A/N: I would like to apologize for taking FOR-EV-ER. Life got in the way again. I started a new job and I'm applying to grad school. I got a liiittle busy! And this is un-beta'd so please forgive me. I tried to catch all of my mistakes the best that I could. Anyway, here is Chapter 3…
I could have gotten sleep last night. I could have gotten a decent night's sleep last night. The temperature had lowered due to the front expected this afternoon. The decreasing temperature, albeit the slowly decreasing temperature, allowed for the air conditioner to finally catch a breath and cool the house. The air wasn't quite so stagnant anymore.
I could have gotten a decent night's sleep last night. Could have.
But my mind didn't want any. And neither did my heart.
All they wanted were Bella. And the way she blushed in an instant. And the way the light and dark browns and subtle hints of red in her hair caught the sunlight. And the way she was so clumsy that it was endearing. And the way her eyes shone when she smiled.
But exhaustion did win over and when I woke up from the little sleep I had, I immediately made plans to go visit Bella. I dressed in jeans and a white button up with the sleeves rolled up and took the steps by two as I went down to breakfast. I walked into the kitchen and met Carlisle. He was at his usual spot at the table, sipping coffee.
"Good morning, Edward."
"Morning, Dad." I looked at Carlisle and noticed he wasn't in his usual work clothes. "How come you aren't in your scrubs? Do you have the day off?"
"Yeah, I took the day off but I guess I chose the wrong day. I had planned on going hiking but with this storm coming in it's going to be too dangerous."
Looking out the kitchen window, I saw just how bad the weather had turned. The sky was a dark gray and the wind was blowing so fiercely through the trees that it was making the trees sway back and forth, certainly pushing their breaking point. I couldn't…yet I could believe why I hadn't noticed the bad weather when I woke up. I stood at the kitchen window, looking out toward Bella's back yard when Carlisle spoke.
"You're very quiet Edward. What's on your mind?" He was looking up at me as he sipped his coffee, his eyebrow raised.
"Nothing," I said nonchalantly. I breathed a heavy sigh.
"Bella doesn't seem like nothing." My shoulders tensed up and I turned to Carlisle. "Don't look so shocked, Edward. You've been staring at her house with that contemplative look on your face since she stepped across Charlie's doorstep. And when you have seen her outside, well, I think it would have taken something stronger than that wind outside to pry you away from the window."
I sighed again and sat down at the table, my chin resting in my hand. "You're right. Bella is something. She's everything."
"Have you told her?" Carlisle asked matter-of-factly.
"What? No, of course not. That would be…" I said as I raked my hands through my hair, trying to get the thought out of my head.
"That would be what?"
"Too forward! I've known her for what…two days? I need more than just a cup of sugar and two ham sandwiches to get to know her and tell her…" I paused, "…and tell her I love her."
Holding up a finger to keep me quiet, Carlsle asked, "Wait. What about ham sandwiches?"
"I just told you I'm in love with the girl next door and you want to know about the ham sandwiches?" I chuckled and then told him all about yesterday.
"See," he said as he slapped a hand on his knee, "I told you when you took those first aid classes at the hospital that they would come in handy one day!"
"Yeah, Dad, but I was stuck in a room with Emmett trying to keep him from playing with the CPR dummy." I laughed at the memory and how Emmett tried to keep a smile on my and Alice's faces as we sat through the first aid course. "It was hard to concentrate when Emmett was making the dummy move. It's a miracle Alice and I ever learned anything!"
"But back…" Carlisle was interrupted mid sentence by his cell phone. He picked it up and made a face at the caller ID. After a few "uh hunhs" and a "I'm on my way," Carlisle said, "I have to go in. The wind knocked a few trees down on the roads and caused a couple of car wrecks. The hospital said they need all hands on deck, especially with the way this storm is supposed to get worse. I'm sorry Edward."
I told him it was ok and as he was getting his things together, he asked me to make a quick run to the grocery store. "Just in case we'll at least need a loaf of fresh bread and some milk. I'll call you when I know I'll get off work."
Carlisle waved bye to me and made his way out into the ever-increasing storm. I watched him as he drove off as the rain slowly began to fall. Before long, the rain was coming down in sheets and it was almost impossible to see through the glass. I grabbed my rain jacket, phone, and keys, and drove to the grocery store before the storm got worse than it already had.
Pulling into the parking lot, I got the closet spot to the door and made a mad dash inside. I grabbed a cart and pushed my way into the store. I picked up ingredients for dinner-lettuce and vegetables for salad, chicken, and pasta. I pushed the cart to the back of the store toward sandwich meats. I thought I would make sandwiches for Bella again for lunch, maybe even invite her for a picnic or something. There is a meadow I came across while hiking with my family one weekend and I thought of taking Bella there one afternoon.
With a sigh, I continued down my list, grabbing things we would need for the next couple of days, finishing by stopping in the bread aisle. I looked for the kind we liked and found it. As I reached for the loaf, there was a loud crash. A shopping cart had rammed into mine.
And that cart belonged to Bella Swan.
"Edward! I am so sorry! I uh…wasn't looking…I didn't mean…," she stammered as she tried to untangle her cart from mine. He cheeks had flamed to a bright red, showing her embarrassment that she was trying so hard to hide. She looked so beautiful when she blushed…
I didn't know what to say. She unhinged me whenever I was in her presence. I couldn't help it.
"It's ok, Bella," I said, not helping but to smile.
We stood there, silently, stealing glances, as both of us thought of what to say next. To break the silence, I pulled our carts apart and said, "I was just grabbing some bread before I checked out. I um…didn't know how bad the storm was going to get so I thought I would get a couple of things…um…" I need to work on my small talk.
"Yeah, me too. I'm about to go check out myself."
We both then reached forward to get a loaf of bread, grabbing the same one accidentally. As our hands touched, I felt the same jolt of electricity as I did the day I helped her off of the ground in her back yard and supported her as she wobbled into her house after hitting her head. I reveled in the feeling that jolt of electricity gave me.
I grabbed my loaf and placed it in my cart saying, "Ready to check out?" She said yes and followed me to the checkout.
I should have let her go first but I wanted to wait for her and help her take her groceries to her car; the rain was still coming down hard.
"Let me take those," I offered and took her groceries in my free hand as we ran out of the store and to her truck, which coincidentally was parked beside mine. She unlocked the doors and I put her groceries in the passenger seat. She jumped in her truck and I slid in my Volvo, letting her pull out first.
I followed her home, making sure she was ok. As slow as he truck was moving along, the large puddles of standing water on the road were enough to make me nervous. I kept my hands at 10 and 2 and my eye on the truck. Every now and then, I could have thought that she was glancing in her rearview mirror back at me.
We got home and she pulled into her driveway. When I pulled in mine, I stopped right before my garage and rolled the window down slightly and waved. I drove into the garage and closed the door, sitting in the ever-increasing darkness with my head in the steering wheel.
Bella had me…and she didn't even know. I thought about her constantly; not just about her chestnut curls and beautiful eyes and the way she blushed. I thought about how happy I was when we talked. The day we spent over ham sandwiches and bags of frozen vegetables was one of the best days I had had in a long time. Talking to her was easy and comfortable.
I grabbed the groceries out of my trunk and set them down on the counter just as my cell phone began to ring. The caller id said Carlisle.
"Hey, Edward," Carlisle said sounding a little stressed and tired. "Listen, they still need me at the hospital so I'll be here for a while. I won't be home until much later than I thought."
"It's ok," I said. "I just went to the grocery store so I have everything we need. Don't worry about anything."
"Thanks, son. Be careful and I'll hopefully see you later tonight."
"I will." And with that, Carlisle hung up.
I unpacked the groceries and listened to the wind increase and push against the house. To try and drown out the noise, I sat down at my piano and began to play Debussy's Clair de Lune. I don't know how long I played before it evolved into Bella's lullaby, but before I could finish the piece, a bolt of lightening flashed and a clap of thunder loud enough to shake the house sounded. I was left in total darkness. Even though the power was out, I could still slightly see my way to the kitchen thanks to the flashes of lightning coming through the windows. I groped under the kitchen sink and found a flashlight.
The flashlight still didn't provide enough light for me to play by so I went out to the garage to grab a couple of camping lanterns. I flicked their switches on but there wasn't any light. The batteries were dead.
The only source of light I knew he had left were Esme's plethora of candles. I walked back in the house and grabbed a book of matches then walked around the living room lighting the candles, finishing with the candelabra on the piano. As I blew the match out, there was a loud banging at the door.
"Edward! It's Bella!" I heard. Bella sounded scared to death. Is she ok? I set the book of matched down and nearly ran to the door, flinging it open.
"Bella! What's wrong? Are you ok?" I said frantically, scanning my eyes over her body, looking for any sign of injury. My hands were outstretched, almost as if to be ready to catch her. I didn't see that she was hurt but she was definitely soaking wet.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine…I just…just…the power went out and I couldn't find any flashlights or candles…and the thunder…" She spat the words out in hurry. She looked scared and worried, and I thought, hopefully, relieved.
"Come in, you must be soaking wet," I said and I quickly moved aside. But before I could think about the really obvious statement I just made, Bella caught her boot on the threshold and stumbled forward. I had no idea how I reacted so quickly, but I caught Bella before she fell in the floor. I looked at her in my arms and smiled for the longest time before she stared down at her boots and blushed. I gently set her down on her feet.
"I am so sorry for coming over like this, Edward, but you were the only person I knew who could help!"
"No! Don't be sorry," I blurted out. "I'm glad you came…" I trailed off.
"Oh, I'm so sorry about your shirt!" I looked at her and then did a double take down at my white shirt. There was mud all over it and it was soaked through. But I could have cared less; I hardly even noticed.
"It's ok! Don't worry about it! I can just go throw on a t-shirt. Actually, I can grab you a t-shirt and some sweatpants, too. You could catch a cold if you stay in your wet clothes…" I trailed off again hoping I wasn't venturing into awkward territory. I didn't know how she would feel about borrowing my clothes.
"Yeah, that's really…sweet, Edward. Thanks." She smiled at me and my insides suddenly felt like they were on fire. She called me sweet…
"Just give me a minute. I'll be right back down," I said, turning to run up the stairs before I could say anything stupid or cheer or something. I walked into my room and cracked the door. Grabbing a navy t-shirt, I pulled it on quickly, beginning my search for some clothes for Bella. I found a pair of clean sweatpants and a Forks High t-shirt.
I quickly went down the stairs where I found Bella standing in front of my piano, running her hands along the keys. I stood there for a second before I said anything. She looked gorgeous in the candlelight. "Here you go, Bella," I said handing her the clothes. "There's a bathroom off the hallway you can change in." She thanked me and walked to the bathroom disappearing behind the door.
I heaved a big sigh and walked over to the paintings hanging across from the bathroom. I loved these paintings. The scenes depicted different areas of the Olympic Peninsula that my family and I had come across during camping trips. I walked down the hallway stopping for a few seconds at each one, finally stopping at the last painting, my favorite. It is of a large meadow filled with wildflowers and ringed with tall trees.
Bella came out of the bathroom and stood beside me. "Thanks again for the clothes," she said. I turned and looked at her. She couldn't have looked any cuter. My sweatpants were dragging the ground and it looked like she had pulled the drawstring in a far as it could go. She had tied her wet hair in a bun at the nape of her neck.
I smiled and said, "Your welcome." I paused trying to get up the courage to say what I wanted to say…and I did. "You…you look…cute." I laughed nervously and began running my fingers through my hair, not knowing what to do next. All of a sudden a loud thunderclap rattled the house scarring both Bella and I. We both jumped except I accidentally knocked her into the wall. Our bodies were pressed up against each other and our faces were so close to touching. I could literally feel the electricity exchange between us, almost as powerful as the lightning outside. I wanted so badly to lean forward and kiss her…
"You have a beautiful house," she said, breaking the tension.
I told her about how my mother, Esme, decorated the house with the help of the souvenirs Carlisle brought back from his work overseas. I led Bella into the limning room as I talked, stopping in front of my piano. I looked around the room wondering what I could say or show next.
"You have a beautiful piano, Edward," Bella said as she walked over to it, placing her fingers on the keys."
"Thanks," I said and before I knew it, my heart was carrying me over to the piano, where I sat down and began to play her lullaby. Maybe it wasn't exactly the time or the way I wanted to play Bella the lullaby I wrote for her, but I couldn't deny what I had been feeling since I met Bella and how that had all built up in my chest to where I thought I would explode.
I played her lullaby for her, each note reminding me of something I loved about her or how she had turned my world right side up in the past three days, just with her smile. It was in that moment that I knew she was it. Bell was meant for me and I hoped and prayed she felt the same way.
When I finished playing, I turned my head to look at her and said, "I wrote it for you."
Silent tears began to fall down Bella's cheeks. I cupped her cheek with my right hand, wiping the tears away with my thumb. She closed her eyes and smiled at my touch. After a moment she opened her eyes and said, "Thank you."
I turned my body towards hers. Placing my left hand on her other cheek, I leaned in, our lips inches apart.
""I haven't been able to stop thinking about you since the first day I laid eyes on you," I said. I actually said it. I couldn't hold it in much longer. I just had to have let Bella know what I was feeling. I also had to show her. I closed the miniscule gap between us and kissed her.
She brought her hands up and cupped my face and kissed me back.
She kissed me back.
It was hot, and this time, I don't think it was the weather.
A/N: Again, I would like to apologize for taking forever to complete this. Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed and told me whether I'm a crappy writer or not. And if you haven't reviewed, please do so and let me know if I'm a crappy writer or not!
This is the end of this story but it probably isn't the last of my writing. I have more ideas floating around in my head and they'll be posted sometime in the future. I have a really funny one shot involving Bella and all of the Cullens. Keep me on Author Alert!
Thanks again to my bbs trendaholic and Joy!