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A/N Hey guys! So I'm back...and here is the next chapter of my story.
I am so sorry that it has been so long since I last updated. I feel terrible about it and understand if people have stopped reading. I have no excuses; all I can say is that sometimes real life has to come first and things have been beyond crazy recently. That being said, I am committed to finishing this story and promise to never, ever keep you waiting so long in between updates again. I'm reluctant to set a firm schedule of when I'm going to update, because I know I'll probably fail and let people down, so I'm just going to say updates will be every other week. I don't know what day of the week they'll be, but they'll definitely come at some point every other week. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me, and to the people who have recently started reading and reviewing!
"Daddy, can we switch seats? My TV isn't working. Look it's only got one channel and it's really boring."
I watch as she looks up at her father waiting for his response; a response that I'm pretty sure Edward isn't going to give her.
"The TV won't work until we take off, sweetie. They're only playing the safety information right now," I intervene.
"Well, that sucks. What can I do then? I'm bored. Can I listen to your ipod, Bella?"
"I don't think you're allowed too yet. You just have to sit quietly until we get into the sky. Why don't you have a look at that magazine that's in the pocket of the seat in front off you?"
"It's boring. I already looked at it. It's just got pictures of stuff in it. Bella, why has daddy got his eyes shut? Is he asleep? Daddy, are you asleep? You're gonna miss the plane going up?" She babbles excitedly. I silently watch Edward as he heavily exhales and the frown between his eyebrows deepens.
"Daisy, please can you sit properly in your seat and stop asking so many questions. I know that you're excited but you have to try and calm down a bit. Your dad is a little bit nervous right now, so its best if we just leave him be." I try to explain. In all honesty though, it's a bit difficult to explain what's going on when I'm not entirely sure myself.
"Why is he nervous? 'cause I'm not scared at all and I haven't even been on a plane before. There is nothing to be scared off Daddy." She leans forward in her seat, intently studying his face for any signs of a reaction.
Please say something. Or do something. Anything, just to let us know that you're still breathing.
"Do you want me to hold your hand, Daddy?" She asks as she reaches across me with her hand outstretched.
Why is it always me that gets stuck in the middle seat?
"Daisy, that's a really nice offer but you can't reach across me like that. Your arm isn't long enough and it's not comfortable for me." The determination on her face intensifies for a few seconds as she gently wiggles her fingers, as if expecting her arm to magically grow several centimeters.
"You're right. I can't reach. I can't reach daddy, sorry." She shouts around me, "Don't worry though, Daddy, Bella can hold your hand. Bella, hold his hand. It will make him feel better."
"Daisy…" I start to protest.
"Bella, he's scared. He needs you to hold his hand then he'll know that he's not alone. Nana always says that when someone is in need or upset then you should do whatever you can to help them. Do you want Bella to hold your hand? Would that make you feel better, Daddy?"
Please so no. Please say no. Please say no.
"Sweetie, I'm sure your dad doesn't need me to…" I stutter in surprise as I feel his warm fingers wrap around mine. I quickly look to his face but it hasn't changed at all. He is still frozen in place and deathly pale; eyes squeezed shut.
He needs me…
"It's going to be ok, Edward. We're all going to be ok." I whisper, grasping his hand tightly.
"Ladies and gentleman, we'd like to take this opportunity to go over some important safety information." Edward cringes slightly at the stewardess' words while Daisy bounces in her seat.
"Oooh…what's happening now?" She enquires.
"The lady is going to tell us a few things, like where the doors are, in case there is an emergency. Which there won't be." I hasten to add, not that she hears me.
"Yes! We're moving!" She squeals in delight. "Look, I can see us moving out the window."
"Ok Daisy, you need to settle down a little bit. Sit in your seat properly or else you're going to end up getting into trouble with the stewardess. Listen to what the lady is saying." I quickly slip my hand out of Edward's so that I can check Daisy's seatbelt. While I'm a confident flyer, after having to fly to see my dad each summer, I've never been responsible for someone other than myself before. And, it's becoming abundantly clear that Edward's not going to be much help. I can't help but be a bit nervous.
Why on earth would he book a trip to Paris if he is terrified of flying?
One look at his face and rigid posture is enough to tell me how much he is struggling. I slip my arm under his and rest my head on his shoulder; a silent sign of my support. His arms are firmly glued to the arm rest and his hands are in a death grip around the ends. Daisy's exuberance slowly turns into nervousness as the plane accelerates and she gingerly places her hand in mine.
Here we go…
It feels like hours pass until the plane begins to level out in the sky when in reality I know only minutes have past. So much tension has been rolling off Edward that I feel like I can hardly breathe, and I'm praying that he'll relax a little bit now.
Or else it's going to be a really long and uncomfortable flight.
"Bella, what does that sound mean?"
"What noise, sweetie?" I've been so caught up in my own musings that I haven't heard anything.
"It was like a beeping sound, like beep, beep."
I look up to the overheard panel, audibly sighing in relief when I see that the seatbelts sign has been switched off.
"That sound means that the seatbelt sign has been switched off. See up there on that panel, the sign on the end isn't lit up anymore. When it's not lit up it means that you can take your seatbelt off and move around the plane."
"So I can take my seatbelt off now then?"
"Well, yes, technically you can but as you don't need to go to the toilet or anything, it's probably better to keep it on. Just in case there is any turbulence or you fall asleep and it's time to land."
"It's when the plane ride gets a bit bumpy because the weather outside is bad."
"I highly doubt we'll experience any turbulence, Daisy, so don't think too hard about it. I checked the weather forecast before we left and it looked good. It should be all plain sailing."
Edward's addition to our conversation catches us both off guard. His voice his hoarse and he sounds pretty groggy but his cheeks look to be getting a bit of color.
"Daddy, your eyes are open!" Her face lights up with joy as she takes him in, "we're up in the sky now."
"I know we are…"
"Didn't you like the bit when we went up? It's ok though 'cause I think we're up as high as we're going to go. Look up there, you see that light on the end that isn't on anymore, it means that you can take your seatbelt off. We went pretty fast didn't we? It doesn't feel like we're going that fast anymore, does it? Are we going slower now? Do you want to look out the window?" She speaks so quickly; Edward can barely get a word out edge-ways.
"Um, actually baby, I was wondering if we could possibly close the shutter down on the window. I don't really need to see out there and if I'm being honest it makes me feel a bit sick."
"How come you don't like going on planes, daddy?"
"I don't really like being up so high but I'll be ok now. Taking off is the worst part for me and that's over now. Don't you worry about me."
The frown on her face instantly disappears as his words ease over her concerns.
"Ok. Will the films come on now? In this magazine it says that 'The Incredibles' is going to be on. Have you ever seen that movie? It's so funny. It's about this family and they are all super heroes. The dad is really strong, and the mum is all stretchy, and the boy is super speedy, and the girl turns invisible! "
"It sounds really interesting. Maybe I'll check it out later. I think I'm going to read my book for now."
"Is it a doctor's book 'cause if it is then you can't read it? You can't do work on holiday. It's the rules."
Unable to contain myself, I laugh out loud at her logic. Her mind has been working in overdrive since we picked her up from Carlisle and Esme's and told her about the trip. She's one smart cookie and she seems to have it all worked out.
You can't blame her though. I'd do the same if I was in her shoes.
It's her first holiday abroad and a big change from what she's used to. She's determined to make the most of it and I'm determined to help her. Usually, she's taken down to the Cullen's summer house by her nanny and then her grandparent's and Edward stop by when they can. While spending weeks in a luxurious house at the beach sounds idyllic, it's not so much fun if you're four years old and have no one to play with. It seems like most of her previous nanny's were more interested in topping up their tans and attracting men than keeping her company and looking after her. I mean really, what sort of person has a wild house party, in their boss's home, with his daughter upstairs in her room.
Definitely not going to let Edward know about that little tale yet.
"Are there any more important rules that I should know about? I wouldn't want to unknowingly break any of them and end up getting into trouble." Edward teases.
"Umm… I'm still thinking of them. I'll let you know when we get to France." She smiles sweetly before pushing her oversized pink headphones over her ears. Edward bought them for her while we were waiting in the departures lounge, all while explaining to her the dangers to her ears of playing music too loudly. All she had to do though was give him a flash of her smile and he was putty in her hands. Clearly this trip is going to be all about spoiling her, and quite frankly, it's about time.
"Well, I guess that told me," he chuckles. "Hopefully, now that the in-flight entertainment is starting we'll be able to get a bit of peace and quiet. I had no idea she would be this excited and restless."
"She was bound to be excited. It's the first time she's ever been on a plane and you're taking her half way across the world to one of the most famous cities in Europe. To most people that's a big deal, but to a kid, it just out of this world. I'm really proud of you for doing this for her."
"Better late than never I hope. I'm really trying here, Bella."
"I know you are, Edward, and so does she. You have no idea how much this trip means to her." I explain, marveling at how far he has come and how much he has developed emotionally in such a short time. "I've got to say, though, to her this is all about spending time with you, having your undivided attention. She probably would have been just as content staying in the US. You didn't need to torture yourself like this." Try as I may, I struggle to keep a straight-face. It seems so unfathomable to me why he would choose to go on such a long flight when he he's petrified of flying.
"I'm not going to lie, the last half an hour has been pretty awful for me, but it's worth it to see Daisy so happy. I'd fly all over the world if it would keep that smile on her face, and on yours. Plus, this trip is going to be really good for her. Paris has so much history, culture, and art. There is so much for her to see and learn."
"I know. I'm so excited. It would probably be a good idea to buy a travel guide book when we arrive and spend a bit of time deciding where we want to go and what we want to see."
"I agree. It's a long trip so I doubt we'll be up to doing much when we arrive. I was thinking that, as it will be mid- afternoon in Paris when we arrive, we should go to the hotel, check in, freshen up, then maybe have a stroll around and have an early dinner. That way we will have plenty of energy for exploring tomorrow."
"Sounds like a good plan to me. Are you excited? I mean, I know you're mainly doing this to make Daisy happy but is Paris somewhere you've wanted to see."
"Absolutely. Like I said before, there is so much to see and do. There are certain places I think we should make sure to visit: the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower. I like to see myself as a somewhat cultured person and I'd like my daughter to be the same. I'm no art professional, and I probably don't see the things that you see when you look at a painting, or appreciate it in the same way, but I have a basic knowledge and understanding. I think it's good to know about the world."
"I agree. It'll give Daisy a chance to practice her French as well," I add.
"It will. She'll probably put me to shame."
"You speak French?"
"I used to be fluent as a boy. My mother was amazing at languages, she taught us from a young age. She has a natural gift for picking them up and has a degree in French and Italian, not that she uses them much now a days."
"She works in fashion, doesn't she?"
"Not exactly. She's an interior designer, quite a successful one actually. She seems to have a real knack for putting colours together, and arranging things. She's just so creative; obviously, I don't take after her. I'm much more like my father: logical, sensible, grounded. My mother is in her own little world most of the time, but she's happy."
"At the end of the day, happiness is all that matters. Your mum sounds a lot like my friend Alice. She's one of those 'happy-go-lucky' types. She's really fashion forward and is forever maxing out credit cards to buy the latest 'it' bag or a pair of shoes that she would 'literally die without.' She's terrible. Her closet is huge but everything in it has a story, a purpose." Thinking of her brings a smile to my face, and reminds me that it has been too long since we've spoken. Before I took this job hardly a day would pass without us getting together for a quick coffee or at least chatting on the phone. "I haven't spoken to her in while. I wonder how things are going between her and Jasper?"
"Things must be pretty serious between them if she has introduced him to you and your other friend. I've never known him to be in a long term relationship and build those sort of connections."
Hang on a minute…what is he saying? Does that mean Jasper is some sort of player then?
Mere seconds after the thought passes through my head, Edward catches and puts an end to my concerns. He can read me like a book.
"He doesn't date, or rather he didn't use to, is what I mean. He was always very focused, a real workaholic. Me and my other friend, Emmett, use to tease him mercifully in college about him being a bookworm. It was all in jest and he took in it good humor but it was an ongoing thing. It's been a while since I last saw him."
"Maybe you should give him a call when we get back. I'm sure he would like to hear from you."
"Hmm…I think I'll do that. Maybe not as soon as we get back though."
"Why wait?" I question.
"A lot is going to change when we get back home, Bella. In fact, things may never be the same again but I can't prolong the inevitable any longer. I know this all sounds very cryptic to you right now, but I promise that by the time we get off this plane in a week's time, back in Seattle, you'll understand."
I pause before I answer him mulling over his words in my mind. My head is full of questions and I don't know how much longer I can hold them in. I'm a patient woman but even I have my limits. I realize though, as a look of hurt and uncertainty passes across his face that I would probably wait forever for this man.
"I trust you, Edward. I know that no matter what changes there are too come, you'll make sure everything works out alright in the end."
"I would never let anything, or anyone, hurt you or Daisy." He says in earnest.
And I do.
"Bella. Bella, it's time to wake up now." I mumble incoherently in complaint as I feel someone gently shaking my shoulder.
I don't want to wake up. I'm having such a nice dream, wildly inappropriate, but definitely very nice.
"Bella, everyone is getting off the plane. Unless you're planning on staying aboard and going straight back home, you need to wake up." I nestle my head further in my pillow, trying in vain to block out the noise.
Hang on a minute…did he say everyone is getting off?
"What! We're here. Already. Why didn't you wake me up sooner?" I jump up, startle and disorientated.
"Yes, we're at the airport in Paris, and there was no need for me to wake you any sooner. You looked so happy and content that I didn't want to wake you. Both you and Daisy missed the in flight meal but I can't say that you missed much. Daisy is still sleeping. I wasn't sure if I should wake her or not…" He trails off waiting for me response.
"She looks so settled. I suspect that she is allowed to stay up pretty late when she stays at your parents. She always comes home tired. We should probably get her up though or else she'll never sleep tonight."
"You're right. I hadn't thought of that. I'll let you get her sorted while I get our bags down from the overhead locker. We're going to end up being the last ones on the plane at this rate," He grumbles but I can see a hint of a smile on his face as he rises from his seat.
I try to avert my eyes as he squeezes past me but the way his jeans hug his bum make it impossible for me not to stare.
It really is the most perfect bottom I've ever seen.
"Do you think that we should put our coats on now or should I carry them?" I know that he's speaking, I can definitely hear his voice, but I'm too preoccupied for his words to register.
"Hmm?" I look up only to see that he has his neck craned round and is staring down at me.
"I said do you think we should put our coats on now or shall I carry them?" A furious blush covers my face at the realization that he has in fact just caught me checking out his arse, shamelessly ogling him to be more precise.
"Um…I'm not sure. I think it's supposed to be warm in Paris at this time of year isn't it?"
"They do tend to have warm summers here in Europe. I'll carry the coats." He smirks as he answers me and I feel myself blush harder, as he leans closer to whisper in my ear. "You're certainly looking rather hot right now, Miss Swan. Are you feeling ok?"
His warm breath tickles my cheek as I struggle to answer. He beats me to it.
"There's no need to be embarrassed. I'm just as guilty of watching you when you're not looking. There's no harm in looking, right?"
"No. No harm in looking." His eyes twinkle as I peer up at him through my eyelashes.
Since when did I become such a shameless flirt?
We continue staring at each other, lost in each other's eyes, until the clearing of a throat gets our attention.
"I'm sorry to interrupts folks but I was wondering whether you required any assistance in debarking the plane."
I'm momentarily confused before I realize that we're the last people on the plane.
"We'll be fine I think, won't we Edward?"
"Yeah, we're fine thank you. We're almost organized. We prefer to wait until the rush is over," he explains as I gently wake Daisy.
"Of course, Sir. Enjoy your trip."
"We will. Thank you." The stewardess gives me a knowing smile before turning and walking back toward the rear of the plane.
"Daddy, are we in Paris now?" Her voice is quiet, and her cheeks rosy red, as she rubs her eyes.
"Yes, we are sweetie. Are you excited?" Edward bends down to her level as he speaks to her.
"I'm so excited. I've got this funny feeling in my belly. Is that ok?" She asks. She's so cute and innocent.
"Does it feel a bit like you have butterflies flying around really fast?" I ask.
"Yeah, that's exactly what it feels like. And I feel a bit sick too. Am I getting sick, Bella?"
"No, I don't think you are sweetheart." I say, ruffling her hair.
"It's normal to feel like that, baby. You're just excited and nervous. We're going to have such a great time," Edward reassures her. "I'm going to carry the bags and you grab a hold of Bella's hand. It's probably going to be quite busy once we get into the airport so you two stay close."
"This is the start of a big adventure, baby. Our first big adventure together." Edward's excitement almost bubbles over as he speaks, and is completely infectious. It's hard to believe that Daisy and I have him all to ourselves for a whole week. Daisy and I have had so many wonderful times together, had so many adventures, but not with Edward. He's right. This is our first big adventure all together.
And hopefully it won't be our last.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this chapter and that it was worth the wait.
See you in two weeks!