I'm hoping absence has made all of your hearts grow fonder, because here it is...finally...the sequel to "Ghosts of the Past!"
Bella and Edward are at the University of British Columbia, along with Alice, Jasper, Jacob, Jessica and James (wow, I just realized that's a lot of 'J' names!) Edward has an athletic scholarship for football while Bella's scholarship is in academics.
But, how will our favorite couple fare as a married couple in college? Let's find out!
It was five o'clock in the morning on a Saturday, and I was not sleeping soundly in my bed next to my loving husband. Instead, I was drowsily schlepping much of my belongings to the SUV my father-in-law bought us as a graduation/wedding present so we could start our five-hour journey from Forks, Washington, to Vancouver.
By 'we,' I mean myself, my husband of almost three months Edward, my sister-in-law Alice and her boyfriend Jasper. We were all going to caravan in two cars (Edward's and Jasper's) out to begin our respective journeys at the University of British Columbia. And, as excited as I was to start this new chapter in my life—particularly with my new hubby at my side—I wasn't thrilled about the boys' insistence that we get such an early start.
"Come on, love," Edward said the week before, "The earlier we leave, the better. That way we can get settled in our apartment before it gets dark."
He had a point there. Still, it didn't mean I wasn't going to be a little bit salty about the whole getting up at the crack of dawn scenario. Even if Alice, ever so cheerful even at this ungodly hour, tried her best to boost my mood with coffee and donuts, I still felt the need to pout.
"You'll get to sleep in the car," Alice told me. "Stop being such a whiner."
I stuck my tongue out at her as I shoved my last piece of luggage into the back of the 4Runner. All of our parents were standing there, watching as their children prepared to leave the nest. It would have been so beautifully sentimental had I not been so cranky. My dad, Charlie, seemed particularly melancholy. The longest we've ever been apart was the three weeks Edward and I spent in Costa Rica on our honeymoon. Even when we returned and I unofficially moved in with the Cullens for the remainder of the summer (Edward and I took over their basement and essentially turned it into our own apartment), I still saw Dad almost every day. Now we wouldn't see each other again until Thanksgiving. That's more than two months away.
Esme was crying, but that was to be expected. She's just that special type of person who is very in touch with her emotions. But, that's what I love about her; and, it reminds me of my own dear, late mother, Renee.
Once everyone was ready to go, the four of us stood there and said our goodbyes. We had all vowed not to get too weepy about moving away. After all, Vancouver isn't that far from Forks. It could have been a lot worse, I had told my dad earlier, I could have chosen a school on the east coast. That requires much more than a five-hour drive. I think that made dad feel slightly better about my move. He was gazing sadly at the ground when I walked up to give him a hug goodbye.
"Dad, you're going to be OK, right?" He nodded. "Well, just remember I'm only ever a phone call away. And Esme said to give her a call anytime you're feeling too lonely."
Dad finally looked up and smiled at me, but the sadness was there behind his eyes. He pulled me close to him and I buried my face in his shoulder, determined not to cry. After a moment, we broke our embrace and I planted a soft kiss on his cheek. "Bye, Dad. See you in November."
He nodded, but still said nothing. There was really nothing that needed to be said, anyway. I knew what he was feeling at that moment—he was sad, but he didn't want to express it lest he make me feel guilty for leaving. With one last smile at my dad, as well as a hug from my in-laws, I climbed into the SUV and closed the door behind me. Edward stepped in a moment later and turned to me. "Bella, are you going to be alright, love?"
I nodded. "Let's just go," I whispered. He leaned over the center console and kissed me gently before turning the key and bringing the car to life. He pulled out of the driveway with Jasper and Alice right behind us in a little Toyota. I plugged my iPod into the stereo adapter and found something to get my mind off this sudden rush of sadness. Michael Franti and Spearhead – perfect, some happy Rasta music. I reclined my chair back a bit and let the steady beat of the music lull me to sleep. The next think I knew, we were at the Port Angeles-Victoria ferry.
Edward and Jasper parked their cars next to each other before Edward nudged me awake gently. "Bella love, we've stopped." I yawned and stretched before opening my door and stepping out into the parking section of the ferry. Even though it was enclosed, I could still feel and smell the sea air all around me. It was actually quite refreshing.
Edward, Jasper, Alice and I walked up to the deck of the ferry to sit and look out on the water. It was a two-and-a-half hour trip across the strait, but I was glad we decided to take this route instead of going around. Not only did we get to see some of the most beautiful parts of British Columbia and northern Washington, but it also gave Edward and Jasper a break from driving. We all sat on a bench at the front of the ferry and Edward kept me wrapped safely in his arms for most of the trip. Every so often, he would brush his lips gently across my neck and it would send an electric current through my body. I hope this never ends, this bliss of being Mrs. Edward Cullen.
The coffee and donuts from earlier seemed to have filled all of us up sufficiently, as not one of us felt the need to visit the cafeteria. That, and it was probably not inexpensive to eat there, anyway. Once we had docked at Victoria, it was just a short drive until we had to take another ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. As soon as we were settled on that ferry, Edward turned to Jasper with a sly smile. "Man, I am so glad we decided to do this. Can you imagine if we had to drive all those unnecessary miles just to avoid paying ferry fees?"
"I hear you, man," Jasper replied.
Alice and I exchanged smirks and eye rolls.
An hour-and-a-half later, we were back in the cars and within twenty miles of Vancouver. My former sadness at leaving Forks was forgotten as the excitement of seeing my new home set in. Edward and I would be moving into our new apartment in under an hour, and I couldn't wait to see the place. Esme had put some money in the joint checking account Edward and I had set up over the Internet for getting the essentials, with a little extra set aside for splurges like decorations. I was practically buzzing with excitement when Edward pulled over at a McDonald's to grab a bite to eat.
"So, should we make a list of stuff we'll need in the apartment?" I asked as Edward handed me the bag of food we just ordered.
He chuckled and shook his head. "Let's wait and see when we get there, love."
"We can start now," I said as I pulled a pad and pen out of the glove box. "Like what kind of groceries do we want? Oh, won't it be so exciting to shop for groceries as a married couple?"
Edward continued to chuckle at my giddiness. "Yes love, it will be very exciting."
"And, we'll have to get stuff for school," I said, scribbling out a list. "Notebooks, pens, paper...Did they say if the apartment is going to be furnished, or do we have to look for furniture. Hey, maybe there's one of those Rent-a-Center places there..."
"Bella, love of my life," Edward said gently. "Let's just see when we get there. I'm pretty sure the place should be furnished, because it would be rather dick-ish of them to make students pay for furniture on top of all the other stuff we have to pay for."
"True," I agreed. "Sorry, I know I'm being annoying, but I just can't help how excited I am! We'll be living on our own, really starting our life together."
Edward had stopped at a red light and turned to me. "I'm excited too, love." He leaned across the seat and gave me a kiss. "And, you could never, ever be annoying. Not in a million years."
I rolled my eyes at his hyperbole and sat back so we could finish our journey in peace and quiet. But the smile never left my face; it simply grew bigger as we drove by the campus for the first time. Students were already roaming the grounds, moving into dorms and getting ready for freshman orientation. Jasper and Alice drove by us and waved as they headed off to find their dorm building. Alice was still a little miffed that only married couples could live off-campus, but she consoled herself with the fact that she and Jasper got to live in the same building.
Just a few minutes later, we were at our apartment complex, and it was so beautiful. It was small, but that certainly didn't matter to us. In fact, I liked the idea of sharing very close quarters with my new husband, very close indeed.
After meeting with the people in the leasing office, we both grabbed a couple bags and made our way to apartment 107. I was extraordinarily happy to have a ground-floor place. The complex didn't have an elevator, so having to drag myself up the steps after a long, hard day of classes would be massive amounts of no fun. Edward and I set the bags down and got a good look around. It was small – only a little living room, bathroom, kitchenette and bedroom; and not much storage space. But, all in all, it was perfect. And, thankfully, it was furnished. It had a couch, a kitchen table with four chairs and a queen-sized bed.
Edward wrapped his arms around me. "Welcome home, love."
I turned so I could give my husband a nice, long kiss that would have ended up on the couch for a long makeout session had we not reluctantly pulled apart.
"We'd better finish unpacking, or we'll never get around to it," I said.
"You're right," he sighed. "And the sooner we get it done, the sooner we can see if that bed is as sturdy as it looks."
I smacked him on the shoulder playfully. "Edward, it doesn't even have sheets on it, yet."
"Like that could stop us," he replied with a devilish grin.
Once we finished unpacking, everything felt really real to me for the first time since we were married. The honeymoon was amazing, but spending the rest of the summer cooped up in my parents' basement was excruciating. Despite the size of the house, there was actually very little privacy. Here, I finally had Bella all to myself.
We sat around our kitchen table and figured out what we would need, made out a grocery list and found out where the nearest stores were thanks to the handy city guide provided by the apartment complex.
"Do they have anything like a super Target here?" Bella asked as she glanced over my shoulder.
"I don't see Target," I said. "They have something called Zellers that looks promising. You want to try there?"
"Sure," she said. "It'll give us a chance to explore the city a little."
I found the debit card for bank Bella and I would be using here in BC and held it up triumphantly. "Come on then, wife; let's go get some groceries."
Bella rolled her eyes at me as she grabbed her purse, and we headed out the door. I entered the address of the store in the little GPS my dad had given me along with the 4Runner – which, I must say, is the coolest car ever. I followed the directions and got to this Zellers place without any trouble at all. "I love this GPS, I don't know how I ever got along without it."
Bella smirked. "So much for men having an innate sense of direction. It's funny how the male stereotype of never pulling over to ask for directions had manifested itself electronically. And it's downright ironic how the voice on the GPS is always female."
I just sat back and listened to Bella rant about the GPS. I love these little tangents she goes on about anything that crosses her mind – it's what makes her my Bella. We walked into the store and started browsing to find where our necessary items were located. Really, it wasn't any different than shopping in a Walmart or Target back in Washington; but, being in another country, even a neighboring one, made it feel like such a big deal. It felt like an adventure. And, I think many of the other patrons of the store could tell we were Americans, the way we looked around at everything with wonder in our eyes.
We got everything on the list we had made back at the apartment, but there was still room in our budget for some extraneous purchases. Bella got a new set of bed sheets – nice ones made out of Egyptian cotton or something. I, on the other hand, couldn't help but notice how our new place lacked a TV in the bedroom. Not that I imagined Bella and I would be doing much in the bedroom apart from having hot, newlywed sex, but it could be nice to cuddle up with a movie on the weekends. I managed to steer Bella over to the electronics department and found a nice little 19" LCD TV with a built-in DVD player. "Look love, we can afford that one."
She perused the price tag on the shelf. "Yeah, that's not bad. Plus, with the DVD player, we can go home and watch movies all night."
"Well," I said as I put the box on the bottom rack under the cart, "I was hoping we could do something else all night."
"Oh really, like what?" She asked, feigning innocence.
I put my arm around her waist and pulled her in close to me so I could whisper in her ear. "Like break in that bed, and those new bed sheets."
She pushed away slightly and gave me a smirk. "I'm pretty sure that bed has already been broken in, we're not the first people to live there."
"I meant broken in by us," I replied, pulling her back in and tightening my grip on her. "Think about it – you and me in our very first apartment together, no parents or Alice in the same house to overhear if things get too loud."
She looked down and a pretty blush spread across her face. "Um, sweetie, I don't think we can…get too loud tonight."
"Why not, afraid the neighbors might complain?" I joked. She didn't seem to find anything funny though. "Bella, what's wrong?"
"Edward, I'm sorry, I didn't want to ruin our inaugural move-in, but…" her voice dropped so low it was barely audible, "Imonmyperiod."
"Huh? What did you say?" I tried to keep my voice down; she was obviously embarrassed about something.
"I'm…on…my…period," she whispered harshly.
"Oh, is that all, love?" I asked with a chuckle. "Geez, you're acting as if you haven't had a period this whole time we've been together."
"Yeah, but we don't usually talk about it," she replied, looking around to make sure no one was listening in. "Plus, I don't know, I just kind of felt bad because you're so excited about 'breaking in the bed.'"
I wrapped one arm around her while I pushed the cart with the other hand. "Love, I'm just excited to be alone with you. We'll give the bed a proper breaking in sometime next week."
"OK, enough talk about the bed," she said as we paid for our items. "Why don't we invite Alice and Jasper over for dinner?"
"Sure," I said as I handed the debit card to the cashier. "Give them a call."
The first day of the semester at UBC was even more exciting than the first day of high school, middle school and elementary school combined. It was a big school, but not incredibly so, and everyone seemed so nice. I guess it's true what they say about Canadians being some of the friendliest people in the world. The best part was Alice and I had a history class together. I was so relived to have at least one class with my best friend before the courses for our respective majors sent us in different academic directions. Alice was going to be a psychology major, while I was hoping to get a sociology degree and eventually get my masters in social work.
After our class, we met Jasper and Edward at the dining hall for lunch. The boys were already in line, so I ran over and jumped into Edward's arms. "Hi Hubby, how's your day been?"
"Dreadful without you," Edward replied before placing a kiss on my lips and twirling me in circles. A girl behind us didn't seem to take kindly to mine and Alice's intrusion into the line.
"Hey," she said. "We've all been waiting here for a long time. Why don't you two just march right to the back of the line?"
"Because my husband was saving a place for me," I told her, showing my wedding ring for effect. She made a disgruntled sound and turned to talk to the girl behind her about how rude we were. I guess the Canadian hospitality only goes so far.
"Just ignore her," Alice said. "I mean come on, anyone who would wear tight, acid-washed jeans and then have the nerve to tuck them into god-awful cowboy boots just can't have any sort of common sense, now can she?"
The girl glared at Alice, who merely stared back with a smirk and a raised eyebrow – just daring her opponent to try and make a comeback. However, someone else decided to join in on the conversation, quite the uninvited guest at that.
"Same old Alice Cullen," it was James, emerging from somewhere a bit further down the line. He stood before us, his blond hair a bit longer than I was used to, and he was wearing some strange, tight jeans and a tight black shirt. I guess someone decided they'd get a makeover this past summer. He turned to me with a big grin. "Mrs. Cullen, it's nice to see you again."
Edward's arms tightened protectively – or was it possessively? Either way, I could practically feel his desire to rip James to shreds emanating from him. I put a calming hand on his chest and he broke his glare with James to look at me. "Hey, we're just going to ignore him like we said, right?"
He nodded. "Right, as far as we're concerned, he doesn't even go to school here."
James started laughing evilly. "Are you two for real? How immature can you get? 'As far as we're concerned, he doesn't even go to school here.' How lame!"
All four of us simply began talking about our classes and pretending he wasn't there. Unfortunately, James is a man who doesn't respond well to being ignored. "Hey Cullen! See you at football practice." Edward looked up at him with a deadly look in his eyes, but James had already turned and walked away. I looked up at Edward with a confused expression.
"He's on the team?" I asked a bit louder and whineier than I had intended.
"No," Edward said. "Not unless he's planning on trying to be a walk-on. I doubt he'd make it that way, though. All of the running backs here are way too good."
"Yeah," I replied, grabbing a tray, "But, wasn't he really good, too?"
"Not this good," Edward said as we started grabbing plates of food. "Don't worry, love, I don't think I'll have to worry about James being on the team this season."
Or will he? Find out in the next chapter. Plus, Jessica and Jacob – has their relationship stood the test of time? Or, was it just a high school romance?
I hope you guys like this; I think it could turn out to be a really good one :-)