Oh my god. First, I want to apologize again for lying. Classes started back up and this semester was a killer. I'm still waiting for grades, so let's keep our fingers crossed that I did well.
This is it folks. The epi! I can't believe I finally finished. It was only what? Two years in the making? Yikes. But it's done! Thank you all for sticking with me and if I lost some readers, well, I don't blame you. I want to give a quick shout out to my best friend and beta extraordinaire, Zhivago3. Without her, this story would never have begun… nor would it have finished. Thank you, love!
As always, not mine…
Here it is.
"Where's the box with the flute glasses?" I yelled across the room. "Did we get the napkins back from the cleaners? What about the-"
I was cut off by a crash in the kitchen.
Dear god, what more can go wrong?
"I've got it!" I heard someone yell. "It's okay!"
I was making my way toward the ruckus when I felt a pair of strong arms wrap around me.
"Take a deep breath and relax, love." I melted at the sound of the smooth voice in my ear. "That's it," he whispered.
I turned in Edward's arms and let his calmness soothe me. "God, Edward, the opening is tomorrow and nothing going well," I mumbled into his chest.
Edward cupped my chin and lifted my head to look at me. "Bella, honey, everything is fine. Everything will be okay and the grand opening will go as smoothly as ever. Alice is helping you. Trust me. She won't let anything go wrong."
"But, the crash," I pouted pointing toward the kitchen.
"Shh. It'll be cleaned up and if something major broke, the guys know to have whatever it is shipped immediately," he explained. "If not, Alice'll have their head!"
I laughed. Alice had been a tremendous help with the opening of my restaurant. She was my biggest supporter, aside from Edward, when I decided to go to culinary school. She never allowed me to quit; not even when I came home in tears after nearly burning down one of the school kitchens after a botched attempt at making Bananas Foster for the first time. The kitchen barely survived and my hair was singed and I needed to get it cut, much to the delight of Alice … Well, it barely survived.
I thought the school would kick me out; I stayed home convinced of my failure. I received a phone call the next day asking why I hadn't shown up for my pastry class. I had given up hope and Alice, after realizing she alone wasn't getting through to me, called the school in a last ditch effort to get me off my sorry ass. My instructor called me personally and told me that I wasn't the first, nor would I be the last, to set flames to the kitchen. It happened all the time and that was why there were culinary schools. Make your mistakes and burn the kitchens at school… not when you open your restaurant, my instructor said to me.
"You're right. Of course you're right. If anything goes wrong Alice will be there. I wouldn't even know what to do if Alice hadn't helped or encouraged me," I admitted.
"Hey! What about me?" he exclaimed.
I rolled my eyes. "Well, of course you, too. You held my hand through all of this and I am forever grateful." I leaned up and gave him chaste kiss on his lips. "Wait a minute… what are you doing here anyway? Shouldn't you be at the hospital saving someone's life?" I pulled away and placed my hands on my hips.
Looking completely chastened, Edward replied, "Right. Um… about that… I would be, yes, if I hadn't taken the days off to be with my wife as she celebrates the grand opening of her new restaurant."
"Edward," I began to protest but he cut me off with a finger to my lips.
"I want to be here for you, Bella. Besides, it looks like you need me to help calm you down anyway," he said smirking.
"Hey!" I lightly smacked his chest. "I resent that. I am the epitome of calm, cool, and collected."
"Sure you are, that's why you were about to run into the kitchen with glass everywhere screaming at someone, right?" he said raising an eyebrow.
I pursed my lips. "Okay fine, maybe I could use you around here," I said, reluctantly agreeing.
In truth, Edward was my own brand of calming salve. He was the doctor. He was the one who saved lives every day, I was just a chef making people fat with my delicious food. Despite it all, he always made me feel as if I was the most important thing in his life and that my career was just as important as his.
"You fatten them up, I'll cure them later," he had said to me once. What a partnership!
I pulled Edward towards me and laid another kiss on his soft lips. Just as he began to deepen it, Alice came out from the kitchen looking down at her clipboard.
"Bella, I found the flute glasses. That was the crash you heard. No worries though, I just ordered more and they are being delivered first thing tomorrow morning. Also, I ordered more plates. It looks like all the marketing that was done worked out too well and I wasn't sure if we would have the manpower to wash all the dishes fast enough as new people come in to eat. I'm getting some of the caterers I use to come and help you with plating so you're not too overwhelmed." She stopped in front of me and Edward, tapping the clipboard, but not once ever looking up. Her brows furrowed. "Have you seen Edward? He was supposed to be here already."
Edward cleared his throat. "If you look up you'll see me right here."
"Good. I need you to help sweep and mop, but first wipe down all the tables. Oh and if you can also make sure that all the deliveries come through the back, that'd be great," she rattled off before turning back to the kitchen.
"Hello to you, too, little sis," Edward muttered. He looked to me but all I did was shrug.
"I don't know, I'm just the chef," I giggled.
Alice stopped before the door and turned around. "Oh, one last thing Edward, do whatever you have to do to keep Bella calm, even if you have to give her a good shagging." With that, she disappeared.
"Shag?" Edward asked cocking his brow.
"She's been watching too many British shows lately. Apparently, instead of food cravings during her pregnancy, she's getting cravings for British television."
"I see," he nodded. "Well, let's get the show on the road, shall we?"
"Last night saw the opening of a new Italian restaurant on Christopher Street. Our very own Angela Weber was there to join the festivities. Angela…"
"We're here at the grand opening of Charlie's Bistro in the West Village. Owner and head chef, Isabella Swan-Cullen, is standing with me now. How does it feel to have accomplished this goal of yours?"
"It's amazing and something I never dreamed would happen."
"Isabella, most of us know you as the young woman who was abducted a few years ago. You were a recent law school graduate when you decided to quit and work on something you truly loved. What made you change your mind?"
"I always loved to cook, but after my father died in the line of duty, I felt it became my duty to follow his path into law. But, as my big brother told me, dad would have wanted me to be happy and would have wanted me to do what made me happy. Law, while it was good, just wasn't enough. After meeting Edward - who saved me in more ways than one - and his sister, who also convinced me to pursue this, I decided it was time to make the change. I went to culinary school and I never looked back. I named the restaurant after my father…"
"God, that sounded so… blah. Where was Alice when I needed her to do the interview," I said, turning off the television and falling into Edward's arms.
"It was your moment in the spotlight, no one was going to take it away from you, not even Alice," Edward stated, wrapping his arms around me. "I'm so proud of you baby. You've grown so much and accomplished so much. I know your father would be proud, too."
I nodded against his head. "Emmett cried a little bit. I don't think I've ever seen him cry. He told me he wished dad was around to see his grandson and to see me fulfilling a dream. Funny how I ended up the one consoling the big bear, huh? I'm glad they made it out, though. Rosie looks fantastic even with the new baby on the way. I heard she and Alice were making bets that their babies would be born on the same day. It'd be pretty cool if they did. Everybody was great. The opening went off without a hitch. Alice…"
Edward stopped me with a kiss. I searched his eyes when he pulled back.
"Bella, the reason everything went well was because of you. This was your dream. This was your hard work. You did this. This is about you, no one else." He nuzzled my neck, nibbling gently on my sensitive spot. "You know, I think you deserve a little reward for last night."
"Oh yeah?" I moaned.
"Mmhmm… you ready for it baby?"
Edward kissed his way down my body and the last thought in my head before falling into bliss was how grateful I was for the stalled train all those years ago.
And thus concludes the story of our beautiful subway riders. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did!