Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight Characters. Please remember this story is FICTION…as in NOT TRUE!
"You're talking to the Big Easy on 93.4, what can I help you with?" he said, using his loud obnoxious radio voice. He was young and trying to make a name for himself in the Seattle market. The listeners were responding to his over the top personality and the station was happy with what they were seeing. His name was Edward Cullen, but he went by the moniker, Easy. It actually stood for E.C. but Easy was simpler.
"Yeah, um….I spoke to the doctor on the Swan Song show last night. I'm having communication problems with my girl and…."
He interrupted the caller and gave his own unsolicited advice. "Dude, buy a pizza, problems fixed."
"What?" the man asked without understanding.
"If you get a pizza and share it with her she can't be running her mouth about communicating, can she?
The man laughed and Easy continued on with his routine. "If it is a great pizza she'll do you for thinking about her and sharing. Don't let some radio shrink take your balls away from you. Buy her a pizza and have sex, problems solved."
The phone lines began lighting up and the show's producer, Jasper Whitlock, was going crazy with the task of screening and putting people in line to be on the air. He got a call he never expected and broke into Easy's rant. "We got a call here you need to take, dude," he said, and motioned through the glass wall for Edward to pick up the line.
"You're on air with the Big Easy."
"This is Dr. Swan," a very angry voice came over the line.
"Hey, Doc, want to share a pizza?" he teased, and Jasper laughed at the hair this kid had for taking on the infamous Bella Swan.
"I don't find it funny to ruin marriages by telling them to buy a pizza," she said with venom.
"I was saving him," Edward said adamantly. "If he gives in and has a long drawn out heart to heart, she'll expect it all the time. Pretty soon he'll be scheduling his own bikini wax. We don't need more women, so let us men be men."
Oh man, the gauntlet had been dropped and the war was on. Bella's mouth was hanging open in shock and she tried to express herself. She kept stuttering as the words were forming in her head faster than she could expel them.
"Hum…doc, maybe you should work on your communication skills, sounds like you are a bit tongue tied. Good luck to you," he said, and cut the connection. The board lit up with both sides wanting in on the battle.
"Big Easy," Edward said, and he took the next call.
"You're amazing, dude," A man laughed. "Those feminist shrinks ruin everything by trying to turn us into women. I say kick your chick to the curb if she complains, see how far that gets her."
"I don't condone violence, so don't actually kick her, but you can point expressively," Edward retorted and Jasper shook his head, knowing exactly what was coming.
The next call was a woman. "Men wonder why we can't stand to be around them and now…."
"Sweetheart," Easy said condescendingly, "I'll let you in on a secret, we've never wondered why…not even once. We have the equipment you desire, so maybe you should start wondering a little."
"Well, we have the equipment you desire," she said angrily.
"Yeah, but I have a very generous hand who never whines or leaves crap around my apartment." He knew his was hitting every hot button he could and began adding sound effects, like applause or laughter, to his end of the conversation.
"We can purchase equipment, too," the caller stated.
"But it won't buy you a pizza. See, you've just proven my point, thanks for calling."
Bella listened for close to an hour before calling the station manager and demanding a meeting between the manager, Easy, and herself. She wasn't putting up with some new snot ruining her show to advance his own career. She had offers from larger markets but remained here to be close to Forks. She would threaten to leave if they didn't get this smart ass kid under control.
The morning show ended with the boards still lit up and Edward took a deep breath and tried to calm down from his on air persona. Jasper walked into the booth and moved the mic back so he could lean against the sound board. "You're in deep shit," Jasper said.
"Naw, I just stirred the pot. It will all die down in a week," Easy said, and got out of the chair for the next personality to set up. They walked to Edward's office and the phone rang as soon as they sat.
"Twenty bucks says it's your father," Jasper said as Edward reached for the phone. His hand froze in mid air and he pulled it back as the phone continued to ring.
"Who is this Dr. Swan?" Edward asked Jasper.
"Oh, some hot chick, men want to do her and women want to be her. She is all about communication and understanding, but she holds a lot of clout around here so your ass is in trouble for sure."
An email alert sounded and Edward turned to look at his computer screen. He read the message from his father and turned to smile at Jasper. "I have to see my father and Dr. Swan in an hour."
"What are you going to say?" Jasper asked.
"Hey, do me a favor; pick me up a pizza to bring to the meeting."
Bella was furious when she walked into the studio office building. She had taken note of every offence Easy had made during his show to ridicule her and wasn't about to let him off the hook easily. She was going to demand he be taken off the air for a week and then permanently if he didn't change.
She knocked on Carlisle's office door and walked in to find him sitting behind his desk going through some documents. "Hello Bella, have a seat."
She sat in a tall leather chair and glanced around his office. He had photos of his family, a gorgeous wife, a handsome son, everything a man of his stature should have. She finally turned her attention back to him and watched as he read and chewed on his pen.
There was another knock and Carlisle yelled for the person to enter. Edward walked through the door holding a pizza in his hand and a huge grin on his face. Bella looked at his face and turned slowly to look at the portrait on the wall. Her anger rose to a whole new level.
"I thought we would communicate," Edward said as he held up the pizza. Bella stood in anger and he quickly handed her a napkin. "I hope you don't mind not having a plate, you look like a girl that can handle a piece or two with her hands."
"Son, sit down and shut your mouth," Carlisle said sternly, and Edward took a seat next to Bella and balanced the pizza on his lap.
"He's your son; do you expect me to believe you'll even listen to me?" She asked angrily.
"You have no idea how much he wishes I wasn't his son, so yeah, he'll listen, plus I brought a pizza, so we're all good." Edward knew he wasn't helping his own cause but there was one thing his father wouldn't ignore and that was ratings. The morning time slot had never scored so high and he was secure as long as he kept up the buzz.
He had to admit he was a bit thrown by the appearance of Dr. Swan. She was much more casual and a lot younger looking than he expected. Her hair was pulled back harshly from her face, but her features were soft and angelic.
Bella expected exactly what was in front of her. He was good looking, cocky, and had the right connections it took her years to form. She refused to look directly at him, because his face was handsome and he knew it.
"Before either one of you throws a hissy fit I want you to know you're moving to the evening drive time. You'll work as a team and keep the same format you have right now. Bella will help callers with issues and Edward will use comedy to keep it interesting."
The room was totally silent. Edward couldn't believe in three weeks he was moving to the prime time spot. It usually took years to work into that spot, not even Dr. Swan with her clout had that spot, but it also meant working with her.
Bella felt her heart drop into her feet. She had longed for the premium time slot, but with her own show not with a spoiled side kick.
"Will it still be called Swan Song?" she asked, and Edward gave her a disgusted tisk.
"No," Carlisle said adamantly. "It will be called, Drive home with Bella and Edward."
"I don't want my real name used," Edward interjected. He didn't actually mind, but he knew it would drive Dr. Swan crazy, so he threw it into the mix.
"Fine… Bella and Easy."
"No, not fine," Bella said with panic in her voice. "Not fine at all. I'm not doing my show with someone called, 'easy.' My callers have serious issues and shouldn't be made fun of for it."
"If they are calling a radio show to run their lives, they should absolutely be made fun of. How do you help them with a five minute 'thought of the day?' Not even a real doctor would do that."
Her head finally turned to look directly at his smug face and she said with as much control as she could muster. "I am a real doctor."
"But you don't have real patients," he tried to point out. "You are simply a live fortune cookie, Cookie." He gave her his best smile and she scowled at him.
Bella looked at Carlisle for help, but he liked the scene playing out in front of him and knew it was airwave gold. His head was full of marketing plans and billboard ads, seeing for the first time the possibility of being number one in the prime time slot.
"May I speak with you alone, Carlisle?" she asked, and Edward jumped up to leave. It was just the escape he wanted. He knew his father would insist Bella give it a shot, since company statistics would be on the line.
Edward was good with the proposal and didn't want to remain and hear what his father worked out with Bella, plus she would have castrated him if he remained in the room. He grabbed a slice of pizza and headed back to his office. Jasper was waiting and jumped up when he walked into the room. Edward hadn't considered Jasper's part in the reorganization and was going to insist he produce the show. He had no idea who Bella's producer was.
"We're going prime time," Edward announced with a smile.
"No way," Jasper said, with a tone that said he would beat the shit out of Edward if he was lying.
"Yes, way, but there's a catch," he said, and Jasper sat back in the chair with disappointment.
"Of course there is."
"It's a show with me and Dr. Swan together," he announced, and watched Jasper's face for the reaction. He gave Edward a funny glare and he could tell Jasper didn't believe a word out of his mouth. Jasper had been Edward's friend since junior high and he could usually tell when Edward was giving him a line, but this time he found the truth impossible to believe. "Who produces her show?" Edward asked.
"Alice Brandon, she's a totally irritating little shit who thinks she can do no wrong," Jasper said.
"Yeah, she gets it from her boss. Man, that chick needs to get laid. How old is she anyway?" Edward asked because he wouldn't mind being the one to do the job.
"I don't know, late twenties, early thirties," Jasper mused, "Google her."
Edward sat in his chair and typed in her name on his computer and smiled as he looked at the images coming up. "Oh my God, she's from Forks. How small town is that, no wonder she has a chip on her shoulder," Edward laughed. "She went to school in Arizona, oh shit, look at this joker she dated."
Jasper looked over the desk and laughed at the sight of the nerdy looking guy with perfectly parted hair and thick rimmed glasses. Edward moved around to various sites and finally stopped to read a profile. She had been engaged but her fiancé died in a car accident. He felt a little bad for trying to get under her skin. She was twenty-nine, four years older than him, and had authored two books.
His ego took a hit and he wondered if he could hold his own with her on the air. He understood why his father wanted him as the comic relief and not as a co-host along with Dr. Swan. The door suddenly flew open and Bella walked into the room. She leaned onto the desk and spoke in a calm voice that terrified him.
"You are a spoiled little boy without a clue what you just did. I will eat you up and spit you out," she threatened.
"Dr. Swan, are you coming onto me?" he replied with a grin and licked his lips provocatively.
"You don't have the balls to give me a moment of satisfaction, professionally or physically. You're a kid on the playground and I'm in the pros, so no little boy, I'm not coming on to you," she said and turned to leave.
"Does my father know you're a prostitute?" he said loudly as she walked to the door trying to make a joke out of her words.
She turned to glare and said cynically, "Who do you think is pimping me out, asshole."
"Touché," Edward said and nodded his head to bow to her cleverness. Her heels clicked as she walked quickly down the hallway and Edward turned to Jasper and both men laughed. This was going to be a lot more fun than he realized.
Bella wasn't about to let him win. If she had to humiliate him on air and prove to the metropolitan Seattle population what a fool he was, she would do it happily. Alice was waiting for her and could tell by her expression she was livid. "What's going on?" Alice asked.
"We're moving to prime time," Bella said angrily.
"Isn't that a good thing?" Alice knew how much Bella had dreamed of that time slot and couldn't imagine why she would be upset about it. Alice was hoping she would finally be able to sleep at night instead of listening to people whine and complain.
"We're taking Carlisle's son with us," Bella said and grabbed a pencil and threw it across the room.
"Easy?" Alice asked in shock.
"Easy, Dopey, whatever he goes by. I'll have him crying on the air in less than a week," Bella vowed.
"Am I losing my job?" Alice asked with wide eyes. She wasn't sure Bella would bring her along and maybe this was a way for Jasper to get rid of Alice once and for all.
"I'm not going without you," Bella said and sat at her desk to pull up the bio of Edward Cullen. He was only twenty-five and this was his first radio job. She laughed at how easy she it would be to get rid of him once and for all.
Bella sat at the microphone at eleven that night to begin her show. She wouldn't announce the change until they had someone else to fill her time slot and wanted to forget about the punk kid she would be mentoring until he finally gave up and left.
Alice nodded to her and she leaned in to the hot mic. "Good Evening Seattle, welcome to Swan Song. I want to talk about…."
Bella stopped speaking and looked at the caller board which was completely lit up. She glanced at Alice and saw she was lining up the calls. "Well, it looks like it will be a busy night so I'll get right to the callers. This is Dr. Swan, what's on your mind?"
"I heard you on the Easy show this morning, was that real or staged?" the caller asked.
"I'm afraid Easy is a bit self-absorbed, he was making light of someone's problems to advance his own show. It was for entertainment value only."
Edward was lying in bed listening to the show, trying to get a feel for Bella's tempo and style. He grinned and reached for his phone. Alice answered to screen the call and he knew just how to jump to the front of the line.
"I need to speak to Dr. Swan and I don't want to hear nonsense about an earlier show, I'm in real trouble here."
"You'll be the next call," Alice said, and soft music began to play as Edward laughed.
He listened to the music and within a minute Bella took the call. "You're on Swan Song."
Edward tried to deepen his voice and cleared his throat. "I have a coworker, more like a superior, who keeps coming on to me. She's really pretty so I don't know if I should just sleep with her or risk my job and shoot her down."
"It is never okay for a person in a position of power to intimidate a coworker with sex. You need to put a stop to this behavior and tell her in no uncertain terms you are not going to sleep with her. Do this preferably in front of witnesses so you have back up if legal matters arise."
"Oh okay, I'm putting you on notice Dr. Swan, I am not sleeping with you," he laughed, and heard her gasp at his accusation.
"You narcissistic punk," Bella said angrily. "I wouldn't touch you if my life depended on it."
"How about if your career depended on it, would you do something you loathed if your paycheck was in jeopardy?" he teased further.
"Are you threatening me?" she asked and really hoped having this conversation on air would end their partnership.
"Not at all, I just want to see how fluid your morals are. What if doing something as despicable as doing me could solve world hunger, would you do it then?"
"That is ridiculous," she said, and he could tell how angry she was and how hard she was trying to keep her calm so he kicked it up a notch.
"All the poor starving children in the world and you refuse to help them, what kind of doctor are you?"
"I would like to tell the listening audience, this is the young man referred to as Easy, and as you can tell he is exactly as you would expect someone with that name to be like." Bella knew it was childish to give him the attention he was after, but she also wanted him to know she would not back down to his aggressive behavior. He was obviously spoiled and over indulged as a child, but she was going to stand up to him.
Edward loved that she was trying to embarrass him into backing down. He would show her from the start nothing embarrassed him and he was not easily manipulated by someone with initials behind her name.
"I'm sorry Dr. Swan, but my moniker is E.C. Maybe you should get your mind out of the gutter and stop assuming I'm easy. I just want to know if you are going to be constantly coming on to me if we work together," Edward said, and tried to sound as serious as possible.
"What you're witnessing ladies and gentlemen is an immature male at his best. He is trying to confuse the topic with playful banter and sexual innuendo without any idea how transparent he really is. E.C., I can tell you are not presently in a relationship, nor have you ever had a serious adult relationship in your life. You bring girls home to relieve your tension and try to impress them with volume over skill. You have a routine you have honed over the years, using a certain smile, a tilt of your head to give the perfect come hither stare, and style your hair to appear as if you casually came directly from your bed. You attract shallow women because you sir, are as shallow as they come. Go play your game elsewhere, momma's busy."
Edward felt his smile fade as she gave her perception of him. He was shocked at how dead on she was and felt exposed by her description. But she wasn't hiding anything either and it was his turn to call her on it. He cleared his throat and took on a new demeanor as he spoke slowly and softly.
"Dr. Swan, you blame the world for what you have lost and surround yourself with the guise of education, when in actuality you are only protecting your heart from feeling anything. You dish out advice to others as you refuse to take it yourself. If you are such a believer in communication and understanding, maybe you better understand how badly you need to communicate your feelings. Lighten up, you didn't die, and he didn't do it on purpose."
There was nothing but silence on the air. Alice quickly went to commercial as Bella sat in her chair without moving. She was wounded by his remark and felt he did it on purpose. Edward remained on the line and could hear the steady breathing without any attempt to speak. He finally said, "Bella?"
The sound of her name brought her from the trance she had been locked in. She turned to Alice and said, "Get Carlisle on the phone."
"Bella," Edward screamed loudly. He would apologize if she would just pick up the damn phone. She reached over and cut the connection so all he heard was a dial tone. "Shit," he mumbled and jumped out of bed to dress quickly. He knew his father would show up at the station and he had to be there to salvage his job any way he could.
He didn't have the luxury of living in the middle of the city; his apartment was closer to the university where rent was affordable. The radio was set to the show so he could listen as he drove. Bell continued on with a call about a cheating spouse and a woman who needed to have her cat put down.
It was over half an hour later when Edward pulled into the station parking lot and saw his father's car. He knew his own show was going to start in six hours, but he would sleep in his office if he was allowed to stay on the air. Bella waited for the long break, where news and weather would take at least ten minutes and headed into Carlisle's office.
"I heard the show and I'll talk to him," he said right when Bella opened the door.
"That's it, you'll talk to him?" she asked with shock.
"He's a good kid if you'll give him a chance," Carlisle said, and then realized how stupid it sounded and dropped his head.
"Why are you doing this to me?" she asked softly. "Why are you trying to ruin me?"
His head snapped up and he looked directly into her eyes. "I'm trying to give you the chance of a lifetime. This will make you marketable across the country. You would have your pick of where you could work."
"I want to work here, and you know why," she said and they stared at each other.
Edward came walking down the hallway and saw his father's door open. He moved against the wall and listened as they spoke.
"Bella, this is too awkward. You have a lot of talent…."
"I won't let you push me out because of your own feelings of guilt. I was falling apart and you put me back together, period. Don't punish me for something you did wrong."
"I love my wife," Carlisle said as if he was experiencing something very painful.
"And I loved my fiancé," she replied. "What did you tell Edward?"
"Nothing, his numbers are high and I felt the combination would be electric."
"Are you sure you aren't trying to give us everything because of guilt?"
The room was silent and Edward moved closer to hear the answer. Carlisle shook his head and said, "I don't know."
He rounded the corner and saw his father dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt standing behind his desk as Bella remained closer to the door. Edward didn't see a man who was running a radio station, he saw a man who still had his good looks and spent too much time away from his family. Carlisle's eyes moved to where Edward stood and they looked at each other with stunned looks on both of their faces.
Bell spun around to see him standing there and her eyes wouldn't look at his. They fell to his feet and tears rolled down her cheeks. "Well, well," Edward said hatefully. "I see exactly how fluid your morals really are. I doubt most employees jump in bed with the boss when their loved ones die, but hey, dad, maybe compassionate service is what keeps you away from home so much."
"It isn't what you think, son," Carlisle said with a strained voice.
"Excuse me," Bella said and tried to leave the room. Edward shot out his arm to block her retreat and looked at her in shock.
"No, you don't get to walk away, Dr. Swan. You called my father down here for a reason and I want to know what it is." Edward was shaking with anger and wasn't about to let the subject die. He had spent too many dinners alone with his mother to let her off the hook so easily.
"I don't want to work with you, it should be obvious," she seethed.
"I don't' think you have a choice in the matter. Unless my father is willing to give me the time slot by myself," he looked over to see Carlisle shake his head back and forth. "You are my new partner, sweetheart."
"Don't call me that," she demanded, and her voice rose to a loud level.
"Would you rather I call you mommy?" he said, and Carlisle finally lost his patience.
"Bella, get back to the studio, Edward, sit your ass down," he yelled, and Bella pushed through Edward's arm and ran down the hallway.
"Oh you are priceless, dad. God, you are married to a beautiful woman and it isn't enough? You were never there for me, and I kept my mouth shut, but you should have been there for mom." Edward was pacing in the room and felt like he wanted to cry. He knew his father was overzealous with his work, but he never figured he was sleeping with the talent.
"Edward, my marriage is my business, but I want you to know what you heard is not what you think it was. I love your mother, I adore her," he said as if pleading for his life. He was too adamant, as if trying to convince Edward, just as a guilty man would do.
"I'm not going to tell mom, so save it," he said and walked to the door. "God, I hope I don't turn into you. And you better start looking for a replacement for Bella, because she'll be resigning by the time I get through with her."
Edward slammed the door on his way out and walked down to the studio. He stood behind the glass partition and tried to decide what it was he felt. He was hurt and disillusioned, but there was also a part of him that was jealous. Never in a million years did he ever think his father would be competition.
Alice finally spoke, "Is Jasper coming with you to prime time?"
"Yes," Edward answered without looking at her.
"Damn it," she said softly and Edward chuckled. Prime time was going to be an all out battle with the strongest left standing. He just got the ammunition he needed to make sure it was him.
Bella refused to look at him and continued on with her show in a professional manner. She was shaking on the inside and wondered exactly what Carlisle had told his son about their night together over a year ago.
Edward finally left the studio and went to his office. He pulled out a liquor bottle from his bottom drawer and took a long drink. The small sofa was way too short for his long body, but he pulled the afghan from the back and wrapped it around his shoulders as he continued to drink.
Bella finished her show and headed to her own office. She saw the light on down the hallway and peeked in the door to see Edward lying on his side with the empty bottle still in his hand. She groaned, knowing he would miss his show and put his career in jeopardy, but also feeling some guilt of her own and felt the need to spare him more pain.
She kept a blow up mattress in her office for the times she had to stay for morning staff meetings, so she hauled it into his office. After setting up the bed and covering it with a pillow and blanket she went to the couch to pull him off.
His glassy eyes opened and he smiled at her. God, he was gorgeous and she felt her body respond to him. She was sure it was because she hadn't been with a man for so long, and he was naturally very sexy.
"Am I at your place?" he asked with slurred speech.
"No, you're in your office," she told him, and dropped him onto the air mattress before removing his shoes.
"Good, I would hate to be late for work," he mumbled, and Bella couldn't help but smile.
Edward was snoring loudly as Bella slept on the small couch. She hoped he was alert enough to go on air in three hours and came up with her own plan if he wasn't. She fell asleep and was woken up when Jasper opened the door and turned on the light. Edward groaned loudly and Bella sat up.
"I'm not sure he can go on air," she said with a yawn.
"Bullshit," Edward said with his head still face down on the pillow. "I've done many things in my life with a hangover."
"What's going on?" Jasper asked as he looked back and forth between the both of them.
"Nothing, I found him drunk and put him on the mattress to sleep it off," Bella said and stood to leave. She was exhausted and happy she wouldn't be filling in for Edward today. She reached the door when Edward called out for her.
"You know what I want to know," Edward said and sat up to look at her. He looked young and hurt, causing her heart to clench and the guilt to multiply. She glanced at Jasper and then back at Edward.
"I don't have a single word answer for you, it is really complicated," Bella answered, and quickly left the room.
Edward rubbed his face harshly and tried to get up but stumbled back onto the mattress. Jasper reached for his arm and pulled him to his feet and sat him in the chair. "I'll get you some food and some coffee," Jasper said and left the room.
After doing all he could to make Edward presentable Jasper helped him to the studio and sat him in front of the mic. Edward held his head in his hands and waited for the countdown. Jasper had faith in his abilities and knew once they got onto the air he would be fine. The music began and Edward raised his head and launched into the show.
"This is the big Easy and nothing is going to be Easy today. I partied hardily last night and paying the price today. But you don't have to be hung over to be feeling dreadful as you climb from a warm bed and head to the grind. Life is one big suck fest, isn't it?"
He glanced at the board to see he had a caller waiting. He hit the light and said, "Well aren't you an eager beaver today. What is so damn important you had to call so early?"
"I heard your fight with Dr. Swan last night, I thought it was awesome," the caller said.
"You did, you thought a staged fight between radio personalities was awesome? You have a pathetic life don't you?" Edward said, and Jasper pounded on the glass wall.
"Yeah, I do," the caller laughed.
"I think everyone has a pathetic life, we all pretend to be okay but let me share a little secret. The people who are the most messed up are the ones who are paid to entertain you. Listen to my show and I'll make you laugh and tell you everything is great and life is easy. Then you can call Dr. Swan in the cover of darkness and she'll read a bumper sticker to make you feel buoyed and capable. The truth is, I don't give a shit about your life and could care less if you laugh. And the person who needs the most help is Dr. Swan. So there you have it Seattle, you can all suck it."
The caller board lit up like crazy.
Before Edward could take the next call the studio door opened and Bella sat at the other hot microphone. She never looked at Edward, but went right into her routine. "Good Morning, Seattle, isn't the Big Easy just a piece of manure today? Some men just can't seem to be happy drunks, so I'm here to brighten his day. For all you girls out there swooning over a man who admits to being easy let me tell you he's adorable in the morning, all disheveled and looking like a naughty boy."
Edward chuckled and she finally glanced over at him. He blushed a little and she found it oddly comforting. "We love the naughty boys, don't we, ladies? A great guy with manners and goals, nope we push those aside, but a guy who crawls out of a bed he doesn't remember climbing into, we get all ga ga."
"Ga ga?" Edward said into the mic. "Is that really a word?"
"Oh yes," Bella said emphatically. "It means we've lost our minds over a loser. Women spend half their lives going ga ga."
"We drink because women confuse the hell out of us. One moment they rip us apart and the next they do something really amazing. We have to drink to keep from putting a bullet through our heads," Edward said, and felt his spirit returning to the comfort of his comedic routine.
"I hate to tell you this, but some of you are making the wrong choice," Bella laughed.
"Dr. Swan, are you suggesting the male gender off themselves?"
"Are you talking dirty to me?" Bella responded, and Edward's eyes widened in surprise at the ease in which she teased with him. It felt natural and comfortable, for the first time he could really see a show with her working and not just to his advantage.
Jasper pounded on the glass and motioned for them to take a call. Edward hit the button and said, "You're on with Easy and the Doc."
"You two are cracking me up, thanks for making the drive into work more enjoyable," a woman said as she laughed.
"Are you ga ga over some loser?" Edward asked her.
"Yes, going on five years now. I'll never learn," she sighed.
"So is it the loser part that keeps you around?" he asked.
"Are you really asking her to call her guy a loser on the air?" Bella interrupted. "This is something we don't admit to ourselves let alone the entire listening audience."
"I'm just curious, because I think if you stick with a guy for five years he has no idea he's a loser and you need to tell him," Edward said, and Bella laughed loudly.
"Come on, you know you're a loser if you are a loser. It isn't a big secret; we just want to pretend you're going to change."
"Wait, wait, wait, seriously, we only know we're losers when you tell us over and over again…."
"Oh I tell him," the caller said. "I tell him often, especially at Christmas when he acts like a jerk to my family."
"Bingo," Bella said, and added a buzzer noise. "The true characteristic of a loser is when he ruins the holidays just for the heck of it. Does it really kill you guys to act civil for one day?"
Jasper motioned for the next call and Bella picked it up this time. "What's on your mind caller?"
"My in-laws are S.O.B.'s and I have to have my holiday ruined by visiting them," the man said angrily. "If she wants to hear her mother bitch for a day she can go by herself."
"Well, aren't you precious," Bella said condescendingly. "What in the world could they have to complain about with you?"
"Exactly," the man agreed.
"Dude, you're making us all look bad," Edward laughed. "This Christmas swat your mother-in-law on the ass and tell her she looks hot, drink a lot first if you have to."
"You're insane," Bella said with wide eyes as she stared at Edward's laughing face. "If some man did that to my mother he'd lose his balls."
"Well, I have a hot mother, so it would be true in my family," he said and noticed the change in Bella's face. She looked away from his gaze and her lip began to shake a little. It was a startling reminder of why he drank so much the night before and he exhaled loudly. "So losers attract the women, huh?"
"It works both ways," she said softly and there was nothing but dead air, so Jasper moved into a commercial. She finally raised her eyes to look at him and said in just a whisper, "Edward, it isn't what you think and I am begging you to leave it alone."
"Are you 'it' Dr. Swan?" he pressed.
"No, I'm not," she said emphatically and he wasn't sure what she meant.
"I think I'm good now, you can go," he said, and got out of his chair to fill a cup with coffee. Bella turned off the microphone and left to go home and get some decent sleep. She didn't listen to the remainder of the show. She knew what Carlisle was talking about now and got a feel for how the new program would work. It wasn't going to be a bad as she thought.
Edward moved into his Easy character and kept the show lively and moving quickly. When he was finished he went back to his office and collapsed back onto the air mattress after locking the office door. He slept into the late afternoon.
A ringing telephone woke him and he didn't make it to the phone in time to answer. He pulled himself to his chair and looked at his emails. His agent had his new contract ready and needed his signature so they could set up photo shoots and promos for the new show. Someone had been hired to replace him in the mornings and reruns would play for the Swan Song show until someone else was in place.
He cleaned up the bed mess and left the studio to sign his contract. Jasper had already signed and he was told Alice would be co-producing the show. "Is Jasper okay with this?" Edward asked with surprise since he knew how much he despised Alice.
"He signed, so I assume he is. Hell, he should do this just for the boost to his resume," the agent said.
Edward signed on to a three year agreement, but something told him Bella would leave long before it came to its conclusion. He made it home and took a hot shower before making something to eat. He sat in front of the television to watch a game and eat, but the doorbell interrupted him. He got up with a groan and opened the door to find tiny Alice staring up at him.
"Ah….hi," he said stupidly.
"May I come in?" she asked, and he noticed the alluring pitch to her voice. He stood back and let her enter; she walked to the couch even though Edward hadn't offered her a seat.
"I just wanted to introduce myself and get to know you a little since we'll be working together."
He smiled knowingly, thinking she was into him or she would have waited for an office meeting. He came over to sit next to her and gave her body a quick scan. "So exactly what is it you want to know?"
She looked down at her hands and Edward's eyes followed to see the perfectly manicured fingernails. She was wearing jeans but with really high heels making her athletic legs look extra long. He looked at her full lips and waited for her to answer his question. "I guess I really want to know why Jasper hates me so much."
Jasper, she was here to gain information about Jasper? Edward felt his ego take another hit and he scooted away from the close proximity he had been to her. "I have no idea," Edward said truthfully.
"So you admit he does hate me?" she said to back him into a corner.
"Alice, you are talking to the wrong person. It would be like me talking to you about Bella. I'm sure you don't know her feelings on every subject."
"Yes, I do," She admitted. "Bella tells me everything."
"Okay, answer this, is she having an affair with my father?"
Alice froze, but her eyes were darting back and forth as if something was suddenly falling into place and making sense. Her purpose for the visit suddenly changed and she stood to leave. "Well, you just answered that question," Edward said and stood, too.
"I didn't answer anything, because I know nothing about it," she lied.
"I thought she tells you everything," he challenged.
"She's not in a relationship right now, so I'm pretty sure the answer is no," Alice said and reached for the door. Her nervous demeanor gave her away and Edward knew exactly how to reach the truth. He waited for her to leave and then grabbed his keys and headed over to Jasper's place.
A young woman answered the door in only a slip. Edward didn't recognize her, but knew Jasper was celebrating the big raise he had just received. She let him enter and he headed back to the bedroom to find Jasper in the bed watching a movie.
"Hey, what's up?" Jasper asked and glanced nervously at the young woman.
"Why do you hate the Brandon chick?" Edward asked.
"She's a stuck up bitch," he replied.
"Well, I need you to find out some information from the stuck up bitch," Edward said and noticed the young lady glare at him. "Who are you?" Edward asked her with a sarcastic tone.
"I'm Jess," the girl said and put her hand protectively on Jasper's arm
"Are you sure you're not just next," Edward said, and Jasper threw the television remote at him.
"Find out the information yourself," Jasper said angrily. He knew Edward could be demanding but this was a whole new level of spoiled behavior. This was Jasper's house, his room, and his girl, so he wasn't putting up with Edward's whining. "If this isn't work related get out."
Edward left and decided to go past his parent's house. He hadn't seen his mother in a few weeks and wanted to check on her and make sure she was okay. He pulled into the driveway and noticed his father's car was gone. His instincts told him he was with Bella, having their own celebration.
He walked through the back door and found the house dark. He yelled out for anyone and began walking through the empty rooms. This was his childhood home and he had wonderful memories of the place. His mother was loving and an attentive mother who spoiled her only child. His father was driven and provided a comfortable living. They traveled often and owned a vacation home in Brazil. Edward went through the typical teenage rebellion and began testing his parent's patience in high school. He never got into any real trouble, but he was subjected to lectures in his father's study often.
He checked the entire house and found it empty so he went to the study and searched through the drawers. He wasn't sure what he was looking for, but something to answer the nagging questions he had in his head. His eye caught the sight of something under the desk blotter so he reached under to pull out a handwritten letter. It was to his father, from his mother.
We need to work this out; the years and the memories are too much to walk away from. Our son is the glue to put us back together and we owe it to him to try. I am begging you to hire him, let him remind you daily what was good about us. I love you, Carlisle. I know it is hard to remember, but my heart belongs to you.
Edward understood why he was suddenly hired as the morning talent at his father's station. His mother had placed him there to be the wedge between Carlisle and Bella. He was the reminder for his father that he had a wife and child.
Edward replaced the letter and picked up the phone to call the station. The producer for the evening show answered and Edward pretended to be lost and late for a meeting at Bella's house. He was given the address and hung up the phone to head over there.
Bella lived in a downtown apartment, close to the place Carlisle kept for late meetings when he wanted to remain in the city. Edward was terrified he would see his father's car in the building parking garage, but he didn't see the Jaguar anywhere. He rode the elevator to the right floor and found the apartment easily. He took a deep breath and rang the bell.
It took several minutes for someone to come to the door. He could hear the locks unlatching and Bella answered the door in only a robe. Her hair was wet and she only opened the door a crack.
"Edward?" she asked with a quiet voice.
His anger rose quickly and he said adamantly, "I want to speak to my father."
"He's not here, he left an hour ago," she said, thinking Edward knew his father had been there. He pushed forcefully into the apartment and slammed the door behind him. He was breathing heavily and trying desperately to control his anger.
"You have five minutes to tell me what's going on," Edward demanded.
"I'm not telling you anything," she said forcefully. She laughed at his audacity and wouldn't break the patient privilege no matter how much Edward demanded. Whatever the Cullens wanted to share with their son was their decision, not Bella's.
"You're a pretty woman, just because your guy died doesn't mean you have to dig your hooks into a married man."
"You have no idea what you're talking about," she said and tightened her robe. "Get out of my house, I don't like what you're insinuating."
He was frustrated and feeling desperation to save his parent's marriage. Maybe Bella was simply lonely and if he showed her some attention, took her out a time or two she would let go of his father. He looked at her and said, "I would like to take you to brunch on Sunday."
"Don't be ridiculous," she said, and her eyes moved to the ground. She felt awkward that he would ask her out when they would be working so closely together.
"We need to develop a friendship so we can relate to each other on air. You know nothing about me and I think we should talk," he said.
"Fine, bring Jasper and I'll bring Alice," she countered. She had no interest in him romantically, she was older than him for heaven's sake, but she knew there was animosity between the two producers and maybe it was something they should address up front.
Edward nodded, knowing Jasper was going to be mad as hell. He would leave out the fact Alice was coming and hope for the best when they all sat down together.