A/N: I know it's been a while, blah, blah, blah. It's a snow day today so I thought I'd dedicate some of my new free time to editing Chapter 5. Horray!
Disclaimer: Don't own anything, as usual.
Edward's taste in alcohol had matured alongside his 30something year old brother's. Edward, at 25, had completely eclipsed the collegiate desire for wine coolers and beer pong with his new, hard liquor fancy.
"It's Maker's Mark," Edward described to Carlisle as he unwrapped the Bourbon. "Have you heard of it? It's from Kentucky actually. Do you remember Bob? From college? He lives there now and sent me some of this stuff last Christmas. I think you'll like it. Oh, and the Bourbon Balls are from the same brewery."
"Thanks man," Carlisle clapped him on the back. "This looks great. You wanna pour some...?"
"Carl, it's only noon." Esme murmured as she gave in to the chocolates on her lap.
"Honey," Carlisle cooed, "it's Christmas."
"Fine. But run out and get Ed's present, will you? It's still in the trunk, I think."
Edward followed Carlisle out into the freezing morning. Edward resisted the urge to throw a snowball at his brother. At least until after he had officially received his present.
"How's the fellowship going?" Edward asked. His brother, the real Doctor Cullen, was working his way up to his desired pediatric position in Vancouver.
"Oh, it's stressful. But Canada... Canada's beautiful, you'd love it."
"Bet it's cold."
"Not much colder than this, actually." Carlisle popped open the trunk and pulled out a small little baggy. "Though this," Carlisle watched his breath freeze before his eyes, "is pretty damn cold."
Edward laughed, "let's get inside. A glass will warm us up."
The shift in temperature from outside to inside was remarkable. Edward's hands stung numbly as he made his way to pour some.
"You should open your present," Esme urged.
Carlisle handed Edward a small box in dark blue wrapping. "Go ahead, open it."
Edward did. Inside were two tickets to "Victoria?"
"Oh it's beautiful there!" Esme beamed. "We stayed in this little B&B over the summer and it was fantastic!"
Carlisle nodded. "It's really nice man. When we went, we stopped in Seattle and took the ferry in. But they only do that in the summer. Too cold now. We couldn't get tickets for summer so..."
"We scheduled them for spring break, I hope that's alright."
"Yes, it's perfect," Edward stared down at the pair of tickets before him. "Thank you, thank you so much."
"It's nothing," Esme waived her hands in the air. "Besides, you're going to love it. At first we got the tickets back in August, when you were still dating Tanya. I got a little nervous after it ended, but Carlisle told me you were seeing someone."
"Yes," Edward's palms became sweaty. "I am."
"She's young, isn't she?" Carlisle clarified. Of course, Carlisle knew only part of the story. He was under the impression that Edward was dating an older student.
"She's in college, right?" Edward didn't have to nod or encourage Esme at all, she just kept going, "how on earth do you make that work? If she's all the way downtown and you're here all the time."
"Work study?" Carlisle asked. He had a very good memory. Yes, Edward had told Carlisle, upon his prodding into his lovelife, that he was dating a student at Seattle University who got through school working as a librarian.
"Yes, she's an English major, so she's working as a librarian now. Some weekends she can request to work at the Forks branch, and those times she'll just stay at my place."
"Wow," Esme was clearly happy for him, "that sounds great."
"Are you going to ask her to go with you?"
Edward stared down at his hands. It was one thing to fuck a student, another thing to lie about her being his girlfriend, and a whole other ballpark to take her away for a weekend to romance her in another country.
Esme seemed to notice his unease and instantly felt guilty. "I didn't mean—I understand if you're not at that point in your relationship—sorry, we shouldn't of pried—you do whatever you wish—we can always return them if you wish..."
"No, don't," Edward said quickly. They had gone through the trouble of buying plane tickets and arranging rooms for him to stay, and he was grateful. "This is absolutely perfect. I can't wait to go."
"Good, good!" Esme stuffed another bourbon ball into her mouth to break the tension.
"In fact, I think I'll go call her right now," Edward excused himself from the situation to lock himself in the bathroom.
What the fuck was going on? He and Bella had promised that they wouldn't contact each other all break—which was proving to be very difficult. He couldn't lie to himself any longer. He actually liked her, more than enough to take her away for a weekend. But he was supposed to be the responsible one in this fucked up relationship. He was supposed to look out for her. And looking out for her did not include getting her hopes up by taking her on vacation with him.
Of course, just as his brain reasoned against telling Bella, favoring a weekend in Canada alone, a strong part of him wanted to call her, just to hear her voice and see how her break was going.
And his intrigue won out.
"Yes? Who is this?"
"Oh," Edward could hear the realization in her voice. "Hold on." There was some mumbling sounds and scuffling on the other end, which Edward believed to be Bella finding a way to hide away in the bathroom. "Hey, I'm back."
"So, how are you?"
"I'm fine. I'm good. Very good."
They were both silent for a moment. The two of them were much better at this in person...
"Well," Bella began, "I am about to head over to your house, actually."
"What?" Edward's heart went racing. What about Carlisle and Esme? They would definitely notice that Bella was more of a high schooler than a college student... "Why?"
"Don't sound all freaked out."
He heard her sniff before continuing. "Don't worry I've got a cover story all planned out. I'm bringing you a pie."
"For volunteering with Dare to Care. Charlie really appreciated it."
"Remember?" Bella emphasized the word. "Last weekend you participated in the Dare to Care fundraiser."
"Oh, I see."
"Don't worry. I've got Alice with me anyways, so it won't be long."
"Yes, we're on our way to meet Rosalie. She's engaged."
"Yes, long story, I'll tell you later. Anyways. No pressure to chat long or anything. I'll just bring over the pie and leave."
Edward wasn't sure how to respond to that. He had a feeling that if he did see her with her delicious pie and wearing that big jacket with her nose all red in the cold he wouldn't be able to let her go.
"Okay, sounds great. See you."
Edward stepped out of the bathroom to the image of his brother and sister-in-law curled up on the couch together, watching A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time. They looked so peaceful together. Edward sat down next to them, wishing, to himself, that he had a girl tucked into his nook.
The bell ran ten minutes later and Edward made sure to get to the door before Carlisle or Esme could offer to get it.
He had to control his expression when he saw Bella at the door, because Alice had tagged along. He heard the girls giggling about something as he opened the door for them, and then they quickly grew silent. "Hi Bella. Hi Alice." There was a short beat where Edward reminded himself to act casually. "Uh, what are you doing here?"
Bella beamed at him. "I just brought you a present from Charlie."
"For volunteering last weekend."
"Oh, right," Edward got the pie from her. "Tell him thanks for the pie. It smells great. Did you guys make it?"
Bella nodded. Alice couldn't speak, really. She was frozen on the last step of the staircase, gaping dumbly at him.
"So we should get going," Bella pointed to her car parked next to Carlisle's rental. "We're meeting Rosalie in a bit."
"Yes, I hope you both have a good rest of your holiday."
"Only three days left."
"Thanks for reminding me."
The two shared a long look, which would not be deemed appropriate under any student-teacher circumstances, but Alice was too busy being shocked to notice the interaction.
"And, before I forget," Bella reached deeply into her pocket, "Charlie wanted me to give you this too." She read the blank expression on his face and prompted, "It's a thank you card or something."
"Great, yes, tell him I said hello and thanks."
"I will. Bye Bella, bye Alice."
Alice blinked at waved back at him, still not speaking.
As Edward walked inside he accidentally voiced his opinions out loud. "Well, that was weird."
"Who was it?" Esme asked, not taking her eyes off of the television.
"The Chief of Police sent me a thank you pie," Edward recovered, "for volunteering a few weeks ago."
"That was nice of him."
The two were so wrapped up in each other and the movie that they couldn't detect the weirdly excited tone of his voice. Edward left them to their movie and headed into the kitchen, where he unfolded the note from Bella.
So, I know I said I wouldn't come visit you or drop by unannounced and I know we said no presents or anything silly. I just made one extra pie and I didn't know who to give it to. I hope you are having fun with your brother and his wife. Call me when they've left and you're as ready as I am to break our rules.
Edward folded it up tight and stuffed it into his pocket. Goddamnit. That girl was really getting a hold over him.
Bella was in her bedroom with her Calculus notes surrounding her when she heard the buzzing of her phone. There was only a few days left of the break and Bella had saved all of her homework and studying for the last minute, as usual.
Bella had set Edward's number as E, so as to not create confusion if someone went searching through her phone. When she pulled her cell out from under her pillow, she saw that it was in fact E who was calling her.
She cleared her throat. "Hello?"
"Hey, Bella, it's me."
She paused a moment, deciding to play coy. "Who?"
Edward's breath sounded embarrassed even through the phone. "It's Edward."
"Oh, right," Bella said in a false moment of realization. His voice sounded so nice today, especially when she was supposed to be studying, "It's nice to hear from you, Doctor."
"Stop it, Bella."
Edward's voice grew louder this time, and Bella could tell that he was trying to whisper into the phone, "...stop talking like that..."
"I'm sorry, Doctor, I can't hear you."
"Don't call me Doctor."
"Why not?" Bella enjoyed flirting with him over the phone. She heard, from Rose, that phone sex was supposed to be really hot. She and Edward hadn't done it yet, seeing as they were five minutes away, by car, if a booty call were to occur.
"Because," he hissed into the phone again, "I'm going to get a hard on."
Bella bit her lip. "Is that a bad thing?"
"Considering Carlisle and Esme haven't left yet, yes that would be a bad thing."
Bella frowned. "Why are you teasing me?"
"I'm not. They're leaving in twenty minutes to get to the airport."
Bella waited for him to ask for her to come over, but he didn't. "Can I come over when they leave?"
"Yeah," he sounded a little detached. Maybe—who was it, Carlisle?—had just entered the room. "That would be great."
He sounded funny. Bella quickly lost the innocent tone of her voice—it seemed to be making him nervous. "Okay. Should I come over in thirty minutes, then?"
"Yeah, thirty's good."
Bella heard some commotion on the other end and Edward murmur, "Here, let me help you with that...."
"Alright, I'll see you soon!"
Bella hung up before he had the chance to say goodbye to her. She was very excited, especially when she would have the opportunity to try on her gift.
Edward hadn't even five minutes to himself before he heard the doorbell ring. He had meant to rearrange his room and do some dishes before Bella arrived, but they were both too eager to see each other to mind the mess.
"Hello Bella," Edward said as he swung the door open to let her in. It was positively freezing outside. Bella was bundled up tight in countless layers—her ancient truck lacked a reliable heating system—and was pink-faced. "Fuck. Let me close the door."
They stood there for a moment, not taking their eyes off one another, and not speaking either.
Bella, who had yet to become undressed, took off a third layer of sweatshirts. "Charlie was worried about me driving."
"Where does he think you are?"
"At Rosalie's. I told him she was having an engagement party."
Bella, finally down to a normal amount of clothes, shook off her boots. "Emmett proposed last week. On Christmas Eve."
"Yes," Bella carried her clothes to the laundry room, "do you mind if I use your drier?"
"Not at all." Edward stood beside his couch and watched her as she walked by. "Is Emmett the big brooding one or the skinny anxious one?"
Bella laughed. "The big brooding one. He's perfectly nice. They're just really young."
Edward raised his eyebrows as if to say aren't you too young?
Bella ignored this though. "How was your break?"
"Too short. Damn. It's almost over, isn't it?"
"Yeah. How are Charles and Emma?"
"Close. Carlisle and Esme."
"Right. How are they?"
"Really, really great." Edward joined Bella on the couch and put up his feet. "Carlisle's gonna be a doctor you know—a real one, none of this high school anatomy business—and he's doing his fellowship in Canada."
Bella's teeth chattered. "Could you imagine?"
Edward shrugged. "They both seem to enjoy it a lot. Esme's ready to be pregnant. Pretty soon she'll quit her job to devote her entire schedule to babymaking."
"Does Carlisle want a baby?"
"Eventually, I guess. Not now though. He seems too involved at work."
Bella nodded and pulled the thick, woolen blanket up past her nose. "Did you tell them about me?"
Edward frowned. "Yes. But they're under the impression that you are a senior in college, not high school."
Bella seemed to be enjoying this. She put her feet into his lap and curled up against a pillow. They had already established which side of the couch was hers... "I'd like to know more about my collegiate self!"
"Well," Edward began to rub Bella's socked foot. "You go to Seattle University and you're an English major."
"Hmmm," Bella sighed. "Sounds perfect."
"It gets better." Edward insisted. "We met at the library."
"Yes, the one on Oak."
"But if I'm in Seattle, why would I come all the way out to Forks?"
"Because," Edward said in a tone that made the answer seem so obvious, "you're family's out here. You can't afford paying tuition upfront—and you don't want a loan—so you're making do with the work-study program, as a librarian."
Bella smiled. "Go on."
"You're working as a librarian and occasionally you can request to spend the weekend in the Forks' branch. So, we met one afternoon while you were in town..."
"...As a librarian..."
"Yes, as a librarian."
"And what was the first thing you said to me?" Bella prodded, moving closer to him underneath the blanket.
"You said, do you want to check anything out?"
"Ah," Bella said, "I remember."
"And I said, are you busy tonight?"
"And then I said, yes of course I am. Men throw themselves at me, for they are obsessed with my profession."
"You have such a good memory." Edward touched her lip with his thumb and then kissed the corner of her mouth. His head lingered beside her long past the kiss. He brushed his lips against her ear and whispered. "I missed you."
"I missed you too."
There was a sound of a cell phone ringing and Bella moved about under the blanket to find hers. "Hello?"
"Hey Bella. Just wanted to know if you got there safe."
"Yes, I'm here." Bella made a face and Edward, who laughed and went back to rubbing her feet. "I'll be home... tomorrow?"
The question was more for Edward than her father. When Edward nodded, she said again, "Yeah, sometime tomorrow morning. Before lunch."
"Okay, well, be safe. See you later."
"See you." Bella snapped her phone shut and stood up. "Hey, I'm going to go change."
Edward raised his eyebrows. "Into...?"
Bella smiled. "I think you'll like it."
Bella left Edward, curious and horny, on his couch. She took her purse with her into the bathroom. Squished between her phone, condoms and toothbrush was the naughty Santa costume Rosalie had purchased for her for Christmas.
Bella watched her reflection in the mirror as she changed. She had never felt so sensual before. Usually she felt embarrassed and uncomfortable when she looked at her naked body, but today she watched herself with confidence. If Dr. Cullen could find her sexy, she must be.
But just before Bella stepped into her kitten ensemble, she noticed something dripping down her leg. Blood.
Bella's stomach ached as she realized the date. It must be her period.
Defeated, Bella pulled off the red panties and began her usual routine. Last month she had hidden a box of tampax under Edward's sink and she was relieved to find that he had not thrown it out. Bella then changed back into her normal clothes and sulked over to her over-excited boyfriend.
Edward could sense her frustration. "What's wrong?"
"I don't feel good." Bella curled up onto the couch, far away from where Edward was sitting.
"Are you alright?" Edward was very concerned. He sat on the edge of his cushion, waiting for orders.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she lied. She didn't want to go moaning about cramps to her boyfriend. How much of a turn off was that? "I just don't think I'm up for it tonight."
"Shh," He brushed a hair from her face. "That's alright. Just feel better, will you? Do you need me to drive you home?"
Bella shook her head. He stared intently at her, trying to deduce her symptoms. She might as well tell him, so he wouldn't worry. He was an anatomy teacher after all. "It's just my period."
There was a moment's pause where Edward looked as though he was trying to decide if he should be relieved or not. His mouth formed into a silent oh and he nodded. "Do you need advil or anything?"
"Yes please." Bella relaxed herself into the cushions and breathed a sigh of relief that Edward could handle her womanish tendencies with such grace. And Edward, in the other room, sorting through over-the-counter pain medication, wondered how, and if, he was going to tell Bella about his new plans to spend spring break with her.
Bella found Rosalie in the magazines section, where she had graduated from People Magazine and Cosmopolitan to Brides Unlimited. She was flipping through a section devoted to cakes before she saw Bella.
"Oh hey, girl. Come look at this. Strawberry's and cream. Could you imagine?"
When Bella saw the little price sign at the bottom, she shook her head. "No. I really can't."
Rosalie set the, now closed, magazine in her lap so as to give Bella her undivided attention. "So. Have you tried out your Christmas present yet?"
Bella scanned the row for onlookers. There was an elderly woman looking through Southern Living and no Emmett in sight. "Not yet."
"I thought you said you spent last night with him."
"Did you have sex?"
Bella busied herself with a sudoku book. "No."
"Wait. You slept together without sleeping together?"
Bella nodded. What was so strange about that? Did they have to constantly fuck?
"Is something wrong? Why didn't you...?"
"Because I started my period," Bella hissed. "Okay? Is that a good enough excuse?"
Rosalie flipped her head dramatically to face Bella. "You had your period? And you still went to his house? Did you tell him?"
"He knew you were on your period?"
Rosalie gawked at her. "Bella, this sounds... serious."
"You are judging our relationship based on how he reacts to my period?"
"Well, most guys are absolutely terrified of Auntie Flow."
"Don't call it that."
"Fine. Whatever you call it, guys do not want to hear about it."
"He was really wonderful about it. He lets me keep tampons at his place."
Rosalie raised her eyebrows. "I believe you two are more than just fuck buddies."
Bella blushed. "I don't know. He's very mature."
"I'll say." Rosalie muttered under her breath.
Bella set down her sudoku puzzle. "What did you just say?"
"You said something."
"No, I didn't."
Bella narrowed her eyes at Rose, who then caved. "I just mean, if by mature, you mean older then...yes..."
"Wait a second. Rose, are you seriously judging me?"
"Shh. Keep your voice down," the elderly woman at the end of the aisle was beginning to stare. But Bella couldn't have cared less.
"You have no right to judge me for finding a guy that I actually like and actually likes me."
Rosalie fiddled nervously with her magazine. Bella knew that Rose hadn't meant to start an argument but, honestly, she could've had a little more foresight.
"I mean, I'm not the one who cheated on my boyfriend with Roger Cummings!"
"Bella!" Rosalie hid her face behind page 59, "A Guide to Your Dress," "Bella that was years ago! You said you wouldn't say anything!"
"And I won't!" Bella's voice was growing louder. "You're not perfect either, Rose, so you shouldn't talk about my... my boyfriend that way."
"Your boyfriend? Seriously?" Rose had dropped her magazine and was now facing Bella, foaming at the mouth, "You really think something more than sex can come out of this relationship? Bella, it's illegal! How the fuck do you think that counts as a relationship?"
"Well," Bella spat, "at least I plan on going to college! I'm not about to give up my life for the first guy to propose to me!"
Rosalie opened her mouth to counter Bella's argument, but then she shut it. She picked up her purse and her magazine. Before she walked out, she whispered, "You're a real bitch, you know." And walked calmly into the adjacent Starbucks to pick up her fiancé and leave the naive schoolgirl in aisle 3, surrounded by "how-to-please-your-man" articles.
A/N: I know there wasn't any smut, I apologize, but I had to get the vacation and Rosalie argument out there. Next chapter, I promise smut.
I was going to work on Jayeliwood's (sp?) next contest, the movie one, but it turned out that my characters were just basically those from the movie but with Edward/Bella's names, so I'm turning it into a strictly Iron Man story. So keep an eye out for that, whenever I post...
Hope you are all having a fantastic wintertime and if it's snowing where you are I hope you take advantage of it! Thanks for all the wonderful reviews. You guys are awesome!