Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters are the creation of Stephenie Meyer, and no infringement is intended.
Author's Note: I wrote this story some time ago and posted it on another site. However, I thought readers here might enjoy it. For those who frequent a particular site devoted solely to Twilight fanfiction, you may have read this one already… If not, I hope you enjoy it!
This is set shortly after Twilight.
Statistically, Forks, Washington is among the rainiest places in the United States. That fact was one of the primary reasons my family had returned to settle in the small logging town. On average, precipitation graces the area over two hundred days per year. This means that cloud cover shrouds the sun's revealing rays two-thirds of the time. At least that's what should occur. Unfortunately, late June brought unusually sunny weather; there wasn't a cloud in sight for eight days in a row.
This meant that I could only see Bella at night, and I missed her terribly. I suppose I may have been slightly irritable at her absence, but I had only had her back with me, safe and relatively sound, for a handful of weeks—little more than a moment to a creature whose lifespan measures eons rather than decades—and I craved her warm, wonderful, vibrant presence.
She had nearly recovered from the injuries she had sustained during James' attack. The cast had been removed from her leg several weeks ago, and all of the cuts and broken ribs were healed. The horrendous bite on her wrist had faded to a pinkish crescent, which she claimed it wasn't painful anymore. Still, it was a tangible, wrenching reminder of my failure to protect her.
I had anticipated numerous trips to our meadow, gradually lengthening hikes to help her recover full strength in her leg, and leisurely strolls through Port Angeles and Seattle to browse in bookstores. These plans, however, were thwarted by the infernally sunny weather, in more ways than one.
As I stood frowning near one of the living room windows, I wondered somewhat facetiously if there were such a thing as seasonal affective disorder in reverse: a growing sense of despondency as days drenched in sunshine stretched on and on...
I sighed and reached for my phone. Bella was scheduled to work until 6:00, but as soon as she returned home, I planned to remain with her until morning. I hated that she had gotten a job. It was part of the reason I was unable to see her during the day. Even with full sun, there was nothing to prevent her from coming to visit me—until she accepted the part-time position at Newton's Outfitters. She had been scheduled to work just a few hours a day initially, but the damned sunny weather brought a flurry of outdoor activity with it, and it seemed that all of Forks and the surrounding communities were flocking to sporting goods stores to purchase supplies for hikes, fishing trip, and camp-outs. This business boon meant that Mrs. Newton needed more help, and she upped Bella's hours to full-time while the frenzy lasted.
Bella had worked for the past six days straight, from eight in the morning until six at night. That was more than full-time, I fumed, as I considered whether I could file some sort of complaint on her behalf. Weren't there laws against barely recovered, still delicate young women working more than eight hours per day? Even if Mrs. Newton did permit her to sit on a high stool at the cash register, the unreasonably long shifts were surely draining.
Unfortunately, Bella was pleased to have the additional hours. She planned to bolster her tiny college fund, despite my assurances that she wouldn't need to pay a penny for tuition or expenses. She dismissed me summarily, insisting that she could manage on her own. She always resisted my offers to help her financially, even though it was literally nothing to me, at least not monetarily.
I punched in the store's number and waited, hoping Bella would answer. When I heard Mike's voice, I suppressed a growl of frustration.
Instead, I asked with forced politeness, "May I speak with Bella, please?"
"She's ringing up a customer now," he replied rather stiffly; of course he knew who was calling.
I could hear many sounds throughout the store, but the one upon which I focused was Bella's beautiful voice. The words didn't matter; it was the melodious tone that captivated me. I found myself growing anxious to speak directly to her. My fingers drummed against the glass, causing a minor reverberation through the panes.
"Hello?" Bella asked when she finally came to the phone.
That idiot Newton hadn't told her who was calling.
"Bella," I breathed.
I loved the excitement in her tone. I could visualize the gorgeous blush creeping over her cheeks as I spoke her name.
"Are you all right, love?" I asked. "You've been working all day."
"I'm fine. I've been sitting at the register most of the time."
She knew I worried about her becoming fatigued if she had to put sustained pressure on her leg. I wanted to ask how many hours 'most of the time' meant, but instead I inquired, "Are you going to be finished at six?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Good. I'll pick you up."
"You're going to have to come out to the car, though," I apologized. "It looks like the sun will still be out in full force."
"It's fine, Edward," she replied. I knew she was slightly exasperated yet secretly pleased with my persistently Victorian manners.
"All right. I'll see you in an hour." I rested my head against the smooth glass and added, "I love you, Bella."
"I love you, too," she said softly.
Reluctantly I hung up. My fingers returned to their impatient tapping as I waited for the next interminable hour to pass.
The moment Bella opened the car door, her enticing fragrance enveloped me. I inhaled shallowly, savoring the delectable scent. She shut the door then scooted over into my embrace. I kissed her lips softly and permitted myself to nuzzle her hair for a few moments.
"Mmm, it smells good in here," she murmured against my chest.
"Yes, it does," I replied blissfully.
She laughed and pulled back to peek between the seats. "I meant it smells like dinner. I'm starving!"
I frowned and studied her carefully. She didn't seem particularly pale; in fact, her cheeks were pink. When she exhaled, I took a slow, deep breath, analyzing her scent. Her blood sugar was a little low.
"When was the last time you ate?" I asked worriedly.
"I had a granola bar around noon," she replied.
"That's all? Bella, a granola bar does not provide adequate nutrition!" I admonished. Of course I couldn't be angry with her, so I directed my pique elsewhere. "Mrs. Newton should know better. There are rules and regulations that employers are supposed to follow. You're supposed to get a lunch break—at least thirty minutes and preferably a full hour. And you need a real meal, with protein and complex carbohydrates to help you sustain your energy—"
She shook her head. "I'm fine, Edward. We were just really busy today."
I narrowed my eyes at her. "I have half a mind to start bringing you lunch every day, sun or no sun. At least that way I'll know that you're getting proper nutrition."
"You can take me to lunch tomorrow," she said with a grin. "I have the day off."
The degree of relief and excitement that flooded me may have been slightly out of proportion to this bit of news. Outwardly calm, I replied, "Well, that's good. It's about time."
"I thought we could go to Port Angeles for the day."
"I'll have to check the weather forecast," I said. We both understood this meant consulting with Alice. "If it's still going to be sunny, I'm sure we can think of something else to do."
She nodded, but she seemed a little disappointed.
"Was there something in particular you wanted to do in Port Angeles?" I inquired.
"Just a couple of places I wanted to check out," she replied with a small, casual shrug. "But I guess it can wait…"
I heard her heartbeat quicken a bit. "What is it, love?" I prodded gently.
"It's just that there's a special promotion that's only going to last a couple more days," she said. "I was hoping to get there in time to take advantage of it." Her cheeks grew pink, and her gorgeous scent caressed my senses.
I knew she always felt embarrassed that she had to watch her finances so carefully. Clearly there was something she wished to purchase and felt would be an extravagance at another time.
"Well then," I relented easily, unable to deny her anything, "we'll go regardless of the weather. If the sun is out, we can just stay in the shade."
She smiled, appearing relieved. "Thank you, Edward." She gave me a kiss. As if in punctuation, her stomach growled. She grimaced lightly. "Sorry!"
"You're only human," I said with the greatest affection. "So let's get some dinner into that vocal belly of yours."
She giggled as we drove away. I cherished the joyful expression on her face and vowed that whatever she wanted to buy tomorrow would be hers, even if I had to sneak back to purchase it. My Bella deserved the world, and I intended to provide it for her.
To be continued…