A/N – Thanks everyone for the amazing reviews. We hit 100 reviews with the last chapter. You are the best!
This is a long one. There's so much going on that we almost didn't get to the coffee shop this week. But I couldn't do that to all of you who are waiting so patiently (well, mostly patiently!) What will happen on the coffee date?
Everything Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I just buy them coffee.
Twenty minutes after they left the restaurant, Bella and Alice sat across from each other on Alice's bed, wearing matching Forks High School tee shirts and sipping glasses of wine.
"Alice, I really don't need anything else to drink."
"We're just having one drink, so we can toast our wonderful dates tonight!" Alice tapped her glass against Bella's. "Cheers! Now tell me exactly what happened when he walked you to the car."
Bella repeated the story. When she got to the part where he kissed her cheek, she felt almost silly as she described it. "Alice, it was as if there was some kind of electrical connection between us. I know that sounds stupid, but I felt it. And then he asked me out for Saturday, but I said no."
"You said what?" Alice nearly shrieked, and Bella was so startled she spilled some wine down the front of her shirt.
"I didn't turn him down, Alice. I told him it's my Dad's birthday, so he asked me to go out next week instead."
"Well, that's better. I was really starting to worry about you, Bella." Alice rolled her eyes. "I mean, its Edward Cullen. Do you know how many girls would jump at the chance to go out with Edward Cullen?" Alice drained the rest of her wine. "Actually, I said that wrong. Do you know how many girls would jump Edward Cullen if they had the chance?" She giggled. "That makes much more sense."
Bella took her friend's glass and set both glasses on the night table. "Alice, sober up. What am I going to do about Monday? What if he's really angry that I didn't tell him I know who he is?"
"Silly Bella." Alice flopped down on her pillow. "Just pretend you didn't know it was him. Act surprised!"
"I don't know Alice. I'm not sure that's right."
"Bella, trust me. You could tell him anything you want, and he would forgive you. I saw the way he looked at you tonight."
"I hope you're right."
Alice smiled. "Bella, have you ever known me to be wrong?"
"No, now that you mention it, I haven't."
Alice rolled over and tucked her hands under her cheek. "Goodnight now." She yawned. "I have to be in love with Jasper in the morning."
Bella giggled and headed for the guest room, still thinking about her upcoming coffee date.
The next morning, dressed in an outfit of Alice's that was a little too short and a little too snug, Bella drove her car to the office. As usual, she started by opening her email and for once she was pleased to see there was nothing that needed her immediate attention. This morning, she had a very important job to do. For the very first time, she was going to call an author and offer to represent him. She spent 15 minutes going over what she was going to say. Then she lined up all the pencils on her desk. Then she checked her email again. Then finally, she picked up the phone to make the call.
A sleepy voice answered. "Hello?"
Bella straightened up in her chair. "May I speak to Mr. Jacob Black?"
"This is Jacob Black."
"Mr. Black, this is Bella Swan from Whitlock-Hale Literary Agency."
The voice sounded much more awake now. "Ms. Swan? From Whitlock-Hale? This is Jacob Black. Oh, wait. I already said that, didn't I? And you knew that, because you called me. I'm sorry, I just didn't expect to hear from you. So soon, I mean. I mean, I didn't expect to hear from you so soon."
Bella had to laugh at his nervous reaction. "Mr. Black, I probably shouldn't admit this, but if it makes you feel any better, this is my first call to an author. So I'm just as nervous as you are. Can we start over?"
"Mr. Black? This is Bella Swan from Whitlock-Hale Literary Agency."
"Good morning Ms. Swan. How can I help you?"
Bella laughed, and Jacob Black thought he had never heard a prettier sound. "Well, Mr. Black, I've read your manuscript and discussed it with my senior editor. We would like to offer you representation for your book." She closed her eyes and crossed the fingers on both hands.
Bella could hear Jacob take a deep breath before answering.
"Ms. Swan, nothing would make me happier than to have Whitlock-Hale represent me." He paused. "Is this the part where I squeal like a little kid?"
"I think so" she answered, and they both laughed. "I'd like to invite you to come to Port Angeles and meet with Jasper Whitlock, the head of the agency."
"Do I get to meet with you too?"
"Yes, Mr. Black, we'll have a chance to meet."
"Please, call me Jacob. I feel like we should be on a first name basis since you just made all my dreams come true." He laughed. "I can't believe you want to represent my book."
"Believe it, Jacob. Your book is amazing, and I'm so excited to be the one who read it first." She looked at the list of possible meeting dates Alice had given her. "Mr. Whitlock is available the week after next, on Tuesday. Would that work for you?"
"Absolutely. Of course you know there's no way I would say no, right?"
"Of course" she answered, enjoying his sense of humor. Working with him was going to be fun. "Let's arrange to meet here at our offices at 3:00, and then Mr. Whitlock would like to take you out to dinner to celebrate our contract."
"Wow, I didn't expect that."
She was proud to brag about the agency a bit. "You'll find that Whitlock-Hale takes very good care of its authors. And we're looking forward to having you join our growing list of best-selling authors."
They finalized the details, and with a last "thank you" Bella ended the call. Unable to help herself, she spun around in her chair. "Yes!"
"Big news, Bella?"
She stopped in her tracks when she heard the familiar voice. "James. You'll have to excuse me. I guess I was being a bit unprofessional, but this is my first author contract, and I'm….well, it's exciting, I have to admit."
"Yes, I suppose it is."
She felt his stare, and tugged on her too short skirt.
"It's quite an accomplishment for someone who has been here such a short time. Perhaps you would allow me to take you out to lunch to celebrate your achievement."
She checked her shirt and tried to discretely adjust it. "Oh, that's very nice of you James, but I don't think…"
Before she could finish, he responded. "That's quite alright. But if you change your mind, the offer is open."
She narrowed her eyes at his back as he walked away. She wasn't sure whether he was the leak that was causing all the trouble, but she wasn't taking any chances. Besides, she thought, he was a little creepy.
It was basketball night again, and the boys were at their usual table for their post-game beers. Edward smacked Emmett on the arm. "Em, go get us another round, would ya? And get some wings while you're there."
Emmett didn't have to be asked twice when it came to food. "You got it, Eduardo."
Jasper watched Emmett go and turned back to Edward. "What was that about? You hate wings."
"I know, but Emmett will eat them. I wanted to ask you about something. About…"
"Bella?" Jasper laughed as Edward's face turned red. "I hear you have a hot date with her next week."
"How did you know that?"
"My office is like Alice's psychic hot line. I know everything she knows. And trust me, she knows everything." Jasper smiled at his friend. "I think it's great, Edward. Bella's terrific."
"Yeah, I really felt something when I was with her. It's just…this is probably silly."
"I can't stop thinking about my little red car girl. I felt such a connection to her. What if she's the one?" Edward ran his hand through his already messy hair. "How can I feel such an attraction to two girls at the same time?"
Jasper frowned, not wanting to see his friend so conflicted. "You haven't actually met this girl, have you?"
"I'm supposed to meet her Monday. She left me a note, asking me to meet her inside this time instead of going in the drive-through lane."
"What's the problem, Ed?" Emmett set down the three beers he was carrying. "Too many girls? That's never been a problem for me!"
"Emmett, you know and I know that Rosalie would kill you if you were seeing somebody else while you're dating her." Jasper laughed. He knew his sister, and if Emmett was what she wanted, he wouldn't be dating anyone else for the foreseeable future.
"Look Ed, here's the deal. You go meet this girl on Monday, and then you go on the date with the other one." Emmett held up his hands. "You can't decide anything till you meet them both. Then come right back here, and Dr. Love will give you his best advice."
"You didn't really call yourself that, did you?" Jasper groaned.
"You know what, Emmett?" Edward shook his head. "You're right. As much as I hate to admit it, you're right. About meeting them both. I'm not going to worry about it until I've had a chance to get to know them both." Yes, that's exactly what he would do.
Edward pulled into the coffee shop parking lot on Monday morning. He didn't usually pay much attention to his clothes, but he'd spent extra time this morning getting dressed. He wore a tan sports coat and a green shirt that he knew matched the color of his eyes. It made him feel a little stupid, but this might be his only chance to meet her.
He stepped out of the car, and pulled the note out of his pocket.
Dear Silver Volvo guy,
I hope you enjoyed your coffee this week. I'm not sure what kind of coffee you drink, but I'd like to find out. If you'd like to find out what kind of coffee I drink, maybe we could meet inside the shop next Monday?
The girl in the red car
He didn't see the red car, but he knew she'd be here. Confidently, he stuffed the paper back in his pocket and walked to the door.
Inside, Bella sat at a table in the corner where she could see the door. She'd been there for 20 minutes, partly because she wanted to be there early, and partly because if she waited at home any longer she would have changed outfits for the 4th time. It didn't take her long to realize that most of the coffee buyers used the drive through lane. Only a handful of people had actually come into the shop while she waited.
There was a little pile of torn up napkins sitting in front of her, and she quickly swept it into her hand when she saw the door open. Only one person had hair that color, and her breath caught in her throat as she saw him. She realized she was still holding the torn-up napkins, and not seeing a garbage can, she stuffed them in her purse.
Bella watched as he walked in and looked around the room. He didn't seem to notice her, and instead, got in line to buy coffee. She couldn't take her eyes off him, but her stomach was threatening to rebel. How would he react? She watched as he picked up his coffee and thanked the girl at the counter. He looked up and their eyes met. Here we go, she thought.
"Bella?" Edward's brow crinkled a little, but his eyes were bright. "How are you?"
"I'm great. It's great to see you." She wasn't sure what she should say next.
He set his coffee on the table, and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "They have great coffee here, don't they?"
"Yeah, they do" she said. "Edward…."
He looked around, and hoped she wouldn't think he was being rude. "I'm sorry, Bella. I'm supposed to meet someone here this morning, but I don't think they're here."
All of a sudden he felt panicky. What would he do if little red car girl came in while he was talking to Bella? This was like his worst nightmare. He wanted to get to know both of them, but he couldn't do that if they were in the same place at the same time. He didn't want to try to get rid of Bella. Everything in him was telling him to sit down and talk to her. It was as if they were being drawn together, like magnets.
Bella started to panic as realization washed over her. He didn't know she was the person he was supposed to meet! How was she supposed to explain this to him? Her heart sank. Clearly he wanted to be with the girl who wrote the note, not with boring old Bella Swan. She wondered about everything that had been running through her head since the night at the restaurant. Maybe she'd misinterpreted the way he was feeling about her. Suddenly, she knew she had to get out of there.
"I'll just get out of your way then, Edward. I have to get to work." Bella stood and moved past him to the door. "It was nice to see you."
"Bella, about next Saturday" he started.
"It's OK, Edward, I understand if something else has come up." Bella didn't know how to tell him he was waiting for someone who wouldn't show up.
"No, that's not it at all. I just wanted to say that I'll be in to see Jasper tomorrow, and I thought maybe we could finalize our plans then." Despite his concern that little red car girl could walk in at any moment, he couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from this beautiful girl in front of him.
Edward realized that his coffee date probably wasn't going to show up, and maybe that was a good thing. Maybe it was a sign that he should trust his gut when it told him that Bella was the right girl for him. Still, he felt a little sad that he'd never get to know the girl who danced in her car to her own music. "Bella, if you're leaving, let me walk you out."
She smiled and let him hold the door open for her, still not knowing what to say. He took one last look around the parking lot. No red car.
"Which one is yours?" Edward grinned down at her. "Since I only got to walk you to Alice's car and not to yours."
"Actually, I parked on the other side, right over here." She pointed to a smaller parking lot on the other side of the drive-through window.
He followed her and watched in amazement as she walked up to a little red car. THE little red car!
"Bella" he said, a touch of amazement in his voice. "You're her!"
She looked at her car and realized what he was seeing. She didn't have to tell him. He'd figured it out all by himself.
"You're my little red car girl" he whispered.
"Yes" she said, unable to hide her grin at the look on his face. His eyes were bright, like it was Christmas and birthdays and 4th of July all at the same time.
"My red car girl" he said, grabbing her around the waist. She nodded, and he pulled her close to him. He wrapped his arms around her and lowered his lips to hers. "My girl."
His lips were warm and soft and perfect as they moved against hers. She kissed him back with everything she had in her. He stopped only for a moment to look in her eyes before kissing her again. He couldn't stop kissing her. When they finally broke apart, he gently pressed her head to his chest.
They stood there, quietly, as she listened to the soft beat of his heart and he placed gentle kisses on the top of her head. Eventually she looked up at him, and all she could say was "Yes. Your girl."