A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Chapter 4: Impoliteness and Interruptions
"Alice, are you sure that this small party is going to stay... small?" I asked warily as Alice pulled her bright yellow mini into the stone gravel driveway of Rose and Emmett's new home. They'd been back for two weeks, after having spent their honeymoon in the Bahamas, and I had been surprised when they had offered to host Jake and my engagement party at their house, so soon after moving in.
Alice sighed and rolled her eyes at me as she pulled the car to a stop, "Yes, Bella, it's going to be great. Don't you trust me?"
"With everything... except parties involving me, Al."
"Gee, thanks," Alice said sarcastically, and I stifled a chuckle at her irritated expression. "And you could show a little more excitement, you know," she went on, "What with this being your engagement party and all." I nodded, but didn't say anything.
We were a couple of hours early so nobody had arrived yet, but if I knew Alice at all, then I definitely had the right to be worried. Yes, she was very responsible and could keep a tremendous, what would be chaotic amount of work without her in order, but she was still Alice, and nobody liked planning and hosting a party more than Alice did. I couldn't exactly say that Alice's parties and events didn't turn out fantastically; she just tended to go a bit... overboard at times.
We got out of the car, and began walking up the driveway towards the house. It was two stories and was made up of white board panelling, with grey stones lining bottom. It had a cute, wooden-floored patio at the front that overlooked a small, flowery lawn. Alice and I stepped into the side door, bringing us into the kitchen. It was the perfect mix between modern and cosy with hardwood floors, granite counters and an island in the middle. Although I'd helped, it was Alice who'd really had a ball helping Rose decorate the kitchen, and of course the rest of the house.
Today, the kitchen was busier. I couldn't see Jake or Emmett anywhere, but I spotted my mom, Renee, and my stepdad, Phil, talking to Rose at the back of the room.
Renee and Charlie, my dad, had gotten divorced when I was only two, and my mom and I moved to Phoenix soon after, where she met Phil. They got married when I was four, and what with Phil moving around a lot and fulfilling his baseball career, my mom thought it was better for me to live in Forks with my dad, rather than moving around frequently. When I was nine they settled in Florida, and although I missed her a lot throughout the years, we visited each other back and forth frequently- and anyway, I was happy in Forks.
Well, at least until I reached high school.
"Honey, you're here!" I blinked at the sound of my mom's voice, and looked up to see her hurrying towards me. She looked similar to me, except that her hair was cut short, and she was a bit taller than I was. She had flown in a couple of days ago after insisting that she be here for the 'most exciting and enthralling part of my adult life', as she put it. I would have offered for her and Phil to come and stay at Jake and my place, but we really didn't have any extra space. Hell, even our couch was unavailable- it was filled with Jake's work.
I smiled and hugged her tightly as she came forward, "Hey mom."
"Aren't you so excited for this?" she squealed, and I gave a little nod, because I was still adjusting to my mother's excitement at my engagement to Jake. It wasn't that she didn't like Jake- she adored him- but she tended to be quite judgemental of people getting married, after her first one had failed so quickly.
I quickly greeted Phil and Rose, and then strolled into the elegantly decorated living room to find the boys- and stopped up short, my heart jumping and then sinking.
Oh, I did find Emmett and Jake.
I found Emmett and Jake talking to a man who had his back to me, but just happened to have a unique shade of bronze coloured hair that I'd only seen on one person's head in my entire life.
Jake's chocolate brown eyes slid past this man and he smiled, walking towards me. He was definitely a good looking man, with a tall, muscular build- although not quite as big as Emmett's intimidating bear build-, short but slightly spiky black hair, and a grin that made his super white teeth stand out from his olive toned skin.
"Hey babe," he said as I gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
"Hey," I said, trying to keep the sudden edge out of my voice, "What are you guys in such deep conversation about?" I joked.
"Actually, we were talking about you," he grinned, and I stiffened as the stranger turned around, and his striking green eyes fell on me, confirming my suspicions. "I suppose you've met Edward then, Bells?"
"What are you doing here?" I demanded before I could stop myself. I felt both Jake and Emmett's heads turn to look at me in question, but I kept my eyes glaring at Edward's. I thought I had made it quite clear to him that day in the park that I didn't need his arrogant ass around, and yet here he was.
"Um..." Edward said innocently, "I do believe that I was hired as the photographer-"
I cut him off, "Didn't I make it clear that-" and then I stopped, because nobody else knew that we had met in the park a few days ago. I wasn't quite sure why, but I wanted it to stay that way. And, by the look of a smirk tugging the corners of Edward's mouth, he knew exactly what I was thinking.
I felt Jake's warm hand come down on my shoulder, "Uh... babe, are you feeling okay?"
I didn't reply for a moment, trying to think about what this must look like to everyone else. I sighed before putting on a smile and saying, "I'm fine. Just... surprised." I turned to head back to the kitchen, only to see Alice's tiny figure standing in the doorway, her eyes narrowed at me. Uh oh. I swung around to walk quickly the other way, but a moment later I felt her small hand clutch my arm, and-surprisingly strong for such a small person- drag me to the corner of the room.
"Bella, what is your deal with that man, hm?" Alice demanded as soon as we were out of earshot.
I swallowed. "What? Who?" I asked, trying to play for time.
"You know who!" she snapped, "I really can't understand what you've got against him. First at the wedding, then at Starbucks, and now..."
I sighed, and then gritted my teeth slightly, "I don't know, Alice, I just... don't like him." Well, it wasn't a lie- he was a complete jerk, after all.
The look on Alice's face told me that she still didn't understand at all, and I sighed again before inspiration struck.
"It's like you and Jake!" I exclaimed, "I know you don't like him, but you don't have any proper reason. It's just a feeling."
"That's not true," she argued, "You saw what he was like at that baseball game." I groaned in exasperation. The first time I had introduced Alice and Jake was when we had all gone to watch a baseball game, and in the break halfway, he offered to go get everyone hotdogs, but only came back with two, one which he'd been about to hand to his friend, Paul, when he remembered us. It was honest enough, but Alice just didn't like him.
Alice was saying something. "And anyway," She continued, "Even if the situation was similar, you like Jake, and I don't get in the way of that, even though he's not my favourite person. So, I think Edward's a good guy, why can't you treat it the same way?"
"Um... you're not dating him?" I said, half questioning, and then shock crossed my face, "You're not, are you-"
"No!" Alice said indignantly, and for a moment her lips twitched in amusement before she became serious again, "But... Bella, you can't deny his talent, and he is so charming and polite, as well! Where's the problem?"
"I-" I sighed, "I don't know. I guess I'm just... really tired." Alice studied me for a moment, and then nodded.
"Okay. You should get more sleep, then! And, don't take out your tiredness on him- It's impolite. He's a kind gentleman, Bells." It took everything in me not to snort, and to hold in the pain that threatened to rip out just then. No matter how well I managed to contain it most the time, it still got hard sometimes.
"Okay," I muttered after a moment, and wondered why I felt like a child that was being scolded by its mother, "Sorry."
"It's okay. Now come upstairs and get ready," Alice told me, her expression brightening no doubt at the idea of dressing me up.
The party wasn't quite as small as I'd hoped for, but Alice had definitely stuck closer to my tastes than I had bargained for. The main part of the party took place in the living room, but also led out back to Rose and Emmett's large backyard patio. Their house was spacious enough that people could walk around without feeling suffocated, and enjoy themselves. The food was good, the music was tasteful, and I was feeling quite thankful that Alice and my mom had taken charge of things for this party.
Jake and I had spent some time walking around, saying hello to everybody, accepting congratulations for our engagement and basically mingling, as Rose called it. I almost completely forgot Edward's presence in this party, except for the occasional flash being snapped at one person or another, but I tried not to think too much about it.
At some point everyone gathered round and a few toasts were made, although thankfully were kept short and sweet.
"Oh, Bella!" Alice came up to me as I was talking to my mom, "Why don't you tell everyone how Jake proposed? Don't people love hearing that story?"
I hesitated at the prospect of talking in front of lots of people, "Uh, Alice..."
"Oh yes!" Mom said excitedly, "What a great idea."
I was about to quietly decline and explain why to both my mother and best friend, but it was too late; Mom was gathering people round, and Jake was at my side, smiling at me encouragingly.
The room gradually became quiet, and I found that all eyes were suddenly on me. Naturally, I could feel the heat rush up to colour my cheeks.
I finally found my voice, and began to talk, "Well, uh, Jake proposed a few weeks ago. We went out for dinner one night in Forks, and afterwards we went back to La Push, where he grew up, and we took a walk on the beach, under the moonlight. We-" There were a couple of 'awe's, but that wasn't what stopped me. What stopped me was the undeniable sound of a snort coming from the back of the room, and my gaze followed the direction that everyone else's heads had turned towards, and what do you know, it led to Edward, who was trying to cover up his snort by coughing.
There was a moment of silence, before he gestured to me and said, "Please, carry on."
I gritted my teeth for a moment to calm myself down, and then I continued where I left off, "Yes, so, we walked along the beach for a while, and then Jake told me to carry on walking, but he covered my eyes with his hands. Eventually, he let me open my eyes, and we were still on the beach, but there was a dozen rose petals and scented candles surrounding us-" I stopped briefly again at the sound of a muffled laugh at the back of the room, and tried to send a warning through my eyes to Edward, before carrying on, "and he got down on one knee and proposed."
A series of 'awe's went around the room, this time louder than before , and people clapped when Jake bent down to kiss me. I kept a smile on my face as people began to talk amongst themselves again, but inside I was struggling to mask my irritation with Edward. What was his problem?
A little while later, the party began to wrap itself up, and I became busy with saying goodbye to everyone, thanking them for coming and accepting congratulations again. Once the majority of the guests had left the rest of us started to help clean up. I felt a bit bad for the mess that the party had created in Rose and Emmett's new home, but they didn't seen mind, and were just glad that it had turned out so well.
"Thank you so much, again, for having the party at your house," I said to Rose a little while later as I helped her load some dishes into the dishwasher.
"Bella, stop," Rose told me mock sternly, "It was our pleasure. Emmett and I are just thrilled that you're getting married, too!" I felt a swirl of anticipation and butterflies flutter in my stomach.
"So," I said, changing the subject, "How's married life treating you?"
Rose smiled, "It's great. I can't believe that I'm really Mrs McCarty now! But it's definitely an amazing feeling. We should be getting all the photos of the wedding back, soon, and I can't wait to see how all the photos turn out- from what I hear, though, Edward is a fantastic photographer, Bells, so between him and Alice- and the rest of us- your wedding will be just amazing.
I smiled and nodded, but didn't say anything. I turned around to pick up some plates of the island counter, and jumped slightly when I saw Edward standing in the doorway. Speak of the devil.
"Hi, Mrs. McCarty," he said, glancing at me momentarily, "I just came to say that I'll be leaving now."
"Oh, ok," Rose said, standing up, "Well, thank you for helping to clean up, you didn't have to."
"That's alright," Edward said politely. Rose looked at me expectantly, and I sighed, turning towards Edward.
"Thank you very much, Edward, for helping with the photography. It's very much appreciated," I said, trying not to make my voice sound too strained.
Edward smiled, but I could see the amusement dancing in his eyes, "My pleasure." He walked out of the room, and I hesitated for a few moments, wondering what to do. Rose looked up at me curiously at the same time that I made up my mind.
"I'll be right back," I murmured, "I just need to talk to Edward about something."
"Okay," Rose said, bemused.
I quickly washed my hands and then walked out into the living room, just in time to see Edward closing the front door behind him. I quickly made my way to the front door and let myself out.
"Edward!" I called as I walked down the steps towards his retreating figure. He stopped at the sound of my voice and turned around.
"Yes?" He asked as I got closer.
"Can I just ask what the hell that was earlier?" I demanded. I knew that it had been a while since Edward had liked me, even as a friend, but I wanted to know what the hell his problem was with me that he had to snort and laugh in the middle of my speeches. Hell, if he didn't like me that much, then why had he accepted Alice's offer? Just to bug me? It seemed highly unlikely.
Edward blinked, "What was what?"
"You know what!" I snapped slightly, "When I was telling everyone how Jake proposed."
"Oh. That." Edward frowned slightly and then chuckled, "Sorry, it's just not my thing to gush at the most clichéd stories, Bella."
"There was nothing clichéd about it!" I argued hotly, but inside, I knew that the proposal hadn't been terribly original. Still, it didn't matter, I loved Jake, and that was all that did.
Edward raised his eyebrows, and smiled his signature crooked smile. Despite my annoyance, I felt my heart rate speed up just a bit. "Really, Bella? Roses and scented candles? Getting down on one knee?"
I faltered slightly, and Edward smirked, "I'll see you in a bit." And he began to walk away.
For a moment, I didn't say anything, and then I called after him, "If you hate me so much, then why did you take this job?"
Edward paused, and turned around, "Hate is a strong word. And... I have my reasons, trust me."
Yeah, because trusting you in the past really worked out for me. Not.
"Well if you're so talented," I said sarcastically, remembering our conversation in the park the other day, "Then I'm pretty sure there are other people out there who'd love to hire you."
Edward sighed, "Look, how about we carry on this conversation at Filipino's, yeah?"
I blinked, "What?"
"Yeah Bells," I suddenly heard Emmett's voice behind me, "Didn't Jake tell you? We're all going out for dinner at Filipino's a little later. I thought Edward could join us."
I swallowed, "Oh... no, Jake didn't mention it. But... okay."
Well, this was sure to be an interesting evening.
A/N: Thank you for the reviews on the previous chapter :)
Okay, I know that this chapter was basically just Edward and Bella bantering, and little detail here and there thrown in, but the next chapter should be more interesting :) And, on Edward calling Jake's proposal cliche, it doesn't reflect on my views. It's Edward's views :)
This Thursday I'll be out of the country for a week, so there won't be an update next Sunday/Monday, but I will update as soon as I get back, and then we'll be back to the weekly updates :)
I've noticed that there are quite a few people who add this story to favorites or alerts, and I'm glad that you do, but please also take a moment to review.
One last thing- I'm going to try twitter, so feel free to follow me :) Link is on profile, penname is MissMousie96 :)