Recap: Edward, furious that Bella had submitted his DNA for reconstruction without his permission, plots to sabotage Robson's work and reclaim his DNA. He breaks into Robson's office and installs a virus. Bella weeps at home, from loss and regret. Edward smells the presence of Tia and a second vampire on campus. He calls Emmett for assistance.
Thanks to Hadley Hemingway for her advice and beta skills. She gives me the confidence to push that 'post' button! It seems I am overly fond of the semi-colon. An Abridged Account is stuffed full of them, I'm afraid. Shed-loads of them, as they say in the UK. Any errors are mine alone.
Chapter 14: Her husband, her nephew
Text message 1 day ago Saturday 1 of 258 unread
Tia: OMG so WHERE ARE YOU, anthony, looks like you are never gonna reply, you are ignoring me arent you?
Tia: Went to student café again, also went looking for your aunt (lol, whut?)
Tia: so really need to talk to you about Cullen and Wisconsin (omg you wont beleive what happened) and havermosa. I am trying to get a friend Larry to stop eating people too and I want him to meet you cause youre the only yellow eye guy Ive met so far. So call me or meet us at the old spot, not battery park, the street vendor lattes are shit down there.
Tia: Will keep trying wont give up so dont ignore me omg!
Text message Sunday 9:45am EST
Unknown number: Bella! You must take your fertility shot. You missed yesterday.
Bella: Alice, is that you?
Email 10:11am EST
To: Isabella Swan (isabella dot swan at columbia dot edu )
From: Professor Philip Robson (phillip dot robson at columbia dot edu)
Good morning Isabella,
I hope you have had a chance to tell your husband the good news about our high success rate (85% and rising, hopefully!) for his ancestor's genome. I can understand that he may be uncomfortable with the unconventional approach we are taking to achieve your conception, but he should be grateful that you have gone to such lengths on behalf of his heredity! I have no desire to see your marriage suffer, of course, but I urge you to press forward with your plans. If you need a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on, do text or email me anytime and we can meet. It's probably best if you don't stop by my house again, nor should you call me at home. But you should know that I AM HERE FOR YOU.
I will be going into the lab today—yes, it is Sunday, but a scientist so close to a finish line feels no need to rest – and will let you know if I am able to push our percentage higher.
Thinking of you dear Isabella,
Text message 10:15am EST
Unknown caller: BELLA. YOU MUST KEEP TAKING YOUR SHOT.
Bella: Alice, I can't. I won't act in defiance of Edward's wishes, and I have already hurt him enough. Truthfully I don't know how to get back to where we were, before I had even heard of Dr. Philip Robson. How I wish I could talk to you, face to face, my sister-in-law! I hope you are okay.
Text message 10:28am EST
Bella: Edward, apparently Phil will be in his lab today, in case you were hoping for an empty lab in which to search for your DNA. Please be careful.
Edward: I already have a keylogger tap on his emails. I will enter the lab at nightfall after Robson has gone.
Bella: Also, Alice contacted me again.
Bella: Also, please know how much I regret hurting you - how much I love you.
Text message 12:45pm EST
Unknown Caller: Edward, Bella MUST take her shot. She won't do it without your agreement. This is a matter of life and death, not baby or no baby.
Edward: Life or death? Christ, Alice, what do you see?
Edward: Oh Alice, the way you drop a bomb and then vanish with no further elaboration. I hope there is a method to your madness. I wish I could speak with you. I am so lost.
Edward: Fine, I will tell Bella to take her shot.
Text message 12:52pm EST
Edward: Bella, apparently you MUST take your shot, according to Alice. I don't know what that implies. Can you manage it?
Bella: All right, I will. I can. Have you made progress?
Edward: I have begun. Your office this afternoon, lab reconnaissance tonight.
Edward: Also, it is best that you continue to stay away from campus, as the vampire Tia is looking for you (in order to find me).
Bella: Oh Edward, PLEASE be careful.
Edward: I have enlisted Emmett's aid.
Email 2:25pm EST
To: Bella (writerfornow cullsec dot com)
From: Rosalie (hourglass cullsec dot com)
A few essential questions regarding our Christmas visit. I hope you have a guest bedroom? Does it have its own bathroom? Also is there room in Edward's garage for my Mustang? Also, are you on Playstation or Xbox?
Emmett is hoping you will make sugar cookies again, he wants to decorate.
I will see you Tuesday, Christmas Eve.
Text message 2:56pm EST
Edward: Did you manage to administer your injection?
Bella: Yes, and without fainting.
Bella: Edward, Rosalie is asking me about Christmas arrangements. Please tell me you are coming home by Christmas Eve. I miss you. We need to talk this out.
Edward: I am not ready give you an answer just yet.
Text message 3:05pm EST
Emmett: Hey E, I hear crying in your house. Everything okay with B? You might want to check in. PS No vamps here.
Emmett: PPS Deer are eating your neighbor's bushes. PPPS Candy Crush Saga is addictive. PPPPS Did you know Bill and Hilary C have a house here in Chappaqua?
Edward: No, all is not well. I have checked in with Bella. Will explain more another day. PS no vamps here either, I am still considering whether to contact Tia myself.
Emmett: Be safe, man. Keep me posted.
Text message 5:34pm EST
Anthony: Sorry, Tia, but I have not read all 258 of your messages. Why are you back so soon? Don't bother my 'aunt'. She is not my real aunt, obviously, she is a professor who has taken an unhealthy interest in me (like many human women). I don't want to draw any more of her attention to me, so please refrain from approaching her. She won't know where to find me.
Tia: OMGOD Anthony ITS YOU, thought youd been de-headed and flamed you took so long to answer me back. Wait until I tell you what happened in Wisconsin, your source was wrong about Clausen, its CULLEN, and there IS a human woman in their coven, and she went to the Volturi like a decade ago and stopped her mate from mooning his sparkling ass to a whole festival of humans, or something like that, so even the volturi are scared of her, and now the cullens have disbanded to keep the volturi from being threatened by them, and the Volturi are probably looking for Havermosa too like me. OMG she must be aMAZEballs-ing.
Anthony: Where do you get all this bullshit, Tia?
Tia: My new BFF Larry told me. True fax he says.
Anthony: Where does Larry get his bullshit?
Tia: Larrys done Europe, he said the volturi dont use the name Havermosa. they call her Sue Cantatay, which means his singer or something. TRU FAX.
Tia: can we meet now? At the café?
Anthony: Are you and Larry here in Manhattan?
Tia: Yeah, Lower East side at the mo. Can we meet?
Tia: HEY can we meet?
Tia: Anthony? Dont you turn off that phone again
Tia: Anthony…. ANTHONEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Text message 6:59 EST
Edward: You can relax for a bit, vamps are in Manhattan. They are more informed (and yet misinformed) than ever. Not going to engage yet.
Emmett: Roger. Don't do it unless you think you'll prevail. PS I've made it to level 289.
Edward: I don't play Candy Crush Saga.
Edward's visit to Bella's office had been brief. Her scent in the tiny room had nearly overwhelmed him. He knew he wouldn't be able to think objectively here, particularly when she kept sending him plaintive texts, telling him that she loved him. That she missed him already.
He managed to install some remote access software before making a hasty departure. He hesitated as he relocked the door, then went back in and against his better judgement, he grabbed her pearl grey cashmere cardigan (a Christmas gift from Alice, three years ago) off the back of her chair.
When darkness fell around 5pm, he once again trespassed through an obliging third story window, this time acutely aware of the presence of Robson, his adversary/victim, who was working in the very lab Edward wanted to burglarize.
Edward made his way to the basement and settled in the meantime for a utility closet, two rooms down from the lab. Robson's weekend dedication would serve Edward's advantage, actually. He could observe – through Robson's head – where exactly the DNA was stashed.
"Mine," Edward had spat aloud, when he had first witnessed Robson selecting a slide of genetic material from a container. For fifteen minutes, Edward had to fight the foolish urge to leave his closet, walk down the hall into the lab, and scare the shit out of the man. Edward would assume the demeanor of a deadly vampire (violence wasn't required, only the right tone of voice, a lowering of the chin, a curl of the lip), and reclaim his genetic property—after which a compliant and terrified Robson would likely urinate himself in fear. Or faint. Or scream like a ten year old girl. Edward would have enjoyed humiliating the freeloader who had dared to experiment with something as irreplaceable as Edward's human DNA.
Eventually, though, Edward found himself fascinated with the complexities of Robson's technique. The data recording, the manipulation, the stripping of instructional proteins-oddly, Robson would then lyse the nuclear membrane and the helix itself. This initially made Edward rise to his feet in indignation – why destroy the helix?
This continued on repeat for two hours, with Edward watching Robson rupture three of Edward's already fragile human nuclei. Robson's mind had plans for these free-floating nucleotides– indeed, he seemed rather excited about the final set. "What plans?" muttered Edward. "Come on Phil, give me the whole picture." But Robson's thoughts remained focused only on the task at hand.
"Alice." Edward addressed her aloud, in case she was watching. "What makes this guy 'no good'?"Robson's emails to colleagues smacked of self-importance and those to students were patronizing. So the man could be an asshole on occasion. But there was no sign of falsifying data, of plagiarizing another's work, or taking shortcuts in his quest to create a complete gamete from the cells of Edward A. Masen. Bella had chosen well, thought Edward grudgingly. If anyone were to work on his DNA, Edward would want someone who demanded accuracy and discipline, rather than a scientist who was brilliant with innovation, but poor in practical execution.
Of course the man's email this morning had revealed a raging crush on Bella, a crush that Edward assumed Bella had ignored as irrelevant (she was usually oblivious to the way she drew male attention). Was this infatuation his crime? Had he made advances to Bella that she had tolerated in order to achieve her goal?
Edward sank back against the wall, thinking. He fingered the sleeve and cuff of Bella's sweater, which he had tied around his neck, like a talisman. Well, like a security blanket. He raised it to his nose and took a moment to appreciate how utterly exquisite she smelled. His wife. His lovely wife. Who was probably crying at home while Edward plotted to destroy her efforts of the last six months. Her efforts to have a child with him. He began to wonder what the hell he was doing exactly.
He glanced at his laptop, where the screen showed a connection to Bella's office computer. Her screensaver ran, displaying a series of photographs of scenes from their honeymoon, in Venice, almost eight years ago. He moved his finger on the pad and her icons came into view. He hovered the cursor over the Microsoft Outlook icon. He had not opened her emails yet, not even the ones to Robson, because it felt invasive. It felt wrong. He shut his laptop.
It was then that Robson, two rooms away, stood and stretched and went to make himself a cup of tea. He took an imported shortbread cookie from a Tupperware and stared at the pixelated poster of Edward A. Masen while waiting for an electric kettle to heat his water. And here, Edward would note later, Robson made his fatal mistake: his mind wandered to Isabella.
Robson wondered if she had gone to bed yet. He wondered if her neglectful fool of a husband was home. Robson pictured her in bed, reading a novel , but unable to concentrate because she can't stop thinking of me. She wore a pale pink camisole, he decided, the stretchy kind with her nipples just visible. He imagined her gratitude, her admiration. He was her hero, the champion for her cause, the deliverer of her deepest desire! You are the reason I am pregnant, he imagined her saying, tearfully grateful and triumphant, grasping both his hands. He hoped that Chicago would bring them closer together…that they would celebrate, after the procedure. (Dr. Hoffman and Wei Ling were nowhere to be seen in this scenario.) In an emotional moment, she might let him hold her. It would lead to a spontaneous, unexpected kiss – a surprise to both of them - that would set her loins on fire—
"Bloody hell, what was that?" shouted Phil, for there had been an almighty crash down the hall. He had thought he was alone in the building, the one scientist at this barely-Ivy League university (a minor minor player in research, really, when compared to Cambridge), who was dedicated enough to work the Sunday before Christmas…
He opened the door and peered into the semi-darkened corridor. The utility closet door was open. Robson called: "Hello? Who's there?" He walked down the hall and peered in – it looked like a shelf had collapsed, as there were bottles of cleaning products scattered on the floor. "Really, the department must invest more money into quality fittings and fixtures," he grumbled, though he had a good look down the hall both ways, a little nervously, before returning to reassuring light of his lab.
A college campus with no undergraduates can resemble a ghost town. On the Monday before Christmas, the few academics on the ground at Columbia University were most grateful to see that the Campus café was actually open. They would stamp the snow from their feet, just inside the door, and perhaps exchange a look of shared martyrdom (so many exams to grade!) or academic regard (the conference referees are awaiting my paper!). They'd inhale the steamy, coffee-scented air and their caffeine addictions would kick right in.
Everyone likes a latte on a frosty morning. Even the odd vampire, who might instead sit outside in a frozen café chair, unable to bear the concentration of human scents in such a warm, closed environment.
The barista, who would rather be shopping for last minute gifts, sullenly and slowly filled the orders.
Phil Robson was impatient to get to his lab, as he had just yesterday sequestered a most promising pile of DNA, just waiting for the genius of his guiding hand to coax it into position. He fretted a little; his computer had been acting up this morning. Robson fingered the vial in his pocket and got into line behind two nattering women in their forties. They reminded him of his wife: short-haired feminists who didn't seem particularly feminine at all. Unlike his lovely, gentle Isabella. Ripening at home, awaiting fertilization.
"Yes, it was quite the party," said one of them. "Most of the department was there. Well, the important faculty, anyway. The up-and-coming. A few talented students too."
"I hear Dr. Martle has a beautiful home," said the other.
"OH he does! The food was faaabulous; tiny, of course, and random. Very contemporary. That whole stacked look is so passé' now. And the champagne was a decent quality, definitely. Isabella Swan was knocking that back, let me tell you!"
"I.M. Swan? I didn't figure her for much of drinker. She always looks so…reasonable in the hallways. A bit reserved. Are you getting a breakfast bagel, too, Diana? Or just a latte?"
"Just a latte, hon. Double espresso shot, considering the mountain of grading I have ahead of me this afternoon. Anyway, I pegged her as a drinker a while back. Well, maybe not a drinker, but you know that woman has issues."
"Issues? What kind of issues?"
"You know, issues. That toy-boy, for one. He's going to break her heart, poor thing. She probably already knows it."
"What? Isn't she married? To a musician or something? And why is the line so slow today?"
"Reduced staff this week, I suppose. Anyway, her husband Edward is always out of town. And this is where it gets indecent. Or kinky, even. She brought her nephew to Dr. Martle's party. Well, her husband's nephew. Anthony."
"Okay. And why is that indecent?"
"You should see the guy! He's deadly gorgeous. Nineteen and toned. And I mean toned. His face is so perfect, it's indecent. I couldn't stop staring. No one at the party could stop watching the two of them, with her fame and his cheekbones. They even left early. She probably couldn't wait to get him home and out of his V-neck sweater. Then! Then Charlotte, one of our undergrads, told me she had seen the two of them at a restaurant together. Months ago."
"A restaurant. Doing what?"
"Charlotte wouldn't say. Which says it all, don't you think?"
"Hm, maybe. Yeah, I'll have a small latte please, with a shot of hazelnut."
"Tall skinny latte, double up the espresso. Anyway. So Charlotte went to confront Isabella."
"Wow, Diana, really? Because…why exactly?"
"Because, hon, Charlotte was anxious that Isabella might lower her grade, even subconsciously, because of her knowledge of their affair! The publicity would be terrible for I.M. Swan, if it got out, don't you think?
"As a faculty member, yes. As an author, not necessarily. So, what makes you think they are having an affair?"
"Gawd, you are so naive sometimes. Didn't you hear what I've been saying? You're never going to achieve full professor status unless you can ascertain the alliances, the subtleties, of those around you!"
"Or unless I publish something notable, Diana. So what happened when Charlotte confronted her?"
"Anthony was at her house, shovelling the driveway!"
"Scandalous. The driveway? I thought she lived in an apartment. In Riverside or something."
"Yeah, but he went to her country house. She can afford one after forty six weeks on the bestseller list."
"I think it was more like sixty."
"He'd been there all night, of course. Well, it turns out the woman at the restaurant was some other brunette and not Isabella. Charlotte emailed to tell me, just last night."
"OH. So…that must have been a relief for Charlotte."
"Yes, but poor Isabella! The young stud is playing her for a fool! She obviously doesn't know that he has another brunette on the side. Who knows whom else he is stringing along! I wonder if they are girls his age, or if he has a penchant for older women, possibly."
"NOT AS OLD AS YOU THOUGH," bayed Robson, quite suddenly.
"Excuse me? I beg your pardon, this is a private conversation!"
"Quite, though I couldn't help but notice your complete lack of discretion and your inability to lower your voice, madam! You are promoting a vicious rumor based on conjecture and coincidences. Nothing you described was even close to proof."
"Oh gawd, you're some visiting nat sci faculty, aren't you? Or is it law? Please spare me the lecture on hypotheses and proofs. Anyway, why should you care? I went with them to the party, I saw them together, and I could tell. I have an intuition for human behavior that goes beyond the obvious. It's what makes me a successful writer."
"Of fiction, I presume. Isabella Swan is modest, honest…genuine. How dare you…how dare you!"
"Oh great, another FAN."
"That's right. A devoted one. Now move aside, I would like to order my bloody latte!"
"Jesus, your face is all red, you're just as smitten as the Literature faculty!"
"I suppose you have the British version of 'A Long Piece of Road', commissioned dust jacket created by artist David Hockney too? The American artwork just wasn't good enough, was it? She thinks she's J.K. Rowling, Cormac McCarthy, and Hilary Mantel , all rolled into one-"
"Diana, now. We're going. "
Tia and her companion watched the two women scurry away from the café, sniping at each other like crows.
"Oh my God," she said to Larry, a rather tall vampire with magnificent curly black hair who, despite all Tia's urging, had barely touched his latte. "Anthony and I.M. Swan."
"Si," he replied, with a gleam in his eye. "Si claro."
Text message Monday 6:34pm EST
Edward: Update: Tia and partner on campus just hours ago; their scent is fresh. I have wrapped up here and will leave Manhattan via the East River, so I will be phoneless for a couple of hours.
Emmett: Heading here to Chappaqua?
Edward: No, will hole up in Riverside and make sure I am not tracked.
Email Monday 6:36 EST
To: Isabella Swan (i. )
From: Professor Philip Robson (p. )
Isabella, my dear girl,
I have had quite a rollercoaster day of triumphs and disasters that I must share with you. I feel powerfully drawn to you just now, as the common goal that binds us is fast approaching its climax!
Please, I must see you as soon as possible. Even if you have to lie to your husband, I humbly ask you to get away, if only for a moment. I will make it worth your fib.
Thinking of you dear Isabella,
Text message Monday 7:01pm
Phil: Did you get my email, Isabella?
Phil: Please check your college email.
Text message Monday 7:50pm EST
Bella: Edward, please come home. I am desperate to see you, to know you are okay.
Edward: It is done. I will spend one more night in Riverside. Don't worry about the vampires.
Edward: I want to see you too.
Edward: I love you.
Edward: And I'm sorry.
Bella wept a little, with relief and with sadness for their little boy, never-to-be.
She couldn't bear to spend one more night without her husband. She washed her face and brushed out her hair. She put on a pretty, matching set of underwear and the simple blue sweaterdress with pearl buttons that he loved on her. Thigh high stockings and low heeled boots. Minimal makeup. She checked the evening train schedule to the city and got the keys to the Volvo. At the last minute she grabbed all the keys, to all the cars (minus the missing Aston Martin) and carefully picked her away around the frozen lumps of snow and ice to the garage. She wrote a note to Emmett and put in on the windshield of the Mercedes: 'Thanks for being my guardian, but I have to go see Edward now. I won't go to campus, I promise. Edward says not to worry about the you-know-whats. Now go inside, for heaven's sake, and get clean for Rose's arrival. The Xbox is hooked up and waiting.'
Text message: Monday 8:25pm
Emmett: BUSTED. Bella guessed I was here. She took all the car keys too. She's on the train to Riverside, I didn't get to there in time to catch it. Can you meet her at the station? There's no way I can run through such a populated area. Let me know when you are on dry land, and that you got my message.
Edward approached his apartment building and sniffed the air. Unfortunately, he could mostly just smell himself and the parka he had stolen and thrown over his sodden clothing. The level of pollution in the East River was foul. He tried mind-reading instead. There were, of course, hundreds of minds in a very close range, all stacked atop the other in twenty five floors of luxury apartments. It was like white noise. Shit.
He hadn't been back to Riverside since Saturday (and that was by car) and so figured it was unlikely Tia had been able to figure out where he (or his 'aunt') lived. If she had tracked him tonight, she would have found his scent reappearing in Queens, then vanishing into the cold waters of Long Island Sound. The opposite direction of the Bronx. He relaxed a little. Tia wasn't smart enough, resourceful enough, to find out I.M. Swan's name, much less her address.
He moved in the shrubbery, toward the side of the building, intending to take the service elevator, where his wet and half-frozen state would not shock the concierge, a persnickety middle aged man who did his job well. Then, just to the south of the minds looming over him, Edward heard a brain practically shouting his wife's name. Isabella, oh there she is! Oh, what luck, there she is!
Fuck, it was Robson.
Bella was paying the taxi driver when she saw him approaching, out of the corner of her eye. Never had she felt more irritated at Phil's solicitousness, his pompous Oxbridge Britishness, at his really bad timing, than she did now. She was desperate to get upstairs and fall into her husband's arms, if he'd let her.
"Isabella!" Phil called, breathlessly. "Wait, it's me. It is I," he said, correcting his own grammar. "Phil. I've been waiting here, hoping… praying to see you!"
"H-hello, Phil," she said haltingly. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, darling, didn't you get my email?"
She drew back at this overly familiar, inappropriate endearment. "No, I didn't," she lied.
"I have so much to tell you. Please… can we go somewhere? Your apartment… is Edward home?" He glanced upward to the building.
"Yes, he is," she said, hoping it was true. "He is expecting me. Phil…" she said with some alarm. It seemed that Phil might be on the verge of making some mortifying confession of his feelings for her, as he was leaning in, like he might even try to kiss her. She stepped backwards.
"You see, I had the most awful morning," he gushed. He placed his hand over his heart. "I overheard terrible lies, spewing from the mouths of jealous colleagues – they are so envious of your talent, your beauty!"
"Phil, please, this is not the time. It's late and I'm cold."
"I defended you!" he declared, extending his hand like a television presenter on a home shopping network. "Then I went to the lab, only to find my computer has some awful virus, but I soldiered on!" He didn't admit to her that he also had somehow misplaced E. A. Masen's DNA extracts from the day before. He had been so unsettled by the noise in the utility closet, that he must have put them in some other drawer, some other compartment in a late night fit of paranoia. But no matter, she was in front of him now, looking so, so lovely with her hair down and her skin glowing in the blue-white streetlights...
"Phil, I'm sorry about your virus. In fact, I need to tell you—"
But Phil was now staring over her shoulder. A homeless man was fast approaching on the walkway. He wore an ill-fitting parka, too short in the arms but too roomy in the body. His pants were filthy and clearly frozen to his frame. His eyes glinted suddenly in the street lights, and Phil felt his bladder give a little lurch.
Phil grabbed Isabella's arm. "Quick!" he screeched. "Get inside!"
Bella recoiled and turned to look at the source of Phil's agitation. "Edward!" she cried.
Edward? thought Robson in horror.
The man removed the hood of his parka. "Bella," he said. "It's me, Anthony."
"The nephew," said Robson in wonder.
"No," she whispered, facing Edward and speaking so quietly that only he could hear her. "No more nephew. I want my husband back."
Edward stared at her for a moment. His heart seemed to take a little leap. The smallest, finest hint of a smile graced his face. He took another step closer.
"But…but," Phil spluttered, still hanging on to Bella's arm. "You said your husband didn't have any viable living genetic donors. No siblings. How can he have a nephew?" He gaped at the young man's face. There was something eerily and powerfully familiar about it. Something immediate…what was it?
"No viable siblings," corrected Edward. "I cannot contribute because I have the same inheritable disease, of which I am sure Bella must have informed you," he said smoothly. "Now let go of her arm, or I will break yours."
He said this with such a complex mix of civil manners and vampire undertone that Robson could only stare at this very dirty, frozen and unusually assured young man. He let go, with a jerk.
Bella swallowed the wild urge to laugh. The apprehension of her reunion with Edward had turned to relief. She took a step away from Robson. Though Bella had somehow made it all evening through the snow and ice of the station parking lot, the train platform and the taxi stand without falling, a brief lapse of concentration was inevitable, and she slipped.
Edward, of course, always prepared for a Bella-fall, was immediately there, his padded parka -arms around her. He straightened her to her feet but did not let go.
So tender, so lingering was Edward's embrace that Robson had to cry out in protest: "Let go of her at once, young man!"
Bella and Edward turned their heads in tandem to look at Robson, and it dawned on him that the woman of his dreams, the goddess of perfection and goodness and integrity… had a teenage lover. Robson had longed to hold her, just like that, and this brash upstart—a handsome nobody—had gotten there before him.
"He…he is cheating on you!" squeaked Robson.
"Who?" replied Bella.
"Him!" Robson pointed at Edward. "Your nephew! He's having affairs with other girls! At restaurants! I heard all about it this morning! And what about your husband? Edward? What does he think of all this?"
"Go home to your wife, Dr. Robson," said Edward, turning back to look into Bella's eyes.
"But…but…Chicago and…our goals and…we've worked so hard…" He straightened suddenly. "I have news for you, Isabella, news that you have been waiting for!"
Bella turned in Edward's embrace, so that he stood behind her. She wrapped his arm around her waist and hung onto his hand for dear life. "Phil, I will email you tomorrow, or after Christmas Day. We have worked hard, and I am grateful to you, truly. I look forward to your news, and I have an announcement of my own, but now it is time for all of us to go home, where we belong."
Edward and Bella turned and went inside. Phil stood there in the freezing temperatures, for a very long time, his vial of 100% Edward Anthony Masen sitting uncelebrated in his pocket.
A/N: Someone pointed out in the previous chapter that Carlisle would have remembered Edward's parents' eye colors. True! Well spotted.
Thanks for your patience with my slower posting schedule. Tell me if the formatting is hurting your eyes, or if it doesn't work on a tablet or Ipad. A nuisance to fiddle with on ff !