Shop next door.
"B-Bye aunty B!" I put my dog eared book down on the counter and returned my goodbye to the dark haired little girl whose head was only visible behind the furry ball of dog she held on to. I watched as she attempted to lead the dog back next door, tugging the lead and a handful of the dog's coat with all her might but only managing to topple herself over with a pout on her pink lips.
Laughing quietly to myself, I rounded the counter and knelt next to her just outside my door. "How about I help you with Missy?" I asked as I straightened up.
A smile broke out on her face as her arms flew up into the air. "On three!" she half commanded, half giggled in anticipation.
"Oh all right," I sighed in fake exasperation, gaining another bout of giggles from her bouncy form on the floor. "One… two… three…" I counted out for her benefit and scooped her tiny body up into the air and held her up above my head for a few seconds. Even though she was three years old, she was tiny, like a doll in my hands.
Her eyes glistened with joy as she laughed and clapped her little pudgy hands in applause. The dog barked by my feet, obviously disappointed to have had the girl's attention ripped away from her, her puppy dog eyes looking expectantly at the little giggling package in my arms.
"Missy!" Poppy's light, joyful voice called out as I set her on my hip, her hands outstretched as if waiting for the dog to jump into her arms next "Missy! You goo-girl!" She praised the dog and bounced up and down; reminding me of how alike I found her and Alice to be, the both of them with pitch black hair and over energetic personalities.
"Wana see if she'll come now?" I asked the three year old in my arms while brushing her long shadowy hair away from her angelic face.
"Ye, ye, ye!" Even though I knew how Alice could be and was myself practically desensitised to her enormous supply of energy, seeing the same amount of energy bubbling within this child always awed me when I thought of how her mother could deal with three other children as well as this one.
"Alright, hold on tight little monkey." I smiled as I bent down to retrieve the lead from the ground while being tickled merciless by Poppy, her little hands gripping anything she could find in her exited terror of being tipped off balance.
Straightening back up I sighed in relief as her little vice like hands let go from around my neck and the fabric of my top. I passed the rope which acted as a lead to Poppy and watched as she tried to grip it with both hands and try and keep a hold around my neck at the same time.
I shook my head, knowing that it was a futile attempt. The last time she'd tried this she almost got pulled out of my arms when Missy sprang away in full run when she spotted a ball rolling her way. With my free hand I took her right hand and put it around my neck and then went to grip the rope. "Okay?" I asked her.
"Go go! Mush! Mush!" She squealed as Missy sprang up from the ground and made her way back next door, jolting the bundle of pent up energy in my arms. I wondered how dangerous it would be to let this one loose in a zoo, or a toy shop… I shuddered. I had the upmost respect for her mother to be able to handle this one as well as her other children.
"Where the heck as she run off to now?" I could hear Gwen's agitated voice as we neared the door. I smiled over at Poppy's siblings who were strapped in the back of their car, waving our way. "Si, Simon! Is she hiding up there with you?" After hearing a 'no' being called from above she began backing out the door "I bet she's bugging Bella next door." I could hear her mutter as she turned our way.
"You know she's no bother Gwen." I smiled as I watched the panic only a mother could have over their child's safety vanish from her face and be replaced by relief. I turned to look at the miraculously silent child resting on my hip, laughing quietly as I saw that she was trying her best to hide against my shoulder, a bashful look on her face.
"'m sowi mummy." She mumbled against my shoulder, her head rested against her little hand which was gripping tight to my shoulder. The little bundle of mischievousness in my hold knew how to wriggle her way out of trouble with her angelic face and pale blue eyes which shone like gems in her face.
"Come here trouble." Her mother sighed as she held her arms out, her daughter's face illuminating smile replacing all hints of apology.
"B-Bye aunty B." Poppy called from the car as Gwen strapped her in nice and tight, taking no chances against her trying to escape once more. I waved back before heading back to my shop, deciding I might as well shut up shop as it was starting to get dark.
Smiling as I turned off the lights, I relished in the knowledge that I finally owed the shop after three years of paying my father Charlie back. He helped me buy the old, run down book shop three years ago after I inherited money from my grandmother. She'd left a letter, telling me to do something good, big with the money, something to make her proud, and I hoped I had. I opened up my own book store.
After double checking the lock on the back door and making sure all the electrical appliances were off I headed out, setting the alarm and locking the front door. I looked around; noticing the streets were practically deserted, shop windows dark and the road quiet. The only car I could see was a huge red jeep which was parked a little way up the street.
I zipped up my coat for warmth as the wind picked up, swirling around me like a mini tornado, pulling at my hair and stinging my eyes. I walked as fast as I could, not risking trying to run as I walked the few steps over to Si's place, already feeling a little warmer as the thought of sipping a mug of coffee filled my thoughts.
A bout of laughter met me as I pushed the heavy, medieval looking door open and stepped into the warmth. The source of the laughter was sat on one of the black leather sofa's to the left of the door, lounging comfortably with his feet up on the coffee table while wiping his eyes after his burst of merriment.
The sight of him had me paralyzed for an instant. Even though he was sat, I could tell he was tall… 6'2 perhaps I wondered vaguely as my eyes ran over the top half of his body.
Oh… wow my mind had melted into a pool of idiocy as I appreciated the hard earned abs and chest before me which I noticed sported a newly acquired nipple piercing which only helped to keep my eyes plastered on his mythical like body even more.
Thinking that I might have been dreaming or hallucinating I closed my eyes and opened them slowly, one at a time, only to find that what I saw was real…. And that I must look a freak standing in the doorway staring at him… shit!
Luckily for me, the big guy on the sofa and his friend who I noticed sat opposite him hadn't noticed my presence, but they did notice me as I made my way behind the reception desk. Instantly I felt the blush rising from my chest, up my throat and to my cheeks as I caught them looking my way. I fumbled with the kettle under the counter just before I heard Simon calling from above.
"Admiring my work there Bella?" his comment, which had the two guys before me laughing was also followed by two lots of laughter from above, one which was Simons and the other from who I presumed Si was working his magic on.
I rolled my eyes and couldn't help the smile on my lips as I called back "Do you want a coffee or not?" Knowing it'd shut him up for a while.
A chuckle from above let me know that he'd submitted to my powers of coffee making and would keep any barbs at me at bay for a little while. I busied myself by hunting for the coffee, sugar and milk while I built up the courage to look at the two men who were sat on the leather sofas, hoping they didn't think I was a complete airhead.
Letting out a deep breath, I straightened up and glanced over at them, noticing the big guy poking at his new piercing, while the other guy, who I noted had blonde hair which fell into his eyes had a look about him which hinted at geekiness due to the black rimmed glasses he had tucked into his breast pocket and the highly complicated phone he was tapping away at. The sight of his face, calm and carved to perfection as well as his tall, lean frame drew your attention; his well chosen clothes making him look like a model.
"Erm…" I started, hoping to get their attention, but at the same time hoping they hadn't heard me. They looked over as soon as I'd spoken and so I continued before I could chicken out, "You shouldn't play around with that too much… you'll only aggravate it and maybe infect it…" I told him while I spooned coffee into mine and Simon's mugs. "Do you want coffee?" I burst out straight after, hoping the big guy hadn't taken my comment as my being rude, but trying to help.
I looked up to see the big guy sitting up straight, his feet settled on the floor and a dimpled smile on his face as he looked my way, "You got any tea?" he asked as he grabbed his shirt from beside him and pulled it over his head, putting on a display for my eyes to feast on as his muscles rippled as he moved his arms and torso.
"Tea… yeah we got tea…" I muttered as I bit my lip, trying to stop myself from getting light headed. That guy isn't human! I thought as I pulled out the tea bags and set another two mugs on the counter.
Unable to remember if the other guy had asked for tea or coffee I looked back over at him, only to find him engrossed in his phone. From the corner of my eye I saw the big guy lean toward him and punch him playfully in the arm, "What the hell Emmett?" he scolded the big guy while he rubbed his abused arm.
"Dude, she was being all polite," The big guy, who I learned was called Emmett jabbed his thumb over to me, drawing the stormy faced guy's attention to me before he continued "and was asking if you wanted tea or coffee? You just totally blanked her you nerd." He said as he relaxed back in his chair and shook his head in shame.
"I'm sorry ma'am. I would love a coffee please. Strong?" he looked a little abashed as he asked, probably feeling like a kid being told off by his mother for his manners as he spoke. I nodded my head in response and continued to make the coffees and tea.
I set the tea and coffee on the table between them, "I'm Jasper by the way," the blond one said with a voice that had my insides bubbling a little. I had a weak spot for accents, and a southerner's voice always pulled me in like an utter sucker…. But not as bad as Alice after a few tequilas I mused.
"Bella." I introduced myself properly as I took his outstretched hand and shook it, feeling a little more comfortable around them now that I knew their names.
"Hey, I'm Emmett." The big one announced as he stood up and opened his arms wide. I looked a little warily at him, trying to figure out what he was up to before he chuckled, "Come on, you gotta get an Emmett hug. I won't bite, promise." His dimpled smile reappeared once more and even though I usually took a while to warm up to new people, I shrugged to myself and made my way into his huge arms. I felt a little shocked to be feeling at ease in his arms even though the thought of what damage those arms could do to me flitted through my mind.
Black spots filled my vision as Emmett caringly crushed me to death in his powerful embrace. My breath left my body while he held me to him and I could feel myself getting lightheaded… so this is the kind of damage he can do my mind called out as I began to feel a little weak in the knees, even though my feet were no where near the ground.
"Em put her down before she passes out!" A dim voice washed through me just before I felt my wobbly feet touch the solid, sturdy ground. But as soon as Emmett let me out of his embrace, the ground no longer felt so sturdy. I started swaying. I cringed as I thought of myself crumpling to the ground; my clumsiness made it a regular occurrence and not one I wanted to endure with Emmett, Jasper, their friend and Simon watching.
My body swayed once more, I tried taking a deep breath, hoping that it'd help with the light-headedness but knowing from vast experience that it wouldn't and resigned myself to the simple fact that I'd fall flat on my ass before four guys…. Great!
A pair of muscled, warm arms circled my waist and held me up while anchoring me against their body, I held on tight to the arms around me while I tried to control my breathing. My back was pressed to the chest of the person who had saved me from falling to the floor and I could tell that it wasn't Simon that had caught me, the arms around me were bare, no trace of ink and the feel of his skin tingled my fingertips.
"There she goes again, good catch man." Simon's amused voice filtered into my mind as I tried to control my breathing. My fingers tingled from where they rested on the stranger's skin and I wondered for a split second why that was before I felt the arms loosening their hold.
"Thanks." I spluttered as I took a shaky step forward and turned around to look at the guy who'd caught me. My eyes which were directed on the floor started a path from his feet which were fitted in a worn pair of boots up his long, lean legs, over his worn dark jeans to his chest which was hidden beneath a fitted black t-shirt. I gulped before raising my eyes to his face, predicting quite certainly that the man before me would be hotter than his two friends put together.
My prediction was true. Jesus Mary and Joseph! I screamed in my mind at the sight of the man before me. If I could call him a man. He looked like a god, model and fantasy all wrapped into one. I felt as if I were about to swoon before him, press the back of my hand delicately to my head and fall graciously into his arms- feel him pick me up and ride away with me into the sunset to live happily ever after.
A crooked smile flashed across his face and I watched as his eyes gave me a quick once over. Usually I would have been a little peeved at a guy if he gave me such an obvious look over as I was stood before him but his quirky smile and freshly pierced eyebrow distracted me and sent me on the edge of princess like daydreams once again.
I pulled myself together in time to watch his smile widen the tiniest bit to catch a glimpse of his pearly white teeth before he spoke, "No problem." He said simply, ducking his head and running his hand through his hair which was in a state of disarray already. I wondered what it would take to tame his hair and decided it was just fine as it was. It was better than fine.
"Hey Bells you got coffee for me?" Simon asked, breaking the tension that had been slowly seeping into the room over the past couple of minutes. I nodded my head silently and pointed to the counter at his usual mug before moving away and hiding myself behind the reception. "Would you make another cuppa for Edward?" Simon asked, managing to give me the name of the guy I was obsessing over and something to do at the same time. It was no wonder Simon felt like family to me.
"Sure Si." I said before filling up the kettle and turning it on. He'd gone to sit on the sofas with the guys and were talking among themselves. Deciding now was as good a time as any I picked up the shop's phone and dialled a familiar number before holding the receiver in the crook of my neck as I ladled some coffee into a mug.
The phone rang four times before I heard a voice on the other side, "This better be good, I'm in the middle of 'The Simpsons'" Rose's voice stated on the other end of the line as a greeting, oblivious as to who it was she was speaking.
I rolled my eyes as I put the lid back on the pot of coffee and looked around for the sugar, "Hey Ro it's me, Bella. I was just wondering if you and Ali would come pick me up. Jake called earlier to say my truck wasn't quite ready to be picked up yet." I told her as I scooped in some sugar to the mug and put it away, moving next to get the milk from the mini fridge hidden under the counter with the kettle.
"Sure, I've just got about five more minutes till this episode finishes and we'll head over, Alice'll need the time to find an outfit. We heading out tonight or what B?" Rose asked, rushing her words as she was probably in a hurry to get me off the line so she could carry on watching the TV without interruption.
I bit my lower lip as I wondered if I wanted to go out with the girls tonight. Most of the times we head out we'd end up getting smashed and sporting hell-a-good hangovers the next day. I knew I had a big delivery of books coming in the next day that would need to be sorted through, catalogued and put away that day.
I looked up and toward Simon and his three customers who he was talking too as if they were his regulars and decided that tonight was as good as any night to drink a little wine and get a little bit drunk. "Let's do it, would you ask Ali to pick something out for me? Nothing OTT please." I added, knowing that without giving the little sprite a warning would be like I'd given her consent to dress me up any which way she wanted.
"No problem, see you in ten." Rose said before hanging up the phone. I rolled my eyes before putting the phone back and turned my attention to pouring the boiling water into the mug and adding a splash of milk.
Looking up I noticed that Edward was in deep discussion with Emmett. Crap! I thought to myself as I picked the coffee up, I'm gona have to take it over to him I thought as I made my way around the counter and over to the seating area.
I dropped the coffee down, Edwards eyes shot over to the mug before him and read the writing on the side, he glanced up at me and gave a small smile and a 'thanks' before he looked down at his hands and then picked up the conversation before him. I was just planning to make my escape to retreat back to the counter before Simon scooted over on the sofa and pointed to his side, "Squeeze on in Bells, there's plenty of room." He said casually, but I could see the sparkle in his eyes and knew from the tone of his voice that he was only doing it to make me feel like a complete and utter idiot.
Scanning the other's faces quickly and noticing they weren't really paying attention I shot Simon a glare before saying in my polite, butter wouldn't melt voice, "Thanks Si, 'preciate it." and made my way past Edward to sit between him and Simon, hoping that I could get in a few rib punches or pokes at Simon as we sat there without drawing too much attention and having to make an excuse on the spot.
"That's better." Si spoke softly so only I could hear and smiled a cunning smirk my way, no doubt knowing the reaction that Edward's mere presence was inflicting on me. Not only was my heart beating much faster than I thought could be healthy but the smallest thing made me blush while my thoughts got scattered around and took twice as long to gather in my mind. I closed my eyes and begged that Rose had her foot down on the gas peddle as she made her way over here, she'd know and so would Alice how to handle things with three hot guys in the room. This was unfamiliar territory for me.
Hurry! I begged as I felt the warmth from Edward's side radiating into me, hurry before I press myself into his side and refuse to let go. That would probably make it to number one on my most embarrassing episodes list… I mused as I concentrated on staying still and clasped my hands together in my lap. Deep breaths…. But not too deep because he smells amazing…. Hurry the fuck up Rose! I begged as I kept my eyes trained on the door…..
A/N= Not sure what ya'll make of it. Got the idea months ago and wrote most of it back then. Found it today and finished it off and decided to post it. I reckon one more chapter might just finish it off, try and make a small and sweet story of it.
Let me know what you think and if you want another chapter.