Pick a Pic Challenge

Title: The Daily Grind

Banner #: 187

Pairing: Bella and Edward

Genre: Romance, Comfort/Hurt

Rating/Disclaimer: Rated M/ Disclaimer: Twilight and the twilight characters are owned by Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended. I own nothing but the plot and some of the personality traits the characters may have.

Summary: A year ago Bella Swan had it all, attending college, friends, a boyfriend and her family. Then in one night her entire world came crashing down never to be the same. Edward Cullen recently requested for a job transfer. Relocating to Seattle, to run from his own problems Edward was determined to never fall victim to another woman. That is until he meets Bella at a coffee house.

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The Daily Grind

My alarm went off at four am, that's when my day started. Every day it was the same thing, the same old daily grind and part of me hated it. Who would have thought one phone call, a simple Katy Perry ringtone on my phone would give me the news that changed my life forever. Even after a year I still remember it as if it only happened yesterday.

"Bella, it's Billy Black did I wake you?" My dad's partner asked. He never called me so right away I knew something was wrong, I knew that whatever he was about to tell me was bad news. I sat up in the bed feeling my heart pound in my chest.

"It's alright Billy what is it?"

"I don't know how to say this…"

"Say what?"

"This is really hard to say and…"

"Damn it Billy just say it…" I snapped so loudly I could see the shadow of my roommate sit up in her bed. My palms were sweating, my heart racing faster.

"Bella someone broke into your parents' house, they're gone Bella." He choked out sounding as if he was crying and I shook my head. They couldn't have been gone. I just talked to them earlier today. I had plans to go home and visit this weekend. They weren't gone.

"Are-Are you sure?" I asked him wanting him to tell that they were fine. That it was a mistake. I felt the tears stinging my eyes but I refused to let them fall before I knew if this was true.

"I'm so sorry Bella. It was some guy your dad arrested a few years back and …"

"…they can't be dead Billy, maybe it's a mistake."

"I'm sorry Bella it's not a mistake. I've seen…fuck I'm so sorry Bella." He said and the tears fell from my eyes. He started telling me about the invasion and that they found the man sitting next to my father's body. My skin went cold and then in a shaky breath I asked,

"Where are Sophia and Nicholas?" I knew if both my parents were home it meant my five year-old little brother and sister were too. If Billy said that I lost them too I was surely to die right where I was sitting.

"We found them in your parents' bedroom closet; they said your dad told them not to move until the police came. Bella they need you." Billy said and I was already out of my bed and getting dressed.

"I'm getting on the first flight out to Washington. Don't let social services send them to a foster home. I'm coming." I told him.

That was almost a year ago now and it still hurt, it still broke my heart. Both my parents were killed in a home invasion. Me, my brother and sister were left alone. No Aunts, Uncles, grandparents, no one; just each other. No one was willing to take in Nicholas and Sophia. So I did the only thing I could think of, I dropped out of school and became their legal guardian. Those friends I had, my boyfriend left as if I was nothing to them.

Quickly I got dressed, having taken my shower last night like I always do. I left my hair down today. Normally I pulled my hair up into a ponytail, but for some reason I wanted it down. I chewed my lip knowing the real reason I wanted it down, he was the reason. He was always the reason. I pinned my bangs back hating them in my face.

Once I was happy with my outfit I went into the twin's room to wake them up. They were cranky in the morning but I needed to wake them up and take them to Mrs. Weber's. Thankfully she would baby sit them until it was time for them to go to school and then take them for me. I was always out of work in time to pick them up from school.

"Come on Nicky, Soph…its morning time." I said messing their hair and tickling their sides. They both groaned telling me to go away.

"Come on or the two of you are going to make me late." I say and they groan again. I tickle their feet Sophia popping up first because she hated when I did that.

"I hate when you do that Ella." She said and I smiled at her. When she was just learning to talk she couldn't say my name so I told her to call me Ella, and to this day she still did.

"I know Soph, but it's time to get up." I told her and she stuck her tongue out at me. Nicholas was still under his blanket trying to ignore Sophia and me.

"If you get up Nicky we can do Pizza-mania tonight for dinner." I said and Nicholas was quickly up with a smile on his face.

"Promise?"

"Cross my heart with a knight's sword." I replied knowing that would make him smile because our parents use to always say that. I helped him off of the top bunk and then told them to go wash.

I left the two of them to get dressed and went to make them both a bowl of cereal. Once they ate we all left the house.

"Bella why do we have to get up at the back crack of dawn?" Nicholas asked yawning in the back set and I looked at him through the rearview mirror.

"The what?" I asked, Sophia and I both laughing.

"I heard Mrs. Weber say it before." He says and I smiled.

"I've told you before, I open the coffee shop for Mrs. Newton, remember." I say and he nods his head making a face. He hated Mrs. Newton, not that I could blame him. The woman was evil, well sort of. She did give me a job when I needed one. My parent's life insurance covered the house, cars and Sophia and Nicholas' private school tuition up until they finished college. There was even enough for me to finish eventually, but I would worry about that later. I still needed to work, to pay bills, buy groceries and keep them clothed and fed.

"Ella, do I have to get a needle today too?" Sophia asked and I knew she was asking because Nicholas had a doctor's appointment today. He had asthma so I always made sure to make all his doctor's appointments.

"I'm not getting a needle Sophia! I'm not getting a needle am I Bella?" Nicholas asked looking scared out of his mind thanks to Sophia and I knew that was her plan.

"No Nicky, just a normal checkup with Dr. Cooper." I tell him and he nods his head and sticks his tongue out at Sophia.

When I arrived at Mrs. Weber's she was already waiting outside like always. I gave Sophia and Nicholas a hug and told them to behave or there was no Pizza-mania tonight. They both lied saying they would behave and climbed out of the car.

"Bella have you figured out what you are going to do with them for the summer?" She asked me and I shook my head because I had no idea what I was going to do.

"Have you thought about summer camp?" She asked and I didn't think I could afford summer camp. The family attorney always tried telling me to take them out of private school and use the tuition money to be able to afford taking care of them but I couldn't do that. I knew how important it was to my parents for us to have the best education and I was going to make sure that was what Sophia and Nicholas had.

"I'll look into it." I told her only half meaning it. I waved at Mrs. Weber and thanked her like always for taking them.

I quickly pulled off for the coffee house arriving ten minutes to opening. I knew Mrs. Newton would be pissed because she always liked for me to have the coffee already brewing by the time the customers start to come in. I parked in my usual parking space and got out of the car. I rushed inside through the back door, quickly cut off the alarm and ran behind the bar and hit the switches on the coffee pots. I always prepped everything the night before. I pulled my apron on over my head and started to set up all the tables in the café.

Once that was done I turned on the television to channel five news and then the radio. Why Mrs. Newton always wanted them both on I'll never know. I turned the sign from closed to open and then went behind the counter. I started up five cups of black coffee, three cups of coffee with cream and extra sugar, then two cappuccinos. The same ten people came in first every morning and they ordered the same thing each time. The front door opened and Quil the delivery guy from the bakery across town came in with today's deliveries.

"Morning Bella."

"Morning Quil." I replied with a smile. He helped me put everything away like he did every morning. He tried asking me out again like he did every morning and I turned him down just like I did every morning. Mr. Jones came in first and I gave him his coffee while he sat down at the table in the far back to read his paper. Everyone else started to come in and my co-worker Lauren came in late like always.

The coffee shop was busy which wasn't surprising to me at all. Everyone was on their way to work and coming in for their coffee and their breakfast. I kept a smile on my face and made certain to get all of their orders right. I never missed a beat, even caught Lauren's mistakes. Mrs. Newton hated when I ran late but she would never fire because I was the reason this place ran so smoothly.

"Bella, Harold said this was cold." Lauren said handing me a cup. I dumped it in the sink and quickly made him another cup and gave him a complimentary donut to go with it.

"You're the best Bella." Harold said leaving me a tip and I smiled at him. I ran around filling orders, making coffee and yelling at Lauren to get out of my way because she continued to ruin orders. How she managed to do this since we pretty much got the same customers every day made no sense to me.

Every order was the same, except one. His

I always knew the moment he walked in, wearing his tailored suit that probably cost more than my entire paycheck. My heart always raced in my chest when he came in, with that thick messy bronze hair on his head, those hazel more like gold eyes. He approached the counter and I turned my back to him and pretended to have to focus on the cup I was holding in my hand.

"Mmgh." I heard him clear his throat, but I didn't turn around. I couldn't because whenever I looked at him my insides melted. He made me forget everything, my name, my age, my phone number, I mean everything. I needed to pull myself together before looking at him.

"Hi, how can I help you today?" I hear Lauren ask him in her little slut voice. I know that was a bit much but she was a slut.

"I would like Isabella's help." He replied in the most smooth, heated voice you could ever imagine. I knew he was talking about me. He never let Lauren help him; he wouldn't take help from Mrs. Newton when she was here. I inhaled a deep breath and turned around to look at him.

"Good morning Mr. Cullen, what can I get for you?" I asked praying that he would just make a simple order like everyone else. Every day he came in here and asked me a new question about myself. If I enjoyed the weather, my thoughts on some huge news story, why I choose to wear my hair up instead of down. Or why I have on red nail polish. He asked about my favorite color, favorite food, favorite flower, they never seemed too personal, but I couldn't understand why he wanted to know.

It was weird I knew that, even more weird that I was never uncomfortable answering his questions, I wanted to. It all seemed so innocent because it wasn't like he ever actually asked me out. I didn't want him to, alright I did, but I would have only turned him down. I have too much going on in my life to be concerned about a love life.

"Isabella I thought we talked about this and I requested you call me Edward." He said with that sexy damn grin on his face and it made my heart do somersaults. I inhaled a deep breath,

"What can I get for you Edward?" I asked and he his smile grew larger.

"That wasn't so hard now was it?" He asked and I rolled my eyes at him causing him to give a hearty laugh.

"I like your hair today…"

"Thank you." I replied not giving him eye contact as I feel my cheeks heat up from my blush. I knew he would be happy I wore it down today, since I usually always had it up. He cleared his throat and quickly looked down at my fingers, which were tapping against the counter.

"French tips this week?" He asked and I smiled at the fact that he always noticed any changes I made to myself. Nothing went unnoticed to him.

"Yes, I thought a change would be nice." I replied and he nodded his head and it looked like he was about to reach for my hand, then he quickly pulled his hand back and pushed it into his pocket. I waited to see what question he would ask me today.

"Are you excited about the summer starting?" He asked me nervously and I wanted to say no because I have to find someone to watch the kids doing the day, but he didn't need to know that.

"I'm not a huge fan of the heat, but thankfully it never gets too bad here in Seattle." I replied with a smile which he quickly returned.

"Yeah when I lived in New York the humidity was a killer." He said and I grinned. It was such a rare moment when he would slip up and reveal something about himself.

"How long did you live in New York?" I asked him and I watch something pass in his eyes, it was sadness and anger. Already I regretted asking the question.

"You don't have to answer that I…"

"…it's alright. I lived there for about ten years." He replied and I nodded my head chewing on my lower lip. After standing there silently for a few moments he finally made a coffee order that I quickly filled. I handed him his cup and his fingers brushed over mine. I quickly snatched my hand back feeling something warm pass through me. His eyes were large for a millisecond and I wondered if he felt it too.

"Have a great day Isabella." He told me paying for his coffee and leaving me a tip.

"You too Edward." I replied watching him walk out of the coffee house. I kept watching him, wanting him to look back at me.

"Why don't you just ask him out?" Lauren asked coming up next to me.

"Because I have too much baggage that I'm sure a man like him wouldn't want to deal with." I answer placing my tip in my apron and the money for the coffee in the register.

"That's true; I don't know any guy willing to put up with…" I cut my eyes at her and she stopped talking mid-sentence. I didn't need her reminding me that my situation could possibly mean never being romantically involved again. I mean it was hard enough for single mothers trying to date, and in this case Sophia and Nicholas weren't even my children, they were my siblings.

I shook the depressing thoughts from my mind and continued working up until it was closing time. Lauren and I cleaned up and I looked at the time again knowing that I had to take Nicholas to his doctor's appointment. I started to hang up my apron just when Mrs. Newton walked in, I groaned seeing her.

"Bella, can I speak with you?" She asked and I checked the time on my watch again.

"I have to take Nicholas to his doctor's appointment."

"I won't take up too much of your time, please sit." She said pointing to a table and I rolled my eyes and walked over to the table. I sat down and she sat down across from me.

"Bella you know you are a fantastic employee."

"Thank you Mrs. Newton."

"And while I know you have a lot of responsibility…"

"…Mrs. Newton are you firing me?" I asked my heart racing and she started laughing. I hadn't told a joke…I was serious.

"Why would I fire my best employee?" she asked and I relaxed some falling back against the chair.

"I'm actually doing the opposite. I want to give you a raise, a promotion actually." She says and I look at her completely dumbstruck.

"I don't know what to say."

"Well don't say anything yet. My husband and I will be moving, but we don't want to close the café. Our son Mike will be sort of the owner sense he will still be here in Washington, but I would like to make you Manager."

"Are you shitting me?" I asked and then slapped my hand over my mouth realizing what I said. She scowled at me for my language, but didn't say anything about it.

"Is that a yes?" She asked and I nodded my head. With the raise I could afford to put Sophia and Nicholas in summer camp. We talked about what my responsibilities would be, and that I would have to work every other Saturday. I signed some papers and couldn't wait to tell Sophia and Nicholas the good news.

"Oh my god! Mrs. Newton I have to go!" I yelled looking at the time and seeing that school was about to let out. I was supposed to pick them up early for his doctor's appointment and knew that I missed it.

"Alright we'll talk later." She said as I ran out of the door. I jumped into my car and started speeding hoping to get to the school in time. Then I saw the damn flashing lights behind me and I groaned pulling over. I looked at the time again and knew that I was going to be late picking them up.

There was a tap on my window and I didn't even see the cop get out of the car. I rolled down my window.

"I'm sorry officer I didn't mean to speed I have a…"

"Bella?" I hear a familiar voice say and I look to see Billy standing there and I smile.

"Hey Billy…"

"Late picking the kids up?" He asked and I smiled nodding my head.

"Follow me." He said walking back to his car. I watched him get in then he pulled up next to my car.

"Police escort." He told me and I smiled nodding my head. I followed behind him and in no time I pulled up outside of their school. I thanked Billy and he made me promise to bring Sophia and Nicholas by for dinner on Sunday. I loved that even though Charlie was dead, Billy still helped out where he could as was always still there for us. He got a lot of grief from some people for not taking in Nicholas and Sophia himself, but I knew that he was afraid of something like what happened to my parents happening to him and Sophia and Nicholas being harmed.

Billy and his wife Rebecca helped as much as they could and I was always grateful for the help. I went inside of the school and found Sophia and Nicholas sitting in the office. They both looked up at me, angry.

"You're late." Nicholas says.

"I know and I'm sorry." I say taking their hands. I wave at the secretary and we leave. I help them into the car and told them to buckle their seatbelts. As I climb into the car I tell them about my promotion and that they would be able to attend summer camp. They were more than excited and it made me feel amazing.

We arrived to the doctor's office late, but I was hoping Dr. Cooper was still there to at least fill Nicholas' inhaler prescription. We walked in and I told them both to sit down and wait. I approached the nurses' station and groaned seeing that it was Jessica Stanley. We went to highschool together; I didn't like her then either.

"Is Dr. Cooper still here?" I asked and she looked up at me.

"No."

"Well did he leave a prescription for Nicholas?" I asked hoping he remembered this time. Jessica got up and walked over to the file cabinet. I watched her pull out a chart which I assumed was Nicholas chart.

"No he didn't leave one." She said and I blew out an irritated breath.

"Well is there someone here who could write the prescription, Nicholas really needs a refill and…"

"Then maybe you should have gotten here on time." She said cutting me off and I swear if it wasn't for Sophia and Nicholas sitting there I would have slapped the hell out of her. I looked at her and she rolled her eyes.

"There is a doctor still here, but he won't write the prescription without seeing him first so come on." She told me and we all followed her back to an exam room. She told me it would be about five minutes before the doctor would come in and I went to ask the doctors name, but she already left the room.

"She's a butthead." Sophia said and I laughed agreeing with her. Nicholas looked around the room and I knew he was nervous. He hated coming to see the doctor.

"Relax Nicky, remember after we leave here we're going to Pizza-mania." I reminded him and he nodded his head chewing on his lip. The door opened and the doctor walked in.

"Edward?" I asked before I could stop myself and he looked at me shocked to see me as well. He looked at the chart, then Nicholas and Sophia then back at me.

"Isabella…" He said and Nicholas and Sophia started laughing. I knew it was because they never actually heard anyone call me Isabella. Edward stared at me for a long time and it was making my heart damn near beat out of my chest. He cleared his throat then turned to Nicholas. He asked him about his asthma and how he was feeling. Nicholas seemed relaxed as he talked to him, while I was everything but relaxed.

Every once in awhile Edward would look over at Sophia and me to ask me a question and Sophia would blush when he smiled. He was even dazzling my little sister. Edward handed me the prescription for Nicholas and he looked like he was having a hard time with something.

"You two make sure you listen to your mom." He says and again Nicholas and Sophia start to laugh while Edward looks puzzled.

"She's not our mom." Sophia says and Edward's eyebrows shoot up. I knew that looking at them someone would think so because we looked so much alike.

"No?" He asked and I thought I heard a little hope in his voice but I was sure I was just hearing things.

"No she's our sister." Nicholas answered.

"Yeah our mom and dad were killed by a bad guy who tried to rob them." Sophia added, and I could always count on her to tell the world our business. Edward looked at me with sad eyes again and I didn't want anyone's pity.

"I'm sorry." He said looking at me and I nodded my head standing up and taking Nicholas and Sophia's hand.

"Thank you Dr. Cullen." I replied preparing to leave the room. He looked like he wasn't happy with me calling him Dr. Cullen instead of Edward. I told Sophia and Nicholas to make to use the bathroom before we left. When I opened the door and Sophia and Nicholas walked out arguing over who was going to use the bathroom first.

"Isabella…" I hear Edward call to me and I turn around to look at him.

"I'm sorry to hear about your parents." He said taking a step towards me and I chew on my lip nodding my head.

"Are you raising them, alone?" he asked me and once again I nodded my head.

"How old are you?" He asked and it is then it's the one question he's never asked me.

"What does it matter?" I ask not in the mood to hear someone else tell me that I was too young to be raising them.

"It doesn't I suppose. I was just curious. To see such a selfless person give up her own life before she was even old enough to enjoy it so that she could raise her siblings is just unheard of." He told me and I knew that was true. I inhaled a deep breath.

"That must have been a hard decision to make."

"It was never one I ever considered, they need me so I'm here." I answered hoping that made sense to him. He nodded his head, his eyes boring into me. I couldn't look away from him, I wanted to.

"You're beautiful, smart…but selfless has to be the sexiest of all your qualities." He tells me in a deep voice and I felt my insides start to melt. He cups my face and that warm feeling starts to spread throughout my body again.

"I've been so captivated by you sense that first day I saw you, fighting this desire to be near you. I thought maybe if I continued asking you questions and I got to know you, you would be just like the rest of them. But you surprise me more and more."

"I'm just me."

"You don't see yourself clearly Isabella, you're amazing, exquisite." He says his face so close to mine. His breath like a drug intoxicating me. I couldn't, my focus and first concern was and would always be Sophia and Nicholas.

"Edward I-I…" His lips were on mine before I could finish. I moaned feeling his soft lips on mine. His tongue darted out along my lips causing a shiver up my spine. He lifted my face bringing me closer to deepen our kiss. When his tongue entered my mouth and I drowned in him, feeling his tongue massage mine I almost died and went to heaven. This kiss was hot, heated everything I knew I was missing. His hand snaked to the back of my neck playing with my hair. He nibbled on my bottom lip a moan leaving his mouth.

"Positively exquisite…" I think I hear him moan but I couldn't be sure. His lips move over my jaw and I know I have to stop this.

"Edward…" I moan out breathlessly and he takes my mouth again with much more passion behind this kiss. I wrapped my arms around him, pushing my fingers into his hair and rising up on my toes to deepen our kiss. He groaned slamming me against his body and I moaned feeling his erection on my stomach. He wanted me, and god I wanted him. We were two adults and there was no reason we…

"Stop it Nicky before I tell!" I hear Sophia yell and I quickly push Edward back and step out of his arms. He looked crazed as if ready to attack me. But there was a reason we couldn't do this. I had two children to raise and I had no room for a good fuck in the hay.

"I can't Edward…" I say hoping he understood and would just forget about this.

"Bella…" He started and I shook my head. I sounded so good hearing him call me Bella. It felt so good being in his arms but I couldn't.

"Thank you again Edward." I said as I saw Sophia and Nicholas coming down the hall. He saw them walking up also.

"Tomorrow." He said rather than asked and I didn't reply. He said bye to the kids and told me that he would see me tomorrow. I simply nodded my head and turned to leave. I was sure once I told him I wasn't looking for just a good fuck that I would successfully scare him off just like the rest.

I took Soph and Nicky to Pizza-mania as promised then helped them with their homework. I got them bathed, and into bed. They said their prayers asking for our parents to watch over us and then they got into bed. I showered and walked past my parent's old bedroom. I never went in; I could never bring myself to go in. I had the entire house redecorated, every room but my parent's room. I closed the door back and walked to my bedroom. I dressed in my pajamas and climbed into bed. Some days I found myself asking how things would be different if I hadn't dropped out of school and taken Sophia and Nicholas, but guilt soon followed after the thought.

I thought about Edward and my lips stung remembering the way he kissed me. Then something he said replayed in my mind. He said he was trying to fight the desire to be near me. Did he not want to be near me? I wasn't forcing him; I didn't want this anymore than he did. My life was complicated enough without a man making it worse. I shut my eyes to let sleep claim me so that tomorrow I would start the daily grind all over again.