Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight.
A/N: So, yeah. Reel Life seems to be acquiring a new readership lately which is lovely to see. I've also had a couple of messages from TrinityLJ asking if there was any more life in the RL universe. I didn't have any ideas, so told her if she made some suggestions I'd see what I could do. Gorgeous gal that she is, Trinity sent me some prompts that acted a trigger for this piece. Hope you like it bb!
"You don't sound pleased."
"What? No of course I am. It's always great to be nominated and …," Edward's voice trailed off as he stopped and tried to find the right words to placate his agent before giving up.
"And blah blah blah," Edward finished.
"Well just try and lift the attitude before the event. It's in six weeks and before you can ask, I've already checked your schedule and you're available."
"Did you check with -," Edward began.
"Yes Bella knows all about it too."
"It's what you pay me for," Eric returned in a tone that only just stopped short of sounding smug. "We'll catch up soon to go over those scripts you liked."
"In the meantime, you'd better hurry. You're meant to be meeting Bella in ten minutes."
"How the hell did you know that?" Edward stopped in the act of unlocking his car.
"Called her first," Eric replied. "Now get."
"Fine," Edward mumbled. "See you soon." He opened the car door and flipped his iPhone onto the passenger seat before climbing in. As he started the car he squinted ahead and sighed under his breath as he saw several figures peeling away to parked vehicles. Paparazzi; they were like goddamn rats with cameras. Pushing his sunglasses up his nose, he flicked down the sun visor and blinked at the polaroid photo that he hadn't seen before. It was a picture of Bella, pulling a face and holding a piece of paper that bore the slogan Don't Drive Angry! He grinned and tapped the photo with a forefinger before turning his attention back to the traffic. After two years his wife still got a kick out of leaving little surprises for him, seemingly designed to lift his mood when he needed it most.
o * o * o * o
"Hey," Bella looked up with a smile as Edward wound his way through the store to where she said she'd be. "Has Eric called you?"
"Uh-huh," Edward replied, giving her a quick kiss before glancing over her shoulder at the other customers. Even for a celebrity-saturated town like Hollywood people still did double takes when they realised they were sharing proximity with Edward Cullen.
"You don't sound happy about it," Bella observed as she hitched her purse strap into a comfortable position on her shoulder and then reached out to take his hand.
"You sound like Eric," Edward replied, his thumb rubbing her hand as they began strolling.
"I would have thought you'd at least be flattered about being nominated for an Emmy," Bella teased.
"I don't know," shrugging, Edward stopped and considered an enormous lamp designed to look like an old-school Hollywood spotlight. It was also chrome. It was so gaudy, so tacky that he couldn't help but gape in wonder at the sheer horror. Bella had kept walking and so was tugged to a stop when he didn't move to follow. Turning she followed his awestruck gaze and blanched.
"Honey," she murmured as she leaned against him, "If you want to call it quits, just tell me and I'll start packing."
"What?" That had him blinking and looking away from the over polished monstrosity.
"You can have me, or the lamp, but not both," she informed him with a solemn nod.
That was the second time that day Edward Cullen's wife had saved his mood before it could tip over into full-blown cynicism.
o * o * o * o
Browsing and turned into a late lunch, followed by some good natured bickering in a local gallery before they had both made their way home. As he pulled up at an intersection Edward had signed and cupped his hand over his nose and mouth as if deep in thought, making the photographer on the motorbike in front of him huff in annoyance. The lights changed and the traffic moved on. When he abruptly turned at the next intersection without any signals he offered private thanks that Bella wasn't in the car with him. As far as the paparazzi were concerned he liked to think of it as evasive driving. Bella called it 'driving like an idiot', but there was bound to be some middle room in the argument; he just hadn't found it yet.
By the time he let himself into the house he'd calmed down somewhat, flicking his keys and sunglasses into the bowl on the table by the door with a sense of relief. Home. He was home now, and everyone else and their expectations were outside. Catching movement in his peripheral vision he looked up to see Bella standing at the end of the hallway holding up an empty cup in silent query. He nodded. They'd intended on having a coffee after lunch but a few people had started to gather outside the restaurant once word had gotten out he was there, and so they'd elected to go.
When he reached the kitchen Bella had started the coffee machine. Beans were grinding, and after a few clunks and clicks a stream of espresso began to pour into the waiting cups. His brother Emmett had given him shit for days over buying the extravagant machine, but a taste of the coffee had silenced him on the matter. It wasn't uncommon to see the big man striding across the backyard from the adjoining gate in the back fence with an empty cup and a hopeful expression. Milk was frothed, sugar was added and then the two of them were sitting at the table with their cups.
"So, wanna tell me what the problem is?"
"Mmmph," Edward grunted around his sip of coffee.
"Quoth the actor," Bella drawled. "C'mon. The call from Eric seems to have put you into a funk." She reached out and rubbed his arm.
"It's just-," Edward began and stopped. He was going to sound like an ungrateful bastard, and Bella had been having a good day. She didn't need his pouting when he knew how busy she was on script revisions.
"Out with it," Bella encouraged.
"I feel like a fraud," Edward said at last.
"The people that nominated you don't think so," Bella said. This was a conversation that they'd had before.
"I just don't get what the fuss is about," Edward put down his cup and scrubbed at his face with his hands before looking at his wife who was watching him with a sympathetic expression. "I get told to put this coat on, stand over there and say this, and then when I do it they all want to applaud and give me a trophy? It's bullshit."
Bella's lips pursed with suppressed amusement at his simplistic description of the movie industry, but to her credit she didn't laugh.
"Oh honey, you've gone too far outside yourself," she said. "Think about the bigger picture."
"Which is?" Edward raised an eyebrow at her, too mired in self-pity to be rational for the moment.
"You're very good at what you do, but this isn't all about you," Bella shifted her seat closer and reached up to comb her fingers through his hair. "Sure you're the performing seal if that's how you want to think about it, but there's a lot more to it. There were a lot of people on that shoot that took pride in their work, not to mention the writers that get to see their work, their words reach a whole new audience. The author himself approved the casting, and now he gets to see the characters in his head come to life."
"Huh," Edward nodded.
"Think of it as a team effort if that makes you feel any better."
"And if I don't?"
"Then suck it up and deal. You've got a good career, so stop feeling so guilty about it."
Edward stilled at her words and then gave a rueful laugh.
"Damn, I think you've just nailed it," Edward straightened in his seat and gave his wife a tired smile. "C'mere."
Pushing his chair out, he opened his arms and Bella took up the invitation. Curling into his lap she pressed a warm open-mouthed kiss against his neck. Dipping his head, Edward nuzzled her cheek briefly before they began a silent but entirely familiar conversation with their bodies. The awards could wait. He had the prize he really wanted right here.
Yep, RL rides again. Writing for prompts helps me flex my fic muscles, folks. If you have any particular scenes you'd like to see, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.