Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or its Universe!
Author's Note: As always, thank you to my reviewers! You guys make me smile, you make me laugh, and even if it's just a one worded "awesome" it still brightens my day! And to whomever is a guest that sends the reviews with "Type your review for this chapter here..." I giggle every time I see it. Not sure if it's intentional, but I enjoy seeing it either way.
Some Thanks You's: Shaz308, you for reviewing religiously every chapter. Montara you for reading and reviewing so quickly, and causing my phone to go off every twenty minutes or so with new email notifications. Bobbysgirl for always screaming at me in all caps, with lovely words of encouragement. WannaBeDone for making me literally laugh out loud on my break when I got your review. Too cute, you are. And always, always, always H.J. Lovers and jimemon for being here since, like, day one. You know, back in 2008. (: You two rock my polka dot socks. Not just trying to rhyme, they really do have polka dots.
READ ON, DEARS!
"There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment." – Sarah Dessen
Of all the uncertainty currently floating around in my life—there was always one constant anchor to hold me down. It's what I turned to whether I was in a good or bad mood.
Walking down the hall of my former school I was flooded with memories. It didn't help that I passed a picture of my younger self with an award plaque beneath it, either. This was a place where I did a lot of growing, where I learned so much about myself and my music and what limits I could push myself to. It had been a great time of my life.
The door to Eleazar's office was wide open, but I still knocked on it to capture his attention. He looked up from whatever book he had been reading and smiled, removing his glasses.
"Edward! You're just on time," he greeted, standing up to shake my hand. "Have a seat."
"Thank you," I replied once seated. "How are you?"
"I'm doing alright, it's the same old thing around here—molding young minds and all of that," he smiled. "How was California?"
"It was great. I wrote a lot of new pieces and they're actually going to use a few of them," I told him. "I'm waiting to hear back about composing a score for a film, too."
"I'll keep my fingers crossed from you, though I'm sure you'll get it."
He had always been an avid supporter of my work.
"A bit of change can work wonders on one's creativity—though, sometimes it has the ability to have the opposite effect," he added as an afterthought. "Anyways, the winter festival is still something we take very seriously here. The students that want to participate get to showcase their talent, the teachers vote and the winners receive a prize, as you know all too well."
I couldn't help but grin, remembering the plaque I had passed earlier.
"I want you to be a part of it this year. We were thinking that you could perhaps be the closing or opening act, if you're up for it."
Oh, to be back on that stage. The last time I performed there, I don't think I truly had a care in the world. Quite the opposite of where I'm at now. I wouldn't mind playing for a crowd again though; it had been far too long.
"Either one of those are fine, unless you'd rather play at intermission," he teased after I had been silent for a while.
"I can open, I suppose. I'd much rather you have a student close so they can really steal the show, though. It's only fair," I told him.
"You've always been the courteous type, haven't you?"—I nodded reluctantly—"Nice to see someone in the world hasn't changed. The showcase will be on December 14th, just before winter break, with rehearsals far and few in between for you. Now, you don't have to write an entirely new piece. I'm sure you have a lot of unpublished works that are just as amazing as the public ones, if not more so."
He was right, but I would prefer to do something new, something with a winter vibe to it, perhaps. I had been feeling rather inspired lately, after all.
"Will I be able to bring anyone to watch the show?"
"Of course you may. Will your father and mother be attending?"
"Most likely, if they can make it," I told him. "Could I have one additional? If it's not too much to ask…"
"Not too much to ask at all, Edward. You'll receive them during rehearsal," he explained generously.
"Perfect," I smiled; I was already hoping Bella would agree to come as I had yet to play anything for her. It was still October for me to play her something before the showcase. "Well, thank you so much Eleazar. I appreciate you thinking of me to participate."
"No, thank you, Edward. Your line of work definitely doesn't require you to play at an event like this anymore," he chuckled, shaking head.
"Doesn't it, though? They say it's nice to return to where you got your start from," I replied, shrugging. "You're welcome, either way. Call me and let me know when the first rehearsal is?"
"I will, no worries. About four or five minutes in length, if you can—more is acceptable, of course."
I nodded again, standing from my chair. I extended my hand and we shook once again, "Send your wife my regards—she was always one of my favorite teachers."
"Carmen will glow with excitement when she hears that, she's been happy a lot lately though; she's expecting."
"Is she?" I sounded more surprised than I would have liked to let on.
"Due in March," he told me with a warming smile.
I wanted to say something about Bella, but I wasn't quite sure what to say.
"Congratulations, to the both of you," I said politely. "I'll see you soon."
As I left the building, I wondered if I made more of the situation than necessary—but it still felt so strange to tell someone I was going to be a father. The only people that knew, to my knowledge, was Bella—obviously—her friend Alice, and Emmett. For now, only us four knew about it, but how long could that last?
I sat in my car, parked in front of the restaurant Bella worked at in what we New Yorkers considered Little Italy. Originally I was supposed to pick her up from her apartment, but she said someone had gotten fired and her boss needed her to cover their shift. The thought of her working so much irritated me, slightly, but what made matters worse is that she was just a waitress. She was more than capable of being a line chef with her criteria, so why had she not been given a fitting position?
There was a knock on the window and I looked over to see Bella waving, immediately unlocking the door and turning the heater on. It was the middle of October, so the weather in New York was starting its usual downward slope.
"Hey," she breathed, once she was in the car, immediately putting her hands in front of the vents. "Thanks for getting me from work. I had to have Rose swing by and bring my clothes for the evening."
"It's not a problem. How was work?" I asked, putting the car in drive and starting towards our destination.
"The same as always. Working a double definitely pays off in tips for the day," she said. "Where are we eating? I'm starving."
"Orsay," I told her. "Have you ever been?"
"Can't say that I have. If I ever eat out, it's usually at some cheap Chinese place," she shrugged. "I'm sure it will be good, though. I've heard great things about it. How'd you manage to get a table?"
"My father knows the owner," I said as we neared our destination.
"Connections are good for something then," she said lightly. "Well I'm glad I changed at work."
"Even in your work clothes, I'm sure you still look great."
"You're too kind," she batted her eyes playfully.
The ride from lower Manhattan to the Upper East Side could really vary depending on the time of day. Luckily we had just missed rush hour, and arrived on Lexington Avenue within thirty minutes.
I pulled the car into valet and put it into park. Bella's door was opened for her and I immediately exited the car as well, handing them to the attendant when he came around. After joining Bella on the sidewalk I placed my hand on the small of her back, leading her inside the restaurant.
A greeter was waiting on the other side of the door. "Bonne soiree, Monsieur et Mademoiselle. Mai je prendre votre manteau?" He asked, directing the question towards Bella.
She turned towards me—the look on her face said she was impressed, yet confused.
I chuckled and gestured towards the man who was standing behind her and to the side with his hands outstretched.
"He wants to take your coat," I translated and she immediately looked to him and nodded. He took her coat and put it in the closet they had, and I took in the sight of her. "Wow," I breathed. She was dressed in a simple black dress that rested just above her knees, with the thick straps hanging off the shoulders. She stood up straighter under my scrutinizing gaze, and I grinned. "You look beautiful," I told her, and there had never been a truer statement.
"Do you really think so?" She asked, pulling her hair to rest over her left shoulder.
"Yes," I whispered huskily into her ear, "I'm the envy of all men in here tonight."
She didn't have a chance to respond as the hostess asked for my name. I was half listening to the things she said, but replied without a problem. My mother was of French-Canadian decent and had made it a priority for me to learn the language at a young age. We rarely spoke it at home as my father preferred not being left out of the conversations.
My eyes were focused only on Isabella as the waitress checked for the reservation and led us through the dining room that was tapered with candles, setting a rather romantic mood to our table. Bella's long, wavy, dark brown curls fell to the middle of her back and I couldn't help but to play with a soft tendril as we walked. I pulled her chair out for her and slid it in before taking my own seat. I immediately unfolded my napkin and placed it over my lap; she watched me the entire time with a smile on her face. I ordered the wild mushrooms for starters, and the hostess then left us alone at the table.
"You fit in so easily here," she said after awkwardly unfolding her own napkin. "You stick out in my apartment with all of your…gracefulness, and whatnot."
"My gracefulness?" I repeated, letting out a soft chuckle. "You don't seem very clumsy to me."
She scoffed and rolled her eyes, "I'm very…aware of everything I do when you're around and I try not to trip over my own feet."
"I'd catch you if you fell," I said, watching with relish as a faint blush appeared on her cheeks.
The waiter came to our table then, placing down the full cheese platter followed by two wine glasses which he promptly filled, all the while greeting us.
"Bonjour! Je m'appelle Antoine. Je serai votre serveur ce soir. Avez-vous regarder le menu?" He asked in a remarkably flawless accent.
"English is fine," I informed him, glancing at Bella quickly.
"I see," he said, smiling brightly. "It's nice to see you again, Mr. Cullen. Do you two know what you want yet? We have the Hors d'Oeuvres being prepared now."
"Can you give us another moment, Dimitri?"
"Of course, sir."
"Could I have a glass of the raspberry iced tea, please?" Bella spoke up.
"Of course, ma'am. I'll be right back with that," he gave a curt nod before walking away from the table.
"I miss drinking wine," Bella said softly after he left.
"I hadn't even realized, I'm sorry," I said, picking up the wine glass in front of her and moving it to the side of the table. Clearly I'd have to stop being so careless—she couldn't drink alcohol and though wine had a very low percentage, it was still present. I should have said something before he filled the glasses.
"I will just have to drink vicariously through you."
"I'm driving, so I doubt I'll be having more than a taste," I informed her.
"Smart," she smiled. She leaned back in her chair when Dimitri came back with her drink, muttering a small thank you.
"I've been known to be quite intelligent at times," I teased.
We fell silent for a moment as we both looked over the menu.
"I don't know, Edward, these dishes are all really—"
I cut her off before she could even finish.
"Order whatever you want, Bella. I'm treating you to dinner—don't bother looking at the prices. It's insulting," I said, my eyes on her.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to—"
"It's fine, I know you didn't mean anything by it but, please, trust me when I say I have it covered. We're not going to have to wash dishes in the back or anything," I offered a small smile which she returned.
The next time Dimitri came around we both ordered our plates, making small talk as we waited. She had been at the restaurant for two years now and while she wanted to do more, she still liked her job. She sometimes hung out with her coworkers—there was Emily, Jessica, Quil, Embry, and the slightly younger one Seth. She spent most of her free time being outdoors, saying she grew up that way back at home. She had lived here for quite a while now but still liked to do touristy things. I kept that bit of information tucked safely in the important pile to remember for another time.
I told her a little more about my parents—my father the business owner and my mother the interior decorator. And of course I couldn't leave out Emmett. After spending quite some time discussing the tales of Emmett McCarty, she stated that he was to me what Alice was to her—a life long friend with a bond not easily broken.
When we started eating our meal the conversation died down a little, but I didn't mind. Bella had a look on her face that said she was enjoying the food immensely.
"This is really good," she said, confirming my thoughts.
"I'm glad you're enjoying it," I replied, smiling softly. I took a sip of the wine in front of me, unsure if now was the right time to ask her a question that had been in the back of my mine since the doctor's appointment.
"I don't think I'll have room for desert," she said, leaning back and patting her stomach lightly.
"Bella," I started, placing my fork down on my plate. "What happened with your mother? If you don't mind me asking."
The smile on her face disappeared from sight.
"She passed away a few years ago from breast cancer," she shrugged, trying to seem nonchalant. "It's not something I like to talk about—it makes me miss her. She would have been so happy to be a grandmother." A sad look took place on her soft features. "I don't really want to think about it, not right now, Edward."
I could only nod my head, not truly knowing what it felt like to lose a parent.
The rest of dinner proceeded without a hitch, though the beaming smile never returned to Bella's face. We skipped on desert and went to the car as soon as I had paid the bill. As soon as we were in the car with the heater on, Bella leaned back in her seat and shut her eyes. A few minutes into the drive and she had fallen asleep. I must have gotten lost in my thoughts while driving because twenty minutes later I had driven us to my building rather than hers.
"Bella," I called out softly, causing her to stir. "Do you want to stay at my place?"
Still partially sleeping she unbuckled her seatbelt while nodding her head.
I think her eyes were closed the entire elevator ride up. When we entered my apartment she seemed to wake up a little bit, surveying her surroundings.
"Wow," she murmured. "It's big."
"It's alright," I replied softly, easing her out of her jacket.
"I'm sorry—I didn't mean to fall asleep," she yawned, causing me to chuckle.
"It's okay, you can lay down in my room."
I showed her the way, flipping on the light switch before ushering her inside. My bedroom was the largest room in the condo—with glass windows from floor to ceiling. It was very open, but I had thick black curtains put up to block out the sun on my lazy days. The bed was in the center of the room, and the open entry bathroom was to the right.
"Can you unzip me?" she asked sleepily.
I dutifully unzipped the dress and she stepped out of it and went straight to the bed. I rummaged inside of one of my dresser drawers for a shirt for her to wear, which she accepted graciously.
As I searched for pajamas of my own, I felt happy about how the night had transpired after all. She had not been to my apartment yet, and though she was half asleep for her first visit, I still enjoyed the sight of her here, in my bed. I didn't even mind that she was lying on my side.
"Oh shit! Fuck, no, no!"
The swearing woke me up abruptly. I looked at the clock next to my bed which read 9:33 AM. It wasn't that late—it was still breakfast time.
"What's wrong?" I asked, sitting up as I watched her get up from the bed, looking around the room like a mad woman with her bed hair.
"I have work at 11. I forgot to set an alarm before we fell asleep. Fuck, I can't be late. Where's my bag? Did I leave it in your car? I'll just have to wear the same work clothes. The train only runs every thirty minutes, so if I leave now I should be able to make it on time."
"You're crazy if you think I'd make you take the subway to work. Calm down, go into the bathroom and wash up. I should have extra toothbrushes in the drawer to the right of the sink."
She took off towards the bathroom, combing her hands through her tangled hair as she went.
I slid out of bed, rubbing at my eyes and suppressing a yawn as I stood. I opened my nightstand drawer, moving a few things around before I found what I was looking for. I grasped the item in my hand and walked into the bathroom, leaning against to watch her as she brushed her teeth. Her eyes locked with mine in the mirror and I let the item dangle from my pointer finger. She arched an eyebrow, quizzically.
She spit out the toothpaste in the sink and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Take the car," I said before she could get any words out.
"That's insane. I can't take your car."
"You can. I trust you with it. Can you not drive stick?"
I crept up behind her, wrapping my arms around her waist.
"That's incredibly hot," I said, still looking at her in the mirror. "Seriously, though—just drive it to work. You can bring it back afterwards if you like. Perhaps with a change of clothes so you can properly stay the night?"
She shut her eyes and placed her toothbrush on the sink.
"How do you do that?" She turned around to face me.
"Make me feel compelled to do whatever you say," she frowned. "And you don't even have morning breath! You're completely unfair, Edward."
I grinned. "So you'll drive yourself to work?"
"Yes," she sighed, taking the keys from my hand finally. "I don't want to be fired—and I'd also like to go home and shower, and get different work clothes. It's the best option I have."
"And you'll come back over, tonight? I'll rub your feet, if you'd like."
"Still not playing fair, Edward."
"I don't think I know how," I shrugged softly. I gave her a quick pat on her butt before bringing her into the bedroom. "Let me know when you get home safely, okay? And…here." I pushed down my pajama pants and stepped out of them. "I'd have to kill someone if you walked out of here with no pants on."
"You're too kind," she stood on her tip toes to kiss me quickly. "I'm off at seven and I'll come by right after."
"I'll be awaiting your return," I replied, kissing her forehead.
"See you later, Edward," she said, grabbing her dress from the stool at the end of the bed and exiting the room.
I had to wonder why I had been so bad at relationships in the past when this seemed natural and easy. But then again, weren't they all in the beginning?
The words are pouring out of me and I can't stop it! I don't want to stop it, either. For the story's sake, we're pretending Orsay is a super fancy restaurant. I can't say for sure that it is, because I do not live in New York. I'm on the other side of the country in Vegas. It's effing hot-118 degrees? F.M.L. I'm thinking I'll start weekly updates at this point, maybe twice a week if I'm feeling lonely and want to read some reviews. In the mean time, feel free to check out my other fic that I've started recently "Save Our Souls" (yes I'm pimping myself out), it's got our favorite Twilight peeps and my second love, Zombies! (: Until next time, my sweets.
Happy Independence Day! To those of you in the states (: Let's have a BBQ and light stuff on fire!