Author's note:

This outtake was written for Fandom for Texas Wildfire Relief. It takes place in Chapter 34 and covers Bella's phone conversation with Renee prior to Edward arriving home.

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The Mother


"Hey, Mom."

"Bella! I was just thinking about you. How are you? How is school going?"

"I'm fine. School's going good. Only a couple more months."

"Are you calling to tell me you want to move home when you graduate?" she teased. "I'll terminate the lease on the apartment early if you don't want to stay there until August."

"Sorry, Mom. That's not why I called." Bella almost added that she would probably stay in the Seattle area indefinitely but decided to keep that information private. She knew with Edward's new job that it wouldn't be long before he didn't need her support anymore, but she couldn't imagine moving away from him. And since he was stuck in the area for the duration of his parole, which could be another three years, she didn't see herself moving away—to Phoenix or anywhere else—any time soon. "There's actually something I should tell you. Before Dad does."

"You're pregnant!"

"What? Geez, no! Why do you even sound happy about that?"

"You've met a man?" The excitement in Renee's voice was still clear.

"No." Bella sighed in frustration. "I have a roommate."

"A roommate? In a one-bedroom apartment? Why on Earth . . . oh, baby, you did meet a man!"

"Ugh. No, Mom." Bella struggled for the right words to describe Edward but came up blank. "Okay, I admit my roommate is a guy, but—"

"I knew it!" Renee exclaimed. "Are you being safe?"

"Mom!"

"I'm really not ready to be a grandma."

"Oh, my god. It's not like that. We're just friends. He sleeps on the couch."

"Mm-hmm." Renee had her suspicions. "So tell me about him. Is he cute? Is he smart? I bet he's smart."

Bella struggled to keep the smile off of her face but failed miserably. "He's very cute. And yeah, I think he's pretty smart."

"What's his name? And Charlie's met him? Did they get along?"

Bella's smile abruptly faded. "Yeah, see, that's actually what I need to talk to you about. Promise to hear me out before you start the lecture?"

"Bella," Renee said cautiously, "what did you get yourself into?"

Bella knew she was delaying the inevitable by not talking. If Edward were to be a part of her life—in any capacity—she would have to be honest with her mother. The truth would come out eventually, and when it did, she didn't want it blowing up in her and Edward's faces like it had with Charlie. She decided the best approach was to get this over with as quickly as possible.

"His name is Edward. We met last summer while he was in prison. He was released on parole last week, and I offered him a place to stay because he had nowhere else to go, hence him sleeping on my couch. I failed to tell Charlie, and when he found out, he snapped and broke about ten laws and is now suspended from the force. So no, they didn't exactly hit it off." Bella took a deep breath. "Oh, and he's thirty-five."

There was no response. It was so quiet, Bella could hear a pin drop.

"Mom?"

"Prison? How—" Renee's voice faltered. "How did you meet someone in prison?"

"I found him online. We got to know each other through letters." Bella waited, but Renee didn't speak. "I know it's far from the best decision I've made, but I don't regret helping him," she said confidently. More silence. "Edward is the sweetest guy I've ever met. He's made mistakes, but he's a good person. He would never hurt me."

The perpetual quiet on the other end was beginning to make Bella squirm.

"I know I should have told you before, but I knew you wouldn't approve, and I didn't want you trying to talk me out of it."

"You have always been so stubborn. I shouldn't be surprised. Tell me more about this Edward."

"He plays the piano, and he's really talented. He even wrote me a song. I know it's only been a few months, but I feel like I know him. Really know him. He's unlike anyone I've ever met. I like having him here, and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing." Bella stopped talking when she heard Renee take a deep breath.

"My baby's in love," she whispered.

"What? No, I . . ." Bella's first instinct was to disagree, but she couldn't bring herself to say the words.

"So when do I get to meet Prince Charming? Is he there now? Can I talk to him?"

"No!" Bella exclaimed. "I mean, no, he's not here. And I already said it wasn't like that."

"Not yet," Renee said all too knowingly. "I can't believe a boy finally stole your heart."

"He's not a boy, Mom."

"Well he is to me!" Renee sighed happily. "I always knew you would find love in the most unconventional of places."

"Mom—" The apartment door opened, distracting Bella from her conversation. She turned to see Edward standing in the doorway. Heat flooded to her face at the sight of him. He smiled. It made him look so young, so innocent. Bella realized she was smiling back like a love sick puppy and quickly shook her head to recompose herself. It was then she noticed her mother was still talking.

"Hello! Bella?"

"Wha-huh?"

Renee laughed. "Are you still there?"

"Yeah I'm still here," Bella told her.

"What's got you so distracted? Am I boring you already?"

"No, I just, um, I . . ."

"Is it Edward? Is he there?" Renee asked excitedly.

Bella sighed and in a defeated tone said, "Yes, he just got home."

"Put him on."

Bella hesitated. "I don't think—"

"Bella," Renee warned in only the way a mother could. Bella steeled herself and held the phone out to Edward.

"Who is it?" he mouthed.

"My mother."