Driving down one of the main streets in my home town made me feel somewhat nostalgic. Nothing seemed to have changed… well… not in the grand scheme of things.
Same buildings, same traffic lights, and the same people doing the same things.
I'd already caught up with a few old friends from school. Most of them were working in their chosen careers, or were married and had started their own families. However, one of them, Emmett, was still living with his parents. He claimed it was because his mother was the only one who understood his dietary needs. In other words, she paid for, and prepared, the vast amount of food he ate every day.
They had all poked fun at me, saying how much I'd changed, but it's not hard to change when you've lived in New York for ten years. New York would change anyone, and it had made me exceptionally wealthy and more well-known than I'd originally planned. I wouldn't have changed a thing about my life in New York… well… there was just one thing. It was the reason I'd come home, because I hoped to find the one thing that had taken me ten long years to realize I had lost.
I pushed a button on the interior door of the Vanquish to lower the power windows, and then breathed in the fresh, sweet spring air. It was something I hadn't been able to do in such a long time. In New York, breathing in deeply would most certainly lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. It was during this moment of deep breathing, I heard the loud sound of a car stereo. I rolled my eyes, but smiled as a feeling of nostalgia came over me.
My friends and I used to drive this same strip with our stereos up loud, thinking we were the coolest kids in town, when, in reality, we were just too young to go to the clubs where the really cool kids were. It seems as though cruising' is continuous throughout the generations.
I stopped at a red light. Judging by the increasing volume of the music, I just knew the jerk with the loud radio would either end up right next to me or close by.
Oh for fuck sake. Yep, right next to me.
In my peripheral vision, I saw a royal blue convertible. I didn't bother to give the driver the full attention they were probably seeking; that is until I heard a familiar female voice singing to the lyrics.
"Keep your drink just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight!
Uh, uh, uh, uh, oh."
I turned my head to see the literal girl of my dreams singing along to Pink. She tapped on the steering wheel with one hand while the other dipped down into something that was situated in her lap; she brought its contents up to her mouth.
I didn't have to see what it was to know she was eating caramel popcorn. It was her favorite, and it always had been. Her hair, which was the color of milk chocolate, was up in a sleek ponytail, and her smiling face appeared radiant as she sang along. I was mesmerized.
She must have felt that I was staring at her because once I'd finished memorizing her every feature, she turned slowly to look at me. Her eyes widened, and I gave her a smile, but neither of us had much time to react before the lights changed to green. I took off, but noticed she remained stationary at the lights.
I heard someone beep their horn, and with utter amusement, I watched her drive off while simultaneously extending her middle finger to the driver behind her. I could clearly hear her voice over the traffic and the blaring stereo.
"Yeah! Yeah! We can all see that you're in a big hurry to get to Kat's place for the weekly special. Asshole!"
I burst into laughter. Kat's was the local sex store, and the place was well-known for its gaudy window displays of the weekly specials… like anal beads. The owner received numerous warnings from the police and local council concerning her inappropriate displays. However, she always manages to have her detractors walk out with one of her trademark red and purple shopping bags, and appearing somewhat dazed.
I looked back to the road in time to notice the traffic was slowing for another red light. Slamming on the brakes, I managed to stop before my bumper hit the car in front of me. I glanced at my rear-vision mirror, to see if she would be stopping anywhere near me, but thanks to her impromptu pause at the last set of lights, too many cars had pushed in front of her.
I could only just see her reflection in my side mirror, and she caught my stare. She raised an eyebrow, and I smiled in return. She didn't smile. She didn't wave, and she certainly didn't flip me the bird. She merely looked ahead and continued to eat her caramel popcorn. I was hoping for a significant moment – or maybe even something similar to what the man honking at her had just received. Any type of attention would have been better than the blow off she'd just given me.
The song on her stereo changed to Machine Gun Fellatio's 'Pussy Town,' and I glanced at her again, watching her lips move as she sang the words. I could feel my pants tighten, and I tried hard to ignore it, but it quickly became an uncomfortable situation. Squirming in my seat, I turned away from her reflected image. I then gazed up towards the traffic lights just in time to notice they were about to change to green.
Keeping my mind on the road, I worked my way through the traffic until I could see the lights ahead change from green to amber. Searching for her reflection in my rear-vision mirror, I smiled involuntarily as I saw her shift gears downwards to overtake the car in front of her. This placed her right next to me at the lights as they changed from amber to red.
I glanced over at her the same moment she turned to look at me. At the press of a button on her steering wheel, her stereo became silent, and she flashed me a gorgeous smile.
"To what do we owe the pleasure of a visit from you, Cullen?" she called out.
I shrugged and cocked an eyebrow. "Thought the place could do with some prettying up, and I figured my face would do the trick. Where are you off to?"
"To raise Hell," she replied with a smirk.
I shook my head slightly and laughed. "You haven't changed a bit."
"Why would I? I'm fucking awesome." She winked at me playfully.
Yes, you are, I thought.
She pulled out a few caramel popcorn pieces and threw one through my window. Reaching out, I caught it in the palm of my hand and brought it up to my mouth. She chewed on her own piece then pressed the button to turn the volume of her stereo up again. The Mavis's 'Naughty Boy' blared through the speakers, and smiling, I shook my head at her ruefully.
"Try to keep up, pretty boy," she yelled over the music, and with a squeal of her wheels, she was off.
It only took me a millisecond to catch on; I put my foot to the floor and slammed into gear. I caught up with her within seconds, but she had better breaks through traffic than I did, so I was still two car lengths behind, and driving in the wrong lane, when I saw her take a left. Making an illegal move, I cut off a lane of traffic, and then traveled on the wrong side of the road to catch up with her. Luckily, I managed to get through unscathed, but I still shook my head at her reflection in her rear-view mirror at the stop sign. She merely smirked and then shot off in the opposite direction to the one she was indicating. I gave chase.
Ironically, I followed her to the very spot I was on my way to before I happened across her in peak hour traffic - the car park of Nessie's. It was an old haunt of ours - a place we used to visit most nights to drink and play pool. It was also where she used to work.
Where she still works, I mentally corrected when I saw her exit the car.
She wore black dress-pants, black heels and a white singlet top. She held a white shirt in her hand that I knew would have 'Nessie's' printed on the front of it in green.
I locked my car and walked over to greet her. It felt natural for me to open my arms and pull her into a hug. She did exactly the same, and I lifted her and swung her around, as I breathed in her familiar scent. She laughed, and I reveled in the sound. I kissed her cheek before letting her down and looked up at the large green sign at the front of the bar.
"Wow! The memories this place holds. I can't believe you still work here." I looked down at her, noticing then that she was shorter than I had remembered.
"Hey! Don't knock it! I love it here; I'm part of the furniture now. Besides, I'm about to buy you a drink, so I'd keep my opinions to myself if I were you," she joked, although there was a serious undertone to her voice.
I held my hands up in defense and smiled at her. "Not saying a word."
At the front door, she stopped and turned to me, her pony tail whipping over her shoulder, and she shot me a playful smile.
"I just gotta go punch in. Meet you at the bar in five?" I nodded and watched as she walked off, momentarily enjoying the sight of her before making my way to the bar.
The place was quiet. There were some old guys seated at the bar. Most of them were sitting in pairs, or by themselves, and a group of young guys were playing a game of pool. The bar had barely changed. It had the same deep green carpet underfoot, the same tables and chairs, and the music played through the speakers at a comfortable level. I tapped my foot along to Ben Lee as he sang about broken relationships in his own unique way.
I found a space at the bar and sat down to wait for Bella. I had only been in my seat for about a minute when I saw Bella approach from the kitchen area. She wore her white and green 'Nessie's' tee, which hugged her curves perfectly, and I noticed her lips had a bit more color to them. She smiled at me as she came closer, but when she walked behind the bar, she held a finger up to signal that I needed to wait for a moment.
I watched in confusion as she walked to the end of the long bar and stopped in front of three older men. I recognized one of them as Mike's grandfather; he had the same round face and shockingly bright blue eyes. Bella and I had gone to high school with Mike, and I'm fairly certain he was now married to Jessica Stanley, and they had their own growing brood of kids.
"Hello, gentlemen, is there anything I can get you?" Right before my eyes, Bella leaned across the top of the bar, which in turn, made her cleavage push together. She then looked up at the men through her lashes. Bella was blatantly flirting with them, and I instantly felt a spike of jealousy. I knew it was ridiculous, of course, but that didn't douse the burning fire in the pit of my stomach.
"Bella! I've been waiting for you!" It was grandpa Newton, and he seemed elated to have Bella before him. He didn't hide the fact he admired her cleavage, and he blatantly stared at what she had to offer.
"Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Newton. You know how bad traffic can be." She flipped her ponytail over her shoulder and began to twirl some of it around her finger.
"A lady like you shouldn't be driving yourself; you should let a handsome man like me drive you. In fact, you should let me drive you out to dinner," he said teasingly with a creepy wink.
Bella giggled. That's right, she fucking giggled. It was the fakest girly giggle I had ever heard, but old man Newton was eating it up. She touched his hand and leaned into him further.
"Oh, Mr. Newton! You know I'm spoken for. You keep talking like that, and he'll get jealous!"
"You are? He must be a good man if he can tie you down!" he slurred.
Bella turned a little and pointed directly at me, "That's him right there." I looked at her in surprise but didn't say anything. Mr. Newton squinted, seemingly to focus his drunken gaze.
"You there, boy! Are you the one that's making an honest woman out of our Bella here?" he yelled across the bar.
"Uh – yes, sir," I replied hesitantly, looking to Bella for guidance. She only smiled; her face didn't give away anything, and I hoped I had said the right thing.
Mr. Newton slapped some notes on the bar, and Bella moved to pick them up with a smug look of accomplishment on her face.
"Get the man a drink! He deserves it if he can keep a girl like you." He grabbed the hand that held onto his notes and leaned into her as if to tell her a secret. "You know where I am if he should ever be silly enough to let you go." The old man winked at her, and Bella blushed.
"Anything for you, Mr. Newton," she almost purred.
She turned to put the cash in the register and winked at me as she closed it. Opening the fridge, she pulled out my favorite beer, unscrewed the lid, and then handed it to me with a sly smile. I took it from her and raised it to old man Newton, who was watching us with glazed eyes. He raised his glass in reply and then turned back to his friends. I took a sip and placed the beer on the bar.
"You call that buying me a drink?" I asked her with an arched brow.
She leaned into me, and I tried to breathe in her scent without being too obvious.
"It's free ain't it? Stop being a whiney bitch and drink up," she teased.
"Yes, ma'am." I took another sip. "Just curious though…, how often do you do that?"
She smiled at me knowingly, and I laughed at the small glint of guilt in her eyes.
"Once a week, at least. He's always drunk when I get here, so it works like a charm. Sometimes it works too well. I once had him convinced that Rosalie was my date. She wasn't too happy that he'd easily mistaken her for a butch lesbian, but that night, she got a couple of free cocktails. Though, not nearly as many as the nights she's made him believe he was getting lucky. Poor guy has a memory like a sieve." Bella busied herself by wiping down the bar, and I studied her.
She hadn't changed much at all. She appeared older, but she was still the same person I'd left behind all those years ago. I felt as though I had missed out on so much, so I bombarded her with questions.
I asked her what she'd been up to in the last ten years. Work, nights out with friends, a few holidays overseas and the occasional daydream of what she would do if she won the lottery. I also questioned her about the convertible. It didn't look like a cheap car; that's for sure. That was when she admitted to reading my column in the New York Times. She had taken some of my advice and had purchased some shares and put money away in a high interest account that enabled her to buy a car, and ensured that she had an enjoyable holiday every year. I must admit; I felt a bit smug at that. However, I was glad, too. Even though I had left her, I had still somehow made her happy.
At least, that's what my naive self would have me think.
We talked between Bella tending to her customers. Being a Thursday night meant that, for the most part, the place was fairly quiet. It was like old times. Our conversation was easy, with an edge of flirtation to keep things interesting. However, ten years apart hadn't lessened the tight sensation I got in my chest every time I saw her. Her smile, her laugh, her voice… everything about her did something to me, and I was in sensory overload.
She gave me a whole wealth of information on the last ten years. Bella said she bought a house five years ago, and the house was a few suburbs away from we'd grown up. She mentioned she dated, but she wouldn't tell me much more than that, calling me 'nosey' when I'd pressed her for details. I heard all about how her father was still on the police force and how he happened to be the one who partnered up to train our friend Jasper, who joined the force four years ago. Her mother was still working at the local high school, teaching sex education.
It was almost closing time, and I felt as if I had just been spat out of some kind of time vortex and placed back in my seat. I looked around me and realized that the place was pretty much empty, apart from two guys playing pool. I had been so consumed with our conversation that the world around me had disappeared.
"Hey, boss, you want me to count the register now?" A girl in a Nessie's uniform asked.
"Yeah, thanks, Kyndall. You can go after that. I'll clean up the rest," Bella replied. I looked at her, surprised and amused.
She gave me a face that clearly said she knew what my next question was going to be, and then she put a finger and a thumb in her mouth. A loud whistle split the air around us, and I cringed at the sound.
"Boys! You got five minutes to pocket your balls!" Bella called to the guys playing pool. One of them nodded, but his friend, who looked as though he'd had one too many, just smirked at Bella.
"Bet you'd love to pocket our balls, wouldn't ya, darlin'?" the uncouth man slurred, laughing at his own double entendre.
I moved to get up from my seat but stopped when Bella's hand clasped over mine. A small shake of her head warned me not to intervene. I tried not to react when I saw she held a knife in her other hand. Awestruck, I watched as she flipped it up and caught it by the handle. She gave the ill-bred asshole a hard glare.
"Now you have one minute. Any longer and I will cut your balls off and shove them so far up your ass that you'll have a new set of tonsils." She stabbed the knife into the wooden bar top. "Now, you have forty-five seconds." She then casually went about tidying up behind the bar.
Her voice was deadly calm, and the feelings it evoked within me were at odds with the fear her threat of castration had created. The warmth of her hand lingered long after she'd let go of mine, and I came to realize that I was, once again, in sensory overload. I was amazed how she could simultaneously make my balls shrivel up and my dick hard.
The guys, having gotten the message, put their cue sticks on the pool table and walked out. I looked at Bella in amazement, and she simply smiled.
"What?" she asked, before moving out from behind the bar to collect the empty glasses from the tables.
"You're the boss, and now you're some kind of knife-wielding Ninja? Shit, Bella! I don't know where to begin." I got up and helped her to collect the last of the glasses.
She was only about two steps away from me, when she looked over her shoulder to smile at took all I had to hold myself back from going to her and grabbing her. I badly wanted to lift her onto the pool table she stood next to, fuck the ever loving shit out of her, and then take her home to continue our tryst until the sun came up.
"Don't," she warned. Her eyes narrowed at me.
I shook myself out of my thoughts and looked at her in confusion. "What?" I asked as I took in the look on her face. I was pretty sure she'd just read me like a book, and I was about to get chewed out for it.
"You're giving me that look. The one that says you want to throw me on the pool table and have your way with me."
She leaned up against the red felt covered table and observed me with a knowing smile. I returned it and walked toward her until our feet were almost touching. She gazed up at me, and I internally struggled with myself.
Do I tell her everything now?
I wanted to do it. I wanted to tell her that for the past ten years, no matter how much money I made, no matter how many material things I accumulated, and no matter how many girls threw themselves at me; my life was empty without her. That for ten years after every notch in my bedpost, all I ever did was compare them to her. No one came close. I tried it out in my head first.
Bella, I am going to throw you on this table, and then I'm going to take you home and make you scream out my name until the sun comes up. I'm going to serve you breakfast in bed, and then I'm going to spend the day exploring every single inch of you. I want you, Bella. I have for a long time. It's always been you.
"You're doing it again." Her voice cracked slightly, and I shook myself out of my stupor to drink in the sight of her.
She looked apprehensive. I wanted to say something to smooth things over. I searched for the words that were in my head only moments ago; struggling to say something to save the moment. My affirmation of love for her had slipped through the vast black hole her eyes created as they bore into me. I realized then, that no matter what I said, there would be no salvation for me tonight. It had been over ten years since I'd last seen her, and as I took in the look of trepidation she wore, I knew then that a lot had changed - she had changed. However, it didn't stop me from wanting to try.
"Let me take you out to dinner," I blurted instead.
Bella groaned and shook her head at me. "Edward… don't."
I laughed, hoping to lighten the mood a little. "C'mon, Bells! It's just dinner. I mean… you have to eat some time, right? You'll still be having dinner like you always do; I'll just be there with you… too."
I tried my best not to look or sound as though I was begging. If only she knew how my dinner suggestion, was miles apart from the first thoughts that had popped into my head.
Bella sighed. "I can't. I work nights," she stated, her voice sounding a little flat.
"Take one night off. Surely, you don't work seven nights?" I pushed.
"It just so happens that I do work seven nights a week, sometimes," she quipped. She turned and began to push all the balls down into the holes of the pool table. The noise echoed against the empty walls. "Besides, by the time I get a night off, you'll be gone. It's rare that you come home, so I'm sure you're only here to visit with family until after the Memorial Day holiday." She spoke with her back to me.
Rare was a pretty generous word concerning my visits home. During the past ten years, I had only been home once before, and I had only stayed for two days over Thanksgiving. Twice I had flown my parents to stay with me for Christmas, but every other holiday I had spent in New York, alone.
"Actually, I'm staying until after Independence Day." She spun around to face me at this revelation, and her eyebrow arched as if to question my statement. I nodded and shrugged, knowing her next question would be, 'Why?' "I just needed an extended holiday. I don't think I've truly had one over the last four years," I half-lied.
"Okay." She shrugged, and I looked at her, a little hopeful that she was saying, 'Yes.'
"Okay what?" I asked, just to be sure.
"I'll go to dinner with you." I was excited, and she noticed it, giving me a teasing smile. She reached behind her, and a second later she threw a cue stick at me. "If you win," she finished.
I looked at the stick in my hand and smiled at her. "You're on."
I chalked up the rubber end and watched her as she put a key in the machine and pulled out the balls, racking them up as she went. She chalked up her own stick when she'd finished and told me that I could break. She threw me the cue ball; I caught it in the palm of my hand and then placed it on the table.
I hit it and stood up to watch the destruction the ball made as it hit the others. I sank two balls, one small and one big. I grinned at my accomplishment.
"Call it," Bella said with a knowing smile in place.
"Big balls!" I shouted rather immaturely, but it was a tradition we had started many years ago, and I knew it was what she wanted to hear.
Bella laughed and motioned for me to go again. I sank another two balls before it was her turn. I gave her a smug smile when I passed her to chalk up my cue.
"Would you prefer Italian, or should we go to that new Thai place?" I asked.
She ignored me and took her shot, effortlessly sinking one of her balls. It didn't stop me from continuing my taunts.
"We could always go back to where it all began and grab ourselves a burger at Slushies?"
She sank another ball, and it wasn't an easy pick either. I shut up. The woman had skills, and I could have almost kicked myself for thinking otherwise. Of course, she had skills; she had been working in a bar for the past ten years. I wanted to slap my forehead, but I tried to keep a calm façade.
Bella sank a third ball that was another easy pick, then she blew me away when she smashed two in on the next shot. She smugly looked up at me.
"What's the matter, Edward? Cat got your tongue?" She stalked over to me, like a wild animal showing off her prowess. She placed a hand on my chest and gazed up at me through her lashes. Her hand on my body caused warmth to spread through me.
"I'll catch up." I was putting on a confident front, but I was slightly intimidated by her new skillset.
She laughed at me as she moved her hand down my body, dropping it just before she hit the button of my jeans. I didn't know whether I wanted her to keep going, or be thankful for the reprieve from her distractions.
She took her next shot and, thankfully, she didn't pocket anything. I took my shot and only managed to sink two more balls before it was her turn again. We were evenly scored, but not evenly experienced, and I held my breath as she took her next shot. Sure enough she sank the rest of her balls, and she even got the eight ball on the first try.
"Well looky here, Cullen got beat by a girl," Bella taunted.
"Best out of three." Now I was grasping at straws.
"Edward, it's past one in the morning, and I still have to clean up around here. I'd rather be at home in bed."
"I'd rather be in your bed too." I smirked at her, and she cocked an eyebrow at me. "But I'll stay and help you clean up."
"You don't have to do that, it's all pretty much done. I just have to turn on the dishwasher and wipe the tables." Watching her then, I realized she did look quite tired.
"I'm helping," I stated matter-of-factly. I picked up the glasses and took them to the bar.
I heard her heavy sigh, but she followed and took the glasses from me once she was on the other side of the bar. She then threw me a blue cloth.
"Make yourself useful then."
I took the cloth and began to wipe down the tables.
"So, are you going to explain the crazy knife lady scenario?" I asked with a laugh.
She shrugged. "We can get some weirdo's in here. It's there for protection. If it comes between them or me and my staff, I'd rather it to be them."
"Your staff? That's the other thing… So, you manage the place then? I mean, I know you've been here long enough now. I just never figured you as one to… I don't know… stay behind, I guess."
Bella gave me a curious glare, but then she shrugged again. "Like I said, I've become part of the furniture. I like it here. I happen to give them their rosters, and I look out for them, so they call me boss. No biggie."
The way she spoke made me feel as though I had said something wrong, but when she spoke again she was smiling.
"So, what about you? Are you seriously here for an extended holiday? You're just stopping by to see the family, right?" She looked away as soon as she asked the question then busied herself with something under the bar.
"Uh – yeah, pretty much," I stuttered.
"Right. Well, I think we're done. Are you ready to go?" Her voice cracked a little, and I looked at her questioningly. She plastered on a smile and held up her hand. I nodded and threw the cloth into her palm.
I had known the beautiful woman before me for more than half my life. I had shared a bed with her and many other moments that were etched into my soul, forever marking me. I knew her well enough to know I had obviously upset her. I just didn't know what I'd said that was wrong.
Just when I thought to question her, to determine whether she was okay, just in case I'd said or done the wrong thing, she suddenly disappeared below the bar. She then stood up with a huge smile on her face and a bag of caramel popcorn in her hands. I laughed and shook my head a little. She put a few pieces in her mouth before offering me the bag. I grabbed a handful, and she gave me a hard glare.
"What? I might get hungry on the drive home." She laughed softly, before leading us out of Nessie's.
I waited while she locked up behind us, and then walked her to her car. Once again, I felt a mix of emotions, and I let it all out by scooping her up into a hug from behind.
"At least let me put down my popcorn." She squealed into my ear. I put her down, and she opened her car to place her purse and popcorn onto her seat. She turned around again, and then walked towards me with a small smile before slipping her arms around my torso. "I smell; sorry," she mumbled into my chest.
I made a show of breathing her in. "Sure do," I teased. She went to push me off, but I held her to me. "You smell like home," I blurted.
She laughed. "The bar smells like home?"
"No. You smell like home. I've missed this place. I've missed you," I mumbled into her hair.
She stiffened slightly, and I rubbed her back a little, silently begging her not to freak out on me and just give me this moment. She relaxed into me, and I held her a little tighter. It was more than a friend hug; it was an, 'I want to be more than friends' hug.
Having her touch me now and then, while in the bar, made me heady; holding her just like I was now, was indescribable.
"Thank you," I whispered.
She pulled out of the hug a little and looked up at me with a wide smile. "You're thanking me for beating your ass?"
I cocked my head to my side and looked at her thoughtfully. "Now there's a thought – Bella Swan beating my ass."
She pushed me away and slapped my chest.
"I'm going home to my warm bed. Tell your parents, I said to say, 'Hello.'"
"I will, and same to yours," I replied.
I bent down at the same time she reached up, and we kissed each other's cheeks. I desperately wanted to turn my head and hold her lips with my own, but I figured I had stretched my limits already. I reached over and opened her car door for her, and then waited until she was all in before closing it.
"This is a pretty sweet car," I said, looking it over. It was only in that moment I suddenly realized what she was driving. "How long have you had it?"
"About three months." She put her seat belt on and then started it up.
It was a Lexus and not a cheap one either; it was an IS 350 and the latest model. On top of that, it was a convertible.
"Did you win the lottery?" I asked, and stepped back when she gave my hand - the one that had been caressing the black interior - a harsh look.
"Ha! I wish. Go home, Cullen." Her voice was an octave higher than usual, and she hadn't answered my question fully, which told me that it was something she didn't want to discuss.
I let it go, and then began to walk to my own car.
Bella leaned out of her window, "Pretty damn nice car yourself, Edward. What'd ya do? Sell a few souls on the stock market?"
I smiled at her. "Something like that," I replied. I got into my beast and started her up. Lowering the window, I looked over to Bella. "Bye, Bella. Drive safe."
"Never." She laughed and then peeled out of the car park, almost leaving rubber behind as she disappeared out of sight.
I was left there alone, with only my warring thoughts to accompany me.
NB: I wrote this over a year ago and have tried to rework it as it wasn't very well written, but I just couldn't get into it. So I want to thank my WC buddies for making me push myself, but mostly, I want to thank my beta, Bower Of Bliss. Seriously, this had a LOT of red pen. My tenses were all over the place, my sentences backwards. BOB worked miracles on this and I do not think I'd have any readers without her hard work. Please thank her in your reviews xx