Disclaimer: I don't own anything, all characters and songs belong to their original owners.
Belle- Beauty and the Beast
Pretending- Glee Cast
Tangled Up In Me
Chapter 9: Pretending
The loud shattering brought us both out of the heated moment and Edward backed away.
We both sobered quickly and realizing what had happened I jumped off the counter and ran for the stairs.
"Bella wait!" I heard him call after me but I didn't stop until I was out on the patio.
I needed the fresh air. I needed to breath.
I don't know how long I stood there, staring into the night sky but it must have been a while because I suddenly realized I was freezing.
I felt a blanket wrap around my shoulders and turned to see two bright green eyes staring into mine.
My breath hitched and I had to try three times to swallow the lump that had formed in my throat.
I hated the reaction I was having to him, it wasn't right. One of us would get hurt and I had a feeling it wouldn't be Edward Masen.
"I sorry" Edward whispered as he held the blanket on my shoulders.
"It's fine..I..." I didn't know how to finish my sentence. What could I say? I didn't mind? I wanted him to kiss me again?
Almost as if he could read my mind Edward looked down to my lips.
Did he want to kiss me again? Did I want him to kiss me again? Yes! My mind screamed.
"I really like you Bella" he said staring into my eyes, no trace of untruth in his emerald eyes.
"What?" I asked, somewhat dumbstruck, okay, not somewhat, completely.
"I like you. I just needed you to know that I didn't kiss you just because I was drinking. I mean that definitely gave me the courage to do it, but I've wanted to kiss you since that first day when you called me miserable cynic, and-" he said in one giant rambling.
I put my finger on his lips to stop him.
"I know I shouldn't be, but I can't help but find myself attracted to you."
"Really?" he asked astonished.
"Really, but we can't do this. You have a girlfriend and I..." I have a job to do I mentally finished.
The next thing I knew his warm lips were on mine again and he had me pulled tightly to his chest.
I began to get dizzy and I wasn't sure if it was from the alcohol or from lack of breath, or just from being so close and intimate with Edward, but at the moment I didn't care.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and tried to pull myself even closer to him.
I heard him make a small groan in the back of his throat and I lost all my self control.
I didn't want to fight him, and made a decision that just for tonight, with the courage the alcohol was giving me that I would just be a girl. Tomorrow, tomorrow I would return to being his protector, even if he didn't know.
When we finally broke apart Edward let his hands slide from my shoulders and took my right hand in his left and led me back into the house.
My stuff was in a guess room down the hall from Alice's bedroom but Edward didn't stop at my door and instead dragged me down the hallway a few more feet to another closed door.
He opened it and led me inside.
It was another guest room and there was a dark green duffel bag sitting on the end of the bed.
Edward closed the door and then pushed me against it, kissing me again.
I really loved kissing him, and felt an ache in my chest from the separation I knew I would have to impose when the sun came up.
Getting caught up in the moment I pushed him backwards toward where the bed was. When his knees hit the edge he sat down and pulled me with him.
We laid down on the bed together, just kissing. I was surprised that he wasn't pushing for more like most guys would, but that was just another thing that made Edward, Edward. He was always surprising me.
I woke up early the next morning in Edward's arms. I looked over at the clock on the nightstand telling me that it was 6:30 in the morning.
I looked over at the beautiful boy sleeping next to me. He looked so peaceful, no worry or frown lines on his face, not a care in the world. I envied him.
I gently extracted myself from his arms and sat up. I kissed him lightly on the cheek.
"Thank you" I whispered before I tiptoed to the door and back down the hall to my room.
I took off my bikini and put on panties and a large t-shirt before collapsing in my own bed.
Alice woke me up a few hours later by jumping on me until I got up.
"C'mon! My mom is making pancakes! She makes the best pancakes! You're gonna love them! Get dressed and hurry downstairs before the guys or they'll eat everything!"
I just glared at her but did as she said. I had the worst hangover from last night.
I had no idea how she could have that much energy considering she drank way more than I had last night.
I wasn't really hungry but I figured I should get something substantial in my stomach and I did want to meet her mom.
I got up and went into the connected bathroom. I showered and brushed my teeth, then put on clean jeans and a t-shirt. When I was dressed I went downstairs where Alice, Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper were all hanging out with a beautiful woman that had carmel colored hair.
"Good morning dear, you must be the famous Bella. I've heard so much about you" she said as she came around the island and engulfed me in a hug.
I see where Emmett and Alice get it now.
"Yeah, Hi, Mrs. Cullen. It's nice to meet you"
"Oh please, call me Esme."
"Oh, ok...uh...Esme?" It wasn't that I was uncomfortable calling an adult by their first name, but more that I was surprised by how open and welcoming she was.
I knew from my research that she owned a small interior decorating company and it did fairly well. She did work mostly in Port Angeles and had quite a few clients in the greater Seattle area.
From what I had seen in her own house she was pretty amazing at her job.
"You have a beautiful house, Esme." I told her, making small talk while Emmett and Jasper chatted about cars behind me. "Did you decorate all this yourself?"
"Oh thank you Bella! Yes I did. I own my own decorating company."
"Wow that's amazing" I told her smiling.
"Would you like some pancakes? I was waiting for you to come down before I put them on the griddle, otherwise there wouldn't be any left with the way that one eats" she said laughing and pointing at Emmett with a ladle that was in her hand.
"Well thank you, I'd love some"
We all sat down around the table in the kitchen as Esme placed the hot plate of pancakes in the center.
Emmett had his fork on the top of the stack before Esme hands had left the plate. She slapped his wrist, "Ladies first, you know the rules young man."
"Sorry Mom" he said and pulled his hand back. "Dig in Bella"
I placed two pancakes on my plate and slathered butter and syrup all over them. I noticed that Edward was missing, but I didn't want to ask. Thankfully I was saved by Esme who had also noticed his absence.
"Where's Edward? I thought I saw his car out front." She said taking a sip of tea from her cup.
"Heves oowfide oh a foah" Emmett said through a mouthful of food.
"What have I told you about taking with your mouthful?"
"He's outside on the phone, Esme" Jasper clarified.
"Ah, I see" she replied, returning to her breakfast.
It was at the moment that Edward graced us with his presence although I wish he hadn't.
I could feel the anger rolling off of him as he entered the room and sat down in the empty chair between Emmett and Jasper.
"Morning Esme" he muttered as he grabbed some pancakes with his hands and threw them onto his plate.
I could tell that bothered Esme but she must have sensed his bad mood and let it go.
The rest of breakfast was tense and I was relieved when Alice pulled me from the table to change into our swimsuits so we could go lay out by the pool.
It was unseasonably warm and I jumped at the chance to be in the sun.
Alice, Rose and I were laying by the pool listening to the radio when Emmett thundered by and yelled "CANNONBALLLL!"
Jasper and Edward were right behind Emmett as they both jumped into the pool as well.
We all screamed as water splashed out of the pool and onto our chairs and consequently us.
"Emmett! What have I told you about my hair!" Rose yelled as he laughed from the middle of the pool.
I got up and laughing ran to join Emmett in the cool water, splashing Alice and Rose again, although my splash wasn't nearly as large as Emmetts.
"If you can't beat em', join em'" Alice said before she too jumped into the water.
Rose was sitting in her chair fuming at the five of us in the water.
"C'mon Rose! Just get it" I yelled at her. She finally gave in and cannonballed herself right into the middle of everyone. When she came up for air she swam to Emmett and dunked him under.
We all laughed as he re-emerged from the water.
"Hey why'd I get dunked? I wasn't the only one to splash you."
"Yes, but you were the instigator"
We swam for a while and everyone was having a great time. I was avoiding Edward and trying not to be obvious but I wasn't sure how to act around him after last night. He seemed to share my sentiment and was careful not to get too close to me either.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to head home. Jasper, Edward, and I headed toward where our cars were all parked at the front of the house. Rose had left about an hour ago.
"See ya later Bella." Alice called from the porch, giving Jasper a kiss.
I threw my overnight bag into the cab and put the key in the ignition; however, when I turned it nothing happened. I tried it a couple more times and nothing.
I pulled my cell phone out of my bag and was just about the call Charlie to come get me when a tap on my window made me jump out of my skin.
I know, I know, as a spy or spy-in-training little things like someone tapping on my window shouldn't scare me, but it did.
Edward was standing there and pointed down with his finger. I rolled down the window like he wanted.
"Do you need a ride?"
"Oh no it's ok, I'll just call my dad" I told him.
"Don't be silly. I drive by your street on my way home. I'll take you"
I couldn't think of any other excuse so I gave in.
I grabbed my bag and walked over to Edward's car. He followed closely behind me and opened the passenger door. Taking my bag from my hand and placing it in the back seat, before returning to the drivers side and starting the engine.
As Edward started to pull out of the driveway his phone rang. He reached into his pocket and answered it.
"Hello? Yeah I'm on my way. Ok sure, no problem"
He hung up after the short conversation and turned to face me. "Do you mind if we make a quick stop on the way to your house?"
"Uh..sure that's fine"
We headed back towards town and pulled into the parking lot of the small store.
"I just have to run in and pick up a prescription for my mom. I'll be right back."
Edward left me in the car with the engine running and I flipped through the song on his ipod until I found one that I wanted.
I was happy that our car ride wasn't awkward. I was surprised by how comfortable I was around him. We both seemed to be the types that didn't have a problem with silence.
I was singing along quietly when my door was yanked open and someone grabbed my arm dragging me out as well.
I grabbed the arm that held me and twisted and pushed the person against the car.
They kicked at my leg trying to pull it from under me but I countered my weight and stayed on my feet, holding them where they were.
It was then that I noticed who I was holding against the car.
"What the hell?" Edward's voice came from behind me.
I let go of Tanya and backed away slightly.
"Ask her." I said pointing to Tanya who was massaging her arm where I had had it pinned behind her back.
"What do you think you are doing with MY boyfriend?" she shrieked started toward me again, but Edward stopped her by stepping between us.
"Tanya, in case you don't remember our conversation from this morning, we're through."
"We're through when I saw we're through" she spat, staring daggers at me.
"He's not a purse Tanya, he doesn't belong to you. He is a person, a living breathing person, with a brain that can make his own choices." I told her, wanted desperately to just slap her across he smart mouth.
"You better watch your back Swan. This isn't over" she told me before storming away towards her car.
"Are you alright?" Edward asked turning towards me and checking me for injuries.
"I'm fine." I said feeling a little self conscious. I was worried he was going to mention my having Tanya pinned to his car.
I got back into the car and Edward shut my door.
This time the silence between us was awkward.
"I'm sorry about that" Edward finally said.
"It's not your fault, and I'm fine. Let's just forget about it" I told him.
"How did you do that anyway?"
Crap. This was what I had wanted to avoid. I decided to play dumb.
"How did I do what?"
"Pin Tanya to my car like that. She's a black belt in Karate."
Huh, that, was not something that was in her file.
"Really, guess she skipped a few lessons" I tried to be nonchalant about it but Edward didn't seem to want to drop the subject.
"So where did you learn that?"
"Miss Congeniality" I said with a shrug and looked out the window, acting as if the scenery had suddenly become very interesting.
"Right" he mumbled and we drove the rest of the way to my house in silence.
"Well see you Monday Bella"
"Yea, thanks again for the ride" I told him as I reached for the door handle.
"Bella" Edward said as he grabbed the hand that was closest to him. He pulled me to him and placed a small kiss on my lips.
I sat back down in the seat, in slight shock.
"I've wanted to do that all day"
No no no no no no! This isn't suppose to happen. I promised myself last night that today would be different that I wouldn't let myself feel anything more for him. So with as much conviction as I could muster I lied.
"I'm sorry Edward, I can't do...this."
I almost took it back when I saw his face drop. He looked so hurt, and I didn't want to do that to him, to be the one that was causing him pain.
"Is is because of Tanya?" he asked "because I promise you it's over with her, really over this time."
"It's...god this is going to sound so cliché, but it's not you, it's me. I just can't be in a relationship right now. I have to concentrate on my future." It was the truth, just not in the way he probably thought. It was me and I did have to concentrate on my future, he just didn't know that protecting him was the way I was doing that. "See ya Monday Edward." I said and quickly made my exit.
Monday morning I got to school extra early. I didn't want to run into anyone, especially not Alice or Edward.
I had texted Garrett the night before and asked him to meet me in the auditorium for some extra rehearsal. Not because I was nervous or worried that we weren't prepared enough but it was an excuse to not be around people.
He got to the auditorium about twenty minutes after me.
"Hey, sorry, am I late?" he asked as he walked up and pulled me into a hug.
"Not at all, I was early"
"Awesome, ok, so where do you want to start?"
"I was thinking we could go from the dance scene and just see how far we get?"
"Sounds good to me" he answered and went over to the practice stereo.
He started the music and walked towards me, bowing just like we had practiced and I curtsied.
Since we were only rehearsing the scenes we were both in, it didn't take us long to get through the rest of the play. We were rehearsing the kiss scene when the door at the back of the auditorium slammed open. We both stopped right before our lips me and stared at the darkened figure that was standing in the door.
It took a second for my eyes to adjust enough and I realized the person who had interrupted us was Edward.
I felt a knot of guilt form in my stomach, and I didn't know why. Well I did because I knew this was hurting him, even if it was pretend. Garrett and I had chemistry, that was undeniable but that was part of the reason I was cast. Add that to the whispers and looks we received whenever we were together that I know knew were about us actually being 'together' and I'm sure it looked like more than it was.
"Hey man, we're kind of in the middle of something here. Do you mind?" Garrett called back to Edward.
He obviously didn't know who it was standing there, or that he was fuming. At Buxley we had spent a couple of weeks going over body language and how to read it and according to what I had learned, he was milliseconds away from going off on Garrett and probably me too.
"Did you need something Edward?" I asked trying to diffuse the situation.
"Can we talk?" He called back.
"Uh sure, just give me a second."
"I'll meet you in the music room" he said then turned and walked back out the door, letting it slam shut behind him.
"Sorry about that" I said to Garrett when the door was shut. "I should go see what he wants." I backed away from him and went to grab my bag from the front row of seats.
"We can finish later" he said, with a suggestive smile.
I rolled my eyes at him and left the auditorium.
I found Edward sitting at the piano playing. I recognized the song, Diary of Jane by Breaking Benjamin, it was the same song I had turned on in the car yesterday before Tanya had yanked me out. I was surprised at how wonderful it sounded on the piano, although I guess I shouldn't have been surprised since it was Edward playing.
I cleared my throat loud enough so that he would hear me over the pounding of the keys.
He stopped and looked at me.
He looked awful, tired, and stressed.
"Hey are you ok?" I asked stepping toward him. "You look awful."
"I didn't get much sleep" he answered standing from the piano and stepping closer to me.
We were about 4 feet apart, just staring at each other. I broke the silence first.
"Did you need me?"
"Oh...um..well..." he trailed off.
I could tell he was nervous. That was not like Edward at all.
"Hey," I placed my hand on his bi-cep and felt it tense slightly. I removed my hand and he grabbed it.
"Bella I know you said you want to concentrate on your future and I would never want to distract you from that but I would really appreciate it if you at least gave me a chance. Will you go out with me?"
Yes! My mind screamed at the same moment my mouth said "No."
"Why?" he asked, apparently shocked by my answer.
Why! He wanted to know why? How about because, I'm actually a secret agent sent here to keep an eye on you and keep you safe, how about because falling for you would put you in even more danger and I can't afford to be distracted right now, how about because if my bosses found out that I was actually dating my assignment my career would be over and I'd end up working at McDonalds flipping burgers for the rest of my life, or worse, I'd be given a desk job. I shuddered at the thought.
"I just don't have those feelings for you" it was the best lie I could think of to get him to let this whole dating thing go.
"That's bullshit and you know it Bella!" He shouted and I was glad that I had closed the door behind me. "What about Friday night?"
"We were both drunk and it shouldn't have happened."
"I'm not giving up so easily Bella. I know you feel something for me and I'll just wait until you give in. It won't take long, you girls are all the same, you always give in" he had a cocky grin on his face that made me want to slap him three ways to Sunday.
"I'm not like most girls." I told him, I was starting to get defensive. "You're wasting your time, Edward. I'm not going to change my mind."
We stared each other down and when I couldn't take it anymore I left, slamming the door behind me like a five year old.
I wasn't paying attention as I left the music room so I didn't notice the person waiting outside the door until I ran straight into them and knocked their books to the floor.
"Oh I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention" I said quickly while bending to help them retrieve their belongings.
"Don't worry about it, are you ok Bella?"
I looked up and saw Garrett staring back at me.
"I wasn't trying to evesdrop but you two were being kinda loud in there" he gestured to the door I had just come from.
"I'm...I'm..." I didn't know how to finish that sentence.
"C'mon" Garrett helped me stand and put his arm around my shoulder and while it bothered me a little I didn't move it.
Edward came out of the classroom at that moment and saw Garrett and me together. The look on his face made me want to move away from Garrett but I didn't and instead put my arm around his waist.
I'm so sorry Edward, but I need you to let me go. I will protect you. No matter what it costs me.
I was able to avoid Edward for most of the day and he didn't show up to music or biology so I was spared there as well. I knew I had hurt him but this was the only way I knew to protect him.
I thought I was in the clear as I headed to my locker after the final bell, that was until I saw my locker.
I stopped dead in my tracks, ignoring all the grumbles from the people behind me who had either run into me or were having to move around me now.
I began to slowly walk towards my lockers, dread filling me with every step. There were balloons everywhere and I saw that some had wondered down the hallway. I turned the dial and stepped aside as I opened the door. It was a good thing that I too because as soon as the door was open confetti spilled onto the floor at my feet. There were dozens of red roses placed inside of my locker as well.
He was nowhere to be found but I knew he was responsible. No one else would have the balls to try something like this or the money to waste.
I shoved my books inside, grabbed a handful of flowers, and slammed the locker shut.
I started walking through the halls and people were moving out of my way. When I reached the parking lot I saw him. He was leaning against his stupid silver volvo smirking at me. Emmett and Jasper were talking with him.
I stomped over to him and shoved Emmett out of my way.
"What the heck!" I yelled throwing the flowers in his face.
"What? You don't like roses?" he was still smirking.
I lunged for him, at that point I didn't care that he was my charge or that I was suppose to be protecting him and not attacking him. He was so dead. I was humiliated. My job was to blend in, well as much as was possible in a town this small, and he was making that increasingly difficult.
Two strong hands wrapped around my waist and held me back. Instinctively I threw my head back and heard a loud crack as I broke the person's nose. Another set of hands went to grab my arms but I twisted out of their reach and elbowed them in the back. Then I turned and grabbed Edward by the front of his shirt and shoved him to the ground. His eyes were wide and it was then that I paused and realized what it was that I had just done.
I let go of his shirt and sat back. He didn't move as I sat straddling him. I looked over and saw Emmett and Jasper on the ground. Emmett's nose was bleeding and Jasper had scrapes on his hands and a hole in the knee of his jeans from where he had hit the ground.
Crap. Charlie was going to kill me. There was no way I'd be able to explain doing that to two guys their size.
"Let me guess, you learned that from Miss Congeniality too?" Edward asked from his position on the concrete. "Who are you?"
I didn't have anything to say so I got up and ran. I left my truck, that was now fixed thanks to Rosalie, in the parking lot and ran until I reached the house.
I was realizing that it was a lot harder than I thought being deep under cover. I kept confusing my professional life with my personal feelings and that couldn't keep happening.
My lungs felt like they were about to burst and my throat felt like someone had taken a piece of sandpaper to it.
I went into the kitchen for a glass of water. I was headed up the stairs when a knock came from the door.
I reluctantly turned around and went to the door. Edward was standing there panting. His t-shirt was damp around the collar.
"Edward?" I looked around him and saw that my driveway was empty. "Did you run here?"
"Can...I...come...in...please?" he panted.
"Uh...ok?" I moved aside and walked towards the kitchen to get him a glass of water.
I handed it to him and he gulped down one then two glasses.
"You..run really fast." he said once he had caught his breath.
"Did you follow me?"
"Kinda?" I raised my eyebrow at him in question.
"Ok, yeah I did. You didn't stop when I called you so..." he trailed off.
"Why didn't you just get in your car?"
"I didn't think about that until I had already taken off after you."
"You ran? All the way here? To chase after me?" I wasn't sure why, but I felt the need to reiterate exactly what he had just told me. He nodded. "Why?"
"I know what you are and I want some answers."
"Bella? Bella? Bella?" Edward's mouth was moving, but his voice was coming out wrong. Too high, like silver bells instead of velvet.
I felt a light shaking on my shoulder. Edward's face started to drift away and two blue eyes and dark spikey hair replaced his bronze locks.
"Bells? Are you ok?"
"Oh...Alice..yeah I'm fine..what happened?"
It was a dream. I hadn't blown my cover. Thank goodness. I started to sit up and Alice grabbed my elbow to help me.
"Ohmygoodness! I'm so glad your ok" she pulled me into a tight hug as she spoke. "You fainted in the middle of the hallway!"
"I...I thought I saw..." I looked up and saw that there were actually balloons all over my locker. "Oh my god."
"Bella! You have a secret admirer! Who is it? Why haven't you told me about your new beau?"
"Alice!" I yelled to stop her and her barrage of questions. "One question at a time. Did you really just use the word beau?"
"Out of all those questions, that is the one thing you picked up on?"
I just stared at her and waited for her to continue.
"Who are these from?"
"I don't know"
"Well let's open your locker and find out."
My palms started to sweat and it took me a couple of times to do the combination right. I slowly lifted the lever and pulled open the door. I jumped back just in case and Alice gave me a strange look. I turned back and looked into my locker. There sitting on top of my english notebook was a single red rose in a glass vase. No cheesy confetti, just a single rose. There was a note attached to the vase.
I reached in and pulled it out, Alice was beaming beside me, bouncing on the tips of her toes in anticipation.
I read the card to myself and reread it before Alice snatched it away from my hands.
"The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart" she read aloud. "So who did this?"
"I don't know." I told her as I stared at the single rose still sitting inside of my locker.
It had been two days since I had found the rose in my locker, it had also been two days since I had spoken to Edward.
Alice on the other hand would not stop talking to me or anyone about who had put the flower in my locker and how romantic it was.
I had asked her repeatedly to stop talking about it but I should know by now that Alice can't be told what to do or in this case talk about.
It was sixth period, general music, I walked in a little late because I was trying to dodge Alice, it worked. For someone who had no training, she was incredibly good at finding people, and I wasn't an easy to person to find when I didn't want to be found.
I walked in and saw Edward sitting at the piano with a bunch of sheet music laid out in front of him. I figured it was time to reconcile with him and since he was going to act like a five year old and freeze me out, I was going to have to go to him. Before I could make a move though I was stopped by Mrs. Jones.
"Bella dear, have you an Edward decided on a duet yet?"
Crap. I had forgotten about that.
"Um..we'll we've worked on a few but nothing is ready yet"
"Oh ok. Well I was hoping that you two would perform at the end of the year talent show. We have some important alumni coming to see it and I just know that if you and Edward performed we'd get a ton of donations to the music department." she gushed.
"Um...sure I'll ask him"
"Oh I already did and he said he was fine with it if you were"
"Really? Well ok then, I guess we're doing it"
"Wonderful" She turned her sights on another student coming through the door, completely forgetting about me as she headed their way and I continued on my path to Edward.
"We need to choose a duet to do and just work on it until the talent show" Edward said without looking up as I approached.
"Ok, well what do you want to do?" I sat in a chair near the piano, not on the bench with him as I normally would.
"I've couple a couple ideas, let's just try parts of these and see what we think."
"Ok" I said quietly as he handed me some sheet music.
We worked through a couple of different songs but none seemed right. That spark that I'd felt when we'd sung together before just wasn't there today. We had lost that comfort that we felt around each other, the day I had said 'no' to his date. If I was being honest, it was something I missed. I liked being around Edward. I didn't have to pretend to be anything I wasn't-well other than a secret agent. The things I told him about me, what I liked, didn't like, that was all true. I was going to figure out a way to fix this. I had to.
Before I knew it, it was opening night for the play. Alice and Rose were there to help me get ready, well technically they were there to help everyone but they focused mostly on me and Jane.
Jane was really great and I was glad that we had gotten closer over the past few weeks. I was still watching her to see if anything suspicious came up, but the more I got to know her and Alec the harder it was for me to believe that they were the ones who were after Edward.
I was nervous and frustrated beyond belief. Frustrated at the fact that I hadn't made anymore progress on the case, and that Edward and I were still on the outs. Nervous because, well I was going to be on stage performing in less than 20 minutes.
We got our 5 minute call to places as Alice and Rose finished up with me. They left to go sit with the guys and would be back to help me with my wardrobe change in the second act.
Jane and I stood stage left while we waited for the show to begin.
"Are you nervous?" she whispered to me.
"A little, you?"
"Nah, I mean I don't really have to do much, and you shouldn't be either. You and Garrett have been practicing so much, you could do this drunk."
I giggled a little at that and it made me feel better.
I walked out onto stage and started to sing.
Little town, it's a quiet village
Everyday, like the one before
Little town, full of little people, waking up to say
I saw Charlie in the crowd, as well as some of the guys from the station. Alice, Rose, Emmett, Jasper, and Edward were sitting up near the front. The perfect place for them to watch the show but not too far away from the doors so that Rose and Alice could get in and out without disturbing the people around them.
The show was going great, and the audience was really responsive so I took that as a good sign.
It was time for the kiss and as I leaned down to Garrett, I noticed Edward. He was tensed in his seat and I could see his hands gripping the armrests so hard I thought they would snap.
In a snap decision I placed the thumb that was farthest from the crowd between Garrett's lips and mine.
His body jolted a bit, since when we had rehearsed I had no problem kissing him, but with Edward so close, I suddenly felt guilty.
We received a standing ovation from the audience and I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face and I took another bow. We had had to do another quick change to put me back in my gold dress and I really did feel like a princess.
"What happened during the kiss?" Garrett whispered to me with a smile on his face as we took yet another bow.
"What do you mean?" I said keeping the smile on my face.
"Why did you put your thumb there?" He grabbed my hand and looped it through his arm and led me offstage where the rest of the cast was celebrating a great opening night. He stopped me before we could join everyone else and forced me to face him.
"I...I wasn't feeling well earlier and didn't want to risk getting you sick on the first night" I said with a shrug. He studied me for a minute but seemed to buy my story.
Luckily Rose and Alice chose that minute to drag me away.
"Bella! Hurry you need to change for the reception and we have to re-do your hair and make-up!" Alice chirped while dragging me through other cast members who were congratulating me on a great show.
When we got back to the dressing rooms there was a single red rose on my station.
I stopped dead in my tracks and Alice and Rosalie ran into the back of me.
"Hey what gives..." Alice called trailing off when she saw the rose. "No way!"
"What is it?" Rose asked coming around to see. "Another one?"
"Apparently" I said still staring at the rose. It was beautiful and fresh. I could smell it from where I was standing.
"Is there another note?"
That ended the conversation and Alice and Rosalie took to transforming me.
When they were done I was awestruck. I was in a beautiful blue dress. It was a navy blue sleeveless dress with a light blue inverted triangle going down the middle. It was embellished with rhinestones and a bow that sat right below my belly button. They put me in nude pumps and brushed out my curls from the show and pulled them into a soft bun at the nape of my neck. For my makeup Rose had taken off all my stage make-up and started from scratch. My skin looked natural and dewy and I had some eyeliner smudged on my top and bottom lids. It was sultry and sweet at the same time. I had no idea how these girls could do this every morning. I was extremely low maintenance when it came to prep time in the morning.
"One more thing." Alice said stepping toward me. She had the rose in her hand and a pair of scissors. She clipped the stem off and stuck the rose in my hair. "Perfect" she said backing away and admiring her work. Rose appeared next to her with a bottle of perfume in her hand and sprayed my neck and my hair with it.
We left the dressing rooms and headed to the reception. Garrett was waiting near the doors and smiled as I approached.
"Your public awaits" he joked. "You ready for this?" he held out his arm and I looped mine through his as we walked through the doors into the lobby where everyone was waiting. They all applauded as we entered together and we went our separate ways. I walked over to Charlie who really looked like a proud father.
"Bells you were great!" Charlie said as I walked up to him. He handed me a large bouquet of flowers.
We talked for a bit before I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw Edward standing there.
"Hi..Bella. Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to congratulate you on your performance. So uh...congrats Bella, it was great." Then seeming to realize who I was standing with he became very formal. "Chief Swan, I'm Edward Masen. I don't think we've met." He held out his hand and Charlie shook it, looking him up and down. Edward was surprisingly calm meeting my father, which was admirable. I never understood why guys got so nervous around dads, especially cops.
"No we haven't, it's nice to meet you"
"Well I'll see ya later, um..I think we're going to go out and eat in a bit if you want to come" Edward said to me.
"Maybe" I told him and was thankful that he left because I noticed Charlie from glancing back and forth between us.
When we were alone again Charlie turned his appraising eyes on me. "Is there something you need to report Isabella?"
Crap. He was using my full name which meant he was in full on Agent mode.
"Um...no?" It came out as more of a question.
"Really? You don't want to tell me about anything that happened between you and the Masen boy?"
"Nothing is going on" I told him, staring straight into his eyes, daring him to call my bluff.
"Don't lose focus Isabella, now is not the time"
To any passerby our conversation would appear to be a normal quarrel between a daughter and her father over a boy, but we both knew what he meant.
"I won't. I know what I'm doing."
"Fine, I won't say anything to Renee, for now"
"Bella! Are you coming out with us?" Emmett yelled at me from across the lobby. I looked to where he was standing with Alice, Rose, Jasper and Edward. I looked back to Charlie and raised an eyebrow for permission. He nodded.
"Don't forget why you're here." He told me as I headed for my friends.
His last statement rang in my head on repeat, like a broken record. Don't forget why you're here. How could I forget? I was here to lie to a group of amazing people and get in with Edward Masen all for the sake of protecting him from an unknown threat that hadn't even made an appearance. A knot of guilt formed in my stomach as I joined the group and we headed towards the parking lot.
We all piled into Emmett's Jeep because it was the biggest car. Rose was in the front seat and the rest of us crammed into the back. It was...cozy. I was stuck between Alice and Edward and I wanted nothing more than to lay my head on his shoulder. I was suddenly very tired. Tired of lying and of fighting my feelings for him.
"You look lovely tonight, Bella" Edward whispered to me.
I was glad that the car was dark because suddenly my cheeks were the color of the flower in my hair.
"Thank you" I murmured back to him.
It was then that I noticed we were heading out of Forks towards Port Angeles.
"Hey, Em" I called over the music that was blaring from his massive stereo system. "Where are we going exactly?"
"I want pancakes." he declared as he kept driving.
"Now?" I really did like Emmett but he had some of the weirdest cravings.
We ended up at an Ihop in Port Angeles and Emmett ordered everything but the kitchen sink. I had no idea where he put all the food he ate. I mean he wasn't scrawny by any means but it was all muscle. I should know I had run into him enough times.
We were back in Forks by 2 and Edward offered to drive me home since he was the only one who went the same way. Alice had wanted to have another sleep over but I said no for two reasons. One, I still remembered how her last sleepover went and two I had to be back at the school for the matinee performance at 11:30, so I really did need to sleep. Edward said he had to go somewhere with his dad in the morning so he couldn't stay either. How convenient, I thought to myself.
Edward had just pulled up to my house and as I went to get out of the car he handed me something. It was a small flat square wrapped in pink paper. There was a white bow wrapped around it and stuck under the bow was a single red rose. I stared at it for a second before looking back to him.
"What...what is this?" I stuttered. No, it couldn't have been Edward who had left the roses. Could it?
Suddenly I found myself rethinking everything I had thought about this boy I was protecting, and about my relationship with said boy.
"It's a congratulation gift" he said looking at my face. "Go on, open it."
I unwrapped the package and opened the lid to the box. On top was a note. I opened it and read it. It wasn't a quote like the note in my locker. This read more like song lyrics.
Will we ever say the words we're feeling?
Reach down underneath it
Tear down all the walls
Will we ever have our happy ending
Or will we forever only be pretending?
Nestled in the tissue paper was a leather bound notebook. It had an antique feel to it, the pages were rough and uneven but it was beautiful.
"It's for your songs." He said looking at his hands. "I thought you might be needing a new one soon" then his attitude changed "beside the crap one you carry around is about to fall apart. At least with this you won't lose any pages."
I was so touched by the gift that I didn't even mind him dissing my old notebook.
"This is beautiful. Thank you Edward."
"Your welcome" he grumbled.
"Why a single rose?" I asked, looking at him for the first time since we had entered the car.
"Do you really need to ask?"
"That's not an answer" I told him.
"Because you really don't need one. Your smart Bella, really smart. Probably the smartest person in this entire town."
I just stared at him. He was right. I did know why. "It was you. The locker. The dressing room. It was always you"
"Bella, I have never gone this far to get a girls attention, but you're not like any other girl I have ever met."
"Why? Edward you don't even know me, not really"
"Then let me in!" he practically shouted, grabbing my shoulders and turning me to face him in the small car. It suddenly felt like a thousand degrees and I could feel the electricity buzzing around us. "Please Bella, I want you, to be with you. I want to know all about you and I want you to know about me too."
When I didn't respond immediately he continued to speak.
"I can tell you don't like to let people in and that's ok. I won't push it, just please, go on one date with me. At least give us a shot, because you can lie to me but you can't lie to yourself. You feel something for me too."
He was right. As much as I had tried to fight the attraction or deny it to myself I proved it tonight when I put my thumb between my lips and Garrett's. I was in love with Edward Masen and there was nothing I could do about it, and with him sitting here with me so desperate for even a chance, I couldn't say no anymore. I couldn't fight anymore. And besides, if I was dating him I could keep a better eye on him and it would be less suspicious of me being at his house or wherever he was. So I whispered the word I had wanted to say to him days ago.
"What?" he seemed a little shocked that I had given in so easily and I couldn't resist the chance to tease him.
"Ok" I said, my voice stronger "but, it's not gonna be easy. Like you said I'm not normal, and I don't like to talk about my personal life. So if I say a topic is off limits no pushing. Got it?"
"Whatever you want." he replied enthusiastically.
"Ok, I'll go on a date with you and we'll go from there."
"How about tomorrow after the show?"
"Ok, I'll see you then"
He kissed me on the cheek and drove off with a huge grin on his face. I knew I had one too but controlled my expression until I was safely in my room.
I placed Edwards gift in the bottom drawer of my desk went to bed. I fell asleep with a smile on my face that night.
A/N: Okay another chapter! Yayyy! Sorry it took so long to get out by like I said finals and everything are a nightmare but I'm home for the summer so I should be doing regular updates! Review please and thanks for reading! Oh and the quote "The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart" is by anonymous
3 Accident-Prone klutz