In honor of the release of BDII, I present chapter one of the sequel to Evermore Experience. It was originally written as a Fandom Gives Back last year for TLammy. It has not been edited from what I sent her nor has it been pre-read, betaed, or any of those other 'probably a really good idea before publishing' things.
Chapter one and chapter one only will be attached to the end of Evermore Experience. If you are interested in following it, please follow me as an author or follow the individual story. Thank you!
Posting schedule: Not sure. I want to finish Hands-On History but I love these characters so much and they have been pounding at me to write their little tale (and this will be a short one).
"Edward!" Bella called as she ran through the woods surrounding their little cottage on Esme and Carlisle's English property a few miles away from the Evermore Experience lands that had brought them together. Her elevated voice was completely unnecessary with his perfect vampire hearing, but human habits were hard to break.
The sounds of a piano being played lilted though the open windows, and Bella smiled, realizing that her husband was sitting at his Steinway baby grand. She could imagine him with his eyes gently closed, rocking back and forth as he was swept away with the music.
Bella paused outside their home, taking in the English country garden Esme had built around the front. She could smell the roses and lilacs and fresh mulch with utmost clarity and sighed happily, remembering Edward placing a blindfold over her eyes and walking her through the woods before revealing their new home on the Cullens' English property. Bella also giggled when she remembered the thousand dollars she won from Emmett after the house survived the first week she and Edward had lived there. And how she had hidden the receipts from the local hardware store for sheetrock and nails. She so owed Alice a new pair of shoes for not spilling her secrets.
Bella entered the living area, closing the door behind her.
"In here, love," came her most favorite sound in the world.
"Will and L's plane just landed in London. They're getting a rental after picking up their luggage." She leaned against the doorway, watching her husband jot down a few lines of the latest song he was composing. "They'll be here in a few hours."
"So who do you think will be driving when they get here?" Edward inquired without looking up.
"Oh, Lord," Bella sighed, shaking her head.
Her cousin had recently, finally, learned how to drive and the adventures were the source of many a hilarious e-mail, one You-Tube video and three moving violation tickets. In one week. Bella could only imagine the trouble her cousin would get into driving on the opposite side of the road.
Edward rose and crossed the cozy room to embrace his wife. He drew her closer and bent down to lightly kiss her.
"You sure you want to do this?" he murmured, nuzzling her ear.
Edward smiled as Bella giggled at the sensation.
"We don't have to do another Evermore Experience," he continued, running one hand up and down her back as his other arm held her close. "I'm sure we can think of some other way to spend the first anniversary of when we met."
"I know," she smiled, looking up into his amber eyes. "But L needs the closure."
"Oh, L does?" He smiled her favorite crooked smile, earning a light smack in the chest.
"Okay, okay. I want to revisit Evermore. Without interruptions from Victoria and James and Laurent, without Lord Masen or Edward Cullen drama." Bella wrapped her arms around Edward's waist and hugged him tightly to her. "We can go back to where it started."
"I just think it's amazing we're able to get everyone on board," Edward muttered.
And it had been exactly that. Every single member of the 2010 Evermore Experience, excepting Mrs. Stanley of course, could be convinced to return to England under the guise of a reunion event. It did not hurt in the least that the entire trip would be free of charge to those participating.
"I don't like you spending too much time around that Newton fellow," he growled quietly, nipping at her ear in the process. "I'm pretty sure I am not going to like his thoughts now any more than I did last summer."
"Edward," Bella sighed, melting into his embrace. She rose up onto her toes and laid her forehead against his. "Michael Newton has nothing on you, and you know it. Besides, I think I can handle myself quite well."
Her mind flew back to an arm wrestling contest where she bested Emmett, and her shield lowered just enough to let Edward see it. He smiled warmly, knowing that if she had a mind to do so; Bella could break Mr. Newton rather easily. A good part of him desired to see just that.
"I'll behave if you do," he promised, earning a delightful giggle and a tug of the hand toward their bedroom.
Everyone gathered in the living room of Esme and Carlisle Cullen's home, seated as couples but chatting amicably amongst themselves. They had all spent the last month or so separated - Rose and Emmett visiting various classic car gatherings, Alice and Jasper scouring Paris' famous markets, Esme and Carlisle revisiting his homeland while L and Will honeymooned in several locales. Bella had greatly missed her new family and watched with satisfaction from a corner, Edward's arms wrapped around her waist from behind.
"This should be interesting," he murmured softly, nuzzling her ear.
Bella turned her head in silent question, earning a nod toward Alice.
"L and Alice are about to have a disagreement," he continued.
"So, are you going to let me marry you off properly?" Alice inquired, leaning over conspiratorially toward L.
Bella rolled her eyes. She knew exactly how her cousin felt about the subject and had received several e-mails complaining about how Alice had apparently put L's name into every wedding-related database known to man. The photograph of a disgruntled L up to her waist in fliers and catalogs had become L's profile picture on Facebook thanks to Will's photographic skills.
"That would be a no, dear one," L smiled, snuggled into her beloved Will's side. "I will have too many things to do this experience to try to throw in a wedding into the mix."
Will raised L's left hand to his lips, placing a soft kiss on the black and gold enamel ring she wore, earning a beaming smile from his bride.
"But it would be an educational experience for the others participants!" Alice insisted. "They could explore the social mores of the time, the proper way to court, the fashions of the time, the importing and exporting of goods required to throw the event of the century! A completely hands-on experience they would never be able to anywhere else."
L paused for a moment, thinking about how Alice was quite right. The idea of throwing a wedding in 1827 and exploring all of the cultural requirements for such was a rather appealing lesson.
Alice smiled, knowing she had appealed to Liriope's academic side and was just waiting to reel her friend in.
There was a time that L would take whatever she was told at face value, never questioning, never looking for an ulterior motive. After years of abuse from Mary Frances, she had been wont to trust but the Cullens had erased all of that, swinging the pendulum the other way completely. Through the years, she was conditioned her to trust whatever one of her family told her, a fact Alice knew and often pushed to her advantage. But L was not quite as naïve as she had once been and saw through to Alice's motives. Alice wanted not only a party but an event and was using the possibility of L's wedding as a means to get what she wanted.
"Mary Alice," L sighed, releasing Will's hand and taking Alice's in her own. "I love you, dearly, but this is just one time you're not going to convince me that bigger is better. My wedding was absolutely perfect. It was me—simple, private, and I was surrounded by people that love me for me."
"But…" Alice started before being silenced with a wave of L's hand.
"Please," L begged, her eyes pleading with her friend.
Alice grumped and huffed, crossing her arms across her chest. Suddenly, she blinked and stared off into space. A slow smile spread across her face, and she leaned back without another word about weddings.
"Should L be afraid?" Bella whispered against Edward's temple.
He shook his head. "The two of them do this—they disagree on something, they fight, one gets revenge upon the other, and they laugh about it later. They are very creative about it."
Edward was properly distracted that he never saw his sister and aunt wink at Bella nor the grateful smile she returned toward them.
A few hours later while the men went off to hunt, the women found themselves cloistered in the library, studying the plans for the next Evermore Experience.
"How are you keeping them from giving away the plan?" L whispered folding the map of the new buildings built for the gathering. "I mean, you're not there to bubble them or shield them, or whatever it is you do."
"You don't have to whisper, Liriope," Esme admonished gently. "They are miles away by now."
"Habit," she shrugged, returning to her normal overloud voice. "So tell me! You know Em's going to be bursting at the seams to spill."
"We haven't told him anything," Rosalie replied. "Simple as that. He thought we were working on a new home as a present for Carlisle and Esme's anniversary."
"And Jasper?" L continued.
"He's used to hiding things from Edward," Alice smiled, not looking up from her wardrobe sketches. She nodded with satisfaction after adding her final notations to a dark brown uniform.
"I do thank you all for helping with this," Bella smiled. "I think it is going to be so worth it."
"I'm sure it will be," Esme replied, gently patting her newest daughter's hand.
"I just don't want to be around when you distract him during the car ride," L muttered, shaking her head. "He's going to notice Masen Manor has been renovated. Not to mention the houses, landmarks, and…"
"Let me worry about that," Bella replied with a smile.
L stared at her cousin with wide, blinking eyes. She recognized that look and was thankful they would be in different cars.
"Yes, I think I will…"
"The square has changed from last year," Edward murmured as the rest gathered around L in the early hours of the morning. "In fact everything looks a little different."
His eyes scanned around the city square quickly, cataloging every single modification that had been made. The architecture was much more early 20th century US than 1827 England. The plants were familiar but not those he remembered from just a year before. Edward turned toward Bella, questions filling his mind as he realized he could not hear the thoughts of his family surrounding him.
"Shh!" Bella hissed, keeping the shield tight around him and her. "You'll distract L!"
"Believe," L whispered in the dead of the night as a silvery mist filled the damp, dark air.
A low grumble like thunder rolled from one point of the horizon to the other before an explosion like fireworks erupted, and L's eyes grew large. She was used to the sights and sounds of her enchantment, but there was something different about this time. Something very, very different.
"Alice?" L murmured hesitantly, fear giving her voice a slight tremor. She took a step back toward Will as she tried to distance herself from the sounds.
"I'm not sure, either, L," Alice replied, her brow furrowed in worry. "I don't see you at all anymore."
"Um…what?" L demanded, looking from person to person with disbelief. She could feel the panic building within her and reached for Will's hand for reassurance.
"Alice," Jasper drawled in warning.
"You're no fun," Alice muttered angrily at her husband before turning back to L with a grin. "I'm only teasing. That was some fireworks from a birthday party over in town. The clear air has allowed the sound to travel. Everything's just as it should be."
"Mary Alice Brandon Whitlock, I ought to…" L began, taking a step toward her diminutive friend. "You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
Alice merely giggled and turned to head off toward her house in town, leaving L to grumble insults in her general direction which Alice shrugged off.
"Can you believe she did that to me?" L muttered, looking for sympathy from the rest of her family.
"Actually, I can," Carlisle stated, watching his younger daughter stroll off, arm-in-arm with her beloved Jasper. "You know she's been plotting some sort of revenge after your rather small wedding."
L stood there, her mouth opening and closing in disbelief. Then she shook her head as if to clear the thoughts from it and turned toward Bella.
"Well, what's done is done. Shall we to 321 Meyer Lane depart?"
"Absolutely," Bella smiled, as she linked her arm with her favorite hybrid cousin.
The two waved farewell to their husbands and began to walk down the street. Bella suddenly spun around and pulled a crisp ivory envelope out of her back pocket. She held it out to Edward with a smile.
"This will explain it," she giggled, pressing it into his hand and quickly pulling back her shield. Bella pressed a quick kiss to Edward's cheek and disappeared into the night.
Edward found himself standing alone in the early morning light, alone, holding the envelope. He could have sworn he heard laughter floating toward him. With a swift flick of his hand, Edward opened the envelope and pulled the small card out.
4545 North Paulina Street
Edward cocked his head, wondering where he had heard that address before and flipped the card over as if it would hold the answer to his questions. As it turned out, the obverse provided a vital clue—a street map with a small red star marking 4545 North Paulina Street.
Seconds later, he found himself in front of a lovely two story home with a broad covered front porch. Edward hesitantly walked up the front steps as images flashed through his mind. He knew this place. Somehow, somewhere, he had been here before. But he could not remember where or how. Edward approached the front door but before he could knock, it flew open.
A tall, primly dressed woman stood at the door, her starched brown dress with cream cuffs and lapels unmoving as she bobbed a quick curtsey.
"We've been expecting you, Mr. Masen," she murmured respectfully, moving out of the entryway and gesturing toward the foyer. "Ma'am is in the library waiting for you."
"Thank you…" Edward paused, not knowing how to address this woman.
"Zafrina, Sir," she replied in the same soft voice, her eyes lowered.
"Edward? Is that you, darling boy?"
Edward's back stiffened as he heard his name being called from the other room. He knew that voice. He had heard it every day for the first seventeen years of his life. But that was impossible.
"This way, Sir," Zarfrina gently commanded, motioning toward the library.
"What?" Edward stuttered, unsure he wanted to enter the room. "How?"
Zafrina looked up at Edward for the first time, her crimson, almond shaped eyes glowing with knowledge.
"Bella says 'Happy Anniversary, Love,'" Zafrina smiled, again motioning toward the library.
What I envision for the Masen Home (you know the drill…remove the spaces) : digital. chipublib cdm4 /item_viewer . php? CISOROOT= /rvw&CISOPTR=65&CISOBOX=1&REC=4
As always, I love knowing what you think!