't understand me, but I knew that he was trying to sugarcoat the truth—so much was because she regretted being turned herself. She wanted to be human again more than anything and couldn't understand my fixation with becoming a vampire. For her to throw that in Emmett's face, especially since she was the one who begged Carlisle to turn Emmett into a vampire, well… let's just say I'm glad that there was something separating her from me.
Edward… any minute now would be great…
The towel I had wrapped my hair in was beginning to slip just then and my concentration shifted to it gladly from Emmett and Rosalie's argument. Holding it in one place with my hand, I meant to glance at the mirror but my eyes strayed to the window on the far side, near the shower.
The window gave me an idea.
I let the towel drop, the damp tangles of my hair falling back against my shoulders. I didn't even notice as I hurried over to the window and, bracing my hands against the sill, I stared out on the grounds. I was in the bathroom on the second floor which meant that, if I was desperate, it was only a one story drop to the grass.
Desperation just about covered my feelings. But, I wondered… would it be worth another broken leg to get myself out of this potentially humiliating encounter?
Then again, who was I kidding? This crossed the borderline from mild misunderstanding to full-blown embarrassment as soon as Rosalie brought up Emmett's manhood!
I was just debating whether or not Edward's anger at learning I had purposely caused myself harm—and left the house at the same time—would be worse than Rosalie's when I blinked and shook my head. The argument just outside the bathroom door hadn't stopped while I stared out of the window. My attention momentarily distracted, I tuned back into their heated discussion just in time to hear my name being mentioned.
The argument might have been heated before but Rosalie's voice was as cold as ice as she snipped, "I just hope Bella is more appreciative of your efforts."
What did I miss?
It seemed like I wasn't the only one who was unhappy that my name was being dragged into their fight. I heard a strange sound, a mixture between a low hiss and a growl, and then a third voice cutting in with a firm, "Don't bring Bella into this."
I don't know when he joined the two of them, but I was glad. Or, at least, I was glad until I heard him speak again. Before Rosalie had the chance to sniff at his command, or Emmett could turn it into some sort of joke, there was a polite knock on the bathroom door, followed by, "Bella?"
It was Edward. His voice had calmed considerably, the velvet texture smoothing over his earlier anger. I could make out the question in his voice before he even said it. Then, when I didn't answer him right away, he said, "Bella, are you in there?"
I was absolutely mortified. It was bad enough to be caught eavesdropping, but eavesdropping on a conversation like the one I'd just heard? And he had to know I was in here. There was no way I could lie, and I couldn't pretend to be conveniently deaf anymore than I could try to sneak out of the bathroom without any of them knowing.
I was trapped, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Biting my lip, I finally called out through the door, "… maybe."
"Are you decent? Do you want to come out?"
What could I do?
The only good thing I could think about was that, when I went out there, Edward and Emmett were both standing there, too. If Rosalie decided she wanted to take her anger out on me—and, considering her last remark, there was a good chance she might—then there was no way Edward would let her. And I would hope that she listened to Emmett…
Who was I kidding now?
Darn it. I knew I should have just jumped out of the window when I had my chance. Another broken leg and six more weeks in a cast would have been much better than what I was about to face.