Heeeeeellooooooo pretty ladies. And/or gents.
Welcome back to this little fic. I'm good at this posting malarkey, no? *Pats self on back*
I just want to apologise for any misspellings, grammatical errors or punctuation mishaps that you may have spotted in the previous chapter. In my eagerness, I forgot to proof read. I guess I got a little bit ahead of myself.
Don't forget to check out the other FAGE stories (link at start of first chapter) because they are a-ma-zing. The deadlines gone, so technically I should have finished posting -Shhhh. But that also means that everyone else should have too so dip your toes in the little pond of FAGE fun. I dare you.
Another quick aside: If you're reading my other fic, Distracted, then I wanted to let you know that if anything happens to it, like it suddenly disappears mysteriously, then I will begin posting it on AO3 and TWCS, both of which will use the penname WoahNow. I'll keep you posted on Twitter and Facebook; the links are on my profile!
We're hearing more from Bella now. What's she going to do while Edward cleans himself up, you ask? Well, why don't you read on...
Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight and its characters, I make them do my bidding.
I flicked on a light switch, since the curtains were drawn and blocking out any light from outside. When I looked around the room I realised it was familiar; It was Alice's guest room. That made sense. That answered my earlier question about whether he was really Alice's brother, then.
My eyes darted from the bathroom door, through which I could hear the spray of the shower, to the bedroom door, which was closed to. I spotted my clothes in a pile on the dresser and slipped out from between the sheets, quickly discarding the masculine clothing I had been provided with.
I hastily dressed in my own dried and ironed clothes before checking I had everything with me and scurrying out the door as quietly as I could. I listened for any sound of Alice as I tiptoed down the stairs but the house was silent. I couldn't find my shoes and decided I didn't have time to look for them. Instead, I snatched up a pair of Alice's running shoes from the hall closet, thanking the Gods of morning-afters that we wore the same size shoes.
I didn't hesitate as I unbolted the door and ran, ignoring the pull in my muscles from my exercise the previous day. This calorie burning business was tiring. My legs protested, especially as they fought against the sludge caused by the rain, but I wasn't stopping any time soon.
I found the run soothing, giving me time to ponder and assess. I decided I had a mental breakdown of some sort due to my fear of spinsterhood and, as a survival instinct, threw myself upon the first available man, who just happened to be my best friend's brother, a man with extreme bedroom prowess. You have to take the good with the bad, right?
Alice, of course, could never find out that anything had happened. It made me cringe to think of what she may already know. Had she come home? Had she found us in some questionable position, not too dissimilar from the one I woke in? Or, God forbid, had she heard anything? I'm going to Hell.
By the time I arrived home, I was covered in mud and garnering some funny looks. A shower sounded Heavenly but it wasn't until I reached the front doors to my building that I realised I hadn't got a set of keys on me. I couldn't remember picking them up when I came down to see Jacob. I cursed my own stupidity. It's a wonder I ever managed to survive on my own.
With a heavy sigh, I faced the facts. I would have to go to Emmett. I couldn't call to check he was in since I didn't have my phone, so I would just cross my fingers and hope for the best. I had given him a spare set of keys, for emergencies such as these. Alice had a set too but that wasn't happening. Emmett was Alice's older brother, by three years. The brother I had met and did not have sexual encounters with. See, one out of two ain't bad.
After banging my head against the door a couple of times, I began traipsing towards Emmett's place, with my shoulders slumped. I had no money to take a cab and I didn't think running through the city when the streets were so busy would be productive, so I took things at a slower pace. I was in no rush.
Twenty minutes later, I was outside Emmett's building, my finger jabbing desperately at the intercom button for his flat. I sent a silent plea to the generous Gods of the morning after that Emmett was home. When his jovial voice boomed through the device, I fist pumped. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
"Hello?" He called and I grinned.
"Yes?" The word was drawn out, teasing. He would never change.
"Let me up, you oaf." I ordered in my most pleasant tone.
"Why would I want to do that?" He inquired, taunting me as he always did.
"Because if you don't, you won't be getting any cookies." I retorted, smug with my own quick thinking.
"Well, why didn't you say so before? Come on up, kid."
Easy as taking candy from a baby.
I climbed the stairs to the second floor, treading the familiar path to Emmett's door, my fist barely raised to knock before it swung open in front of me. Emmett's eager and boyish face greeted me as he looked expectantly around for the phantom cookies. I quickly nudged past him before he could realise I was empty handed.
"Hey, now. Where are the cookies?" He whined, staring at me with disbelief.
"What cookies?" I played innocent, smiling sweetly up at his hulking form. His eyes narrowed.
"You said you had cookies."
"I said no such thing." I argued, pleased with myself. I kicked off Alice's muddy shoes and traipsed through the apartment to the kitchen, where I knew I would find my keys.
"You said, if I didn't let you up, I wouldn't get cookies."
"I didn't say you would get cookies if you did let me up, that was just wishful thinking on your part." I told him as I snatched my flat keys out of the drawer.
"Oh, you are sneaky Swanny. Very sneaky. I feel so used! You just came here for your keys? I thought you missed me." I snorted playfully, pocketing the keys to my spinster flat.
I decided spinsterhood was less confusing and chaotic. I would never take it for granted again.
He caught me in his arms and rubbed his knuckles on the top of my head, further messing up my haystack hairstyle. I squirmed, jabbing him in the ribs in an attempt to escape but he didn't release me until the phone started to ring. I waved as I nudged my head towards the door, silently indicating my departure. "Wait!" He called to me.
"Hey, Ed, what's up?" Emmett greeted to the caller. I coughed, spluttering a little bit in my surprise. Emmett shot me a baffled look. "One sec, Ed." He spoke into the receiver.
"Stay, Bells." He instructed, pointing a warning finger at me and my eyes widened. Shit, there's no chance Edward wouldn't have heard that. Emmett wasn't known for his inside voice.
"Huh? Just Bella, trying to escape." I squeaked and promptly legged it. I'd apologise to Emmett later. I heard him calling after me but I took the stairs two at a time until I landed ungracefully at the bottom. While I hadn't wanted to run before, I now craved the sanctuary of my apartment so much that my feet pounded against the side walk at a sprint. I then realised my apartment may have been compromised. What if somebody spilled my address?
I decided to go and get changed, grab my phone, money and keys before escaping once more. That way I wouldn't be found.
Knowing it would probably start raining again at some point, judging from the dark clouds overheard, I pulled on a cap and a hooded shirt and this time chose jeans instead of shorts. I didn't have time to shower and I wrinkled my nose at myself in disgust. No wonder I was single.
With my clean clothes on, feeling more prepared than I was the day before, I locked up my apartment and made my way to one of my favourite cafés a few blocks away for some food and shed-loads of coffee. I needed it after everything that had happened – some of it I couldn't even remember.
As I walked, my phone buzzed and I answered it when I saw it was Alice.
"Hey," I greeted cheerily, not wanting to alert her to anything.
"Miss. Swan, how pleasant to speak to you, since I didn't get the chance last night." Her voice was teasing but I heard the concern she masked beneath it.
"Huh?" I responded eloquently.
"You were out like a light by the time I got home, all snuggled up in Edward's bed. I guess you've been formally introduced to my other brother now, eh?"
"Alice, it's not what you think." I defended, not sure what she was thinking but I knew it wasn't anything good. With Alice, it never was.
"So you didn't leave your ass out in the pouring rain, wearing barely a shred of clothing, only to be found by my darling brother as he walked the dog?"
"I- I- I don't know, Alice." I sighed. It was the truth. Her story sounded fairly plausible though.
"You really don't, do you?" She pried, her concern more evident.
"Nope. Not a clue what happened, to be honest. Well, most of it, anyway."
"Well then, let me fill you in and then you can help answer some of my questions. In fact, are you free for coffee?" Alice's voice was hopeful but I put that down to her caffeine addiction.
"Yeah, I was just headed to Benny's, actually. You okay to come down?"
"I'll be there in two minutes. A cappuccino, please." She requested, as though she didn't drink that every time.
"See you in a few."
As I walked into Benny's, my phone started ringing. I answered as I stepped into the queue, not even glancing at the caller ID. I assumed it would be Alice again.
"Bella Swan." Emmett's voice greeted me as I answered. Ah, shoot.
"What do you want, Emmie?" I used his hated nickname in an attempt to distract him.
"My brother - the taller, less attractive one – was very interested to hear that Bella, who I didn't know he'd even met, was dashing out of my place like her fine little ass was on fire."
"What can I say, I'm sought after by strangers far and wide." I deflected, just as the person in front of my received their change from the cashier. "Oh damn, I've got to go Emmett. Nice talking to you, bye." I gushed out, not letting him get a single word in before Iquickly disconnected the call and shoved my phone back into my pocket. Things were just getting worse with every passing minute.
I placed our order and paid before scooting to the end to wait for our drinks and my panini. As I waited, Alice came in, eyeing my dishevelled appearance with mild disgust before indicating that she would get us a table. I nodded at her in acknowledgement.
When our drinks and my lunch were handed to me, I joined Alice at the table, slowly lowering myself into the seat opposite her. She took a sip of her coffee, sighing in contentment before she turned her eyes to me.
"Hey, Bella." She grinned, looking like the cat who got the canary.
"Hello, Alice?" I replied uncertainly, not entirely sure what I had let myself in for.
"Like a mess, I know." I finished for her, raking my fingers through my tangled hair. I'd looked worse.
"To put it nicely, yes. Thanks for the coffee."
"No problem. Now, fill me in." I instructed, wanting answers sooner rather than later.
"I came home from work yesterday to find Edward standing guard outside his bedroom door, dressed only in a t-shirt and his boxers – not something I wanted to see -" I couldn't help the image of his naked ass that slipped its way into my thoughts. Gulp. "And despite my initial thoughts, he hadn't been sexing someone up in my guest room, he had you holed up in his bed, sleeping like the dead. Apparently, he'd been out in the storm. Apparently, you'd been out in the storm too, only you were a little worse for wear. He'd brought you home since you were drenched and suffering from hypothermia and then he stuck you in a bath to warm you up. Once you were a little warmer and a lot dryer, he put you to bed, the gentleman that he is."
I groaned, resting my head in my hands. He'd seen me naked? At least I was wearing new and matching underwear.
Alice ignored my distress and continued with her story, enjoying herself a little more than she should.
"Anyway, when I got in, you were still shivering and your skin was pretty icy so I kicked him into bed with you, for body heat, of course." I lifted my head to scowl at her, but I'm sure my expression displayed more accusation than anything. I'd never questioned why he had been in the bed before. I should have known.
"What?" She asked innocently and my scowl deepened.
"Alice Mary Cullen. What ever you're doing, stop it. Something's not right here."
"You needed body heat, Bells. I didn't want you to get sick." She pleaded, plastering on her angelic smile.
"Uh-huh. So tell me, what was wrong with your body heat? Is it somehow inferior to your brother's?" I probed, lifting one eyebrow.
"He has a larger surface area..." She argued weakly but she could see I wasn't buying it. "Okay, fine! I'm opportunistic. He had mentioned wanting to meet you before, since myself and Emmett tell him so much about you."
"Which part of "meeting me" does sharing body heat in bed when I'm unconscious fall under?" I questioned.
"The part where you hit it off great?" She asked, smiling encouragingly at me, as though begging me to go along with her strange ideas.
"Right... Why didn't I think of that?" I drawled sarcastically, rolling my eyes at my best friend. She was one of a kind. "For future reference, sweetie, I think you should make the introductions when neither party are asleep or delirious. Just a heads up." She waved a hand, dismissing my advice. I felt sorry for her next victim.
Alice's phone rang and she lifted it to her ear, answering the call.
"Hey, Edward." She smirked at me but I schooled my features into an expression of indifference.
"Why do you want that?" She asked, her amusement evident. "No, I haven't seen her."
I questioned her with my eyes but she ignored me.
"Okay, fine. Stop grovelling, I'll give you her address." I listened, appalled, as my best friend rattled off my address, flat number included, to her brother. That traitor.
She promptly ended the call and slipped her phone back into her bag. She stared right into my eyes, leaned forwards on her elbows and spoke.
"So... you're turn!" She chirped, as though nothing out of the ordinary had just occurred. I was silently thinking of all the ways to exact my revenge. How was I supposed to wallow in my own spinster awkwardness if Alice led the Sex God himself to my door? It just wasn't going to happen. I wondered briefly if I could climb up the fire escape, before realising that while that was possible, I'd be stuck on the fire escape because my window was shut tightly. This would take more scheming.
"What did you just do?" I cried, crossing my arms over my chest and leaning back in my seat so she could feel the full force of my death glare.
"Oh, my brother just needed your address. Don't mind him." She proclaimed nonchalantly.
"You didn't have to give it to him." I huffed, intensifying the amount of death in my glare.
"Well he doesn't have your number so he couldn't ask you." She giggled but I knew she was just being a smart ass. "Apparently you left something when you rushed off earlier."
"I didn't leave anything." I defended immediately, knowing it was true.
"I should hope not. There wasn't exactly much for you to leave." She gave me a pointed stare. "Well, your shoes are still there, I imagine. I forgot to leave my running shoes out for you, did you find them in the closet?"
"Yeah, I found them."
"Good. So anyway, why did you leave in such a hurry this morning?" She smirked at me. She suspected something and I wouldn't be surprised if she was pretty accurate.
"I didn't want to impose any longer." I bullshitted, shrugging as I finally relaxed my posture.
"Right. Okay. I'll start with something easier, then. Why were you moping about in the woods in a storm?" She didn't buy my lies, then.
"Jake came over, drunk again, and something he said just got to me a bit, you know? I needed time to think and I guess I just got a little lost in my own head." I explained, trying to dismiss her worries.
"What did he say?" She asked, frowning.
"Basically, the gist of it was that I'm going to be an old maid at the rate I'm going, living with a ton of cats like your classic crazy lady."
"Well that's ridiculous. Bells, you may not have dated for a long while but that doesn't mean you never will again. You've been working hard to set yourself up in life and now things are finally calming down for you, you'll be able to put yourself out there. Trust me, I'm not going to let you become an old maid. I love you too much for that." She reached across the table, resting her hand on top of mine and giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"Maybe you're right but... I can see where he's coming from, you know? I enjoy my independence and my privacy; that doesn't exactly make me good girlfriend material." I countered with a sigh, shaking my head at myself.
"When you meet a good man, you'll be able to have both of those things and still have a good relationship. It only has to be the right man for you."
"Right, right. I surrender. You're too romantic for me, Ali. I have no hope of winning and I don't want to crush your dreams." I grinned cheekily at her and she stuck her tongue out stubbornly. We'd had similar arguments before. I envied her romanticism. It was really sweet and endearing. I, on the other hand, was more realistic.
We spent another hour together in the coffee shop, moving away from the whole shenanigans of the previous twenty-four hours, instead discussing Alice's current projects and our holiday plans for the Summer. We made a point of going away together somewhere new every year for at least a week. I wouldn't change it for the world. Just the two of us exploring and experiencing. Despite her excitable nature and general enthusiasm, I never tired of Alice's company. I could never stay mad at her either, although she rarely gave me reason to be.
I hugged her as we parted ways and she promised to call me later so we could plan a night out. She insisted Emmett was coming because firstly, "he would hate to be left out" and secondly "his dancing is just to funny to miss out on" according to Alice, though I knew she was right.
On my walk back to the flat, I started thinking about where we could go on holiday. Alice told me she hadn't had chance to look into it yet but she needed sun and possibly sea, depending what our options were. I wasn't opposed to the idea of a beach holiday, either. Last year we had gone to New York and it was beyond anything I could have believed. We had an amazing time taking in the sights, shopping and exploring places off-the-beaten-track. This year, however, we wanted something different. We liked to mix it up a bit.
I was so absorbed in memories of New York and running through a small mental list of beach towns I'd heard of, that I didn't see Edward until his voice penetrated my thoughts.
"Bella? Please? I know you're in there. I'm not stalking you, I promise. Bella? You left... I thought- Well, I didn't think you were going to leave. If I had, I wouldn't have left you alone in my room. You weren't supposed to leave." He grunted in frustration. His finger was pressed firmly on the button for my intercom and he leaned against his arm which was propped against the brick wall of the apartment building. I was stood stock still at the bottom of the stairs, afraid to make any sudden movements in case I alerted him to my presence. How I managed to forget about his expected arrival, I'll never know. Damn Alice and her diversionary tactics. Okay, so this time, it probably wasn't her fault but that didn't mean I couldn't blame her. I could.
"Bella? I can't apologise enough for my behaviour. I realise now, in hindsight, that I was irresponsible. That's the beauty of hindsight though, isn't it? You see, I was- you had me really fucking turned on and I know that's no excuse but I didn't mean to assault you. I was only in bed with you because Alice made me. I told her no, I knew it would only end... well, you know. And shit, I'm rambling. And swearing. Sorry. Again. You don't know me from Adam and I realise that you weren't exactly coherent when we met and so no wonder you were so confused and I don't blame you for running, I mean... I did blame you. But I don't. Just... don't make me chase you? Talk to me?"
When I didn't reply to his cute – Yes! Cute. So, sue me. - ramblings, he span unexpectedly in frustration. Except, his eyes landing on me, while I was doing a very good impression of a gormless statue.
Phwoaaaaaaar. That was a long chapter. I never meant for it to be that long – or long at all, really – but as I was writing, I kept thinking of different things I wanted to happen that just wouldn't work in Edward's POV and so there we are. I'm pretty sure the next chapter will be the last but I can only confirm when I've written it because I'm a chatty bitch.
So... What did you think? Do I need to hide?
Did you expect Bella to run?
Let me know.
Until next time, honeys ;)