Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

Author's Note: Thanks to MrsSouzaBlack for her Beta work (: Here is the much awaited meeting with the parents! Let's see how it goes?

Chapter Nine

To most natives, owning a car in Manhattan was pointless. I preferred driving myself around compared to using a Taxi or a Limo service, and taking the subway was out of the question. So, due to my stubbornness I had to leave early whenever I had somewhere to be, just so I could make it on time. It didn't really bother me, though, as I preferred being early to get somewhere rather than late. It could take anywhere from fifteen minutes to over an hour to get to Bella's when I drove, so I always tried to go at a time when the traffic wasn't as heavy.

I was at her door just before four and I knocked loudly three time, taking a step back as I waited for her to answer. I straightened out my tie—green, I had decided on thanks to Alice—feeling slightly nervous as she had never seen be in a suit and tie before. Would she like it? I know she had once mentioned that she didn't mingle well with the rich, but that's where I came from…it's all I knew.

Even though it had only been a month that I had been spending time with her, I knew that I liked her. I was slowly growing accustom to the fact that she was carrying our child. It wasn't a hard concept to grasp but really taking it in was something entirely different.

A minute or so passed by and my knock went unanswered. I took out my phone to send her a quick text message.

I'm at your door. Is everything alright?

A few more minutes passed and still nothing. We didn't have long until we needed to leave.

I ran a hand through my hair and leaned back against the wall, wondering where she could be. As I prepared to call her, I heard the sound of footsteps, causing my head to snap to the right, looking to see who had come off the elevator.

It wasn't Bella. It was her neighbor, Rosalie.

"Hey," she said, smiling as she pulled her keys from her purse.

"Hi," I replied, attempting to keep myself from sounding frustrated.

"Are you waiting on Bella?"

I nodded. "We're supposed to go to my parents tonight for this annual charity thing they do…"

"You can wait in here, if you want. She'll probably be home soon," she said as she unlocked her door and stepped inside, leaving it open for me to follow.

"No, thank you…I'll wait out here," I declined.

She came back outside, leaning against the door frame.

"Did you call her?" I shook my head. "Try calling her."

I did. No answer. I left a voicemail before hanging up.

"Don't worry yourself to death, Edward. She's fine, I'm sure of it," Rosalie assured me.

How the hell could she be sure of it? Did she not know what type of men were stalking the streets of New York at anytime—day or night?

"I hope so. I just wish she'd answer her phone, or hell, use a payphone to call me," I said.

"How did you two meet?" she asked, trying to strike up a conversation. Her cat came out into the hall, rubbing itself against her leg.

I sighed, not really in the mood for talking. "We met at a club."

"Hmm…If I could find a guy half as decent as you at a club, I'd go out there more often. It's hard to have a boyfriend in my line of work, you know? You can't have one that's easily jealous, or one that can't put up with your away schedule." She was trying to distract me. Was I being a dick?

Keeping my voice from sounding too terse I replied, "You're a model, right? What type of guy are you looking for that you can't seem to find in your line of work?"

"It's been so long since I've had a serious relationship…I don't know. Someone that's strong, mentally and physically…mature, with a good sense of humor," she shrugged.

That could be Emmett, if you crossed out the mature part but hey…three out of four isn't bad at all.

"I have a friend who would probably be interested in meeting you," I mentioned.

"What's his name?" she asked curiously.

"Emmett, and he's twenty-five…it was just a suggestion, you don't need to feel forced or anything," I said, my eyes darting to the elevator again.

"No, if he's a friend of yours he can't be half bad, right?" she asked, tossing me a wink before playfully rolling her eyes. "I don't mind, I could use a little adventure in the dating area. Just, don't tell him I'm a model, okay? It's sometimes intimidating to men, too, I've noticed."

I tried to think of that fact intimidating Emmett. He wouldn't be afraid or hindered because of her job, or her looks—if anything they would only spur him on further. She didn't look like the typical girls he dated, she looked better. That was easy to understand, as it meant she probably made the perfect model. However strictly beauty had never been my type, but she didn't appear to be a complete airhead so that was good as well.

The ding of the elevator grabbed my attention, and I saw Bella exit, walking quickly over to us.

"Edward, I'm so sorry," she immediately apologized as I pushed myself away from the wall.

"Are you okay?" I asked, surveying her carefully when she came to a stop in front of me. She appeared a bit flushed but all around unharmed.

"I'm fine," she pushed her curled bangs out of her face. "My dress ripped. It was the only decent thing I had to wear, so I literally ran out to buy a new one and I left my phone inside, otherwise I would have called. I'm sorry," she apologized again.

"It's okay, Rose here was nice enough to keep me company while I waited. I'm just glad to know you're okay," I admitted.

"Well, hurry and get dressed, Bells, let me know how it goes! And Edward, you can get my number from Bella," she grinned and gave a wave before retreating into her apartment.

"What were you two doing?" Bella asked, cocking an eyebrow.

I shrugged, grabbing the keys from her hand to open the door. "She kept me company while I waited," I repeated. Bella snatched them back and shook her head. "What?" I asked.

"What do you need to get her number for? Why was she being so nice to you? She's rarely nice to anyone!" Bella was calm at first but noticeably angry towards the end of her brief tirade.

"What?" I asked again, not understanding. Then it clicked. "Oh, Bella it wasn't anything like that. And anyway, I'm the one that should be angry, not you."

I attempted to grab the keys from her hand but she pulled it away and walked around me to unlock the door herself. I let out a frustrated sigh, running a hand through my hair.

"I didn't do anything. I figured showing up in jeans and a t-shirt wouldn't be acceptable," she shrugged, pushing the door open.

I followed her inside and shut it behind me.

"Let's not argue," I held my hands up, "Get dressed, and we'll head out."

She nodded, holding onto the bag tightly before retreating into her room.

She reemerged about fifteen minutes later, in a black dress that made her look absolutely stunning. It was a vintage style—deep neckline, tight around the midsection (with no visible bumps), and pleats at the bottom. The dress stopped at her knees, exposing her long legs and a pair of black heels exposing her at-home manicured toes.

"You look gorgeous," I told her.

"What, this old thing?" she joked, trying to brush the compliment off, but her smile gave her away. "Shall we head out? I don't want us to be too late."

"We'll still make it on time."

It was nearing rush hour, but if we got a move on, we could probably beat the worst of it.

"I have something for you," she said once she was comfortably situated in the car.

"Oh?" I asked, stealing a glance at her as she started going through her purse.

She produced a small, black velvet box and I arched an eyebrow.

I could only wonder what the box held, and where she had gotten it from. Better yet, why she had gotten me anything in the first place? This wasn't a gift giving occasion.

"Can you open it for me?" I was trying to keep my eyes on the road.

She opened the box, leaning towards me so I could see the silver inside of it.

"The box is lame, I know…It's a key to my apartment," she explained, shutting the box and setting it on the dashboard. "I know it's soon, but…now you can let yourself in whenever, and not have to stand outside talking to Rosalie."

Her tone was an attempt at nonchalance, but I wasn't buying it.

"Isabella Swan," I began, "You're not—you're not jealous, are you?"

"N—No. I…well, look at it from my eyes Edward. Rosalie is drop dead gorgeous and a model and you are twelve different types of sexy, so you can't blame me for thinking it…anyone would."

"Thank you…I think?" I had no idea there were that many different types of sexy in the first place. "But don't be ridiculous, Bella. I'm not like that—you'd better believe you're the only woman I have my sight set on."

She flushed.

"And I don't want you giving me the keys to your apartment if that's the only reason you're doing it," I added.

"It's not the only reason," she replied. "I also just think you should have them—just in case."

"In that case, thank you. I will use it wisely."

She grinned at me before leaning back into the seat, fidgeting with the hem of her dress. She was silent for most of the ride there; I thought she might have dozed off, too but she sat upright when we were nearing the house; turning on the light to check that all of her makeup was in place. All of a sudden she stopped and turned to look at me.

"Did you tell them?"

"Tell them what?" I asked, furrowing my eyebrows.

She let out a frustrated groan, hitting the light so that it turned off.

"You didn't tell them," she accused, shaking her head in disbelief. "I can't believe you didn't tell them I'm pregnant, Edward! What, so you want us to just show up in seven months with a baby? Hello new grandmother and grandfather, meet grandbaby!" She seemed near hysterics.

"Bella, it's not like that at all…we'll tell them…or I'll tell them when the time is right," I shrugged as I parked the car in front of the house. I killed the engine, facing her to see her reaction.

"We have to tell them tonight, and then they'll hate me."

"What are you talking about? They won't hate you, it isn't your fault. I'm sure they'll be understanding; you don't have anything to worry about," I attempted to assure her.

She sighed and grabbed her purse, "Well, we have no choice but to see now. We're already here."

I gritted my teeth but said nothing, not wanting to get her angrier.

What was with the sudden change in her mood?

We both got out of the car and walked up leaf covered steps to the front door together. I lightly grasped her hand hooked it onto the crook of my elbow.

"Please don't be upset with me, Isabella. " I pleaded.

She looked up at me with her soft brown eyes, a small smile on her lips.

"You're doing it again—the worst part is that you probably don't even know it. The fact that you're in that suit is only helping you at this point," she said, squeezing my arm before nodding towards the door.

I would have to keep the affect I had on her in mind for later use, it could probably help keep me in her good graces. I heard women got rather moody during pregnancies.

Opening the door, I was able to see that Esme had gone all out with decorating, as usual. The home had a very autumn vibe to it, with authentic looking maple leaves strewn about. It smelled wonderful, like the countryside. I never knew how she was able to capture holidays and seasons in a way that you could see and smell. That's probably why she was one of the best at what she did.

Walking further into the house, past the staircases and through the entryway, there was soft music playing and light chatter to be heard.

"Edward!" I turned at the sound of my mother's voice. "I'm so glad you could make it!" She enveloped me in a hug. "And who is this lovely woman?"

"Mom this is Bella, Bella, this is my mother, Esme," I introduced them.

"It's nice to meet you," Bella said, extending her hand, which Esme shook graciously before placing a quick kiss to Bella's cheek.

"You as well, dear. Edward never brings anyone to these things. Come inside, make yourselves comfortable. I arranged for you two to sit at the table with Carlisle and I, along with some of our best donors. Dinner will be starting soon," her words were rushed, but I did not think much of it, knowing she had a lot on her plate with hosting the event.

In the banquet hall—my parents had it specially built when they designed the house—there were quite a few people in attendance. On the way to our table we were stopped several times by some of my parent's colleagues, wanting to know when I had come back in town and how my music was going. I was polite, as I had been taught, replying with a smile and introducing Bella as my date. She seemed to take it all in stride, but I didn't have a moment to actually ask how she was dealing with it until we finally took our seats.

"It's…different. It's okay, I guess," she offered a small smile. "You do this often?"

I shrugged, "When I was younger I had to, but now it's not necessarily a requirement—but I do like to support my parents whenever I can. They can actually raise a lot at these things."

She didn't have a chance to reply, as my father chose that moment to come to the table.

"So, this is her?" He said, trademark smile on his face. "Carlisle Cullen, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"You as well," Bella replied, taking his outstretched hand. She held her smile, even when he brought her hand to his lips for a chaste kiss just above her knuckles.

"Dinner will be served soon—your mother is getting another glass of wine. This will make number three, I'll have to cut her off soon," he chuckled, taking his seat at the round table just one over from mine.

The guests began to settle down at their respective tables as well, and Esme trickled in with the last of them, taking her seat between Carlisle and me. When everyone was finally seated, they both stood to make their speech.

"My husband and I want to thank you all for coming here, tonight. Family is the most important thing we have to cherish in our life. There are many families around the world that struggle and have suffered far too many hardships. That's what we are here to ease. Your donations will help contribute to a great cause. Many families will be having a Thanksgiving dinner that they could not have supplied for themselves. We appreciate you all. And, of course, we hope to see you at the next event. Enjoy your meals," there was a small applause after she finished.

The servers brought out the appetizers, and the chatter throughout the room lowered slightly.

What a fitting speech Esme had given. She did value family, there was no doubting that, and so a part of me was certain that she would be thrilled to know she was going to be a grandmother but the other part—the one that knew how much of a high society mom she could be—was afraid of what she might say.

"So, Isabella, tell us what it is you do," Carlisle asked.

"It's nothing special at all, right now. I recently graduated from culinary school and I'm working as a waitress currently," she replied, taking a sip of her water.

"Hmmm," he hummed in reply, his eyes darting up to mine ever so briefly. "Have you tried finding a job as a chef? Would that not better suit your talents?"

"Of course I've tried," she said, "It's…well, I'll just never understand how stereotypes place women in a kitchen, but take a woman that wants to find a job in one and it's like blasphemy."

My father chuckled at her response, and leaned forward, looking at her intently.

"You would think with it being the twenty-first century people would have gotten past that by now, right?"

She meekly nodded her head. I reached an arm across her back, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

"Where are you originally from, dear?" Esme asked, polishing off the rest of her wine.

"Forks, Washington…it's a small town not too far from Seattle," she said. "Is it that easy to tell I'm not from around here?"

"You talk different," I piped up.

"You talk different," she whispered, giggling softly. "You'll never believe what I read in the New Yorker, today," she said with a fake, stereotypical 'New York' accent.

"Is that how I sound to you?" I asked skeptically to which she nodded vigorously.

"Excuse me, could you bring a glass of wine out to the adults at the tables? Except for Victoria, the red head, she's expecting," Esme spoke to one of the waiters.

"I think you should slow down on the drinking, dear," Carlisle said softly.

"What's one of the main reasons I host the event at home?"

"Because you can't rely on any of the venues interior designs to mix well with what you have in mind?" My father spoke the truth.

"Well, yes, but also because in the event that I have too much to drink, I can just mosey on up to my room," she replied cheekily.

The waiters came back around with the main course and the glasses of wine as Esme had asked. Bella slid her glass noticeably away from her plate and I offered her a quick smile before picking up my fork to eat.

"Is my accent that horrible?" I asked her, resuming our conversation.

"I probably didn't do it justice," she shook her head. "It's a lovely accent, I assure you. I get chills when you say words like 'water' or 'car' you know, it's really cute."

I squinted my eyes slightly, unable to tell whether she was joking or not.

"It could be worse. Have you ever talked to someone from Boston? It's like I can hear the words being misspelled every time they talk," I joked.

She placed a hand over her mouth, covering her laugh.

"What are you two laughing about over there?" Esme asked, wine glass held lightly in her hands as she peered down at us, smiling. Before either of us could reply she spoke again. "Do you not like the wine, dear? Would you like a glass of something different?"

"No, thank you. I'm fine," Bella replied politely.

"It's a very good year, I promise. Carlisle is a collector; I could get you a white wine if you prefer it?"

"I can't drink wine," she murmured, a red tint creeping up her cheeks.

""Are you…" Esme trailed off, leaning across my father to whisper softly, "recovering?"

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. An alcoholic?

"Mother, give it a rest," I said, wanting to take some of the attention off of Bella.

"Well, what is it? You're not pregnant are you?" She asked, chuckling lightly.

Bella's face dropped, my heart beat sped up. This wasn't how I had intended for them to find out. Bella had been right; I should have told them earlier.

Esme had meant it as a joke, clearly, but she'd hit the nail right on its head.

Bella and I shared a quick look before she averted her gaze to her plate and I cleared my throat.

Carlisle, who didn't appear to be paying much attention to our conversation until now was waiting for a response in earnest.

"Mom," I started, trying to keep myself from glancing around the table that had become noticeably silent.

She shook her head and waved my reply off; I could hear Bella gulp from next to me.

I looked at Bella and her lip was between her teeth, her eyes still fixated on her plate. I could see the moisture pooling around her eyes. I slipped my hand beneath her hair, placing it gently on her neck and rubbing my thumb across the nape.

"You two can't be serious?" Esme's tone was skeptical. "It's not a funny joke, son, I'll tell you that. And young lady—"

"Can we not talk about this here?" Carlisle interrupted, momentarily saving us.

Bella leaned into my side, sniffling slightly, "I've ruined dinner."

Esme sighed, picking up her wine glass and offering an innocent smile to her guests at the table.

"Continue with your meals, just a small family discussion," Esme appeased.

The guests dutifully turned their attention back to their plates.

"Edward can I talk to you in the hall for a moment, please?" Carlisle asked—it was really more of a demand.

I removed my napkin from my lap and placed it on the table before standing up, motioning for Bella to do so as well.

"Bella, please, finish your meal," Carlisle stopped her as she got ready to get up from the table.

"I won't leave you here if you don't want me to, Bella. Just say the word and we can leave, right now."

She shook her head, "It's fine. Go."

She wouldn't look up at me so I couldn't see the expression on her face. I leaned down and placed a kiss to the top of her head before following Carlisle out into the hall. It was slightly dark, save for a light coming from the kitchen, and commotion could be heard as the next course was being prepped.

"Dad—"

He held up a hand, cutting me off before I could even say anything.

"What the hell are you thinking, Edward?" He asked, keeping his voice low. "You couldn't have been thinking at all—getting that girl knocked up. How could you be so careless and irresponsible? You're only twenty four years old, and you still have so much left to do within your career path. Why are you even entertaining this thought? How far along is she?"

For a moment I felt like a child being scolded for doing something he had been told not to.

"She just made two months," I replied, my gaze averted to the floor momentarily.

"This is not a good look for us son. You can't—we can't just go running around fucking random, lower class women and not expect any back lash. Not just for our family, but think of everyone at these events, of everyone in our circle. Think of what you'll be putting her through. What will they say when they find out she works as a waitress in a restaurant. You tell me the first word that will come to their mind."

Gold-digger.

Kanye West jokes aside, I refused to say the words out loud. He didn't know anything about Isabella, and this situation was nothing like that.

Was it?

I could feel my fist clench at my sides. Perhaps I had been looking at the glass half full this entire time. I had always been a very good judge of character, and even though I showered my previous girlfriends in gifts from time to time, it was nothing they hadn't been groomed to expect—coming from the same social standing as I did and my parents never seemed to mind then. I knew the both of them to be rather caring individuals, no matter whom the person was or where they came from.

"She's not like that, dad. You don't know anything about her."

"And you do? How long have you known her exactly?"

I remained silent.

"Exactly. The truth remains that you know nothing about this girl and she could be playing you for a fool. You need to tell her—if this is your kid—that she cannot go through with it. She's only two months along, more than enough time to perform the procedure. I can have my assistant call a clinic first thing in the morning. She'll be taken care of just fine, and then you'll never have to think about this again."

I couldn't believe the words I was hearing.

My father had never spoken to me like this, with no regard or concern to hear my thoughts and feelings on the subject matter. I knew what their perspective was on this subject matter—that they would prefer I date a woman from a family we knew. I had no idea they would react this way. I felt as if I were having a horrible case of whiplash. My eyes snapped up to him as I steadied my breathing.

"We're leaving. I hope that you and mom will take the night to think about this because I truly believe you're wrong. You're not behaving like the people that raised me—like people that would throw a charity for families yet verbally slap a young woman in the face that is starting one. I…I can't even," I shook my head in disbelief, turning around to reenter the banquet hall.

My eyes scoped out our table for Bella, but she wasn't there.

"Fuck," I swore aloud, drawing a few eyes to me. Ignoring them I walked back to the table, leaning down when I reached Esme. "Where is she?" My voice came out a harsh whisper.

"She left, dear. Take your seat and let's try to make the best of the evening," she sounded so nonchalant I had to take a step back and look her in the eyes. Her emerald green eyes were so similar to my own, and yet tonight they had taken on a completely different hue.

Without another word I walked away from the table, out of the room, and completely out of the house. Fitting to my mood, it had started raining outside. Not just a slight drizzle either, but a down poor. Shoving my hair out of my eyes, I walked down the steps, searching for any sign of her.

"Bella!" I called out, praying that she had not left.

I shouldn't have expected her to stay. Could I at least expect to find her?

I walked to my car, unable to see any sign of her. She'd be crazy to even think of walking home in this. Once inside the car I pulled my phone out of my front pocket and called her cell phone. She picked up, but said nothing.

"Bella, where are you?"

"I'm going home, Edward." Was her soft and short reply.

"Where are you?" I repeated, not having received a suitable answer.

"I've paid one of these stupid car services to drive me back."

"Tell him to pull over, I'll come get you."

"Don't, Edward. I can't do this right now."

"I'm coming over," I said, starting up the car and peeling out of my parking spot.

"You're not. I—I don't want you to." I could hear the tears through her voice, causing me to grip the steering wheel even tighter. "I need some time. Goodbye, Edward."

The phone hung up and I growled, throwing my phone to the floor.

So much for smooth sailing.


-squeaks-

xo chams