Rating/Warning(s)/Note(s): T, Parkward
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"So, Bella, tell me what you do?" Carlisle asked me as he served himself some of the casserole from the center of the table.
"I edit books," I replied.
"Lots and lots of books," Edward muttered beside me, his eyes wide as he reached for the casserole spoon next, along with my plate to serve me.
"Oh? How many do you normally work on at a time?" Carlisle continued, obviously doing the dad 'get to know the new girlfriend' thing.
"I have over a hundred at the moment," I told him, laughing when his fork stopped halfway to his mouth in surprise. "Twenty are due a week, but I usually get about 25 done so they send me others. I also have a bunch of books they want me to read through to see if they are worth publishing."
"That's a lot of books," Emmett commented and I could see his eyes were showing surprise as well.
"You should see her apartment, it's like a maze," Edward quipped.
"Dude," Emmett said in obvious admiration, presenting his fist for bumping, "already made it in the apartment. Nice." Edward wisely didn't meet him for that, shaking his head. Thankfully Rosalie grabbed Emmett's arm down, telling him it was inappropriate.
"What else do you do?" Alice piped in.
"I walk for exercise," I started, but was interrupted by Alice.
"Oh! There's a wonderful walking park across from Edward's clinic!"
Edward's blush gave him away, causing Rosalie to chuckle. "I think they know that, huh Edward?" she asked while smirking.
"Um, yes, that is where we met," he stammered with a blush that I realized seemed endearing. Still, I wanted to protect him from teasing so decided to throw myself under the bus.
"Met? Gee, I thought I was falling for you," I said with a laugh.
He snorted, "Oh, is that what you're going to tell people?"
My desire to protect him from teasing vanished. "Well, it's better than telling them you were purposefully bending over to show off and that I tripped over the stretching bar."
The table erupted into laughter, with Emmett once again presenting his fist for bumping. This time Edward took him up on it as he looked at me with a smile. "Worked, didn't it?"
"Well, it did end up with me in a rose bush covered in scratches, so I had to pay more attention to you in order to get bandaged up," I chuckled.
"Oh, no, are you all right?" Esme said concernedly, reaching her hand to me in a motherly way.
"I'm fine," I responded, reaching over to take her hand, knowing that was the reaction my mother would expect. "Tanya fixed me up."
"Wow," Emmett interjected, "you're just showing her around to everyone, aren't you?"
"I figured I would have her meet all the crazy people in my life right away so she can decide if she really wants to get to know me," he said as he turned to me, taking my hand.
I couldn't keep the smile from my face as I looked around at his family. "Trust me," I said to him, "you have yet to meet crazy. Maybe tomorrow you can meet my dad."
"I'd like that," he whispered to me and I could feel my awareness of the people around us fading away.
"It's a four hour drive, would you really like to go?"
He shrugged, "I'd get to be with you, so sure."
"He might pull a gun on you, remember."
"I'll take my chances," he whispered as he rubbed over my knuckles with his thumb.
I could hear someone coughing and realized we had leaned in quite close to each other, the same energy we had felt in my apartment was buzzing between us again and so we both sat up straight at the intrusion. Esme turned to Rosalie to ask her how she was feeling, thankfully steering the conversation away from us. Reluctantly pulling my hand from his so I could turn forward again and eat, I learned that in spite of their seeming bickering, they were actually a very close family. It was very much like the family I always dreamed of having, loud, boisterous and loving.
As we walked back to my apartment he asked me when I would like him to pick me up. "So you're going to drive?" I asked.
"I prefer to, if you don't mind."
"Why is that?" I sincerely hoped it wasn't a 'girl's aren't as good of driver's' thing or there would be another fault. It wasn't but I was still surprised by his answer.
"It's a control thing. If I'm driving then I can watch out to make sure you're safe. Also, my car has the highest crash test rating in the industry. I don't want any harm coming to you." He stepped up closer as we reached my door and turned me around to face him. One arm went around my waist while the hand pulled my arm around his. "I feel oddly protective of you already, even if we have just met. Do you mind if I drive?"
As I looked into the deep, and completely sincere, depths of his eyes I could feel myself falling. I had never felt so strongly about a guy when the time I had known him couldn't even be measured in days yet, but merely hours. The strength of my desire had me wanting to just pull him into my apartment so I could have my wicked way with him but the daze I was falling into was broken when he called my name. "Bella? You need to breathe honey."
Taking in a great lungful of air I shook my head to clear the haze. "Sorry. You, driving tomorrow, that's fine." I hazarded to look at him again and was met with a glowing smile.
"Thank you. Since it will take so long should I pick you up early? Say seven in the morning?"
"That would be fine."
"Okay, until tomorrow," he replied as he pulled me tight against his body, enveloping me in his arms. The musky scent of him invaded my senses and instead of forgetting to breathe I had to worry about hyperventilating as I tried to take in deep draughts of him. But then he was letting me go.
He stepped away, holding my hand as he did so and I felt noticeably cooler for the loss of his heat. Giving my hand one last squeeze he stepped down the first step and then let go and turned to walk away. I couldn't help but watch and smiled when he stopped at the bottom of the three steps that led to my front door. "Would you open the door so I can make sure you're in safely?" he asked.
"Oh, yes, sorry," I said, laughing at my own silliness. Despite my trembling fingers I was able to get the door open without any trouble. Looking back at him I returned his small wave and walked into my apartment.
Yep, getting 'meeting the parents' out of the way quickly!
Happy Monday everyone!