I know, I disappeared again. But I'm here with another chapter, so thanks for putting up with me . You guys are the best and I'm so thankful that you're all so understanding of writer's block with TD and life in general. I promise I'm still trudging along and I still have every intention of finishing this but it's hard. Anyway, enjoy the update and thanks for being wonderful readers! xoxox

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight but everything else is mine.


I had barely finished slipping my brand new wedge sandals on when the doorbell rang.

Fuuuuuck.

Some small part of me had hoped that this was a dream—that I actually really wasn't going to the Cullen's dinner. There was a time in the past when I used to dream of working for the company that they owned, well, mostly owned. And I was going to eat with them. At their house.

Vomit, vomit, vomit.

I brushed my hands down the tea-length skirt of my dress and took a deep breath. All right. I had this. I could do it.

"Hey," I said as soon as I swung the door open.

Edward smiled back at me, that one-sided grin that was more than enough to make up for the fact he wasn't using both cheeks. "Hi." In the blink of an eye, he'd glanced at me below the neck, and then he was back at looking me in the eye. "Are you ready?"

I rocked back on my heels and fought the urge to look at the scooped neck navy blue polka dot dress I'd been saving for a special occasion. I might have not looked at myself but I pulled on the right cap sleeve. "One second." I flashed him a nervous smile before retreating back into my apartment to grab my purse and the balloon I'd bought on impulse at the grocery store that morning.

Damn it.

I hesitated untying it. God, was it lame?

"Did you get that for him?"

"Yeah but…" I glanced at him, taking in the for the first time that he was wearing a black vest.

Mother of God. Vests alone like that were almost as good as suspenders. Uh. Uh.

His black vest layered over a powder blue button-up shirt. And jeans. Dark rinse jeans.

I coughed and found myself scratching at my cheek before tearing my eyes away from his clothes and scrunching up my face. "It's stupid isn't it?"

That time a full smile graced his mouth and he shook his head. "No. Bring it."

I looked at the balloon once more and then untied it. My purse in one hand, the multicolored Happy Birthday! balloon in the other, I followed behind Edward after locking my door. That damn vest had that little metal piece on the back of it to make it fit better.

Damn it.

"You look nice," I piped up in what was a voice that was a little louder than it needed to be.

He turned to look at me over his shoulder and grinned. "Thank you."

And then he turned back around.

Well. Asshole.

I thought I looked pretty nice. I'd put some effort into myself. Well, whatever. Jerk.

Just as we made it to the corner of the building that led down the stairs, Edward paused and shook his head. "I'm rushing. I'm sorry. There was a lot of traffic on the freeway and I keep trying to plan it out in my head how to get the pie and make it in time."

I stopped right next to him and shrugged. "I can give him the balloon. I guess."

Edward shook his head and waved me forward to go down the stairs first. "No. We'll get the pie, and then head over, it isn't a big deal."

"Okay." I went down a lot slower than I wanted but there was no way I wanted to bust my ass going down the stairs in wedges.

Halfway down the stairs, Edward said, "I like your dress. It's very Mad Men-ish."

My leg buckled a bit but I caught myself. "Thank you." The same words he'd used a minute before. I glanced down and eyed the belt I'd put on. It was pretty sixties-ish. Peeping over my shoulder, I raised both my eyes at him. "Hurry up, Don Draper."

He gave me a look as he followed me down. "Okay, Peggy."

I'd only seen the first season of the show but it was enough to make me laugh out loud.

We didn't talk much on the ride to the get the pie, Edward hummed along to the radio and I settled for looking back and forth between the concrete jungle outside the window and Edward when his humming would get a little louder. We stopped and I got the infamous strawberry pie that I was giving a man who could afford to buy himself a yacht. The balloon in the backseat seemed to taunt me.

Soon enough we were pulling up to a gate. I shit you not, a gate. You couldn't even see the house from the drive. Holy shit, this was legit. Edward pressed what looked like a garage door opener that was on his visor—one of two—and the gate slowly pulled back.

I couldn't help the snort that came out of my nose. "Tell me right now, do your parents have a butler?"

"No," he answered in such a weird voice that I couldn't tell whether he was full of shit or if he was genuinely amused.

"How many maids do they have?" I asked with a smile. This was fun.

Edward closed his eyes and made a noise in his nose. "Bella, have you been watching Downtown Abbey?"

That had me throwing my head back and laughing. "No!"

"Are you sure?" he asked as he drove the car down a drive that wasn't as long as I was expecting. A huge red brick house—several times larger than the three bedroom I'd grown up in—stood nice and prim just up ahead.

"I'm positive… and since when do you watch PBS?"

"I just invested in Netflix and it came up under shows recommended to me. Do you have it?"

"Netflix? Look at you, Mr. Twenty-First Century."

His response was his silence, only looking at me out of the corner of his eye with what could have been a smirk. A second later, we pulled alongside a three car garage that had me wondering if there was another garage hidden somewhere on the property. I got out of the Jaguar and watched as Edward took the balloon out of the backseat, alongside with a card that he tucked under his arm.

By the time we got to a beautiful soli mahogany door, he passed me the balloon, rang the doorbell and let himself inside. And, it was just a big house. There was a staircase that looked like every other staircase in history, the wood floors were well-kept, and the décor was nice. But mainly, it was just a home that I could imagine a little Edward running down the stairs—if he even did that, I could picture him ringing a bell to get servants to come to him.

"Edward!" Esme, Mrs. Cullen, called from somewhere.

"We're here!" Edward called out, steering me to the left where there was a a comfortable looking living room.

Right at a connecting doorway, Esme popped in with a tight smile on her face.

I instantly went on alert.

"Come in," she waved forward. "Carlisle!" she yelled, and I mean she yelled. "Carlisle! Edward and Bella are here!" Well, didn't that just ruin my dream that they had bells or at least intercoms.

From somewhere else, a masculine voice responded, "Coming!"

I held the pie to my chest a little closer as if that would block Esme from seeing what I'd brought her husband. She went and greeted her son, hugging and kissing his cheek before eyeing the what I was holding with a snort. She shook her head but didn't say anything, giving me my own hug.

"I need to tell you—" she started her attention on my former boss, her voice low, "the Crypt Keeper is here."

The groan that came out of Edward's mouth made me worry. I'd seen him rip apart anyone and everyone's asshole without a blink, and yet whoever the Crypt Keeper was, was distressing him.

And then I thought: did Esme really call someone the Crypt Keeper?

"Who invited her?" Edward whispered.

Mrs. Cullen rolled her eyes, her jaw working a tight circle. "She showed up and your father told me to behave."

Instantly, Edward turned his attention to me, exasperation written all over him. "Bella, I'm so sorry—"

The sound of two people arguing down the hall suddenly got louder, the one sentence that really resonated into the living room we were in was in the form of "What do I have to do to get a drink around here? And where's the help at anyway, Carlisle? I don't know about eating that wife of yours food. Shouldn't you have gotten the cook to make something instead?"

A hand on my elbow had me looking back at Edward. I made my eyes all wide at him. "Should I be scared?"

"Of an ninety-one-year-old woman that won't die?" Esme whispered and I had to pinch the tip of my nose to keep from busting out laughing. What was wrong with her?

Edward shook his head at his mom. "It's my grandmother…" he trailed off but cleverly, or sneakily enough, he didn't answer whether I had something to be worried about or not.


www dot facebook dot com slash marianazapatawrites

www dot twitter dot com slash marianazapata_