A/N: Beta-less. Not much to say here, so...yeah...hmm. Okay then...
You still alive over there? -E
Kill me now. ~B
It can't be THAT bad. Your mom is marrying him so there has to be something likable about the guy. -E
In the past week, I've filled Edward in on Renee and William's announcement and the subsequent circus of fanfare. I've stuck to the bare minimum though. Enough of my time is wasted on them as it is. Time I could be spending doing something more enjoyable. Like kissing Edward. I'm surprised my lips are still attached. The circulation in these suckers is better than it's ever been. The few times we've been alone together since the hangar last week have been far too brief, but not at all lacking in effort on our part. Even still, first base is getting old. I can't wait to be alone alone with him.
I decide to maybe focus and text him back before he thinks I've blown him off.
Discovering his redeemable qualities (if any) would require my remaining in the same room with him longer than I'm personally comfortable with. ~B
He doesn't respond as quickly this time, but I swoon a little at his adorable concern.
What do you mean? He isn't bothering you, is he? -E
Why? Are you gonna come to my rescue in your doorless chariot? ~B
I laugh to myself as I hit send, knowing that he won't take offense to my joke.
Smart. Ass. -E
I just mean that he's a tool. A pretentious but harmless tool. ~B
You could always sneak away. Your doorless chariot awaits... -E
The thought of Edward and the shit show that is my mother, her fiance and their hoity-toity friends being in the same room together makes me nauseous. It would surely send him running for those hills he was afraid I'd head for. I peek out from around the corner of the hallway I'm hiding in to talk to him and see Renee glancing around the crowded room, probably wondering where her spazz of a daughter has gone off to.
It doesn't look good, but I'll keep you posted. ~B
I'll be here. -E
Jumping a few feet in the air, I scream and spin around to see a very smug looking Seth. Adrenaline from being startled cancels out any rational thought I have and I act reflexively. I grab one of his nipples through his dress shirt and twist as hard as I can. "You asshole!"
His shit eating grin is replaced with a grimace of pain as he tries to pull away from my fingers. "I was just kidding around! Let go!"
Neither of us is being mindful of the volume of our voices, but I barely notice. I squeeze harder before letting go and he stumbles back, both of his hands guarding his injured nipple. "You almost gave me a heart attack, dickbag!"
"So you give me a titty twister?!"
I seriously consider going for the other one when a throat clears from behind me. Shit. I turn around and am met with Renee's signature 'You're a crushing disappointment' look. The engagement party is still in full swing and only a few people standing closest to the hallway were witness to our display, but I still feel like a kindergartner caught fighting on the playground.
"Sorry, Ms. Swan."
Renee uses the fierce glare of her eyes to tell me to get my shit together before returning to William's side by the massive fireplace in Seth's parents' colossal great room. The whole house – if you can call a dwelling of this magnitude a house – is absolutely immaculate in both design and décor. I've been here a few times since I've met Seth and I still haven't seen the entire thing.
I turn around and am about to lay into Seth – quieter this time – but the wounded expression on his face as he lightly rubs himself over his shirt causes me to point at him and crack up laughing. "Wuss."
"Shut up! This shit hurts! I seriously have no feeling in it, Bella! It's numb! You... you killed my nipple!"
"Shh or you'll get me in trouble again! And you deserve it for sneaking up on me like that!"
"All I did was startle you a little and you assaulted my man peak?!"
"You're such a girl."
"Oh, look who's talking." He abandons the nurturing of his nipple to bat his eyelashes and smile down at an imaginary phone as he mime texts and giggles.
I gasp and point at him. "You nosy bastard! You were spying on me!"
He laughs and leans against the wall behind him. "Only for a second, I swear. So, who's E?"
I almost tell him. Since meeting him almost two weeks ago, Seth has been pretty cool to hang out with. He's different from the other people our age I've met in the circle I've been forced to travel in. Sure, he's spoiled and dresses like a prep school quarterback from an eighties movie, but he's a good guy. He isn't snooty and plastic like the rest of them. He wouldn't judge Edward, right? In the end I bite my tongue, feeling too unsure to risk it.
"Nunya? Seriously, Bella?"
I roll my eyes and lean on the wall next to him. "He's none of your business is who he is."
"Fine. Whatever. Keep your secrets."
We both look over as William says something that causes the group of people around him to break into boisterous laughter. Ugh. Without taking his eyes off of the scene, Seth leans a little closer to me.
"So, are you gonna call him Daddy now?"
I cover his mouth before I twist his other nipple.
The next morning, I plop down into my chair across the breakfast table from Renee and pick at my fruit salad while she wraps up her phone call with who I'm assuming is the wedding planner. There's talk of monogrammed cloth napkins and seating charts and cake testing. Renee looks happier than a pig in shit. The comparison makes me snort to myself and Renee hangs up just in time to catch it.
"And what are we so tickled about this morning, Isabella?"
I shake my head at her and swallow my orange juice. "Nothing."
"Would that nothing have anything to do with Seth Webber?"
I choke on the chunk of pineapple I just popped in my mouth and talk through my chewing.
"Fwhat errvoo chalkin bout?"
Renee disgustedly flings a napkin across the table to me. "For God's sake, stop talking with your mouth full. You weren't raised by savages."
I strongly object to that statement, but choose to keep it to myself.
"I meant," Her eyebrows do this bouncy thing that kinda scares me. "You and Seth. You two certainly have been seeing a lot of each other."
My blank stare does nothing to discourage her insinuation.
"You can't be serious right now."
"Oh come on, you can tell me. Don't think I haven't noticed you staying out so late at night. And all the mystery texting you've been doing all of a sudden." She nods to where my phone is sitting on the table and waits expectantly.
I open my mouth to set her straight, but stop when I realize what a golden opportunity has been dropped into my lap. Renee actually thinks I've been off with Seth. Once I work through the grossness of that idea, I wonder just how wrong it would be of me to let her think this. I mean, it could cut me a rather lengthy amount of slack where spending more time with Edward is concerned. I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of Renee ever accepting him, so what's the harm in a little white lie to keep from having to expose him to that? All I'd have to do is not correct her, right? It's simply a matter of wording.
"Um... I'm totally not talking about this with you, Mom."
I hold my breath, hoping that I'm giving off the impression of being embarrassed over her calling me out. It works. Renee's smile is self-satisfied and giddy as she makes the gesture of locking her lips and throwing away the key. Her phone rings and she walks away as she answers, leaving me to wonder if it could really be that easy.
I pick up my own phone and type out a quick text to Seth.
I need a favor. An epic one. ~B
Die, Nipple Nazi. -S
I'm serious, Seth! Meet me at the club in 20? ~B
"So you want me to pretend to be your boyfriend?"
"No. I mean, not really. Just neither confirm nor deny, okay? I'm not sure if Renee will blab to William or your parents, but just in case be... I don't know. Be vague."
"And you're just letting her assume that we're lovers?"
"Yes. And don't say lovers. You're creeping me out."
"No, Seth!" I laugh, unable to help myself. "No labels. No elaborating at all!"
He regards me closely, seriously, for a long moment. It's strange to see him this thoughtful. He's so goofy and hardly ever serious, so I fidget a little in the silence. Suddenly, he smacks the top of the table we're seated at in the yacht club and smiles.
"You're a strange girl, Bella Swan, but I'll do it."
"Under one condition."
Warily, I cross my arms and narrow my eyes at him. "What?"
"You tell me why. The truth."
I look out the picture window beside us and sigh, knowing that it's the least I can do. "I met a guy."
"Yes." I smile at the thought of him. At the fact that we finally have plans and I'll be seeing him in just a couple of hours when he gets off of work.
"And why exactly is it that you can't tell Renee about him? What is he, deformed or something?" A look of surprise crosses his face before he leans in and whispers. "Is he old? Do you have a sugar daddy, Bella?"
I swing my open palm at him, but he jumps laughing back before it lands.
"No, you jackass. It's nothing like that. It's just... He's not someone that Renee would approve of. He isn't from the same world we are-"
"You mean he isn't loaded." He doesn't say it snootily. It's just who Seth is. He's stating a fact.
"Right. And I know that she wouldn't understand that it doesn't matter to me. It's new, you know? I haven't known him for very long, but... He's special, Seth. And she just wouldn't understand."
"Maybe if you gave her the chance to..."
"No. Trust me, she'd lose her shit."
"And you're sure that he's worth all of this blowing up in your face? Because I'll tell you right now – it's going to."
I crumple a napkin and throw it at him. "The only way that'll happen is if you blow it, Seth. And I just need some time to see where it's all going without worrying about my mom breathing down my neck."
"Okay, but don't say I never warned you. However, I'll play along in the meantime." He claps his hands and rubs them together. "Now – let's talk perks."
"No perks, Seth."
"What?" His voice gets disturbingly high-pitched. "I'm compromising my values for you and I get nothing in return?"
"First of all, you don't have any values. Secondly, what kind of perks are you talking here?"
"A little over-the-sweater action?"
My only response is to stand up from my chair. "Goodbye, Seth."
"What? Where are you going?"
I turn to face him and walk backwards. "I'm leaving before I assault your man peaks again. And remember – you're my alibi for tonight. I smile wickedly just to mess with him. "Maybe even all night."
I walk out the door, cackling at the shocked face of the hostess when Seth scoffs and yells, "Hussy!" from behind me.
Ut-oh. Old Beller is makin some moves. Are they wise ones? Eh. She can hardly be blamed when motivated by Waveward's bawdy though.
Speaking of ol Wavey, he was scarce here but Seth can be pushy and needed to be heard this chappy. Plot and storyline and all that smack. The next one is coming right behind this one! PROMISE THIS TIIIIIIIIIME!