Thanks to dreamergirl87 and Batgirl8968 for beta-ing this chapter!
I just have a few things to make clear before you start reading. First off, this isa Bella/Edward fic, I promise. Have faith in my listed pairing. Secondly, I do not own Twilight. Lastly, this story is rated M for a reason, ye be warned.
I had once told my father that I wanted to marry him. It was one of those innocent childhood memories that you can't help but get slightly embarrassed about when they come to mind.
The fact that my father still teased me about it added to my embarrassment.
I couldn't have been older than five or six, and I was curious about everything going on around me; including marriage.
"What's merge?" I asked my mom, as she was washing the dishes.
"Merge?" she repeated, obviously confused.
"Uh-huh," I said, nodding. "Last night, I heard you tell Daddy that it took two to make merge work."
"Marriage," she corrected, smiling tightly. "Do you remember me telling you about how Daddy and I are married?"
I nodded, waiting for her to go on.
"Well, we are in a marriage," she told me, looking at me to see if I understood.
I just nodded again, comprehending the concept for the most part. But I wasn't completely satisfied just yet. "Will I ever be in a marriage?"
"One day," my mom told me, smiling again. "You will find a young man who loves you very much, and who you love back, and he will ask you to marry him."
"I love Daddy. Can I marry him?" I asked.
"He's already married to me, sweetie," she said, laughing.
"Why can't I marry him too?" I asked, a little hurt.
"You can't marry your daddy, because that's the mommy's job. When you grow up, you will marry somebody who loves you like Daddy loves me."
Now, I was really upset. "Daddy will want to marry me! You'll see!"
I didn't let her get a word in before I ran up to my room, just waiting for my dad to come home. And the second he did, I ran downstairs and popped the question.
"Daddy!" I yelled, jumping into his arms. He picked me up easily and spun me around a few times. "Will you marry me?"
"I'd love to!" he bellowed, grinning wide. "Oh, darn it."
"What?" I asked, my face falling.
"I just remembered, I married your mom," he explained.
"Can't you marry me, too?" I asked, feeling betrayed all over again.
"Afraid I can't," he said, shaking his head, "but can I tell you a secret?"
I nodded, my eyes filling with tears.
"Being my daughter," he said, looking into my sad, brown eyes, "is much more special than being my wife."
He then kissed the tip of my nose, the tickle of his mustache making me giggle.
I sighed, longing for the simplicity of my early childhood. It was taken from me much too early for my liking. It was pointless to dwell on that unchangeable fact, though. That much I knew.
It wasn't like I had such a horrible, stressful life now. Really, all I had to worry about was editing the paper I had written for my psychology class and making sure the dinner I had planned for my wonderful boyfriend turned out okay.
To me, Anthony was my little piece of childhood. He kept things simple and light, and that was more than I could ever hope for. He viewed the word in a way only he could, with a silver lining around everything. It was a mystery to me how he kept a positive outlook on life, but I was thankful, nonetheless.
The timer dinged, signaling my need to get the roast the fuck out of the oven before it was too late. Burning food was my specialty. Whenever I did end up burning my meal, and it happened frequently, Anthony would joke about liking his food extra crispy, and how my blackened meals reminded him of making s'mores as a kid.
Like I said, unrealistically positive, but in a truly endearing way.
I shoved my hands into a pair of thick, quilted mitts, and opened the oven door. A blast of fragrant hot air hit me in the face, making my eyes squint. I reached into the heat and quickly grabbed the roast beef, unscathed, I might add.
Because burning myself was one of my specialties, as well.
I placed the scalding dish on my ratty counter and turned to check on the potatoes and carrots. And good lord, I hadn't even begun to bake the Yorkshire pudding yet. That was the dish I was most worried about.
Growing up, Anthony was raised by his British nanny, Miss Bev, who made him and his father a Sunday roast every Sunday. He had mentioned it before, and I thought it would give him a little taste of home. I knew it wouldn't taste nearly as good as his nanny's, but it was worth a shot.
I made sure to make everything from scratch, too. I, for one, lived off of instant foods and dry mixes, but I knew his nanny had made everything from scratch. And there was no way my instant mixes could compete with that.
I checked the clock to see that I only had about fifteen minutes until Anthony would arrive. Fifteen minutes exactly. Anthony was nothing if not ridiculously punctual. He was never late and only early if he deemed it necessary.
He was pretty much perfect.
I had all but given up on trying finding anything wrong with him. It was impossible. Not that there was anything wrong with his lack of flaws, but it did make me feel just a little bit... unworthy of him. I mean, I was an impatient, occasionally potty-mouthed, perpetually late, unorganized mess. And here I was with the most perfect man in the world. No exaggeration. What could I have possibly done to deserve him?
I quickly prepared the potatoes and popped the Yorkshire pudding batter in the oven, cranking up the heat just a little on the oven, so they'd be done sooner. I was tempted to cheat and microwave the roast beef drippings, but I decided to simmer them in the skillet, just in case it was an important step.
I began to carve the roast beef and mash the potatoes as the Yorkshire puddings baked. I was surprisingly efficient in the task, working more quickly and accurately than I usually would. It turned into a mindless task, keeping my hands occupied, but leaving my mind to wander. I made sure to check the clock every once in a while, so I wouldn't get too lost in my thoughts and end up burning the puddings. As far as this meal went, things were going fantastic for me, and I didn't want to mess that up by losing track of time.
Just as I had taken the Yorkshire pudding out of the oven, I heard a firm knock at my door. I noticed the perfectly browned bread deflate just a little, and silently thanked the heavens that they turned out hollow.
I yelled for Anthony to come in, and told him to make himself comfortable on the couch while I finished preparing the meal. He offered to help, of course, but I told him not to worry about it.
"Please?" he asked, sneaking up behind me, wrapping his muscular arms around my waist. "I used to help Miss Bev all the time."
"Fine," I said, trying to sound exasperated. He gracefully grabbed the roast beef and mashed potatoes and made his way to the table, which was off in the far left corner of my living room, right outside my kitchen. I had always loved that I had that little alcove to turn into a small dining room. I had debated using it as a workspace, setting up my desk and laptop and printer, but it just felt more like a dining room. I grabbed the carrots and plate of little Yorkshire puddings and followed Anthony. Once we had successfully transported everything else, I took the seat across from him and admired my meal. It was by far the best one I had ever made. Anthony didn't know it, but I had also made mini custard tarts for dessert. I knew his nanny had made those for him as a boy, too.
"Have you finished your Psychology paper yet?" he asked me, sipping the wine he had brought over.
"Yeah, finally," I told him. "Just finished last night."
"Would you like me to look over it?" he asked, smiling. Before we started dating, I had often asked him to look over my papers. He did wonders with them. After working his magic with three of my papers, and helping me with my classes countless times, I asked him how I could ever repay him. He told me he would happily edit a thousand more papers if I went out with him. I wondered how that would at all equate to what he was doing for me, but I happily accepted anyway, not wanting to talk him out of it. We've been dating ever since.
"I'd be eternally grateful," I said honestly.
"You could easily make it up to me," he said with a sly grin.
"Oh yeah?" I asked, raising my eyebrows. I loved when flirty Anthony came out to play. "And how could I do that?"
"Come home with me this break," he told me, still smiling.
It wasn't the exact answer I was expecting, but it excited me nonetheless. "I'd love to."
"Really?" he asked excitedly.
"Really," I answered, his enthusiasm spreading to me. "I don't really like Arizona in the summer time anyway."
"You don't have to spend the whole summer with me," he told me. "I'd love to keep you all to myself for three months, but I think I'd better share you with your parents. I do want to get on their good side."
"I don't think it's possible for you to get on anyone's bad side, Anthony," I told him, scoffing a little. Everyone loved him.
"Still, I'd like to be on the safe side when it comes to my girlfriend's gun-wielding father," he told me, looking at me with his deep blue eyes framed in black-rimmed glasses. I usually didn't go for guys with glasses, but he pulled them off exceptionally well. He looked like a model with his strong jaw and tall stature. He had long lashes and pouty lips, but it really worked on him.
"You're right," I told him. "Charlie does have quite the trigger finger."
The color drained from his face and his smile fell. It was quite humorous.
"I'm kidding," I told him, smirking. "Mostly."
"Anyway," he said, his face gaining color again. "I've already asked my father about it, and he said you could stay as long as you like. Bev is dying to meet you, too."
"I can't wait," I told him honestly. "I've always wanted to go to Washington."
"You were born there, right?" he asked, remembering the small detail of my life I had shared with him months ago.
"Yeah, in Forks," I said.
"I think I've driven through there once or twice. Not much goes on there, does it?"
"I'd assume not," I said. "But I don't really remember the place. My dad loved it there, but my mom hated it. I asked my dad once if he wished he hadn't moved, but he told me that it saved his marriage, so he could never regret it."
"That's sweet," Anthony noted a faraway look in his eyes. "I'd move anywhere in the world for you, Bella."
My eyes widened and I stopped chewing my food. He looked completely serious and absolutely passionate. The love in his eyes was unmistakable.
"I mean it," he said softly. "You mean everything to me."
I swallowed my half-chewed food. I opened my mouth to speak, but I didn't know how to respond.
"I... I didn't mean to sound so forward. Or clingy," he cringed, his eyes leaving my face and focusing solely on the food in front of him.
"I'm sorry," I said, realizing my lack of response probably led him to assume the worst. "You had me at a loss for words. You know I'm not nearly as well-spoken or... wordy as you. Obviously. But I'd do the same for you, you know."
"You don't have to say that," he told me, his smile soft and lazy. "I didn't say it so you would tell me back; I just wanted you to know."
"And I want you to know," I said, smirking, "where you lead, I will follow. Anywhere that you tell me to. If you need! You need me to be with you!" I continued to sing the theme song to Gilmore Girls loudly, ignoring the fact that singing was definitely not one of my talents.
"Thank you," he said, chuckling and rolling his eyes a little. "Have I ever told you that you should try out for American Idol?"
"Oh, shut up!" I yelled, not the least bit embarrassed.
"I'm serious!" he said laughingly. "I don't even think Simon would have anything negative to say about your singing!"
I scoffed. "Shows how much you know. Simon isn't even there anymore."
"American Idol without Simon? That's basically an oxymoron."
"Tell me about it."
We continued our lighthearted conversation throughout dinner, smiling and laughing in between bites of my freaking amazing food. Seriously, who knew I could cook like this? When we were both finished, I collected our plates, having to demand Anthony to stay seated and let me clean up on my own. He actually let me without much of an argument, and after I put up the dishes, I got the custard tarts out of the refrigerator. I heated them up quickly in the microwave, and put them on a nice plate. I poured a couple of glasses of milk, and brought it out to Anthony.
"Are those custard tarts?" he asked, grinning widely.
I nodded, setting the plate in front of him. I was seriously starting to feel like a housewife. All I was missing was the heels, pearls, and frilly apron.
"You're amazing," he said right before delving into one. He moaned appreciatively.
"I try," I said, shrugging my shoulders. He moaned again, and I was a little too happy about it. I tried to smother my dirty thoughts down, for the time being at least, and enjoy my warm tart.
After our dessert, he helped me do the dishes, since the dishwasher in my apartment served no purpose other than decoration. It merely fooled people into thinking that I didn't have to do my own dishes.
We spent the rest of our evening joking around and watching Zombieland. I laughed every time he cringed or jumped. Zombies got the best of him. Watching I Am Legend with him was probably one of my favorite memories.
By the end of the movie, I had my head resting on his well-muscled chest and my arm slung around his waist. His arms wrapped around me, holding me close.
"I don't think I can sleep alone tonight," he whispered in my ear.
"Stay here," I said, snuggling into his chest. "I'll protect you."
"Actually," he said, his voice even lower, "I don't even think I can sleep tonight, I'm so terrified. You're going to have to find a way to keep me awake."
"I might have an idea or two," I said, leaning up.
That night, I found out that Anthony had an idea or two of his own. And neither of us got any sleep until the break of dawn.
"Good afternoon," Anthony's gruff voice said, waking me up from my deep slumber.
"Afternoon?" I questioned.
"It's half past noon."
"Ugh," I groaned. "I haven't done that since I was a teenager."
Anthony barked out a laugh. "You make yourself sound so old."
"I am old!" I argued, turning my face into his well-defined chest.
"Oh yeah," he agreed, running his fingers through my hair. "I think I see a few grays."
"'Cause I'm old," I reasoned. "I'm basically a cougar."
Age was a common ground for banter between us. Even though we were both freshmen, I was two years older than Anthony. Not only had I taken a year off school between high school and college to travel Europe, but I also had an early birthday, by the school district's standards, at least. Anthony, on the other hand, had an extremely late birthday. If he had been born just a few days later, he would have started school a year later. So, while he was still eighteen, and would remain that age until August, I was twenty, and would turn twenty-one come September. Honestly, I'd always thought I would end up with an older guy, since guys my age never held my interest. Who knew it was because I was into robbing the cradle?
I knew the age gap wasn't that wide, but it was still odd for me.
"I'm so excited about you coming home with me," he said, his arm wrapped securely around me.
"Me too," I said. "Maybe we can even visit Forks?"
"That sounds like a great idea. We can maybe try to find the house you first lived in."
"Really?" I asked. "I'd have to ask my dad what the address is. I've never really thought about it before, but I'm excited to see where my parents grew up. Where they met, went to school, hung out."
"Conceived you," Anthony added to my list, just like a guy.
"Ew," I laughed. "I definitely don't want to think about my conception, but thanks for that."
Anthony and I washed up together, taking our time to get each other really clean. But, unfortunately, he had to go into work at three. I promised to visit him later, truly glad that he worked at Barnes and Nobles rather than some club or bar, like most college students tried to work at. Plus, his ass looked damn fine in the khakis he wore.
I took the few hours I had to myself cleaning up my apartment a bit. It wasn't dirty, but it was getting a little cluttered-looking. Cleaning my apartment not only gave me something to do, but I always felt better when it was clean. After an hour or two of tidying up, I decided to give my Psychology paper a once over. I knew it was kind of pointless since Anthony would be looking it over soon, but I didn't want it to be overflowing with grammatical errors and mistakes when he got to it. Sometimes the amount of red pen on my once strictly black and white papers is just embarrassing. It made my papers look like they were brutally stabbed to death with that red pen of his. I've wanted to suggest that he just fix the errors on my original document, so I could print that one instead of writing one up, printing it, having Anthony edit it, go back and fix my mistakes, and then print it again. But I figured that would make me seem lazy, so I just put up with the extra work.
The free time I had left me to think about the upcoming month. It was already May and my first year of college had flown by. I couldn't believe it would be over in a month. And then I'd be going home with Anthony. I was a little nervous about the fact, but I knew I would have an amazing time. I loved spending time with him. I was a little nervous about meeting his dad, though. Even though he wasn't around much during Anthony's childhood, Anthony spoke very highly of him, and I wanted to make a good impression, which wasn't exactly something I was good at in general. Upon meeting people for the first time, I typically ended up embarrassing myself due to my cyclical cause and effect combination of anxiety and social awkwardness.
But I had a month until I had to worry about that.
The sharp sound of my phone ringing snapped me out of my small reverie.
"Hello?" I answered, not bothering to look at the screen.
"Bella!" the somewhat annoying sound of my high school friend Jessica's voice rang out. "What are you doing right now?"
"Nothing in particular, Jess," I said. "How come?"
"I'm bored and I miss your face," she said, causing me to chuckle. The girl got on my nerves occasionally; her ADHD and incessant gossip tended to get the best of me, but I still loved her. God knows why.
"How sweet," I deadpanned. "Let me guess, you want me and my face to come over and relieve you of your boredom?"
"Ding, ding, ding!" she exclaimed.
"I've got nothing better to do," I said with a smirk, although I highly doubted she could see it. "So I guess I could swing by."
"Hurry!" she said before I hung up. "I might go into a boredom induced coma. I'm studying physics, for Christ's sake!"
Jessica Stanley had been my best friend for my first two years of high school. She moved away right before our junior year, and we had lost contact by the time we became seniors. I ran into her on orientation day at the University of Chicago, and all my nerves just melted. Seeing a familiar face seemed to cause the both of us to cling together for the rest of the day. We were even placed in the same dorm, only a hall away from each other. Her roommate, Siobhan, even turned out to be my roommate's cousin.
I grabbed my keys and cell phone and made my way to my black, nineteen ninety-eight Jeep Cherokee. It wasn't the hottest car in the lot, nor was it particularly the most reliable, but it was mine and I loved it. And I took amazing care of it. With the right repairs, a new paint job, and meticulous care, you could hardly tell it was over ten years old.
Regardless of my efforts, though, it still guzzled gas like a bitch.
I drove to Jessica's dorm, which was only about five minutes away from my apartment, and parked my car out front.
I flashed my student ID card to the volunteer dorm security staff and made my way to room 316. I didn't even bother knocking on the door, it was fruitless. Jess would just yell for me to come in anyway.
I opened the door as if it were my own apartment, and plopped down on the bed, above where Jessica was painting her nails.
"Ol' Beller," Jessica said without looking up. She loved giving odd nicknames to everyone she met. I honestly didn't think she was always aware of herself doing it. "Why did we stop hanging out in high school?"
"You moved to Texas, doof," I answered.
"I didn't mean to," she said, her high pitched, almost child-like voice growing slightly softer. "We could have made it work."
"We're here now, aren't we?" I asked rhetorically. "No point in dwelling on the past."
Jessica had always been a bit dramatic, which was fitting, seeing as how she was a Theater major.
We chatted mindlessly for a few minutes before she proclaimed she was bored again.
"Let's go dancing!" she half-yelled excitedly. "No, no, let's go to a little concert. It's Chicago, there's always a concert playing. Let's go walk some dogs! Remember when we did that for our community service project?"
"Let's dance with some sheltered dogs at a concert," I grumbled, none of her ideas appealing to me. I just hoped she didn't take me seriously.
"I need something sweet," Jessica said suddenly. "Let's go to Alessandro's and get some coffee and tiramisu!"
Alessandro's was an Italian bakery not too far off from campus. It was shabby on the outside, so not many people knew about its delicious wonders inside. "That sounds great."
We took her car, much newer and nicer than mine, to the bakery, and the whole way there, images of sweet Italian desserts danced through my head.
We parked in front of the old, dilapidated building and scurried inside. The wind was picking up, and Jessica loathed wind more than anything in the world.
I ordered a tiramisu, and Jessica ended up getting a cannoli. We sat down with our desserts and coffees.
"So how's it going with you and Mr. Anthony?" Jessica asked, in between small bites of her dessert.
"Okay, I guess," I said, my mouth full of delicious mascarpone.
"You sound so enthusiastic about him," she noted sarcastically.
"I'm sure it's just stress or whatever," I said, waving the topic off. "What about you and Mike? How's that going?"
"Well, he's kind of an asshole," she stated. "But that's usually the type of guy I fall for, so no surprise."
We caught up, even though we had seen each other only days ago, and left with full bellies.
She drove back to her dorm and invited me inside, but I told her about meeting Anthony at work in only a matter of minutes. I left in my car, but headed home rather than Barnes and Nobles.
I felt like freshening up a bit before going to see Anthony. I curled my hair to give it a little more body and even put a little makeup on. Throughout high school, this was something I did at least twice a day, always coating my face with makeup and making sure my hair was perfect. Then, after roughing it for a year in Europe, things like that didn't seem as important. My looks became the least of my worries, and in the end, it made me a lot happier. Obsessing over my looks every five minutes actually wasn't the best way to live my life. Shocking, I know.
I drove leisurely to the bookstore, cranking up the radio and singing along. I usually liked to speed, no matter how much of a hurry I was in, but I decided to chill out and actually go the speed limit for once.
I parked in my usual spot and got out, double clicking the lock button until I heard the satisfying honk. I couldn't walk away from my car until I heard the honk. It made me paranoid.
I was just a little OCD. Nothing I couldn't handle.
Taking my time, I strolled into the store, making my way to the little island Anthony was usually stationed at. His back was to me and I could see that he was talking to a customer. Peeking around him, I could see that it was a young blonde girl, shamelessly flirting with him. She was cute, but she couldn't have been older than a junior in high school. Smirking, I tried to see Anthony's face without making myself known. It was quite entertaining.
He was smiling politely from what I could see, but I also knew him well enough to see the frustration in his face. Not two seconds later, I saw his lips purse and his nostrils flare as he breathed deeply through his nose. I debated speaking up and kindly letting the girl know she didn't really have a fighting chance, but frustrated Anthony was such a rare sight. I didn't think I could pass it up.
From what I could hear, she was making conversation with him about some teen book she was reading. She then started questioning him about the Nook, and I began to grow bored.
I walked into Anthony's line of sight and smirked at the relief I saw wash over him. He smiled brightly, ignoring the girl completely now. She huffed a little, but stayed in place.
"Almost ready, darling?" I asked sweetly, making my claim on him know. So I was a little territorial. Sue me.
"Just about, baby," he told me, turning back to the now frowning girl. "Was that all?"
She mumbled out a yes and walked off.
Bella: 1; High School Girl: 0.
I was aware at how petty I was.
We made our way to the Starbucks that was located inside the store, and had a couple of coffees. It was kind of our ritual.
We discussed our days, and he asked if he could come by and look over my paper tonight.
This man liked to work for eight hours and then edit his grammatically-challenged girlfriend's paper right after. I personally didn't understand it, but to each his own.
"I talked to my dad a bit today when things were slow," he told me, munching on his sugar cookie. "He wanted to know if you needed anything for next month."
"Like what?" I asked.
"A U-Haul, or a plane ticket, or anything that will ensure that things go smoothly."
"That's considerate," I said, nodding. "But I think I'll be able to fit everything in my Jeep okay. And I don't mind the drive."
"I figured as much, but my dad was insistent on me asking you."
It was obvious that Anthony's father used his money to make up for his lack of presence in his childhood. This wasn't the first time that he used his money to make sure Anthony had everything his heart desired, including a beautiful townhouse a few miles off campus and a new car. Why Anthony even worked was beyond me. I get that he wanted to feel like he was somewhat fending for himself now that he was on his own, but he was a college student. Free time wasn't something he had a lot of, but the little time he did get, he worked. Even though he had plenty of time to work after college. But, whatever.
Anthony and I ended up leaving together, since his boss let him leave early. The place was dead.
He followed me to my apartment in his car, insistent on looking over my paper. When alone in my car, I groaned out loud. I felt like he was doing so much more for this relationship than I was. I couldn't think of the last time I had done anything for Anthony, other than cook mediocre meals in which his consumption of them was more of a favor to me than me cooking them in the first place.
Although I will admit, my last meal was pretty kick ass.
Either way, Anthony lavished me with gifts and praises I was completely unworthy of. And I did nothing in return. He deserved someone so much better. Someone who was at least remotely worthy of him, and yet, I was too selfish to let him go.
I was hot.
Burning up, really.
Anthony and I were in his bed, the duvet wrapped around us. It was the end of May, and the nearly summer sun beat down on us through the window. I grumpily kicked the offensive covers off the bed, swiping Anthony a few times as well. He slept through it.
I untangled myself from his grasp, rolling over to the far side of his huge bed. I was not a cuddler. I needed my personal space. This, however, woke him up. Kicking him did nothing, but escaping his tight hold jostled him half awake. Somewhere along the lines of our relationship, I had become his personal body pillow. He slung his arm out and tried to pull me back in, but I wouldn't budge. Instead, I groaned and got up from the bed altogether and made my way to the bathroom.
Thoughts flooded through my mind as I stood under the hot spray. I had made sure to lock the door, keeping in mind Anthony's penchant for joining me in my showers. Upon turning in his two week notice at the book store, which turned out to be more of a one week notice, he had started to spend all his free time with me.
Not that there was anything wrong with that...
But I already felt somewhat smothered, and this was with a full schedule of classes and us living separately. Well, we mostly lived separately. We still had two separate places, even though we were usually together at just one of them. Typically, his place.
My point being, if I was feeling this overwhelmed with his presence now, how would I feel this summer, when we were living in the same house with no obligations or time requirements all day, every day?
I wrote my feelings off as nerves and stress. End of term was proving to be a huge bitch, and I was taking everything out on my poor boyfriend. And yes, I was still nervous about going home with him in just a matter of days. It was silly since we practically lived together now, but I was still anxious for whatever reason.
The water began to cool down and I hurriedly finished washing up, finishing just before the water went completely cold.
Sorry, Anthony, no hot water.
I wasn't too worried about it, though. He was still asleep when I entered his room, and I figured by the time he finished eating breakfast, the water would be warm again.
I dressed in one of his tee shirts and a pair of boy shorts, because all I kept here were panties.
Anthony wandered downstairs by the time I had finished making the French toast. I made his plate and poured a cup of coffee, handing it to him as he came up behind me. He set the dishes on the counter and smiled sleepily at me. He bent down to give me a sweet, chaste kiss. I grinned at him; Anthony was adorable in the mornings. His usually neat golden locks were in disarray and his blue eyes were sleepy.
"Ten more days," Anthony told me, sipping his coffee.
Ten more days.