Hello once again, sweet ladies.
Well, the title of this is pretty self explanatory. So ... outtakes. More info at the bottom.
Many thanks to my beta Songster for her help :-)
I don't own Twilight.
Let's see what this is about ...
"Are you ok with taking care of the business while I'm out, Bella?"
"Sure Monsieur Grenier." I smile at him. He always asks this when he leaves the shop, even though I take care of it most of the time.
"Alright, dear. If I don't get back before closing time, you just go ahead, ok?"
"Sure." I watch him walk away toward the fountain. I know he's meeting Madam Dubois. He always does on Saturday afternoons, which is why I always giggle when he informs me he has to leave early on these days. He truly thinks I don't know.
He gives me this smile that says he sure will. He's nice, but that was too much information for me. He's 65 years old, there are things I just don't want to know. Ever.
I go back to what I'm doing, just finishing some orders for Claudine on Monday. She's such a lovely lady, usually talking my ear off about her life and her friends. She's always trying to introduce me to her nephew. From the photos she's showed me, and boy those were a lot of photos, he looks handsome and seems nice, but there is something that's not there. I just can't see myself with him. It's nothing personal, but I can't feel it. The it my Mom often spoke of when she mentioned the first time she met my Dad.
I have no idea what it is or how to find it.
Soon, I'm done with everything and once again my mind begins to wander. My hands itch to draw something, to finish some of the designs I've been working on lately. The desire is both exhilarating and nerve wracking at the same time.
I love letting my hands guide the pencil to form the shapes that my brain comes up with. Curves and lines, thin and thick, long and short. I almost feel possessed when I'm like this, seeing the images behind my eyes and moments later, seeing them dancing on the paper in front of me. I've always loved creating things and seeing them come to life, it always gives me this small twist in my stomach that I simply love.
However, when the high of it all is gone, that is when the memories come back. Seeing a page full of drawings takes me back to my college years and that inevitably floods my mind with the images of how it ended. It's so bittersweet to have this sketchbook full, almost to the brim, with designs and small doodles, but I can't tear myself away from it, I can't not give in to the pleasure that drawing always brings. I deal with the low that comes afterwards alone in my apartment.
I pick up my sketchbook from under the counter and start drawing. For those short seconds when the page is blank, the excitement of seeing how it will look when I'm done makes me forget everything and just keep going.
I straighten myself up and massage my sore muscles, I haven't noticed how long I've been hunched over the pages, but now my neck and arms feel in knots. I check the clock on the wall above the door and see that I've been here for over an hour. Nobody's come here since Monsieur Grenier left, which is not that unusual, Saturdays are very slow and I spend my time either finishing orders or drawing.
I realize that I'm hungry and I head to the only place that always makes me smile just thinking about it: 'Mon Petit Paradis'. Alice's bakery. I can't believe my friend sometimes. I knew she'd be an amazing pastry chef, but her creations in that bakery are simply ridiculously delicious.
She was born into a family that loves food and everything that goes with it. There are chefs, bakers, sommeliers, food critics, everything. Her grandma, Nana Addie – short for Adèle - owned this bakery for most of her life before Alice took over.
She had been over the moon when Alice said she wanted to run it. Nana had been sick and worried about who in the family would do it after her death. Alice had always been her favorite and Nana taught her all her secret recipes over the years. It was almost natural that she would be her successor.
Alice went to culinary school here in Paris and in the meantime, she learned to run the bakery with Nana supervising her. That was quite the task right there, Alice is not the most organized person in the world, and I always laughed when she called me to complain that she still had no idea how to handle the spreadsheet that held the orders.
She often sent them to me and I tried to make sense of them for her. That had been my first introduction to French. Not fun at all. I made her pay me in pastries whenever she visited me in New York.
I leave the place just as it is; I know nobody will enter while I'm gone. That's the nice thing about this neighborhood, we all know each other, so we take care of each other. We feel almost like a family. I only debate for a second about leaving my sketchbook just like this, open on the counter, but then decide to just go to the bakery, no one will care about it anyway.
The sun is bright today, and the square is full of kids splashing in the fountain and running around. From the corner of my eye, I catch a flash of red, shining under the sun, but before I can turn to see what it is, I arrive in front of the bakery. It was probably just some kids.
I enter and see the place is packed as always. They all turn for a second to see who entered, then return to talking. I have no idea who they think will come through the doors. It kind of unnerves me.
People come from all over Paris to eat here and the waiting line is ridiculous sometimes. I enter a little smugly, knowing that, if I wanted, I could skip the long line and even enter the kitchen to fetch myself something.
I usually don't do that. It's a pain in the ass to wait in line for anything, and I feel like these people don't deserve to have their noses rubbed in it. Although the temptation is high today, it's too hot and I already want to go back outside.
"Bella!" I hear my name above the noise from the people talking. I'd recognized it anywhere.
"Bonjour, Henri." I greet him from the other side of the counter.
Henri is such a sweet guy, very handsome as well: tall with not too much muscle; jet black hair falling down over beautiful blue eyes when it's not tied in a short ponytail. He has one of the brightest smiles I've ever seen, and he always blushes a little when he sees me.
He's funny and witty, and he bakes. What more can a girl want? He's quite the catch. He's just not my type, if I have any. He also dates a lot so I don't see his interest in me that unusual. I see him only as a friend and have made it clear to him but still, he blushes? I have no idea what to think about that.
It doesn't help my case that I often blush myself, it's not like I can stop this thing. Stupid blush.
"What would you like today, ma belle?" He asks in that mix of English and French accent he has. It always makes the girls melt for him. He smiles and looks only at me, forgetting his other customers. They, in turn, glare at me for taking their turn. Fantastic.
"I can wait, no worries."
"No, no, no. You can have whatever you want. Alice would kill me if she knew that I made you wait." He shakes his head, probably remembering the time when Alice gave him a long talk about how I shouldn't be kept waiting.
"Ugh, you're right. Just give me some canelé." He works fast and in no time, I'm eating this fantastic delicacy.
I debate about going outside again where it is cooler, but now I want to stay here talking to the people who work at the bakery. Over the past years, and with me living upstairs, I consider them my family. We celebrate birthdays together; I console them during break-ups. I can't imagine my life here in Paris without them.
So I stay, hot and all. We talk while I finish my pastry and I even help them sometimes. I love to come here and do that from time to time. I know I live above and the sweet scent always fills my place, but the smell of warm sugar always makes me feel at home, so I can never say no to it.
It's funny, growing up, baking was never really my thing. I always preferred to draw and create music. Alice spent a lot of time at my house and she made us her Guinea pigs. We never complained of course, especially Dad, so I never really had to learn how to bake. I knew how to cook and that was put to test when Mom got sick, I did all the chores at home so she would rest and get better. She never did get better.
When I arrived here in Paris, drawing was the last thing I wanted to do. For weeks I just stayed in Alice's apartment, curled up in bed. She and Jasper would visit and so would Emmett, whenever he was in Paris, but I didn't feel like doing anything. Soon though, the scents from the bakery won me over, so I ventured down there.
At the time, Alice was pregnant with Aimée and even though she usually spent a lot of time at the bakery, she had to cut back at one point. She asked me to help her with the more boring aspects of the business, calling suppliers, making orders, etc., and as a way to thank her for letting me stay in her apartment, I did. Damn Alice knew what she was doing, it's impossible to be broody in a bakery, the sugar alone makes you feel energized. I surrounded myself with the people who worked there and in time I watched them bake and learned their secrets. Soon enough I was making my own creations. Not as good as Alice's but good enough for me.
Baking took my mind off things at a time when all I wanted to do was wallow and now, four years later, every time I bake my mood improves. Another reason to be thankful to have Alice in my life.
"Ok, I think I'm leaving now. I have a job you know." I tease Henri.
"Of course, ma belle, come back soon." He fixes his eyes on me, once again, ignoring the rest of the people.
"I will. See you around."
I walk towards the shop and let the sun warm my skin. I'm wearing a light dress today, so I feel the sun on my face, neck and arms. Too bad I can't actually tan.
I walk across the square, passing near the fountain, letting the fresh mist the falling water forms around it, cool my skin. Such a relief from the heat of the day. I stop there with my eyes closed for a few moments, letting the tiny little droplets sprinkle my exposed skin. It's there, with my eyes closed and facing the water, that I hear a sweet masculine voice ... curse.
I turn to the voice and watch this guy to my left stand up and retrieve something near the fountain. He simply stares at it once he picks it up. He looks so mesmerized by it that I can't help myself and inch closer to where he is. Like that, I'm able to make out what he's holding: a button, a little button resting on the palm of his hand.
I move my eyes and just watch him this time. He's tall and not overly muscled; I can tell from the shirt he's wearing, a little tight on his body. His profile shows that he's a handsome man, but from here I can't quite make out his features.
I feel like a stalker now.
My eyes widen when I notice the odd color of his hair and I recognize it from the flash of red I saw earlier, but on closer inspection I see that I've been wrong. It's not red, well, not justred. With the sun this bright at this hour, his hair shines in streaks of browns, reds, golds, all in different intensities. It makes me want to see how it would look under different lights.
He's still staring at the button and after finishing my assessment of him, I see the loose cuff on his arm. Oh, that's where the button must have come from.
With an amused smile, I finally let myself be known.
"It's not going to attach itself you know, no matter how much you look at it."
He turns and looks at me. I have to hold the gasp that makes its way out of my mouth. Standing here in front of me is the most beautiful and sad looking man I had ever seen. Incredibly dark green eyes that, just like his hair, have streaks of gold swimming in them. The green reminds me of my days in Forks and how the trees looked after a rainy day: brighter, cleaner.
Soft and slightly pouty lips that beg to be kissed and tasted. I wonder how they'd feel on my skin.
Silky hair that I can't wait to run my hands through. I bet is really soft against my fingers.
And his body, well, his body is certainly better than I assessed earlier. Wide shoulders and firm muscles in his uncovered forearms. I wonder how they'd feel under the pads of my fingers. Pale skin that, just like mine, is now covered in a light sheen of droplets.
My body heats at the sight of him, standing next to me with a look of confusion. He looks so lost.
But most of all, I'm surprised to see that standing there, with a button in his palm, is none other than Edward Cullen.
I may not have been actively involved in the world of fashion for years now, but that doesn't mean I'm completely out of it either. I read the magazines, I follow the trends, I even attend the occasional fashion show. So I know who the designers are and their work.
Unfortunately, in the case of Edward Cullen, fashion is not all what magazines talk about.
I used to see him in the social pages with his wife all the time. It was then that he looked happy, always smiling and wrapping his arm around her, but something always looked off about her. She never looked at him the same way he did her. You could almost feel his adoration for her jump out of the pictures. In turn, she looked to be looking at something better out of the frame of the picture.
When she died, and everything that happened prior to her death, made it to the media, I felt sorry for him. Such a happy and beautiful man going through this. It certainly changed him. He never smiled or looked at ease in the pictures ever again, even with all the gorgeous models often by his side.
Looking at him right now though, seeing him just freaking staring at a button, I realize that there is so much about him that I don't know. He doesn't seem to be the asshole the papers make him out to be. No asshole fixes his eye on a simple button for that long.
"Uh?" His face looks so confused and almost like he just woke up from a dream. I just have to laugh at it. A real laugh.
"I said that button is not going to attach itself back to your shirt, just because you look at it like that. You have to sew it back. You know how to sew, right?" I'm teasing of course, but he doesn't have to know that yet.
It makes him laugh in return. Such a beautiful laugh coming across his lips: carefree, clean. He looks so young like that, laughing in this bright day, not like all those pictures of him at events and such.
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to laugh at you. But my answer is yes, I do know how to sew a button."
I look at him for a moment. There is more than meets the eye about him, that's for sure. He doesn't look anything like the man I've seen in the media. He always wears a frown in those pictures and looks like he doesn't want to be there. Now? He looks like he's having ... fun? Could it be? Could the brooding Edward Cullen be having fun simply hanging around near a fountain? It looks like it.
I'm curious to see what will happen now, to see how carefree he could get. I decide right there not to let him know that I'm aware of who he really is. He looks like he could use a break from it all. God knows I've felt that way.
"Come with me. I'll sew your button back, even though I am tempted to see you do it for yourself," I offer.
"You don't have to, really. It's just a shirt, I have plenty of them back at home and like I said, I can sew."
"It's no problem, you see; I'm a seamstress and I work at this small shop right across from the square. Right over there." I point to it. Suddenly I'm happy that he might get to see where I work. I have no idea why that makes me this excited.
It's a little hard to read him, he looks like he might bolt at any second, but at the same time, his body is turned my way, like he really wants to stay here. For some reason, I don't want him to go yet.
He also looks confused. It's probably the fact that I told him I'm a seamstress. People always look at me curiously, like I'm an oddity or something.
"I know, I know. A seamstress, it's weird. Everyone gives me that look." I roll my eyes and smile a little hesitantly. Would he go? Maybe he doesn't trust me to sew his shirt.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it. It's just seamstresses are hard to find these days; they usually work for design houses. I think it is a very unique work, interesting."
"Don't worry about it." I dismiss. "Interesting? Well, I don't know about that, but I do get to meet very interesting people. The owner has had the place for over thirty years, so it's mostly old clientele, very loyal with great stories about their younger days." People that often feel like crazy aunts and uncles, a family. A nosey bunch that will make me retell this encounter a million times after Edward is gone. I know Madam Laroche is watching from her store.
"So, do you want me to work my magic on your shirt? If you're worried that I might ruin it, don't be. I would never offer to sew a button on a $600 men's shirt if I didn't know what I was doing." I try to ease him a little. If anything, I take pride in my work.
"How did you know-?"
"I work with fabrics all the time. I need to know this stuff, you know."
"It really doesn't matter, but I'll take your offer just because I know it will drive me crazy until I get home. So lead the way."
I lead him to the shop and can't stop myself from checking to see if he's following, almost tripping on my way there. When I see him checking me out I just have to blush. Edward Cullen checking me out? And I thought this day would be boring.
"So, um ... before anything, shouldn't we know each other's names first? I mean, you are sewing my button back on. I don't let just anyone do that." He says.
I can't believe my manners. My Dad would not be proud of that.
"Oh, right. I'm Bella." I extend my hand to him.
"Hello, Bella, I am Edward."
My eyes widen when our hands touch and I probably look like a fish out of water, but I can't help myself. So warm and soft, even though I can feel small callouses on the pads of his fingers. They are not rough by any means, and I'm sure they come from years of working with his hands, pricking his skin with needles, getting cut by scissors. The warm sensation travels up my hand and extends everywhere.
I suddenly want to feel those hands on my body, sliding up and down my sides, leaving a trail of heat in their wake.
Where did that come from?
Crap, I hope I didn't moan at that image.
"Well, hello Edward, let me go get my things."
I practically run to the back of the shop. I have to get myself together; I almost made a fool out of myself out there. What must he think of me now? Just staring at him like that. He's probably used to it, but still.
I take out my sewing box and check if I have everything I need. It's useless to do so, I always have what I need in there; I just need time before going back out there. After a few more calming breaths, I make my way outside.
"Ok, I'm back. Do you want to-" I stop dead on my tracks. He's looking at my sketchbook? Nobody sees my work, I haven't let anyone see it for years and now this famous designer is browsing through the pages? I feel so small and insecure for a second. What if my work is not as good as it used to be?
"I'm so sorry, Bella. I didn't mean to-" He tries to apologize.
"It's ok. I just don't let anyone see my stuff. I have a lot of free time here, so I need to keep busy." I don't even think about it and practically run over to him and take the book out of his hands. The second I put it safely under the counter, relief washes over me.
"May I just say they are incredible? You capture shapes and forms perfectly."
"Thank you, Edward. But it's just doodling, nothing more." I appreciate his compliments, but I don't want to hear them. That part of my life is over and done with. These sketches are just for me and to let ideas out of my head. Nothing more will come from them except a few garments I have in my studio. Nobody will see them.
"Do you want to take off your shirt or I can work with it on you? It's only the sleeve and I'll be fast." I cut him off.
"Oh, on, if it's possible with the shirt on." Thank God he said that.
I start working on the shirt and see him appraising my sewing box. Without so much thought, I tell him the story of where I got it and my Mom's death. I have no idea what comes over me, but I feel comfortable with him. Maybe is the fact that we've both suffered through loss that I feel he understands. Kindred spirits of sorts.
We keep talking for a while and then fall into a comfortable silence. I could truly just sit here with him all afternoon. All thoughts about him seeing my sketchbook are forgotten.
When he mentions Alice and her bakery, I have to smile. Pastries always bring people together, but when he mentions the 'pastry sniffing flowers', I'm absolutely floored by the comment. I had a very similar thought the first time I saw the apartment all those years ago. I never thought someone might look at it like that as well.
I wonder what he'd think if he knew those flowers almost died when I didn't even have the drive to water them years ago. They turned out to be tough little sniffling flowers.
And here I was, thinking that I was the crazy one..Apparently, I wasn't, and that little peek into his mind, makes me smile.
What also makes me smile is that he also seems to be a blurter.
"God, you're incredible." I'm inclined not to believe it, he must say it left and right, but instead of telling him that, I say the first thing that comes to mind. That I think the same way about him. Of course, I also blush.
I keep on with my work and as I finish, I feel his stare on me. I know he's been doing that all this time. Somehow feeling his eyes on me makes me imagine how his hands would feel on my skin and it takes all I have in me not to stare back.
All too soon, I finish.
"Ok, all set then."
He stares at the button with such a reverence, like it's the most precious thing in the world. He's appraising the job and I hold my breath waiting for his conclusion.
"It's perfect, Bella." I give a sigh of relief.
"Glad you like it. It's a little hard to get that specific color, but I managed, Mr. Cullen."
Shit. What have I done? I let my guard down and now he probably thinks that I've been lying to him all this time. I can see it in his panicked eyes, but what breaks me is the look of utter pain I see in them. It's no wonder, based on what his wife did to him, that he might consider this another betrayal from someone he just met. How broken is he? And this is only from what I've read on the media, what really happened must've been much worse.
I'll probably never see him again after today.
"How do you know who I am?" God, he sounds so weak.
"We all know who you are, Edward. You're constantly in fashion and social magazines. You're hard to miss." I try to smile, but I'm aware that he's turned toward the doors. He's ready to bolt.
"I didn't want to make you uncomfortable. I get what fame can do to someone. It traps you and makes people think they know you and only want to see what they can take from you. I just wanted to give you something. Peace. Peace by letting you be who you wanted to be for a few moments. Mr. Cullen or Edward. You looked so happy out there."
I see him debating his next move. Leave? Stay? Trust? So many emotions flashing in his troubled eyes. I want to take away that dark cloud over them, I want to see them shine and be clear like they were outside under the sun.
After what seems too long, he finally looks like he made a decision.
"Thank you, Bella." He smiles and it's just as real as the carefree laughter I heard from him earlier. He's taking a big leap of faith, here with me. I suddenly feel a pressure on the left side of my chest. Pride? Yes, I'm proud of him, I barely know him, but I feel it anyway.
His phone interrupts our moment and he apologizes for having to leave, he looks sad about it. Could he really want to stay? I certainly don't want him to go.
"Thank you for sewing the little button. How much-?"
"Don't even think about it, Edward." I interrupt. "You made my afternoon much more interesting, that's payment enough." No way he's paying me for this.
"I can't do that. How about I buy you some pastry from 'Mon Petit Paradis'?" He wants to meet again ... for pastries of all things. My smile is impossibly big at the idea.
"I'd love that."
We exchange numbers and full names this time, with him saying he'll be calling on Monday. Just like the school girl I'm channeling at the moment, I'm pretty sure I'll be waiting for his call all day. I feel like rolling my eyes at the thought. Alice will be thrilled about this.
Before leaving, he leans toward me and looks like he might kiss my cheek. I flush at that and at the same time, God, I hope he does. Ever since I saw those pretty lips, I can't wait to feel them on me. However, he changes his mind at the last minute, or maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part, and instead he extends his hand to shake mine.
Very different from the kiss I thought I might be receiving, but the touch of his skin on mine once again sets my skin on fire. I can't truly complain about it.
"Goodbye, Bella. I'll call you."
"Goodbye, Edward. I'm looking forward to it."
And I watch him leave, sighing like a love-struck idiot when he rounds the corner.
"Oh my God, Bella. That is great! Dammit, oneday I don't go to the bakery and that happens." Alice groans.
I called her and told her all about my afternoon with Edward. She sighs and 'oohs' and 'ahs' every other second. It took me a freaking hour to tell her everything. My encounter with Edward didn't even last that long. Or maybe it did, I have no idea.
Edward. Even thinking his name makes my heart beat faster. What the hell?
"And he's prettier than his pictures?"
"So much more," I sigh. Again.
"Oh Bella, I'm so happy for you. Finally letting someone in."
"Alice, we are not gonna date. It was just a short meeting. He said he'd call on Monday, but maybe he never will and he was just being polite." After getting home later in the day, thoughts of never seeing him again invade my mind. That makes me sad. Maybe he was being polite.
"Don't think like that, sweetie. Yeah, you may not marry the guy, but you are putting yourself out there. And that's big." She says rather sadly.
I get her, I really do, she and Emmett are constantly worried about me. They are always encouraging me to start drawing again, to date again, even if it doesn't lead anywhere. They just want me to go back to the living. I hate that there's still a reason for them to worry.
It's not easy though. Drawing is something so intimate, it can't be forced or rushed, the mood comes whenever it wants to. Unfortunately, for me, those moments are few and far between.
As for dating, well, that's even more complicated. Even when there is an interest on the guy's part, I can't seem to make myself want to date him. I'm friends with guys, I just don't see any romantic interactions with them.
"I know." I sigh. "Let's just wait and see, ok?" With that, I hope we change the subject.
"Ok then." I can tell she will drop it for now, but will get back to it when she gets the chance. I can't be mad at her, she cares.
"Oh! I almost forgot, Jasper asked me to tell you that he will be playing at the club next week, if you wanna join him."
I think for a second and, just by thinking about the piano, I know I already made up my mind.
"That sounds like fun. Yeah, tell him I will." That lifts up my mood.
I love playing the piano, unfortunately, I don't have one here in my apartment. So whenever I get the chance I just take it. It has been a while since the last time I did and thinking about playing again has me all bouncy. Letting myself go in the music always has a calming effect on me.
We say goodbye and I promise to call her again with news about Edward. I roll my eyes at her enthusiasm, but I smile none the less. It feels like we're in high school again.
I make my way to my couch and take out my sketchbook, it has a few blank pages that just beg to be filled. And I do.
I sit there sketching until is time to go to bed. I take a look at these last few pages and notice an instant change in the way the lines move and come together. They look almost .. happy? How ridiculous: happy lines.
I fully expect to feel down again after all this drawing, as usual, but thoughts of my time in New York are not at all what fill my head when I lay in bed later on.
Instead, my mind is full with images of bright green eyes with gold streaks, eyes that change color under the light and with different moods: brighter when happy, dull when hurt.
But it's a feeling, not an image that's the last thing I remember before falling asleep. Something that, strangely enough, starts to warm my chest, even making me rub my hand against it. A feeling that is both foreign and welcomed.
A feeling that seems a lot like hope.
And there ya go. Bella was just as nervous about their first time meeting, she was better at being cool about it though, LOL. That's how we roll...
Ok, into more technical stuff:
- I don't know how many will there be. As it is, I have four already written, so you'll get at least that many. Well, duh.
- This doesn't have a posting schedule, so they'll come when they'll come. Also, a few are from chapters of LB that I haven't posted yet, so you'll have to wait, lol.
- When I do post them, I'll probably do it on the weeks when I don't update LB and I'll give you a teaser on the Monday of said week. The teasers will only be pics, since I can't have you knowing the POVs or scenes beforehand, lol.
If there is anything you'd like to see, fell free to let me know, maybe we're thinking the same thing. Yes, I'm talking to you, Lizzard43. LOL ;-)
And that's it for today. I'll see ya around, sweeties.