Well, you loved Edward's OJ moments. The boy does make me giggle as I write. Thank you for reading, and many thanks as usual to Midnight Cougar... I would be lost without her.
My phone buzzed with an incoming text. Shifting slowly so I didn't disturb Bella, I grabbed it off the nightstand.
Picked it up – on my way. Be there in 10. She is going to kill you btw.
I grinned—there was that chance. Looking down into Bella's sleeping face I decided the chance was worth the risk. And I knew exactly how to get her on board with my plan. I chuckled quietly to myself.
I was pure genius.
Pressing closer, I nuzzled the sleep-warmed skin of her cheek, letting my lips ghost over her softness. "Bella, my darling girl. Wake up."
Her eyes slowly opened; her sleepy smile welcoming. "Hi."
"Emmett is going to be here any minute. We need to get up."
Frowning, she pulled the covers closer and snuggled into my chest. My arms wrapped around her, enjoying the feel of her being close. "Is he coming to yell at me more?"
"I'll make you a deal. I won't let him yell. But you can't yell either."
Chuckling, I got up, grabbed some jeans and a t-shirt from the drawer and threw them on. Bending down I grabbed Thor, placing him on my shoulder. "Get dressed and come downstairs."
I winked at her. "My girl likes me that way." I paused at the door. "Come on, Beaker."
"I'm coming!" I heard her get out of bed as I walked down the hall and then suddenly she called out, "Wait—what are you up to Oscar?"
I just kept walking.
She walked around the vehicle silently, stopping a couple times to glare at me, and then she would move again, opening the doors, peering inside, but not saying a word. I heard her rummaging around the front at one point and I braced myself for her wrath.
Finally, she stopped in front of me. "You bought a new car."
"SUV—the safest one in its class. It's an Acura MDX."
Emmett grinned. "It's a sweet ride. This thing is loaded."
"Why does the registration have my name on it, Edward, if it's your car?"
"SUV," I corrected.
"Fine," she huffed. "Your SUV."
"Ah, tax purposes."
I looked at Emmett who nodded with approval.
I probably shouldn't have raised my hand for a fist pump while Bella was looking.
"You better not have bought me this, Edward. If you did, you can take it back ... right now."
I shook my head. "No refunds."
"So you did buy this for me?" she spat out, her arms crossing over her chest. "Is my car not good enough?"
And there it was. I looked at Em, who shrugged as if to say "you are on your own" and faced Bella.
"No, actually, it's not."
Her eyes narrowed and I moved closer, keeping my voice soothing. "Bella, this SUV is safe. A nav system; completely synched with your phone, extra air bags, tinted windows, air conditioning. Every safety and luxury option I could get is in there."
She snorted. "You sound like a car salesman. Why do I need all that stuff? I'm fine without it! I've done without all of it until now!"
She walked into my web so easily, I was surprised.
"Things have changed now. This," I patted the top of the SUV, "will keep you safe. Now you can drive with the windows up and be comfortable in the heat, Bella." I jerked my head toward the front gate. "They can't take pictures of you through the tint. Pull down the visor and wear sunglasses, they won't get much of an angle from the front either. You don't even have to roll the windows down to get in the gate—there is a remote inside the cab." I added a little incentive. "Once this, us, dies down a little, I won't worry so much when you're out on your own." I didn't add it would be a while before that happened. Then I went for the kill. "I would think, after what happened this morning, you'd want to make sure Em and I don't worry so much. That you'd accept this, knowing how much it would mean to both of us."
Her eyes widened and she looked over at Em, who nodded at her, his face grave. She looked back at me, and I struggled to keep a straight face as he took a bow behind her. I kept my expression serious. "I don't ask much, Bella, but I am asking you to do this one thing. Drive this car. For me."
She looked at the vehicle and then back at me. "It would make you feel better? Worry less?"
I nodded. "Yes, it would. Please."
Her voice became suspicious. "Does this have anything to do with the money?"
Bloody hell, my girl was a smart one. "No, Bella. This has everything to do with your safety and my peace of mind," I stated firmly. "That never even crossed my mind."
She studied my face which I managed to keep smooth, only conveying shock at her suggestion.
"Just checking," she murmured as she looked back at the vehicle again.
My lips twitched as I dared a glance at Emmett who was smirking at me. I should so have gotten another Oscar for that performance. Fooling her wasn't easy.
She sighed in defeat. "It is a pretty colour," she murmured.
I pulled her against my chest, wrapping my arms securely around her. "It's called 'honey toffee caramel'. It matches your eyes—especially when it sparkles in the sun."
Those sparkling eyes looked up at me, no longer annoyed, but smiling.
Emmett groaned. "I am out of here," he chuckled. "Cheeseball is back in the house." He shook his head as he walked away. I ignored him.
Lowering my head, I bit down on her sensitive lobe. "The windows are dark enough we could snog in the back seat somewhere. Just for fun."
I kissed the shell of her ear, tracing the translucent skin with the tip of my tongue. "We could get in now and try it if you like." I chuckled, lowering my voice. "It would drive Emmett crazy."
I had her.
The stories printed the next day were quite close to what Emmett had predicted. Apparently, I was seeing Esme as well as Bella and that caused her to start drinking. One of the photographers got pushed while trying to break up the two of them, since they were about to start physically fighting over me. I glanced up at Bella, who was chuckling beside me. "Hot, Beaker. Cat fight." I waggled my eyebrows at her, relishing her giggles. Of course, no mention was made of the fact they were long-standing friends, or that Esme was staying here and they had left to go for breakfast together. I shut off the monitor, shaking my head. It would never change. Half the time even legitimate interviews misconstrued my words, twisting them to make it seem like I said something other than what I had stated. I was tired of it, and I had to admit, it was wearing me down.
I sat down, sipping my coffee. "Is Esme still asleep? What time did she get home last night?" I had crashed early, Bella beside me reading, and Thor purring on my head as he snuggled in.
Bella smirked as she placed the plate of French toast in front of me. I dug in to the unexpected treat, famished. "She, ah, texted me to say it was so late she'd stay at Carlisle's."
I paused, my fork midway to my mouth. "That wanker. He stole my other woman!"
Bella laughed. "You Cullen men are hard to resist."
"It's the British thing. I keep telling you, Beaker. Resistance is futile!" I pulled her onto my lap, kissing her with syrup-covered lips.
"So it appears," she agreed. "It's not like Esme to move so quickly."
I took another bite of French toast, chewing thoughtfully and chuckling as Bella stole a bite off my plate. "Carlisle isn't usually one to act like this either," I agreed. "I guess you were right. They are perfect for each other."
Her eyes lit up and she leaned closer. "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. What did you say? I was what?"
Laughing, I kissed her—hard. She was adorable. "You were right. One hundred percent right." Then I smirked. "And I am so going to have fun with them when they eventually resurface."
"Um, Edward? If you embarrass her, she might decide to spend less time with Carlisle. And more time here."
I frowned, not understanding her point. Esme was here to see Bella after all. "And?"
"If she's here, we won't be alone. And then I couldn't do this." With a grin she slipped off my lap onto her knees in front of me. Her hands began a torturous circuit up my thighs, gliding under the loose legs of the board shorts I was wearing and teasing OJ. He instantly became far more interested in the fact her mouth was right there than the fact French toast was close to my mouth. I dropped my fork as Bella tugged on the material, lifting my hips as she pulled him free of the suddenly restraining fabric.
When her mouth closed around me, wet and warm, my head fell back, thoughts of breakfast, Esme or anything else leaving my head, at least the one on my shoulders. The only thing in the entire world that mattered was the sexy woman kneeling in front of me with my cock in her mouth. Damn it, she was good at that.
"Oh fuck … Bella …" I groaned.
Her eyes were filled with mischief as she pulled back, teasing the head with her tongue, the pink tip gliding and licking, making my eyes roll back in my head. "You really want Esme here all the time before you leave?"
"No," I panted, shaking my head, understanding her completely now. And in utter agreement. "Esme should spend lots of time with Carlisle. She can come back after I leave," I gasped. "Not saying a bloody word."
She winked. "Good plan."
My reward was her mouth on me again.
Both OJ and I rejoiced.
I handed Carlisle another beer, grinning at the expression on his face as he watched Bella and Esme laughing together, floating around the pool. "You are a goner, there big bro."
He glanced at me, frowning. "I just met her, Edward. Hardly a goner."
"Hmmph," I mused, throwing myself back into the lounger next to him, staring at Bella. Her pretty blue bathing suit was nowhere near small enough for my taste, but since we had guests it was probably for the best. They might not like the reaction I would have to her more revealing suits. As it was, I had to keep OJ on a short lease and distracted. "Well then, you'll be happy to know Bella is planning on keeping Esme pretty busy over the next few days. You won't have to worry about her being too … clingy or anything."
The bottle paused in midair and Carlisle glanced at me. "Oh."
I hid my grin. "Problem?"
"No," he paused, "but I thought you were home the next few days. I, ah, was planning to take Esme around, show her some great photo spots and, um, you know, let you have some time with Bella before you left for your shoot. You know, as a favour."
"Ah." Then I started to chuckle. "You are so full of it."
He joined me in my laughter. "I am. Bloody hell, Edward she is fabulous."
I nodded. "She is great. I like her."
His eyes were focused on her. "I like her too … a lot."
"She's smart, funny and sexy as hell," he pronounced. "She makes me laugh. I like how she makes me feel when I'm with her. So at ease and happy. "
"So, not bringing her back then."
He shook his head. "Not if I can convince her to stay for the night. I already promised her a tour of the studio tomorrow."
"The way she's looking at you, I don't think it will be too difficult to convince her." I chuckled. "And the way the two of them are scheming over there I think it's being decided for you."
He grinned, taking another swig of his beer. "I'm surprisingly good with that." He swallowed. "I'll make sure to give her back after you're gone. I know she wants to spend time with Bella."
"I think Bella is thrilled her matchmaking worked. She doesn't mind Esme spending time with you."
"And you are all for it," he stated dryly.
I didn't bother to hide my smirk. "Whatever makes Bella happy."
He snorted but didn't say anything else for a few moments.
"When do you leave?"
"You don't sound enthused."
I shrugged. "It's fine. I hate leaving Bella these days, even if it's only for a short time. She is handling all of this so well, but I keep thinking something is going to go wrong."
"She's strong, Edward. She loves you."
"I love her."
His voice was serious. "I know. It's good to see." He took another sip of beer. "Aunt Lizzy know about this?"
"Yes. I rang and told her. She was thrilled but told me it took me long enough."
"Sounds like her."
Laughter drew our gazes again, and I grinned at the sight of their two beautiful heads bent close together, giggling. I liked seeing Bella relaxed and happy. "Will she be getting a call from you soon, Carlisle?"
His eyes left Esme and met mine. He huffed out a sigh. "Yeah, you wanker. She probably will be."
"That means a Scottish invasion. An epic one." I turned on the Scottish accent. "Both her laddies in love? With such bonny wee lassies?" I chuckled. "Oooch, me boys! When do I get grand-weans? I've been waiting to change nappies for some wee bairns for sooo long." I groaned. "Dad won't even come to hold her back. She'll be full out mental with happiness."
He laughed. "She'll be daft." He fixed me a stern look I knew he was struggling to maintain. "She's your mum. She stays with you."
I knew he was full of it. He adored my mum and always complained when she didn't spend enough time with him on her visits. "She'll want to spend time with Esme as well. We'll share."
"I'll do sixty—forty. And you're the sixty."
I chuckled, knowing he was lying. He'd try and steal her more often. "Done."
"Okay." He stood up. "Let's go join the ladies." He looked back, meeting my gaze. "We'll keep an eye on Bella, Edward. And Jake and Emmett are here." He sighed. "I'll even bring Esme back while you're gone, so Bella isn't alone. She'll be fine."
I drained my beer and stood up beside him. "Thanks. I am worried. It's only a week, but it seems …"
He gripped my shoulder. "I know. We'll make sure she's okay."
I needed to know that.
I kissed Bella; a fierce, deep kiss as I pulled her against me. I didn't want to go. The past few days had flown by too fast, and now I had to leave again. She leaned back, panting. "The car is waiting."
"It can wait another few minutes," I growled, capturing her mouth again.
I pressed my forehead against hers. "Don't go out without Jake. Please, Beaker."
"Call Emmett if you need something or you're scared."
She cut me off. "Esme is with Carlisle, Edward. She'll be over later today. We're going to do some fun things this week and I'll be sure Jake is with us. Carlisle is also coming with us at times. The rest of the time, I'll be fine—just like I always am. You'll be home by the weekend. Don't worry so much, please."
"I'm sorry, I … I don't want to go. I don't want to leave you."
She pulled me back with one last kiss. "You have to. It's your job. Go do what you do and be brilliant. I'll be right here when you get home."
"I'll call you when I get there."
I walked toward the car, turning partway down the steps. "Maybe from the airport, before I get on the plane."
"Whatever you need to do, Oscar," she chuckled.
"Go back to bed. It's early," I instructed her firmly.
The car door was open; Felix waiting for me. I turned around as I got in the car, for one last look at my Bella. Leaning on the doorframe, wearing one of my t-shirts and leggings, her hair tumbling down past her shoulders in total disarray from my hands, she was breathtaking to me.
She was home.
I lifted my hand and slid into the car before I ran back to her for one last kiss.
Because I knew one would never be enough. I needed more of her. More kisses, more time.
I took out my phone and texted Emmett.
Clear my schedule as much as possible. No more time away from home for a while.
He replied quickly. Okay. Will do what I can.
I sighed. I rarely demanded much, but I wanted this. More than anything.
Just take care of it, Em.
His reply was brief. Done.
That was what I wanted. I'd do this movie, all the publicity the studio wanted for Nighthawk, and then I would take some time off. Maybe take Bella away for a holiday. The two of us on a deserted island or something—just somewhere private we could be alone and I could spoil her. I'd like to do that.
About halfway to the airport, my phone buzzed and I looked at it expecting to see another return text from Em. Instead there was a picture from Bella with the text —waiting for you right here—and I had to smile. She had taken a selfie, lying in our bed, resting on my pillow with Thor beside her head, curled into her dark hair. She was smiling into the camera, her eyes half closed and sleepy looking. She was so damned sexy and she had no idea.
I wrote her back.
I love you in our bed.
Her return text made my heart clench a little more.
I love you everywhere.
God, she was brilliant.
The next week couldn't go by quick enough.
I love you everywhere. One of my favourite lines in the whole story.
Update on Saturday.
Thank you for reading.