A/N: I apologize, once again, for the late update. I'm studying a lot and family drama goes down almost every day. It kills me when I see somebody say 'I check for an update every day and it makes me sad when you haven't updated' THAT makes ME sad. And I apologize infinitely for that.
This chapter was supposed to go up last night, but I was extremely exhausted and the person who usually edits for me is extremely unreliable, editing wise. So I'm on the look out for a permanent beta. This chapter is unedited so forgive me for any mistakes. I have a really bad migraine right now and I can't sleep, so I can't focus. But I felt bad lying here and just having the chapter.. there in my files.
Hope you enjoy this chapter. I think it's the longest one that I've wrote in a while.
I held Edward's hand firmly in my own as we rode in the cab to his parents' home. I had agreed to go with him to this Thanksgiving deal with his family as both his girlfriend and support. I had spoke to my parents about it and they seemed to understand. Just as long as we, as in both Edward and I, would go to their place for Christmas.
"Stop that," I said to Edward who was scratching his thighs. It was a nervous habit that he had.
"You're scratching your legs again. Stop it.. you have nothing to be nervous about. I'll be there with you the whole time."
I took both his hands in mine, intertwining our fingers.
"I can't believe you picked up on that.. I didn't even realize I was doing it."
"Well maybe that's because I know you better than yourself," I teased, kissing his cheek softly.
Obviously Edward was bound to be nervous. I just hoped that his parents would be civil toward him. Edward is a good man and he doesn't deserve anybodys crap.
Soon enough, we pulled up to the house.. which was magnificent looking. I had seen houses like this in catalogues for buyers, but never in person. Edward, however, seemed unfazed by this.
I paid the cab driver who helped us with the bags and I wheeled Edward up the pathway with one bag on my shoulder and the other sitting in his lap.
The front was garden was full of many different flowers and the whole of it seemed to be kept really well. I remember Edward telling me that his mom was obsessed with her gardening when he lived here.
"Ready?" I asked as we stopped in front of the large door.
"Do I have a choice?"
I smiled and used the knocker three times.
After a few moments, the door finally opened to reveal a beautiful woman with caramel coloured hair and a heart shaped face. She looked.. kind. But I had to remind myself that appearances can be deceiving.
I immediately put my guard up for both Edward and I.
"Edward! You made it!" she smiled down at him then look at me, "who's this?"
"Hi, my name is Bella," I said taking Edward's hand in mine and added, "I'm his girlfriend."
"Oh.. it's nice to meet you dear," she forced a smile for my benefit.
"Well, come in! Do you need some help with, err.."
"No, I got it," I said, pushing Edward up the steps. She hadn't done anything for him within the last few years, why would she do so now?
"Everyone else is already here, let me show you to the dining room."
She walked with a sharpness in her walk that basically said 'follow me quickly or get lost'. Nice woman, I thought to myself sarcastically.
I dropped our bags by the stairs, mentally noting to myself to put them up in our room later.
"Bella!" Emmett exclaimed, "you and Eddie made it!"
"Emmett.." Edward warned while he glared.
Emmett ignored Edward and continued on, "have you met Carlisle yet?"
I shook my head, biting my lip nervously.
"Come on!" Emmett waved at us to follow him while he stole a carrot stick from the table.
Every time that I thought the house couldn't get any bigger, I was proved wrong. The kitchen was ten times the size of Charlie's kitchen.
Edward's mother was in the kitchen talking to a young looking blonde man. That must be Carlisle.
"Hey, Dad, look who's here!" Emmett bellowed, looking around the kitchen for what I assumed was more food.
"Hey, son. I'm glad you could make it," Carlisle said, gaving Edward a curt nod. "And who is this lovely young lady?" He asked, looking at me.
"That's his girlfriend, honey," Edward's mother nudged him with her shoulder as they had a silent conversation with their eyes.
"I'm Bella," I said, extending my hand which Carlisle grasped and gave a firm shake.
"Nice to meet you, Bella. I'm Carlisle."
"Well, dinner is almost done.. so why don't you two go get settled at the table in the dining room?" Edward's mother suggested.
Edward and I both silently nodded and fixated ourselves at the table.
So far, this accurance was nothing but awkward. I wished there was something that I could do to help this day. I hoped to help in the kitchen, but they obviously wanted us to come just in time for dinner so there would be barely any communication. Or that was how it seemed to me.
Soon enough, we were settled into our food. Everybody made polite conversation around the table.
"Mrs. Cullen, why is it that you always make the best holiday dinners? You always beat my moms by a mile," Rosalie said.
"Rosalie, dear.. I've told you a thousand times to call me Esme!" she laughed.
Whenever Edward or I were addressed, it was never in that tone. It was always very sharp and strict.
"So, Bella, how did you and my son happened to meet?" Carlisle asked, pouring some gravy over his chicken.
"Well.. it's a funny story, actually. Alice was my roommate in a flat we shared and she was dating Jasper who is obviously Edward's cousin. And Alice is Rosalie's friend, who, again obviously, is dating Emmett. Edward and I got off to a bad start, but with their help, we got together." I smiled at the memory.
"And what is it that you are doing with yourselves these days, Edward?" Carlisle asked and everybody turned to look at Edward.
"Not much.. just.. reading and stuff.." he mumbled.
"What was that?" I asked, staring at his mother.
"Nothing. I was merely speaking to myself.
"No.. please, Mrs. Cullen, I really want to know." I said, putting down my cutlery.
"It's just.. why are you with him, Bella? He's a good for nothing waste of space. All he's done since he got in the reckless accident is laze around. And you, you're obviously with him because of money. Why else would you be with a man that can't even take care of you?"
"Mom! Esme!" Everybody at the table shouted in unison.
"I am certainly not with Edward for his money. Before I met him, I was unaware that he was.. well.. he was from this. You don't know anything about me or your son." I stood up and left the table.
I could feel Edward following me from behind. I immediately felt bad. I shouldn't have created drama.
"I'm sorry, Edward." I said, sinking down on the staircase.
"What for?" he asked, tilting his head curiously.
"For that. I acted so immaturely. It's just.. she was.. ugh!" I threw my head into my hands.
"Don't apologize for that, love. I'm happy that you defended me that way. Though, perhaps it's wise that we spend some time away. Feel like going up to my room?"
"Sure," I smiled, standing up.
I was debating on how I was going to get him up the stairs when he hoisted himself into a chair on the stairs.
OH! I mentally kicked myself. Of course.. he was here a while after the accident before he left. Of course he was bound to have a stair lift. The little child in me wanted to have a go.
Instead, I grabbed the bags and headed up the stairs. We kept going until we reached the third floor and he stopped. I helped him back into his wheelchair and he guided me to his own room.
"This.. is my room." He looked at my nervously and pushed the door open.
His room was filled with music, books and drawings all along his wall. Definitely not a regular teenagers room. I was aware that he wasn't a teenager, but he was before he left.
There were drawings of flowers, a meadow, motorbikes, and complex drawings. Drawings with people, with eyes, blood.. they were all so.. interesting. And deep. I never knew he could draw before.
"Edward.. these are magnificent," I said in awe.
"They're okay," he shrugged, sitting on the bed.
"Why didn't you tell me that you could draw?" I asked, flopping down beside him.
"It never came up in conversation. Besides, they're not that good."
I rolled my eyes and lay down beside him as he slowly lay down. He truly could never see how talented he truly is.
We lay there for a while. He talked about memories, about how he started drawing. We listened to music and lay in each others' embrace.
Our peace was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Come in," Edward yelled.
The door opened to revealed Edward's parents, who walked inside the room halfway.
"May I steal Bella for a few moments, Edward? I'd like to talk to her and your father wants to talk to you privately."
Edward and I looked at each other.
Hurry back to me, his eyes said.
I will. Good luck, I love you. My eyes said back.
I sighed, climbing over Edward and walking out the door with Esme behind me.
We walked down the stairs and onto the porch where she already had two teas waiting for us.
"So what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Bella.. I can't imagine what you must think of me.." she said, sipping her tea slowly. "I must seem like a pretty bad parent to you."
"Bad is an understatement.." I grumbled which caused her to look up at me in shock. "Sorry," I mumbled.
"I'm sorry about earlier.. I had no right to be such a bitch."
"As shocking as your words were, they were also true. Carlisle and myself have never been the best parents to Edward since.. the accident. And that is something that we have always regretted. But you have to see our side.. he was always a reckless and immature teenager. So when the accident came by, it was just the last straw."
"He's told me about his past, Mrs. Cullen.. but you have to understand that it wasn't completely his fault."
"Yes, Emmett and Jasper have told us. But by the time we knew that and by the time we wanted to help, it was too late. We treated him awful. I do love my son very much, Bella. But the way he was.."
"But he's different now. I've seen the changes in him. He is a very respectful and wonderful man. He has made me happier than I've ever been. I just wish that you'd give him and me both the benefit of the doubt."
She smiled sadly, sipping her tea again. I felt sorry for her for a moment.. she loved her son and he seemed beyond reach to her. I couldn't relate to that, but I understood her pain.
"Please give us a second chance, Mrs. Cullen. You owe him that."
"I never stopped loving him, you know? The money he has.. he thinks he gets that from being disabled. But that's not true. Carlisle is a very successful doctor, which has helped pay for this house. Well.. monthly, we send him a cheque that he thinks is from the government. I didn't tell him because I knew that he already hated us by then."
I said back in shock. I was certainly not expecting that.
"We never stopped loving him, Bella."