A/N: Lets be honest…I suck. I know this. It's been WAY too long and while I could sit here and give you all of my excuses why, it would bore you. Suffice it to say that I've been going through a rough patch. I'm soon to be a single mom of two due to my upcoming divorce, I work A LOT, I'm getting ready to move halfway across the country…life happens. And it always has to come first, even when we don't necessarily want it to.
To those of you who have been so patient and supportive, I can not even begin to express my appreciation to you. You really are the best…I'm not just saying that. :o)
Thank you also goes to ilsuocantante for taking time out of her busy schedule to beta for me, as always.
Last but not least, an extra special thank you goes to khariZZmatik for being an amazing source of support to me as well as pre-reading and agonizing with me over the smallest details – you are invaluable to me.
As always, outfits are in my profile.
Stephenie Meyer's owns everything Twilight - but I can do whatever I want with Copward and Stinkerbella. ;o)
The days following lunch with my mom and Edward were hectic, to say the least. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were always our busiest at the salon; more often than not, we would end up working extra hours trying to fit everyone in. Normally, I wouldn't have bat an eyelash. Work was usually at the top of my list of priorities, which was why I had found so much success in the industry at such a young age. While most twenty-somethings were in a hurry to find a man, settle down and start a family - if they hadn't done so already - that was the furthest thing from my mind. I was hyper-focused on making a name for myself by building my clientele, and aside from my talent, the only other way to achieve that was to do anything and everything to accommodate each and every person that sat in my chair.
So, that's what I did.
Even though my priorities seemed to be shifting, that's what everyone still expected from me...and I wasn't sure how much I was still willing to sacrifice for my career. Edward was understanding and supportive but the fact of the matter was, I wanted to be with him more than I was able to, which was really starting to get on my fucking nerves. I was actually starting to resent the one thing that had been most important to me for years and I didn't like that one bit. So, whether I wanted to admit it or not, I knew that meant that once the holidays were over, I was going to have to make some changes - changes that could end up biting me in the ass and scared me to death . Taking a leap of faith was not my strong suit when it came to my love life. Understatement of the century! You're like a little old lady taking baby steps with her walker when it comes to leaps of faith...
Any doubts I may have had - and there weren't many, mind you - melted away as soon as I'd walked into Edward's kitchen the night before and watched him working diligently on a dinner that could rival something my mother would make. The look on his face when he'd turned around, the way he'd gazed at me and breathed me in like there was nowhere else he'd rather be and no one else he'd rather be with nearly bowled me over. It had felt like his whole world stopped for me.
He wasn't clingy or overbearing and he didn't demand more than I could give him or expect my life to revolve around him. All he wanted, all he ever asked for, was me. And in that moment, I knew with more certainty than I had ever felt before that I wanted to give myself to him...completely. For the first time in my life, I was resigned to following my heart and I hoped and prayed that it was leading me in the right direction.
That was when the realization of what was really going on within me hit me like a shit ton of bricks... Holy shit, I love him...I'm in fucking love with Edward Cullen. Like, spend the rest of my life, have kids and grandkids, sit on the porch swing when we're gray kind of l-o-v-e. What the fuck has he done to me?
"Earth to Bella," a familiar female voice called to me, pulling me out of my head and back to reality. I was standing behind the desk at the salon, waiting for Bree to finish rinsing my last client of the day and absentmindedly scrolling through my book on the computer to try and figure out what the hell I could do to change my schedule and not lose my clientele.
On top of everything else that was going on in my life, Rosalie had decided that it would be helpful for Bree to "shadow" me for a while since she'd been getting a lot of complaints and Laurent and I had gotten stuck fixing her mistakes on too many occasions. Being the pompous French prick that he was, Laurent refused to take on the added responsibility of educating Bree rather than just using her as his assistant, which left the burden solely on me.
Bree was young and "green" and needed the extra hands-on training to help perfect her craft. Truth be told, beauty school taught the basics; it gave the foundation for which to build upon, but the practical work was supervised and corrected by instructors who, more often than not, were overworked and underpaid. Because of this, there were a lot of girls that graduated and passed their state boards but lacked the skills they needed to really succeed in the industry. Bree was one of those girls; she needed more education and a little direction to help her become the best stylist she was capable of being.
I just hadn't known it was going to be left up to me to see to it that she got it.
Unfortunately for me, however, Rosalie had an unexpected bargaining chip that she dangled over my head whenever it suited her purposes: My super secret police recruit boyfriend. The one my brother, her boyfriend, didn't know about. Basically, she had me by the balls - well, if I had balls - and she fucking knew it. Bitch.
"What? Oh, sorry, Bree," I said, recognizing her voice and looking up at her with a smile. She was standing on the other side of the desk, running her fingers through her shiny, chocolate colored hair and looking at me expectantly.
"Charlotte made a stop in the ladies room and said she'd meet you at your station. I rinsed the toner and ran some conditioner through her ends for you, just like you told me. Are you okay? You looked like you were seriously lost in thought when I walked over here."
"Um...yeah," I responded with a sigh. "I just have a lot on my mind."
"Dinner with your parents tonight, right?"
I groaned. "Yes. God, don't remind me. I've been trying to avoid thinking about it all week but now that it's so close, I'm starting to freak the fuck out."
"Why are you freaking out? You said they got along really well on Thanksgiving, right? I'm sure you have nothing to worry about," Bree said casually, trying to reassure me.
I knew she was right, but it didn't change the way I was feeling. I was convinced at this point that I was going to be on edge until Edward graduated and we no longer had to worry about anyone finding out about us. Because even if my dad was accepting of our relationship, there was one person we still had to worry about...
I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of it all. Of course my father would love Edward, but he wasn't the one I was really concerned about. My father was just as over-protective as my brother, but Charlie had a knack for seeing the "big picture" and not jumping to conclusions - something Emmett wasn't as skilled at doing when it came to his little sister and her love life. And in all honesty, I didn't fear that either of them would dislike Edward; I worried that Emmett would be suspicious of his intentions...that he would turn my entire relationship, everything Edward and I felt for each other, into some contrived plan to use me for inside information and graduate with top honors. That's how Emmett's mind worked. And one thing I knew for certain was that no matter what, he was going to be pissed when we finally broke the news to him - if for no other reason than because I had point blank lied. To him. All this time. Way to make yourself feel better Bella, you dumbass. I think I need a fucking drink. Big enough to drown in. Like...yesterday.
My stomach churned with nerves as I thanked Bree for her help and walked back to my station to finish up Charlotte's hair. She was my last appointment of the day and with dinner looming so close by, my thoughts were never far from Edward and the impact he'd had on my life in the last few months. Thank God the noise of my hair dryer made it virtually impossible to hold up a decent conversation because there was no way I could have focused on making small talk.
I had way too much on my mind.
After giving Charlotte a hug goodbye I headed back to my station to clean up, absentmindedly grinding my teeth as I ran through my regular routine of sanitization. I was so busy slowly torturing myself with scenarios of what could happen in the night ahead that I didn't hear anyone sneak up on me. And when I felt a hand on my arm and spun around in shock, the one scenario I hadn't even considered was staring me in the face laughing hysterically at my reaction.
My fucking brother. What. The. Fuck?
"Hey, Stinkerbell," he said as casually as he could while gasping for air between laughs. "What's got you so jumpy?"
I clutched my chest with one hand, slapping him on the arm with the other. Ouch. Of course that hurt me more than it hurt him. Fucking Gigantor. "You, you dumbass!" I said in a harsh whisper, trying not to draw any more attention from the clientele still in the salon. "Who the hell sneaks up on someone holding a sharp ass pair of shears? I could've stabbed you - or worse, I could've stabbed myself!I bet you wouldn't find that so fucking amusing, would you?"
Emmett's face fell, and just like that, I felt guilty. "Shit. Didn't think about that. Sorry."
I shook my head, groaning at my constantly conflicting emotions. I knew I was being a bitch to him and he didn't really deserve it. Granted, surprising me wasn't the smartest thing to do, but that wasn't really why I was pissed. I was pissed because Edward was on his way to pick me up for dinner with my parents and would be walking through the door at any given moment - I needed to do damage control and I needed to do it fast.
"Nevermind, Em, you just startled me," I said, shrugging my shoulders and trying to feign nonchalance. I was pretty sure I failed. Luckily, before I could find out, I heard Rosalie's voice calling to him as she hurried down the stairs in a flash of pink and black, purse in hand.
"I told you I'd be right out, Em," she said, grabbing him by the arm and flashing him a nervous smile, before turning to look at me with a frantic look on her face as she attempted to pull him toward the door.
"Chill out, Rosie. What's your hurry?" Emmett asked, shaking his head and eyeing her suspiciously. "I just thought I'd stop in and say hello to my sister while you were finishing up, since I haven't seen much of her lately. Jesus. First Bella snaps at me and now you're dragging me out of here like the place is on fire. What the hell?"
His gaze shifted in my direction and I looked away quickly, avoiding making eye contact. I knew he'd see right through me if we did. I was guilty. And not only was I guilty of lying to him and sneaking around behind his back, but I was also guilty of dragging his girlfriend into the whole thing with me. I was a bad sister. I was a bad friend. I was just a bad person in general. I suck. God, no I don't...but I'd like to. Oh my God, I have a one track mind...
Unfortunately, Rosalie was not calm under pressure when it came to anything other than business. Whenever she was nervous, she would laugh like a freaking hyena and once she started, it was almost impossible to get her to stop. The laugh would then be followed by nonsensical talking and all around "flailiness", as Alice and I referred to it. I knew I had to intervene before that could happen, because if it did there was no doubt in my mind Emmett would know something wasn't kosher.
"What, are you a cop or something?" I asked, nudging his arm and trying to lighten the mood. "You're always interrogating all of us like we're suspects in a crime, Emmett. Are you ever off the clock? Geesh!" I threw my arms up in exasperation. It was a weak attempt at humor but I needed to make sure he didn't actually think we were hiding something from him.
He chuckled, looking at me and then Rosalie and then back at me, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders in defeat. "Okay, ladies, you can have your little secret, whatever it is. Chances are, I don't want to know anyway. Just know I'm watching you...and sooner or later, I'll figure it out. Trust me." He nodded and winked, seemingly satisfied for the moment that he'd asserted his authority with both of us while Rosalie and I stifled giggles at the cheesy nature of his gesture.
"So, can we go then, Sergeant Swan?" Rose asked sarcastically with a roll of her eyes, tugging his arm toward her and sliding her small hand into his. "I've been here since seven o'clock this morning and I'm exhausted and hungry, which anyone who knows me understands is not a good combo."
I could tell from the look on Emmett's face that he recognized it was time to go. Without another word, he bent over and kissed me on the cheek, waving goodbye over his shoulder as Rosalie pulled him out the door. I heard Alice call out a quick goodbye from behind the reception desk followed by a chuckle when her sister shook her head and put her free hand over my brother's mouth to make sure he wasn't sidetracked into stopping. Rosalie was definitely hungry.
I breathed a sigh of relief when the door shut behind them and the coast was clear. I finished packing up my tools, and threw the last of my towels into the laundry bin before joining Alice so I could finish my paperwork quickly before Edward showed up. Angela scurried away as soon as I stepped behind the desk, mumbling something about sweeping the floor.
Things had been tense between us since the night Edward and I had "run into" her and her brother on their little double date, but this was getting ridiculous. It was as if she was afraid to talk to me, and I wasn't sure if it was because she was afraid of me...or her brother. He had been using her to track my whereabouts, which was about the shadiest thing he'd done so far, but I didn't actually blame Angela for any of it. She was manipulated by him, just as I had been, and he had a much stronger hold on her than he ever had on me because they were family.
What was even worse was I felt an assload of guilt for how Angela was feeling, when I had done absolutely nothing to make her feel that way. I had tried talking to her in order to smooth things over, but she wasn't interested. She avoided me like the plague and the only time she'd speak to me was when she had no choice because work dictated it. But even then, if possible, she'd have Bree deliver her messages to me instead. It pissed me off and I knew we'd have to hash everything out once and for all, but now was not the time. For now, I had to focus on making it through the night...
"Awkward," Alice said in her annoying sing-song fashion.
"Tell me about it," I said, rolling my eyes. "If anyone should be pissed, it's me, don't you think? She totally set me up, but somehow I'm the bad guy? I just don't get what's going through her head right now."
"She's been really quiet around all of us, not just you. Maybe she's just embarrassed, ya know? Think about it, Bells, she's got to know what she did wasn't cool, seeing as she's the one that gave Edward your number in the first place...I bet her douchebag brother doesn't know that part of the story. Anyway, I think she's just in a tough spot. Give her some time, she'll come around."
I groaned. "Fuuuuuuuuck. I can't deal with this right now, I'm stressed out enough as it is. I'll deal with Angela once I get through tonight."
"Good God Bella, stop over-thinking it all already, would you? You're driving us all crazy and everything's going to work out. Trust me," she said, tapping her temple, "I know what I'm talking about."
"She's right," I heard Edward's voice say in agreement, surprising me. I had put my head down for a moment to stick a post-it-note on my paperwork for Bree and had somehow missed the swoosh of the front door as he'd pushed it open. My mouth dropped when I saw him walk up to the desk in a pair of loose fitting blue jeans, a white wife beater and a white button down shirt. The sleeves of the button down were rolled up slightly, showing off his beautifully tanned, muscular forearms and the signature sex hair was in perfect disarray, as usual. He was so gorgeous it almost hurt to look at him, but I couldn't stop staring.
"As much as it pains me to say those words," he continued with a grimace, "she is."
Alice stuck out her tongue and I chuckled, tugging her dark hair a little as I pushed past her and walked around the desk to greet him. "Hey, Eyefucker," he said to her with a smirk as he snaked his arm around my waist and kissed the top of my head.
"How's it going, FuckMeEyes?" she replied, flipping him the bird. "Oh wait, I don't care."
Edward faked a gasp and I shook my head at them. Anyone who didn't know them as I did would think they couldn't stand each other but I knew better. They had a love/hate relationship but it was more love than hate...they just really enjoyed giving each other a hard time. And I couldn't lie, Edward's ability to put Alice in her place was one of the many things I adored about him. Nobody stood up to her like he did, not even me, and I thought I was pretty damn good at it.
"Aw, I'm hurt, Alice" he said, placing his hand over his heart for dramatic affect. "Oh wait, no I'm not."
"Alright you two, as much as I'd love to sit here and watch you insult each other..."
"Lies," Alice chimed in before I could finish, not even bothering to look up from her paperwork so I could give her a dirty look. I gave her one anyway and mentally gave her the two fingered salute. Bitch.
"Anyway," I said, pulling away from Edward to grab my purse off the reception desk where I'd left it, "we better get going. The drive to Fountain Hills is almost an hour and my parents are always early."
Edward nodded, reaching for my hand and giving it a quick squeeze. Alice leaned over the desk to give me a quick hug as she and Edward exchanged goodbyes. As if on cue, as we turned to walk out the door, she reassured me in a way only she could. "Don't worry Stinkerbellarina, Chief DILF will be glad to see you walk in with FuckMeEyes. Anything's better than that dog you were dating before him."
"Hey, thanks, Eyefucker...I always knew you had a soft spot for me," he said, opening the door for me. And as I walked out, the last thing I heard was Alice's gag followed by Edward's laughter all the way to the car.
"Ready?" Edward asked after parking his car in the lot outside of Que Bueno. He hadn't cut the engine yet and I assumed it was because he knew me well enough to know that I was about to jump out of my skin in anticipation of what was waiting for us inside that damn restaurant. Or maybe he could hear how hard my heart was beating in my chest, which wouldn't have surprised me since it felt like it was going to explode at any given moment. Either way, he was giving me a minute to catch my breath and calm myself before facing my father. If I hadn't been so freaked out, I might have been inclined to mount him right then and there for being so goddamned amazing and accepting of my bullshit. Jesus Christ, Bella, for someone who's not getting laid, you sure are a slut. Ha! You wish. Yes, yes I do.
I turned my head toward him and sighed. He looked like the picture of calm, leaning his head back against the headrest and looking at me with a smirk on his face. He reached out and place his hand on my thigh, eyeing me cautiously as he lightly ran his palm up and down my leg. "It'll be okay, you know. No matter what, you and I will be okay. Even if your dad gets pissed when he realizes I'm the skeleton in your closet - which I don't think he will - it's not going to change anything...well, not for me at least. You know that, right?"
"First of all, how do you always know the perfect thing to say? Second, why the hell do you put up with my shit? And third, how are you so damn calm right now when the Chief of Police, your boss, is waiting in that restaurant to see who has been secretly dating his only daughter for the past few months?" I asked with a smile, shaking my head at the absurdity of it all.
He chuckled. "Like I told you before we had lunch with your mom, all I'm worried about is you and me. The rest will work itself out, I promise. Besides, it's my ass on the line so I don't know why you're so nervous. If I'm not worried, you shouldn't be either, right?"
I nodded in agreement and couldn't help the smile that crept over my lips. He was right, as usual, and if he wasn't so fucking incredible I probably would have been a little annoyed by that fact. No, scratch that, a lot annoyed. But as he leaned toward me and captured my lips with his, any thoughts of worry or annoyance - or anything other than the tingling sensation that I felt between my legs every time he so much as looked at me - completely left my mind.
Before I knew it, we were as close as we could be in spite of the console between us, my hands in his hair and his tongue in my mouth. My senses were overwhelmed with him - his clean, manly smell, the minty taste of his mouth, his gentle yet passionate touch. I knew in that moment with absolute certainty I would never get enough of him.
He broke away for a moment, allowing me to catch my breath as he ran his hand through my hair and gazed at me with the desire I knew was reflected in my own eyes. "Do you have any idea how fucking beautiful you are, Bella?" he asked breathlessly before resuming our kiss, not allowing me a moment to respond. Not that I would have responded, anyway...I was too busy trying to give him a tonsillectomy with my tongue.
Once again, he pulled away slightly, shifting his focus from my mouth to my neck as his hand began a slow and deliberate descent down my right shoulder, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. I inhaled sharply as his hand cupped my breast, shocked not only that he'd made the move, but that he was doing it in the parking lot of the very restaurant my father and mother were inside of, waiting for us.
He massaged my breast as he ran his tongue down the shell of my ear, sucking gently on the lobe and chuckling quietly, apparently amused by my body's reaction to his touch. It started to dawn on me that Police Recruit FuckMeEyes was in complete control of this situation and he knew it...and he was probably smirking in satisfaction as he expertly tortured me with his tongue and long, beautiful fingers.
I began to squirm in my seat as the heat between my legs became almost unbearable. In the back of my mind, I was aware that Edward was going to stop at any given moment, his kisses becoming softer and less urgent. But as he peppered featherlight kisses along my jaw, making his way back to my mouth, I couldn't fight the urge to touch him all over, running my hands across the taut muscles of his chest and abdomen and slowly working my way down his body. Before I reached my destination he grabbed my hand, kissing me gently on the lips and leaning back so he could look at me, shaking his head and grinning from ear to ear. Holy shit, he just cockblocked himself. Who does that?
I watched in silent astonishment as he leaned forward and placed a quick kiss on the tip of my nose before cutting the engine, removing the key and getting out of the car. He adjusted himself before walking over to my door and opening it for me, offering me his hand and helping me out of the car with a fuckhot self satisfied smirk on his face that I wanted to lick right off of him.
"Feel better?" he asked as the realization of what he had just accomplished dawned on me. He had gotten me hot and bothered, that was for sure, but he'd also effectively made me forget how nervous I was. And I did feel better.
I narrowed my eyes at him and nodded, unable to fight the smile that crept over my lips.
"Good. Now, take a deep breath and let's get in there before your parents start to think we stood them up, okay?" he asked, smacking my ass playfully before taking my hand and leading me to the restaurant. Fucking tease.
As soon as we walked through the first door, I could see my parents standing inside the next one and off to the side a little, waiting to be seated. My heart jumped in my chest and I hesitated for a moment, placing my hand on top of Edward's and stopping him from pulling the door open.
"Wait," I pleaded. "I'm not ready."
"You're ready, Bella...we're ready. Trust me." He squeezed my hand gently and looked me in the eyes, waiting for me to stop acting like a baby and realize that he wasn't going anywhere. No matter what. And in the scheme of things, nothing else mattered. We were walking into the restaurant as a united front, like Brenda and Dylan on 90210 when they decided they were going to be together even if her parents didn't like him. Except we weren't in high school, Edward wasn't a bad boy and I wasn't a bitch. Okay, well...maybe we have one thing in common with them. Jesus, Bella, turn off the TV every once in a while.
Edward held the door open for me and I walked in, a nervous smile plastered on my face. I was smiling so big, I felt like my face might crack. Oh yeah, Bella, that's natural...you'll have them all fooled. Not.
I felt Edward's arm slip around my waist and I leaned into him, hoping maybe by osmosis or something ridiculous like that, his confidence would wash over me and chill me the fuck out. It didn't work. Renee's eyes met mine, a warm, comforting smile on her face as she placed a hand on my father's arm and nodded toward us, letting him know we had arrived. I watched my father turn to face us in what seemed like slow motion as I held my breath and then squeezed my eyes shut in anticipation of his greeting. It felt like my heart was about to jump out of my chest and it took everything I had not to just turn around and flee the scene...of the crime? Like a criminal or something? What the fuck was wrong with me? I just couldn't wrap my head around it.
What I could wrap my head around was that I needed to get this over with so we could sit down and I could get a goddamn drink. So, I opened my eyes and attempted to look normal - as normal as I could in the moment at least.
"Look who's finally here," my dad said, giving me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I was starting to wonder if you were going to show. Good to see you again, Edward." He looked from me to Edward, his dimples creasing his face in what I knew was a genuine Charlie Swan smile.
He wasn't shocked one bit.
I still was.
I tried to respond but was, probably for the first time in my life, at a loss for words. I felt like everyone was looking at me, waiting for me to say something and the pressure was just too much. I probably looked like a deer in the headlights My father chuckled, shaking Edward's hand as my mother pulled me into a quick hug. She took my face in both her hands as she withdrew, shaking her head and smiling in amusement at my ridiculousness. "I told you there was nothing to worry about, my dear. You should listen to your mother every once in awhile - believe it or not, I usually know what I'm talking about, especially when it comes to your father." I gave her a sarcastic smile and stuck my tongue out at her as she patted my head.
"Now, that's my girl," I heard my father say and turned to see him squeezing Edward's shoulder as they both laughed at my childish behavior. Apparently, they were already getting along swimmingly. Who the hell uses the word swimmingly? Old ladies, that's who...definitely not normal people in their twenties. Then again, I'm not normal. I'm a freak. And if we make it through this dinner, Edward may just get to see what a freak I am. Where the hell is that hostess?
We were finally seated a few minutes later, my mom and dad in chairs on one side of the table and Edward and me in a booth on the other. Like magnets, we both slid across the bench to the middle of the table, sitting as close to each other as possible. His arm was around my shoulders and my hand was on his thigh and just like that, we were in our little comfort zone. Well, as close as we could be to our comfort zone when we were sitting across the table from my parents...Emmett's parents...Edward's sergeant's parents. My stomach rolled at the thought. Jesus, somebody please have mercy on me and bring me a fucking drink already!
The waitress came over to get us started and I ordered the first of many prickly pear margaritas of the night - it was the only place I'd ever found that made them and whenever we came to Que Bueno, I found myself indulging a little too much in their sweet deliciousness.
Tonight was obviously not going to be an exception.
My father and Edward both ordered a beer as well as a glass of ice water, and Renee had her usual glass of white wine with dinner. By the time I ordered my second drink, they had all barely touched their first.
Oh yeah, this wasn't going to be pretty.
"So," my father said, eyeing both of us as the waitress placed margarita number two in front of me. I picked it up and took a drink in anticipation of what was about to come out of his mouth. "Did you really think I didn't know there was something going on between you two at Thanksgiving? You really don't hide your feelings that well, Bells...you never have."
I swallowed hard. If my father noticed our less than subtle flirting, how the hell had Emmett not caught on to it? He usually noticed everything, especially when it came to me and anything that had anything to do with the male species. Obviously I was going to be indebted to Rosalie for the rest of my life for hypnotizing my brother with her pussy. How does one thank someone for that? Dear Rosalie, thank you for screwing my brother and making him blind to what's happening right under his nose. Love, Bella. Gag. Thank God I haven't eaten because if I had, I would definitely be puking right now.
"I didn't think we were that obvious, but apparently I was wrong. I'm just really glad Emmett didn't catch on as easily as you and Mom," I said, taking another swig and effectively downing drink number two. How had that happened so quickly? I only recalled taking two drinks from the glass and it was already empty? A warming sensation flowed through my body and I felt myself begin to relax a little, which made me start to ramble. "You know you can't tell him, right? I mean, you won't, will you? Mom said she understood why we're keeping it quiet right now and I just really need you to-"
"Relax, baby girl," he said with a grin, cutting me off. "You're an adult and it's your life. I won't say a word. Just promise me that as soon as Edward is done at the Academy, you two will come clean. He's probably going to be pissed that we all kept a secret from him, but he loves you and he'll come around. He's always been a little overprotective of you, but he means well."
"A little?" I asked, cocking my eyebrow. Emmett was a lot overprotective. It was okay when we were kids. I loved having this big bear of a brother looking out for me; if being the police chief's daughter wasn't enough to keep people from fucking with me, Emmett definitely was. However, the older we got, the more frustrating it became. I loved him and I appreciated him watching out for me...to an extent. But I knew that if he tried to "protect me" from Edward, things between us would never be the same.
Because I was in love with him. Time for another drink.
The waitress brought me another margarita with our meals, which, just like the others, seemed to disappear way too quickly. I was really beginning to feel a good buzz and as Edward and Charlie talked animatedly about Edward's future goals with the police department, their voices began to scramble in my head and reminded me of the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons. "...mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa..." was all I heard. I ate my dinner in silence, really trying to focus on what was going on around me and failing miserably. However, that didn't stop me from ordering another drink.
By the time we had finished dinner, I felt like I had been a passenger on Oceanic 815 and was LOST on the motherfucking island...
I had no idea what we were talking about - or if I had even participated in the conversation. All I knew was that everyone seemed like they were getting along, Edward smelled so good and I really wanted to get out of that restaurant and into his pants. Wait, I don't really want to get in his pants, do I? Does that even make sense? I don't fucking know...all I know is I want him out of his pants and into mine. Although, I don't really think my pants would fit him. Shit, it would probably be best if we were both just out of our pants and in his bed. Naked. Yes, that sounds much better...
"What sounds much better, honey?" I heard Renee ask me, her voice clear and concise for the first time in awhile and pulling me out of my drunken thoughts.
"What?" I asked.
"You just said something sounded much better," Edward chimed in, helping me to my feet. I realized we must have been getting ready to go.
"I did?" I asked. I may have been able to make out the words that they were speaking at this point but I had no idea what the hell they were talking about.
"You did," Edward said with a smirk, slipping his arm around my waist. "I think it's time to get you home. All those margaritas you had with dinner may have made things a little cloudy for you."
"Before dinner, during dinner, after dinner is more like it," my dad said with a chuckle. "You should probably get her to bed, Edward. She's going to be hurting tomorrow."
"Me in Edward's bed. I like the way you think, Pops," I slurred in agreement. Wink, wink. Since when did I start calling Charlie, Pops? God, I think I need to lay down. On top of Edward. Right the fuck now.
My head was spinning a little from standing up so I leaned into Edward as they all tried to stifle their laughter. I had no idea what was so fucking funny but since they all seemed to be getting along well, I really didn't give a shit. Tonight had been a success. At least, that's what I thought. I couldn't really be sure because most of it was a blur. A Prickly Pear Margarita filled blur.
We walked out to the parking lot together and said our goodbyes. I watched as my mom kissed Edward's cheek and my dad shook his hand and patted him on his back, so familiar and...accepting. Dinner had gone well - it was obvious even in my drunken state. Seeing them together made my heart swell in my chest. He had won them over without even having to try and they loved him.
But not as much as I did. Shit, I think I need another drink...
Edward helped me to his room, walking me over to the bed and helping me sit down with a chuckle. "I'm going to go get you something to change into, okay? You want a T-shirt and some shorts to sleep in?"
"Just a T-shirt," I said pointedly. If I was going to sleep with Police Recruit FuckMeEyes, I wanted as little between us as possible. "And you wear the shorts. Only the shorts."
"Yes ma'am," he said with a grin and a salute, walking over to his dresser, opening a drawer and pulling out a T-shirt which he tossed at me. I tried to catch it but my reflexes were shot from all the alcohol I had gluttonously consumed at dinner and it landed on my head instead. After pulling out a pair of shorts for himself, Edward turned around and saw me fighting with the shirt and failing miserably. I had never heard him laugh so hard, not even at Alice.
"Not funny," I said petulantly as he handed it to me, kissing me on my head and asking me if I'd be alright to change on my own. I shook my head. "Nope, I think I'm gonna need your help, officer."
Edward groaned. "You're killing me over here, Bella. You have no idea how hard it's going to be to have you in my bed and not be able to do anything, but there's no way I'm taking advantage of you in the state you're in. I'll help you change, but you better be on your best behavior. Promise?"
"Yes sir, officer sir," I responded with a salute, standing up and unzipping my jeans. Apparently Edward had me take my shoes off at the door or something because they certainly weren't on my feet. Were they? I looked down at the floor and studied my bare feet. Nope, no shoes.
"Hey, are you feeling okay?" Edward asked, putting his arm around my waist to steady me as I stared at my feet and swayed from side to side a little. He must have thought I was going to puke which made me giggle. A lot. Shit, I'm drunk.
"No," I said, trying to reassure him in the midst of my laughter, "No...I mean yes, I'm fine. I promise. I was just trying to figure out where my shoes went."
"Your shoes are on the mat by the garage door, right next to mine," he responded with a chuckle, patting me on the ass. I wasn't sure if that was to reassure me or just to cop a little feel. Either way was fine by me. "Now, let's get you out of these clothes and into bed before you pass out on me, okay?"
"Sounds good to me. Out of my clothes, into your bed, on top of you - these are all things I'm fully willing to participate in."
"Seriously killing me," he warned me again, cocking his eyebrow at me. Is it weird that I want to lick his eyebrow? Because I do. I want to lick every part of him. More than once. A lot more than once.
"You're such a poop," I said with a pout as I held onto his shoulder with one hand and helped him peel off my jeans with the other, leaving me in my top and a black lace thong I'd put on in hopes he'd be seeing me in them...and out of them. So much for that idea, Bella. Maybe if you hadn't had a love affair with those damn margaritas, you'd finally be having some one-on-one time with Edward's love pole. Oh yeah, alcohol definitely kills brain cells and apparently I need all I can get these days...love pole? Really?
He helped me out of my blouse and the black tube top underneath, draping my clothes over the black leather bench at the foot of his bed before picking up the T-shirt he'd given me to change into. I could tell he was trying not to really look at me standing there, right in front of him, naked except for my bra and panties.
After pulling the shirt over my head, he placed a chaste kiss on the tip of my nose before pulling the covers back and helping me into his bed. The cool, crisp sheets enveloped me as I lay my head down on the pillow and breathed in his scent all around me. Heaven.
I closed my eyes and everything became even fuzzier than it had been before. After what seemed like mere seconds, I felt the bed dip behind me followed by the warmth of Edward's arm around my waist and I sighed as he spooned me, more content than I'd felt in a very long time. His lips brushed against my ear as he whispered goodnight to me and I couldn't stop myself from rolling over and cuddling up against him, my head finding comfort on his very bare chest. It felt like a dream as he held me even closer, kissing the top of my head and rubbing soothing circles on my back as sleep began to pull me back under.
And in my drunken haze, I couldn't be certain, but I might have told Edward I loved him...