All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer, I just play with her toys.
Many thanks to MC for beta'ing (she's awesome!) and reyes139 for pre-reading and being my girl! And Boo, despite her trying to pull to into another story! Thanks ladies!
I'm taking a few creative liberties with this story, because I know this is a highly unlikely situation... but just go with me cause I think it's going to be a fun ride. :)
Chapter 28 - Our New Beginning
My mom was grinning like the Cheshire cat when we entered the kitchen while Eric was stuck between smiling and bitch slapping. Edward's eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas as he surveyed the bounty, and I repeatedly had to smack his hand from picking up a cookie on the cooling rack. However, Mom fed his addiction by opening up one of the multiple canisters she'd received over the last few days and hoisted it into his chest to which he began munching away.
"Better?" Eric asked in a whisper once Edward's attention was diverted.
"We're getting there." I gave him a smile.
His eyes lit up. "Are you going home with him?"
I nodded. "After Christmas sometime."
He smiled back and wrapped his frosting covered hands around me. "I'll miss you."
"Miss you too. And it's only a few months till summer."
"Yeah, but every day without you sucks monkey balls."
I laughed and nudged him with my shoulder. "Ditto."
"No, you're living with your gorgeous, rich, hunk of a husband. There is no ditto there, Buttercup, only envy from me."
I watched as Edward packed another cookie into his mouth, a look of pure bliss on his face as he licked his lips and devoured the sugary goodness. "I dunno, I'm kind of envious of that cookie right now."
Eric looked toward Edward, his jaw dropping. "Yeah, totally envious."
We finished up the cookies and boxed them up for the neighbors, separating out the ones for Eric and ourselves, before discussing dinner. It wasn't feasible to take Edward out – Phoenix may not be L.A., but he was too well-known of a face.
"Really, we can go out," Edward protested. "I want to take you all out to dinner."
"It's too risky," Mom argued. "You don't want that kind of attention here, Edward."
"We can order in," I suggested, but Eric groaned at the idea of Chinese for the second day in a row.
After another twenty minutes we all piled into Phil's Jeep, me sandwiched between Edward and Eric in the back, and headed out to Chili's. Not my first choice of restaurant, but when Edward said he'd never gone, Mom was determined we were rectifying that situation. She loved their boneless buffalo wings more than I did.
It didn't turn out to be the disaster I thought it might. Then again, introducing himself as "Dorian March" – his character from Genesis – threw people off his scent.
"You know you look like…"
"Edward Cullen." He finished for the waitress when it finally clicked halfway through our meal. "Yeah, I get that a lot."
She laughed and then headed off to refill our drinks.
"I'm starting to get kinda jealous of the women around here," I whispered to him.
"And why is that exactly?"
"They're openly flirting with my husband. I want to be able to do that."
He pulled back and stared at me, making my cheeks heat, before leaning back in. "Soon, baby girl."
"Soon," I said with a resigned sigh.
He leaned in closer, voice just above a whisper as he spoke into my ear; it was so low no one else could hear. "Until then you can mark me with your scent to keep them all away. I'll eat your pretty little pussy until you cream all over my face and I won't wash it off."
My eyes were wide, hand fanning my face as my legs squeezed together.
"PG, over there." I heard my mom say and my eyes flashed to hers. They were dancing in amusement, which only made my face flame hotter.
Edward loved the boneless wings, devouring them like a starving man while pondering out loud if Tanya could make them. I ventured she could, but it would probably be more fun if we could sneak out and get them by ourselves. My mind began to wander, trying to figure out how it would work. How could we date in L.A.? Maybe the secret was going outside of L.A.
A pair of girls did come up to him on our way out to have their picture taken with the Edward Cullen look-a-like. I couldn't help but laugh at the day they realized it really was him.
We had so much fun at dinner it was hard to believe the reality of the past few weeks. Stress made him a different man. When he was happy about something he shined bright and was like a magnet, but when the skies greyed and took over, destruction was all that remained.
I could only hope and have faith in him that things would change like he promised. Faith that my mom was right, and the feeling I had for him were right. I didn't expect a huge shift over the next month, that was too much for him to do right away, but I wanted progress. Signs that he was taking us seriously for the first time, and adjusting me into his life.
"Here, guys." Eric thrust a package at Edward minutes after walking in the door to my mom's house from dinner. "I was going to mail it to you two, but seeing as you're here – "
Edward stared from the brightly wrapped box in his hands and up at Eric. "Thank you, Eric."
"You can thank me by not hurting my best friend anymore."
Edward pursed his lips and nodded in agreement. "I'll try my hardest. You have my word."
"You better, or I will kick you in the nads."
I stared in surprise at Eric, who gave me a small smile in return. He truly was a wonderful and loyal friend. Edward grimaced at the idea, quickly agreeing.
It was a shock that Eric had gotten Edward anything, and I had to wonder what questionable item lay in the pretty paper. I squinted my eyes at Eric, but he just grinned back at me.
Edward's hand tore through the wrappings, slitting the tape, and opening up the box. He moved a ton of tissue out of the way before he came upon a picture frame. I gasped when I saw what it was: the photo Eric took at Grauman's Chinese Theater. It came out perfectly. I was smiling up at the camera, my hands in Edward's prints, my ring sparkling in the sun.
Edward smiled, chuckling as he looked it over, his finger reaching out to touch where my ring was in the photo.
"I love it, Eric, thank you."
Eric blushed a bit as Edward beamed up at him. "You're welcome, Edward. It was my pleasure."
"I know the perfect place for it."
"And where is that?" I questioned.
"On my desk at the office, so you'll always be with me."
I smiled and leaned into him. "Perfect spot."
"I thought so."
An hour later I gave Eric a hug goodbye and sent him on his way. It was hard to have him leave, knowing I wouldn't see him again for months, and especially with the support he'd given me over the last few days, but family called.
"Bella, I think your phone's ringing," Mom noted, pointing to the end table in the living room.
I jumped up from my chair and ran into the other room to get it before the call ended. We were playing cards in the kitchen after Eric left, Edward losing but getting an education in Euchre.
"Hello?" I answered, just before it ended, but not before noticing the three missed calls.
"Carlisle?" I replied in disbelief.
"Umm, I was calling to see how things were going. Did he…did he make it there okay?" he asked, a bit unsure.
"Yeah, everything's fine."
"I mean…we talked."
He breathed a sigh of relief. "Talking is good. So, are you coming back?"
"Yeah, we're coming home. Not sure exactly when."
"Well, we usually – and by "we" I mean me, Esme and Edward – have dinner Christmas night. We'd love to see you."
"I think we can make it back in time for that."
"Say hi and tell her I miss her!" I could hear Esme say through the receiver, bringing a smile to my face.
Carlisle chuckled. "Did you hear her?"
I giggled. "Yeah, loud and clear."
"Bella, I wanted to tell you how happy I am that you're coming back. I don't think even he realizes how good you are for him. Thank you for giving him a chance to prove how good he can be for you as well."
"When did this change in your attitude happen?"
He snickered. "When I pulled my head out of my ass."
"Thanks for calling, Carlisle, it means a lot."
"Thanks for finally answering. I was beginning to think either you didn't want to talk to me, or you'd beaten my little brother with your phone."
I laughed out loud. "And hurt my phone?"
He snickered. "We'll see you soon."
I hung up and returned to our game.
"Everything okay?" Edward asked as soon as I entered.
I leaned down and planted a kiss on his lips. "Everything is great."
Edward ended up sleeping on the couch because the two of us could not fit on my single bed, no matter how much he protested "we can fit," it wasn't going to work. Mom was giggling from the doorway while I rolled my eyes and pushed him out into the living room with a pillow and extra blanket.
It didn't take. I woke up as the sun peeked through the curtains caged between a wall and a strong chest. Sometime in the night he'd crawled in bed with me. Seeing as my arm was wrapped around him, I figured my body needed the closeness as much as his.
Christmas morning we spent with my mom. I caught her in the kitchen trying to make breakfast, just managing to pull the frying pan from her before the eggs became a solid mass. Phil was still asleep, unable to stop her path of food destruction.
I took over, whipping out some French toast and bacon to go with the slightly overdone eggs. We all ate at the kitchen table, talking like any other normal family. Phil had been a little star-struck when he got to meet Edward, but soon they were carrying on like old friends.
After breakfast we headed to the living room and the tree. Edward was especially needy, his hands always on me, touching, caressing. I had shipped out my presents for Mom and Phil, so they were unwrapped under the tree, waiting for us. We watched from our curled together position on the couch as they unwrapped their gifts from me and each other.
I was surprised when a stack of packages formed around us.
Mom quirked her brow at me. "What? I never got to mailing them out. I was going to do it a few days ago, but you showed up instead."
I leaned forward and wrapped my arms around her, hugging my mom tight. I'd missed her, and I would miss her when we left in a few hours.
Edward usually spent part of the day with the gang, and dinner with Carlisle and Esme. I didn't want to take that from him. It was a tradition he needed, and I'd gotten to spend Christmas Eve and morning with my family.
Everything was now about compromise and communication. A hard way to learn those lessons, but what mattered was that we did learn.
I was bustling around packing everything up, making sure I'd gotten everything, when I heard Phil talking to Edward in the kitchen.
"Marriage isn't easy, Edward."
"Everyone likes to tell me that lately."
"It's true," Phil stated with a nod. "Things haven't always been perfect between me and Renee. I'm sure you've noticed she's…quirky."
Edward snorted. "That's a good description for her."
"It's one of the things I love most about her, but it also drives me bat shit crazy sometimes. She'd probably say the same thing about me with baseball." Phil chuckled and shook his head. "But I have to agree with her, after seeing you with Bella. There's something special between you two, but the situation was all messed up to begin with, causing a lot of pain on both sides."
Edward rubbed his face with both hands and let out a heavy sigh. "It's been an…adjustment."
"Well, here's my 'I'm Bella's father' talk, even though I've only been in her life for five years. Your adjustment has been nothing compared to hers. She gave up everything. Let me stress that again – everything – to go with you. If you can't care for her, we will." His voice was hard, but only to make a point, to stress how serious he was about what he was expressing to Edward.
I could feel the tears filling my eyes. I'd forgotten how great Phil was when it came to my well-being.
"I love her, Phil, and I'm going to make this work. The only reason she's going to come back here is to visit."
Phil held out his hand and Edward took it. "I'll hold you to that."
After packing up our presents and my suitcase into Edward's car, I hugged my mom and stepdad goodbye and promised to call when we got in. A tear slipped from my eye as I once again left my mom. She promised they'd make a trip out soon to see our house and visit L.A., and then we were off, speeding down the highway west.
"Okay, so let's go through the changes again, to make sure we're on the same page." I help up a finger and began ticking off items. The list was going smoothly, but I realized with his busy schedule, it wasn't going to be an easy switch. "I want to amend the no more work at home. In home office fine, but not all night or all weekend, and the attitude has to be checked at the door. No infecting the rest of the house. I understand being in a bad mood, but no taking that out on me anymore."
He shook his head. "Nope. But I will also have to amend that by saying, if I come home and I'm in a bad mood, don't approach me unless it's to point toward the gym to get my frustrations out that way…and then you can bake me some cookies."
"Wait, cookies? When did that come in to the conversation?"
"Just now. If I'm going to be working out a lot more, I need more calories."
"And you jumped to cookies?"
"I'm going to send you to COA if you don't watch it."
"Cookie Obsessed Anonymous."
He chuckled, turning to me and giving me that beautiful boyish smile that I loved. "Then you'll also have to send me to BOA."
"Bella Obsessed Anonymous."
I rolled my eyes and smiled. My chest light and bright – a feeling I'd been missing. The car had the atmosphere I loved, one that often happened at home. Lighthearted playfulness, soft caresses, and peace.
However the peace part was short lived when he brought up the bane of our lives. "I've talked to Sam. He's investigating how Maggie's been getting in. No one has been letting her in through the gate, which means she's been getting in through one of the access cards. I don't get. It doesn't make sense."
"Hers was deactivated, right?"
"Right, so there should only be seven active, and he only sees seven being used. We're going to get to the bottom of this, something isn't right. I'm tired of her, so we're meeting with him in the next day or two to end it."
"Sounds good. I want her gone. I…hate her." Hate wasn't a strong enough word for how I felt.
He smirked. "Yeah I could tell by the way you laid her ass out on the floor. If I hadn't been freaking out that you were leaving I would have been laughing my ass off."
"Really?" I was confused that he would have that reaction.
"You didn't see the way she was frantically trying to climb up my leg as if I would protect her and give her sanctuary while blood dripped down her face. It was pathetic, and prophetic."
I hated the subject, but his use of one word caught my attention. "Prophetic?"
"Because we're going to leave her broken and bleeding in the dredges of Hollywood society while she begs anyone passing to give her a job." His voice was cold, sending shivers through me. The way he talked was almost frightening if it didn't excite me to envision it so much.
"I'd like to say I'm the bigger person and we shouldn't go that far, but I really want to see it. I want to see her expression as the tabloid covers have a picture of us together showing us happy and in love, while her life turns to misery and the only acting job she'll be able to get is in porn." I was panting when my rant ended, my fists balled up tight, but loosened when Edward's thumb stroked over them.
My whole body began to unwind at the gesture. "Oh, I like that idea. I'm sensing the next Lindsey Lohan."
I grinned. "Me too."
We sat in a comfortable silence after that, music filling the car as I watched the scenery fly by. Edward's fingers continued their soothing motions, and I'd almost drifted off into a nap when his voice woke me.
"I want you to go to the Oscars with me."
I turned and blinked at him, wondering if I'd heard him correctly. "What?"
"I've been thinking about it… We're not going to make it to the end of your school year, and I mean both as a couple and from the public, if we stay hidden. I've realized we need to go out, we need to have dates. Because I didn't think things through, we need all this for a healthy relationship."
"We do need dates, but I want to go on them now."
He slipped his hand into mine. "We will, baby girl, I promise. Starting with this weekend."
"So, the Oscars? That's in February, right?"
"Guess I'm going to need to call Alice about a dress."
"Ha!" Edward laughed.
"Do you really think Alice hasn't already picked out dresses for you?"
I pursed my lips. "She was planning on me going with you, wasn't she?"
"I'm sure she was thinking ahead like that. Do you remember she already had my tux two months ago? I bet you a hundred bucks as soon as you left that day she started looking."
I smirked at him. "That weekend."
He quirked his brow, a grin spreading. "Are we betting here?"
"Maybe," I said, drawing the word about flirtatiously.
"Hmm." He rubbed his fingers against his lips, a thinking trait of his. "Okay, if I win…"
My eyes narrowed at him. "You're thinking naughty thoughts, aren't you?"
He grinned sheepishly. "You caught me."
He shifted in his seat, and I reached over to pat his crotch. A moan slipped from his lips and I could feel him grow beneath my hand.
"We're almost home, big boy."
I turned the conversation away from thoughts we couldn't do anything about while driving. "Okay, if I win, we go on vacation during my spring break."
He thought about it, a sly smile growing. "And if I win I'll pick where we go, and the only thing you can wear are those little swim suits Alice gave you."
I didn't like the idea of being so restricted, but little pieces of fabric meant a place with heat and water. "That's not really fair is it? Either way I win by getting a vacation with you all to myself."
"But I get you by myself, free to stare at your scantily clad ass all day long." He turned to look at me, licking his lips as his eyes zeroed in on my breasts. "Plus, it's been a long time since I had a spring break. This could be fun."
He was exuding excitement, and it made me realize just how long the last time was he'd had a school vacation.
"When was the last time?"
"I was only eleven. We went to the Grand Canyon. After that… Well, it just wasn't feasible. Either work or my own fame got in the way."
I slipped my hand in his. "Time for another, I think."
"I'm sensing the beginning of you trying to help me live moments I've missed the past nineteen years. At this rate you may be asking me to prom."
"Are you saying you aren't taking me to my senior prom?" I questioned in mock defense.
"Do you really think I would let my wife go to her senior prom without a date?"
"Who says I'm even going?"
He pulled my hand up to his lips. "I'm saying I want to take you. I'd be fun."
"I'd like that very much."
"I'm sensing a 'but'. Isn't it a high school moment girls love to have?"
"It would be nice, show off my husband to the school, but there's an even bigger event that day we need to attend."
His brow scrunched. "What's that?"
I rolled my eyes. "Your brother's wedding."
"Hmm, I suppose it would be bad if we missed that."
"Yeah, I think Esme would make you pay for years to come, and I just got on Carlisle's good side, I'd hate to lose that for a prom."
He nodded. "That's a good idea. I like my family being peaceful."
The rest of the trip went by fast, and before I knew it we were on our street and pulling up in the driveway. For the first time since I arrived in L.A. I finally felt like I was coming home.
To those who didn't get to read my outtake for the Stand Up 4 Katalina, you can now find it on my profile! The Road of Stardom
I got the bad news that I have to have knee surgery, so I'm scheduled for the 18th. I don't know how I'll react to it, or what recovery will be like, so I'm not sure when I'll get the next chapter out. Never had surgery, so kinda freaking out a little. Hopefully it will make things better! I'll try my best to get a chapter out soon, but please be patient.