AN: I couldn't get this story out of my head, so her is the beginning and it is my take on those holiday romances that are all over the television now that Thanksgiving is over. It's going to be like Forks, so for those who read that one I hope you like this one too.
It's hasn't been proofed yet, so my sincere apologies. I will update it later with appropriate changes. Also, readers of my other stories, new chapters are on the way. I will blame it on no sleep due to a sad toddler whose been up all night getting molars.
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. You all know who does. I just use them for writing practice.
Chapter 1: Apple Tarts
"A pretty girl like you needs to find a fella that will take you to nice places, like that new Panera. You know the one… it replaced the Subway in that shopping center on Route 145. My boy, Michael would be happy to take you there."
Isabella Marie Swan, aka Bella, attempted to smother a groan giving the elder Mr. Newton a half-hearted smile. Every day since his retirement from the Newton Sports Emporium, Michael Newton, Sr. waddled into her bakery wearing a camel colored cardigan and a pair of worn, plaid golf pants. Without fail he would order his usual toasted multi-grain bagel with cream cheese on the side and a black coffee sweetened by two Splendias. Then at exactly 8:30 A.M. on the dot, the elder Newton would attempt to coax Bella into dating his idiot son.
Bella placed his mug of coffee and bagel in front of him on the small round table by the store front window that was decorated festively with construction paper pumpkins and leaves. She gave a little laugh, "You really need to tell Junior he needs to ask me out himself and not send a much more desirable gentleman to come calling for him."
To be truthful, Bella would prefer that she wouldn't be mentioned to Michael Jr. at all. Out of sight and out of mind would work so much better.
"Dear girl, in that case, put an old man out of his misery and run away with me. I'll show you the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt or at least The Forks Diner on Tuesday at four. They have a great senior citizen discount." Michael Sr. wizened face erupted in a grin as he patted her hand. Michael Sr. was quite fond of the sassy Swan girl. He thought Bella's sharp tongue had the potential to finally get his son's ass in gear. If that didn't work to get his son to focus, a stint in the Army and a very angry drill Sargent. Whatever came first would suffice.
"You are always the charmer, Mr. Newton. Tell me though, what would Mrs. Newton think about our adventures?"
"That old bag? Forget about her Miss Bella. She's too busy watching The View or The Chew or some such nonsense." Michael Sr. shoved his thick black glasses up his thin nose.
While Michael Sr. was a joy, the rest of the Newton clan was decidedly not. Bella could never fathom how such a nice man could be married to one of the most horrible women on the planet, Ethel Newton. Thankfully, for the town, she was usually parked in a Lazy Boy chair in front of a large screen television getting her fix of daytime talk shows and Sarah Lee Coffee Cake. It was when, on rare occasions, she heaved herself out of the chair onto the streets that the good town folk of Forks would scurry like mice to hide. Ethel Newton had a joy of spreading toxic gossip and for this reason; it was in everyone's best interest to avoid her at all costs.
It was not surprising that her contaminated genes would have dominated over Michael Sr.'s more pleasant ones to create the vile Michael Jr. Whenever Bella pondered that perhaps her viewpoint was too harsh on the younger Newton, he would open his mouth and she would remember that he in fact was entirely evil. Bella had endured Junior's twisted wooing throughout first grade to graduation with barely a restrained need to punch him in the face. When they were at the tender age of six, Junior stuck a snake into her Hello Kitty backpack. At the age of thirteen, Michael renamed her, 'Smelly Belly' as revenge for her kicking him in the groin while he tried to grab her breast at recess. Finally, when they were seventeen he tried to sneak into the girl's locker room with a camera. Of course, this didn't put him in the good graces of any of the females in sixth period gym, but made skinny Ben Cheney the class champion for stopping him.
It was no wonder that Junior was not well liked in the community. His father's hard work would have all gone to pieces, do lack of local business, if it wasn't for the gullible tourists. They had no problem paying for overpriced tents and sleeping bags for trips into the deep, dark woods. While Junior had no problem fleecing them of their cash and preying on their fears of frost bite and bears. He was making a killing on expensive, ineffectual bear repellent that he was brewing in his apartment kitchen that smelled of old coffee, baking soda and a knockoff Old Spice deodorant. Even though Bella had heard Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus never said it, she still believed, "There's a sucker born every minute." Or something like that.
Michael Sr. had similar thought to Bella on the state of his family. There was a reason he spent all day in her bakery or at bingo at St. Anne's Church.
Bella and Michael Sr. continued to chat, as Bella poured herself her own cup of Joe and plopped down in a chair beside him. It was a slow morning, so why not? They had just started to discuss the closing of the town's only music store, when the bell chimed to announce the opening of the door. Bella looked over at the man entering the room and was immediately pulled into flecks of brown that floated in his emerald orbs. They were like a mossy meadow that made a beating heart wish to lay down in them and wallow in their splendor. This is exactly how Bella described the stranger's eyes in her head. She always fashioned herself as a poet, obviously not a very good one which is the reason she was a baker and not a writer.
The man's hair was a russet color that reminded Bella of the pennies that she used to throw into Angela Webber's Koi pond when she was a young girl to make wishes for an Easy Bake Oven. Pennies that poisoned the koi and made them float to the top, which in turn made Bella and Angela start hysterically crying. To rid herself of this memory, Bella decided to take in the rest of the appendages of the man and immediately felt her body warming. She wanted to leap out of her chair and mount like the customer like a puma, pulling his penny hair as she attacked his pouty lips. Luckily two things stopped her. First, it was the idea of poor Michael Sr.'s horror to be subjected to such depravity, by the proprietor of his favorite bakery. Second, the disdainful look on the stranger's face. Disdainful looks are always a turn off.
"Excuse me, but does anyone work in this establishment?" Edward Cullen, the stranger of Bella's fantasy asked. He straightened his tie for the twelfth time in the early morning hour. Impressions were everything in life, he believed, and if wearing Armani you better look sharp.
Bella hopped out of her chair giving Michael Sr. and wink, and if the elder Newton was being honest a little thrill. She quickly walked over to the stand behind the counter and threw on a fake, but bright smile. "Sorry about that! What can I get you?"
"A triple espresso with no sugar." Edward noticed a spot of his shirt cuffs and started to panic.
"Oh…umm…I can get you a black coffee. I make it pretty strong. I have some flavorings. At least vanilla, maybe hazelnut… Wait, I have some pumpkin spice flavored creamer! You know it's great with Thanksgiving coming up."
"You do realize that you have a cappuccino maker on your counter?" Edward questioned, his eyes narrowing into slits.
"It was a gift. It's a gift that I have yet to master." Bella started to wipe the counters haphazardly. "Listen, Dude. This place is obviously hopping today, so I have no time for idle chit chat. I can give you a cup of Joe and maybe a croissant for a suit like you."
"Did you in all seriousness call me, 'dude'?" Edward started to run his fingers through his hair making it a wild mess. Bella's thoughts started to veer into pushing the jerk onto the counter and running her hands through his sexy mop. Stupid, penny hair was making her think dirty thoughts again.
Bella started stuttering and blushing, "I…I…I…"
Edward was wondering what the problem was with this infuriating and strange girl. He was trying not to peer into the lovely cleavage that was discreetly peeking out from her shirt, as she leaned over to grab a cookie and shove it into her mouth. He watched her chew on it and his mind started to wander about all the things that pretty brunette could do with those pink lips. He quickly barked at her to cover his distracted feelings, "Listen all I want is an espresso, but I would honestly take a venti cappuccino to deal with you right now.
"Listen, Archie, we have normal sizes. You ever heard of small, medium and large? You could, I know this is one of those crazy ideas, sit at a table and drink out of a mug. You can pretend to be earth friendly," Bella said angrily. The anger was stemming more from her dirty thoughts about the jackass, then his actual words.
"Who the hell is Archie?" Edward was confused. Was she confusing him for a past lover? He was slightly offended by this, because they were not yet lovers. Not that he wanted to be, well maybe he did a little bit. Plus he was a magnificent lover that would put all her past sexual interludes into pale comparisons.
"The famous comic books starring a guy named Archie. He has red hair like you. He is deciding between snobby Veronica and innocent Betty, but can't make up his damn mind. You have to know this."
"What are you blathering on about?" Edward asked, his head was spinning and he felt a migraine coming on.
Bella got a dazed look on her face. "Wait… What was I talking about? Never mind, it wasn't important. What is important, sir is that this isn't a Starbucks with their overpriced burnt beans. Forks doesn't even qualify for a Dunkin Donuts. However, there is a Tom Horton's on Sycamore Street. Canada's finest brew, I've been told. You can get your fix there, while grabbing some donuts."
"Just give me a black coffee." He sat down at the counted on an old stool. Edward was drawn to her sassy tongue. He wondered if she would be willing to visit the back room with him and christen a flour covered table with him. Naked and flour…the OCD part of him was disgusted, but the kinky side was ready to try it out. He quickly stomped out the thought by adding, "One of those things in the display case."
"An apple tart?" Bella asked. She almost giggled thinking that word tart also worked well as a description of his disposition. "Are you sure I can't convince you to try some Pumpkin Spice creamer while you're at it?"
"No!" Edward exclaimed. What was with this woman and presumably horrible tasting holiday creamers. He was sure that she was going to have a candy cane or egg nog milk product fetish in a mere few weeks.
"Fine," Bella huffed and headed to the coffee pot. "Please say that this is to go."
Edward looked at her cute little behind and said wearily, "Just pour the coffee."
Bella was partly disappointed he wasn't heading out the door, but there was a tiny flicker in mind that she could take in his handsome face a bit longer. She was frightened that this meant she was becoming a masochist.
"They say good service is dead," Edward said with a smirk as she dropped the plate that held the tart in front of him. Bella crossed her arms and watched transfixed him as he took a bite. Those lips… She felt warm again.
Edward was feeling warm as well. The taste of the sweet pastry and sharp bite of the granny apple played a symphony on his tongue. He was in love with this breakfast confection and whoever masterfully created it. He moaned in sugary bliss.
"What do you think?" Bella asked interrupting his love affair with the food he had just consumed.
"Who made this delectable treat? I need to see the chef or is the manager in?"
"I wear both of those hats. I created that culinary masterpiece before you. I take that it's a win in your book." She grinned, feeling triumphant.
Edward looked shocked. "Well that's a surprise. As a matter of fact, I am surprised you have the concentration to tie your shoe."
Bella's happiness quickly dissipated to a need to cram a Boston Cream Pie in the egotist's face. "Listen here you jerk…"
Edward continued to ignore the angry face before him, "These apple tarts are really good. Let me help you. Here's my card."
Out of a platinum card holder, Edward placed an ivory business card into Bella's hand.
Edward A. Cullen
"Mr…" Bella glanced back to the card. "Cullen. What is this?"
"My business. We save little mom and pop shops like yours. Actually, bigger shops. Like corporations."
Bella rolled her eyes. "I don't pay for help. I do just fine."
"Just give me a chance to make this place shine. You'll be rolling in dough."
"I have plenty of dough in the back. Thanks anyway." She was getting annoyed. Again.
He pouted, "The dough part was a joke, because you're a baker."
"Got that. So was mine. Only my joke was much, much better." She poured herself more coffee.
Edward ignored her dismissal of his wonderful plans. "We need to revamp this whole place. It's tacky."
"I like my bakery!" She yelled. It was true; Bella loved its quirky décor. Mismatched tables and chairs from tag sale and stools from restaurant bankruptcy auctions were perfect for her shop with its brightly painted yellow walls. It fitted her topsy turvy outlook on the world perfectly.
"It needs updating. More chrome and recessed lighting," Edward said calmly. He felt it was best to talk to her like she was a child.
"You will not make this into a European disco!" She yelled at him flinging her coffee mug around to emphasize her displeasure.
"What are you talking about? Stop waving that coffee cup around before you get my suit wet!" He was already upset about the pastry crumbs on his shirt.
"You want tight tee shirts and pretentious logos!"
Edward would like to see her in a tight tee shirt. "That reminds me, your horrible name has got to go. I hate it."
"That's a play off my name. Swan. Like Hans Christen Anderson's THE UGLY DUCKLING."
"What's your first name?" He thought it might be nice to think of her something else as crazy girl or sexy kitten.
"Bella. But you don't need to know that, because I hate your face."
"Silly woman, you love it. All women do. But the bakery name has got to go. It's not cute, just dumb. Changed."
"I haven't hired you! Plus, I can't pay you. That should give you enough reason to leave." She pointed at the door.
"No problem. I'll take you on as a charity case." Then Edward was struck with a brilliant and completely self-serving idea. "You can pay me by delivering baked goods to my parents a few times a week. You'll start this Thanksgiving. We need about five pumpkin pies and… Let me get back to you on the rest."
Edward's mother was sweet, but a dreadful baker. The food poisoning incident of Christmas 1983 was a family legend.
"They live here?" Bella was scared.
"They just moved in, as have I. Hi there, neighbor." He put his hand out to shake hers noticing that she wasn't wearing any rings. Bella slapped it away. "To tell you the truth, it's my goal to make Forks the tourist destination of the area. Like a North Western Nantucket or Hamptons."
"Are you kidding me?" Bella said as the coffee she was holding splashed onto her shirt.
"You really should wash that out. It will stain." Edward's eyes were glued to her boobs. "We can make this place great, Bella Swan."
"It's perfectly fine!" She bellowed. "Are you evil?"
"An evil genius." Edward slapped money onto the counter and stood up. "I'll be seeing you very soon. Get ready for your tight tee shirt, Miss Swan.
Edward strolled out of the bakery, his day feeling quite a bit brighter. Bella looked at him as her future grew dim. She looked at the money on the counter…fifty dollars for a three dollars and fifty cent meal. She let out a scream.
Michael Sr. watched this soap opera from his table with wide eyes. "Bella, my dear some men don't know a thing about treating a lady. Can I get a refill?"