Tossing Stones 2: In the Sea
By Princess Alexandria
Bella stood awkwardly near the buffet table, a small plate in her hands filled with little meatballs and fruit. The bar had a long line up of people that must know either the bride or the groom, but Bella had no idea if anyone knew the old Bella here. She wouldn't be able to pick out a cousin if one existed and part of her feared one showing up.
"She's considerably older than him." Bella heard one woman tell another while still picking up food. It was clearly a negative comment, and the age difference was not huge. Bella wasn't a fan of this marriage for other reasons, but the age difference was the least of them.
"I know, what was he thinking? She has a daughter you know." When the other woman responded, Bella just started to wander away, before she got pulled into that conversation, or was forced to say something about the backstabbing. She wasn't sure, but she thought those women were related to Phil in some way, so that might mean they were at the 'family table' for when things started.
It was nice to not be away from Renee for a while though. The wedding itself was an Olympic sized exercise in patience as Renee misplaced things minutes after getting them and was a nervous wreck. The ceremony had been nice and Bella just gritted her teeth through the 'does anyone object', and apparently she now knew that she wasn't the only one doing that.
The music was starting to pull people out onto the dance floor and the couple were already out there. Bella glanced around and slipped out into the hall to find a bathroom and some quiet.
She sat on the bench outside the dance hall and took a deep breath, wishing she had a book or something, because Renee had denied her request to find someone to take her home after she'd put in some time at the party, and so Bella had to stay for the whole thing.
"You don't dance?" A male voice had her looking left to see a guy who was probably just a few years older than high school looking at her, before he sat down beside her.
"No, not really." Bella sighed and resigned herself to even more visiting with strangers. "I'm Bella Swan." She gave him what had become her practiced smile for the evening. "Renee's daughter."
"Oh," He seemed to stare harder. "The one that, well." His blush filled in the rest even as his mind caught up to him and made him stop talking.
"She only has one." Bella didn't comment on his huge blunder and glanced around the hall they sat in, the music from the room Renee had reserved easily filling in the silence.
"So, now that you've married her off, when is your big wedding?" Bella felt herself blushing even as she turned to see his teasing look.
"I'm thinking never." Bella gave a playful grimace and decided she preferred sitting out here talking to him to actually being inside right now. "You didn't see her almost lose it when she misplaced the flowers in the back. I think the stress of these things are actually a test of the relationship."
"So no boyfriend?"
Bella started to get a slight creepy vibe and what had been the start of a nice conversation now felt like a trap. "Nope." She didn't elaborate or give more information.
"Well that's good, you're still young. Plenty of fish in the sea." He smiled. "Oh, sorry, I'm Patrick." He said it like that would mean something to her, but didn't elaborate. Bella couldn't tell who invited him or why.
"Nice to meet you." Bella could see Renee peeking out the door and seeing her, and it was a relief for once when she saw Renee coming toward her.
"Yep." He gave a friendly smile that somehow still felt off to Bella. "These things are a little dull. You want to take off, get something real to eat?" His words were the last straw, Bella was convinced he was a creep now. She was supposedly sixteen years old, at her mother's wedding, and that sounded like a pick up line.
"Bella." Renee spoke up and glanced between Bella and the man. "Patrick, I see you met my daughter."
"Lovely girl." Patrick turned his eyes to Renee. "And look at you, Mrs. Dwyer now." He smiled and Renee blushed and Bella resisted the urge to sigh heavily at the game she was watching. "I know you and Phil must have a busy night ahead of you. I could take Bella to get some dinner, and bring her home if you want, so you can stay out later."
"That isn't necessary, I filled up on meatballs." Bella spoke up, afraid of what Renee might do or if she even realized how inappropriate Patrick was being. Bella was not going anywhere with him, her hands were a little shaky with the idea of it.
"You did miss dinner dear." Renee started and Bella shook her head obviously from side to side as Patrick was watching Renee. "Oh well, if you think you don't want to go I could use a little help with my dress."
It was a quick pin job to deal with a broken zipper and Bella helped Renee in the bathroom. "That was nice of Patrick to offer, don't you think?" Renee asked while she started to readjust her hair in the mirror.
"He wants to take your underage daughter out alone. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have ended well for me." Bella spoke firmly, disgusted at Renee's trust. Bella's real mother had died horribly and Bella was very cautious about creepy men now.
"You think? Patrick?" Renee turned to give Bella a serious look. Bella braced herself to be ridiculed for her fear. "I don't think he's like that, but you trust your instincts Bella, always trust your instincts." Bella blinked in a bit of shock.
"I will." For once Renee lived up to what she was supposed to be, and Bella gave her a small smile. "Nice wedding."
"It is, isn't it?" Renee grinned happily and squeezed Bella's hand before heading to the door of the bathroom to return to the party. Bella followed her back in, rather than sit back down with Patrick. With little else to do, she sat on the edge of the dance floor, drinking one coke after another while watching others dance for another hour.
"This seat taken?" Another male voice spoke up and Bella looked up to see a younger guy, perhaps even high school age, standing by the table.
"Nope." She turned to pretend to be absorbed in the dancing again.
"I've never been to one of these things before." He said and Bella turned to pay attention to him. She could see over his shoulder that Renee was giving her a smirk, before turning back to the conversation she was having with Phil's mother.
An hour later, Bella and Renee stood on the sidewalk, waiting for Phil to bring the car around. "Did you have fun?" Renee asked in a girlfriend teasing tone and Bella sighed. "That boy, what was his name?"
"Joseph." Bella had seen the goofy looks Renee gave her, playing the role of friend.
"Did you get his number? You two could do something tomorrow perhaps."
"I don't date, and I sure won't date here. What would be the point when I live in Washington?" Bella grumbled, tired and eager to just get to the house and go to bed.
"Not everything has to be serious Bella, especially not at your age." Renee huffed and looked up and down the road obviously, looking for her car. It had to be the alcohol talking, because Renee went into a new direction. "There are plenty of fish in the sea, and now is the time to taste the selection Bella. You're young, pretty, and free."
"Well, thank you, but I'm not interested in what Arizona has to offer." Bella could see the car pulling up and moved forward to open the door before Phil tried to be a gentleman. It was there night and Bella got into the back seat without comment as he helped Renee into the front. Renee had drank enough that the help might have been a little necessary.
They were down the block when Renee spoke up, "Isn't Joseph one of your cousin's Phil?" Bella just closed her eyes and let out a slow breath. "He was sitting with Bella, I think he should come over to visit tomorrow. Bella is going to get bored hanging out at the house with us."
"Joey?" Bella looked over at Phil to see him glancing in the rearview mirror and giving Bella a hint of a grin. "Sure, I can call Joey. Maybe you and he could hit the movies."
Bella wanted to just say no right away, but then she noticed the look Phil gave Renee and the idea of hitting the movies sounded like a great idea. She might want out of the house for a while, and her flight wasn't until the day after. "I could just go to the movies by myself you know. I have my license and there are a few movies I'd like to see."
"No, no, you're visiting. I wouldn't kick you out of the house when you're visiting." Renee protested and Bella couldn't believe the woman didn't grimace when she heard herself speak, after kicking Bella out of the house months ago. "But Joey looks like a nice boy, doesn't he?"
"Joey is a great kid." Phil added. "You two could have fun." It was clear she wasn't going to get to leave for alone time at the movies.
"Okay, but I drive." Bella didn't want to be at some strange boy's mercy for transportation. "And this is not a date."
"Why not?" Renee turned in her seat to look at Bella. "One date isn't a big deal, just because you don't plan to see him again doesn't mean you can't practice dating with him."
"Because he'll expect something if we call it a date and I'm not prostituting myself out so you can have private time with Phil." Is what Bella wanted to say, but she bit back the argumentative words, "I'm not ready for dates." Is all she said and Renee gave her a look like she was naïve and Bella left it at that.
Emmett might have teased her about her impending date, hell even Alice might have had a few words to say, because that boy was everything Bella didn't want in a date, a young boy. His connection to Arizona was also not a good thing, but once Bella got a taste of the sexuality flowing between Renee and Phil, even as they were getting out of the car, it seemed a small sacrifice to spend a few hours with some boy she barely knew to get away from them.
Sleep was very hard to come by and for once Bella took the sleeping pill she had when she didn't have a good reason. Renee and Phil's moans were horrifying to listen to and the pillow didn't block them out enough to let Bella sleep.
Tanya stood in the bathroom, leaning over the counter a little with her left hand moving quickly over damp flesh, until the tension in her body spasmed and then faded. She could hear the man she'd come to this hotel room with sleeping from the leeching she'd done and the extra energy from the sexual encounter gave her body a bit of a buzz and had completely alleviated the shaky tension she'd had before.
"Well, thanks for the night loverboy." She muttered as she put on her clothes and grabbed her purse to leave. He didn't wake up, he wouldn't for a few hours. He wasn't energetic enough to warrant another visit so she didn't leave her phone number. Only some humans flowed with the energy to the point they were worth cultivating for more than one time, and he wasn't even close. She'd known that going in, but it was time and she didn't like hunting for this for long.
She stopped her SUV at a corner a few blocks away and one of her sisters slipped into the passenger seat. "I'm still hungry, that one didn't even stay awake long enough to make it exciting." Kate complained as she slipped into the vehicle.
"Mine wasn't a repeat customer." Tanya sighed as she added that. Hunting for their succubus needs were getting difficult in this town. They'd have to start in another next time. They didn't do this close to home, it would make walking around town awkward, but they'd have to start doing this even further from home now.
Once Irina was picked up as well they started out on their trip back to Denali. "If you aren't picking good men Kate, perhaps you need a break. Even I tossed yours back, he had nothing sparking in him." Irina said while Tanya was pulling onto the freeway.
"Well, switching to women would make this town worth another visit." Kate said, but Tanya didn't agree. This town was off the list for now, the offerings weren't that great.
"I'm thinking of trying Bellingham next time." Tanya offered up a new plan, a bit further away. "We could run it and save time."
"We'd have to, the trip would kill the cars." Irina added. "Bellingham huh? That's not too far from Forks."
"Not really close either." Kate added with a teasing smile Tanya could see in the rearview mirror. "Does someone want to see if Bella sparks better than the men around here?"
"No, no, she's, well, I'm guessing she's off the menu." Irina's voice rose a little.
"She sounds like she's a real firecracker though, bet she sparks something fierce." Kate continued to tease. "And did you catch that she doesn't seem to have a problem with female lovers? No pronouns, when she talked about every vampire that was better than Edward, there were no pronouns."
Rather than let the teasing get to the point Irina got flustered and ended up damaging the dashboard again, Tanya spoke up. "So do we agree this town is dead? We need to find a new fishing hole?"
"Bellingham it is." Irina voted and Kate made some noise that Tanya took to be agreement as well.
"And since we'll be in Washington anyhow, I say we visit Carlisle and the others more often." Kate added mischievously. "I still think that Bella girl probably sparks at least twice as bright as the man I just had. We owe her anyhow, a little sexual release might be just the thing to say 'thank you for saving Irina's life' don't you think?"
"Somehow I can't imagine the Cullen's, of all covens, to be okay with that type of thank you for her. I think they think of her as their little girl, and I don't know how many momma bears you'd have to face if you deflowered their little girl." Tanya warned Kate.
"Please, she said she's been with biters, clearly she's deflowered." Kate spoke up again, but Tanya noticed that Irina wasn't joining in on the conversation at all. Her quiet sister was not looking too pleased with the topic either.
"That girl saved my life, can we stop acting like she's just a sexual spark to feed our needs? She saved me from a disaster bigger than the mistakes I've made in the past." Irina finally had enough.
"Sorry." Tanya reached over and squeezed Irina's hand gently before putting both hands back on the steering wheel.
"She saved me." Irina repeated quietly and Kate's expression was more serious as well.
"She did, and I can't possibly thank her enough for that sis. Nothing would be the same without you." Kate told her and Tanya couldn't help but agree. That loss was a horrifying nightmare and even though they avoided it, Tanya still found herself aching at the thought.
Tanya made up her mind to call Esme about a visit. They needed to thank Bella in person, to meet her. Since they had to go to Washington anyhow next month, they might as well see if there was any way to repay Bella for what she'd done for them.
Alice was having a vision and Emmett glanced over from his video game to see her when Edward made a snorting laugh at what he was seeing. "Good, she should try to have a normal life."
"What are you talking about?" Emmett could see something a little vindictive in Edward's eyes and Alice came too with a hint of a frown on her lips.
"Bella has a date with a normal human boy." Edward flung that out and walked out of the room, but Emmett turned to give Rose a concerned look, not liking that.
"She wouldn't do that." He told his wife quietly.
"It's not really a date, she's just going to the movies." Alice added.
"Because going to the movies isn't a date?" Rose hissed out and Emmett didn't like the way she just stared at her own hands. "No, no, she wouldn't do that. Emmett's right, the girl doesn't like young boys at all."
"Right, whatever he might think it is, she won't be interested." Alice spoke up.
"And he's human; our little body snatcher can't really date a human. That would be a waste of all her coolness." Emmett added with a hint of a smile.
"If she really wanted to date a human, wanted that," Rose sighed. "Well, I better come up with something to do when we get her back." The way Rose sat up a little had Emmett relax, because his Rose wasn't giving up at the first sign of a 'human life' for his Bells. That was good, because that boring life Bells was talking about having was horrible and the girl had no interest in the one Rose would step aside for.
"Have you thought we could go back to the cabin on that beach?" Emmett started to say, but then they could hear Esme coming back from her hunt, talking to someone. Emmett took a moment to listen and couldn't hear a second person, so Esme had to be on the phone.
"That's wonderful. We'll see you then." Esme said while coming up to the front door and she was hanging up as she entered the house. "The Denali's will be here next month. I told them they should stay the week."
"Nice, the single vegetarian vampires are coming." Edward spoke as he came back downstairs and Emmett gave him a dirty look, understanding what he was insinuating.
"Oh god." Rose said so quietly only Emmett likely heard her and he gave her a concerned look and reached out to touch her hand.