I craned my neck trying to see around the mass of heavily packed bodies in front of me. I scuttled of to one side trying desperately to see the revolving luggage reclaim. My plain black bag would be easy to spot with all the stickers and ribbons all over it but I could barely see any thing but a mass of heads; bald, blonde, grey, dark, brunette…God, this place had them all!
As I bounced up and down I spotted my bag slowly rolling down. Half running, I made my way to a reasonably thinning spot beside the reclaim. Bobbing from side to side like an animal in a weird mating ceremony I tried to se where my bag was now, but being my usual clumsy self my toe caught on the edge of a trolley.
Luckily someone caught me by the waist and dragged me upright.
"Uh...thanks for that," I mumbled as I caught sight of the strangers face. It was a guy, fairly tall but still handsome, even with the beginnings of stubble.
"You're very welcome," he murmured still holding me close. I pushed him away, uneasy about the close contact. I cussed as I saw my bag sliding by, in all its sticker-covered glory.
"Oh, hell," I whimpered, twisting away from my rescuer and racing after my bag.
I caught the handle and struggled to heave it off the loop. Heaving and puffing, I twisted my whole arm around it. It wouldn't budge. I leaned against it and pulled. It took me with it.
A tanned arm snaked out and caught it securely around the handle. With one deft pull it slid it off the loop and lowered it onto the ground next to me.
I flushed bright crimson and untangled my arm from the handle.
The guy smiled "I thought you needed a hand." I bit my lip and nodded.
"Thanks," I mumbled before snapping up the plastic handle on my suitcase and wheeling it away.
A hand landed on my shoulder and I tensed "Wait!" he said.
I didn't like contact from people I don't know very well. I don't know if it's a psychology thing but unless I really know the person I don't like them hugging me. Is that mad? I'm not entirely sure but I'm firm on my belief. Another thought struck me; would I be comfortable around Bella? She was practically my best friend but I haven't seen her for years…
The thought disappeared from my head though when the strange guy started walking in sync with me, dragging his own suitcase.
"I'm sorry, I'm meeting someone." I said politely hoping he'd go away.
"That's okay. I'll escort you to them." He grinned, arrogantly and I sighed.
"My name's Cory," he said, finally removing his hand from my shoulder.
I was silent.
"What's yours?" he prompted looking at me in a way that made the pit of my stomach curl.
"…I don't know," I garbled trying to get through the crowds away from him.
Someone rolled their squat suitcase over my friend's foot and he howled and bent down to clutch his big toe. I seized the chance and picked up my pace, walking faster, heading out into the hotel lobby.
Now…Where was Bella?!
I sighed against Edward's chest as he drew us foreword through a mass of people. I could no longer see Marianne, Alice or Emmett until I peeked through a hole in the crowd and saw a…well, me off to one side, looking rather bewildered. Alice was fervently tackling her and Emmett was grinning from ear to ear, hoisting a rather large suitcase onto his shoulder. He didn't even look pained, and, compared to the size of the suitcase it looked impressive. Obviously too impressive for Edward's liking as he quickened his pace and we were suddenly beside them.
The me stared at me in surprise.
"Marianne?" I asked with a polite smile.
"Bella?" she answered grinning at me.
I unattached myself from her side and reached out to hug her but a rather annoying pixie got in my way. Alice grinned sweetly up at me, still entangled around Marianne.
"Alice, let Marianne go. She doesn't know you and you're freaking her out." I said matter-of-factly.
Obediently, Alice let go of Marianne and slunk back, pouting. Marianne reached out to hug me and I noticed with surprise that she was taller than me. She would be…what, seventeen, now? I was seventeen when I met Edward.
Automatically my eyes scooted to his and I saw the amused smiles that Emmett and he were trying conceal under their 'hard-men-who-don't-like-cute-family-reunion-stuff' faces.
Oh!" I exclaimed, drawing back. "Marianne this is Edward my…my…"
"Husband," finished Emmett, pushing Edward forward, one hand on the small of his back.
"Hello," said Edward nervously his eyes flickering to my face. I chuckled to myself; my family made Edward as nervous as his family made me at first.
"Hello," said Marianne reaching out to shake his gingerly outreached hand. Edward, Alice, Emmett and I tensed, waiting for her to flinch at his skin.
Marianne didn't react.
Edward's face lit up and I realized she had thought something interesting. What if…what if my cousin likes my husband? I concealed a shudder.
"Hey, you…" we all turned around. "Yes…you! Wait!"
A tall guy, about twenty with ragged brown hair came running up and grabbed Marianne's elbow.
"Why didn't you wait for me?" he asked her. She looked at me in fright and I saw the guy look up at us.
Smirking at Edward, he said "Are these people bothering you, babe?"
Emmett stepped forward and the guy visibly paled; He obviously hadn't noticed that Emmett was part of our group.
"Let me rephrase that…Marianne is he bothering you?" Emmett snarled, baring his glistening teeth.
Marianne jumped slightly shocked at her name being spoken, then nodded once and tried to squirm away from the guy's grip but he didn't let go.
Emmett's eyes narrowed and he stepped forward. "Let. Go. Of. The. Girl." He hissed.
The guy shrank back and half ran away, dragging his pathetic Louis Vuitton suitcase behind him. He paused slightly then fumbled for something in his pocket. Smiling lecherously at Marianne, he tossed it toward us. "Call me, babe!" he yelled before running away again, weaving through the crowd.
Emmett muttered furiously, eyeing the guy's retreating back menacingly. "And stay away, creep."
Marianne laughed tentatively and smiled at all of us.
Alice huffed loudly and pouted again. "Let's go!"
She hooked her arm through Marianne's and steamed her forward leaving Emmett, Edward and I to follow in the narrow path she'd cut through into the crowd.
I shivered when we reached outside the airport; it was freezing, there would probably be snow tomorrow. If there was snow, I would stay inside. I didn't particularly hate the snow, just the Cullen's super-snowball-fights. They were like a lethal blizzard in which Emmett would run up behind, like a dart and stuff slush down the back of your jumper. Not good.
We passed the creepy guy who was chatting up a whole new load of girls now. One of which was seemingly prattling over his 'designer' suitcase. As Alice heard them her face tightened, cupping her free hand around her mouth she yelled at the guy, "Knock-Off-Nigel! That bag is so obviously a fake!"
We all snickered as the girls gave him annoyed looks and slunk off again.
"How can you tell?" Marianne asked Alice quietly.
"Oh, it's simple; seam cuts, colour, design format; it's not even a good fake! Not like I know about fakes," she added hurriedly.
Emmett laughed at Marianne's expression. "You will soon realize that our Alice likes shopping."
"Understatement," I coughed and Edward smiled and tightened his arm around me.
"I love you, Bella," he whispered in my ear as we walked towards the Volvo.
"I love you too," I murmured back.
"Ugh!" Emmett exclaimed from behind us. "I hate newly weds!"
It was so obvious she was Bella's cousin. They looked awfully alike, almost sisters. Marianne was slightly taller, although equally as slim with the same ivory complexion and rosy tinted cheeks as my sister. Compared to Bella's chocolate, Marianne's navy eyes looked slightly black in the light but were still equally as warm and deep.
I assessed her quietly as walked together. Her poise was good, that was a bonus; I found out the hard way trying to correct Bella's posture with the books on the head was not worth it. I mean, ugh, broken wrist! You can't paint your nails! Her face was narrower than Bella's, but she had amazing, prominent angled cheekbones and pretty slanted eyes.
Hmmm, I thought slyly. I can work with her. I can indeed. Edward shot me an amused glance.
I sighed lightly. Well you didn't expect me to leave her alone did you?
Minutely, so that Bella didn't notice, he shook his head.
Well, then, I thought smugly. Don't ruin it for her- she hasn't had an Alice yet.
Oh, yes I could work with her! She won't know what's hit her….
Hello there! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update but it's here now and the next wait won't be so long...
A lot of people think that Marianne's hiding something..Is she??? Hmmm.
Anyway thanks to Mizz-Emz my wonderful Beta! I love you loads and this chapter would probably be even later if it wasn't for her...
Thank you for reading and please drop a review if you have time!
Lots of love