Hey y'all! Here's the next chapter as promised. Next one is well on its way!
This one is a little short. Sorry about that, but it has Charlie's news so I hope you enjoy.
Also all grammar mistakes are my own. I like to tinker. ;)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Not a single thing. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer. There is no copyright infringement intended.
I didn't want to find out who this woman was. I didn't want to have this confrontation. Not now. Not after the night we'd had.
I wanted us to stay in our little bubble and knew this woman had the ability to ruin this.
As I hastily grabbed my purse and slipped on my shoes, my mind told me that Alice would have stayed and chopped her head off; however, I'm not as strong as Alice. I never have been.
I could already feel the tears beginning to form. I needed to leave and fast.
Exiting his apartment, I bypassed the elevators altogether and jetted down the stairs. As I hopped into a cab, I immediately called who I knew wouldn't mind a two a.m. wake up besides Alice.
"Hey, Angela, can I come over? It's an emergency."
"Yes, of course, but I'm not home."
I was relieved to hear that. Although I wouldn't mind her company, I really just wanted to be alone.
"Is everything okay?" she asked concerned.
"Umm, I think so. I just need a place to crash for the night."
"Okay that's fine, sweetie. Do you still have your key?"
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No, not really. Can we talk about it another time?"
As the taxi pulled up to Angela's apartment, I threw the driver a fifty and immediately ran inside and right into her room. She only had a one bedroom and I knew she wouldn't mind me sleeping in her bed.
I grabbed my phone from my purse and immediately turned it off. I didn't want or need anyone contacting me tonight.
I crawled into Angela's bed and curled up under the covers. Letting out a shaky breath, I let the tears take me. Who was that woman and why was she there in his apartment? The more I thought of the night the more I began to sob.
We had just proclaimed our love for each other and made love. How could it turn into something so wrong so fast? At some point, I passed out.
I awoke later to someone shaking me frantically.
"Bella, Bella, wake up!" I woke with a start to find Angela hanging over me, looking worried. "Geez, Bella! I thought you'd never wake up!"
"Sorry, Angela. I guess I didn't hear you," I said groggily looking around.
"No shit, Sherlock! You need to get up now!" she screamed hopping off the bed and rushing toward her closet.
"What? Why?" I asked sitting up watching her.
"Your dad has been calling me nonstop because someone decided to turn off her phone! Did you forget that you were meeting with your dad today?" Shit! I had forgotten. I jumped out of her bed and headed toward my purse. Pulling out my phone, I turned it on immediately. "Bella, there isn't any time. You'll have to wear something of mine and I'll attempt to tame your hair."
With Angela grabbing and pulling a brush through my hair, I picked out something of hers to wear. My dad didn't care what I wore, but he didn't like me to be sloppy. After settling on a pair of dark jeans and a dark blue sweater, I pulled my now straight hair up into a high ponytail.
"How do I look?" I asked.
"Passable," she nodded hugging me. "So, some dude named Felix is downstairs to take you to your dad's?"
"Why Felix? What happened to Garrett?" I inquired heading toward the door, grabbing my purse along the way.
"I don't know, but you need to go. I promised your dad you'd be gone by now."
"Okay, okay, I'm leaving. Thanks for everything, Ang!" I said hugging her tightly at the door.
"Call me later so we can catch up, okay?"
"Yes, I'll call you later!" I kissed her on the cheek before I bolted out of her apartment.
I hopped into the awaiting car saying a quick hello to Felix. It was odd that Garrett wasn't the one picking me up, but maybe he was sleeping because he had been out all night with Angela. I really needed to talk to her about that.
As Felix pulled up to my dad's estate, I hopped out and ran toward the door. My dad hated it when I was late. I knew he was going to be pissed. Before I could even reach for the door, it opened abruptly with my very angry father behind it.
"Isabella, what in the world took you so long?" he inquired angrily.
"I'm sorry, Dad. I was at Angela's and overslept." No need to tell him about my visit to Edward's or his blond visitor.
"Well, I'd like to say that it's okay, but you've had more than just me waiting." I looked at him confused. "Hurry up and get inside," he proclaimed motioning into the house. "Everyone is in the den."
Everyone? I was suddenly very nervous. Who was everyone? Was this a business meeting I wasn't privy too? Was I underdressed? Oh God! What if it was a wedding meeting? I couldn't possibly discuss the wedding right now. Not after what happened last night. I wasn't even sure if there was going to be a wedding any time soon at this rate. As I entered the den, I exhaled in relief when all I saw were two older gentlemen, silently thanking God that it wasn't Alice and Esme.
"Isabella, this is Caius and Marcus. Caius is a member of our board at Swan Cullen International and Marcus is my attorney." They both stood and shook my hand.
"Afternoon, gentlemen, I'm sorry that I've kept you waiting," I said taking a seat in a chair across from them.
"Not a problem, Miss Swan," Marcus stated. As they sat down my father's maid, Tia, brought me a glass of lemonade.
"Thank you, Tia," I said as she nodded, curtsied, and walked away. She was always one of the quieter ones.
"So shall we get down to business?" Caius said pulling out a bunch of paperwork from his briefcase.
"Um, what's going on?" I asked looking around curiously. Both gentlemen stopped their movements suddenly and looked over at my father.
"Gentlemen, if you don't mind giving me a moment, I need to discuss things with my daughter privately before we move forward."
"Certainly," Marcus proclaimed before standing up and exiting the room. Caius didn't say a word just sighed in frustration.
"Don't mind him, he's a grumpy old fart," my dad said laughing lightly, turning toward me.
"Well, you have him working on a Sunday, Dad. I'd be grumpy too."
"Well, get used to it kiddo," he said taking a sip of his drink. It looked like scotch.
"Excuse me?" I inquired placing my cup down.
"Get used to the idea of working on Sunday, my dear. Owning your own business will be a hard job. You'll never get any sleep or any days off for that matter."
"Dad, what are you talking about? Edward is taking over the business not me," I pointed out. Had he forgotten that not that long ago we were signing paperwork for him to take over.
"Oh, that's where you are wrong, my dear," he exclaimed.
"Dad, you've lost me," I expressed even more confused now than I was before.
"You see, when your mother was pregnant with you, she had so many dreams for you…" he stood and went to look out the window. I stopped and listened. My dad rarely talked about my mother because the subject was too hurtful for him that I knew immediately this was important.
"As any new mother does, she had so many plans for you, many of which were set in motion way before you were born. Anyway, after your mother died, I vowed to keep those plans alive and see them through."
My dad walked toward me and reached for my hand. "Bella, what I'm about to tell you is the hardest thing I'll ever have to tell you, but I hope you'll understand. It's something that I am not proud of, but I feel it's something you need to know." He sighed and continued.
"After your mother died, I lost it, literally. I couldn't eat, sleep or take care of you. I couldn't do anything. Esme was a huge help and looked after you for me. After she knocked some sense into me, I realized all that I was missing out on by not taking care of you, so I tried harder. That was when Carlisle and I set up a separate company specifically set aside for you take over when you got older.
"What?" I stated completely floored.
"Let me finish. That's when we set up Reanit, which means 'reborn.'" I thought back to the ring I had on the other day from that collection and all the other pieces that I loved.
"I thought that was Edward's family personal jewelry line?" I inquired.
"Well, it is in a way, but it was always meant to be yours. You see, your mother's name in French means reborn. She wanted you to have a life. She wanted you to be independent. She had the idea of starting you a line before you were born, I just continued it for her and named it after her."
"So if I'm getting this new line to manage myself then why do Edward and I have to get married?"
"Your mother used to joke with Esme that if you were a girl she'd force you to marry Edward. She and Esme were practically sisters, you know, so when she found out you were a girl she still joked about it, but I knew deep down inside that it would have made her so happy to see our families tied in that way. We, of course, never decided on it nor even discussed it seriously while she was alive."
My father sighed turning back to the window. "Bella, I got really sick when you were younger; actually, when I decided on the agreement with Carlisle, I had cancer." I gasped at the knowledge. How had I not known that he was so sick? Before I could ask questions or scream at him for not telling me, he continued. "When I found out I was sick, I was so worried about you and about your getting everything that Renee and I had always wanted for you that I thought it was the best idea. You would get security through marriage and you would get this company. In addition, the Cullen's would be family like Renee had always wanted and Edward would become CEO. It was a win-win situation all the way around."
I looked at him as he explained. I had never really questioned his motives before and now as I stood there thinking about it, I wasn't sure why. I guess the schoolgirl me secretly wanted to be married to Edward, but I didn't know why my dad had enforced it to strongly to go as far as an arrangement. Now that I knew, I was shocked to learn that it was so deeply rooted, that my dad was doing it to take care of me.
"Bella, I went back to the doctor last week. They found another lump."
"What!" I screamed jumping up and running toward him.
"I haven't gotten the results back yet so for all we know is it could be benign, but it really made me realize that I needed to come clean with you. You deserve to know the truth about everything. I've waited too long to have this company get signed over to you. Edward has worked day and night on this business deal to make it right. He truly wanted it to be perfect for you. It's time that you take what is rightfully yours. Everything else will fall into place."
As I studied his features, I saw the man sitting before. He looked a little thinner and paler than usual, but he still looked strong. I leapt into his arms and cried for everything he had just told me. For everything we had lost and gained. As my sobs subsided my dad rubbed my back soothingly.
"Bella, the business didn't look good for awhile, but Edward worked so hard to get it going that now it's going strong. Now that it's a done deal, I'm content enough that you'll be okay financially no matter what happens to me. So the deal of marriage is off the table if you want it to be. The agreement can be null and void if that's something you want. I feel like such a terrible father pushing you into something like this, but I hope you know that I did it with all the best intentions," he vowed.
Standing there, I realized this was my way out. I could get out of the arrangement, take over my own business, and move forward. I could be independent and use my degree. That idea alone excited me. But there was so much more to it than that. I would be leaving Edward, I wouldn't be marrying him. Since I was twelve that's all I had known.
"Well, let's let the gentlemen back in and get this show on the road okay, kiddo? We still have a lot to talk about." I sighed, but nodded.
As my father opened the door, Caius and Marcus entered, but two more figures entered behind them. I gasped to see that it was Edward and Carlisle. Looking at Edward I realized that he looked absolutely awful. His tie was loose, his shirt was wrinkled, and his hair was more of a mess than usual.
"Carlisle, Edward, so glad you could make it! Isabella was running late as well so I just finished telling her everything she needed to know. Shall we get the show on the road?"
Edward looked at me with his eyes full of sadness. As they walked in, he walked over to me and kissed my cheek.
"Bella, it's lovely to see you again. You look beautiful," he whispered his voice strained. He had either been crying or yelling or both.
"Thank you," I squeaked sitting in the chair he had pulled out for me.
"Let's see this beautiful masterpiece that Edward has put together for Isabella," my father announced passing paperwork around the table.
We know that diamonds are given for many different occasions and that they represent numerous different feelings. They can represent love, romance, a sign of wealth, but most of all they can represent loyalty.
As I stared at Edward sitting across from me, I could see the man I had declared my love to last night. As he thumbed through his paperwork, I saw the man he was trying to be just for me. However, at that moment I had to wonder was he doing this for me and me alone? Where did his loyalties truly lie? And was it enough?
*Bites nails* I just kind of went with this... I hope it works.
Next chapter is EPOV and the discovery of who the mystery woman is although most of you can probably guess. ;)
I'll update soon!
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Thank you to my beta coachlady12! She has a new fic out and it's awesome! Please go check out her stories on her ff site! 2113307/coachlady1Also thank you to my pre-readers: 84Gemma, tff000, and Themys_. They are amazing and they help me so much in this process. Not sure what I'd do without them! Also please check out 84Gemmas lovely polyvore's for this fic on my profile and her new blog: 84gemma. blogspot. com where she puts all of her awesome poly's she creates for tons of great stories!