Disclaimer: By now you know the drill…all usual disclaimers apply. I own nothing, just having a bit of fun with Ms. Myers' characters!
I had this file on my computer and wanted to wait until I completed the fic before I started posting. Then life just got in the way. This is the first fic I've posted in well over a year. I've missed you guys and hope you enjoy it! Thank you to my pal A Good Witch for betaing for me! -ACW
Bella frowned at Mr. Brandon in confusion as he told them the news.
"It just doesn't make any sense. Why would Alice run off a week and a half before her wedding? She's spent the last year planning every last detail, making sure every dress, napkin, and flower petal was perfect. She wouldn't just disappear like this!"
She turned to Alice's fiancé who was watching her with those hard, cold, green eyes. "Edward, you know she wouldn't take off like this. She's worked too hard, waited too long! She's spent her whole life dreaming of this day…of marrying you. There has to be something else going on."
His eyes narrowed. "What, so you think I did something? You think I hurt her feelings or something so she left me here with a 300,000 dollar wedding to punish me? Despite your opinion of me, Bella, I would hope you'd give me more credit!"
"Oh get over yourself, Cullen." Bella said, rolling her eyes. "I wasn't even suggesting you did anything, though you seem to protest a bit much. Guilty conscience?"
He flipped her the bird. Bella sighed and moved to sit down next to him on the loveseat. "Listen, I'm just saying that there was to be some reason we just don't see or understand. Can you think of anything she mentioned lately that might help us figure this out?"
"All she's talked about since the engagement is the wedding and the honeymoon. She's been groaning lately about thinking we chose the wrong honeymoon destination."
Bella narrowed her eyes before realization struck her. She reached out to rest her hand on Edward's arm. "St. Barts?"
He glared at her hand and yanked his arm out from under her touch, shifting a little further away on the couch. "Yeah. I talked her into Bali instead, but she was still whining about some fancy hotel there that she's always wanted to stay at."
Bella smiled widely as she looked at Mr. Brandon. "I think I know where she is."
"I had a suspicion you would. I've already wired money into your account to go find her and bring her home."
He laughed at Bella's deer in headlights expression. "If I go, it will all just become a fight. If you go, you can spend a couple of days on the beach with her, help her get this little excursion of hers out of her system, and bring her home before anybody ever knew she left."
"But Mr. Brandon—"
He held up his hand, cutting her off. "I don't want any arguments, Bella. You go pack your things. I'll have my assistant make your travel arrangements."
Edward stood up next to her. "I'm going too."
"Edward," Mr. Brandon said with a frown, "I really think you should let Bella go and do this. Women always reach out to each other in a language which is foreign to us men folk."
"No! I am going and that is the end of the discussion. I don't need your permission or anyone's for that matter," he said cutting his eyes over at Bella.
Bella sighed. "Whatever. Please just have your assistant call me with the flight information. I can be there in about an hour."
"Very good," Mr. Brandon said with a smile before turning his focus back on Edward. Bella didn't stick around to listen. She practically ran down the steps into the massive foyer and out the front door to her compact car parked in the circular drive. She'd taken the entire week off from work to help Alice with all of the last minute details. A few days on the beach with Alice sounded a lot better than being elbow deep in white organza bags of Jordan almonds.
As she circled the water fountain in the middle of the driveway, she caught sight of Edward in her rearview mirror, running his hand through his hair as he dashed toward his Aston Martin. She turned left out of the drive to go to her apartment. She needed to hurry up and pack, scrounge for her passport, and get to the airport. She saw the headlights behind her turn right to drive the quarter mile to Edward's parents' estate. She didn't relish the idea of making this trip with him, but at least this way she would be traveling with a seasoned tourist. Bella had gotten her passport five years ago, but still had no stamps within its bindings. She'd hoped someday that might change…she never expected it to be that day.
Bella was panting as she ran up the sidewalk. The rollers of her carryon bumped on the cracks and splashed in the puddles that had formed during the sudden downpour that hit just as she pulled up to her building and had not let up the entire drive to the airport. She felt like a drowned rat as she slid through the automatic sliding doors of the terminal. She shook the water off her arms and pushed her heavy hair out of her face as she looked around the massive space. She sighed when she saw him, glaring at her in that typical Edward way from beside the kiosk.
Edward hadn't always treated her like total crap. When they first met in college, he had actually been nice. At first, she thought maybe he was interested in her, but she had a boyfriend at the time, so nothing ever happened between them. Things didn't really change until she introduced him to her friend Alice at a study session second semester Freshman year. As things turned out, they had grown up together in the same neighborhood but had lost touch after Edward was sent to boarding school in early high school. Within a month, they were the newest 'it' couple and suddenly Bella fell from grace in his eyes. If he looked at her at all, it was with that cold, icy glare of his. She never really understood it, but after a while, all she could do was accept it.
"Good Lord," he said as she walked up. "Did you walk all the way from Westfield? You took forever!"
"Sorry," she sighed. "I had a hard time finding my suitcase and then I missed the shuttle from long term parking. I know I'm pushing it."
He sighed. "Just please tell me you don't have to check anything."
Bella shook her head.
"Good," he replied, taking her carry on. "Let's go."
Bella had to run to keep up with his fast, long strides. The lines at security were relatively short, thank goodness, and they managed to make it to the gate just in time for the last call. Edward grumbled the whole way down the concourse to the plane door. As soon as they were in, the flight attendant bolted the door behind them, urging them to hurry to their seats.
Edward stomped a few rows down and began tossing both of their bags into the overhead compartment. When he was done, he slammed it before looking at her with an impatient quirk of his brow.
"Waiting on an engraved invitation?"
Bella glanced around again at the wide seats with tons leg room, and high, comfy-looking backs. She'd only been on a few flights within the US, but she'd never even been on a plane that had a business class, much less gotten to sit in one.
She slid into the window seat and fumbled with the buckle. Edward watched her a bit before he sighed and opened the compartment over their seats again to dig in his bag. A few moments later, he tossed something in her lap and flopped into his own chair.
She picked up the gray piece of clothing, smiling at their college insignia printed across the chest.
"When we hit cruising altitude you can go to the lavatory and change into that so you won't be miserable the whole flight. It's going to be about six hours."
Bella folded the shirt and held it on her lap. "Thank you, Edward," she whispered just as the engines began to spin up. "That was very thoughtful."
She glanced up to see him staring at her. "Whatever. I didn't want to have to listen to your teeth chattering all day."
"Well, thanks anyway," she replied with a smirk before turning to look at the scenery slowly passing outside the window. Like a little kid on their first flight, she savored every moment, watching in awe as they sped down the runway, and defying gravity, lifted from the ground to soar higher and higher above the world.
"Beautiful," she breathed. She heard Edward chuckling behind her. Without a word, she stretched her hand out behind her to flip him off while keeping her eyes on the view outside the window. His laughter grew louder before he grew silent again.
Bella kept her eyes on the ground below until they sliced through the cloud cover and she could no longer see. She stared for a while at the tufts of white before finally turning away from the window. She jerked in surprise when she found herself looking into green eyes, but for once, they were twinkling.
Bella shook her head. "No, but it's been a long time, and I never got to have the window seat."
He nodded with a crooked smile. A ding from above preceded a voice.
"This is your captain. We are now reaching cruising altitude. We have a tail wind and expect to reach St Maarten a little early. In the meantime, I am switching off the seatbelt sign. Feel free to move about the cabin if needed. Your friendly flight service team will be making their rounds soon for snack and drink service. Thank you for flying Continental Airlines."
Another ding accompanied the little seatbelt light extinguishing. Bella fumbled with her belt and excused herself as she passed Edward. The lavatory was small, but plenty roomy enough to remove her shirt. When she did, she noticed that her bra was soaked too. She used a few paper towels to try to dry it off, but without too much luck.
Finally, she gave up and slid the T-shirt over her head, laughing as it fit her more like a dress than a shirt. Her smile fell when she noticed the scent wafting off of it. It was heady and thick with sandalwood. She swallowed and pressed her lips together, trying to slow her heart. Stupid traitor heart.
Exiting the bathroom, Bella returned to her seat only to find Edward's seat repositioned so he was lying flat, a mask over his eyes, and earbuds in his ears. Clamoring over him was difficult, and she was surprised he didn't wake up. Finally, she managed to get to her seat, and settled in. She took the earbuds provided by the airlines and popped them in her ears, plugging them in so she could hear the audio that accompanied the onboard movie. She tried the music stations before finally deciding to settle in like Edward. Once they reached St. Maarten, they would have another small plane ride to St. Barts and then a rush to find Alice. She wasn't sure if they would get any sleep that night or not, so a snooze on the long plane ride seemed a smart alternative.
It took a while to figure out the seat, but once she was flat and comfortable, she rolled on her side, tucked her hands under her head, and soon felt herself drifting. She heard shifting beside her and squinted her eyes open to find Edward facing her, his features softened in sleep, the black mask having been lost somehow during his turn. She smiled at the curvature of his lip as it quirked in response to something he was dreaming. She had to admit, Edward was a nice looking guy. In fact, if she were completely honest, he looked even better now than he did Freshman year. Her heart sputtered again, making the smile fall off her face. Stupid traitor heart.