This is just a little something I thought up and wanted to share with all of you. Thanks again to everyone who read this and stuck around to see what other shenanigans I could get these two into.
I saw Edward's fingers drumming repetitively on the armrest of his seat, the sound growing from a quiet tapping to a drum pounding in my ears. Reaching over, I stilled his hand, shooting him a look.
He sighed. "Sorry," he muttered, though he probably wasn't sorry.
To say things had been tense lately was an understatement, but I thought it would all be worth it in the end.
After landing, we walked through the terminal, hands clasped—though it didn't feel romantic, but more of a safety precaution. Edward's eyes were darting this way and that, nervousness evident on his face.
Somehow in the eight years of knowing one another—three of which now we'd been married—he hadn't been to L.A. before.
Due to my stepping out of the spotlight shortly before our wedding, there weren't any paparazzi at the airport to harass us. One woman asked for an autograph by the luggage carousel, but she was kind and polite and left us alone immediately after. No one else standing nearby gave me a second look. LAX was notorious for celebrities walking through, and my life was now quite boring in comparison to most.
Sunglasses were perched on my nose, just in case, but they weren't necessary. As we stood outside, waiting for a taxi, I saw how Edward's shoulders were finally starting to lose some of the tension that had set in. His flannel shirt stood out amongst the crowd as it wasn't the hipster kind of flannel that went out of style two years ago, but actually thick, woven material suitable for hard labor in the fields.
His height afforded him a clear view of all the queuing cabs and he nabbed one for us easily. I put my sunglasses away; it was an uncharacteristically cloudy L.A. day.
A thirty-minute drive had us pulling up to a charming little bungalow we were renting out for the next year. Now that my pilot had been picked up and a full season of episodes ordered, I knew we'd be shooting for at least the next several months. If we were renewed for a second season, Edward and I could look into something a little more permanent.
I knew he wasn't that excited about moving to L.A. in the first place. He left his parents, his farm, his entire life behind, but a small, resentful part of me thought it was his turn to sacrifice. I'd given him four years of Montana life; he could buck up and give me a few in California.
The house was furnished, nothing too kitschy or personalized. The couches were comfy, the walls neutral, and the kitchen fully loaded. I took a deep breath as we stepped through the French doors leading to our patio and small yard. Edward insisted that he would take care of the upkeep, practically forbidding me from hiring any landscapers, so I acquiesced. I needed to pick my battles carefully with this move, at least until Edward grew more comfortable here.
I watched him pace the area of the yard, a look on his face I wasn't that familiar with. Giving him a little time, I just leaned against the doorway, waiting.
With another sigh, he looked up at me, a tiny smile on his face.
"I have to admit . . ." he began. Giving the house another perusal, he looked back at me. "It's pretty nice."
A grin broke out on my face and I stepped closer to him, threading my fingers behind his neck and pulling him to me for a quick kiss.
"I thought you might like it," I told him. We went back inside, unpacking our clothes and the few other belongings we'd brought with us, getting everything looking a little homier.
I thought being here would be really good for us.
Stumbling into our bedroom, I barely made it to the bed before collapsing. I jarred Edward, waking him, and he pushed himself up and glanced at the clock.
Sinking back into the bed, he stretched an arm out to me, pulling me back into his chest.
"That's the fourth night this week," he said.
"I know, but they've had a hard time getting some exteriors," I explained, pausing to yawn. "They promised a three-day weekend, though."
Edward grunted, sounding unconvinced.
"I'm sorry," I told him, my eyes closed and my brain already slipping into that weird in between where my thoughts were jumbled and strange and dreamlike.
Edward was getting stir crazy. He had a car but didn't feel comfortable driving around L.A., let alone going out by himself. He needed a friend. I was shooting up to fifty or sixty hours a week, leaving little time for me to take him out. Anytime I had time off, I just wanted to lie around the house and relax.
That day at work, I asked one of my costars if she and her boyfriend would like to come to our house for dinner over the weekend. I'd heard Rina mention her boyfriend, Liam, several times and he seemed like the kind of guy Edward would get along with. Liam grew up in the northwest, in a rural area, and wasn't into any of the glitz and glamour of L.A. He and Edward could at least commiserate.
Rina accepted immediately, though she acted a bit surprised to be invited over. Plan "Get Edward a Friend" was being put into action.
I hurried to set out all the dishes on the patio table, Rina assisting me, as I glanced over at Edward and Liam staring at one of the trees in our backyard.
Perhaps it was a man thing, but the two of them hadn't stopped examining the backyard or the house since Liam and Rina arrived.
First Liam commented on the bungalow-style house. He and Edward had a short conversation about architecture. Then talk moved to our street and the construction of it. After discussing the support beams and archways inside, they moved outside, walking from plant to tree to bush and back. Talks of tools and fertilizer and the like ensued. They were bonding, that was for sure, though it was a very nomadic way to go about it, and both had already gone through two beers a piece during their inspection.
Rina caught my eye and we both stifled giggles. I called the boys to the table and as we all dug in, I heard Liam inviting Edward out to a sports bar to watch "the game." I didn't know which sport or team he was referring to, but Edward's eyes lit up and he accepted after giving me a look that seemed to be asking for permission.
The night ended with Liam and Edward exchanging numbers and promises to text.
Over the next several weeks, I heard Liam's name mentioned more and more from Edward. He seemed much happier when I came home from work, having actually gotten out and interacted with people, and he was slowly learning his way around town, or at least to his favorite new haunts.
Saturday morning, I crawled out of bed and started the coffee. When I came back to our room, I noticed Edward's feet hanging out from the comforter and went over to try to tickle him awake.
At first everything seemed normal, but when I went to playfully squeeze Edward's big toe, I realized something was missing.
I'd been married to him for almost four years—I knew the man's feet, and I knew he'd never done anything more than trim his toenails to take care of them. The calluses that were usually quite noticeable were gone, only smooth skin left in their place. His nails were all neatly groomed, perfectly straight, and while they weren't painted, there was certainly a sheen to them that hadn't been there before.
I didn't want to accuse him of anything, so after he woke up and we sat sipping our coffee on the patio, I decided a little detective work was in order.
"So . . . you hang out with Liam yesterday?" I asked, innocent as ever. Edward nodded. "What'd you do?"
"Had lunch. Drank a few beers. Nothing much."
"Is that all?"
Edward turned his head to look at me, his eyes narrowed slightly. We stared at each other, neither backing down, neither even blinking. The dog next door barked, startling us both, and I finally broke the stare down.
It was quiet for a moment, tense between us.
"What do you know?" he asked, his voice low.
"I might know some things," I said, giving his bare feet a pointed glance.
With a clatter, he sat his coffee mug down on the glass table and threw his hands in the air.
"Okay! I got a pedicure! You caught me," he said, his voice quite defensive.
I stared for a moment before smiling, a laugh ready to burst forth but I tried to hold it in.
"It wasn't the first time, either," he continued, his voice rising in indignation. "Liam took me a few weeks ago, and I liked it. So I've gone back every week. And I'm going to keep going back, and you can't stop me!"
His outburst was unexpected, and uncharacteristic, but I was just delighted he had actually found something he liked.
I moved over to where he sat and kneeled in front of him, trying to get him to look me in the eye.
"Edward, it's okay. I'm glad that you've got, you know, your own thing. It's okay to like to do that kind of stuff," I told him.
"I like it here," he admitted, his voice small and reluctant. "I like the restaurants, I like the houses, I like the weather—it's November and it's not even cold! I'm happy and you're happy and I'm just a little disappointed that we couldn't be this happy in Montana. I don't even know why."
"Well, Montana is home. And I'm sure you thought you'd hate it here and we'd be packing up in a year and going back. But maybe . . ."
"Maybe we should think about this being home. At least for a little while. Or we could have two homes. Who says there are rules to this?"
"You're right. I know you're right. Let's just take it a year at a time, and we'll see what we want to do."
"Agreed." I shifted back into my seat and looked out at the backyard. "I love this house, but we might need to consider getting something bigger."
"Hmm," he replied. "Why's that? This seems perfect."
"It is for now, but soon it'll be too small."
He turned and looked at me.
"Because I'm pregnant."