A/N: Yes, I'm finally back. Here's chapter one for all you diehards. I considered holding back until I had written the next chapter, but I'm too nice honestly.
Thanks to my unofficial Beta MaggieMay14 for her help.
You will be a little lost if you haven't read the original story - American Girl, since there will be many references to the previous story, so I highly recommend reading it first.
I was overwhelmed by the number of people who reviewed the last chapter of American Girl, put me on author alert or as one of the favorite authors, so this new chapter is for all of you! Enjoy. I hope to have a new chapter out ASAP.
Four years. Four unbelievably long yet fulfilling years I had been at Columbia and in love with Edward Cullen. We had lived together in a small flat in Manhattan for two of those years and even though we had our ups and downs, it had been relatively perfect. We had a small one bedroom apartment that his parents bought and even though I had insisted that we pay rent, they had refused outright, claiming that the relationships they had fostered with their kids in the past few years was priceless and would never had happened if I hadn't come into Edward's life. I couldn't fight with them about it, even though I tried almost every time we got together with his parents.
"Bella, you didn't pack any of your books," yelled Edward from the living room as I tried to shove the last of my clothes into my suitcase. Edward and I were heading to Boston for the weekend to see his family and spend some time together before graduation the following weekend. Edward's graduation was on a Thursday afternoon and mine was on the Friday morning, so both of our families were going to both ceremonies.
"I don't need books for five days away Edward," I said with a sigh as I reached for a dress in my closet and casually slipped it into my bag, unsure of whether I would need it or not. With the Cullen's I always learned to expect the unexpected. Edward was already packed, which surprised the hell out of me. We should have left almost an hour ago but thanks to an impromptu romp in the shower, we were delayed but neither of us was complaining.
"I think my mother might kill us if we don't get going Bella," he called again as I closed my bag and stepped into our small living room.
"Calm down Edward. We're only forty five minutes late and if you hadn't been so hell bent on shower sex this morning, we'd be on the road already. Now we're going to be stuck in traffic for an hour just getting out of the city," I groaned as he pretended to hang his head in shame, instead opting to smack my ass as I walked by.
"Did you not enjoy this morning?" he asked as I rubbed my behind gently for a moment before turning on the timer for the thermostat before we left. Even though I wasn't paying the damned bills, I wasn't about to run them up either. Edward dragged both of our bags down to the elevator as I locked the door behind us and followed him down the hallway. When we finally pulled out of traffic and onto the 1-95, I messed with Edward's iPod until it was on a mix that he had made after our first trip to Europe and I stared out the window, remembering all the things that had changed in the past four years.
Edward had tried to convince me to move in with him before our second year, but my parents were completely against it. I was 21 when third year came around and they finally agreed, without too much begging on my part and that was when we got our apartment where we currently still live. It's a small place, but it works well enough for the two of us with one bedroom, one bathroom, a decent kitchen and our own laundry room right in the apartment, which was a miracle in New York City. We spent almost two months looking for the perfect place that was in between both of our schools, and when we did Esme and Carlisle bought it on the spot, sight unseen, which was a bit unsettling for me, but I guess they didn't care.
"Penny for your thoughts?" asked Edward as we headed down the highway in his Volvo. I realized we had been driving for almost thirty minutes in complete silence, which was rare for us.
"I'm just thinking about the last four years. Who would have thought when I got harassed on a plane by some kid from Boston that we would be here four years later?" I said with a giggle as he reached his hand across the console to hold mine tightly in his.
"Well, I hoped…" he said with a laugh as I smacked him softly on the arm and I glanced out the window again. "I was really just taking pity on you Bella. I felt bad that you had to sit beside the Kool-Aid mascot."
"Seriously Edward, when you met my parents for our first Thanksgiving, did you ever think my mother would love you as much as she does now?" I asked as he shrugged his shoulders and changed lanes flawlessly. Something I didn't know much about Edward in the early days of our relationship was that he was a speed demon in his car, but always safe. The first trip we took to Boston in his car, I gripped the shit handle above the door the entire time, my life flashing before my eyes, but I eventually got used to it.
"Well, no, but you can thank Alice for that one. If it hadn't been for the tickets that Alice scored through Tyson for the Journey concert in Seattle, I never would have won her over. Who knew Journey was such a big draw in the Northwest," he laughed as the song on the iPod changed to 'American Girl' by Tom Petty. "I still think of you whenever I hear this song."
"That's funny, because I still think of you whenever I heard Justin Timberlake," I said quietly as I reminded him of all the dancing we did in Europe to his music.
We ended up stopping for lunch outside of Hartford only after I complained to Edward about my grumbling stomach and small bladder. While we waited for our food, he called his mother to let her know that we were running behind a bit but would be there in the early afternoon. She seemed frustrated, probably because she had planned for us to be there at lunch, but he just sweet talked her like usual and blamed himself for being late.
"I guess she had a game of family Parcheesi set up and now she's pissed we'll miss it," said Edward with a laugh as the waitress brought over our drinks and I eagerly took a sip of my Diet Pepsi. "Don't drink it all in one sip or we'll be stopping in East Hartford for another bathroom break."
"Oh calm down. I think your mother actually planned for us to be there for lunch. When I talked to her on the phone last weekend she mentioned something about a barbecue, so I think your libido got in the way of her family lunch," I said with a grin as he simply nodded his head, his smile broad across his face.
"I'd do it again in a heartbeat too," he said as he took a sip of his iced tea. While we were waiting on lunch to arrive, Edward got a cryptic call from Alice, which confused me as they seemed to talk in code.
"Yes Alice," he started out saying after he answered his phone.
"I know… It's been rented…fine then tell Jasper… no she doesn't know, now shut up." The conversation abruptly ended after that and unfortunately our lunch came and I never had a chance to discuss it further with Edward since I forgot about it once we were back in the car.
When we finally arrived at the Cullen house, I was not surprised to see every single car outside in the driveway, signaling that the entire Cullen family was home, including their spouses. When we walked in, Edward quickly ran our bags up to his room as I waited in the hallway, checking out some of the paintings that adorned the wall. I don't think I would ever get over the fact that an original Picasso hung in the foyer. We walked through the house, my eyes still glancing up at the various artworks on the walls and finally found the entire family sitting on the back patio, drinking heavily. My eyes quickly darted to the two empty bottles of Dom Perignon on the table.
"It's about fricking time you guys got here. Stop on the way for a quickie in the Volvo?" asked Emmett as I rolled my eyes at him but Edward whispered something quietly and he laughed heartily. I was officially mortified by their exchange as I went over to Esme and gave her a quick hug before Carlisle shook my hand gently.
"Not quite," I said stiffly as I took a seat beside them and Rosalie ran over from the lawn where she was talking to Alice to hug me firmly. Her arms were tight around my body and when she finally let go, she grasped my shoulders tightly in her abnormally strong hands.
"I never see you anymore Bella," she slurred drunkenly as I began to realize who had consumed most of the champagne. "You missed our announcement because you had to have sex in the Volvo."
"We did not have sex in the Volvo," I stammered as Rosalie sat down on my lap and Emmett laughed at her and my complete embarrassment.
"What announcement?" asked Edward as he grabbed a beer which Jasper had brought from the bar. The three guys stood beside each other, each of them looking as handsome as ever and I couldn't help but notice the bright, albeit drunken smile, covering Rosalie's face.
"I asked Rosalie to marry me," said Emmett as Edward looked at both of them in shock and then patted Emmett on the back before leaning in for a tentative hug. The Cullen boys sure had come a long way in four years, I laughed to myself as Rosalie started to bounce on my knee. She wasn't heavy by any means, but my knees were about to give out as Emmett noticed me straining and quickly picked her off of me.
"Thanks Emmett," I said quickly as he set Rosalie in a chair beside me.
"You will be my maid of honor, right Bella?" she shrieked in my ear as I simply nodded, hoping to get her to stop the noise that was coming from her mouth. "That is wonderful. We have all summer to plan it. We want a Christmas Wedding."
"I never said I wanted a Christmas Wedding. Think of all the football games I'll miss because of wedding rehearsals and shit like that," huffed Emmett as Rosalie jumped off the chair, her hands on her hips like she was Wonder Woman or something. She stared at Emmett angrily and everyone knew he wasn't going to win this fight. "Christmas it is," he said with a grin as we all laughed at him. I think I was the most surprised by how pussy whipped he was by Rosalie, but I had only seen it firsthand a few times, whereas everyone else has seen it for almost ten years.
"A Christmas Wedding sounds perfect, doesn't it Carlisle?" said Esme excitedly as she turned back towards her husband, who was currently pounding back a shot of rum and smiled.
"Christmas is perfect. That's enough time for me to drain my 401k to pay for this thing," he said with a laugh as I smiled nervously. I never felt comfortable talking about money around the Cullen's, because I always pictured Esme and Carlisle sleeping on a big bed of money at night, which once he had finished laughing about, Edward assured me was not the case. When I glanced up at Edward, he looked a bit anxious and I couldn't understand why.
"Um, you don't have all summer to plan it, Bella and I have plans," said Edward firmly as Alice came up behind him and whispered into his ear and I didn't catch what was said.
"We do?" I asked curiously as they both smiled at me and then Jasper turned towards Alice, his arms wrapping firmly around her immediately as he rested his head on her shoulder and began to finger the ends of her short black hair.
"Remember last summer you told me there was something you wanted to do before the real world came around?" asked Edward as he looked at me expectantly. There was a bunch of things I had wanted to do, but none of them should have been spoken in the same room as his parents, I thought to myself. Edward raised his eye brow at me curiously and finally broke the silence. "You wanted to do a road trip Bella."
"Oh yeah," I said with a giggle as I remembered lying in bed with Edward post-coital one night and telling him I always wanted to drive across the U.S. "We're doing that?"
"Why not? Alice and Jasper want to join us for a few weeks, so we've rented a big SUV and we're going to travel for two months, finishing up in New York in early August with enough time for you to help Rosalie with the wedding and for us to start our new jobs?" said Edward confidently as I looked between him, Alice and Jasper enthusiastically.
"We can head up to Forks and I can finally meet your parents," laughed Alice as Jasper nuzzled into her neck.
"I, however, want to see all the two story outhouses that America has to offer," said Jasper with a serious tone to his voice as everyone else laughed at the randomness of his suggestion.
"So, are you game Bella?" asked Edward nervously as I simply shook my head.
"Yeah, I'm game. I'll bring my laptop and Rosalie can email me all the details for the wedding," I said with a smile as Edward stood behind me and began to rub my shoulders. "Not that Rosie will remember this conversation tomorrow morning." I looked beside me and Rosalie was slumped over slightly in her chair, passed out. Jasper offered to draw on her face in magic marker, but Esme and Carlisle freaked out at the thought of it.
As the night wound down, I climbed into bed with Edward after getting changed into some comfy shorts and a tank top. "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked curiously as he pulled me into his arms and buried his head in my neck, greedily breathing in my scent.
"Of course. It would be fun, we can see all the random crap that America has to offer, like two-storey outhouses and pumpkin silos," I said with a laugh. "I think we should focus on seeing weird America."
"So, we're staying at the Cullen house for the summer?" asked Edward with a grin as I kissed his cheek gently and curled back into his arms.
When Bella mentioned the concept of a road trip across the states a few months ago, I didn't think anything of it. It sounded like fun, but not something I really wanted to do during the summer before I took that big leap into the real world. I had been contemplating proposing to Bella since the first day I met her, but now that we lived together and were moving forward with our lives, I had decided to do it soon. I even had the ring all picked out and it was sitting comfortably in the back of my underwear drawer.
One night back in New York, I made an offhand remark to Jasper about the road trip and he starting plotting and planning immediately. He and Alice were both off for the summer, but she still had a semester left of classes and he was now working towards his Masters, so they were staying in school when September rolled around. "I think it's a great idea and I think Alice and I should join you," he said sincerely as I rolled my eyes at him. I hadn't even taken the idea seriously until he started to go into details of renting a car, traveling through the states and seeing all the sights. "When will you ever get a chance to do this again? It's like traveling through Europe without the trains."
"The train was one of the best parts," I said with a wink as Jasper groaned at the image of Bella and I doing it on a train.
"Okay, well if sex is all that is on your mind Edward, think of all the places you can do it on a road trip. A tent, a creepy hotel a la Psycho, you can sneak away from a tour of Colonel Sander's house and do it on his bed or something equally obtuse," laughed Jasper as I smiled easily at him for a moment. "And it would be a family bonding experience if Alice and I came with you for a month or so."
"You guys want to join us?" I said incredulously as he nodded his head eagerly.
"Talk to Alice about it and then we'll discuss it again," I said quickly as he patted me on the back and took a sip of his beer. We never talked about it again until late April when he mentioned that Alice was in on the road trip and now we just needed to convince Bella. Alice was so excited about everything, she planned out which states we would hit first, what cities to stay in and she had Carlisle rent us a vehicle since we were all considered underage for car rental companies.
Now, as I lay beside Bella in my childhood bed discussing the trip, I had a few reservations about everything. "Alice has already planned everything, well not everything, but close enough. She knows what cities she wants to head to, but we have nothing planned in each one. Her and Jasper picked up two tents and some sleeping bags, but those are only for emergencies since Alice insists that sleeping in a tent is a last resort for her," I said with a laugh as Bella kissed my chest while she ran her hands down to my stomach.
"Where are we starting from?" she asked curiously as I let out a deep breath and pulled her hands away from me for a moment.
"New York. I think they want to leave a few days after graduation next week," I answered sleepily as Bella reached her hand down and grazed it against my hardness gently. "Don't start something you can't finish Bella," I chastised as she pulled her hand away and frowned at me. In all the times we had visited my parents place, we had never once had sex in my old childhood bed. Bella seemed to have some sort of aversion against it, because we never did it at her parents' house either, not that I wanted to since her father slept only fifty feet away, with a gun in his nightstand.
"That's fine," said Bella as she rolled over, her back resting against my chest and pulled the pillow closer to her.
"What's wrong? I asked as I snaked my hand around her waist and clung to her tightly. There seemed to be a definite change in her the moment I mentioned graduation.
"I can't believe it's almost over. Four years of school and now we're going into the real world of stupid co-workers and nasty bosses, although Carmen seems like she'll be a great boss, but you know what I mean. It's all a little bittersweet," she replied as I rested my head on her shoulder and kissed her neck gingerly.
"That phase is almost over. Think of all the awesome things we can look forward to. There will be weddings, houses, babies, reunions and all the other major milestones that people celebrate. Don't you want to have those too?" I asked curiously.
"Yeah, although I can't believe Rose and Emmett are already engaged. Can you believe it?" she inquired as I noticed her voice sounding sleepy.
"Emmett's wanted to propose to her since the first night they had sex back in junior year. Apparently she does some trick with her tongue that Emmett thought was marriage material, even back then," I said with a laugh as I heard Bella chuckle beneath me. "So, I knew they would get engaged early. I actually thought it would be sooner, but I think my parents talked him into waiting until she graduated."
Emmett had graduated a year ago, with honors, which surprised everyone because he seemed to spend most of his time fondling his girlfriend, his Xbox or himself. Apparently he was some sort of wunderkind because he ended up getting a job down on Wall Street fairly early in the interview process and was already making headway within the company.
We talked about Emmett and Rosalie's upcoming wedding for a little bit more before Bella ended up falling asleep with me running my hands through her hair casually. I loved to watch her sleep, although I still don't think she knew how much I did it. Any chance I got to fall asleep after her I took because I loved to listen to her breathing and the random words that she would say. When Bella was truly content in her sleep, she would talk and say the most asinine things. During our third year, after a particular hardcore session, Bella practically passed out before I could even pull out and it was only minutes later that she mumbled something about watermelons that made me laugh so hard, I had to step into our bathroom to calm myself.
Tonight however, there were no words. Instead, she was tossing and turning a bit more than usual and I simply ran my fingers down her arm and tried my best to make her relax. When I finally noticed that she seemed calm again, I let sleep overtake me.
The next morning, we awoke to Alice yelling about something in the hallway and when I stepped outside, she was gone. "What the fuck was that?" asked Bella as she sat up in bed slowly and began to stretch, her hands above her head and her breasts jutted outwards. I drooled for a moment and shook my head to bring me back to reality.
"I have no idea. She was gone when I stepped outside," I replied as I tossed on a t-shirt and some track pants. Bella hopped out of bed looking as sexy as ever in a tank top and a pair of sleep shorts and we wandered down to the kitchen to grab some coffee. The clock on the mantel said it was already eight thirty in the morning. So much for sleeping in, I thought to myself as I led Bella into the kitchen where Rosalie was propped up on a barstool with a container of Advil and two big empty bottles of water in front of her.
"Do you even remember getting engaged yesterday?" Bella asked with a laugh as she walked around and gave Rosalie a big hug.
"Yes, I remember that smart ass. I even remember Jasper talking about drawing on me, so remind me to kick the shit out of him later, okay?" strained Rosalie as I poured Bella and I our cups of coffee. "Have you guys seen Alice yet?"
"No, but we heard her," I replied coolly as I handed Bella the creamer and sugar. Rosalie's hands gripped her head tightly as she fought the effects of her hangover. Alice bounced into the room mere seconds later, looking like she had been awake for hours and knowing Alice, she probably had.
"Alice, can you shut the hell up for five minutes," asked Rosalie as she laid her arms across the counter and buried her head into them.
"I haven't even said anything yet," sighed Alice as she looked up at Bella and me excitedly. "I've made some additional arrangements for our trip," she said and I immediately cringed at prospect of what she may have done.
"What did you plan?" asked Bella curiously as she took a large gulp of her hot coffee. Bella was back behind Rosalie and rubbing her head gently, trying to ease the pain of the hangover as Alice bounced again with excitement.
"Well I got us some tickets for the Seurat Retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago. It's going on at the same time as the Taste of Chicago, so I also booked us two rooms at the Hotel Allegro downtown," she said happily. Bella's eyes instantly lit up at the mention of the Seurat show, but it was Emmett's reaction I hadn't been expecting. He had walked into the room a few minutes after Alice and was listening intently to our plans.
"Aw man, I heard the Taste of Chicago was excellent, Rosie, we should so join them," shouted Emmett enthusiastically as Rosalie jumped up from her stool and smacked him on the arm forcefully. "Sorry baby, I forgot about the hangover," he added sweetly as he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly.
"We can go, but only for a few days," sighed Rosalie as Emmett bounced with excitement at the thought of eating his weight in food. "Alice, can you book us a room too?" Alice simply nodded her head and reached for her cell phone that was resting on the counter.
"Oh, what were you yelling about before, outside of my bedroom," I asked curiously as Bella came around the counter and wrapped her arm around my waist while she continued to sip on her coffee.
"I was talking to the manager at the State Room. He said that the day that Rosalie and Emmett picked for the wedding was impossible to accomplish in such a short time. I only had to mention the name Cullen and suddenly it was available and everything would be done. Assholes," grimaced Alice as Rosalie gave her a big hug and I simply ignored the rest of the conversation which surrounded the wedding. The girls all stepped into the sunroom and were blabbering on about bridesmaid dresses as Jasper finally walked into the room, having apparently just woken up.
"What's going on?" he asked as he pointed to the girls in the other room.
"Wedding shit," sighed Emmett as I heard Jasper groan.
"Alice has repeatedly dropped hints about the possibility of a proposal from me," explained Jasper as he fixed himself a cup of coffee and we all leaned against the counter and watched our women. "What about you? Any pressure from Bella."
"Nope. We've discussed it and we know it will happen one day, but she's not pressuring me. I'm pressuring myself if anything," I said reluctantly as I looked out at Bella smiling happily in the sun room after Alice said something funny. Rosalie was no longer gripping her head, but still looked a bit pained as they spoke.
"If you want to ask her then ask her," suggested Jasper as I felt him pat my back supportively. "She loves you man and it's not like you don't have the ring already."
"You already have a ring?" asked Emmett incredulously as I simply nodded my head. "What are you waiting for?"
What am I waiting for?
A/N: Anyone know any two storey outhouses in the US?