Title: Duplicity and Love
Summary: Can you fall in love in 10 days? Can you push someone to the edge of insanity in 10 days? Edward is a bachelor risking fifty grand on the line and Bella is a writer for a prominent woman's magazine. Loosely based on How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. AU, AH, & OOC. Canon pairings.
Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I own nothing.
Comments: I love the movie and thought it could be fun to write the Twilight AH version of it.
A/N: Also, a very big THANK YOU to Riss-uscmam who beta'd this chapter; she worked on this despite her crazy week.
"I'll have wheat toast, a strawberry-banana smoothie and a side of fruit."
"I would like scrambled eggs, French toast, and a side of bacon strips and orange juice too."
"Blueberry pancakes, white toast, sausage, and a cappuccino please."
Jessica, Angela, and I were having brunch. It was Sunday and neither of them was working today. I decided to go out to brunch with them because it had been so long since the three of us had hung out. They still worked at Poise and that was fine by me. They respected my decision to leave, and they even tried to help me find another job.
"So how are things with Edward?" Jessica asked as soon as our waiter left.
"Fabulous," I sighed. I hated being one of those girls who sighed in contentment whenever she spoke of her boyfriend. I hated clichés, but I found out Edward and I succumbed to the romantic clichés. For instance, we call each other 'sweetheart' and 'baby.' I'm Edward's sweetheart and he's my baby. Yes, it's cute, and I love it.
"Fabulous is good," Angela said smiling. "You guys have gone out ever day since you made up, right?"
I know that's a lot. Seeing the same person every single day should get boring or tiring, but with Edward it never did. I always wanted to see him, and I was just glad he wanted to see me too.
"We have," I said in a small voice. I didn't want them to tease me. For so long, I'd tease Angela about Ben and Jessica about whoever she was seeing at the time.
"Bella, that's great! You guys are crazy for each other!" Jessica gushed. She was the ultra romantic out of the three of us. Angela has been with Ben for a long time, and she wasn't even bothered about marriage or taking the next step. She was fine with how things were and if they progressed then she'd go with it. Jessica on the other hand, fell in love quickly. Even more quickly than me and Edward had fallen.
Our waiter came back with our drinks. Strawberry-banana smoothie for Angela, orange juice for me, and the cappuccino for Jessica.
I picked up my orange juice and drowned half of it. I was really thirsty and the juice here was great-not too pulpy and not too plain.
"Save some room for the food, Bella," Angela teased.
I stuck my tongue out at her. "I'm thirsty."
She laughed. "Whatever. So, Thanksgiving is coming. What are your plans?"
Smiling, "I'm spending it with Edward and his family. He invited me. Esme invited me too, but this time Edward beat her to it."
"Awww!" Jessica sighed. "That's so awesome! The family likes you?"
"They do. Esme and Alice especially, but everyone has been really nice."
"Even that bitch Rosalie?"
"Angie!" I admonished.
Jessica's white toast and Angela's wheat toast arrived. The waiter brought out jam and butter and I readily took a piece of Jessica's toast.
"What?" Angela said innocently. "She was a bitch to you."
That was true. But I'm a firm believer in second chances, and I gave the Cullens a second chance.
"Rosalie and I have come to an understanding."
"She apologized?" Angela asked not believing me at all.
"As a matter of fact she did," I said defending Rosalie. "More or less…not in so many words, but she acknowledged she was being a bitch to me."
"What did she say?"
"I owe you an apology Bella. I'm not one to admit that I was wrong, but when I'm wrong, and I know that I'm wrong, I have to rectify it. I was a total bitch to you, and you didn't deserve that. I mean, even though you lied to my brother and made him all kinds of insane, I shouldn't have spoken to you harshly and I hope you can put this behind us, because Edward really likes you and he would never forgive me if I didn't say sorry to you."
I was stunned. I had never received an apology quite like that, but it was Rosalie and it worked for her and me.
"I accept your apology, Rosalie. And I'd like to apologize also. I not only lied to Edward, I lied to all of you. And even though you found out, I never should have done any of that to you guys. I'm sorry, and I'd like to put this stuff behind us too."
"Good." She walked away from me and we left it at that.
I did apologize to every member of Edward's family. Esme and Alice were the easiest because they had sought me out first. The three of us ended up going to lunch one day, and we all bonded over ice cream.
Emmett and Jasper were easier to handle than I thought.
"I'm sorry for doing all that stuff. It was a job, and I didn't think I'd get so involved with Edward, and I really didn't think I'd meet you guys. I'm sorry for lying."
"Bella, I'm sorry too," Jasper said solemnly. "I knew about the bet, and I didn't say anything. I was really thinking Edward should tell you…but I guess things worked out in the end. I'm sorry."
"It wasn't your place to tell me," I said agreeing with him. "I had to hear it from Edward. And thank you for being sorry."
He smiled and that made me less nervous. "You're forgiven. Am I?"
Emmett shuffled his feet bashfully; he cleared his throat and said, "Gosh! I'm sorry Bella! When Eddie and I made that bet we weren't thinking about you! I've done some pretty messed up shit but this one takes the cake. Listen, I'm sorry for making the bet with him. I didn't mean for you to get hurt. I know, I know, that doesn't mean anything, but I am sorry. I like you. You're good for Eddie. I hope we can be friends."
I couldn't stay mad at him. To be honest I was never mad at him. I was only mad at Edward.
"I like you too, Emmett. Thank you for apologizing. And yeah, we can be friends."
He gave me a big grin and an even bigger hug.
Apologizing to Carlisle went well too. He just gave me a hug and all was forgotten. Like Esme, Carlisle accepted me and Edward and our foolishness. I guess being parents made you more compassionate.
After I relayed my apologies, Jess and Angie shared their news.
Angie reported that Poise had a new How To girl. She was a young girl and she was having fun with the column. More power to her. That was a tough column to write for.
Jess got back together with Mike. He begged, groveled, and in the end, Jess took him back. It wasn't so much him begging and her giving in. He just needed time to adjust to Jess's affections. They were a work in progress.
Our food was delicious and I ate all my French toast. Just when our check came, I decided to reveal my really good news.
"Guess who's the new Charity Event's writer for Seattle Met magazine?"
"Ahhhhhhhh!" they screamed.
"Shut up! You did not just get a job!"
I smiled proudly. "Hell yeah, I did! Actually, they offered. The article I wrote about Balliamo's performance benefit really garnered attention, and well, I did send in my resume, but I didn't think they'd actually offer me a job."
"Yeah, it's not How To, but I'd get to cover local charities and write a review and help all sorts of causes get more attention. If my article did that for Edward and Esme just imagine what I could do for other charities? I know it isn't Newsweek, but I can't leave Seattle. I have too much going for me."
"Oh, Bella," Angela breathed as she rubbed my arm. "I think it's great! And if you're happy, then we are too."
"I'm happy," I said meaning it. I was happy for a lot of reasons.
We ended our brunch going in different directions. Angela had plans with Ben. Jessica was going to visit her parents, and I was going to Edward's.
I arrived at Edward's place at two. As soon as I knocked on his door, I heard Henry barking. I smiled to myself; Henry moved back with Edward. I was sort of sad to see him leave my apartment, but I knew it was better for him if he was Edward. And Edward was more than willing to take Henry back in.
Edward opened the door, holding Henry in his arms. I gave Edward a peck on his lips, and reached out for Henry.
"Hey, baby!" I cooed to Henry. I couldn't help that either. I baby talked to the dog. I was guilty of being an irrational pet owner. Oh well, at least I wasn't like Paris Hilton who totted around her little dog in her purse. Henry had his owner carrier. Okay, so maybe I was Paris Hilton in that respect, but I didn't take Henry out often.
"How was your brunch?" Edward asked walking back to me. He had just closed the door.
"It was nice. We ate, and caught up. And now I'm spending the day with my two favorite men." I let Henry go, and he scampered off to another room.
"Glad you enjoyed yourself," Edward murmured as he bent down to give me a proper kiss. He hated it when I only pecked his lips. I liked it though, it left him wanting more.
He tilted my face upward, and pressed his lips firmly on mine. It was a weird angle because he was sort of standing behind me, and I was turning my head to the right, but despite the angle, the kiss was amazing. It always was with him. Edward slowed things down, and gave me one last gentle kiss square on my lips.
"You want to just hang out here?"
"And take Henry out?" I asked hopefully. I secretly loved walking him especially now that Edward walked with us.
"Okay!" I cried happily. A lazy Sunday with Edward was not a bad idea. Not at all.
Edward and I cuddled on the couch. He put the stereo on and Frank Sinatra surrounded us.
"Are you excited about working for the magazine?"
I thought about it. I was really excited. Sure, it wasn't my dream job, but it was something I liked and was excited about. A part of me asked if I was copping out. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt working at Seattle Met was right. I was still in Seattle with Edward. And okay, I never wanted to be one of those girls who centered their lives around their boyfriends, but this thing with Edward was different. We may not have been together for a long time, but we could be. I never felt this much emotion toward another guy. I was seriously considering that Edward could be 'The One.' That shit was serious and I felt good with my work choice and with Edward.
"I am," I answered sincerely. "They liked my article on Balliamo and I'm really excited to cover more causes and charities that need the attention. I feel with this job…I'm providing some good advice and that you know I'm somehow helping people to pick up the phone and volunteer. That's pretty cool isn't it?"
Edward kissed the top of my head. "Yeah, I think it's pretty cool too. I'm proud of you."
"Proud of me?"
"Yeah," he said lacing our fingers together. "You took a big step when you quit Poise. And you changed your mind of where you wanted to work. I know you could write from anywhere, but you taking this job…it's really cool and I think it could be good for you."
I reached up and hugged him. "I had a lot going for me here. I couldn't say no."
"I'm glad you didn't say no. Because then who knows where you would spend Thanksgiving?"
I laughed. "You just want me to taste your famous pumpkin pie."
"It's not famous. But it is pretty fucking good."
"I can't wait to spend Thanksgiving with you."
Thanksgiving was a happy affair. Now that Edward's family and I were cool, I felt like I could just be myself and relax. I wasn't crazy or neurotic and they knew that, which was good.
Edward made his pie at his place, so when he picked me up; he made me hold the pies on my lap. They were still warm form the oven and they smelled delicious.
When we arrived at Edward's childhood home, I smiled at all the pictures of Edward and the twins. I'd only been here one other time and that was when I was apologizing to Edward's family, and I didn't even stay long enough to peruse the house. Esme and Edward gave me the tour. Well, Esme gave me the tour, Edward only tagged along to stop any potential embarrassing stories Esme may have shared.
"You were a cute baby."
"Like you haven't already seen those pictures," he hissed. "Family album remember?"
"Oh yeah! You still have that?"
"I don't know."
"Huh." I clicked my tongue. "Guess you can't wait to marry me and have babies."
He choked on his water.
"I'm kidding, Edward. I'm not crazy, okay?"
"I know!" he said offensively.
"What are you two arguing about?" Emmett said passing us the salad.
"Nothing," we mumbled back.
"Leave them alone," Rosalie said slapping Emmett on the arm.
I looked around the table and marveled at how well we got along. Edward and I had only been dating again for a few weeks. We tried to keep things casual, but that notion faded quickly. Simply put, we were crazy about each other. Sure, we had boundaries. He spent plenty of time with the guys, and I spent time with the girls. I also formed friendships with Esme, Alice, and even Rosalie. Okay, I wouldn't call me and Rosalie friends, but we weren't enemies and she and I co-existed whenever we were together.
Although Edward and I were serious, we still wanted to take things slow, and have fun. Neither one of us were looking to get married and have kids yet. No, we'd leave that to Emmett and Rosalie. Rosalie had another sonogram, and found out that she was having one baby. Emmett was really happy about that, but I'm sure he would have been really happy no matter how many babies Rosalie ended up carrying.
"What are you thankful for?"
That was the big question.
I had a lot of things to be thankful for.
I was thankful for Poise. Yes, I know. But I had to be! If I didn't take on that bogus article, I would have never been at that club and wouldn't have met Edward. I owed Poise that credit. I was also thankful for Edward. He may have screwed things up too, but he was the man for me. I melted into a puddle of goo whenever I saw him. He was such a sweet and sexy guy. Yeah, don't think I would've let his physical beauty go aside. He was attractive and I wasn't above giving him compliments. I was thankful for getting another job. Everyone hated being jobless, and in this economy, it sucked even more.
"I'm thankful for family and for Bella."
There might have been a collective sigh from Esme and Alice.
Edward rolled his eyes, but gave me a kiss to let me know he meant what he said.
"I'm thankful for the past few months. And I'm thankful for Edward too."
Edward held my hand under the table and squeezed.
"Are you thankful for everything in the past few months?" he asked me quietly.
"Yeah," I answered seriously. "Aren't you?"
"Yeah," he said smiling. "This will be quite the story to tell the kids."
"What kids?" I teased. "We're telling this story to your niece or nephew first."
"Good idea. We should test drive the story out on the niece or nephew first. That way, we can omit stuff for when our kids arrive."
"Oh, Eddie! You're so silly. I'm not having your kids for a long time!"
He grinned. "So does that you are planning on having my kids?"
Goodness. I walked straight into that one.
"I'm an old fashioned gal," I teased. "Marriage first, then we'll talk babies."
"Old fashioned, my ass," he muttered.
I smirked at him. I was only teasing him. And he was right-I wasn't old fashioned. If I was, I wouldn't have an intimate relationship.
We weren't ready for babies and all those big responsibilities yet, and we weren't stressing about it. But it was fun teasing each other, and okay, thinking about it wasn't so bad either.
And in all honesty, having a little baby that looked like Edward wasn't a bad idea. But that would come later. Way, way later.
"I love you, Bella."
"I love you too, Eddie."
He groaned and I high-fived Emmett.
A/N: Yes, this is the end. This story wasn't about a forever type of love...it was about love in general and dating. I took them as far as I wanted them to go. I know this may not read as an epilogue, but just re-read it 2x and you'll see that it is the end. Also, not all epilogues end in marriages and babies. Like a movie, I'll leave it up to your imagination. :)
Thank you for reading!
Thank you to my betas who worked on this: staceygirl (who worked on the first part of the story) and to riss (who helped me finish this) they both helped me a lot with this story, so thank you!
Till next time.