A/N: Well, hello. Yes, I've been absent for a while. Just Maybe was pulled from this site for reasons unknown and I'm doing my best to get it back. While I'm waiting to hear about it, I thought I'd put up something else I've been working on. As of right now, there is no set updating schedule for this story. I'll do my best to upload every two weeks, but life has been crazy busy lately so I'm not making any promises.
More Than Life
"God fucking dammit!" I roared as some fucking asshole cut me off. Jesus! What the fuck was wrong with people?
I watched as the asshole in the red truck weaved in and out of traffic like he was in the Indy 500. Idiots like that got people killed.
I was already in a foul mood and that asshole hadn't helped. Traffic was a nightmare, and I was running late for an appointment. Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of the Law Offices of Yorkie and Benz. Grabbing my briefcase, I slammed the car door shut and stomped my way inside. The elevator ride to the fourth floor seemed to take for-fucking-ever, and I was ready to tear my hair out.
Once the elevator arrived, I stepped out and made my way toward the secretary.
"Edward Cullen," I barked to the mousy receptionist.
"He's been expecting you. Go on in to the conference room," she said, barely looking at me.
Of course, he had been. He and my soon-to-be ex-wife were more than ready to try and take me for everything I was worth. Fuckers. I was confident that the bitch wouldn't see a fucking dime of my money. Those pesky prenups were such a bitch, I thought with a smirk.
I opened the door to the conference room and saw Tanya and Eric Yorkie on one side of the table, and my attorney, Jasper, on the other side. Jasper Whitlock, Attorney at Law. Still cracked me up. I'd always figured he'd end up in prison. He'd been a wild child, causing hell and wreaking havoc, and then he'd met my sister, Alice. He'd fallen hard for her, but she'd wanted nothing to do with him. Told him that she wouldn't be seen with a delinquent. It had taken time, but he'd eventually cleaned up his act, and now here he was. He didn't normally handle divorce cases, but he'd made an exception for me. Most of the time he was busy prosecuting the kind of delinquents he used to be.
Jasper raised an eyebrow at me as I slid into the seat next to him. I shook my head, indicating that I'd tell him later why I was late.
"You're late," Yorkie said, stating the obvious.
"At least I showed," I replied, making him flush.
Last time we'd had a meeting scheduled, Tanya and Yorkie had been a no show. I figured they'd been too busy fucking to show up. There was no doubt in my mind that she was screwing him. She couldn't afford him otherwise.
"Let's get started," Jasper said.
I spent the next hour listening to Tanya whine and bitch about everything. She wanted the house. I said no. She wanted the car. Again, no. She wanted to keep the dog. Fine. She could have the fucking dog. It was a tiny-ass yippy thing that annoyed me to no end. And of course, she wanted my money, and she wanted a lot of it.
One word, bitch. Prenup. As Jasper pointed out to her, she'd willingly signed it, and since she had been caught cheating she would receive nothing.
"Well, if he'd been around more, and better in bed, I wouldn't have had to look elsewhere," she whined.
Jasper gave her a look that said tough shit. "Doesn't matter. You cheated, violating not only your marriage vows but the terms of the prenup. As a result, you will get nothing. My client has agreed to let you have the dog. Be grateful you're getting anything."
Sensing that she wasn't going to win, she and Yorkie took a few minutes to talk in his office. Yeah, right. Talking, my ass. She was probably blowing him.
They came back in a few moments later, and her lips looked slightly swollen. I couldn't contain my shudder at the fact that she had quite obviously been blowing him.
"My client is asking for alimony," Yorkie said as they sat back down.
Jasper shot them an incredulous look. "Are you kidding me? Not happening. She's leaving the marriage with what she brought into it. Nothing, except for the dog. We will not be giving alimony."
"We'll let the judge decide that." Yorkie sneered.
I couldn't believe the nerve of the cheating bitch. If wasn't one thing, it was another. My family had warned me that she was a gold-digger, but I hadn't believed them. I'd been stupid, young, and naïve, thinking that she was the one. Five years later, at the age of twenty-six, I was getting divorced, or at least trying to. She was making it fucking difficult.
I'd found her cheating on me five months previously and had filed for divorce right away. Then I'd hauled my ass down to see my dad, who was a doctor, and had him run some blood tests. God knew how many men she'd been fucking and what kind of diseases she might have had. Thankfully, all my tests had come back negative.
"Don't forget," Jasper said, breaking me out of my thoughts as we left the conference room. "We have an appointment with the judge on Thursday at nine. Don't be late."
"I hadn't planned on being late today. Traffic was a bitch and then some fucking asshole cut me off and almost caused an accident. I'll be there on time. Promise."
"You going to dinner at your folks tonight?"
I shook my head. "I need to write. I've got a deadline that I need to meet and all these fucking meetings are cutting into my writing time."
Jasper nodded in understanding. "Alright, but you are still coming to the barbeque on Saturday, right?"
Shit. I'd totally forgotten about it. Alice and Jasper hosted a barbeque once a month, and it was usually a fucking blast. Great food, great friends and family, plus lots and lots of alcohol.
"Yeah, I'll be there," I told him, which meant that I was going to have to bust my ass to get the next five chapters submitted to my editor before then.
After saying goodbye to Jasper, I left Port Angeles and headed to my house in Forks. As a kid, I couldn't wait to leave Forks behind. The minute I'd graduated, I'd packed up my shit and headed off to Loyola in Chicago. I'd fallen in love with the big city and all the noise and the hustle and bustle that went with it. That was where I'd met Tanya.
I'd been a sophomore in college and she'd been a junior, studying fashion design. I'd met her at a party and quickly learned that she was quite "orally talented". I should've realized that she was attracted to the dollar signs attached to my name, but I hadn't. I had thought she loved me for me, not for my fucking trust fund. It wasn't until after graduation that things had started to fall apart.
I'd been busting my ass off as a waiter in the evenings, and as a gofer at a publishing company, trying to make ends meet. Yes, I'd had a trust fund, but I'd been trying to prove that I didn't need it to survive. Tanya and I had spent a lot of time fighting over it until I'd finally given in. Then she'd wanted a lavish wedding that had cost a small fortune, most of which I'd paid for. It had sickened me every time I took money out of it to pay for bills. I knew that's sort of what it was there for, but I'd wanted to prove to my dad that I was independent and could take care of my wife.
A year later, I'd blown through a good portion of my trust fund because I'd been trying to keep us afloat and my wife happy. It was with shame that I'd gone crawling home with Tanya at my side. My dad and I had had a long talk about responsibility and money after that.
Six months later, we were still living with my parents, much to my embarrassment and Tanya's annoyance. I'd begun saving money again while working for a lumber company. I'd hated working there, but I did what I had to do. Tanya had finally gotten off her ass and had gotten a job working at the diner, something that I'd listened to her bitch about every second of the freaking day.
In the meantime, I had started writing a novel. Writing helped me vent my anger and frustration, and soon I had over four hundred pages. It wasn't fantastic by any means, but it was mine. My mom had been an English teacher for a while and I gave it to her to read and edit. It was with her praise and encouragement that I'd sent it off to several publishing companies. I'd always loved writing but had never figured anything would come of it.
I got rejection letter after rejection letter, but I'd expected that. So when I got a letter from Volturi Publishing saying they were interested in my novel, I'd about had a heart attack. Volturi was one of the largest publishing companies in the country and the fact that they were interested in my novel had blew my mind.
A year later, my story had been edited, fixed to perfection, and put on the market. It had done amazingly well, and even made the New York Times Bestseller list. It had been so fucking unreal. I was twenty-four with a real fucking novel under my belt. My second and third novels were also huge hits. Money had started to come in, and the minute it did, Tanya had quit her job at the diner, choosing to play housewife instead.
I'd bought a house, and we'd moved in right away. It was in that house, in my bedroom, in my bed, that I'd found my loving wife screwing the plumber. No joke. I'd come home from a book signing early and found her rolling around in the sheets, making horrible porn noises.
I'd kicked them both out, managing not to beat the shit out of either of them. Five months later, I was still trying to get rid of her. She just kept showing up, pleading for me to take her back. That she was sorry, blah, blah, blah. It was all bullshit. In actuality, I could have given her the house since I didn't want to live there anymore, but instead I was in the process of selling it and having a new one built. She was furious about that. Demanded half the money from the sale of the house, but since I'd bought it and it was only in my name, I'd told her no. If she wanted money, she was going to have to find someone else to get it from.
Arriving home, I pulled my Volvo into the garage, went inside, and booted up my laptop to check my emai. I had an urgent email from my editor, Marcus.
"Well, fuck," I announced once I finished reading it.
Marcus was retiring and handing me over to someone else. That fucking sucked. I really liked Marcus, but I couldn't blame him for retiring. He told me that I was going to be working with someone fairly new to the company, but that he had faith in her. Jesus, he was leaving me with some newbie.
Grabbing my cell, I gave Marcus a call.
"Eddie, my boy! How are you?" he said as he picked up.
He knew about all the Tanya drama that I was going through.
"I'm alright. She keeps dragging shit out, but I think it's finally almost over. So, you're leaving me, huh?"
"Sorry, my boy. Doc says I have to retire. Apparently, my poor heart can't take much more stress."
We talked for a few minutes before I brought up the new replacement.
"So, who's replacing you?" I asked.
"Her name is Bella Swan. She works here in the New York office. She interned with me last year when she was finishing up her degree, and then we hired her right after she graduated."
"I'm not sure how I feel about this, Marcus. I trust your judgment, don't get me wrong, but she's a newbie. How much experience does she have?"
"I've had her working on your manuscripts with me for the past year and a half. You know I wouldn't give you to just any editor. Trust me when I tell you that she's good."
I had no choice but to trust Marcus. He'd never let me down before, and he was brutally honest. If he said she was good, then she was. Marcus gave me her cell number and email, telling me that Bella would be in touch with me within the next few days.
"I take it my deadline hasn't changed despite the circumstances?" I asked.
"Nope, but you'll send it to Bella instead of me. Oh, and son? She's a ball-breaker; doesn't take too well to tardiness, so get your shit in on time. Got it?"
I rolled my eyes even though he couldn't see me. "Got it."
I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday writing my ass off. I was in a good place and the words were flowing. I loved it when that happened. I was in the middle of an extremely intense fight scene when the phone rang. I ignored it, but it kept ringing.
Snatching my cell from the desk, I barked, "What?"
"Well, hello to you, too," a feminine voice replied.
I scowled. I didn't have time to play games with people. I was on a fucking deadline. "Do I know you?"
"Bella Swan. Your new editor," she responded coolly.
I sat back with a sigh. I didn't want to talk to her at that moment.
"I won't keep you long; I know you're working. I just wanted to call and introduce myself. Marcus told me that he gave you my cell and email, so please feel free to email or call me with whatever questions or concerns that you might have."
"Right now, Ms. Swan, the only concern I have is meeting this deadline."
A little laugh came through the phone. "Well then, I'll let you get back to it. Have a nice day, Edward."
"Thanks, you too," I said before hanging up.
By Thursday morning, I was in a foul mood again. The last chapter I'd written was giving me problems and my characters were refusing to cooperate. I hated it when they did that. Fuckers had a mind of their own.
At eight forty-five, I pulled into a spot near the courthouse and met Jasper in the lobby. Heading up the stairs to the courtroom, I scowled when I saw Tanya and Yorkie. I hoped to hell that the judge would put an end to the money-hungry whore.
Thirty-three minutes later, the judge did what I wanted. The look on Tanya's face when she heard she wouldn't be getting any alimony was fucking hilarious. She was furious. Then the judge gave her a lecture on adultery. It took everything in me not to crack up, but I maintained a cool facade.
Once home, I got back to work and wrote straight through until the late hours of Friday night. I read over the chapters again, fixed a few things, and then sent it off to Bella Swan with a few minutes to spare. Then I crashed hard.
I woke up to my phone ringing. I reached over and grabbed it, not even looking to see who was on the other end.
"You fucking bastard! How could you do this to me?" I heard Tanya screech.
I hung up the phone and turned off the ringer knowing that I needed to change my number. I'd make it a priority over the weekend.
I fell back asleep and woke up around eleven, then climbed out of bed, hit up the shower, got dressed, and then headed out to the liquor store. Liquor was required at a Whitlock barbeque and it was my turn to buy.
Forty-five minutes later, I pulled into Jasper and Alice's driveway. The barbeque wouldn't start until two, but I always showed up early. I'd just grabbed the bag out of the back of my car when I heard a squeal coming from the backyard. Alice must have started drinking early. Walking around the side, I opened the gate and headed into the backyard where my eyes were almost burned out of their sockets. My sister and brother-in-law were going at it on the picnic table.
"Holy shit!" I yelled before slamming my eyes shut, but it was too late. I would forever have the image of my sister riding Jasper stuck in my brain.
"Oh, fuck! Sorry, man. We weren't expecting anyone 'til a bit later," Jasper stammered as I heard the rustling of clothes being thrown back on.
"I've learned my lesson. I'll be calling before I ever come over," I told them, eyes still squeezed shut.
"Okay, we're decent," my sister called out to me.
Slowly, I opened one eye, and seeing that they were indeed dressed, opened both eyes and handed her the bag of alcohol.
"I hope to God that you're going to scrub the table down before anyone sits there."
Alice rolled her eyes at me. "Of course."
But it wouldn't matter how much they scrubbed it down. I, for one, would never sit at that picnic table again. Ever.
I followed them inside where they ran upstairs to shower and change, and probably get it on again. I shuddered at the thought. Nobody wants to think about their baby sister having sex, and nobody ever wants to see it. Ugh. Ten minutes later, Jasper emerged down the stairs wearing a shit-eating grin. Oh, yeah. They'd done it.
Heading to the fridge, he opened it and tossed me a beer. I chugged that sucker down, needing the alcohol to numb my brain. We headed back outside and started up the grill. Moments later, Alice reappeared.
"How you doing, Ed?" she asked me as she began cleaning the table.
"Not too bad. Did Jas tell you about court?"
They both shook their heads. "I take attorney/client confidentiality seriously," he told me.
"Yeah, but she's my sister and your wife."
I'd always respected the guy, but right at that moment it grew a bit more. I knew it must kill him to not be able to talk to Alice about things, and I knew Alice was dying to know what was going on. Quickly, I filled her in on all the Tanya drama.
"She's such a skank! I'm so glad that you're finally getting rid of her. She wasn't good enough for you. You'll find someone better. Someone who loves you for you," she told me.
I let out a snort. Alice was a romantic. "Nah, I'm good. I'm done with women for a while."
Alice got a mysterious little smile on her face. "That's what you think. You'll fall in love sooner than you think."
I hated when she did that psychic shit. Okay, she wasn't really psychic, but sometimes she just knew things and it was freaky as fuck.
"Not happening, Miss Cleo. I'm just gonna focus on my writing. Speaking of which, Marcus is retiring. Left me with a newbie editor."
"Yep. His doctor told him his heart couldn't take much more, so this past week was his last. He set me up with his former intern and apprentice. Her name's Bella Swan and she just graduated from college last year. He swears that she knows what she's doing. Guess, I'll find out."
"Bella Swan? She sounds pretty. Is she?" Alice asked.
"How would I know? Even if she is, so what?"
"Nothing," she sang as she finished wiping down the table and headed back inside.
Oh, hell. The sprite was up to something. I loved my sister, but dear lord, she could be a bit much. She had way too much energy and was always bouncing around. Being a kidnergarten teacher suited her perfectly. She loved kids, and she had an endless amount of energy to deal with them. She'd be a terrific mom when the time came.
Later that evening, we learned that that time had come. Alice announced that she and Jasper were expecting. She was three months along, and they were ecstatic, as were our parents.
"Oh, I'm going to have a grandbaby!" Mom cried before hugging the shit out of Alice and Jasper.
Hugging my sister, I asked her how in the world she'd managed to keep quiet about it for three months.
"It was so fucking hard. I just wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, but a lot can happen in the first three months, so we wanted to wait and not tell everyone until we had passed that mark."
"Well, I'm extremely happy for the both of you. Uncle Edward is going to have fun buying all kinds of noisy toys," I told her with a grin.
"No! I forbid you to buy noisy toys."
My dad and I shared a grin. Yeah, we were so buying noisy toys.
By the time seven rolled around, I was beat. I said goodbye to everyone, gave my sister one last hug, then headed home. I suddenly noticed Tanya's car sitting opposite the entrance. What now! Couldn't the bitch leave me alone? Scowling, I got out of my car and stalked over to hers only to find it empty. I'd taken her house keys from her when I'd kicked her out, so where the fuck was she? That was when I noticed that the garage door was slightly open. I'd totally forgotten to take the garage door opener from her. I quickly remedied that, yanking her car door open and took the opener which was sitting on her dash.
After retrieving the opener, I slipped into the garage and found the door from the garage to the kitchen open. I couldn't believe the nerve of her. Pulling out my phone, I dialed 911 and quietly told the operator that my house had been broken into. As much as I wanted to run in there and confront Tanya, I knew it would be much more comical to watch her ass get arrested. Hanging up the phone, I slipped back outside and waited by my car for the police to arrive.
Less than ten minutes later, Chief Charlie Swan pulled up in his cruiser. I'd known him my whole life. He and my dad were really good friends, and he was like a surrogate father to me. He'd taught me how to fish and busted my ass for underage drinking. He was divorced and had two kids. His son, Emmett, had lived with him while his daughter had lived with her mother, and he'd only seen her on holidays from what I had gathered. Emmett had followed in Charlie's footsteps and worked for the Port Angeles Police Department. I had no idea what his daughter did for a living, or where she was. He never really talked about her much. I had a feeling that they weren't very close.
"Tanya's car?" he asked me as he climbed out.
I nodded. "Yup. She got in through the garage. I don't know how long she's been in there, but it's been at least ten minutes since I called you guys. Lord only knows what she's taking or destroying."
Charlie shook his head. "Stay out here," he told me, pulling his gun from his holster.
I was doing my best not to crack up because he was going to scare the living shit out of her when he walked in with gun drawn. A few minutes later, I heard her scream and then Charlie was bringing her out in handcuffs.
"Would you like to press charges?" he asked as he shoved her in the back of his cruiser after reading her her Miranda Rights.
He nodded. "I've called Mark to come out and take pictures of the damage. She destroyed your office, son. There's also a bag with a bunch of stuff in it. Mark's gonna have to log all of that into evidence and you'll get it back eventually."
Fucking bitch was messing up my life.
"Once Mark's done, come on down and we'll file an official complaint. Call Jasper while you're at it. Let him know what's going on."
"Will do, sir. Oh, did you hear? They're having themselves a baby," I said with a smirk.
A huge grin broke over Charlie's face. "That's great. I'll call them and congratulate them later. Oh, I hope their kid is just like Jasper was. Would serve the boy right."
I snickered at that thought. Jasper had caused Charlie so much grief during his teenage years.
Once Mark arrived, I followed him inside and swore when I saw the state of my office. The crazy bitch had torn the place apart. My laptop had been smashed with a hammer that she'd gotten from my toolbox. Copies of my books had been torn and shredded, and my heart broke when I saw them ruined.
Mark let out a whistle. "Jesus. I had no idea she was that crazy."
"Me either," I muttered as I tried to keep from crying. I was a grown man. Grown men didn't cry over torn books. But they were my books, my babies that I'd worked so hard on. Taking a deep breath, I steadied myself and took another look around. She'd smashed my flashdrives as well as broken the shelf holding my many awards.
Walking out of the room, unable to bear seeing my office in ruins, I called Jasper.
"Hey, bro. What's up?"
I explained about the recent Tanya drama and what she'd done.
"I'm so ready for this to be over with, Jas. This bitch is pissing me off beyond belief. She destroyed my books, for crying out loud!"
Jasper understood how I felt about those books. I heard him swear softly and then I heard him murmuring to Alice, explaining what had happened.
"Oh, that bitch is gonna get it!" I heard Alice shout.
My sister was nothing if not loyal, and you didn't fuck with her brother. Many a girl had learned that lesson.
I spoke to Jasper for a few more minutes before heading downstairs. I found Mark taking items out of a duffle bag. Tanya had tried to take several pieces of good china, some cds, my iPad, and, oddly enough, some of my boxers. That creeped me out more than a little. After Mark had photographed, tagged, and bagged all the items, I followed him down to the station.
The police station was in a large building that housed not only the jail, but also the courthouse, and the coroner's office. One reason that we were seeing a judge in Port Angeles was because I knew the judge, and Yorkie had filed for a change of venue. It didn't matter to me where we got divorced, as long as we did it.
I walked into the jail behind Mark and smirked when I saw Tanya sitting on a metal bench behind bars. It was a good look for her. According to Mrs. Cope, the dispatch and secretary, Yorkie was on his way to talk to her.
Charlie led me back to his office where we went through the tedious process of filing charges against her. By the time we had finished, we could hear Tanya throwing a fit and yelling at someone. Turns out that someone was Yorkie. Apparently, he'd just told her that she'd have to stay in jail until Monday, when the judge would come in and determine whether she would get bail or not.
I let out a snicker and she turned her ire onto me, claiming that it was all my fault. I didn't bother to respond to her ludicrous statements. I returned home a while later and set about straightening up my office. It was then that my phone started ringing. Pulling it out of my pocket, I noticed that Bella Swan was calling.
I ignored the call, focusing on the rest of the mess still in front of me. Looking at the smashed flash drives on the floor, I was grateful that I always kept backups locked in my safe. Speaking of my safe, I turned to the picture hanging on the wall. Removing it, I opened the safe behind it and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that the contents were still intact. I was positive that Tanya knew about the safe, but she hadn't known the combination, so maybe that was why she hadn't bothered with it. Regardless, I was glad that my stuff was safe.
My phone rang again, and I noticed Ms. Swan was calling again. I stared at the phone for a minute. Swan, like Chief Swan. I briefly wondered if perhaps Charlie was related to Bella Swan, but shook it off. I mean, what would the odds be? The phone in my hand kept ringing, so I finally answered.
"Yes?" I growled out.
"Are you always this foul tempered?" she asked in a cold voice.
"At the moment, yes."
"Tough. I had a few questions that I needed to ask about the chapters that I received," she began.
"Look, Ms. Swan," I interrupted. "Now is not a good time."
"When would be?"
How about never, I thought. "Can we do this on Monday?"
"I suppose," she said, sounding disapproving. "I was hoping to get this issue rectified before then."
Issue? What fucking issue? "Explain!" I barked out.
She let out a heavy sigh. "Chapter thirty has so many problems with it. Your writing is off, your characters don't seem themselves, and you brought back a character that you had killed. It seemed as if your head and heart weren't in it."
Oh, fuck me. I really didn't want to deal with her at that moment. "Look, Ms. Swan, I don't know if Marcus informed you or not, but I'm in the middle of a nasty divorce. I came home from my sister's house today to find that the fucking woman I'm divorcing had broken into my house and destroyed my office. She smashed my laptop and destroyed my flash drives."
I heard a gasp from her end of the phone. "I'm so sorry. Marcus hadn't said anything, but that would certainly explain why this last chapter was a bit off. Why don't we leave this? We'll discuss chapter thirty on Monday, and we'll move your deadline for the next five chapters back a bit."
"That would be great," I told her. I was surprised and relieved that she was willing to work with me. From what I'd gathered from Marcus, Bella Swan was a stickler for the rules and for deadlines.
"Okay. Well, I'll talk to you on Monday afternoon, around two. Is that okay?"
We hung up, and I looked around the room before deciding that I would finish cleaning it up tomorrow. What I needed right now was a drink and a smoke. I headed over to the bar in my dining room, poured some bourbon and grabbed a pack of smokes. I only smoked when I was stressed, and holy shit was I stressed. I headed outside and plopped myself down on a chair on my patio.
Hopefully, Tanya's arrest would get my divorce granted more quickly. I hoped like hell that I'd have those divorce papers in my hand by the end of the week and then I'd be through with her forever. A niggling voice in the back of my head told me I would never be rid of her, but I ignored it.
Settling further into my chair, I closed my eyes, and tried to relax. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. At some point, I must have fallen asleep because I woke up to birds singing and a beautiful sunrise. I hoped it was a sign of better things to come.
a/n: So there it is. The first chapter of yet another story. Let me know what you thought.