Stephanie Meyer owns all things Twilight. I just made them darker.
This chapter is written from several POVs – essentially the entire Cullen clan. Jasper, Edward and Emmett use ethnic descriptions that might be offensive to some: Keep in mind when they came of age – they're products of their time.
Thanks to the usual suspects, Regan for her seven layers of awesome covered in awesomesauce, and to Stacey for reminding me about the glitter...
The four of us stood there, gaping at what was left of her room; from the path of destruction the two of them had created, I swore a tsunami had torn through it.
I mean, how the hell do you burrow actual divots into marble? You could roll a bowling ball down the gutter they'd made in it. Thank God Dad and Esme were at the cottage with Nessie; they'd have been furious with the ruckus Wardo and Missy made last night. In between their bouts of moaning and screams of ecstasy, the only sound from behind the closed, locked door was either Tosca or forties standards, which gave us pretty good indication of who had control of the iPod last night.
Her headboard was completely splintered, shattered and strewn across the room. Those Porthault sheets she loves so much? Ripped to ribbons, feathers from the pillows floating over everything. What was left of their clothes was strewn across the floor from her bathroom to her upholstered chair. The whole thing was just a fucking mess.
Sometimes my brother surprises the hell out of me. He's usually so controlled, wound so fucking tight I swear he'd pop an artery if he could; so to witness the aftermath of what he was partly responsible for wasn't so much a surprise, as it was welcomed. He needed someone to bring out the killer in him again; Bella pretty much neutered him there for a while especially after the whole Nessie incident. I'm so glad she's history, even if I did vote to bring her into the family. But that was all part of the game, wasn't it?
Remember that little arm wrestling stunt on the boulder? Here's a clue: I let her win. No way some woman was going to best me at that. When Wardo told Missy she just laughed her ass off; she knew what was going on. Knew that vaunted shield of Bella's was temporary. Hell, all the girls had it at first, must have been some maternal power that stuck around. It was just that Bella's was stronger; did come in handy that day in the clearing though, I'll give her that.
Missy, on the other hand, was exactly what Edward needed: A strong woman who loved being cared for, wanted a man as her partner, not some fucking wimp. They'd known each other since they were kids anyway, so it wasn't like she just wandered into the house one day, saying "'Sup Wardo? Wanna get your freak on?"
Nope, they were meant for each other, from the very start. At least, that's what Dad thinks. I do too. Plus she's a lot more fun than Bella ever was, doesn't take her self so seriously; throws the sex talk right back, just like Rosie does. No wonder they're such great friends, our two girls.
"When will he be back Alice?" I turn and ask, breaking her train of thought of how she and Esme will fix this mess.
"What? Who? Dad?"
"No Pixiebelle, Santa Claus. Edward. Dad's at work." Jesus, wake up Alice, get a clue.
Closes her eyes, searching out our brother; wonder if she can feel his resignation at Missy taking off for who knows how long. Jazz and I are betting he makes it three hours before he starts to call or IM her. Rosie and Ali are giving him three days.
"Less than an hour. He stopped somewhere on the way home. Can't make it out but there's a motor of some kind involved. Don't see anything beyond that." Shrugs her shoulders in apology.
I nod my head, glancing over at Jasper, who's checking his cell phone and scowling.
"Edward. Wants the three of us to meet in the garage in an hour; go over everything again before we leave. Damn Emmett, he's really serious about taking over the reins, isn't he?" I know this interferes with his plans of one last roll with Alice before we split. Looks like my plans are screwed, too.
I don't have a good feeling about this trip; not so much our dealings with the Mexicans but there's something else, something in LA that's just hanging there, like the smog over the valley.
Something evil and wicked; waiting there for us.
"Don't fuck this up Emmett. I mean it." Stare into my brother's eyes, willing him to understand how seriously I take this responsibility for our family's wellbeing now. And the last thing I want to do is to let Fia down.
If they screw this up like they did their last job in LA, they're done. No more bailing them out like Sofia did. No wonder she calls them the Glimmer Twins; they go down there to Sodom and Gomorrah and completely lose their heads. All that fake surgically enhanced pussy down there, baiting them. You'd think Emmett would be worse but no; all those women see Jasper and just about peel off the panties when he's around. If they only knew what he really was, they'd flee in terror.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't make the exchange until you give the word. Don't cross the border. Have the other car running and waiting. I've already changed the VIN plate you don't have to worry about that." Emmett looks over at me, raises his right eyebrow "So what's the deal in the Triangle? Sis didn't go into detail on that."
Fold my arms, keep staring at the two of them standing before me. I know where they'd rather be, and it isn't here in the garage. I'll give them enough time for what they really want before they take off. Want this whole deal to go smoothly.
"Apparently, one of our partners is cheating us, taking a larger percentage than agreed upon. I need you two to talk some sense into him. If he doesn't, you know how to impress upon him the need to play it straight with us."
"Is it that guy in Big Bar? The one who has his kids working for him?"
Emmett and Jasper look at each other and grin. They know whom they're dealing with; one glance from Jasper will send him kneeling, pleading for his life. I think this will be the last go around with this fool; after this, we're done; time to move onto other opportunities.
"Well, what about LA then? What's the deal there?"
I hesitate a second, thinking about how much I should tell them.
"Sofia thought it would be a treat for you both to spend a few days there, hang out and relax. Things have been a bit tense here the past few weeks." Want them to see what news they can pick up around town, maybe run into The Persian.
"Holy shit Edward, LA? No way!" Jasper is pumped; he loves LA.
"I know; Missy has you two booked into separate suites at The Mondrian. There will be a surprise waiting for you both there, assuming you do well on your other two tasks." Which I'm sure they will, since I've told Rosalie and Alice that they're the surprise; want them to keep on eye on these two, keep them out of trouble. I'm flying the girls down there tonight; let them have some fun, go shopping, get out of my hair.
I have enough to contend with, what with Sofia being gone, and helping Nessie get through this. I'd been after Alice to tell me how long she'll be gone, but she won't budge, which pisses me off to no end.
My heart was just breaking, watching her and Fia saying goodbye this morning. Nessie kept asking Fia why she had to go, when would she be back, could she go with her. Fia was distraught; I could see it on her face, read her thoughts.
Then I see Nessie reach up and put her palm on Fia's cheek, and the look on Fia's face is priceless. Just opens her mouth in surprise and stares down at my beautiful daughter.
"Is this for real Princess?"
Nessie nods her little noggin gravely. Doesn't say a word. I would so love to know what she's telling Sofia.
"Well. Thanks Pookie. I have to leave now baby girl, give me a big Dating Game kiss goodbye." They kiss and hug each other again, then stand up; Nessie flies into my arms and hugs me, then scoots into the house, where Esme waits for her. I can hear Nessie's sobs as she runs to Mom. Sofia looks toward the house, then at me.
"Okay, let's go before I do something stupid like change my mind."
"That wouldn't be stupid Fia."
"Yeah, it would Eddie. Let's go. The plane is waiting, and it's costing us a fortune just sitting there on the tarmac."
She never flies commercial; always flies on our jet. The only reason Isabella and I took commercial to the Isle was that Sofia had it that week. Which is a whole different story, one that's none of your business.
I started missing him the moment I got into the Aston Martin, when we took off for SeaTac. We held hands the whole way, didn't say much; what could be said that hadn't already been said? Kissing him goodbye was wrenching; he finally had to break our embrace, escorted me onto the jet, making sure I was safe. Kissed me again, looked deep into my eyes:
Take your time Fia. I'll wait for you angel. Don't worry.
Then turned and left the jet so I couldn't see the anguish in his eyes; I watched as his figure got smaller and smaller as we ascended into the clouds.
The flight to Hayward was unremarkable; worked on his socks, couldn't concentrate on the pattern. Tossed them back in my knitting bag in frustration.
Sighed, looked out the window, then down at my laptop.
Oh, what the hell, why not give it a go?
Opened up a new document, thought for a moment. Started typing.
That idiot hippie did exactly what we expected; lied to us about his share of the profits, then groveled at my feet when I told him what I would do to ensure this didn't happen again, starting with his oldest kid. I abhor violence of any kind, but this asshole had it coming. Why these dope heads just don't get it through their pot-addled minds that the sixties are long over is beyond me, but after that little epiphany, he won't fuck with us again; he literally shit himself. Edward is moving us away from partners like this, which is fine with me.
The Mexican deal went smoothly; like Sis said, they were scared to death of us. Paid promptly as well; fear has a way of ensuring that monies are deposited as promised. Edward handled this transaction like a champ; Carlisle and Sofia would be proud of him. I knew she was winding things down, wanted to just hang out and be a mom to Nessie, maybe even marry Edward, if he could get off his ass and ask her already. Hell, they were sleeping together, might as well make it legal.
We just needed to get Bella out of the way, out of our lives; then we could go back to being ourselves, leave the human world behind again. Circle the wagons, as it were. That's Edward's plan and Carlisle's as well. We've been through enough.
Edward: Worked. Ran through the numbers she left behind; discussed some ideas I had with Dad. Cleaned up the disaster we left behind in our room, Mom just shook her head and handed me a bill for the damage. Snuggled Nessie, held her as she cried for Fia. Read to her from Peter Pan every night, did the Tinker Belle hand-clapping wish before she drifted off. Took her hunting with Jasper and Alice down near Portland. Drove up to Seattle with Alice, checked on a purchase I had in the works. Missed Fia terribly. Didn't call or contact her; gave her some space. Played the piano once, then gave up, didn't seem right without her next to me, head on my shoulder, lost in the music...
Sofia: Fished, caught some nice small mouth Bass off the dock, threw them back. Hunted, discovered one of my does dropped twins in May, decided to let them fatten up a bit. Ran up to Cable, nosed around the yarn store there. Didn't buy anything. Missed Edward more than I thought I would, finished up his socks, sent Nessie a letter. Didn't contact him, he has to make the first move. He's the man, not me. Emailed Dad and Mom; let them know I was still alive. Missed my siblings, wondered if she signed the contract yet...
Jasper/Emmett/Rosalie/Alice: Partied like rock stars. No Mom and Dad around, why not? Girls went shopping at Fred Segal, spent a small fortune there while we watched. Nosed around for some news, still no word on The Persian or The Mick. Wondered how Sis was doing, how Nessie and Edward were handling her departure. Thought we caught a glimpse of Mr. Wonderful at Sky Bar one night, but the scent was wrong...
Esme: Nice having just Edward and Nessie around, the quiet was a welcome change; spent some time at the cottage with them. Went over Edward's renderings for the cottage remodel, he's planning for the future; we'll need to gut the entire place. Nessie spent two days at Charlie and Sue's, came home with cookies, fed them to the birds.
Carlisle: Worked overnights in ER, dealt with a nasty MVA. Heard from Missy, she's okay but homesick. The video clip from her Crackberry she sent us of her driving along in her ramshackle pickup was so cute: Hair in braids, straw cowboy hat on her head, faded and worn Packers Super Bowl Champion tee shirt on, her Jackie O sunglasses perched on her nose, singing away to that Sugarland song she loves about not settling for second best. Ran into Mike Newton's dad, still no word on Mike's whereabouts...
Edward: "Edward Cullen"...silence, then "Uh, Sofia? Sofia Kowalski?" She's forwarded her business line to the Crackberry she gave me on the way to SeaTac. I know this voice – it's Tarzan. What the fuck? "Miss Kowalski is away, I'm handling all her calls. Who is this? Tarzan?" " Da, I, uh, wanted to thank her for the package. Arrived as promised. Is she still interested in a dialogue? There are some business opportunities she might find interesting". I pinch the bridge of my nose, cannot believe this is happening; she really had this goon wrapped around her little finger; I can make out that he's more interested in her, not so much any business deals. "Nyet, Tarzan. That door is closed. Permanently." "Is this the boyfriend? Tell me, do you do her bidding little boy?" So snide and arrogant, if he only knew how we could kill him without a sound. "No, this is the new manager of The Firm. Goodbye Tarzan. Lose this number. We know where you live up there in Canada now. As well as your wife, and your girlfriend."
Sofia: Email from Tarzan; what a putz, asking me if I was interested in dating him. As if. Told him to call Edward, I was out of the picture. Permanently. Sat out on the dock, under the umbrella, writing my girl porn on the laptop, listening to The Magic Flute and Korn. Idiot neighbor from Highland Park paddled over in his precious kayak, working his MPR Listener tee shirt for all it was worth. Cut your graying hair already hippie, the sixties are over, ponytails on balding men are not a hot look. Informed me that my beloved orange 1976 Ford F-150 pickup was 'disturbing the Ozone layer, and how many carbon credits had I purchased to make up for that?" Told him to "Get fucked, I didn't believe in that bullshit; only fools bought into that Al Gore blowjob", then growled at him, he couldn't paddle back to his precious Hybrid fast enough. Mailed Nessie another letter, told her I loved her and sent her a story about the baby beavers I heard crying for their mama last night, sounded like puppies. Sent Mom and Dad another email. Really missing Edward, how his kisses got my motor revving. How much fun those Cubbies games were back before we met Carlisle. Beginning to like being on my own for the first time in decades.
Got a job bartending. Music on the juke just rocks. Wish Edward would get off his ass and call me already. Have a picture of his socks I want to send him, but not until he calls...
Emmett/Jasper/Rosalie/Alice: Week two in LA. Took the girls down to San Diego, checked out the zoo. Animals there were scared of us, waste of time and money. Finally ran into The Persian at Sky Bar, couldn't believe what he told us. Called Wardo on the cell with the news:
Edward: Hello Emmett. Enjoying your selves?
Emmett: Hey Wardo, what's going on?
Emmett: You doing Sis's laundry now? What next? Giving her pedicures? (Laughs)
Edward: No Emmett, I'm not whipped like you are. (Jasper and Alice laugh, Rosalie snorts. Emmett is pissed, hands the phone to Jasper).
Jasper: Bro, you will never guess who we ran into tonight here. Take a guess. (Sound of music and chatter in the background, light breeze over the patio)
Edward: (Clearly exasperated with his siblings but intrigued none the less) Let me guess. That British guy who looks like me, Rob something or other? The one Fia has a picture of on her Crackberry, wearing a leather jacket?"
Jasper: She wishes. No. The Persian.
Jasper: Yeah, and The Mick and The Jew. But this is more important. You remember The Persian's sister? Bibi, that really pretty girl, I think she's what, fifteen? Super sharp, straight A student? Takes college courses at her high school? Keeps her sheltered, away from his business?
Edward: Barely. What's your point Jazz?
Jasper: Well, apparently, according to The Persian, she went out on a date recently.
Edward: How nice for her. Prom? Get to the point Jasper I don't have all day.
Jasper: No Edward. Not prom. She went out on a date and the guy slipped her some Roofies. She woke up raped and bleeding. Didn't know where she was. The Jew found her in some shithole apartment near MacArthur Park, over on Carondelet.
Edward: (Sucks in breath). Oh my God, that poor girl. Jaz, that's how old Fia was when that happened to her; oh Jesus...
Jasper: And guess who her date was?
Edward: I have no idea. The Spic? Sounds like something he'd do.
Jasper. No. Even worse. Mr. Wonderful.
Jasper: Edward? You there man? She's really messed up; he beat her too. The Persian is just miserable, can't believe his baby sister was hurt like that. He's a mess; him and The Mick and The Jew are on a bender together. They're the Drunken Trifecta. We're just sick about it, she's such a sweet kid. The Persian wants to talk to you about some deals he's got going, after he finds the bastard; they sound interesting, right up your alley. Oh yeah, he sends his best to Sis, wondered if she was 'available', guess the word got out. We told him she was with you now. He backed down real quick when Emmett mentioned that.
Edward: Do you know where he is? That Russian motherfucker; he's getting back at Fia through this human kid.
Jasper: Mr. Wonderful? Yeah, The Mick told us. Up in the hills, off Mulholland. Shacked up with some clueless girl from the West Side of Cleveland; says she wants to be a movie star; he'll probably get her a part in some bondage porno.
Edward: I'm flying down there this morning. Don't tell those three anything. This is mine...
Esme: Edward left this morning for LA. Said he had to "take care of some business down there". Carlisle thinks the kids found Mr. Wonderful. We'll see. I think Mr. Wonderful went back to Europe, living in that villa on Lake Como his mother left him. Good riddance, don't miss him a bit, after what he did to Sofia. Watching Nessie for a few days, teaching her how to read. She informed Edward before he left today that 'sippy cups are for babies'. He laughed and poured her morning blood into a plastic Sponge Bob Squarepants cup that Emmett bought her; they have a matching set, Emmett can be such a big kid sometimes. Missy called me last night, asked for my advice on Edward. He better get his butt in gear and call her, she's thinking of staying there permanently...
Carlisle: Missy talked with Esme last night about Edward. Girl stuff, Esme wouldn't tell me what they talked about, but when she handed the phone to me, I was informed that Missy got a job in a bar. Wasn't too crazy about her doing that but I can't stop her. Gave me the phone number, guess the bar is called The Unicorn of all things. Asked if anyone had heard from Mr. Wonderful, told her that Edward was on his way to LA, thought the kids found him. She didn't say anything at first, asked if I'd call her if I heard anything. Told me she loved me and missed Nessie. Told me about the altercation with her neighbor, made me laugh. Miss her so much, my oldest daughter. When I told her about Mike Newton, said she had to hang up. That answered my question as to Mike's whereabouts...
Carlisle: Doctor Cullen, call holding on 5454. Dr. Carlisle Cullen, call holding 5454.
I take the call at the sub-station in the CCCU; no one there, only the cardiac monitor screens, silently keeping sentinel on all those aging hearts, beating away.
"This is Dr. Cullen, how can I help you?"
"Doctor Cullen? Carlisle Cullen? This is Sergeant George Tuttle of the LAPD. I'm afraid I have some unfortunate news for you sir."
Oh no, not Edward. I couldn't bear to lose him. And Nessie and Missy, they'd be destroyed.
"Sir? Doctor Cullen? Are you there, sir?"
"Yes, yes, I'm sorry, I was a bit taken aback. What's the problem officer?"
"Do you have a son-in-law named Sergei Antipov?"
"Yes, he's my daughter's estranged husband. Why?"
"I'm sorry sir, his body was found late Tuesday afternoon. He was found asphyxiated, hanging from a shower rod in his home. It was a rather disturbing scene sir; he was bound with a ball-gag in his mouth, leather hood over his head. There were a number of hard-core pornographic films found in the house as well. Apparently he had some young girl living there, but we can't find her. Doesn't look accidental, it appears he was murdered. Again sir, I'm truly sorry for your loss. What would you like us to do with the body?"
Called Esme, told her the news. She was elated. Edward called from the jet, asked if we'd heard from Missy today. Told him no, then told him about Mr. Wonderful. He didn't say anything, asked to talk to Nessie. Told her he was coming home, and did she want to go hunting with Daddy, he was hungry and missed her. Nessie asked him "when is Mommy coming home?"...
Carlisle, later that day:
"Unicorn, this is Sofia." All business, even when she's working in a bar.
"Missy, it's Dad. How are you sweetheart?" I hope the bar isn't crowded; she might not be able to control herself once I tell her. Then again, it is a Tuesday afternoon, can't be too crowded, can it?
"Okay. What's up? How're Nessie and Eddie? He hasn't called me yet, what's he waiting for, Christmas?"
How do I tell her?
"Dad? Are you okay? Is something wrong? Is Nessie okay? Daddy?"
"Sweetheart...I got a call from the LAPD this morning".
"Oh no, Emmett didn't do something stupid again did he? He's on his own if he did, I told Edward not to..."
"Missy. Your husband is dead."
"Oh, really? What happened?" She doesn't sound too upset, more surprised actually.
I tell her what the Sergeant told me; how they found his body, how it appeared that he had been murdered. She doesn't say anything for a minute.
"Huh. Was Edward down there when this happened Daddy?"
"Yes. Yes he was."
She's quiet for another minute. I don't think she's all that upset. Relieved more than anything might be a better description.
"Okay. Here's what we need to do. The paperwork for his policy is in the safe in my room. Can you ask Mom to handle this for me? And I need to talk with Edward. I got a call from The Persian last week, and I think this might be more than just avenging my honor. I think this is payback for what happened to Bibi."
"Yeah, Bibi; his fifteen-year-old sister. The Jew found her drugged, raped and beaten. Guess who was with her when it happened? Mr. Wonderful."
Oh my God. Edward never forgave the men who did the same to Missy, even if it was nearly a century ago. Even after the two of us found them and made them pay for what they did to her.
'Well. If this is true, he had it coming then, didn't he sweetheart?"
"Yes Daddy, he certainly did. I gotta go, the beer guy is here, have to fill up the cooler. I love you Daddy. Don't worry. I'm okay. In fact, I'm more than okay. I'm ecstatic he's gone."
"Okay Missy. Love you too. Mom sends her love."
"Back at her. Gotta go. Bye Daddy."
Esme: Thank God that monster is dead. Now maybe those two can get their act together and make this legal. I don't like them sleeping together without being married with Nessie around. But she's so good with Nessie, and after what Nessie asked Edward today, maybe now he'll finally call her...
Edward: Flew back from LA. Took care of some business there. Spoke with The Persian and his crew. Got a few things going with them. Besides, he owes us now.
"Daddy, when is Mommy coming home? I miss her."
Oh crap how do I handle this? I knew this was coming.
"Princess, Mommy lives with Jacob now. I don't think she's coming home."
"No Daddy, not Mama, Mommy. When is she coming home?"
Oh my God, she means Fia, not Isabella...
"Nessie, I'm going to drive out to Wisconsin this week sometime. I'm going to bring Mommy home to you Princess."
"Do you love her? Do you love Mommy?"
"Yes I do Princess. Do you?"
"Yes, did you bring me a present?"
Later that same night:
Sofia: The bar is packed solid, softball tournament in town this week. Place is hopping, can barely keep up with the customers, they're three deep in some spots at the bar. Keith and I are doing the best we can; Brewers are playing the Cubs at Miller Park, he and I keep getting distracted by the game. Cubs are up by 6. Edward would be gloating.
Phone starts ringing. Great timing. Probably some idiot wants to know if we deliver kegs at this hour. Keith swings around, grabs the call.
"Uh, hello? Is, uh, Sofia there?"
"Hold on". Keith drops the phone on the scared bar counter, next to the cash register. Get up get up get out of here...GONE! Brewers get a home run, I turn to watch Bernie Brewer jump on the slide; I remember when he used to slide down into a huge beer stein, back at County Stadium. "Sofia. Phone."
"Who is it?"
"Some guy." Well gee Keith, thanks, that's helpful. Pick up the phone.
"Yeah?" Thinking it's that putz Tarzan.
"Fia? Angel? Where are you? Are you in a bar?"
Dad didn't tell him what this number was to. Oh my God, I'm excited and scared and really really busy; his timing is just awful.
"Hi honey! How's Nessie?" I manage to blurt out over the crowd noise and the blare of Bob Uecker calling the Sausage Races. I'm pulling for the Polish Sausage; Eddie would be cheering for the Bratwurst.
"She's okay, not using a sippy cup now. Misses you. Can you talk Fia? I have to tell you something important, we need to talk." Oh please oh please I need the words Eddie I need the words; otherwise I'm staying here.
"No, I can't. We're really busy. Big softball tourney in town this week; Dykes in Spikes. You'd love it." I cannot resist teasing him. I can see him rolling his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Okay. How about I call you at the cabin when you're done for the night? What time is it there?"
"It's eleven thirty. I'll be home by three my time, one your time."
"Alright angel. I'll call you then. Be careful please, I don't want some big butch girl hitting on you." I literally roll my eyes at that. Oh please, Edward, stop it already I'm not into girls, you know I got that out of my system ages ago; and like I couldn't handle it anyway...
"Whatever. I'll talk to you later. Bye Eddie."
"Angel, wait, when are you coming home?"
Its so loud in the bar, I can barely hear him, and we have incredible ears. When am I going to Rome? What?
"I'm not. I gotta go Eddie."
Three AM, later that night: Sofia's Dock
Brought the phone down to the dock. Stripped and dove in; got the bar stench out of my hair. Figured I'd let the phone ring a bunch of times before I answered it; let him stew a bit.
I really missed him, but wanted him to know that I was pissed off at him. Dad told me that he'd been doing a great job running The Firm, but as far as we were concerned, I had expected him to make some kind of move.
Thought a lot about Eddie and me over the past few weeks; how things used to be between us, back then in Chicago. How much in love we were, before Carlisle. We were just kids then, really, but still, you'd think he'd at least remember that, how giddy we were together. Before Mr. Wonderful, before the boredom set in. Before the morass that was Bella...
Warm breeze from the south, clear night, stars as far as the eye can see. Lying on the quilt I found that mama made, so long ago. Still in decent condition, I can still remember the clothes she made based on the squares in the quilt. I'll have to ship this back to Forks; Esme would appreciate it.
Nearly dry now, still lying naked on the quilt, glimmering softly under the moonlight, when the phone softly chirps; I'd lowered the ring tone, didn't want to wake the neighbors. Nobody out on the lake; it's all mine.
"Hello? Who is this?" Like who else but Edward would be calling me at 3AM?
"Hello Fia. I miss you." He sounds so sad, I just want to reach through the phone, pull him to my chest and snuggle him.
"Really? I wouldn't have known, from the lack of communication from you. I heard more from Rosalie and Alice and the boys than you." Pissed and I'm letting him know it.
He sighs, I know he's trying not to get upset with me; he knows I'm right. I don't care how busy he was, he could have at least sent me an email.
"Fia, I...I know you're mad at me, and I'm sorry I didn't call you sooner. I wanted to give you some space to yourself. That's all. Didn't mean to upset you." Sighs; collects his thoughts. "I miss you terribly angel. So does Nessie. Talks about you constantly, it's driving everyone crazy, even Charlie." Wow, he's laying it on thick. He knows he's in the doghouse with me. But still, he's said he's missed me twice so far. That's a good sign.
"Yeah, well. I guess I could have called you too, but, well, you know how I roll regarding that courting stuff." There. Lay it right out in the open for him. He's the man, not me. That's how we were brought up, and it's what's expected.
"You're right. It's my mistake, and I'm sorry." Thank you. That's what I wanted to hear. Now you need to say those three magic words, and I'm yours. Forever. "Fia, what did you mean, you're not coming home? Is there someone else?"
What? Where did that come from? Someone else? Like who, one of the Romanians? They're really creepy.
"Eddie, what are you talking about, not coming home? What gave you that idea? And no, there's no one else". What the hell?
"Well, when I spoke with you earlier, you said that you weren't coming home when I asked you that."
"Home? Is that what you said? I thought you asked me when I was going to Rome. I couldn't imagine why you would ask me that, it's not like I have any burning desire to visit the Italians, especially Aros; he'd yak my ear off, he's so in love with the sound of his own voice. And that Felix, yeesh..."
Hear him blow out his breath; he's relieved. "Oh my God Eddie, you really thought I wasn't coming home, didn't you?"
"Yeah. That's what I thought."
"Oh no Eddie. I've been waiting for you."
"I saw that clip of you driving. Dad showed it to everyone. You looked so happy, just singing away. I like your hair that way. It's cute."
Uh hello? Let's keep on track here boychik, shall we?
"Uh huh. So Edward. Where do we stand?" I'm tapping my bare foot against the bleached and warped dock boards I'm so annoyed with this little delay tactic of his.
"I'm going to lay it out on the table for you Fia. I'm bringing you home. Yesterday Nessie asked me when Mommy was coming home and she didn't mean Isabella. She meant you. So I'm leaving in a few hours, I should be there by midnight tomorrow, one AM at the latest. I'll pick you up at the bar."
"And why should I come home with you? What's in it for me Edward?"
I can hear him thinking, trying to find the right words.
"I've been doing a lot of thinking while you've been gone, and I only know one thing. I...please Eddie, you're so close, please...I think we should make another go at this. I remember how I felt back in Chicago, and I miss that; that connection we had, how perfect it felt when we were together; how happy we were. So. There you have it Fia. That's it."
So damn close, I thought I was going to get The Words. But I'll take this for now. Maybe when we see each other, maybe then he'll say them.
"Fia? You there honey?"
"Yeah. I'm thinking...you have your laptop there Edward?"
"You by yourself? Nobody else around?"
"Just me. I'm in the cottage; Nessie's asleep. Why?"
Stand up on the dock, wrapped in the quilt; run to the cabin, open my laptop, open the saved message titled Socks; press "Send".
"Check your email Edward."
I hear him open his email server. Click on the new message waiting there from me.
"Socks? You finished my socks? Thanks honey, I..."
"Edward. Open the attachment."
I hear the click of the mouse on the file; hear him suck in his breath. I can just see his expression.
"Oh. My. God. Fia. When? Wha?"
"They're perfect. You're perfect. How did you...?"
"I rigged up my digital camera on the tripod. I have more if you'd like to see them."
"I think I can wait. One nude of you in the forest with just the socks on is enough for now angel. Oh my God, Fia, you have no idea what this is doing to me right now."
"I think I have a pretty good idea," I giggle: I really wish I could see his face. And the rest of him for that matter; I can hear him shift around on the chair, trying to get comfortable. Good luck with that.
"Hey Fia. You been doing any, uh, writing, while you've been out there?"
Boy howdy have I. "Yeah, why?" I'm bouncing on the balls of my feet; I'm so excited as to where this is going.
"Oh, just wondering. You know..."
" Edward. Open your browser."
Click click clickity click.
"Okay, now what? This interface is something else."
"Yeah I know. Do a search under KittenWhip as the author. K-i-t-t-e-n-Capital W, h-i-p. All one word".
Clicking away, doesn't know how close he is to seeing how I really feel about him.
"Okay, says there's one story under your name. KittenWhip, oh my God, there's a blast from the past, LA, heh..."
"Click on it". Holding my breath, even though I don't need to. Been around humans too long.
Click...."Oh God. Sofia...6/20/18...my seventeenth birthday..."
"Read it honey. It's all there."
Nothing but silence, and the occasional click of the tracking ball as he scrolls down through the story.
"Edward? Honey? You okay?"
Sucks in his breath. I hear the chair move back from the table, sets the phone down; hear him walking away. Oh shit, he's upset with me, how could I have been so stupid, what was I thinking? Oh no, he's not going to come get me...
Nothing at all for about five minutes; finally I hear his footsteps across the wood floor; hear the chair scraping against the floor as he scoots it back towards the table; picks up the phone.
"Sofia. I...I had to walk away, go outside for a bit. I had no idea how you felt then. I...I thought it was just me that felt like that on that day. And I remember every minute of that day. Everything. Angel, this was just beautiful. Thank you."
"So you're not mad at me for writing this?"
"Angel, how could I be? This says it all. I miss that too." Must have the door open still, I can hear the breeze as it floats through the cottage, over the table; wish I could see his hair as it gently moves with the flow of the air.
"So I'll see you tomorrow night then?"
"Yeah Eddie, of course. I'll be waiting for you at the bar. Oh, Eddie?"
"1915 Cubbies. Who's your favorite player?"
Laughs. "Wildfire Schulte. First player to win the MVP; how about you?"
"Zip Zabel? The pitcher? He was terrible. Why did you like him?"
"I liked his name."
Laughs some more "Oh my, you liked his name? That's precious."
"Are you laughing at my choice of favorite player? Edward! I was seventeen then, what the hell did I know about baseball?"
"Well, then that would dovetail perfectly into your undying love for your lowly Brewers!" He can't stop laughing at me. "Zip Zabel. Oh my fucking God baby, you just make me laugh sometimes. Honestly, Zip Zabel..."
"Whatever Edward Anthony. Are you quite finished yet? This is so rude, making fun of me and my ignorance of long-dead ball players." I'm not angry at all, actually enjoying this. He gave me the same shit about Zip back then too. And I noticed my speech is starting to slip back into the way we did then. Hoo boy, this could be a long night.
"No no sweetheart..." he'd be crying if he could, he's so amused at my choice "It's just that I remember having this same conversation back then, except I thought you were so beautiful then that I didn't want to insult you. Oh my God Zabel..." he's still laughing, trying to regain control of himself.
"Okay lover boy, that's enough,. What do you mean, 'so beautiful then'? Like I'm not now?" baiting him. And his back tracking response in 5...4...3...2...
"No no no honey, not that I don't think you are now, it's just that I had just turned fourteen when we met, had never seen a woman as beautiful as you were then. That's all. You're not mad at me, are you? I didn't mean to insult you Fia."
"No silly. I'm just jerking your chain. So, if you're going to be at The Unicorn by tomorrow night, you better get a move on pally. You have a lot of making up to do, hint hint".
I'm smiling so hard my face hurts. I haven't heard him laugh like that in years. Glad to be of service. Again.
"Alright angel, I'm going to get packed up. Nessie will stay up at the house with Mom and Dad. Oh, and Charlie's in, did Dad mention that?"
"No he didn't. Really? That's wonderful. Oh, and Eddie?"
"Thank you for Los Angeles. You did the right thing by Bibi."
"I didn't do that just for her Sofia. I did it for both you girls."
I thought so. What a sweet boy I have. My killer is back, and I couldn't be happier. Mr. Wonderful is dead, thank God.
"Good night Fia. I'll see you tomorrow night."
"Good night Eddie. I'll be there. With bells on."
He chuckles, hangs up the phone.
I literally dance around the cabin naked; I'm ecstatic.
My green-eyed boy is coming to bring me home....
A/N: Next week – The Unicorn, lemons, and alternative means of transportation.
Thanks to Officer George of the LPD for his help on how a murder victim's family would be contacted. The next beer is on me, buddy...
I stayed at an apartment on Carondelet back in the mid-80s where The Persian's sister was found and it was borderline awful then. But there was a beast of a club called Powertools nearby!
Oh, and if you're interested, Sofia's writing is posted and live on FF, under the nom de plume of KittenWhip; the story's title is 62018
Thanks for the reviews, have a great week!