Thanks to Twilightzoner for the validation.
Thanks to xrxdanixrx, charmie and milehighhopes for the beta work.
Two chapters in one month! How awesome am I? Thanks to everyone who continues to read and review. Each and every review means the world to me! I hope you all enjoy this chapter!
I don't own Twilight.
Bella spent her morning watching the front of the store while her sisters prepared for a meeting with a client. Bella would have much rather been helping her sisters, but Bree had called in sick that morning, leaving Bella as the only person available to help customers.
And help them she did until about ten when the store went completely dead, leaving her with nothing to do to occupy her time until one when Edward would arrive to take her to lunch. She straightened up and did some sweeping, but that didn't take nearly enough time. After she did all she could do without leaving the register unattended, she took a seat behind the counter and started to think about a conversation she had with her sisters that morning.
Almost immediately after she had the talk with her mother about her father, Bella drove to the bakery to tell her sisters everything that happened. They were both shocked to find out that not only did Renee know what their aunt told Bella, but also that she admitted to everything. All three girls wondered what this meant and if their mother was going to be turning over a new leaf now that the truth had come out.
Shortly after Bella's talk with her sisters, she learned that both of them had gotten calls from their mother who wanted to get together to talk. Rose met with her first and reported that her interaction with Renee had gone much better than she was expecting.
Alice was another story. "She's just acting so weird," Alice said that morning as she poured herself a cup of coffee.
"What do you mean weird?" Rose asked.
"She's being nice. I don't like it," Alice replied.
"What? You've always complained about how she treats us, and now that she's being nice you don't like it? I don't get it, Alice," Rose said.
"Okay, the nice thing would be great, but I don't buy it. She's just magically turned into this happy person? Yeah right. I'm not falling for it."
"Well, I don't think she's magically changed, either," Bella said. "I was talking to her yesterday, and before we got off the phone, she gave me Caius' new phone number."
"So, what's wrong with that?" Alice asked.
"Nothing, except after she did that she told me I should go see him before my hair situation got out of control."
"Hair situation? What is that even supposed to mean?" Rose asked.
"I think it has something to do with those split ends, Bella," Alice answered. "I noticed them, but I kept forgetting to say something to you."
Bella rolled her eyes. "So, you see she hasn't changed completely into this wonderful doting mother. But she is trying, and I guess that's what really matters. I mean, I didn't even have the urge to reach through the phone and strangle her when she made her hair situation comment."
"I guess," Alice said, sighing. "So, I guess I should just suck it up and go out to dinner with her next week."
"I don't see why not," Rose said.
"Yeah, I guess it will be okay, and if it isn't then at least I'll get a free meal out of it.
Bella sighed, checked her watch, and saw that it was almost twelve. She was hungry and bored. She knew the woman who her sisters were meeting with was very anal, but she had hoped that they would be done setting up by now so she could have someone to talk to.
Bella hoped that everything went well with these clients because according to her sisters, they owned a chain of stores in Washington and they promised the bakery more business if things went well with their vow renewal ceremony, which was the next day. Bella crossed her fingers and wished that everything would work out during the meeting today as well as at the ceremony tomorrow.
When she heard her stomach growling, Bella glanced at the clock and saw she still had well over half an hour until she would be eating lunch. She sighed, patted her stomach, and began counting the minutes until Edward would arrive.
When Michael Newton's parents decided to get their wedding vows renewed, Mike didn't think much about it. He had bigger things to worry about. It was April, and he had been in the Matching for almost a year.
It was something he couldn't understand. When his name first went into the Matching, he was sure he would be placed with someone within a week. And it wasn't just any someone he thought he would be put with; he knew he would be with Isabella Swan.
He and Isabella made an almost perfect match. He knew he wanted to be with her when he first saw her sitting by herself at a Sorting ball. She was shy, pretending like she wasn't interested in his advances, but he knew she was meant for him.
When he first met with Eric, his matchmaker, he requested Isabella specifically, and even though he wasn't supposed to, Eric told Mike that he and Isabella were a guaranteed match because their compatibility score was ninety-two percent. When two weeks passed without being matched with Isabella, Mike brushed it off. He knew that good things were worth waiting for. But then a month went by and then another, and he was still waiting.
He spoke with Eric often. He assured Mike that he was working to secure his match with Isabella. Mike, however, couldn't understand what the problem was.
Then one day out of the blue, Eric called him to tell him that Isabella had been removed from the Matching database. Mike was confused and concerned. He knew that Isabella couldn't have been matched with anyone else. Their compatibility score was as close to prefect as you could get.
Mike asked Eric why Isabella had been removed from the database, but Eric wouldn't give him a straight answer. He told Mike to forget about Isabella and to give him names of other women he thought would be a good match. But Mike couldn't forget about her. He thought something must have happened to a member of her family. Or maybe she had gotten sick. He wanted to let her know he was willing to wait for as long as it took for them to be together.
So when his mother was trying to decide where to have her vow renewal cake made, Mike remembered Isabella mentioning Just Desserts and suggested it. His mother agreed.
His plan had been to accompany his mother on a trip to the bakery, but so far every visit she had made had been when Mike was otherwise occupied. This time, however, he made sure to have no plans when his mother went to her final consultation.
As he drove his mother to the bakery, Mike felt good. He was going to see Isabella and inform her of his intentions to wait for her. He couldn't wait to see the look of surprise on her face when he nonchalantly showed up with his mother. Maybe he could even convince her to put herself back in the Matching.
Smiling as he pulled into the parking lot of Just Desserts, Mike knew that it was going to be great day.
Bella's boredom was eliminated when she found a book she had left behind the counter. Normally, she wouldn't read unless someone else was watching the front of the store with her, but she was bored. It had been a slow day, and Edward would be there soon.
After Rose and Alice had finished preparing for their final meeting with their client, they came out to the front of the shop to wait for them to arrive. Bella was completely engrossed in her book, when she heard someone call her name.
"Hi, Isabella." She looked up to see a smiling face looking back at her.
"Um, hi Mike," Bella replied. "Can I help you with something?"
Mike chuckled. "No, I'm here with my mom; she just went back to talk with your sisters. I guess you weren't paying attention. That must be a good book."
Bella blushed and put the book down. "So, um… what's up?"
"Nothing much," he sighed. "How have you been?"
Bella smiled. "I've been good. How about you?"
"I've been well," Mike said, frowning. "I've actually been kind of worried about you."
"Why?" Bella asked, trying not to grimace.
"Well, my matchmaker told me you had been taken out of the matching database." Bella nodded and Mike continued. "And well, I just thought that something had happened to you. I thought maybe you or one of your family members had gotten sick."
"No." Bella shook her head. "I got matched. I've been married for almost six months now."
Mike's mouth dropped open slightly, and he stared at Bella. "You're not serious are you?"
Bella held up her left hand to show Mike her wedding band and engagement ring.
"Oh." Mike swallowed, his face growing pale. "Wow, I was not expecting that. I mean, you and I are supposed to be together."
"Mike, you only think that now because you haven't been matched yet. When you do get matched, you're going to forget all about me."
"No, I don't think so. You and I have a ninety-two percent compatibility score. You don't get much higher than that."
"Wait," Bella exclaimed, her breath hitching in her chest. "How do you know our compatibility score? That's confidential."
"My matchmaker and I are good friends, and he told me the score," he told Bella, waving her off. "But I mean, come on, Bella. Ninety-two percent is as close to perfect as you get. When he told me our score, I knew we would be together—that we should be together."
Bella wanted to tell Mike off. She couldn't believe his nerve. It was almost as if he thought telling Bella their compatibility score would make her want to leave Edward and run off into the sunset with him. She was completely disgusted with Mike's behavior, but she also knew that yelling at him the day before his mother's party with her a few feet away would be bad for business. And a small part of her did feel sorry for him. She couldn't imagine how hard it must've been for someone with his background to be in the Matching for almost a year.
"Look, Mike, I love my husband. We're very happy together. I know you only feel like this because you're frustrated, but you'll find someone soon. The person you're really meant to be with is out there."
Mike opened his mouth to no doubt argue with Bella further, when Rose, Alice, and a woman Bella assumed was Mike's mother appeared.
"Mike, are you ready to go?" his mother asked.
He took one last look at Bella and nodded. "Yeah, I'm ready. It was good to see you again, Isabella."
"You too, Mike," Bella called as he left the store.
A few minutes later, Edward arrived to take Bella to lunch. Almost immediately, he asked her what was wrong, but Bella didn't know how Edward would take the news of Mike's visit, so she told him nothing was wrong and quickly changed the subject.
Edward didn't let the subject stay changed for long. As soon as they sat down in the restaurant, he again asked Bella what was bothering her.
"It's nothing, really. I'm just tried," Bella responded. She picked up her menu and began looking over her choices, even though she always ordered the same thing when they ate here.
"Bella," Edward called. "I know something is wrong. Did you get into another fight with your sisters?"
"No, it's nothing like that. I just had an unexpected visitor at work today."
"Okay," Edward said. "And who was it?"
"Do you remember me telling you about Mike Newton?"
"Yeah, the guy you were almost matched with, right?"
"Yes, well he came into the bakery with his mother today. She's the one who's having the cake made for her vow renewal ceremony."
"And he said something to upset you?" Edward guessed.
Bella sighed and told Edward the whole story. As she told him about her interaction with Mike, his face grew hard, and by the time she was finished letting him know what happened, he was mumbling something under his breath.
"See, this is why I didn't want to tell you," Bella said, pointing to Edward. "I knew you were going to upset and start brooding. Now you're going to be in a bad mood for days."
Edward's face softened immediately. "Baby, I'm sorry. I just can't believe he had the nerve to say all that to you, especially after you told him you were married."
Bella shrugged. "There's nothing we can do about it now. It's over. I'm sure he'll move on as soon as he gets matched with someone."
"Still, I wish I could have been there to give him a piece of my mind. I understand why you couldn't, but him saying all that really pisses me off," Edward said.
"I know," Bella replied. "But can we please let it go now? I don't want him to ruin our lunch."
"You're right. I'm sorry," Edward said. "Let's talk about something else."
Lunch with Edward went a lot better after their talk about Mike. And for the rest of the day, Bella tried not to think too much about Mike's visit. She did things to keep herself busy, like help her sisters get ready for the vow renewal ceremony. She even agreed to go with them to the ceremony the next day to help set up the cake.
That night, as she lay in bed, no matter how hard she tried not to think about him, thoughts of Mike invaded her mind. She felt so glad that she hadn't been matched with him. And it wasn't just because she loved Edward so much. Mike seemed pushy and arrogant, and it really bothered her that he knew their compatibility score. She didn't even know what she and Edward had scored.
These thoughts threatened to keep Bella up all night, but when she felt Edward roll over in his sleep and put his arm around her, thoughts of Michael were soon replaced by sweet dreams of Edward.
"What time are we supposed to have the cake set up?" Bella asked.
"We're supposed to wait for Mrs. Newton to tell us if it passes inspection first," Alice replied rolling her eyes.
"Are you kidding me?" Bella sighed. "What's she going to do if she doesn't like it, have us bake another one on the spot?"
"I wouldn't put it past her," Rose called, appraising the simple three tiered cake once again.
"Thank God, I didn't end up in that family," Bella giggled.
"What a minute," Alice exclaimed. "He's that Mike Newton. The one you were almost matched with?"
"Yep, that's him. I'm so glad Tanya listened to me."
"Me, too. I can't imagine having the Newtons as extended family." Alice cringed.
"Yes, and Bella and Edward are just perfect for each other," Rose said, smiling at her sister.
Bella nodded. "We really are. Especially because…"
"Because what?" Alice asked.
Bella hadn't told her sisters or anyone else about Edward being a Hopeless. She had struggled with whether or not to tell them, mostly because it wasn't her secret to tell. She knew that Rose and Alice would keep the secret, and even though she liked to think they wouldn't consider it a big deal, she wasn't a hundred percent sure of how they would react.
"If I tell you, you have to promise you won't tell anyone," Bella said, taking a seat at a counter.
"We promise," Alice said, sitting beside her sister.
Bella looked to Rose, and when she nodded, Bella continued. "Tanya told me once that Mike was the guy I should be with. It's what the computer kept telling her, anyway. But she kept looking because I told her I did not want to be with him, and that's when she found Edward. But there were some things about him that she thought might be an issue."
"You mean that he went to college and had been in the Matching for two years?" Rose asked.
"Yes," Bella responded. "But that's not all."
She took a deep breath before continuing. "Edward and I had a talk one night. I had to know why he seemed to hate me so much when we first met. But he told me that he didn't hate me. He thought that I didn't like him because I was embarrassed about him."
"Why would he think that?" Rose asked, her brow creased.
"That's what I asked, and he told me it was because he's a Hopeless."
Bella held her breath, waiting to hear her sister's response to her admission.
"Wow," Alice breathed.
"Yeah, and that's why he didn't go through The Preparation. He didn't want to waste all that money when he thought he would never get matched."
"Wow," Alice repeated.
"Wait," Rose said, shaking her head. "How is it that Tanya didn't tell you this before you got matched?"
"I don't know," Bella sighed. "I was kind of upset at first, but I'm sure it had something to do with Mom. And besides, Edward didn't know I was a Romantic either."
"He didn't?" Alice asked. "Wow, this is so weird. Did you ever call Tanya to ask her why she didn't tell you before you signed the contract?"
"No. I thought about it, but I don't care. I'm happy and in love, and that's all that matters to me."
"Well, I think we can all agree to keep this from Renee, at least for the time being," Rose said, standing up.
"You're not upset?" Bella asked, still worried about what her sisters thought.
"If I was, would that change how you feel about Edward?" Rose asked.
"No," Bella replied, shaking her head.
"Exactly, and like you said, you're happy and in love, and that's all that matters to me."
"Me, too, Button," Alice said, wrapping her arms around her sister.
Bella hugged Alice back, glad that she had finally told her sisters the truth and thankful that they didn't care.
When Mike had gone to say hello to Bella before the reception, he had no idea he was going to overhear the conversation he did. But when he heard Bella talking about him, he couldn't help but listen.
He was angry that she told her matchmaker not to put him with her. Who was she to decide who ended up with whom? She wasn't a matchmaker. If the computer said Mike and Bella were supposed to be together, then that's what should have happened.
But his thinking changed once Bella started talking about her husband, Edward. Mike was no longer angry with Bella. He now felt bad for her. She didn't know that her husband was a Hopeless before they got married. That was unacceptable.
It didn't matter to him that Bella claimed to be happy with her husband. It didn't matter that she was convinced she belonged with him. It didn't matter that she thought she didn't want to be with Mike. What did matter was the ninety-two percent compatibility rating they shared. Mike didn't even care that she was a Romantic. It was something he could overlook. He knew from the first moment he laid eyes on her that they should be together.
He knew what he had to do. First thing in the morning, Mike was going to make a phone call. He was going to get Bella out of the horrible situation she was currently in. She would be upset at first, but he would be there soon to comfort her.
A couple of days later, Bella was trying to teach Edward how to mess with Emmett while playing Uno.
"Okay, so basically, all you have to do is cough a lot. Or say a bunch of weird stuff that doesn't make any sense."
"Like what?" Edward asked.
"Oh I don't know. Sometimes I use quotes from my favorite movies. For example, I'll say something like, 'The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.'" Bella started laughing, but Edward didn't look amused.
"Why are we doing this again?" he asked.
"Because it's hilarious, just wait until tomorrow. He's going to lose it. Rose and I do this kind of stuff every time we play, and when he figures out you're in on it too, he's going to go crazy. Don't worry, if he gets really upset, I'll protect you," Bella added when she noticed the nervous look on Edward's face.
"You'll protect me? That's sweet, but I don't think that's going to be necessary."
"Then why do you look so nervous?"
"I guess I just want your family to like me, and I think everyone does except for Emmett," he responded.
"He likes you," Bella answered. "He was sort of distant with Jasper in the beginning, too. He takes the brother-in-law thing really seriously, so he thinks he has to protect us, but it won't last forever. He and Jasper are best friends now."
Edward nodded but didn't look convinced. Bella felt bad. She knew Edward probably didn't believe her, but it was true. There was a time not so long ago that Jasper and Emmett hardly spoke. She knew there was one thing she could tell him that would possibly make him feel better but she was sworn to secrecy.
"All right," she began. "If I tell you something about Jasper and Emmett, do you promise not to tell anyone?"
"Yeah, I promise," Edward said.
Bella sighed. "Right after Jasper and Alice got engaged, Emmett asked Jasper to take a drive with him. Jasper was really excited because he didn't think Emmett liked him, and he wanted to get on his good side. So they drove around for a while and eventually, Emmett pulled the car over and suggested they get out. That's when Emmett told Jasper that he didn't want to have to come back out there since it was such a long drive but that this is where he would dump the body. Jasper asked him what he was talking about, and Emmett said that if Jasper hurt Alice, he would kill him and dump his body out in the woods."
Edward's mouth was hanging open slightly when Bella finished her story.
"He didn't really mean it," Bella said quickly, realizing that this might not be the best story to put his mind at ease. "Emmett is a sweetheart. He couldn't hurt a fly. But you really can't say anything. Rose doesn't know and she would kill him."
"I don't believe it," Edward said.
"Oh, believe it. Rose is the one you should be nervous around—she's not afraid to fight and she fights dirty."
"No, not that, I can't believe Emmett. What he did to me was ten times worse."
Bella frowned. She knew that Emmett was likely to do something similar to Edward before they got married, but she couldn't remember a single instance when they were alone for any significant amount of time. "What did he do to you?" she asked.
"He took me to his car, opened the trunk, and inside there was rope, some tarp and a baseball bat. He told me that if I did anything to hurt you that I would get more acquainted with the items in the trunk."
"When did he do this?" Bella asked.
"At the wedding," Edward responded. "When he got Jasper to distract you, do you remember?"
Bella nodded. She was not happy. Emmett had promised not to do anything like this again; that was the only reason Alice promised not to say anything to Rose. Now that he had broken that deal, Bella couldn't wait to tell her sister what her husband had been up to. "He's going to be in so much trouble," Bella said.
"Why? What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to tell Rose what he's been doing. And she's going to kill him."
"Bella, you said yourself he was just joking. You don't need to get him in trouble because of me."
Bella rolled her eyes. "Fine, you're the one he threatened. If you don't want me to say anything, I won't. But I'm going to mess with him so bad tonight he's not going to know what hit him."
Edward laughed and shook his head. "I wish you could see your face right now. You're so cute when you're angry."
Just then, the phone started to ring and Bella went to answer it.
"Hello," she said.
"Hello, Bella, its Tanya."
"Hey, how are you?" Bella asked. She couldn't help but notice Tanya didn't sound like her normal cheerful self.
"I've been better. Bella, I have some bad news."
"Oh, okay. What is it?"
"Bella, I'm just going to be blunt here because this is a serious situation."
"All right," Bella responded. Now she definitely knew something was wrong. Not only was the tone of Tanya's voice off, but she was also calling about a serious situation. A serious situation she needed to be blunt about.
"Bella, you're aware that Edward is a Hopeless, correct?"
"Yes, I'm aware of that," she answered glancing at Edward. He raised a questioning eyebrow at her and Bella shrugged.
Tanya sighed. "I guess I'm glad you know. That makes things easier and harder."
"Tanya, what are you talking about?" Bella asked, a trace of the worry she felt working its way into her voice.
"Well, it makes it easier because I didn't want to be the one to tell you. But it make this harder because it's my fault, and I'm so very sorry, Bella."
"Wait, what's your fault?"
Tanya sighed again. There was a long pause before she continued speaking. "Someone reported to my boss that you weren't aware that Edward was a Hopeless when you were matched."
"Well, what does that mean?" Bella asked.
"It means there is going to be a hearing to determine whether you and Edward can stay together. If after the hearing it's decided that you two aren't a good match, then your marriage will be annulled and you'll be forced to separate."
Bella felt like someone had punched her in the stomach. All the air rushed out of her lungs. Tears started to work their way down her cheeks. Her legs felt like jelly and couldn't keep her standing, so she took a hard seat on the ground.
Edward was by her side in second. He took the phone from her and spoke with Tanya. Bella couldn't hear what he was saying to her-all she could hear was the sound of her crying. After a moment, Edward put the phone down and pulled Bella into his arms. He rocked her back and forth on the floor, telling things she was sure were supposed to sooth her.
When her tears finally quieted, Edward took her face in his hands and told her, his voice strained, "We'll figure this out, okay? I'm not going to lose you."
Bella nodded. She wasn't going to lose him, either.
So, I'm dying to know what everyone thinks! Pretty please let me know. I'd love to hear theories about what you all think is going to happen.
I'm halfway done with the next chapter and it should be up soon.
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!