AN: Thank you for all of your lovely reviews and kind words of encouragement. I'm so happy that people are still enjoying this story and as promised here is the next chapter:)
Disclaimer; Same as before. I don't own Twilight.
It took me a moment to catch my breath as I watched Edward scanning the crowd, completely unaware of the effect his arrival had caused. I couldn't quite believe he was here, and a part of me briefly wondered if he was real and not just a figment of my over active imagination.
He looked just as handsome, if not more breath-taking than the day when we first met. Edward excelled at black tie and there just weren't enough words to describe how incredible he looked in his classic tux. His hair was still as crazy as ever, though slightly more tamed than usual.
I was staring across the room completely unaware of anything else around me other than Edward, when suddenly his gaze landed on me. Shock graced his feature before quickly giving way to happiness. He smiled that beautifully crooked smile that I hadn't been able to get out of my mind all week and I felt the butterflies in my chest intensify.
My skin flush with excitement as Edward began walking across the room with purpose. It felt like an eternity before he finally reached us and when he did he was quickly swept into the arms of his family. He didn't have a choice in the matter; his Gran was all over him the second he was within touching distance.
"And what time do you call this, Mr?" She teased light-heartedly when she released him from her embrace.
"Sorry Gran, I got held up at the office," Edward apologised before his gaze quickly turned to me.
I stared back at him, feeling caught by the intense look in his green eyes. Edward seemed just as gob smacked as me, for he opened his mouth as if to speak but no words came out. I wanted to say something, anything but I couldn't find the words either and it was down to Alice to break the weird silence that had fallen between us.
"Hello Edward, so nice of you to join us," she joked.
"S-sorry," Edward fumbled with his words a little, apparently as surprised as I was. I don't think I'd completely got over the shock of him actually being here yet.
"Edward, this is Bella," Alice introduced me.
"It's nice to see you again, Bella," Edward said smoothly, a smile tugging at his extended his hand towards me and I slipped mine into his, noticing immediately how a shiver went right through me.
A few moments passed, still Edward hadn't broken eye contact and I was startled to feel my heart beating more rapidly. Even when I pulled my hand away from his, it still tingled where our fingers had touched.
"Wait a second. You guys have met before?" Alice seemed surprised then a strange look passed on her face.
"When was this?" she demanded.
"Bella and I met on the subway a few days ago," Edward explained sending another crooked smile my way. I bit my bottom lip to contain my own ridiculously wide grin.
I heard someone clear their throat besides us and my joy quickly turned to despair when I noticed the blonde woman, now standing by Edward's side. She was beautiful, so beautiful that I had too look away disheartened. That and the fact that she was sending me death stares, presumably at the way I had been caught eyeing up her man.
With his glamorous girlfriend besides him, I was suddenly a lot less pleased to see Edward than I had been a few minutes ago.
It shouldn't have surprised me really. Of course Edward would have a girlfriend. Still, I struggled to keep my expression impassive, as I silently berated myself for getting my hopes up and thinking that Edward's friendly behaviour on the subway was anything other than that. He was simply being kind.
"Bella, this is Rosalie, my Sister in law," he hastily added.
The relief I felt that Rosalie wasn't Edwards' girlfriend as I had initially feared was matched only by my guilt for jumping to such a silly conclusion.
"It's nice to meet you, Rosalie, "I replied brightly as I extended my hand towards her.
Rosalie nodded but she didn't move to take my hand, instead her eyes lazily swept over me, assessing and dismissing me all in one bored glance. I could hardly blame her; compared to her and a large number of people in the room I was relatively under dressed. Still, her obvious contempt aggravated me.
"Nice to meet you," she replied in tight voice and immediately directed her attention to Alice, as though she couldn't bare to look at me for a second longer than necessary.
I didn't know what to say so I said nothing while silently fuming at her hostility towards me. I tried to keep the emotions from showing on my face but inside I was seething.
What was her problem? I thought as I shot a quick glance at Edward who must have picked up on my discomfort and he quickly stepped in.
"It's lovely to see, Bella. I didn't think I would get a chance to see you again," he told me.
"I know, what are the chances?"
"Well, I'm glad we will be getting a second chance," Edward revealed.
"Me too," I smiled shyly.
I could sense Rosalie watching our interaction closely, so I was incredibly grateful when Alice urged her and Elizabeth to go and speak with some of the other guests.
That just left Edward and I alone, though strangely enough, I didn't feel nervous that it was just the two of us. If I'm honest, I was so happy to see him that any awkwardness that I feared would be there disappeared. Right away, we began laughing and joking together, picking up where we left of on the subway.
I had just started to fill Edward in on what I had been up to the past week, (minus the moping) when Rosalie returned eager for Edward to go and speak with some friends of her. Edward looked hesitant but he reluctantly agreed when Rosalie revealed that it had something to do with a charity his employers were supporting.
Before he left Edward lingered for a second, seemingly unsure of himself before he said quietly, "don't go anywhere, please."
"I wont," I promised, unable to explain or understand the effect he had over me.
As they walked away I was startled by the warning look Rosalie sent my way.
"Ignore Rosalie," Alice said, obviously picking up on my discomfort. "I wont go into the details because that's Edward's story to tell, but she's very protective of him."
"Were they ever..." I couldn't quite bring myself to finish my sentence.
Alice didn't even try to hide her amusement at my suggestion. "Emmett would love that," she said in between fits of laughter. "Of course not."
Thankfully Edward wasn't gone too long and when he returned (thankfully minus Rosalie) the three of us were continued chatting before the announcement was made that dinner was about to be served. Luckily for me Angela had managed to make some last minute changes to the seating plans so that I was now sat next to Alice, with Edward on my other side and unfortunately for me, Rosalie sat directly opposite us.
Throughout dinner it was a struggle to act natural when Edward was nearby and it sent shivers down my spine when his arm accidentally brushed against mine, or whenever he leaned in to whisper something in my ear.
It didn't help matters that throughout dinner I could sense Rosalie watching us closely. It was a little unnerving to say the least.
For reasons I still hadn't entirely figured out, she had developed an instant dislike for me the moment she had laid eyes on me. However I was determined not to let her intimidate me, or spoil the night, and I quickly forgot all about her when Edward was besides me.
In truth he was perfect and the more time I spent with him the more enthralled I became. Not only was he gorgeous, but he was intelligent and witty and incredibly generous. Angela was right; all of the Cullen were very generous people and I got the pleasure of witnessing that first hand when I Edward went around the room securing donation after donation for the charity. I mostly stood silent besides him, in awe of his generosity.
His charitable and noble nature did not go unnoticed amongst the other guests and his devotion to the cause undoubtedly gained him more admirers, many of whom looked just as in awe of him as I was. Still that didn't stop the niggling voice at the back of my head that was saying he as too good to be true. But I refused to let my own doubts spoil the night.
I could have quite happily stayed by Edward's side all night but when I noticed the crowd was beginning to disperse, I realised the evening was drawing to a close and it was time to go home.
I looked up at Edward hesitantly. "It looks like everyone's starting to leave. I should probably get going too," I sighed.
Judging by Edward's sad expression, the feeling was mutual.
Reluctantly, we made our way back to our table and I started gathering my bag and coat. As I was making my over to say my goodbyes to the Cullen's, I bumped into Angela who informed me that she was staying late to help clear up. I offered to help but she was insistent that I go.
Having said my goodbyes to the rest of the Cullen's, Edward offered to walk me to my taxi and I readily accepted. I wanted to enjoy every second we had together.
"I have had a great time tonight," I told Edward while we waited for my taxi to arrive.
He faintly smiled at my statement, but it didn't quite reach his eyes.
We stared at one another for a long drawn out moment before Edward finally spoke. "So I guess this is where we say goodbye again."
"This is becoming a bit of a habit." I tried to sound light-hearted but inside I was a mess. Once again I felt an unfamiliar tightening in my chest, but I quickly batted my disappointment aside.
When I noticed a taxi approaching I knew our time was running out. Just ask for his number the voice in my head ordered. I wanted to, I was desperate to, but I was too shy to be so forward.
"Do you have plans this Friday?" Edward asked suddenly, his expression both shy and hopeful at the same time.
"Friday? No, why?" I asked unable to keep the hope out of my voice.
"Would you let me take you out sometime?" I would love to show you around some of the places we discussed," Edward suggested and I saw the slight colour high in his cheeks
"That would be nice," I smiled back, unable to keep the ridiculous grin from my face.
"I'll look forward to it " Edward said, leaning in to place a quick kiss on my glowing cheek.
"Me too" I quickly replied. I didn't care how eager I sounded. I felt like I was on top of the world to be seeing him again.
Edward and I exchanged numbers and said our goodbyes for the night. Except unlike before this wasn't the end for us, it was only the beginning.
AN: Reviews for the last chapter were amazing. I'd love to hear what you thought of this one too:)
Oh and don't hate Rosalie- she has her reasons, and that's all I'm saying. All will be revealed shortly.
Until next time...