AN: Enjoy, my darling readers!
Thank you, mauigirl60! This is so much better with your amazing help!
Chapter 18: Fruit Tarts and Decaffeinated Coffee
Bella missed coffee. Strong coffee. The type that was so strong it curled your toes. This pregnancy was for the birds.
"Just try the grassroot smoothie, Bella!" Garrett pushed the thermos he'd brought in with him over to her. Bella was tempted to stab him with a baguette. "It'll give you energy and ease your headache."
Garrett was visiting her every day now. He imagined the two of them were now buddies. His original reason had been to work on ways to vanquish James. Truthfully, all he did was to push his organic foods on her. He was lonely and had no one else to talk to about his relationship with Kate. Bella loathed talking about her.
Kate was still a pain in Bella's side. If dealing with mood swings, back pain, nausea and a constant need to eat her weight in nachos weren't enough of a chore, she now had Kate constantly in the bakery, mocking her baked goods. She also liked making fun of Bella's now-filled-out form. The woman was a menace, but Garrett was smitten. Bella was trying to be kind, which wasn't her strongest personality trait.
She sniffed his concoction. "It reeks of manure-filled fields. Are you trying to make me vomit? I'm trying to feed this minnow."
"Take a little sip," Garrett suggested. "Please."
She did. Bad idea. Bella spit it out all over the counter. "Are you trying to kill me, Garrett?"
"I thought it was good!"
"You have no taste buds!" The bell chimed and Bella looked up to see Edward coming in. She threw a dish rag at Garrett. "Clean that up! Archie, Garrett's trying to poison me with his stinky health food! Beat him up!"
Edward just smiled at his cranky wife. "I bet it was fine. Thanks for trying, man."
He kissed her head and patted Garrett's shoulder.
Bella scowled. Of course, they would bond over trying to force her to eat healthy. Stupid men!
She unbuttoned her jeans.
"What are you doing?" Edward questioned with a frown.
"I think my pants shrunk in the dryer."
He shook his head. "I think it's the ice cream and French fries."
"It's the French fries, woman!"
It had to be. Bella was consuming a non-stop barrage of high caloric goods. She would push Edward's head down on her stomach, claiming the fetus was starving for greasy goodies. He was fairly certain it was heartburn.
She still was the loveliest thing he'd ever seen, but Edward was a fairly intelligent man. Bella's mood swings were intense and there was a very good chance if she gained too much weight, she'd take it out on him. Probably in his sleep, with a pillow. This was really self-preservation getting her to slow it down now, before she had extra weight to suffocate him with.
Garrett knew things were going to get really bad shortly. He slowly moved away from the counter.
Bella tossed the thermos of grassroot smoothie in Edward's face.
He licked it and grimaced. "That is disgusting!"
"I told you!" Bella exclaimed. "You need to put your listening ears on, Anne Shirley and get back to the readin', writin' and 'rithmetic!"
"Stop with the Anne of Green Gable insults, woman!"
Garrett slowly left the bakery, as Edward launched himself over the counter, attacking Bella's mouth. They were grappling each other like they'd been parted for decades.
In Garrett's opinion, it would be romantic if it hadn't started out as a fight about weight gain. Of course, Kate just pointed at Garrett's cargo shorts and told him, "Drop the pants, hippie!"
Everyone had their own way of doing things. That's a fact.
Jasper pulled out a bag of baby clothes and tossed them toward Bella.
There was a lot of pink and even more sparkles. It was as if a tacky dance club threw up in her kitchen. The child in her belly would be forever branded as the weird one who might be able to score drugs for his or her friends. Not on Bella's watch. She would dress her kid in a burlap sack first.
"You do get that there's a chance I might be having a boy?" Bella held up a pink shirt that had Diva spelled out in sparkles.
"My Alice said that pink is fetching on everyone!" Jasper stated. He pulled down his pants to show his pink flamingo boxers.
Some days, Jasper wondered how he'd become obsessed with the unfashionable Bella Swan. It must have been her bossiness. It was definitely a turn-on, until he'd found his kindred spirit in Alice.
Bella covered her face. "Jesus, man! I did not need to see that! Ever!"
"I'm not trying to seduce you anymore, beautiful Bella! I have Alice. I was just trying to show you that men can wear pink. Edward would do well and good to take that into consideration." Jasper collapsed onto a kitchen chair. "You two are fashionably impossible. You wear boy clothes and Edward always dresses as if he's a mortician."
"We aren't that bad!" Isabella took a swig of water, wishing it was a Coke.
Alice came in the kitchen door, her arms filled with shopping bags. "You two are worse than that. It's like a bag lady and a stuffy CPA who decided to fornicate."
"That was just unnecessary, Alice! What's in the bags? Please, no more stripper baby clothes!" Bella exclaimed. "There'd better be a cheeseburger in that bag! Or three with French fries and a milkshake."
"They're maternity clothes, Bella! You're only wearing sweatpants!" Alice exclaimed. She dumped one of the bags onto the table. "I need a coffee."
"Sweatpants are comfy! Oh...your brother rid the house of all the good stuff! Supposedly, I cannot be trusted to eat proper foods." That's when Bella spotted something shimmering from within the pile. "That better not be sequins, Cullen!"
Alice pulled out a sparkly halter top that read Baby on Board. "Isn't that the cutest?"
"No one's ever said that before your crazy ass saw it!" Bella exclaimed. "You'll only get that on over my dead body!"
"Don't tempt me, Bella," she said in her chipper manic way.
Jasper patted Bella's hand. "You need coffee, sweetie. You've always been a bear without caffeine. Remember that time in high school when you punched Mike Newton for taking the last Coke out of the vending machine? Rose still talks about that."
"Of course she does! I got suspended." Bella smirked. "Rose got suspended too! Royce King should have known better than to pinch her butt. That was such a fun week. Junk food and bad movies. Good times!"
Bella started reminiscing about her past with Rose, when they'd terrorized the boys of Forks High, when there was a loud knocking on the front door.
She groaned and pulled herself out of her chair. Damned baby weight!
She threw open the door to see Angela, crying on the front porch.
"Did that Star Wars-loving nerd do something to you? I'll break all of his spaceship models!" Bella would make Ben Cheney cry. She kind of liked the idea.
"My Ben? He's lovely," Angela cried. "It's my library!"
Bella pulled her into the living room. Her feet already had started hurting. In her opinion, men should be the ones dealing with pregnancy. Actually, the big crybabies couldn't handle it.
"Take a seat." Bella pointed to an easy chair, as she plopped on the couch and rested her feet on the pillows.
"Angela! Isn't this the cutest?" Alice came in carrying a tiny gold-sequined beret. It was hideous. "Won't the baby look adorable? What's wrong?"
Angela started weeping again.
"There's something wrong at the library," Bella stated. She yelled into the kitchen. "Jasper, get Angela a water! Oh...and make me a decaf coffee!"
Alice went over and knelt down by Angela. "What happened, honey? Did they steal Bucky again?"
Bucky was a stuffed beaver that was the official library mascot. It almost was begging for the high schoolers in town to steal it. They liked to put it in questionable scenarios around town: humping a stuffed rabbit in front of town hall; dirty dancing with a dead turtle by the fountain in the park. The best, and now a town legend, was how Bucky found his way into the mayor's bed while the man was sleeping. He woke up to find Bucky next to him wearing his wife's negligee. The screams were said to be heard in the next state.
"I locked him in the safe, but that's not the problem!" Angela started bawling. Bella tossed her a crumpled fast food napkin that was hidden in the couch cushions. It looked clean. Angela loudly blew her nose into it. "They're going to demolish the library!"
"The library has been around since the Middle Ages!" Bella exclaimed.
Bella used to live in that musty mausoleum from when she was a wee girl. She would crawl around the dusty floors with a jar and kidnap the spiders for pets. As she grew older, sometimes she would copy baking recipes out of Ladies Home Journal magazines to try out for her willing taste-tester father. As she reached adolescence, Bella used the darkest reaches of the history stacks to practice kissing with Tyler Grant. Even now, Bella found it a relaxing place to reflect and have a quiet cup of tea with her friend. There was no way they'd use a wrecking ball to destroy a piece of the town's history.
"There wasn't even a United States in the Middle Ages, Bella!" Alice exclaimed, feeling smart.
Bella smirked. "Didn't you know Forks was the place where the knights of the round table settled to raise sheep? They built the library back then."
"There aren't a lot of sheep in Forks, Bella," Alice huffed.
"There were awful shepherds, obviously," Bella then added. "They decided on taxidermy instead."
Alice thought about the abundance of stuffed animals in town; not the cute, soft kind in the stores, and shuddered. "That makes perfect sense."
Bella grinned. It really was too easy.
"Will you two stop!" Angela yelled, with tears in her eyes. "That mean man, James, convinced the city council that a Forever 21 would be a better fit in that location."
"What the hell is a Forever 21? It sounds like a drive-thru Botox joint to freeze the faces of vain old women." Bella was fuming.
Alice giggled. "It's a teen clothing store. Lots of neon and sparkles."
Bella hopped up with energetically and grabbed the phone. She dialed and barked into the receiver. "Red, get over here!"
"That wasn't very creative! Are you angry with me? I should at least warrant the name of a cartoon character!" Edward stated into his cell phone.
He was looking over property that he'd heard James wanted to buy. It was basically wetlands. Edward looked down at his ruined loafers; definitely wetlands.
"I'm enraged at that evil villain, James! He's planning on tearing down the library!" Bella screamed into the receiver.
Edward felt his eardrums rupture.
"Of course, that makes perfect sense!" Edward said. "It's prime real estate."
"Get over here!" His ears were ringing.
She hung up on him.
"Jasper!" Bella yelled into the kitchen. He rushed out with the drinks. "Yes, sweet Bella?"
"We need several cheeseburger deluxe platters from the diner! I need food to solve this problem!" She turned to Alice and Angela. "What do you girls want?"
"Bella, there're more important things then food right now!" Alice admonished.
Bella threw a pillow at Alice's head and missed. It flew into Angela's face. "Oww!"
"My sweet, innocent, unborn child is starving for cheese, hamburger, fries and cole slaw, you demented little baby-hater!" Bella scowled at her sister-in-law. "Time to feed the baby!"
"That sweet, innocent baby is going to be as big as a tank!" Alice exclaimed.
"That's better than parading around the day care like a sparkly drag queen!"
"Ladies! The library!" Angela yelled. They were giving her a headache.
"Right! We need to get rid of this James once and for all. Let's brainstorm!" Bella gave a fist pump.
Jasper came in, jumping up and down. "I have lots of ideas!"
"Those cheeseburgers aren't going to walk into this house by themselves." Bella pointed to Jasper and then the door. "All right girls, we have some planning to do!"
And that they did.