*Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Thank you to Dollybigmomma for her superior Beta skeeeeeeels and for recommending my stories.
We'd been on the road for two and a-half-hours now. This trip from the big city of Philadelphia to the little rural town of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania used to seem so long when I was younger. I recalled that my little brother and I were relentless with the "Are we there yet?" questions, and the "I'm bored" whines. My mother, as always, had calmed us. She would sing or tell stories about the place we were traveling to, the town she and my father had grown up in. She kept us entertained with letter and word hunting games, utilizing the frequent road signs between the big city and small town. The memory of all of that made me silently cringe, but I tried to fight the sadness that was bubbling up inside me, ready to burst at the seams. I absentmindedly rubbed my neck again, which had become stiff, after looking out the passenger-side window for several hours.
"Edward, for the third time, take some ibuprofen," my father's voice from the driver's seat startled me out of my trance. "It's in the bag in the backseat." I looked back to see Emmett, my twelve-year-old brother, glaring at me from the seat behind my father. I shot him a knowing look. He handed me the bag from the back. I rummaged through the snacks and other amenities and finally located the bottle. I twisted the cap, removed three capsules and grabbed the now-warm bottle of water from the console. I choked down the pills and hoped my sadness and fears would be chased down with them. My eyes were now closed, and I prayed for sleep. I would swear I could hear my mother's voice whisper, "Sleep, baby boy," and I finally succumbed to the deepest sleep I'd had in weeks.
Nearly an hour later, my body and mind were jolted from their slumber, as I felt my father's Range Rover travelling over gravelly road, before it came to a near-complete stop. I opened my eyes and saw that nighttime had fallen over the small town of Lewisburg. My father put the SUV in park and removed the key from the ignition with a sigh, as I looked up to the two-story brick colonial that was now my new home. I'd only seen it in photos before coming here. The Realtor's site had boasted "heated pool" and "charming neighborhood."
I stepped out of the SUV and glanced behind me. There was a small home almost directly across from ours and another home, with grand stature, just at the end of the cul-de-sac. I briefly wondered who occupied these homes, and then I shook those thoughts from my head. No. I must not become attached to anything here. I'd convinced myself that I only needed to get through the next three years of high school here. I'd bury myself in my studies and baseball. Then, I could go to college back in Philly and return to my normal life. Well, normal minus one main factor. The temporary stay in Lewisburg was just a stepping stone for me. Temporary. That was the word I had been searching for. Temporary.
I heard the sound of a window being forced open, and I glanced up at the source. It was the cape-cod-style home across from my temporary residence. I barely saw a wisp of long dark hair blow and graze the windowsill, but before my mind could even register it, the blind was pulled down. Friendly neighbors, I noticed…so much for "charming."
"Edward, could you help me unload the car, please?" my father's voice once again came out of the silence.
The movers had been here already. My father must have shelled out a small fortune to have all of our belongings delivered and set up in the home prior to our arrival. I was almost relieved to not have to carry any furniture upstairs. Almost relieved, yet not relieved at all. Temporary, I told myself again.
I lugged my duffle bag into the house, following close behind Emmett, who, for the first time since he had started talking eleven years ago, had nothing to say. He'd resisted this move almost as much as I had. "A fresh start," my father had said. We'd moved here to be closer to our grandfather, who resided in a nearby assisted living community. I didn't want "a fresh start." I wanted my old life back. I wanted my mother. Her absence was not temporary.
"Why don't you boys go upstairs and find your rooms? I'm going to call and order a pizza. We're all hungry."
I looked at my little brother, who was waiting to follow my lead. I gave him the nod of approval. "Let's go," I said and then headed for the stairs without a word to my father.
Emmett's room was the first at the top of the stairs. We could only tell it was his because of the furniture. Nothing else said it belonged to him. No shelves with his many karate trophies and ribbons. No posters of his favorite Eagle's players. No photo on the nightstand of a seven-year-old toothless, smiling Emmett with his arms around our mother, as she lovingly looked down at him.
"Let's find your room," my brother finally uttered. "I'm sick of this shit already." Finally, a smile spread across my face. We headed farther down the hall and found my temporary bedroom. It, too, was only obvious because my furniture inhabited it. My temporary room had two large windows which went almost to the floor. They faced the front yard and the little cape-cod across the street. The windows were cracked, allowing the fresh Pennsylvania air to flow in.
I went over to one window and pulled back the blue curtain that hung there. The blinds
that had just been closed on the little cape-cod were now open once again, and a small amount of light emanated from the room. A figure traveled back and forth in front of the window, speaking into a phone and waving arms furiously around. The figure sparked my interest momentarily, but then, as if it could tell that I had noticed, it reached toward the window, and once again, the blinds had shut me out for the second time this evening. Charming neighborhood indeed.
The next morning, I awoke with a start. It was that feeling you sometimes got when you woke up in unfamiliar territory. That initial, "Where am I?" leeriness. I wondered if that feeling would ever go away here. My ears picked up on faint voices, and I had to ask myself if this was all a cruel dream. Then, I would have sworn I heard a girl giggling. Now, I definitely knew I was dreaming. I figured I should probably go get a shower to wake me up from this momentary psychosis.
I had found one feature I enjoyed in my temporary room, my very own bathroom. I took advantage of the time alone and let the hot water massage my sore muscles as I washed. Up until three weeks ago, my days were filled with baseball drills and conditioning. Once we were settled, I'd have to locate a place to continue my training. I might not like living here, but I'd never give up on baseball. I'd made a promise to my mom that I wouldn't.
My relaxing and much-deserved shower was interrupted by obnoxious banging on my bathroom door.
"Quit it, Emmett! I'm not done yet. Go away!"
"Quit jacking off and get out here, douche bag," he yelled. God, just make him go away.
"I'll be out when I'm finished." Silence. Then, a laugh, and I knew what he was thinking. "I'm not jacking off, asshole!"
"Well, you will be. Get out here."
I turned off the water, because if I knew my little brother, I also knew by his tone that he would not relent. I hoped the sound of the shower turning off would at least shut him up. I quickly dried off and wrapped the towel around my waist before exiting the bathroom. I found Emmett in front of my window, holding the curtain back as far as it would go. He was alerted to my presence, but could barely take his eyes off of whatever entertainment was going on outside.
"Seriously, dude, you need to work out harder. You're never gonna pitch a no-hitter with those scrawny muscles."
I ignored his taunting. I knew he was just jealous that I was bigger than average for my age, and definitely bigger than him. "What do you need me to see so urgently?" I crossed the room to the open curtain. "Bro…Check. It. Out." He punctuated each word, sounding awed. I rolled my eyes, half-expecting to see an interesting bug or perhaps a circus coming down our street. I was completely unprepared for the sight that was laid out before me. There was a half-naked teenage girl washing her car in the driveway of the cape-cod. She was so hot. No. Not hot. That word did her no justice. Beautiful? Understatement. Perfect? That was more appropriate. Starting at the top, a perfect face was framed by perfectly beautiful long, dark brown waves. Perfect breasts were plumping out of a string bikini top. Perfect waist and curves were in all of the right places. Perfect muscular legs, which I was gifted with a perfect view of, thanks to the very short jean shorts she was wearing.
My eyes widened, as she bent over to dip her sponge into the soapy water, and I was treated to the perfect view of her perfectly heart-shaped backside. She laid the sponge on the hood, and then combed her fingers through her hair, pulling it into a high ponytail. My breath caught in my throat. This dream-come-true was not what I'd expected. I turned to Emmett, who looked like the Cheshire cat. I tried to hide my interest, "A girl washing her car? Really, Em? That's what I got out of the shower for?"
"It just took you an entire sixty seconds to be able to speak. Don't even try to pretend you're not interested in that fine piece of ass," Emmett raised his brows. I pulled back the curtain once more, and Miss Perfect looked up from her soapy-sponging to catch me ogling her from the window. Realizing I was standing there in nothing but a towel, I tried to quickly release the curtain, but I would have sworn I saw her smile before my view was blocked.
"So?" I feigned disinterest again.
"So? What do you think of Nanny Bella?"
"Nanny Bella? What are you talking about, Emmett?"
"That…" Emmett thumbed towards the window, "…is our new babysitter."
Apparently, my father had hired, as he liked to call her, a "housekeeper," someone who would take care of the interior of the home, which included me and Emmett.
"Bella will make sure the two of you are taken care of, while I'm working crazy hours for the hospital. She won't sleep here very often, but she's close by if you need anything. Not to mention, her father is the chief of police. Chief Swan's not home very often, so Bella's alone a lot. She needs the extra money for college next year. Charlie is relieved to know there are a doctor and another teenager looking out for her when he's not here. It works out for everyone. Bella will be in charge of cooking your meals and driving the two of you to and from school, along with after school activities and sports."
"Seriously, Dad? A babysitter? I'm not a child." I couldn't believe I was going to be a sophomore, and my father thought I needed to be monitored.
"No, you're not, but you can't drive yet. You have no idea how to cook anything, and I can't imagine you know the first thing about cleaning. Your mother did all of those things for you!" he yelled, and his words stung. I cringed, and he realized he'd hit a nerve.
"How…how old is…she?" He understood my question immediately, and I worried he knew both reasons behind it. "She's sixteen, nearly seventeen. She's going to be a senior. She's aware of your age, and there'll be no inappropriate behavior in my house, Edward! I've already spoken to her about this. She has a boyfriend, anyway." And I knew, by his answer, that he fully understood both reasons for my question.
"Why am I just finding out about this now? How long ago did you speak with her?"
"I asked her last week, when I was here to finish closing on the house. Look, she's a nice girl, the daughter of the police chief. It makes me feel better to know there's someone with a clue taking care of my sons."
I realized in that moment what this was about. I'd try to keep my mouth shut about it. Not to mention, Bella driving me around in her mustang didn't sound too bad. I just wouldn't talk about anything personal with her. No need to get too close to anyone. I was only here temporarily.
"Why don't you come outside and meet her? Emmett already has. He was awake when she stopped by this morning. He had her laughing already." My brother, the eternal comedian. Great, already the twelve-year-old had more charisma with the ladies than I did.
"I…I can't go out there. I…um…never finished showering, and uh…my clothes…my clothes…I didn't know where anything is. Dad, please…don't make me meet her just yet. I need to uh…prepare." My father gave me a discerning look.
"Go get dressed, Edward." And I did.
I took the opportunity to sneak another quick peek out my window, but Bella was long gone, her car missing from the driveway. I pondered the situation that had been forced upon me. This could go one of two ways. I could be the coolest guy in the tenth grade with Bella at my beck and call. Or I could be the loser fifteen-year-old with a babysitter. Something told me it would be the latter.
We spent the rest of the day unpacking, sorting and organizing things into our new home. So many things reminded me of my mom, and I wondered if this would ever get any easier.
It was late in the afternoon that Friday when Bella's mustang pulled back into the driveway, and I realize I'd yet to see her father, the chief. I'd mentally prepared to go introduce myself, but I was completely blindsided when a very muscular guy climbed out of her passenger side. He was all brawn and muscle and looked like he could play college football. His t-shirt indicated that he might. He followed Bella into the house, and I had to look away when I saw him playfully swat her ass, as they headed inside the front door. No. Chief Swan would not be home for a while it seemed. I couldn't think about the things that might happen behind those closed blinds now.
It was Monday morning before I saw the police cruiser in front of the Swan's residence. Weekends must have been a busy time for crime in Lewisburg. Bella and "Brawny" came and went all weekend. I could hear her giggling from time to time, when I was in my temporary room.
But then, late last night, I'd heard otherwise. I'd heard yelling, arguing. I'd heard words like "slut" and "cheating" and "fuck off" yelled hotly. If I'd had a set of balls, I would have gone over there and stopped it. I imagined myself breaking through the front door and rescuing Bella from Brawny's clutches. Then, the thought of him with his hands on her sickened me, and I prayed that the noise was just that, verbal and not physical. Teenage couples fought, right? They yelled and called each other names. My parents rarely argued, and I'd never had a serious girlfriend, so I had nothing to compare it to. I just knew that if Bella were my girl, I wouldn't call her names.
My dad started working tomorrow at the hospital, and Bella started her job here, at the house. Apparently, she also worked at the local grocery store, but I hoped she might be able to quit, since my father was paying her a hefty amount of money to be our chauffer and chef.
Emmett and I started school here in one week. We'd visited my grandfather yesterday. He was my mom's father. He'd cried when he first saw us, but said he was doing better now. He liked it at the home. My father offered to let him live with us, when he first decided to move us here, but Pop declined. "Look at all of these beautiful women here," he winked at one of the staff members, and she smiled at him and touched his shoulder. It was probably a good thing Bella didn't have to worry about taking care of him, too.
I was eating a bowl of cereal in the kitchen, when there was a knock at the side door. We weren't expecting any visitors. Hell, we didn't even know anyone here. I put my bowl down and slowly walked over to answer it. Where were my father and Emmett? I tensed up, when I saw a man in a police uniform on our stoop.
"Hello," I said timidly.
"You must be Edward? Or Emmett? I forget what Carlisle told me. I'm Chief Swan, from across the street," he said as he rubbed his face.
"Yes. Well, Edward, is Carlisle…uh, your dad here?"
"Yes, Sir, please, come in." At that moment, my dad entered the room, out of breath. "Sorry, Chief. I was just going through some boxes upstairs and forgot you were coming. Edward, would you go check on your brother?" I might have been a teenager, but I could take a hint. So, I left. Emmett was upstairs in his room playing Madden on the PlayStation.
"Is Charlie here to discuss the incident last night?" my brother asked without taking his eyes off the screen. Incident?
Emmett threw his controller to the floor and cursed at Michael Vick. "Um, the situation last night between Bella and that fucktard…you fell asleep, and Dad went over to check on her, called the chief and everything. Jacob left before Chief Swan got home."
Brawny had a name. I preferred not knowing it. This was all new information to me, but I was relieved to know that Bella was okay. Or was she? Was this guy the love of her life? Would she be angry with dad? Would she decide not to work here after all?
"Boys…please, come down here," my father's voice interrupted my assessment of the situation. Emmett and I jumped up and ran downstairs. Along with a knowing smile from dad, and a serious hairy eyeball from Chief Swan, I was welcomed by the most beautiful smile at the bottom of our stairs. Bella. In a dress…a dress that showed her perfectly toned arms, perfectly tanned legs and her perfectly round breasts that were peeking out of the top ever-so-slightly. She looked me up and down, and for a second, I was pleased with myself. Then I realized I was only in a pair of tight Under Armour shorts. No shirt. Bare feet. Stupid, stupid, stupid. My face heated. Bella took a deep breath and appeared a little red in the face as well.
"Hi," she said, and her voice was like music to my ears. She was perfect. Perfect for me. My stomach did strange things…down deep inside me.
"How's it goin', doll?" Emmett addressed her, as he slid beside me and laid a kiss on each of her cheeks. I towered over her, but he was her height, so she did not have to bend down to allow him to do so.
"You're so funny, Em," Bella giggled and twirled her hair. What. The. Fuck?
Emmett sucker-punched me in the gut, and I sputtered. "Eddie, don't leave this beautiful lady hangin'. Introduce yourself."
Bella looked up at me through long lashes. She smiled that beautiful smile and extended her hand. "I'm Bella, your official driver. Don't worry, I won't charge you gas money."
I smiled. Bella was the reason for my smile. I hadn't smiled a whole lot recently, but I suddenly had reason to. There was so much I wanted to say to this girl. So much I would ask her. I looked into her eyes, and the only thing that came out of my mouth was…
What was wrong with me? I couldn't bring myself to say anything else. My stomach continued to do those strange deep things, and I was forced to turn my attention to my father. Dad explained that Bella would take us grocery shopping tomorrow, as we would need things for the week. Bella offered to take us to get school supplies, too. I thought I could get used to this whole babysitting situation. Chief Swan's pager went off, and he excused himself to take the call.
"Dr. Cullen, I just wanted to say thank you for…um…last night. Jake and I had been fighting all summer about…stuff. I know he wouldn't hurt me, so I wasn't scared, but I did want him gone, and you helped. I'm sorry it happened, and I promise to never bring my issues to this house."
Issues? What issues?
"I appreciate that, Bella. I know how young love can be. It means a lot to me and my family to have you here to help out with the boys. I fully intend to keep an eye out for you as well."
"Thank you, Dr. Cullen. Well, today is my last shift at the grocery store, so, uh, I better get going." Bella turned toward the front door, but then stopped dead in her tracks. "Edward, how about I give you my cell number so you can call me in the morning when you and Emmett are ready to go? Better yet, give me yours, and I'll text you mine." She pulled her iPhone from the pocket in her dress. I gave her the digits, and she was out the door before I could utter a coherent goodbye. An hour later, when I checked my phone, I had a text from Miss Perfect.
*This is Bella. Talk to you in the morning. By the way, I really liked your Under Armour this morning*
I read and re-read the text a thousand times over the course of the day. This girl was going to be the death of me.
"Dude," Emmett interrupted my naughty thoughts of Bella complimenting me on my shorts and possibly what was in them, "Did you spank it to thoughts of Bella in that sundress yet?"
"'Cause I did." And with that, I threw my phone towards the door at my brother. It bounced off his stomach, and the little prick caught it. He looked at the screen, "Yeah, exactly what I thought." He tossed my phone back to me. I looked back at the screen, forgetting the message I had typed back to Bella, but was too nervous to send.
*Not as much as I liked your dress.*
A/N: Dollybigmomma is going to Beta ALL of "Stealing Home" for me. That being said, I am pulling the rest of the chapters for now. The bigger and better version will be back up soon and I encourage you to go back and re-read. Sorry for any inconvenience. Forgive me?
Please check out her and Savannavansmutsmut's stories. They are a little piece of heaven.