20th December 2009
Three Months Later...
Bella and I had enjoyed an extended honeymoon. We had needed some time alone. Leah, Angela and Emily looked after Bella's Deli whilst we were away and they had done a great job. The paying customers just about balanced out the freebies doled out to the Pack, but given all they had done for us, we never complained.
Once we were back I started to help out at the Deli. Bella and the others tended to deal with the customers and I focused on the kitchen. It seemed that I had a talent for cooking, though I don't think I will ever get used to the smells. Some foods can smell so vile, so unappetising.
Life was just about perfect. I was in the middle of preparing a salad that a customer had ordered when my phone rang. Initially I ignored it but it rang again, so I stopped what I was doing to answer it. It was Alice.
"I just thought you'd like to know that Mike Newton and Jessica Stanley will be arriving soon."
The line went dead. I placed the phone back in my pocket and returned to my work, I couldn't hide the smile that plastered my face.
True to Alice's word, they soon arrived. I peeked out from the kitchen and saw that Angela was dealing with them. Bella seemed to have no interest in being near either of them; I had told her of my run in with Newton when I first returned and she was irritated by it, almost as much as me.
"Bella," I said softly, knowing she'd hear.
As she entered the kitchen, she couldn't hide the scowl on her face.
I pulled her close to me; holding her against my chest, I kissed the top of her head and squeezed her tight.
"How about we have a little fun?"
Bella's body relaxed into me, she pulled back and rewarded me with a mischievous grin.
"Go and greet them, they've been away at university. Aside from Angela, none of our old high school friends know that we got married and I don't think she'll have told them."
Bella gave me a quick kiss and headed out into the diner, I bided my time.
"Hey Jess, Mike. Great to see you. How's it all going?" Bella chimed.
Woah! Bella looks hot, I mean, I wouldn't mind a part of that. Mike's mind churned.
Ugh!, Look at Mike, he's almost drooling. Sure she's improved her looks but she's not that pretty. Besides, just look at this place. She could have gone to University and made something of herself... Instead she'll be stuck in this dump forever. Even Edward had the sense to leave this place and her. Jessica thought.
Both of their thoughts grated me but I resisted the urge to respond too soon.
"We're good, Bella!" Mike stuttered, his mind was still wild with thoughts of how hot my wife was.
"Yeah, we're good. We are so enjoying university. It's so great, it's so much better than this place. I can't imagine being stuck in Forks. Don't you ever regret it, Bella? What about you Angela? I thought you'd be busy studying somewhere too." The sarcastic edge to Jessica's voice was bound to infuriate Bella but I just needed her to remain calm for a little longer.
"I've got a long time to consider university... Right now I'm enjoying running my own business and since my dad died, I haven't been in a rush to leave this place. It's where my memories are."
I grinned as I tuned into Jessica's thoughts.
Oh Crap, Charlie! I bet I sounded like such a bitch just then. I hope Mike didn't notice, I better save face. I didn't mean it to come out like that.
"Of course, Bella."
Ugh! That sounded like I didn't mean it.
"I mean, Of course I understand."
"Shut it Jess, I'm sure Bella knew what you meant. " Mike snapped.
I so should have held out for, Bella. I'm sure she'll realise I'm the man for her soon enough though. Mike thought.
"So did you ever catch up with Cullen? Last time I saw him he looked dreadful. You were so lucky to have dumped that waste of space. I wanted to … " Mike's voice trailed off.
I heard laughter. I recognised Bella's voice but I think Angela and Leah had joined in.
"What's so funny?"
"I assume by Cullen, you mean, Edward. I think when you last saw him, he wasn't too well but he's fine now. What was it you wanted to do?"
Is she back with him? He looked so bad before.
"He was ready to fight, Edward. When he looked like he could barely stand up. Fool!" Jessica snapped.
"Mike Newton! You were going to hurt, Edward? When he was ill? Why, I mean what had he done?" Bella gasped.
Ah crap, she is still with him. Great. Now I look like an idiot.
"It's just I remember how upset you had been when he left, I thought you deserved better, that's all" Mike said quietly.
I'd had enough waiting, time for some fun.
I pushed open the swinging doors and headed into the diner, my arms laden with plates for table nine. I was wearing a simple white short sleeved t-shirt, white trousers and a white apron.
I flashed a big grin to Bella and faked surprise at seeing Mike and Jessica.
"Be with you in a minute!" I called out, before heading over to table nine.
"Here we are ladies. Four garden salads."
"Ooh! Thank you, you spoil us!" They giggled.
I took a moment or so to chat warmly to the ladies; they'd been bugging Bella for ages to meet the chef and it seemed I didn't disappoint.
I then headed over to join Bella and the others. I stood behind Bella and placed my hands on her shoulders, I leant forward and kissed her cheek and then wrapped my arms around her waist, resting my chin on her shoulders.
"Hey guys, what a lovely surprise to see you both. So sorry I wasn't quite with it last time."
"Oh, don't worry about it, Edward... You really weren't at your best but that's okay..." Jessica stammered.
Ugh! Look at him. Draped all over her.
"Cullen!" Mike snapped.
"So what did I miss?"
"Mike here was telling me he considered taking you on when you last met. Seems he felt he needed to defend my honour after you abandoned me." Bella chuckled.
Mike and Jessica fell silent while Angela and Leah chuckled and moved away. I removed my arms from Bella and moved to sit next to Mike. He moved around the booth towards Jessica so I leant towards him, my arm resting behind his head.
"Is that so, Mike?"
Has he lost his mind, he wouldn't do anything in here, would he. Mike worried.
Wow, he looks so hot like that. Jessica mused.
"Well it's just... when you left Bella, she was in a bad way and that made me angry... You didn't see how bad she was. "
"Well I am glad you were looking out for Bella but surely you should be more focused on Jessica... I mean you guys are together right?" Edward pressed.
"Of course we are!" Mike said, hastily putting his arm around Jessica.
Jessica's face turned red and she shrugged Mike off.
"Now you put your arm around me? You're usually so distant, Mike. You're a jerk! You've always liked Bella! Bella this, Bella that. Bella sodding Swan, so don't lie. "
Jessica sat with her arms folded across her chest, she was livid. This was working out well.
"C'mon Jess, don't be like that." Mike chirped in.
I felt Bella sit next to me, so I moved a little closer to Mike, who in turn moved a little closer to Jessica.
"Jessica, don't be like that. I don't think Mike has ever seen me as more than a friend and I have certainly never seen him as anything more than a friend. Besides, you guys were too far away and we wanted to do it quickly... We got married a few months ago. So, I am now Bella Cullen."
Bella pushed out her hand to show the ring that adorned her finger; it had once belonged to my mother.
"Wow! Congratulations!" Jessica stammered.
What the hell! He's obviously all look, no brains, if he married that. Please!
A low hiss escaped my lips, which I tried in vain to hide with a coughing fit.
Maybe he's still sick... maybe it was a sympathy wedding. Jessica hoped.
"Look enough of all this, how about we just forget about the past. Bella, why don't you catch up with Jessica, I'll give Mike a tour of the kitchen."
Bella stood up and allowed me out of the booth, Mike reluctantly followed. I leant down to kiss Bella.
"Play nicely..." she whispered into my ear
I placed my arm around Mike's shoulders and ushered him towards the kitchen, once we entered I went through the motions of showing him around. Finishing at the worktop. I took delight in showing him the knives I worked with, explaining how sharp they were - the best in the business.
"So... Do we still have a problem, Mike?" I asked, my hand moving around, with a knife in its grasp.
What the hell is he doing?
"No, of course not. The past is the past, like you said, let's just move on."
I slammed the knife down and held my hand out for Mike to shake, as he took it I pulled him closer towards me, his face stopping inches from mine.
"Good, because if at any time you want to 'take me on' I'll be happy to oblige you... Oh, and Mike? You won't stand a chance..."
I quickly let him go and changed my face to a pleasant, smiling one.
"Just kidding." I joked, slapping him on the back.
As we rejoined Bella, she was alone at the table.
"Sorry Mike... She seemed pretty pissed off with you; she said she'd see you later." Bella explained.
"Ah nuts, I gotta go after her."
Mike started to fumble in his pocket for his money, he was becoming increasingly flustered.
"No worries Mike. It's on the house, my treat." I said calmly.
He flashed me a look of utter contempt and ran from the diner, we could hear him calling Jessica's name.
I joined Bella at the table and we were both grinning.
"What were you doing to him in there?" Bella accused.
"Nothing... I was just showing him the kitchen and the knife collection."
Bella laughed and simply laid her head against my chest.
"What happened with Jessica?" I asked.
"Oh, we had a heart to heart about Mike. I made it clear that I had never been interested in him and that she deserved so much better... She seemed to agree with me and left."
We didn't dwell on it. We spent a few moments at the table then got back to work. It was unlikely we'd see Mike and Jessica again for a while and I refused to expend any more energy on them.
If there is one thing that this whole experience had taught me, it was that life was for living and I had vowed to myself, never to waste another moment of it regretting the past or resisting the future. Whatever life may bring us I would face it head on, with Bella at my side. Nothing is impossible.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who read my story, to all those who put it on alert, marked it as favourite and reviewed. I really enjoyed creating this story, the idea all stemmed from a shift of roles and the vision of Bella carrying Edward ;)