A/N- Excuses: lazy, overworked, writers block, to busy reading other fics, sick, Christmas, two jobs… Take your pick… you can't go wrong with any of them, as one or more of them have been true over the last few months.
Thank you to my Beta's, Julie and Clarissa- you both keep me in line and make me feel like I know what I am doing, and you never make me feel bad that we don't talk much!… Thanks for that!
Ownership of Characters… Stephenie…not me!
Chapter 17- A Human Moment
Bella walked into the restaurant slowly while battling the feeling of nausea that was taking over her body. She had finished her book and was just minutes away from a meeting with Mr. Jamison and her new public relations manager. She had spent the last several weeks finishing her revisions and if she were honest with herself, she wished that she wasn't done. She had spent the last week bored out of her mind as she watched Edward leave for the hospital every morning. She had way too much time to worry about her upcoming public appearances and being in the spotlight. She loved writing, but she had a feeling that the next part of her journey would be unpleasant. Bella did not like being the center of attention and she worried about how the public would view her. She had watched several interviews on some of the talk shows that she would be appearing. She noticed how calm those people were and she couldn't imagine not embarrassing herself on national television. She had pictured several scenarios where she entered the studio and froze or worse, tripped over her own feet and fell in front of the live studio audience.
Bella had shared her nervousness with Edward the night before and he just chuckled as she told him about falling on stage. She remembered the words he had spoken, the words that instantly helped her to relax.
"Bella, you are beautiful and captivating. You will have the American public eating out of your hands. Just believe in yourself. You can do this; you were meant to do this."
Bella took one final step to the hostess station and smiled. She needed to listen to Edward. She needed to be as confident in herself as he seemed to be. After Bella gave her name to the hostess, she was lead to a table where Mr. Jamison and another man sat together. When they noticed her approaching, they both stood to greet me. Bella smiled nervously at their chivalry and her grin grew larger asshe remembered Edward doing the same thing just two nights ago when they had met for dinner.
"Bella… welcome. I am so glad that you made it." Mr. Jamison smiled as he greeted her.
"I'd like to introduce you to Garrett Lane. He will be in charge of all of your public appearances as well as your press releases. Garrett, meet the lovely Isabella Swan."
Garrett extended his hand to Bella and he lifted her hand to his lips and placed a sweet kiss just above her knuckles, causing her to blush.
"Oh, we have a beauty on our hands. The camera will just love you and if you are as sweet as that blush of yours, we will sell millions of books." Garrett smiled as he released her hands.
Normally his words would have sent warning signals to her brain, but Garrett didn't seem like he was flirting; he seemed honest and sincere. This made Bella relax slightly.
"Please sit down and we can enjoy a meal and get started on our plans," Mr. Jamison spoke with enthusiasm.
"Bella, I'm looking forward to working with you. I think that before we start working, we should get to know each other first. We'll be spending a lot of time together so it's important that you are comfortable with me," Garrett stated before the waiter came by and took their drink orders.
Bella decided instantly that she liked Garrett. He seemed very genuine and that helped Bella feel calm. They ate and Bella gave him a rundown of her life and family. She mentioned her fiancé Edward and how she was overwhelmed with the direction of her career. She told him about her nerves and her worry over embarrassing herself as well as the publishing company. The conversation was easy and honest and both men assured her that her feelings were normal and very much to be expected. Garrett promised that he would coach her and that they would have mock interviews before she would be required to do any live interviews alone. He reassured her that he was there to help her through everything.
Bella left the meeting feeling happy and relieved. She couldn't wait to talk to Edward about her day. Ever since they had dinner with his family, Bella had made an extra effort to keep Edward apprised of everything new in her life. She wanted him to be a part of it and she realized that she also wanted his opinion as well as his thoughts on all the changes that were happening. Bella never wanted to keep a distance between herself and Edward. If there was one thing that she was sure of, it was that both she and Edward had never had a problem with telling each other the truth. Even when they were both stressed out over their mess at Christmas, they had been able to talk to each other and work out their problems together.
Edward was enjoying his day at the hospital as he took a half hour for lunch. He sat in the lounge and ate with a few other interns. He had to laugh at some of their stories. He glanced at his watch as he realized that Bella would most likely be on her way home from her lunch meeting. He couldn't deny the sadness he felt when he thought of Bella leaving. He had spent the last two months with her and they had rarely slept apart. He had often wondered why he kept his apartment as he was never there. He spent all of his time at the hospital or at Bella's house. He loved it there. He smiled at that thought as he realized he loved being anywhere when he was with her.
His phone interrupted his thoughts as it beeped and he looked down at the display.
Just left the meeting… It went great! Can't wait to see you at home- B
Edward left the lounge and went into one of the empty conference rooms and called Bella.
"Hey, handsome… I take it that you are on a break."
"I am. I just had lunch with the interns from the ER. They have a much tougher job than I do," he said chuckling.
"I imagine so… all that blood."
"So, the meeting went well?" Edward asked as he ran his hands through his messy hair.
"It was great! I met my PR rep and he was awesome. His name is Garrett and he was great with me so I don't feel as scared as I did, which is good, because I practically puked on the way to the meeting this afternoon." Bella giggled as she remembered her nerves before entering the restaurant.
"I can't wait to hear about it. I should be home early tonight. Our attending is leaving and he told us that we were free to go when he takes off. I should be home around five o'clock."
Bella's smile grew.
"I love it when you say that."
"Home," she replied wistfully.
"Home is where you are, Bella…I love you, sweet girl."
"I love you too! I am going to make something special for us tonight."
Edward grinned as his stomach growled at the mention of Bella's cooking. She was a wonderful cook and he was sure that he had gained a few pounds since they had been together.
"I can't wait! I better get going and I look forward to hearing more about this Garrett character. I don't have any competition, do I?" he teased.
"As if, Cullen; like I would give up Dr. Mcmmm for just anyone. See you tonight, sexy."
"See you soon, baby," Edward replied as he ended the phone call. He couldn't contain his happiness as he walked into the room of his next patient.
Bella and Edward spent very little time together over the next few weeks as Edward's shift changed to nights. It was lonely for Bella without him there beside her when she slept. She missed his warm body and his safe arms around her. She had managed to keep herself busy with preparations for the book tour that would be happening next month. She had spent a large amount of time with Garrett and she felt more confident every day. Garrett seemed to be able to read her and offer great tips on keeping her nerves in check. She was able to tape some mock interviews and watch them analyzewhat she needed to change and see what she did well. It was a little unnerving to see herself on television, as she seemed to be her own worst critic.
Her days were spent outlining story ideas for her next book and working with Garrett. Edward would come home from the hospital about nine in the morning, grab a bite to eat and then crash. Bella was starting to worry about the long hours that Edward was pulling and that he was having a hard time sleeping in the day. He looked fatigued and was a little short tempered. She hadn't felt his wrath personally, but the paperboy sure did when the paper was found in the bushes for the fourth time in as many days. On his day off, Edward waited in the living room for the paper to arrive and he laid into the poor teenager. Bella had been asleep when the ruckus started and she hurried outside to see Edward scolding the boy, showing him where the paper belonged. Bella felt bad for the boy but she couldn't help but laugh at Edward's overreaction.
Edward had gotten home around eight-thirty this morning and Bella had made him breakfast.
"Garrett is coming over this morning to help me with some interview questions. He said that some of the people will ask some really personal questions, so he wants to prepare me with how to handle that. I know you need to sleep, so we'll be quiet."
Edward raised his eyes to her and smiled.
"Baby, don't worry about me. I am so exhausted, that I don't think I would wake up if a bomb went off in our room. Besides, this is your house and I don't want you to change anything because I am here."
Bella nervously looked up from her breakfast. She had wanted to address their living situation for some time, but with Edward's new hours, there hadn't been a good time.
"I would like to think of this as our house," Bella stated quietly.
Edward cocked his head to the side as if he was confused and then he smiled.
"What are you saying, Bella?"
The familiar blush rose to her cheeks and she stared at her orange juice.
"I'm saying that I would like for you to move in with me… for real. I was hoping that you would be willing to give up your apartment and move in permanently."
"Edward, you never go home, and we both know that you are wasting money on rent when you don't have to. I want you here with me…," she said hesitantly, hoping that he wouldn't refuse.
The smile that graced his beautiful face was all the reassurance that she needed.
"I would love nothing more than live here with you. I love you, Bella," he said as his eyes scanned over her body and rested on her tight tank top. They hadn't been intimate since Edward had switched shifts and his hungry stare stirred her deeply.
Edward got up from his chair at the table and he grabbed her arms, pulling her into his warm embrace. His lips moved to her lips as he nipped and sucked them into his mouth. Bella moaned at the contact and her arms slipped around his neck and she buried them into his soft, sexy hair.
"I've missed you, baby… I need you," he whispered seductively into her ear as he kissed her neck.
"You aren't too tired?"
"I'm never too tired for you, but why don't you wake me up after your guest leaves and I can show you how much I need you!"
Edward turned her around and captured her lips in a searing kiss. His body relaxed against hers and she knew that Edward was exhausted.
"Why don't you shower and get some rest? I am going cleaned up before Garrett gets here. Okay?"
Edward reluctantly released her and headed to the shower. He felt alone without her touch, but his body needed rest. After a hot shower, he wrapped himself up in the comforter on the bed and was asleep within minutes.
Garrett and Bella were working on the tough questions that might or might not come up during an interview. Bella was amazed at some of the questions that Garrett asked.
"Will people really ask about my sex life? This is just ridiculous!" Bella stated incredulously.
Garrett laughed at her naїvety.
"Bella, I am just trying to prepare you for the worst. I know that it is no one's business when you lost your virginity, but since you address the subject in your book, interviewers will want to see how much of yourself is in your characters."
Bella laughed at the absurdity.
"Garrett, that is just crazy. My characters, especially my female lead, are the exact opposite of me. How can people get away with asking such things?"
"Bella, trust me… we have some control inregards to the questions they will ask, but there is always a dumbass in the bunch that will disregard your wishes. I just want to make sure that you are prepared to handle that without losing your cool."
Bella took a deep breath and released it, trying to relax and understand the strange world that she was entering.
"Look, Bella, you have a shot here to sell a lot of books. America is just going to love you. Women will want to be you and men will want to know you. You're going to have to get used to being in the spotlight and knowing that there are men out there that will be buying your book just to look at your picture. You're beautiful, young and you have an innocent demeanor that is very attractive. I mean if I wasn't married, I would be giving that fiancé of yours a run for his money."
Bella felt her face flush with redness at Garrett's words. She knew that he meant them to give her confidence and he was in no way being inappropriate, but she couldn't help the fear that flowed through her as Edward cleared his throat from the bottom of the stairs. One look at Edward's face and Bella knew that he was upset. She glanced down at his hands that were balled up in fists as the whites of his knuckles protruded and his eyes were lit with fire.
Bella got her bearings and smiled up at him.
"Hey, baby… you okay?" she asked, knowing that he was far from okay.
"I just needed some water… I'm not interrupting, am I?" Edward asked sarcastically.
Bella jumped up from the couch and wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him closer.
"Of course not… oh, I am sorry… where are my manners? Garrett Lane, this is the love of my life, Edward Cullen."
"Great to meet you, Edward," Garrett said as he smiled genuinely at Edward.
He walked closer holding out his hand. Edward scowled slightly and hesitated before shaking his hand.
"You too, man… I'm just going to get some water," he said before he left the room quickly. Bella was not sure what she was feeling. She was embarrassed that Edward was slightly rude to their guest and flattered that he appeared to be jealous, but she was also perplexed as to why Edward was so angry.
Edward went back up to the bedroom without another word. Bella flinched as she heard the door to her room shut loudly.
"Is he alright?" Garrett asked
"Yeah… he's just exhausted. He has a crappy shift at the hospital and he is having a hard time adjusting. Please don't take it personally." As Bella said the words with a smile, she suddenly felt angry that she was forced to explain his behavior at all.
Bella tried to put the incident with Edward to the back of her mind as she concentrated on Garrett and his advice and suggestions. Garrett was pleased with her responses and told her that she would do wonderfully at her interviews.
After Garrett left, Bella went to the kitchen to start the roast that she had planned for dinner. She knew that Edward had to be at the hospital at eight that night and she had wanted him to have a nice dinner before going in but as she was chopping the carrots, she couldn't help the anger that was rising in her.
She was upset that Edward had acted so juvenile in front of her co-worker. She was glad that she would have some time before Edward woke up, because she needed to cool down before speaking to him.
Edward had grabbed a bottled water from the fridge and sprinted back up to the room. He couldn't even explain how angry he was. He slammed the door shut louder than he intended to as he mumbled out loud to himself.
Who does this Garrett guy think he is… flirting with my girl? Run for my money… as if?
Edward threw himself on the bed and tried to calm down. He knew he was being irrational, but he didn't like the way that Garrett looked at Bella. Just the thought of another man touching her or making her laugh made him sick to his stomach. He took a few cleansing breaths as he tried to rationalize his behavior. He couldn't rationalize it, and if he knew Bella at all, he knew that she was going to have a few things to say to him.
Edward tossed and turned before falling into a fitful sleep.
Bella was working on her outline for her next novel when she heard the water running in the shower upstairs. Her body tensed, knowing that he was awake but not knowing how to even start the conversation that had to happen. She was calmer after dissecting the situation. She already knew that Edward was wary about her leaving him to go out on her book tour and with his lack of sleep and his irritability lately, she could easily understand how Garrett's words could have been misinterpreted. It didn't excuse his behavior at all, but at least she could understand the overreaction a little bit if that were the case.
She put her laptop on the coffee table and went to finish preparing dinner. She was pulling out the roast when she felt Edward enter the room.
Bella didn't greet him as she continued her task. He was silent behind her as the room filled with tension. Edward wanted to hold her and tell her he was sorry, but her body stiffened as he walked in the room and he didn't think that the gesture would be welcomed.
Bella finally spoke. "Dinner will be ready in five minutes. Could you set the table?"
Her voice was tinted with frustration and she refused to look at him.
She cut him off immediately.
"Just set the table, Edward; we will talk over dinner."
Edward moved over to the cabinets to retrieve the dishes as they quietly worked together in silence. He was nervous. Bella had never been mad at him before, they had silly arguments like every other couple, but she had never been mad enough to shut him down like she was doing. He felt fear for the first time that he could lose her.
After he woke up from his nap, he knew he had some explaining to do. He knew that she would be upset abouthis tantrum, but he didn't expect her icy reception. Bella didn't like drama at all, and it upset her when it happened, and Edward couldn't help the guilt he felt for being the cause of most of her recent drama. He needed to make things better. He loved her and she needed to know that.
They ate in silence for a few minutes. Edward decided that he would wait until Bella started the conversation. He didn't want to upset her anymore than he had already.
Bella took a drink of her wine before speaking.
"I have been trying all afternoon to figure out what happened earlier, but I can't, Edward. I need you to explain to me what you were thinking." Her voice was even and without emotion. Edward swallowed nervously before answering.
"Bella, I am an ass and I am so sorry. I heard what he was saying to you… I mean, he was clearly flirting with you and you were blushing and I just got scared."
Bella looked into his eyes for the first time since they sat down and she saw the pain and the sorrow reflected in them. She was confused and she didn't understand why he would be scared. She needed him to know nothing about his earlier behavior was okay with her.
"First of all, I blush when the wind blows, Edward, and if you had heard the context of his words you would have understood that he was trying to explain what I was about to face and helping to give me confidence to do these interviews that I don't really want to do. If you had taken the time to speak to Garrett, you would know that he is happily married with two kids and he was not flirting with me. He was trying to ease my discomfort. You however just increased my discomfort by acting like a child who didn't get what he wanted. It was embarrassing… and then you pull that caveman act. I just feel like you don't trust me. I am not going to lie, Edward; it hurts."
Bella sighed deeply and put her head into her hands, clearly frustrated. She felt the heat of his body next to hers. He pulled her hands away from her face and turned her body to face him. He was kneeling in front of her, his face full of guilt and anguish.
"Bella… I trust you… I do. It isn't you… I don't even know how to explain this. All my life, I have had everything that I could want at my fingertips. If I was disappointed about something not working out, I just moved on to the next thing. I have never had anything in my life besides my family that I cared about losing. With you… it's different. I can honestly say that you are the first thing in my life that I fear losing. I don't want to lose you. I am afraid that if I turn around you will be gone and I will be left wanting. I'm scared of never feeling this happy again."
Bella wiped the tears that were silently running down her face. He looked broken and she was amazed that he would ever worry about her leaving. She wondered if he knew that she worried about the same thing. She started to speak but Edward continued.
"I don't know how to be in love and how to do it right. I have never been here before either. I am sorry that I acted like a child today. I love you so much. It's just that I don't know if I am enough for you."
Bella pulled his face close to hers, kissed his furrowed brows and then looked into his eyes before gently kissing his lips.
"You are more than what I deserve, Edward. You have to believe me when I say that I don't want anyone else. I have the most amazing man in my life. I get that this is new to us, but we are grown-ups now and we have to be able to talk this shit over and not react. I get that you were jealous, but you are the man that holds me at night and you are the man that owns my body with every touch. No one is going to walk into my life and take your place, Edward. I waited for over twenty years to find you and I'm not going to walk away, but you do have to trust me when I say that I love you."
Edward smiled at her sweetly.
"How did I get so lucky to find you? I promise you, Bella… I will try and control these new emotions that I have. I have never been the jealous type, but I felt crazy today thinking about you with anyone but me. Please forgive me," he whispered against her lips.
She nodded quickly and deepened the kiss.
"I'm sorry I made you cry, baby. I never want to be the reason for your tears again."
Bella kissed him once more.
"I understand more than you think, Edward. I don't want to ever be without this feeling again. There isn't anything to forgive. We're learning together, right?"
Edward wiped the tears her tear away and stared lovingly into her eyes.
"I love you. Baby… I want to make love to you… I want to show you how much you mean to me."
Without another word, Edward lifted her from the chair and carried her up the stairs to the bed. For the next two hours, Edward spent every second showing Bella exactly what he felt and how much he felt it. With every caress, every touch and every kiss, he worshiped her body, and when she screamed his name all the bad was forgotten and her heart beat only for him.
A/N- He is not perfect but he is pretty damn close... yummy Edward and two hours of bliss... Where do I sign up for that?
Review if you still love me, or at least still love my story... I am a bad girl for making you wait!
Review, Review, Review!