A/N: Thanks so much for reviews and such. I cherish them all. As usual, I am sorry that this is late. School stinks. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on the other hand? Absolutely amazing! But enough of that. This is a little short or it seems that way to me, but whatever. I want you to read, review, and most importantly, enjoy… :)
Disclaimer: Twilight is not mine. The Mojo mug is.
Chapter 10: Hometown Blues
"Don't really matter if she don't or if she do,
Just tryin' to make the best of the hometown blues…"
Hometown Blues by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Since Edward was not in much of a mood to stay in L.A. for a long period of time, everyone thought that it would be a good idea to go back home as soon as possible. The only person who didn't want to go home was Lily, of course.
"But Mommy," she whined. "I wanna stay here."
"I'm sure you do," I said. "But we can't stay here. We have to go home some time."
"But I don't wanna," she griped. She also stomped her foot in an effort to make her point.
Indeed, her point was heard but I was not going to be shaken. I was going to stand my ground. "Well, I don't really care if you want to or not. It makes no difference. We're leaving tomorrow morning and that is final."
She grumbled, "Fine."
Later, with all our bags packed, ready for the next day, I was sitting, watching T.V. Unbeknownst to me, Edward was right behind me.
"Bella," he said in his velvet voice.
I jumped upon hearing him and then turned around, regaining my composure. "Yeah?"
"There's something I want to show you before we leave," he answered. He took my hand and pulled me up from the couch. "Come on." He nodded toward the door.
Of course, I followed him. I'd probably follow him no matter where he was going. "All right," I said. "I'm coming."
He was basically dragging me out the door.
"I'm shocked you don't have me by the hair," I commented. He didn't say anything. "You know, like a Neanderthal. Or maybe a caveman."
Edward glanced over at me. "I know what you mean. It's just that you're wrong."
I rolled my eyes and scoffed lightly. "Right. 'Cause this is so different than that." I quickly changed the subject. "So…where are you taking me exactly?"
Smiling, he said, "You'll see soon. There are a couple things I want you to see actually. When we get there, I'll tell you."
"I hate secrets and surprises and you know that," I accused.
"And if it's a good surprise?"
"There are none," I answered with a cold glare.
Edward instantly stopped. "Oh, come on!" he said. "You don't have to pretend that you hate surprises. You're allowed to like them. It's not against the law or anything like that. Jeez."
He sounded exasperated and I had to admit that I couldn't blame him. I probably was being annoying. I tugged on his hand a little. "Are you going to show me my surprise?"
It was his turn to glare. "No."
"Please?" I said, hoping I could get him to say yes. "I really want to see it. Honest."
Sighing begrudgingly, he looked at me for a moment. "Fine," he groaned and began walking again. "You know," he said once we were moving. "One of these days, you'll be the death of me." His tone suggested seriousness but his face showed that he was being playful.
"Are we adding a new thing to your résumé? Edward Cullen, the one who sees the future?"
His good mood still intact, he laughed. "No, I think I'll just stick with my day job."
"All right, now I want to stop talking about jobs because it's reminding me that in two days, I'm going to have to go back to one," I replied. "Not fun at all."
"Oh, come on," Edward said, putting an arm around my shoulder. "It can't be that bad. When I went in to talk to them, they all seemed very friendly."
"Just trust me on this one, Cullen." I leaned into his embrace and continued. "It's awful. My boss—have I ever told you about Mike?" After a shake of the head from Edward, I went on again. "Well, he's not a bad guy. but I'm sure every girl says this about her boss and it's probably always true, but he constantly flirts. And it's not a secret either. But he only does it with me."
"Okay, okay," said Edward. "Maybe work does suck. But here's what you can do. Anytime this Mike is bugging you, all you gotta do is call—"
"You?" I guessed.
"Emmett," he finished his previous sentence. "He's way bigger than me and much better in a fight."
"Right," I said. "'Cause I'm totally going to call Emmett and tell him to beat up my boss."
"If I'm not mistaken, there's some sarcasm in your tone, Ms. Swan, and I personally do not appreciate it."
"Well, too bad," I said with a chuckle.
At first, he laughed with me, but then he got all thoughtful again. "Hey, Bella, you want to do me a favor?" He didn't actually wait for an answer. Instead, he proceeded to speak. "Why don't you close your eyes for me?"
To say the least, I was confused. "Um…why?" I asked. What he was saying didn't make much sense.
"It's your surprise," he responded simply. "You can't see it right now so I need you to be a good girl and close your eyes and keep 'em closed."
"And if I don't want to?" I wondered.
He unlatched himself from me and stood behind me. "Then I'll make sure your eyes are closed." The next thing I knew, Edward's hands were covering my eyes and everything went black.
"Oh, my God," I said in horror. "Edward? I think I'm blind."
"Shut up" was all he said back.
We were silent for a long time and I felt the ground beneath me become a little different. "Is…is that sand?" I asked.
"Why are we in sand?" was the next thing I asked but Edward said nothing. He did, however, take his hands off of my face, allowing me to take in the view.
In front of me was the beautiful beach of Malibu. But that wasn't even half of it.
Off in the distance, but not too far away, I saw a guitar. I turned around to face Edward. "Is that for me?" I asked
"No, it's for the crazy beach monster," Edward said, using the sarcasm that he chastised earlier. "Of course, it's for you. Who else would I be giving a guitar to?"
"But why?" I felt like I had asked that question a hundred thousand times in the last five minutes but it was because I was clueless. I was becoming more and more baffled by the man who stood by me.
"Well, you were saying that you had to sell your other guitar because…well, you know. So I figured I'd get you one so you could start playing again," he explained. "You want to go see it?"
"Yeah!" This made me even more excited than going to the premiere. This was much more personal. I pretty much ran toward the guitar.
Once I was right in front of it, I could only stare at it. "This is a Jaguar," I stated when Edward walked up beside me.
"1962," he said back to me. "The first year they were made."
I just looked up at him and smiled. Finally, words were beginning to form. "It's…it's beautiful," I told him, bending down to pick it up. It was in my hands and the whole moment was surreal. "Thank you so much." I quietly wrapped my arms around his waist.
He hugged me back, seeming only a little surprised by my reaction. "You're welcome," he said softly. "I'm glad you like it."
I pulled away from him. "It's the best present anyone has ever given me," I told him. "And it's not even Christmas or my birthday."
"No," said Edward slowly. "But it doesn't have to be. I just wanted to see you smile like that." He gazed down at me for a moment. "And it was completely worth it."
The words left his mouth and I could not control myself. I pulled his head down to mine and kissed him, passion flowing more freely than I ever could have imagined. He seemed taken aback by my actions but kissed me back willingly.
When we broke apart, Edward was grinning like a madman. "I didn't know you would receive a gift so well. Maybe I should buy you things more often."
I shook my head. "No, probably not. You might not get away with it so easily. Today, you just caught me off guard. That's not very hard to do."
Edward just continued to smile. "Well, I look forward to it."
Back in Forks was hard on all of us. If all of us didn't include Edward, that is. He couldn't be any happier to be back in the dreary place we lived in. Lily, on the other hand, as expected, was not so welcoming of home life.
"I hate it here," she grumbled to me before I went to work a couple days after we got home.
"No, you do not," I said back, a smile tugging at my lips. "Alice is here and Jasper and Edward."
"They could all be in movie land," she continued with a pout.
She was sitting on the couch, her feet dangling. I made my way over to her and took a seat next to her. Putting an arm lightly around her, I sighed as she shied away from me. "Lil, what do you want from me?"
"I wanna go back to movie land."
I suppressed yet another sigh. "Honey, we can't just go back. We have a life here."
Lily simply hopped off of the couch and wandered off into her room.
A few minutes later, and not a moment too soon, Alice was knocking at my door, Jasper in toe. "Hi!" she said, all bubbly when I greeted her at the door.
"Hello, Alice," I replied. "Jasper," I said, nodding at him.
"Bella, pleasure seein' you again."
I opened the door wider, allowing them entry. "Thank you so much again for watching Lily today."
Alice waved her hand. "How many times must I tell you that it is no big deal? I love hanging with her."
"You won't after today," I muttered mostly to myself.
"What was that?" asked Alice.
"It's nothing," I said. "It's just…She never stops talking about L.A. and I can't take it anymore. She's on my last nerve. And I'm sure that that's the worst thing a mother can say…But she's so hard to deal with right now."
"What's so funny?" I wondered.
"It's the terrible twos. Very common."
Alice shook her head. "No, Jazz, you don't understand. Lily's the most perfect kid in the world. She would never let the 'terrible twos' get to her. I don't think that's right."
Jasper just shrugged.
I wasn't so quick to let his thoughts go away. "I think it's a combination off Jasper's idea and the fact that we spent a couple fantastic days in a much nicer city than here. I'm sure it's difficult."
"Don't worry, Bella," Alice said. "You're a good mom. You'll figure out what to do."
"A good mom," Jasper started, "who needs to get to work soon. You can trust me, Bella, to help take good care of your daughter." After he spoke, he jokingly winked at me.
"Well, someone obviously wants me out of my own home," I said, going toward the door again, this time to leave. "I'll see you guys later, okay?"
They both, now heading into the kitchen, waved and shouted a good-bye.
I got into my truck, something that was getting less and less trustworthy as the days went by. Flipping the dial on the radio, I scanned for something remotely decent. "Nothing," I said to myself with a sigh.
A little while later, completely bored, I pulled into my usual parking place at work. It was my first official day back and to say the least, I wasn't looking forward to it.
What made things worse: I almost rammed my door into my boss.
"Oh, my gosh!" I said. "Mike, are you all right? I didn't hit you, did I?" I got over to him. He didn't appear to be hurt or anything—I didn't think I hit him anyway.
"No, no, Bella. I'm fine," he assured me. "Didn't touch me."
I still proceeded to freak out. "Are you sure? I mean, I came pretty close." I didn't give him a chance to respond. "I'm so, so sorry, by the way. I didn't intentionally do that, you know that, right?"
Mike chuckled. "Yes, I'd like to think that you did not mean to hit me with your door. At least, I hope you wouldn't actually do that."
We shared a chuckle. I wasn't sure if this was Mike's new attempt to flirt with me or what was going on. "Yeah," I said, sarcasm sneaking into my tone. "That's the only thought that ever goes through my mind. 'How shall I try to kill Mike today?'"
"I'm watching you, Swan," he replied, shaking his head. Then, he noticed the bag that I was hauling out of my car for work. "Here, I'll take that," he offered.
"No, Mike, it's fine," I told him. "If anything, I should be carrying your stuff."
"That's true," said Mike, "but I'm going to take your bag whether I should or not." With that, he took my bag out of my hand and began walking toward the building.
I followed behind him, pondering over his motives. I decided to just go with the flow for the time being, not wanting to really think about what was going on in Mike's mind. I tried to clear my head.
When we got into our workplace, Mike set my bag down on the floor by my desk. "There you go," he said.
"Thanks" was the only response I could conjure up. "Although I told you already you didn't have to do that…" It seemed like everyone was doing things for me without me telling them to. If only Lily could be like that…
"It was no problem." He shrugged.
I was getting ready to sit down when Mike began to speak again.
"Bella," he said, slow and unsure.
Oh, no…Here we go, I thought to myself. But as pleasantly as I could muster, I said, "Yes, Mike?"
He was beginning to shift uncomfortably. "Well, I was just wondering if…if you would, you know, maybe go on a date with me?"
Now, it was my turn to get uncomfortable. "Mike…" I started. "I don't think that's such a good idea."
Mike chuckled but it wasn't a real laugh. It seemed quite forced. "Oh, yeah. I completely get it. I mean, you are with Cullen after all."
"What?" I asked, wanting to make sure I heard correctly.
His voice had a hint of hostility in it when he said, "Well, we all know that you're with him. You're not supposed to date clients, Bella."
"Um…all right, Mike."
"No, Bella, I'm serious." If I was going by his eyes, I wouldn't doubt him. He continued. "You can't do that. That's grounds for getting fired. Or dropping a client."
I stared at him. Gaped was more like that. The only thing that would come out of my mouth was, yet again, "What?"
Mike stared right back. "It would be bad for business, Bella—you dating Edward Cullen. There are, I guess, three options. The first is that you break up with him. You keep your job, we keep our client. The second is that we tell Cullen that we can't be his agents. Then there's the third—and I'm sure you do not want this one—is that you get fired."
I didn't say a word. I just sat down at my desk and attended to my work, like I would do on any other day.
Mike stayed by my desk for a couple more minutes, but then he left, walking into his office.
I was uneasy for the rest of the day, mulling over what had been said. I didn't want to lose my job but I most certainly didn't want to lose Edward either. I couldn't place the emotions going through me. I hadn't been in a real relationship since James, but I knew for a fact that if I had to leave him in order to keep my job, then James wouldn't matter anymore.
So why wasn't it the same for Edward?
I didn't want him out of my life. I could barely remember what it was like without him. Everything was a blur. It was like there was only one stage in my life—the part with Edward—and the time before ceased to exist. Then the fact dawned on me.
I was in love with him…
It was now painfully clear. But I knew I couldn't just come out and say it. I didn't know how he felt—really felt—about me.
The rest of my day at work went slowly. Finally, when I knew it was time to leave, I rushed out of the building, ignoring Victoria, whose glares were like daggers through the back of my head.
I hopped in my truck and went back to my apartment as quickly as I could manage, which was not very fast, all things considered.
When I got home, I rushed into my door and saw Alice sitting on the couch, Lily on her lap and Jasper right beside her.
"Alice," I said and my words started coming out in a hurry. "I need to talk to you alone for a bit."
Noticing the urgency in my tone, Alice lifted Lily up and set her on Jasper. "Watch her for a minute, will you, Jazz?" She didn't let him answer. She just followed me into my bedroom. "So what's going on?" she wondered after a couple minutes.
I let it all spill out. "Mike said I have to break up with Edward."
"What?" she said, unknowingly mimicking my exact words.
"If I don't, I lose my job."
Alice looked at me, a grave expression on her face. "Bella, please, please, please, tell me that you are kidding me right now. Because there is no way that this is right."
"I'm not joking," I told her.
She tapped her foot on the carpet. "Then you must have been misinformed or gotten the info mixed up or something."
"Alice, my hearing is good. I heard Mike perfectly clear." I toppled onto my bed, falling amongst the pillows. "I don't know what to do," I whined. Then I realized that I had to tell her the other thing. "And Ali? I think I love Edward."
Alice lied down next to me and patted my head, like I was a child. "It's going to be all right, Bella. We'll think of something."
We were like that for a while in silence, neither one of us saying a word. Eventually, however, Alice began to speak.
"I got it!" she exclaimed. "I know what you can do."
"Okay," I said, both relieved by and wary of her excitement. It was hard to tell which way Alice could go.
"All right," she said, collecting her thoughts. "Well, first of all, you're going to have to tell Edward about this. He's going to have to know what's going on. About work, I mean."
"Right," I agreed instantly. There was no way I wasn't telling him. About the love situation, on the other hand? That could wait.
"Just making sure we're on the same page here," stated Alice. "Okay, so here's what you should do. Pretend that you did break up but secretly stay together. You get to keep your job and you don't have to dump Edward. Simple."
"But how are we going to make that believable? What if he has to come into the agency?"
"Bella," Alice sighed. "I told you to pretend. Just act like you are completely appalled that Edward is there and make believe that you don't want him anywhere near you."
I exhaled slowly. "All right, Alice. I'll tell Edward about it and we'll see what we can do."
In response, Alice squealed and hugged me. "Oh, Bella, I love it when you take my advice." She hopped up from the bed and went to my door. Just when she was about to make her exit, she stopped. "And one more thing," she said, turning to me.
I waited patiently for her next words.
"You might want to take an acting class," she advised. "You're possibly the worst pretender on the face of this earth."
And with that, she was out of sight, probably back in the living room.
This was going to be hell…
Once again, I am so, so, so sorry! This should not have taken this long but everything has been kind of weird lately. I'm realizing things that I should have known all along and it's all just been messed up. I would also like to apologize in advance because more likely than not, the next chapter won't be up for a while either but here's why: I am going to get started on numerous future chapters so I can post them more regularly. Hopefully, though, that will happen very quickly. On another note, the link to Edward's gift to Bella will be going up on my profile shortly so be sure to check that out.
Until then, why don't you leave me a review to tell me how much you hate me for making you wait forever? :)