Life is What Happens
a/n: I am incredibly grateful to all you readers who take the time to read and review this story. You make my day, week, month and year. :)
Hugs and kisses to Jade GreenEyes, LasVegas TowGirls and KikiTheDreamer for so kindly pre-reading and listening to me obsess over plot points. (LasVegas and Kiki write too – go check them out!)
Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns the Twilight Saga – I am playing with her characters.
Chapter Eight: Born-Again Teenager
I got up Monday morning and showered and dressed. I got my girls up as usual, fed them breakfast, made their lunches, got them dressed and walked them to school. It was a usual weekday morning. But it wasn't. Everything seemed different.
I avoided making any real talk with Rose as I directed Grace to her classroom. Rather I waved, smiled, pointed to my watch with a shrug and bolted. I even skipped going to the gym after I dropped the girls off. I really wasn't ready to compare notes with Lauren regarding our weekend activities. Truth be told, I was freaking the fuck out.
He kissed me. Edward Cullen kissed me. Fuck, I was giddy and gushing and I don't know what the hell else I was feeling. My mind and thoughts and feelings were all in overdrive and scrambled to complete incoherency. He left me Sunday night with the taste of him on my mouth, the feel of his hands impressed on my skin and I wanted more, so very much more.
As I walked around the block I veered across the road away from my home and straight to Angela's front door. Angela opened the door just as I raised my hand to knock.
"Hey, Lady," Angela said with a grin, holding the door wide and stepping aside.
"Hi," I responded, walking through the door.
"Coffee?" she asked.
"Please," I answered, following her to the kitchen.
We sat down, coffee mugs in hand, at Angela's round oak kitchen table. We both sipped silently. I perused her artfully arranged collection of family photographs on the wall.
"So you had company last night?" asked Angela, smiling into her mug.
"You are ten cat's away from turning into old lady Lincoln if you if you are already peering at your neighbours through your drapes," I deflected, but my humour fell flat. Angela leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms, and raised one eyebrow.
"I don't think I'm the one in danger of growing old and collecting cats," She said pointedly. I rolled my eyes.
"Where's Ben?" I asked, wanting but not wanting to talk about what I really, really wanted to talk about.
"Where he usually is, in his office, downstairs," answered Angela, without elaboration. Obviously, she was willing to wait me out.
I tapped my fingers against my coffee mug, turned it clockwise then counter-clockwise. "He kissed me," I breathed out the words quietly.
"I know, Jasper said it looked pretty hot," Angela said with a chuckle.
"I mean, he kissed me again, last night. We may have made out a little. I'm going to hell," I groaned, hiding my face into the palms of my hands and resting my elbows on the table.
Angela laughed, "This is bad why? I thought you liked him?"
"Oh, God, totally smitten and crushing like a school girl, yes, I like him," I groaned again.
"Do you 'like' like him?" she asked, her tone teasing.
"Angela! Seriously, help me out here! I am completely discombobulated."
"Okay, I am going to assume that means he has your knickers in a twist," said, Angela, frowning slightly.
"Your panties in a knot?" Angela was smirking now.
"Angela!" I was getting exasperated.
"What? I fail to see the problem here. You like him, he obviously likes you," she said, splaying her hands apart and shrugging.
"The problem is that he is closer in age to Sophie than he is to me," I responded irritably.
"Ew, well that is just wrong. Sophie is still a child. You and Edward on the other hand are two grown adults. Again, what is the problem here?" she asked, the put her coffee mug down on the table with a sigh. "How much younger is Phil than Renee?"
"Really, bringing my Mothers' choices into this does not help me," I retorted.
"Why not? They seem happy together."
"Yeah and do you know how many heartbreaks she endured trying to find that happiness?" I asked her with a frown. It wasn't like my Mom paraded a string of men in and out of my life. In fact, Phil is probably the only boyfriend of hers I met. But I wasn't oblivious to when she was dating and when she was not. As I got older I learned to recognize the highs and lows, and remember the many nights listening to her cry herself to sleep in the other room.
"I always kind of admired your mom," Angela said quietly, after a long pause.
"Yeah, she has always been so brave, so fearless. I admire her courage," Angela said contemplatively, eyeing me over her raised coffee mug.
"Bella, do you think the choices she made were easy. It takes guts to recognize that you are not happy and to do something about it. I know that you have always seen her decisions as flighty or selfish but, I guess, I see them differently."
"Oh really? She is admirable because she is constantly taking on projects or classes and never finishing?" I questioned, wondering where this line of discussion was coming from. I loved my Mother, but her inability to follow through and see things to completion had always been a sore point with me.
"Why stick with something if you know it's not your thing? Did she lose interest, perhaps? Is she constantly on a quest to find herself? Absolutely. That is who she is," replied Angela, gazing at me calmly.
"The boyfriends that never panned out?" I challenged.
"Sometimes it takes finding out what you don't want in a man to recognize 'the one' when he shows up. She never stopped trying," she said, ignoring my snort of derision. Renee had a perfectly good man to begin with but had to keep looking for one better. 'The grass is always greener' comes to mind.
"What about taking off with me and leaving Charlie?" I loved my Mom, but the little girl never did forgive her for taking me away from my Dad. I had promised myself that when I had a family that would never happen.
"Can you imagine how hard that was? What a difficult decision. You're a Mom and I know you were content with Jake but what if you weren't? What if you wanted more? Yes, here she had stability and security but she wasn't happy. It takes a strong woman to make such a difficult choice. How many stay then resent their partner for the paths not taken? Blame themselves and everyone around them for putting them in a box? I think your Mom saved everyone a lot of pain down the road but taking a huge chance when she did."
I frowned, my brow furrowing. I wasn't angry but Angela's words struck a chord. There were certainly moments, many moments, where I had felt boxed in. Yet, when the girl's were so little, I wrote it off to the hectic day-to-day of raising babies. I suppose I had tried not to look at those feelings too deeply.
"Bella, do you think that is why you married Jake, moved to Tacoma, became a stay at home Mom?" Angela asked, her question mirroring thoughts that of my own. Thoughts that I had only lately allowed myself to dwell on. Thoughts that I wished, in many ways, I never had. Regret is a dirty bitch.
"What do you mean? There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom, you are," I replied, the sharpness of earlier dulling. I wasn't sure if I was trying to justify myself to her or to me.
"Yes, but I don't remember that being your dream or your plan. This is all I wanted. I am happy. I have just wondered, sometimes, over the years, if you have been making decisions based on not being Renee. Decisions based on making other people happy."
I really didn't know how to respond to that. This certainly was not the conversation I thought I would be having when I came to Angela's door. It made me wonder how long she had been thinking about this. Why my usually reticent friend was being so determined to make a point.
"Hang on a second, I want to show you something," Angela said suddenly, her chair scraping across the linoleum as she rose and left the room. I waited, trying to quiet my thoughts, a few minutes later Angela returned. She placed an envelope on the table in front of me.
Picking it up I recognized my own handwriting on the envelope, addressed to Angela, when she was still living with her parents. Curious, I pulled out the few sheets of paper. My eyes wandered over my rushed script, a mix of print and cursive, scrawling on both sides of the sheets. It was a letter written to Angela from when I was in my third year at Jacksonville University, a few months before I met James. The last sheet was not handwritten; rather it only contained the following typed lines:
(from "The Shoes of The Fisherman" - Morris L. West - 1963)
"It costs so much to be a full human being… one has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover, and yet demand no easy return of love. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying."
Angela waited quietly while I read, her hands clasped together on the table in front of her.
"Do you remember that girl? I do. You are not your Mom, Bella, but that doesn't mean the best parts of her are not in you. The best parts of Charlie too. All together you are uniquely Bella. But you have to let yourself breath."
"Now as for Edward, well all I can say is that ever relationship can't be started under assumptions. You don't always have to analyze every future possibility. Sometimes you should just go with the flow and see what happens," Angela said, rising from the table and walking past me, squeezing me lightly on the shoulder as she went by.
Her touch elicited a memory of my Mom. For a second, I was a teenager again, sitting and getting advice from my Mom. It was a good feeling.
Angela refilled our coffee mugs and returned to her seat. She leaned forward and rested her chin on one upturned palm. "So, now tell the bored married woman, who must live vicariously through her single girlfriend, about this make-out session with mister yummy pants," Angela said with a smirk.
I broke out into giggles, followed by Angela. Just like that the mood was changed. I spent the twenty or so minutes recounting, with as much detail as I felt comfortable sharing, the events of the previous night.
Angela made approving sounds over Edward playing with my kids and flirting with me, sighed over the kisses and may have made an under-her-breath derogatory comment regarding Jasper's timing. I blushed, and stuttered, and again managed to get myself worked up into a flustered mess of female bits.
Leaving Angela's, I walked sprightly across the street. Even though my friend had given me a lot to think about I felt lighter somehow. Her easy acceptance and encouragement of my attraction to Edward made me feel optimistic. In a funny way, Edward reciprocating those feelings, and the rabble of butterflies that swarmed through me at the thought of him, made me feel like a born-again teenager. It was like being in love for the first time.
Once inside my house, I kicked off my shoes and flung myself onto the couch. Lying back, I placed one foot on the floor, the other to rest on the back and tucked my hands behind my head. It was thoroughly comfortable and I'm sure I would chide my children if I caught them in the same position. That thought brought me back to bits of the conversation with Angela, which had been buzzing around in the back of my mind.
Have I really been judging my mother so harshly all these years? Shamefully, I had to admit to myself that I probably have. When I was a child I adored my mother, she was perfection and could do no wrong. As I grew into a teenager, I began to recognize that she was not perfect and, naturally I suppose, began focusing over what made us different.
Unfortunately, as I became an adult, I obviously never took the time to view my mother as a human being, fallible and perfectly imperfect. I never grew up enough to just accept her for herself. Rather, I continued to hold her up to some socially described yardstick. Did I do that to make myself feel better? How did I rate on said yardstick? Really, why would that matter so much?
It is shocking to think that at thirty-six, I still had some growing up to do. Sitting up I picked up the cordless phone from the side table and dialled my Mom's home number. I had a few chores yet, while my girl's were is school. Combining that with a good catch up with my Mom sounded like just thing to do.
Tuesday felt like the first day of classes all over again. I sat in the van, the window rolled all the way down, smoking a menthol and staring across the parked cars at the campus buildings. The rabble of butterflies was starting to feel like a murder of crows. What was I supposed to do when I walked into that classroom? Do I hug him? Just say hi and sit down? It was like nothing and everything had happened. Did the kisses even mean anything to him? I groaned and stubbed out my cigarette. I just wish I knew where I stood. Suddenly feeling like a teenager didn't feel all that great.
"Hi," I started violently, jumping in my seat to the unexpected voice at my window. It was Edward. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," he said, with a sheepish grin. The ravens and the butterflies all melted to into warm honey in my veins with the sound of his voice.
"Hi, it's okay. Guess I was zoned out," I replied, feeling shy and embarrassed.
"So, coming to class?" He asked, smiling.
"Oh, yes, just a second," I answered, pressing the button to roll up my window and then pulling the keys out of the ignition. I grabbed my bag and exited out of my Van. Edward was leaning against the side of the vehicle. He was alone. "Where's Alice?" I asked.
"Probably in class already, I saw you here and came to collect you," he said, looking at me through his eyelashes. It really should be illegal for guys to have such beautiful eyelashes.
"Oh, okay," I said hurriedly, and turned to walk to class.
"Hey, wait a second," Edward called out. Grabbing my free hand he pulled me back to him. He placed one sweet, chaste kiss on my lips. "We don't have to run," he said, then kissed me again. Just like the first time he kissed me, and the second, I was lost, lost in the sensual feeling of his smooth, soft, firm mouth on mine.
He pulled back with a moan that set my bones on fire. "Hi," Edward said softly, resting his forehead on mine. "Hi," I said in return, breathless, the sound of my blood rushing through my ears.
Edward gave my forehead a quick, wet peck and stepped back, still holding my hand. "Okay, now we might have to run," he said with a laugh. I couldn't help but grin in return. Butterflies and ravens be damned.
We half jogged, half walked and by the time we reached the door of our classroom I was winded and slightly giggling. I stopped at the door, suddenly unsure again, and moved to drop Edward's hand. Instead of releasing me, he tightened his grip and opened the door, pulling me in along behind him.
My eyes immediately fell on Alice as we walked through the door. Her eyes took in our joined hands, she smirked, and returned to typing on her phone. My cheeks were hot as Edward and I finally made our way into our seats, only then did he relinquish my hand. Professor Donovan walked in and shut the door behind him seconds after we gained our seats.
Today we were getting a lesson on the history of the development of the Internet. I listened with half an ear. I had already read the preparation notes for today's lecture and, well really, I had lived through it. Instead, I casually observed the siblings sitting on either side of me.
Alice and Edward were easily recognizable as siblings, despite the dissimilarity in colouring. Alice, to my right, was sitting forward in her seat, typing her notes directly into her computer, her phone lying beside it on the table. Her eyes continuously would dart from the screen at the front of the room, to the screen of her small computer, to the screen of her phone. Edward, in contrast, was not taking notes at all. Rather, he lounged back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, and his knee, as seems to be his habit, pressed against mine under the table.
I leaned back in my seat, my hands on the table, and turned my head left, slightly, looking in Edward's direction. His eyes darted to mine and away, a small smile pulling indolently on his perfect pink, cupid bow lips. A quivering ache slithered through my belly. He dropped his one arm and moved it behind me, where he began to stroke soft circles on my lower back, in the space between the back of the chair and the top of my jeans.
My breath escaped with a shaky sigh as his fingers found the gap between my shirt and the top band of my jeans. He stroked my bare skin a few times then spread his fingers, his pinkie slid under the band of my pants, and his thumb continued to stroke my skin under my shirt. His touch was so intimate and innocently erotic, my skin warmed and any attention I was paying to the lecture was lost. All I noticed was the feeling of his thumb gently stroking the skin of my lower back.
It was work to school my breathing, my eyes trained on my joined fingers resting on the table in front of me. The trembling ache in my belly surged and my thighs pressed together convulsively. My heart clenched as the trembles sliced through my chest.
I tried vainly to remember the last time such a simple touch from a man made me so undone. Intimacy with Jake had had its moments of passion, but was generally lukewarm, not unpleasant but nothing earth shattering. The closest comparison would be foggy distant memories of the early times with James, when everything was new and he took such care to teach me how to touch and be touched.
Edward contained more sexual energy in his thumb than all my other experiences combined. I closed my eyes and just got lost in the sensation of his touch. The pad of his thumb was slightly rough and gently scraped as it moved, making the skin in its path warm and tingle. His hand and long splayed fingers encompassed almost the entirety of my lower back.
My mind drifted to memories of his hands on me Sunday night on my back step. My nipples hardened with a sharp ache in visceral response to the memory of the same thumb, currently stroking my back, running over my breast. I began imagining what could have happened if we hadn't been disturbed by Jasper. Perhaps his hands would have gripped me tighter, his lips could have trailed down my neck, or lower?
Edwards hand stilled on my back and his fingers squeezed into my skin. I opened my eyes, blinking several times to regain focus. I realized that my hands were no longer joined on the table, but rather my left had wandered down and was resting on Edwards's thigh. Glancing at him I saw that he was staring at me with heavy eyes, I also realized that everyone else was packing up to leave.
Flustered, I quickly pulled my hand away and began gathering my things and stuffing them into me bag. Alice was already standing and waiting when I pulled my bag to my shoulder. Edward had moved as well, and he stood throwing the strap of his messenger bag over his head. My back felt cool, missing the warmth of his palm.
"Coming?" he asked, holding out his hand for me to take, his burning gaze made me feel deliciously exposed, like he had read my thoughts from a few moment prior. Taking his hand, Edward led me and Alice out of the room and down the hallway.
Halfway to the library, I excused myself to run to the restroom, telling them that I would catch up and meet them there for our weekly study session. I needed a quiet moment to regroup. After using the facilities, I gazed at my reflection in the mirror above the sink while I washed my hands. There was something different, a lightness I wasn't familiar with. My eyes were shiny, my skin slightly flushed and I couldn't stop smiling. With an eye roll I realized I was happy.
I dried my hands and gave my own reflection a goofy smile and practically skipped to the library. The library had three small and two larger private study rooms that could be booked by students. Glancing over the daily schedules tacked to the doors, I found our group, opened the door to study room 'B' and stepped inside.
The study room lacked in both glamour and windows, just large enough to accommodate a square table that had six chairs jammed around it. The walls were nondescript beige and a corkboard, with a few notices, was attached to the wall opposite the door. Alice was sitting on one side of the table, Edward was across from Alice, and Krystal was sitting next to him with Ethan on the corner next to her.
Edward pushed out the chair at the corner next to him with his foot. Taking his invitation, I sat down and put my bag on the chair next to me. Alice was ready with her mini-computer. She was the self-designated note taker, none of us had argued with her. Since our time was limited, Alice quickly got us started using the list of discussion questions assigned with the days class.
Edward was, as usual, leaned back in his seat, his arms crossed and his long legs stretched out under the table. Also as usual, Krystal did most of the talking, Ethan and Edward interjected here and there and Alice informally chaired the group. Krystal, annoyingly, kept directing her comments directly to Edward, as if it was just the two of them in the room. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
A few minutes into the discussion, I felt Edward's foot brush up against my ankle. I caught my breath softly as he hooked my ankle with his foot and lightly bounced it a few times before stilling. The action warmed me inside and I smiled a little at the thought that he always wanted to maintain some sort of physical contact with me. I wanted it too, but wasn't nearly as brave. Maybe I should be.
Catching his eye, Edward gave me a wink, and then flinched as Krystal leaned into him, putting her hand on his arm. "Well, Edward?" Krystal asked. "Uh, well, what?" Edward responded. Apparently, we had both missed whatever it was that she was asking.
"I was just saying that it is boring having to learn all this ancient history about the technological stuff," Krystal explained, leaning into Edward's arm. I barely contained a snort which caused Krystal to look across at me, her eyes narrowing.
I sucked in a breath, and then said, "Well, it is probably for the purpose of comparison. To fully grasp the social ramification of, say, social networks, one needs to comprehend socializations prior to. For example, as society became more mobile individual's maintained contact through letters. This developed into pen pals; newspapers facilitated the meeting of strangers through ads. International newspaper ads allowed people to seek out contact with individuals globally. E-mail came to replace pen and paper and chat rooms became the medium allowing strangers from all over the world to meet. It's putting the social content within a historical paradigm with the technological developments." I trailed off, flushing under four sets of eyes trained on me.
Krystal blinked at me a few times. "I never really thought about it that way," said Ethan. "It would be like the theory of propinquity. Online dating sites are the new rule of the five block radius for people meeting potential romantic partners." Ethan continued his point but I was distracted when Edward flinched again, except this time Krystal's hands were not visible. My stomach clenched, involuntarily, as a burst of anger shot through me.
"So," Krystal broke in, causing Ethan to huff and roll his eyes, "It's my birthday this weekend."
"You don't say," replied Alice dryly, lowering the screen on her netbook and resting her chin in one upturned hand. Edward moved his foot from my leg and noisily shifted his chair over closer to me, turning it slightly as he went, until he was seated next to me. "Oh, well happy birthday, Krystal," he said.
The room was quiet. Edward raised his arm and rested it on the back of my chair. His fingers wove through my hair and he began stroking the back of my neck. A delicious shudder ran through me.
Krystal took in the move, her cheeks paling then pinking. Her eyes flickered over me then she set her face into a brilliant smile, her gaze focused on Edward. "Why thank you, Edward," she gushed. "So, my friends are taking me out for a big bash up on Friday and I was hoping you could join us?"
Jealous angry outrage speared through me so sharply that it took my breath away. I almost didn't hear Edward clear is throat. "Actually, Krystal, I'm going to the movies with Bella on Friday night, but I hope you all have a good time," he answered her smoothly. Huh? We're what? My eye's flickered to Krystal and I saw her face fall slightly, then I looked over at Alice who had a smile on her face but was looking at her phone.
"Oh! Well, why don't, uh, you come and join us after? You just have to buy me a shot," Krystal said maintaining an upbeat tone. I almost felt embarrassed for her. Since the first day of class she has been batting her eyelashes at Edward. I was still dumbfounded as to why he had turned his attention to me instead of her.
"We will be going to the movies in Port Angeles, so…," Edward shrugged.
"Port Angeles?" Krystal queried, her voice rising in pitch.
"Yeah, well Bella lives in Forks, and I'll be with Bella," he explained. The innuendo hung in the air, and I released a shaking breath, my light-headedness making me realize that I had been holding it. I pressed my hands together to steady them, my whole body was vibrating.
"Oh, okay then," Krystal said softly. Ethan, raised his hand towards her, and then let it drop back down on the table. The motion was not lost on me. There was something there, for him anyways.
"Well, our time is up, been a blast babes but I have to get to my next class," Alice announced, her voice upbeat and cheery, and she stood, packing away her things. We still had time but it was apparent that we weren't going to be getting back on topic.
Edward stilled me with his hand on my shoulder when I moved to stand, so I sat and waited with him as the others exited the room. Now alone, Edward turned his body to face me. His face was chagrined and he was worrying his lip with his teeth. His mouth transfixed me. I wanted to have those lips on mine again.
"So, Bella, will you make me an honest man and go to the movies with me on Friday?" he asked bashfully. I started laughing, all the adrenaline that had been coursing through me burst through my lips. Edward eyed me, warily, with one raised brow. "Uh, so is that a yes or a no?"
"Edward, you're not obligated. I understand that you were just looking for an out. Though, I don't know why you wouldn't want to go -," Edward cut off my rambling with a sudden fierce kiss. His hand moved from my shoulder to the back of my head, pulling me to him. I leaned into the kiss, my hands on his thighs for support. There was nothing chaste about this. Kissing in a blitz of lips, tongue and teeth, we only pulled away when we were both breathless.
Opening my eyes, I saw that his were still closed. I raised my hand to his cheek. "So, what movie are you taking me to?" I asked, smiling as his lips quirked and he opened his beautiful green eyes for me.
I left the library in a dreamy daze. Edward had to head to another class and I went to one of the campus coffee shops to kill an hour until my next class. I sat down in the back corner, after ordering and receiving my coffee. I pulled a granola bar out of my bag and my journal. I was digging through my bag for my pen when I voice interrupted my search.
"Is this seat taken?" asked a deep lilting, accented voice. I looked up in surprise at the figure of my Sociology Professor. He smiled down at me, a paper cup in one hand and a muffin in the other.
"Oh, sure, be my guest," I answered quickly, with a shrug and a flicker of my fingers to the empty seat across from me. Giving up the search for my pen, I straightened in my seat as Professor Donovan took his, placing his items on the small table with mine. I observed with amusement that the writing on the side of his cup said 'extra shot caramel,' with a heart and smiley face.
Donovan caught my gaze, and twisted his cup to see what I was looking at. I snorted a giggle at the sheepish surprise that flashed across his face. He glanced over his shoulder to the young ladies working behind the counter and then settled back in his seat with a shrug and a sigh. "I swear it's the accent, there can be no other explanation," he said with a grin that made his grey eyes crinkle.
"So, Bella, yes?" he queried, taking a sip from his cup.
"Yes," I answered. "So how are you today, Professor Donovan?" I asked, making conversation, unsure why he asked to join me.
"Please Bella, call me Brian," he said, unwrapping his muffin. "What do you think of the class so far?" he asked, mumbling around a mouthful of blueberry bran.
I raised my eyebrows, taking a moment to unwrap my granola bar, before responding. "Well, I don't think I completely appreciated the fact that not everyone recalls a time without cell phones, until this class."
Brian snorted and coughed around his swallow of muffin. "Yes, that is rather humbling, isn't it?" he responded, clearing his throat.
"If that is another way of saying it makes one feel old, then I agree whole heartedly," I said, exhaling through my nose. Brian guffawed and shook his head at me. "No, really, I swear it reminds me of the disbelief I had as I child that my parents did not have microwaves or colour television," I continued, chuckling along to his contagious laughter.
"Now, Bella, I refuse to look at it as getting old. Rather, we are experienced. It gives you an edge," he said, leaning onto the table with his elbows, cocking an eyebrow, and his grey eyes sparking mischievously.
An intense energy radiated and I felt my cheeks warming in response. I took a large gulp of coffee and then trained my eyes on the sight of my fingers breaking apart my granola bar into quarters.
"So, tell me, Bella, do you live here in Olympia?" he asked.
"Oh, no, I live in Forks. I drive down here for my classes," I answered.
"Oh, really? Lived there long, your husband works there?"
"Um, no…my ex works out of town but lives in La Push. But I finished high school there," I answered, not really wanting to get into it. "It seemed like a good base to move back to, so that the kids still had easy access to their dad."
"Kids? How many? How old are they?" Brian asked me, around bites of his muffin.
"I have two girls, um, how about you?" I queried, trying to redirect the conversation.
"Oh, I have a daughter. Her mom and I divorced ages ago, before I accepted this position here in the States. Actually, I could probably use your advice. My daughter recently, came here to live with me. Her mom remarried and I guess her and the new husband don't get on. She's fifteen and she has me baffled."
I laughed lightly. "I can imagine. I went to Forks to live with my dad when I was seventeen. I'm sure that he had no clue what to make of me."
Our conversation continued, around sips of coffee and nibbling on the remainder of our snacks, centred on the conundrums that are housed in the minds of teenage girls. Brian had an easy way about him; he had a face that was open and joyful, and a cocky confident manner. His accent was not prominent but gave his speech a musical quality that pulled you into his words. He made me laugh and before I knew it, it was time for me to head to my last class of the day.
"Well, thanks for the company, but I have to head off now," I said, rising from the table and pulling my bag over my shoulder. "See you in class on Thursday."
"Yes, it has been a pleasure, Bella," he said, standing, "have a lovely day." His eyes penetrated me and again I felt heat in my cheeks. Fumbling out a good-bye, I hurried off.
It wasn't until I was half-way through my last class of the day that the realization hit me. Was it possible that Professor Brian Donovan had been flirting with me?
a/n: Here are some stories I am loving and recommend you check out:
"Make Your Own Kind of Music" by lazykate
"Mile High Club" by Babypeach16
"Rubbish" by belladonnacullen