Chapter 19

Bella sat in one of the empty conference rooms at the White House in complete shock. It was four days after her big speech at the Convention and now it seemed as if her life was once again going to change.

It had become obvious to her that her speech at the Convention had been good. She had been complimented at least a hundred times before she left the center, but it wasn't until she watched the late night news coverage that it all came into perspective.

Bella had just changed into her pajamas and was combing her hair when her phone rang. She immediately smiled when she saw it was Edward.

"Hello there," she answered as she settled herself in bed.

"Hey, Bella. Are you watching the news?" Edward asked as Bella heard the mumble of the television on the line.

"No, I was just getting ready for bed. Why? Are they saying anything bad about my dad?" Bella looked around her room trying to remember where she had left the remote control that afternoon.

"The news coverage about everything is positive. Your father's speech was incredible and they have very few critiques. But they've been talking about you for the last ten minutes on CNN." Bella's eyes widen in astonishment as she found the remote on television table.

"Me? My speech was barely five minutes long. Did I mess things up?" Bella flipped through the channels catching the tail end of the segment.

"However you put it, Kathy. I think Isabella Cullen has made her presence known tonight and she will definitely be a force to be reckon with should she seek a position in politics in the future. Now back to you in the studio."

"What else did they say?" Bella questioned as she lowered the volume to focus on Edward.

"They all love your speech. They say you have great stage presence and know how to command an audience. They say your speech was a game-changer. You brought an extra dimension of humanity to the President. It's all positive, Bella. I told you were amazing."

"I didn't know one speech could do so much," Bella commented. "I think you should get some credit. You wrote 99 percent of it."

"Which would mean absolutely nothing without your touch. You don't give yourself enough credit."

Bella forced herself to focus of what was at stake now and not about what had happed before. Every news outlet had continued to sing her praises and the truth was that she really wasn't that surprised about her father's request.

He had brought it up during dinner the night before asking her if she would consider doing a few campaign speeches on his behalf. Bella had accompanied her mother numerous times on these speeches, but she had never had to speak.

At first, she had been hesitant. Bella really didn't want extra media attention and agreeing to speak would only bring more attention towards her. She also didn't want to fall behind on her schoolwork or get any preferential treatment because of who she was. But at the same time, she had found the experience of speaking in front of the crowd exhilarating and part of her wanted to do it again.

She had voiced her concerns to her father who had assured her they could work around her school schedule. They would also limit the amount of engagements she would attend to reduce the media attention as much as they could. He had also emphasized that she was under no obligation. The decision was completely hers and he would try to influence her either way.

Before heading to bed Bella had agreed to meet with her father and his staff to go over a possible game plan before she made a final decision. The meeting had been long and much more complicated than Bella had expected. And many of the details were still a bit fuzzy.

She was about to get up when Edward walked back into the room startling her. Bella gasped in surprise. "You scared the crap out of me," she said as she took a deep breath.

"Hey, what are you still doing here?" Edward asked as he walked inside.

"It's all a lot to take in," Bella replied, hating that they had to keep so much distance between themselves. They hadn't had the chance to spend time alone together since the day of her speech. "How about you is there another meeting in here?"

"Not that I know of, but I left my coffee mug," Edward replied as he pointed to black mug he had left in front of his chair.

"Oh," Bella answered as she stood up.

"Are you alright? Are you having second thoughts?" Edward questioned as he walked towards stopping a few steps in front of her.

"No second thoughts. I know this is what I should do and what I want to do. At the very least it's great practice." Bella bit her lip when she had finished speaking. She was tempted to close the distance between them and kiss him, but she wasn't sure if it would be welcomed. It would be a risky move on her part to do it, because he was on the job and anybody could walk in at any point.

"You missed one positive," Edward added with a crooked grin.

"Which is?" Bella inquired even though she knew the answer. Carlisle had asked Edward to accompany Bella on the two weekend trips where she would hold five speaking engagements at universities in key battleground states.

"We get two weekends to ourselves," he stated and then shrugged. "Well minus the security detail, a few staffers, and members of the press."

"Virtually alone," Bella added with a laugh. "I don't know how you put up with all this mess."

"It's more than worth it," Edward answered before taking two steps towards her and gently pressing his lips to hers. "Anyway all this secrecy is for two more months. After your father is reelected I will personally talk to him."

"You're too good for me." Bella smiled as she grazed her hand across his cheek.

Edward didn't acknowledge her statement as he closed his eyes and leaned into her touch before squeezing her hand.

"I'll call you tonight," he quickly added before picking up the empty coffee mug and leaving the conference room.

Bella took a deep breath as she watched him walk out of the room. She knew that there was something Edward wasn't saying. They had been talking every night for the last few days, and he never wanted to discuss his family. He always turned very quiet and changed the subject whenever she brought it up. The only thing she knew about Edward was that both his parents had passed away.

Bella gathered the papers she had used during the meeting and quietly slipped out of the conference room. She wasn't going to figure out what was wrong with Edward. She would have to wait until he was ready to talk about it with her.


The next week went by in a blur of schoolwork, exams, and preparation for her speeches. The only bright spot in everything was the preparing for her speech was that she got to spend extra time with Edward without anyone becoming suspicious.

It had been a long travel day, but they had finally arrived at the hotel in Nevada that they would be using for the night. Bella walked into her small suite dropping her backpack on one of the couches by the television.

Emmett and Felix took the time to look around double-checking that everything was alright before Felix walked out leaving Bella alone with Emmett.

"Well, everything checks out. Are you going to head out to dinner? Or should I have Tanya order you room service?" Emmett asked.

Bella rolled her eyes at the mention of Tanya, the Assistant to the Press Secretary. She had been assigned to look over the logistical planning of the events and to make sure everything was in order regarding the schedule. She was also in charge of handling the media during their travels.

Bella had only had limited contact with her throughout her father's Presidency, but she knew she didn't like her one bit. Tanya was good at what she did, because she was very controlling. She was a stickler to schedules and wanted to know every detail about everything go on. Bella knew it was part of her job, but she knew it was going to be an obstacle for Edward and her to overcome.

"Actually, Edward and I were going to go over tomorrow's speech again. I'll give her a call when we're ready to eat." Bella tried to smile innocently, hoping Emmett would buy her excuse.

For all intents and purposes she had already finalized the next day's speech. But they were using it as an excuse to finally have a first date. They had been working hard to make sure that everything for the speech was ready in order for them to get some in-person time together. Phone calls and texting had been great, but they both wanted real contact.

"I'm sure you'll be going over the speech," Emmett commented with a raised eyebrow.

"I have no idea what you mean, Emmett." Bella's cheeks immediately burned red causing Emmett to laugh.

"No worries, Bella. Your secret is safe with me." Emmett continued to laugh as he walked towards the door. "Felix and I are right next door if you need us."

"Got it," Bella answered before heading to the room to get ready for her date with Edward.

A/N: Thoughts? Any ideas where things are going? Do you think its wise for Bella to agree to these speeches? What about Edward? What do you all think he's hiding? I really want to know your thoughts, and I would love to pass 1,000 reviews since I'm so close.

As always, thanks for reading!