A/N: Um... not much to say, but I did spend some time putting a pink streak in my hair. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Well, without further babbling, let's see what Bella had to say...
Chapter 16: Saturday, Day Fifteen- BPOV
"What did you just say up there?"
Edward stands there, twiddling his fingers; his eyes were darting everywhere but at me.
"Edward," I say a little louder and his eyes snap to mine. I can see his chest heaving quickly, so I soften my tone; I don't want him having a panic attack. "Please, tell me what you said."
"I-I didn't mean to, it just slipped out," he says, the words pouring out at top speed. "I mean, it wasn't something that I was thinking about, w-well, I w-w-was thinking about it, recently, that is, but not just now, I m-mean not right during that speech. I was just so nervous, still am, actually, um, b-but, I was just trying to, I-I-I..."
He keeps stuttering along, so I place my hand over his mouth. His eyes are wide and beseeching; he looks fucking terrified.
"Did you say that you love me?" I asked quietly, speaking each word with care. He nods slowly, and I smile. "We've only known each other two weeks, you know?"
He nods again against my hand, his expression changing from worried to puzzled.
"Well that's interesting," I say slowly, lowering my hand.
"W-what is?" he asks hesitantly.
"That you love me," I shrug.
"Is it bad?" he asks, his voice cracking slightly. "Because I don't have to, if that's bad. I can shut up and never say it again. I can wait—maybe it's that whole, I dunno, new thing. You're my first real g-girlfriend, first real mate that I can talk to, really, so-"
"Shut up," I tell him. "You can say it anytime you fucking want."
"I can?" he squeaks, his eyes wide.
"Hell yeah," I laugh. "Because I love you too, you idiot."
The smile that breaks across his face is full of so many emotions, happiness and relief prominent among them. He hesitates for a moment, as though afraid I'll change my mind, before wrapping his arms around me, lifting my feet off the ground. We both laugh, sounding really damn cheesy, but I'm too happy to care.
"Aw, isn't that cute."
I pull back from Edward to see Jacob looking at us, a fake sappy look on his face and his hand over his heart. He wipes away an invisible tear and sniffles.
"Damn, Jake, you really know how to ruin the moment," I laugh, shaking my head.
"B-but it's just so... so..." Jacob says, breaking off and putting his head in his hands and letting out a loud, fake cry. "Beautiful!"
"Oh, geez," I mumble, rolling my eyes. Edward looks at me quizzically so I explain. "He's done this before, just not in a long time. I went through this faze in the seventh grade, where I got a crush on a different guy every week. And after a while, Jake started giving me such a hard time about it, that I realized how stupid I was."
"Ah, right," Edward mumbles, glancing sideways at a still sobbing Jacob. After a moment, though, his pretend cries turn into laughter.
"Sorry, guys," he says, lowering his hands. "You really are cute together. I'm glad to see Bella finally happy with someone."
I feel my face blush and look down. Edward doesn't say anything, but I can feel his arms tighten around my waist. Suddenly, he looks up, his grip slackening as he looks around.
"What's that?" Edward asks.
"What's what?" I ask, glancing in the direction he's looking.
And then I hear it.
Click. Click. Click. Click.
"Hold on a mo'," Edward says, taking a step in the direction of the noise. "Did you ask someone to take photos tonight?"
"What?" I cry, following his gaze.
About twenty feet away, I see a figure in black with a camera up to their face. When I catch sight of them, they turn and bolt, knocking into a few people in their haste to get away.
"Oh, no you don't," I growl under my breath and take off after them.
"Bella, wait!" Edward yells, and I can hear his feet slapping against the ground as he chases after me.
I ignore all the confused looks as I barrel through the crowds. I'm not necessarily the fastest runner, but I soon catch up to the person in black, adrenaline pumping through my body and giving me what feels like super-human speed. The person turns and looks at me; their face is too shrouded by their hood for me to see their face, but I'm pretty sure I hear them give a terrified gasp.
Behind me, Edward grunts as he pushes himself after me. I don't slow down as I turn the corner, even when I slip a little on some gravel. The person isn't as lucky, and trips over a root pushing up a section of the sidewalk.
I feel a thrill of triumph, thinking I may catch them, but they recover quickly and scramble to their feet again.
"Fuck, shit, damn it!" I pant.
Just then, I notice there's another set of feet chasing after me. I want to turn and see who it is, but there's no way in Hell I'm going to let this asshole out of my sight.
"Bella!" Nessie calls after me, and, before I know it, she's beside me, shoving keys into my hands.
"Thanks, Ness!" I shout as she slows to a stop.
"Red BMW! Top down!" she yells. "It's Rose's!"
I nod to myself as the car comes into view, with a familiar black car parked right in front of it. The passenger door is thrown open, and the person in black leaps into it.
The car peels out, tires screeching against the concrete, and I do something that I've always wanted to do.
I come skidding to a halt next to Rosalie's car and in one swift movement, I hoist myself over the driver's side door and into the seat, looking only slightly awkward when my knee rams into the steering wheel.
"Get in!" I yell at Edward when he comes panting to a halt next to the car.
He gets in just as I had—he, too, not looking quite as graceful as the movie stars doing the same move—and I jam the key into the ignition.
The car rumbles on and I throw it into gear, stomping on the gas before I lose sight of the black car.
"Seatbelt, love," Edward says, still trying to catch his breath.
"No time," I say breathlessly, my eyes locked on my pursuit.
Edward sighs heavily, reaches across me and pulls the seatbelt across my lap. He clicks it into place and sits back in his seat.
"What do you plan to do when you catch them up?" he asks, grabbing onto the door handle as I turn sharply around a corner.
"No fucking idea," I say, glancing down at the speedometer. I'm going over forty now and the limit is thirty. "Shit, keep an eye out for cops."
"Let's just think for a mo'," Edward argues, though I do see him in my peripheral twisting in his seat to look down the passing streets.
"No, I don't want to think," I say, pressing the gas pedal down a little farther. "I want to find this shit-head and beat their ass. Simple as that."
"How about we just find out who they are?" he asks desperately as I skid around another corner, nearly running the car up the curb.
I sigh and turn to look at him.
He looks like he's about to shit his pants.
My poor little shy Brit...
"Okay," I say quietly, and then I see the car turn into a dead-end street. "Ha!"
I pass the street at full speed, making sure to keep my eyes forward.
"What are you doing?" Edward asks in a panicked voice.
"I have an idea," I say gleefully, turning down the next street—one that also has no outlet—and flip a bitch when I reach the end. I turn back towards the street the car when down and slam on the breaks when I reach the opening; Edward throws his hands out to brace himself against the dashboard. I mumble an apology and then start inching the car forward, leaning over the steering wheel to try to see the people in the car.
I stop when I get a decent view, the front of the car still hidden behind a tree. We sit and wait, and I can't help but feel antsy.
"Where the fuck are they?" I whisper, craning my neck over the dash.
"I'm confused," Edward says, just as quietly.
"I didn't want them to see me follow them down the street," I explain patiently. "They were stupid enough that they led me right in there, but maybe they weren't expecting me to keep up with them."
"Right," he mutters, looking down the street as well.
After nearly twenty minutes of waiting, the two people come out of the car. I sit up excitedly, hoping I'll be able to see their faces.
I watch the two people look around nervously, checking each car and house to see if we could possibly be waiting in the shadows. Once assured, the two come together near the trunk of the car and start talking. They're both about the same height, but one of them is slightly larger than the other, though they're both thin. If I had to guess, the thicker one is probably a guy.
"Can you tell what they look like?" I ask Edward quietly.
"Well, I think one of them is a bloke," he says, just as the thinner one lowers her hood. "Yeah, that one is a definitely not a bloke. She has shiny black hair."
"Seriously?" I ask in disbelief, recognizing the chick.
It couldn't be. Please tell me it's not...
"I'm not putting you on, Bella," Edward says, turning to me in concern. "What's wrong?"
"Hold up," I say, taking my cell phone out of my pocket with shaking fingers.
I have a few missed calls and messages that I had ignored while I was driving and I dismiss them again. I pull up my contact list and scroll through until I find the one I want.
"Give me your phone," I say, holding my hand out.
"My mobile?" Edward asks.
"Yes, Brit, your mobile," I say a little impatiently, curling my fingers a few times. "Hand it over."
Edward fumbles for his pocket and pulls out his cell. It's obviously new, the original plastic protector still on the screen. He puts it in my hand cautiously; I press the power button to light up the screen. I smile when I see he already changed the background picture to a candid shot he took of me during one of our Skype sessions.
I glance sideways at him, and he blushes furiously, playing with his fingers. I shake my head and take a deep breath. Looking at my contact, I type it into Edward's phone and cross my fingers in my lap.
It rings a few times and Edward looks around as a ringing sound echos down the street. We see the two people looking at each other and then the girl pulls out a phone from her pocket.
"Oh, no," I mumble. "No, no, shit, no..."
"Bella what..." Edward starts to ask, but when the person picks up, I put the phone on speaker.
"Hello?" the voice asks, sounding confused.
"Hello, ma'am, I was looking for a Ms. Leah Black?" I say with a fake southern accent. "I'm calling to ask if you would like to participate in a survey. Is this she?"
"Yes, it is, but I'm not interested," she says, and I can hear both her voice over the receiver and down the street.
"Thank you, ma'am, have a pleasant evening," I say and hang up.
"Bella?" Edward says quietly, placing a hand on my arm.
"Fucking bitch!" I say, opening the door and stepping out.
"Wait! Bella!" Edward calls but I'm already striding down the street towards Leah and the asshole she's with.
"I'm gonna kill her," I growl, my teeth clenched together. "I'm going to fucking kill them both, whoever that fucker is she's with!"
I'm barely ten steps from the car when Edward is behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist and lifting me off the sidewalk. He spins me around and darts behind the tree hiding the car, his back to the rough bark.
"What the hell, Edward?" I demand, struggling against his grip. "Let me go!"
"Shhh, no listen," he says urgently, lowering his voice. "Let's sneak around back and see if we can hear something, all right? We can't just go barging up to her, she'll think you've gone mad."
"But I am mad!" I tell him, talking in a furious whisper.
"No, I mean mad as in, you know, crazy," he says.
I let out a deep sigh and stop fighting him. He turns me around and looks down at me.
"So, basically, you want to spy on them?" I ask playfully, narrowing my eyes. He shrugs sheepishly and I chuckle. "All right, let's go Brit."
I take Edward's hand and peek around the corner. Leah and her friend are still standing outside, leaning against the car, side by side. I crouch down, Edward copying my position, and dart across the sidewalk.
We're only four houses down, one of which is for sale. I drag Edward to the front door of the closest one and squat down behind the bushes there. I look through the leaves and see that the two of them are now headed toward the front door of the house they're parked in front of.
"Shit, let's move!"
Still bending low, we race across the lawn. Luckily, the house next door to the one Leah went into is the one for sale, meaning we won't look like trespassers, or at least not much, so once we manage to reach it, we head toward the side gate that leads into the back yard. With his long reach, Edward puts his arm over the top and unlatches it. Once inside, we run to the gate on the other side and stop to catch our breath.
"This is fun," I say, smiling up at him. He gives me a weird look. "What?"
"You fascinate me," he says, grinning also. "You manage to surprise me every day."
I roll my eyes and unlatch the gate. Opening it an inch, I peer out and see the door closing behind Leah. I'm about to head out when I hear a scraping sound. I pull my head back in just in time. The sound had been Leah opening a window on the side of the house.
"What are you doing?" the male voice asks.
"If she figures out what house we're in, I want to be able to hear her coming," Leah explains; I look with one eye around the gate and see her twitching the curtains closed.
"Don't you think she'll sneak up to the house?" the guy says with a laugh that sounds vaguely familiar. "I mean, she wouldn't be stupid enough to just burst in, would she?"
"Wouldn't put it past her," Leah smirks. "Either way, we'll be able to hear her coming from a mile away. She's as clumsy as an ox."
I feel my face grow hot and Edward places his hand on my shoulder, attempting to calm me. It works only slightly; I can still see red.
Some friend I've got in there.
"Good point," the guy says. I can hear his heavy footsteps on the wood floor inside and strain my ears to hear more. "I'm sure we've got time, though."
It's silent for a moment and then I hear Leah giggle.
"Not now, Mike," she laughs. "Let's make sure we're in the clear first."
"You know I can be quick," Mike murmurs. "And quiet. We'll still be able to hear her coming."
"Hmm, it's true that Jake never did find out," Leah purrs and then giggles again.
"Wait, do you think they know it was us that trashed the place?" Mike asks suddenly.
"No, we're supposed to be good friends, remember?" Leah says with what I can only call an evil laugh.
"Holy shit," I whisper, putting a hand to my mouth.
"Wait, Leah?" Edward says quietly. "As in-"
"Jake's almost ex-wife," I finish for him, feeling my chest tighten with anger. "But what place did she trash? Shit, and she was cheating on Jake. With Mike?"
"Mike?" Edward chuckles. "That nitwit?"
My fury soon turns to amusement.
"Nitwit? Yeah, that's the perfect description," I say, attempting to stifle my laughter, so it doesn't carry. "It just doesn't make sense. Mike? That fucking moron?"
I double over in silent laughter, clutching my stomach.
Geez, what was this chick doing with herself? She gave up an amazing guy like Jake for...
"Oh man," I gasp, straightening up and meeting Edward's curious gaze. "I just don't get it."
"How much coffee have you had today?" he questions, furrowing his brow.
"Um, only that one cup this morning with you," I say, cocking my head to the side. "Why?"
"I think you're right," he says seriously, nodding. "You need coffee to survive. You're getting a little loopy."
"Loopy?" I ask with a snort. I tilt my head from side to side and say in a sing-song voice, "Loony, loopy Bella, loony loopy Bella."
Oh God, I sound totally insane. I stop singing and look up at Edward's face; he looks a little scared.
"Maybe something a little stronger than coffee," I say, closing the gate, as the activity in the house starts to sound a bit more, well, disgusting.
"It was a long day," Edward sighs, taking my hand and leading me across the yard.
"Yeah, it was," I agree. "Started with some shit and ended with the 'L' word."
I glance sideways at him to see him run his fingers through his hair nervously and grimacing.
"Yeah, about that," he says, shoving his hand into his pocket. "I'm terribly sorry if I was out of line. It was completely the wrong place to do that. I should have waited until we were alone, oh bugger, I'm so stupid-"
"Hey, Brit?" I interrupt and he looks at me expectantly. "I love you."
He gives me a glorious smile and squeezes my hand.
"I love you too, Coffee Girl," he says, leaning down and giving me a quick kiss.
We manage to make it back to the cafe without getting caught. As I pull back into Rosalie's parking spot, I see her, Emmett, Alice, Jake and Nessie waiting at the curb. I take a deep breath, turn the car off and open the door to get out like a normal person.
"What, you didn't want to slide across the hood?" Rosalie smirks, holding out her hands for her keys.
"Would you mind?" I ask, pulling the keys back to myself. Rose rolls her eyes and snatches the keys out of my hand. "By the way, your car does fucking amazing in a chase."
"Oh, I know it," Rose says so quietly that I almost don't hear her, as she walks to the car to inspect it for scratches.
I know I should feel insulted, but I really don't blame her. She barely knows me.
Plus, I'm me. I wouldn't blame anyone for checking.
"So, what happened?" Alice demands in a squeaky voice, bouncing on her toes. "Nessie says she saw you running and chased after you with the keys. Did you catch them? Who was it? Do we know them? Come on, come on! Tell us!"
"Whoa, Alice, give me a chance!" I laugh. Alice bites her lip and waits. I take a deep breath and look warily at Edward, who nods encouragingly. "Well, we followed them down to a house and then sneaked around to listen in through the window."
I pause and look up at the expectant faces of my friends, barely able to meet Jake's curious eyes.
"And?" Nessie prompts. "Did you recognize them?"
"Yeah," I mumble, looking down at my hands clasped in front of me. Edward reaches over and separates them, holding one tightly in his own.
"What's wrong?" Rose asks, her tone actually soft.
"It was Mike," I say to my feet, pausing again. "And Leah."
Everyone around me is absolutely silent. I look up slowly and see four pairs of wide eyes staring back at me. Emmett is looking around, obviously confused. I look to Jake and can't decipher his expression, so I decide not to tell them what else we found out.
"But, why were they taking pictures?" Jake asks, his thick brows low over his confused eyes.
"Dunno," I shrug, honestly.
"I'm lost," Emmett says, sounding annoyed. "Who are Leah and Mike?"
"I'll explain later," Rosalie whispers to him.
"And they said something about trashing the place," I tell them.
"Which place?" Alice asks and I shrug.
We stand in contemplative silence which Alice eventually breaks.
"Things will be finishing soon," she says, not sounding like her usual, peppy self. "Nessie, we still have time for you to play a few more songs, if you'd like."
"Sure," she says, placing her hand lightly on Jake's elbow and steering him back toward the cafe. He follows in a kind of stupor.
Everyone else heads back, but Edward and I stay behind. I wait for everyone else to leave before turning to Edward in a panic.
"Oh God, do I have to tell him?" I beg, tugging on his hand. "Please, tell me I don't have to tell him. He's already upset enough as it is, but to put this shit on him, he's going to have a fucking aneurism. Shit, what am I going to do?"
"For one thing, calm down, love," he says with a laugh. "Wow, its nice to see someone else having a panic attack besides me."
I punch him playfully on the arm and he grabs the spot, wincing.
"Do I have to tell him?" I ask in a calmer voice.
"Not straight away," Edward reassures me. "Come on, let's get back before anyone wonders where we got to."
My friends and I are silent throughout Nessie's performance, all of us obviously still thinking about what Edward and I found out. I'm not even paying attention as I wave good-bye and shake hands with people as they leave the party. Edward keeps some kind of physical contact with me the rest of the night, whether it's a hand on my shoulder or linking a finger with one of mine. Needless to say, I welcome the time we'll all have together after we finish cleaning up.
I tell everyone about what Edward and I heard through the window, editing only slightly. Afterward, the seven of us lounge in the few intact chairs inside the cafe, sipping on the beer that Jacob picked up at some point during the evening. Even though I'm lost in my thoughts, I can't help but notice how Nessie leans against Jake, her chair right next to his and how Emmett has his arm draped over Rosalie's shoulder.
"Leah and Mike," Jake says after a while, breaking the quiet.
"Yup," I say, nodding my head once.
"Why?" he asks.
"No fucking clue," I tell him.
"You didn't hear anything about their plans?" Alice asks me.
"No, just, uh, that they hoped I wasn't sneaking up on them," I say guardedly, looking everywhere, but at Jake.
We lapse back into silence, the sound of swallowing and bottles clunking on the table the only noises in the room. I glance up at the clock every once in a while, watching as the hours tick by.
Midnight comes and goes and we're still all sitting there, the beer long gone and our thoughts tangled as we try to figure out what the hell is going on.
A/N: Dun dun dun! Did anyone suspect either Leah or Mike? I think a lot of you thought Mike... but no one guessed both together! What do you think?