Disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer, and I don't own Twilight. I just play with the characters. Some warnings before you start: Alcohol and death references. Not horribly graphic, but they're still there.
I hope you enjoy.
April 9, 2010
The club lights were flashing all around him, dizzying spots of green and blue rotating in every direction. Edward stumbled through the mass of bodies grinding on the dance floor. The VIP section awaited him, but he had to get there in one piece first.
He lost track of how many drinks he'd had in the car on the ride over from the set, but he wasn't counting. Not tonight. Not when he was on a semi-vacation in Hawaii, shooting an episode of his TV show on location.
The show had been picked up for another season. Edward was meeting his cast mates to celebrate… before he renegotiated his contract and asked for another million. It was best to get the liquor flowing before James dropped the bomb on them in the morning. He chuckled to himself as he slid past a particularly grabby woman. One minute she had her ass pressed against the guy she was dancing with, and the moment her eyes landed on Edward, she moved to him, grinding on his hip like a dog in heat.
Edward barely contained an eye roll. As gently as he could, he pried her off him and continued toward the back of the club. Normally his body guard, Casey, would've prevented the girl from getting anywhere near him, but Edward had given him the night off.
He was rethinking that thought now.
Spotting his friends at a table, Edward made a beeline for them. The bouncer stopped him briefly at the dark velvet rope before Edward looked up at him in question. Seeing who was standing in front of him, the beefy bouncer hastily scrambled for the clasp to let Edward pass.
A smug grin flitted across his face before he went inside. That's more like it, he thought as he made his way to the table where his friends sat, laughing.
Life had turned into one big silver platter since his first movie had premiered. Opportunities that had never been possible before came to Edward: endorsements, free VIP access everywhere, and women. Lots and lots of women. Even though he was off the market, only had eyes for Bella, he couldn't help but notice the substantial amount of women, younger and older, throwing themselves at him.
It was nice in a flattering kind of way, and he ate it up.
James had persuaded him to go out with his coworkers, build a reputation for being a fun kind of guy, while on his first film.
He regretted the pictures that had been plastered on every tabloid cover after that night, but James assured Edward it was worth it. Any news is good news when it came to show business, after all.
Bella had had a fit, understandably. Edward's heart had physically hurt when he'd heard her crying over the phone as she'd asked him why he'd had some woman holding onto him. Somehow 'it's not what it looked like' hadn't flown with her.
He had pleaded with her, asking her to give him just a minute to hear what had really happened, what the photographs had taken out of context. The group had been making its way out of the restaurant after having dinner; Edward was lagging behind everyone else, sending a text to Bella, in fact. The actress who had been playing his girlfriend in the movie, Maya Hawkens, had wanted to get back to the hotel faster, and because Edward was taking his time walking, she had seen fit to grab him by the hand and drag him to the waiting car.
Bella had hiccupped and gulped, sounding unsure when she had asked him a timid, that's all?
That one question had made relief course through his system in an instant.
Since then, every photograph of him with some other woman, actress or not, hadn't been questioned. It was something they both had to get used to, Edward presumed. The amount of people calling James for rumor confirmation was instantaneous. Suddenly, Edward Cullen was someone to keep an eye on.
People asked for his autograph, for pictures, for kisses. He obliged them as much as possible, though never giving in to the last request. He was incredibly thankful for the opportunity he was given, but he still had his principles.
Chris, one of his co-stars, waved at him. "Hey, E-man! We ordered for you already. We're comin' back next year!" he announced, no connection between his thoughts as he slammed back his drink.
Edward plastered a fake smile to his lips and slapped his coworker on the back jovially. "I know. So awesome!" His phone vibrated in his pocket as their waitress appeared by his side, setting down a drink in front of him. He didn't hesitate to pull her close, drawing his arm around her slim waist as he whispered in her ear. Drinks would be on him tonight, and if she played her cards right, she'd go home with a fat tip, among other things. Her giggle couldn't be heard over the loud music, but he supposed it would be shrill and outlandish. She seemed like the type, all girls were whenever they met him.
He was on his third White Russian when he remembered his phone. Extracting it out of his pocket carefully, he read the screen, his eyes blurring the letters together.
It wasn't important, Edward decided as he ordered a shot for everyone at the table. He smacked the waitress's ass as she walked away. What was her name? Emily? Emma? He didn't remember; it didn't matter anyway. She looked shyly back at him over her shoulder, her light colored hair reflecting the lights of the club as she twisted around.
Spoke too soon, he thought as the phone vibrated on the table, loud enough to catch everyone's attention. Chris swiped it before Edward could get a hand on the table. "Ooh, who's calling you, Eddie? Is it a girlll?" he teased in a sing-song tone.
Edward smacked Chris upside his curly mopped head. "I wouldn't know because you stole my phone. Give it back, dipshit."
The guy reminded Edward of Emmett. Edward's heart panged with longing, missing one of his best friends. He didn't even know how Emmett and Rosalie were doing; he hadn't talked to either one of them in a year, at least. The last he heard, they were starting out slow. Edward wondered if they were together or not, remembering their volatile relationship from high school.
Things had definitely changed since they'd left Forks.
Chris scowled at him over the table. "You don't have to be such a dick about it, man. I was just having some fun. Here, take your stupid phone," he said in a disgruntled tone, throwing the sleek phone at Edward.
"I'm going back to the hotel. I'll see you guys in the morning," Edward replied, shoving it into his pocket and getting up from the table. He was fed up with Chris's antics. True, he missed Emmett, but Chris often bordered on going too far.
Edward found his waitress and paid off his tab before slowly making his way out of the VIP section. The girl who had been on him before was in the corner, making out with the unfortunate guy she'd been dancing with. Edward let out a relieved sigh that he wouldn't have to pry her hands off of him again. He walked around to the back of the establishment and found the second exit waiting for him. When he'd first arrived at the club, he'd told his driver to wait around back for him; he didn't want to draw any more attention to himself if he could help it.
He found the black SUV parked and waiting for him, and without stopping, he pulled open the back door and climbed in. "Back to the hotel, Frank. And make it snappy," he demanded stiffly as he closed the door and reached for another shot of alcohol. He was celebrating, after all.
"Goddamn it! What in the motherfucking hell is that noise, and why won't it shut off?" he cursed into the pillow covering his head.
He'd been having such a good dream. Couldn't remember what it was about, exactly, but he felt happy, hopeful, because of it.
But the happy, hopeful feeling didn't help his massive headache that screamed and pounded against his temples. His arms reached out blindly in an attempt to shut off the noise that was making his headache worse by the second.
His hand finally connected with the alarm clock, something he didn't remember setting, at all, before passing out fully clothed on the bed last night, and the incessant noise ceased.
Edward groaned dramatically before opening his eyes. They felt like sand had been rubbed in them. His mouth tasted horrible, and it felt like he'd been sucking on a dry cotton ball all night.
Grumbling, he sluggishly removed the pillow from over his head and promptly squinted as the bright sun light hit his face.
He knew he had to be on set soon, no time for lying in bed. Edward slowly rolled over and allowed himself a stretch before he got out of the comfortable bed and groggily headed into the bathroom to take a shower and swallow down a few aspirin.
A half an hour later, Edward had ordered breakfast from room service and had taken a hot enough shower to work out the knots he had forming on the back of his neck from tension. A towel wrapped around his waist and a piece of bacon hanging from his mouth, he checked his phone for messages.
Four missed calls and voicemails from Bella starting last night when he was at the club, one missed call from his mother from this morning, and seventeen text messages. His heart rate picked up, panic starting to set in as he listened to the first of Bella's messages.
It was garbled. Bella was crying, sobbing, into the phone.
Renee had died.
Hit by a car.
She was running away from Bella.
Bella's fault, all her fault.
No, he couldn't have heard that right. The next message was better, but only by a little bit. Bella sounded hollow, her voice cracking as sirens wailed in the background. She needed him. Why wasn't he picking up? In the next two she was pleading, begging him to help her. She needed him.
His heart ached, because he wasn't there to console Bella; his arms wanted to wrap around her and protect her from everything that was going on.
Edward called James first. He needed to get home, now. James could arrange a flight for him, next one out. It was what Edward needed. He was such a jerk for not picking up the previous night. James picked up quickly and, sensing the urgency in his voice, promised to get him on the next jet out to Florida. James would also work something out with the director and call Edward back when he had a plan. Edward hung up feeling slightly better.
That went away the moment he started going through his texts. Some from Chris, apologizing for being a doofus the night before, some from his set PA as reminders about today's schedule. Some were from Bella.
Where are you? Call me.
Edward, please answer me. The police are here and I don't know what's going to happen to me. Will they throw me in jail for getting my mother killed?
Jesus Christ. They tell me we can't have an open casket because of her injuries. I can't do this. Why won't you call me?
He'd never felt so helpless before, tears were sliding down his cheeks. Edward hadn't cried in so long, the feeling foreign to him.
"Fuck. Renee, what did you do?" he whispered.
Wiping his tears, he called Bella.
It rang three times before she picked up, sniffling and sounding defeated.
"I need you, come home."
The next flight out wasn't until late the next night. Edward had to go to the set and work, though his mind was elsewhere. He didn't muck up his scenes too many times and piss everyone off in the process. It made it easier when James had managed to successfully explain things to the director. James used a close aunt of Edward's passing away as his cover story, who had understood and needed Edward back as soon as possible to finish shooting. They couldn't do it without him.
Edward moped around his hotel room that night, using whiskey to take his wandering mind off of the guilt he felt for not being there for Bella. When he had called her to tell her that he wouldn't arrive until a few days later, she'd taken it… well, she'd taken it like someone in shock would. It was almost as if she hadn't heard him speaking at all, only offering non committal responses, shy 'oh's and 'I see's.
Another day of shooting took its toll on Edward. Though he passed out on top of the covers after finishing his bottle of Jack Daniels, he'd had a fitful sleep. His dreams were nightmares, he was running away from something, trying to save someone, and it made him wake up sweating profusely and sick to his stomach. The tone for the day was set before he'd even woken up.
Finally, when he felt like he would crawl out of his skin from waiting so long for his departure time to arrive, it was time for him to head to the airport. His bag had been packed since the morning he woken up and heard Bella's frantic phone calls.
He'd been whisked through security, keeping his sunglasses and baseball cap tucked securely on his head as he passed the crowds. He just wanted to be on the plane already. He had two layovers: one in Phoenix and another in D.C. He wasn't looking forward to having to endure three separate flights.
In total, he would suffer through twenty-four hours of travel before he'd be with Bella again.
He was thankful to be in First Class, being catered to and offered free beverages helped him relax and doze on the planes. He wasn't happy when he woke up every time there was turbulence, his heart racing as the plane dipped in the air. And each time the plane touched down, he nearly dropped to the ground and kissed in it relief. He was too exhausted to do that, opting to instead pick up something to eat at one of the many airport restaurants and trying to stay hidden from other travelers. Though he thought he'd stayed hidden enough, many people stopped him, and he was forced to hastily pose for a few shots with some of his fans, being hit on by women as he did so. It was a drawback he'd unfortunately had to get used to, not having a moment to himself.
He hoped, when he finally touched down in Jacksonville, Bella would still be awake when he arrived. Glancing down at his watch, he knocked that hope aside as he noticed how late it was.
Edward hopped into the first available cab, happy no paparazzi had been waiting for him. His eyes hurt from having so many flashes go off the entire day, and all he wanted to do was get home and finally relax with his wife.
The cab ride was longer than Edward expected, he thought, as they pulled up to the curb in front of Renee's apartment. Was it technically theirs, his and Bella's, now? His mind was too crowded with other things to worry about to add that to it. He just wanted to climb into bed with Bella and lose himself to sleep.
The cabbie sat in the car while Edward grabbed his bag and shut the trunk lid as quietly as he could. Edward watched as he drove off down the street and slowly turned to look at the home in front of him.
Yellow police caution tape fluttered pathetically in the late night wind, flowing in the breeze weakly. No lights occupied the window of his home, the place where his heart laid beating in agony over the loss of her mother.
Edward climbed the stairs softly, clutching his bag in his hand tightly as he rounded the corner and faced the front door. He fished his keys out of the side pocket of his bag and slid them in the keyhole, the lock turning easily. Softly, Edward pushed the door open and entered the dark entryway.
He made his way through the small apartment to his and Bella's room, pausing at the closed door to listen for any sign of distress. Hearing none, he entered the room slowly. She wasn't there.
Confused, he went out into the living room and looked for her on the couch, on the back deck. Then he checked the last place in the house he hadn't thought to look. Renee's room.
There, he found her. Underneath the covers, curled up into a ball, and clutching a pillow tightly to her chest was Bella, fast asleep.
Edward walked to her as quietly as he could, though as soon as his fingers touched her cheek, Bella startled awake. Her wide eyes were puffy, her face swollen from crying. She looked at him, disbelief on her features. "Are you really here?"
"I'm really here," he whispered, his fingers ghosting over her skin.
"Don't leave me, Edward. Please, don't leave me," Bella sobbed, jumping from the bed to hold onto Edward tightly.
He stroked her hair while she cried on his shoulder, her trembling form making him realize just how bad things had been for her the past four days. She'd been alone the entire time, with no one to really talk to, no one to comfort her.
Fuck. Renee, what did you do?
A/N: Many thanks go out to Shelikesthesound, Lauren, and my mom. They all know why.
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