Disclaimer- Stephenie still owns the usual suspects.
I own my original characters and original story.
This is a short one...I apologize but it couldn't be helped. See notes at bottom for more info.
Chapter 11–Homesick Blues & The Goblet of Fire
"Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't want to be a bum
You better not chew gum
The pump don't work
'Cause the vandals took the handles..."
Bob Dylan croaked out a verse from Edward's iTunes while we unpacked.
"What the heck does that song have to do with being homesick anyway?" I asked, hoping to get a response from my brooding husband.
Edward merely grunted.
It was obvious that Edward was mad at me. Well, maybe not mad, but he was not happy with me. He'd never admit to it, but I'd have to be pretty dense to not notice his sullen mood since we'd departed Cannes.
My whispered phone conversation with Alice during our flight from Nice to London, did nothing to allay my suspicions.
"It's your own fault," She'd accused with a sigh.
"Why's that?" I asked, feeling defensive.
"My dear, Bella," She sounded amused now, "You know why."
Ugh. I hate it when she's right
"Listen," she continued, "I've got to go, but we'll see you soon. Everything will be fine. He's just silly. Love you!"
I frowned. "Love you too," I'd muttered.
The start of Edward's funk could be traced back to the chat I'd had with Shane after the showing of Enemy Combatant. In the course of our conversation, he'd mentioned that he was going to England to play tourist for a few days not long after we'd arrive back there.
Without thinking, I blurted that he should come visit, and then pressed further, informing that we had three empty bedrooms and he was more than welcome to stay.
I'd told him the history of our home months before, and he was more than eager to see Professor Tolkien's old house in person.
Who wouldn't want to? Especially a writer...
He'd happily agreed to my offer, after being assured that he would, in no way, be imposing on us.
I left the screening feeling quite pleased with myself. Not only had I proved that I could be a good and generous friend, but I'd also assured that I'd have some company, aside from Edith and George, while Edward finished up filming. Yay, me.
Or so I thought.
As we were packing for England the next morning, I told Edward what I'd done. He didn't lift his head from where it was bent over his suitcase, but I could see his clenched jaw in profile as he folded and refolded the same shirt three times. In the end, he resorted to rolling the thing in a ball and stuffing it into the corner of his bag.
When he finally spoke, it was to utter a half-hearted, "That's great, Bella," and then he barely spoke another word for the next three hours.
By the time we were back home in Oxford, I was determined to break his silence.
"Edward," I began cautiously as he continued to unpack. I placed my hand on top of his to stop his movements.
I watched as he took in a deep breath before lifting his eyes to mine. I was relieved to find no trace of anger there. At worst, he looked a little tense and possibly a bit contrite.
"Look," I continued. "I owe you an apology. I should never have invited Shane without checking with you first," I removed my hand from his and looked away, my mind in a whirl with all the things I wanted, no needed, to say. "I had no right. It never occurred to me what an imposition it would be. You're so thoughtful that, of course, even after you'd worked long hours at the studio, and were completely exhausted, you'd come home and feel obliged to play host. I don't know why I didn't think of it..." I bit my lip as I continued to look away from him, "It's just that, I miss you so much, and I got excited at the thought of having company." I started pacing then, as I was wont to do, "You're so good to me, and you work so hard, and I didn't even consider your feelings." I shook my head then, tears threatening. "I am so selfish." I whispered.
"Bella," he cut me off, his voice sounding a bit stern. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"What?" I asked, it came out a bit snarkier than I'd intended. Because, honestly, I was irked at the thought of having to recite that entire speech a second time...
"Baby," he continued in a softer tone as he came to stand in front of me, bringing a halt to my pacing. He gently grasped my upper arms in his hands, "You believe I'm upset about someone staying in our home and me being inconvenienced?"
"Well, yeah," I shrugged one shoulder. "It's kind of obvious that you're not happy, Edward." I narrowed my eyes, "You've been sulking all morning."
He paused before answering, looking as if he was about to challenge me, but then seemed to think better of it. "Bella," He muttered while slowly shaking his head, "I admit that I wasn't happy when you told me that Shane would be staying with us. But I promise you that it has nothing to do with me having to play host."
I frowned at this, confused. "But..."
"I suppose it's time to come clean," He interrupted before I could say another word, while running one hand through his hair in agitation. "Bella, I should be sorry for the way I feel, but I'm not," He took in a deep breath before continuing. "I know I have no reason to be, I know he's a stand-up guy, but I'm so damned jealous of your friendship with Shane that, when he's around, sometimes I can't think straight." He rolled his eyes and shook his head again, while I merely stared, surprised by this revelation.
"Go ahead and tell me I'm being an irrational asshole. I already know it, but every time I see the two of you together, I think, suppose we hadn't met when we did, and somewhere along the line you'd met Shane. I can't help but feel that if I weren't in the picture, he'd be the type of guy you'd go for." He paused, "And Bella, it's obvious that if you weren't married to me, Shane wouldn't hesitate to pursue you."
"But..." I was at a loss. I mean, if I were being completely honest, I'd suspected that Edward harbored some jealousy toward Shane, but I had never in my wildest dreams thought that his feelings went this deep.
He stood staring into my eyes, waiting for my reaction, the strangest expression on his face. It was one I'd rarely seen in all the time I'd known him, but... my Edward, my Mister Movie Star, the man who was usually brimming with self-confidence, actually seemed unsure of himself.
"Wow," was my eloquent response, before shaking my own head in disbelief. "Edward, I thought you were past all of that months ago. Where is this coming from? Shane would and could never be more than a friend." I placed my palm against his cheek. "You know this."
"Of course I do," he was quick to answer, while covering my hand with his, "As I said, it's all on me, and has nothing to do with anything you or Shane have done." He laughed bitterly. "Baby, you are so beautiful, and I don't just mean on the outside. You're smart, and funny and have so much heart. Add to that the fact that you're stunning. Don't think I haven't noticed the looks you get, every time we're in public. I mean..." He ran both hands through his hair this time, "Fuck, some day, I swear I'm doing to give some asshole a beatdown..."
While Edward had been rambling on, not making a bit of sense, I'd happened to glance down at my feet. Or let's say I'd attempted to glance at my feet... the movement, accompanied by my husband's diatribe, caused a reaction which bordered on sheer giddiness.
Once I started to giggle, and caught my husband's surprised expression, try as I might, I couldn't seem to stop.
Edward stared, seemingly at a loss, and waited for me to compose myself.
"I'm sorry..." I sputtered out, still not in control. "I just..." I looked down again, not able to pull it together.
He actually thinks I'm attractive. Even now. Attractive enough to make him jealous of the attention of another man.
Bloated, moody, irrational me, who can't see her swollen feet over her protruding mid-section.
Finally, I took in a deep breath, reached for his hand, and placed a sweet kiss on his cheek. "Thank you," I whispered, grinning madly. "Do me a favor and never change."
My husband's bewildered expression brought about another round of giggles which abruptly came to a halt when I realized that I needed to beat a quick retreat to the powder room, or I'd not only pee my pants, but have to explain an embarrassing wet spot on the lovely Persian carpet to Edith. "Shoot," I muttered, suddenly sobering up and darting from the room.
Ugh. Wouldn't even be able to blame it on the dog...since we don't have one...
Note to self: We should get a dog...
I bolted from the room, no doubt freaking Edward out in the process. I pushed that thought aside for the moment, my bladder taking top priority.
His silly worrying butt would just have to wait.
What I didn't expect was his silly, worrying butt to be waiting just outside the door, when I exited the bathroom. "Ahhh!" I yelled as I clutched at my throat. "Why do you do that!" I screeched before balling up my fist and punching him hard in the shoulder.
"Ow," he muttered, before his expression turned apologetic. "I'm sorry, Bella. I honestly don't mean to frighten you, but I thought something was wrong, you ran in there so quickly..."
I shook my head while heaving an exasperated sigh, "Edward," I chastised, "I'm pregnant. My bladder has zero patience! Geez, would you stop stalking my every move!"
He looked taken aback by my words, and I immediately regretted them, "I'm sorry," I began in a softer tone as I reached for his hand, "I didn't mean that, I love your concern, I even love your crazy stalking." He grinned at that, and I smiled back, "And I love you." I said before leaning up and pressing my lips to his.
As I began to pull away, Edward wrapped his arms around my shoulders trapping me against him, our lips almost touching. "Hmm," he breathed, "I love you too. For what it's worth, I am sorry."
I relaxed into him, well, as much as my baby bump would allow, and closed my eyes, content to be in his arms. "It's alright." I assured.
We stood like that for a moment before Edward broke the silence with a question, "Bella?"
"Hmm?" I hummed, not opening my eyes.
"Did you just punch me?" He asked with a chuckle.
My eyes flew open at that. "Uh," I began, trying to extricate myself from his hold so I could explain. Edward was having none of that. "Yeah, I am so sorry..." I stumbled over my explanation. "Please forgive me, all I can say is that if you'd grown up with Emmett, you'd have a pretty quick punch reflex as well..."
"No doubt," he responded.
I continued trying to explain but stopped abruptly when I could feel his body trembling with laughter.
My husband was laughing at me
Funny how that particular reaction managed to make me a bit less remorseful. "Edward," I began, and this time when I pushed out of his arms, he released his hold on me.
I stepped back and stared at him while placing both hands on my hips, ready to give him a tongue lashing.
His laughter had ceased, and he now had the biggest, most amused, heart-melting grin on his handsome face.
How in the world could I ever be mad at that?
I shook my head and smiled back at him as he exaggeratedly rubbed his shoulder where I'd hit him. "You've got quite a right hook there, Swan. I'm thinking I probably don't need to worry too much about you after all."
"Your mom used to crave watermelon when she was expecting you," My dad chuckled softly at the other end of the phone. "I was thankful as Hell that they were in season. Things could have gotten ugly if that hadn't been the case. No one wants to cross a pregnant woman." The sound of his soft laughter calmed me, and I felt myself relax and actually smile, something I hadn't done all day.
The night before, I'd dreamt about my mom. In my dream, she was alive and happily helping me plan for the arrival of my baby. When I awoke, the realization that she was gone, had been like a fresh wound, almost as searingly painful as it had been during those early days following her death.
Edward had left early for the studio, so thankfully he wasn't there to witness my bitter tears and to hear me sob into my pillow.
Since waking, I'd only left the bed to have a light breakfast of tea and toast. Edith eyed me warily, and I could tell that she was worried. I silently hoped that she'd chalk my behavior up to pregnancy hormones.
Because that's what it is...drama queen
My subconscious was asking for a smack.
Anyway, I'd watched the clock, knowing the exact moment when I'd be able to catch my dad before he left for the station.
Whether he sensed that I needed to talk about Mom, or whether he just instinctively knew what I needed to hear, I couldn't guess.
He always seemed to know
"Tell me more about her," Somehow he heard my plea, even though it had been spoken in barely a whisper.
Charlie cleared his throat. I could picture him sitting at the small kitchen table, a mug of coffee grasped in one hand. "You know how they say pregnant women glow?" He asked, not waiting for a response before continuing, "Well, I don't know about anyone else, but for your mom, it was true." He paused, "In my mind, she always glowed, but when she was expecting, it was something different. She was happiest then." He paused, "You've always looked a lot like her. Especially now." He cleared his throat again, and I felt a stab of guilt when I realized how hard this probably was for him.
"I dreamt about her last night," I offered, wanting him to know that I shared his pain.
I nodded even though I knew he couldn't see me. "She was telling me what I needed in order to complete the nursery," I forced a small laugh, even as I felt tears threatening.
There was a long pause before my dad spoke again, "You know she's okay, right Bells?"
I nodded again.
"Me and your mom may have had our differences, but she was a good person. The best mother. She loved you guys with all her heart, from the moment she knew she was pregnant. I know deep down that she's in a better place. Somewhere she can do the most good," he paused, "for all of us." He spoke in a low voice, as if these were truths meant for our ears alone.
"I love you, Dad."
"I love you, Bells," he answered, "And I can't wait until you're home again. Emmett's being a pain in the ass."
I blurted out a laugh, knowing that the tone of our conversation from here on would be light-hearted rather than maudlin.
"How is that different from any other time?" I asked.
"It's not. I guess." He admitted. "But, he keeps hounding me, wanting to throw me a bachelor party, and you know how he gets when he's got an idea."
"I informed him that he'd better drop it. After Vegas, I've had enough bachelor parties to last a lifetime."
I giggled, remembering the antics of Edward and everyone else the night of Emmett's bachelor party.
"Anyway, I was pretty adamant, and he hasn't been able to change my mind. It's driving him crazy, which is, as you know, a mighty short trip."
I giggled again.
"I'm afraid he's gonna pull some shit like kidnapping me..." He paused, "He's got me on alert all the time. Just one wrong move, and I'm going to accidentally Taser the halfwit."
I laughed harder.
"Well, it wouldn't be more than he deserves," I said with a smile. "But, really Dad, he wouldn't have any kind of bachelor thing until we get home. I'm sure he'd want Edward there while he tortures you. So you're safe for a couple of more weeks, anyway."
"Oh, yeah," he sounded relieved. "I hadn't thought about that. Thanks, Bells. That's a load off my mind."
"I'll talk to Edward," I offered, "He can make sure that anything Emmett's plotting will fall through."
At least I hope so...
Emmett had a talent for getting his own way.
And that boy can lie like a cheap rug
I'd like to say that our last few weeks in England flew by, but in all actuality, they dragged.
The one bright spot had been the visit from Shane. Although his stay was brief, only two days, we were able to cram quite a bit of Tolkien-related sightseeing into it.
Of course when photos of us walking around Oxford showed up on a gossip website, with the insinuation that Edward and I were having marital troubles, it could have ruined any pleasure I'd derived from Shane's visit.
IF I'd chosen to allow it.
After the movie premiere in Cannes, there'd been a ridiculous story circulated that Edward and I had been seen having a loud argument, after which he'd packed me into a car and sent me back to our hotel.
All because I was feeling tired and insisted he go on to the after-party without me.
Since then, I'd decided to ignore any and all negative press. That decision had done wonders for my outlook.
Although nothing anyone did could relieve the anxiety I felt each and every time I thought of how much we needed to do once we arrived back in Seattle, and how little time we'd have to accomplish it all. I knew that Edward worried, so I tried my best to hide my disquiet from him.
And I was fairly certain I was doing a miserable job of it.
While we'd been gone, Esme had been readying the nursery. She'd said that it required a little remodeling and painting which, on the surface didn't sound like much, but the day she texted me photos of the finished room, it was evident how much time, effort, and love had gone into the project.
I felt the tears well in my eyes at the sight of what had been a rather bland guest bedroom, transformed into a little glimpse of heaven. We'd chosen a very pale, barely there green for the walls, and Esme had complemented it with the perfect curtains and rug.
She had found the loveliest antique walnut baby crib, and after sharing photos of it with Edward, we gladly tasked her with purchasing it and having it delivered.
One less thing we will have to do when we get home...
The crib blended perfectly, but the thing in our new nursery that made me smile the most, had to be the cushioned window seat that now existed where none had been before. In my mind's eye I could see myself on rainy days, curled up in that seat with my child in my lap, reading story after story.
Just as my mother had done with me.
The tears, unbidden, traced down my cheeks as, not for the last time, my heart ached to have my mother here with me.
I don't think I've ever missed her as much as I do now...
"Emmett Swan, I love you, but I called to speak with Rose." I'd tried being sweet, it was now time to be blunt, "Go away".
Our Skype conversation had continued for entirely too long, and I really wanted to talk to Rose before I had to go pee.
"Bellyboo, I know you don't mean that." I didn't crack a smile, even though he was trying his hardest to make me laugh.
He paused and smirked at me before continuing. "Ummhmm,"
I rolled my eyes, as his voice took on a deep, husky, stuttered tone. Emmett's version of a Southern accent. Unfortunately, his entire impression was based on Karl Childers of "Sling Blade".
what an ass
"I'm fixin' to go all the way across country here in a couple days. Mmmm. Gonna visit the kinfolk down South. Supposin' they was to take such a likin' to me that they don't let me come back home. Ummhmm." He grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. "You'd miss me somethin' terrible, I reckon."
I waited, sure that Rose was going to smack him at any second.
My sister-in-law did not disappoint.
And there it is...
I dissolved into laughter when, what I recognized to be a baby book I'd given Whit, came down full-force on the top of my brother's head.
"What have I told you about making fun of my relatives?" Rose snapped.
My brother's shocked expression brought on even more laughter. "Your face," I gasped out between my cackles, while pointing at the screen.
His look of surprise soon morphed into a smirk, "Yuck it up little sister. You can't stay in England forever." The shit-eating grin was back, and the implied threat in his tone sobered me up immediately.
I was certain he wouldn't try anything while I was pregnant. But after the baby's arrival...
All bets were off
"Go change Whit's diaper," Rose barked while pushing him away.
Rose settled down on the sofa then, and all thought of Emmett and his future retribution evaporated as I listened to details about their planned trip to Georgia. "Emmett really wanted a road trip, but I finally convinced him that we needed to fly. The chances of something delaying our return were just too high, and Charlie's wedding has to take top priority." She shrugged and smiled. "So, we will be back in Seattle well before you and Edward get home."
For some reason, this calmed me. I suppose having been away so long, I wanted nothing more than to have all my loved ones close by when we finally returned home.
We couldn't get back there soon enough...
Our days in England were coming to a close. I tried to keep busy, hoping the time would pass that much faster. My mornings were usually spent happily working in the back garden with Edith.
George had built a beautiful tiered herb garden by the kitchen door. I loved it so much that I already had plans for a similar one back in Seattle. With that in mind, I'd taken to Googling more garden ideas, and saving photos of the ones I liked best. I was going to have about a hundred images to sift through once I got home.
It seemed that everything I did to distract myself, only made me more homesick. The urge to get back and prepare for our little one was growing stronger every day.
In the afternoons, when I wasn't writing or helping Edith prepare dinner, I would usually watch a movie. We had amassed quite a large collection of DVDs during our stay, although it could never rival the one back in Seattle.
On one particular afternoon, Edward arrived home earlier that usual in an effort to surprise me.
I was surprised alright.
Unfortunately, I'd just finished viewing a movie in which a main character died, and it had left me a crying, sniveling mess.
The saddest part was that I'd seen it before. I knew what was going to happen, and I still had a meltdown.
Normally upon his return, Edward would be greeted by a beaming, cheerful spouse, looking forward to our evening together. Instead, there I was, a puffy eyed, runny nosed blob curled up on the sofa, wishing she'd chosen a Disney film instead.
Oh right, so you can see Simba's father die? Or Bambi's mother?
My subconscious had a point. Damn her.
"Baby, what's the matter?" Edward crossed the room in two strides, "Are you in pain? What's wrong?" His heartbreaking expression of concern immediately had me wanting to kick myself.
"I'm sorry," I stuttered out between sobs, "Just don't look at me. It's my own fault. I shouldn't have done it."
"What Bella? What did you do?" He asked, becoming more worried by the second.
I managed to pull myself together somewhat before answering, "I knew Cedric was going to die, and I watched it anyway!" I wailed before pulling away from him in order to curl up and continue my sobfest.
A few minutes later, my sobs reduced to the occasional sniffle, I realized that Edward was still standing in front of me. His stricken expression now one of utter confusion.
"Bella" he began.
"Hmm?" I sniffled.
"Please tell me that this is some pregnancy hormone thing and that you're otherwise okay?" He pleaded.
I nodded. "Yes, I'm sorry. I'm fine."
He nodded then, his expression calming.
The room was silent for a full minute before he spoke again.
"Bella?" He asked.
"Yes?" I looked up and mustered a sad smile, beginning to feel very foolish.
"Who the fuck is Cedric?"
Song cred: Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan
The next chapter will be the outtake/Georgia family reunion. I apologize to everyone in Georgia. Hell, I apologize to the entire Southern U.S. for unleashing Emmett upon you, and hope I don't have my southern gal card revoked after this.
The chapter following that will be from Edward's POV. It was necessary to end this one precisely where I did because of that.
As always, I'd love to know your thoughts.
Find me on Facebook in Emmamama's Stories.
Love to you all. You make me smile, and inspire me to continue this insanity. Mwaaahh!