AN: When you start a new story it so isn't a good idea to not update for ages, but this one has been causing me problems and I've only just started to resolve them. This update is short, but I wanted to post something even if its just to remind everyone that its here. Thanks to all who took the time to read and review the first chapter. I am obsessed with Twilight and this is my first foray into writing these characters so I'm still adjusting but hopefully it'll work out.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters. I am currently re-reading New Moon and I can't wait until the movie comes out.
Chapter Two: They call me Casper
After I had finished unpacking my bags and making myself comfortable in what would be my room for the next two weeks, I made my way back downstairs, careful to avoid the unconscious pull that had lead to such an awkward introduction to Alice's younger brother earlier. Edward had looked at me as if I was some kind of intruder sent to spy on him. The utter disdain and revulsion in his eyes had made it abundantly clear that he didn't like having his personal space invaded. Not that I can really blame him. I probably would have been pissed off if it was me in his position. It's not like I meant to openly stare at him, he was just so…and I was so…
I slowly made my way downstairs and towards the kitchen where I could hear Alice singing off-tune and banging pots around. She was busy preparing dinner and as the guest I fully intended on helping her out. If anything, it would help distract me from imagining her brother's smouldering gaze.
"Hey Bella!" Alice greeted me sweetly as I entered the room. She was frantically stirring some kind of delicious smelling sauce that I could not wait to try.
"Hey," I sauntered over to where she was standing and sneaked a peak, breathing in the rich smell of tomato and something else. "Need any help?"
"Uh uh," she shook her head and continued stirring. "This is my domain. You're the guest."
I rolled my eyes at her and then jumped up onto one of the stools at the counter. Alice had always been a little OCD when it came to her cooking. She liked to be left on her own to do things in her specific way otherwise, she got stressed out. After a while of being her friend and room mate, I learned just to leave her to it.
"So, I heard you met Edward." I watched as she added a dash of pepper here and a pinch of salt there to her scrumptious concoction. Alice definitely knew her way around a kitchen.
"Yeah, I don't think he likes me very much." I said carefully, unaware of the slight pout on my face. Alice didn't look up, so I got away with it.
"Ugh, that's just Edward. He doesn't like anyone," she informed me, "He's not happy unless he's brooding about something. Don't take it personally."
I watched her for a few silent seconds, anxious as to whether I could get away with pursuing this specific line of questioning without her getting the wrong impression. I did, after all, still have a boyfriend waiting for me at home, no matter how strained things had been when I'd left. However, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to know.
"I thought he was at Dartmouth," I asked trying to act as innocently as possible. Alice was searching the cupboards for something.
"He was. But then he decided that he was going to take a year out," she explained distractedly. "He wanted to go find himself or something. So, now he just mopes around here with that guitar of his or hangs out down at Murphy's."
"It's a little pub down on the waterfront. He works there tending bar and sometimes on Friday nights he plays."
My eyes widened at this information. "In front of people?"
"Uh huh." Alice nodded as she turned down the stove and began laying out plates.
"Oh, I kind of got the impression that he didn't want anyone to hear him play." Alice glanced up at me then with a frown on her face.
"Was he rude to you? Because I'll kick his butt if he was rude to you," I could see the anger grow and decided that I had to quickly douse the flames. An angry Alice was no good for anyone.
"No," I said quickly, "He was just a little…" I paused searching for the right word, "…abrupt."
Alice sighed and she rolled her eyes. "I told him to be on his best behaviour. I really want you two to get along. I mean you are my maid of honour and Edward is Jasper's best man."
I nervously bit my lip at the prospect of having to fulfil my maid of honour duties with Edward glowering at me. "You are going to have to communicate at some point."
"Don't worry, Alice." I said, allaying her fears. I could see the vein on her forehead start to throb. She was getting stressed at the prospect of having to babysit her brother and I as well as the millions of other things she had to do for the wedding. "Everything will be fine."
"What's that smell?" Edward asked as he entered the kitchen surprising me. Alice narrowed her eyes at him and I let my gaze fall to the floor. I didn't want to be accused of stalking him.
"Nothing for you if you don't apologise to Bella for being a jerk," she told him in a warning tone. My whole body blushed and cringed and shuddered in horror as I felt his curious eyes fall on me. I mentally cursed myself for opening my big mouth and then I mentally cursed Alice for being such a good friend.
"What are you talking about?" Edward frowned and stole one of the bread sticks from the plate Alice had laid out. He looked at me and then at his sister with nothing but confusion on his face and perhaps a hint of annoyance.
"You were rude to my best friend. I want her to feel comfortable here and you are to be on your best behaviour. Do you understand me?"
"Alice-" I tried to cut in, I could feel my cheeks getting warmer as my embarrassment increased. Edward was scowling at me now and I was sure he thought I was a freak.
"I'm sorry, Bella. I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable." He said, his jaw clenched, his voice was strained. I met his gaze and smiled apologetically. He didn't seem to accept. He just glared at me and then turned to Alice. "There. Can I go to work now?"
"Fine. Just don't come back until you're less cranky!" she called after him as he headed out the door, banging it on his way.
"Thanks, Alice. Now he thinks I'm some kind of psycho." Alice just shrugged and went back to what she was doing before. I let out a heavy sigh and my attention was drawn back to the doorway along with my thoughts. I replayed the image of him in my mind, admiring the way his jeans hung low on his hips and the tight black t-shirt he wore that emphasised his lean, taut body. And the hair…the man had permanent sex hair that a girl would kill to run her fingers through. Not that I was one such girl. I have a boyfriend!
I think that I'm going to have to remind myself of that fact on a regular basis over the course of the next two weeks.
"Bella!" The sound of Alice's dulcet tones snapped me out of my daydream. "Earth to Bella!" She waved her hand in front of my face and giggled.
"Where were you just then?" she asked me and I felt my cheeks turn red. I couldn't very well tell her that I was just imagining running my fingers through her brother's hair. Alice and I were close but not that close.
"Um, sorry." I shook my head as if I could shake the image of Edward glaring at me from my mind. When, in fact, his face had been permanently burned into my brain. "I was just…"
"Hello? Where are my favourite bitches?!" yelled a familiar voice from the hallway. Both Alice and I both locked curious eyes before Alice screamed with excitement and danced her way through to the hall to meet the new arrivals. I smirked at such a greeting. There was only one person who it could be and it had been a while since I had dealt with her unabashed bluntness.
I made my way through to the hallway to see Alice hugging the life out of the tall, blonde bombshell that was our old friend, Rosalie. Jasper and her boyfriend, Emmet were standing at the doorway holding enough luggage for a year long stay, let alone two weeks. They were both smiling and shaking their heads as Alice and Rosalie jumped up and down excitedly. I stayed back out of the way. I leaned against the doorframe and watched with a bright smile on my face as the pair of them rambled on frantically about wedding plans and such. Once they got started it was best to stay out of the way. They could talk for hours about their favourite shade of lipstick let alone a wedding. And since they hadn't seen each other in a while, they had lots to catch up on.
When Rosalie finally caught my eye, she stood back from Alice and placed her hands on her hips and pursed her lips. There was an evil smirk on her face as she gave me the once over.
"Is that Bella Swan wearing eye make-up? Did Hell officially freeze over and I didn't get the memo?"
I rolled my eyes and let my hands drop to my side as her long legs carried her over to me. "Haha. You're hilarious."
"I barely even recognised you without your baggy clothes and your pale complexion," she grinned and I couldn't help but mirror her expression. Rosalie had made it her life's mission to 'glam me up' in college. She had spent countless hours teaching me about the finer points of wearing a push-up bra and had tortured me to within an inch of my life as she insisted on dressing me like a hooker. Apparently I had a killer body but I didn't know how to accentuate it to the maximum. That's where she and Alice came in. When they got together, they were like a pair of fashion Nazis that took great pleasure in inflicting pain on me.
"I guess I have gotten less pale as the years have passed by," I nodded and chanced a glance at Alice who had wound herself around her fiancé.
"Huh! You looked like a ghost when I first met you. Where do you think I got the nickname Casper from?"
I cringed as I remembered all the times she used to call me that. I hated that nickname with a fiery passion and could never bring myself to watch the cartoon.
"Well you look as stunning as ever," I complimented her pointing out the obvious. Rosalie was stunning. Her long blonde hair flowed over her shoulders, framing her perfect, flawless face. Her eyes were big and bright, her ruby red lips were full and pouty. The rest of her body was just as flawless as her face. She looked like a swimsuit model and I was not in the least bit jealous of her.
"Why thank you," she nodded, "It takes a lot of work to look this good."
At that, I peeled myself off the doorframe and hugged her. I breathed in her glorious scent and smiled. I'd definitely missed Rosalie. As much as she loved to bust my balls, she was a great friend and one who didn't take any of my crap.
"So, where's Jake?" she pulled back with an expectant smile on her face. I sighed and knew that she wouldn't stop until she got every last detail of my troubled relationship out of me.
"Um, he had to work." I said, not meeting her gaze. I could feel her eyes boring into me.
"Perfect. Now I can hook you up with a real man!" I met her gaze and noticed the mischievous glint in her eyes. She had never really been a big fan of Jacob, or Dogboy; as she so lovingly referred to him.
"Rose," I sent her a warning glance but she just shrugged me off and pushed past me into the kitchen.
"Mmm, what's that smell?" I stood there, completely dumbstruck as Alice and Jasper followed Rosalie into the kitchen. Emmet just grinned at me sympathetically. His huge frame making me feel about two feet tall.
"Hey Bells. You look good," he said warmly as he threw his arm around my shoulders. He and Jasper had abandoned the luggage at the doorway. "Don't worry. I got your back."
My head slumped against his shoulder as he whispered in my ear and chuckled at my responding groan. He pulled me into the kitchen reluctantly and I began to regret being there. Between dealing with a manic Alice, her glowering brother and Rosalie, I was going to need a vacation from my vacation.