Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 33

Edward and I made it back to the house in record time. His jaw was set, his lips in a tight line as he heard the family's thoughts. He took a deep breath and let us in the back door.
"So, we're going back to New York to start school," he said, his entire focus on Alice and then Carlisle.
"It seems that way," Carlisle muttered, sitting down in the loveseat.
"Tell us what you saw, Alice," Esme sighed, taking the seat beside him.
"I finally caught a glimpse of Sinclair," Alice growled, but she spat the name out like it was a spoiled piece of food. "Mark lifted his...well, whatever it is he has. Sinclair's not done, and I saw plans for him appearing at teen clubs, high school functions, movie theatres, and shopping centers. The vision," she started, giving Edward a pointed look. I could imagine she was letting him see it for himself. "The vision shows a very young army."
"Damn it," Jasper growled from his pacing path behind the couch. "Teens are unpredictable as humans, as it is. But they'll make an insane army – easy to manipulate, incredibly strong, and volatile – beyond anything you could imagine. They already carry a pack mentality at that age. So they will be deadly when they hunt the streets."
Carlisle groaned, sitting forward and resting his arms on his thighs. "I've called Marcus and Demitri. They think, or really, they've requested that we try to...monitor the local high schools." He paused, looking up at Edward and then back to Alice. "Alice, did you see an area of New York? A particular neighborhood?"
"I saw the same warehouse. The one that we can't seem to find," she said, her eyes closing.
"Times Square," Edward muttered with a tilted head. "And what looks like...underground clubs. Raves?"
"Yeah, that's what I thought, too," Alice sighed, but she didn't open her eyes just yet. "I saw rich schools...kids with money."
"So now what?" Rose growled. "We're just supposed to go in under cover? Do we look like 21 Jumpstreet?"
I barked a laugh. "Let me guess," I chuckled, turning to Carlisle. "It's not about school, per se. It's about catching Sinclair."
He nodded, a wry smile touching the edges of his mouth.
"And Tanya," Alice snarled. "That one, brief...thing that I saw...she's totally with him. She's using Mark, but I just can't see why. There's a part of me, and this is just a guess, that thinks he let me see. That he lifted it on purpose."
"Why?" Edward asked, now pacing the opposite direction as Jasper.
"Because I saw Megan," Alice sighed, and the whole room came to standstill.
"Come again," I said, gaping at her.
"No shit? Jessica's friend?" Emmett gasped, his eyebrows rising up to almost his hairline.
"Yeah, Megan." Alice nodded profusely, giving a shrug. "She's changed, but she's in Mark's future."
"Whoa, wait," Edward growled, spinning to meet Alice's calm gaze. "Show me that again." His beautiful amber eyes narrowed on Alice, but it wasn't in anger against her. It was a sign of concentration on whatever it was that she was showing him. "What's Bella doing with Mark?"
My attention snapped to a sizzling alert. If I was with Mark in some future vision, then where the hell was Tanya? The two of us would never survive being in the same room together again. I couldn't imagine we could tolerate one another long enough for me to have a conversation with Mark. Though I carried no real ill will towards him, I always assumed we'd never meet again.
"I don't see her, sweet girl," Edward answered my silent question, his voice taking on that soothing thing, because he knew just what the mere mention of Tanya did to me. "But this Megan approaches you..."
"I just can't see exactly when," he and Alice said at the same time, and they continued with, "but it's at a school setting. Memorial High."
I stood up from the chair at the dining room table and walked to the front windows. I knew how this worked – or really how Alice's visions worked. We needed to be at that school, because there was no telling when or where this Megan needed to approach me. We needed to enroll in order to help her or follow her or whatever it is she needed from us...or me, as it would seem. It was all about being at the right place, at the right time.
"Can you tell what season, Alice?" I asked, staring out onto the front lawn. There was a light sprinkle of rain ghosting down, giving the lawn a haunted look.
"Spring," she sighed. "It looks...greener. The snow's gone."
A chuckle came from Emmett, and he stood up to show me his phone. "Memorial High. All indoor, including the parking, baby sis. Are you ready to be the Junior to my Senior again? It's quite possible to go everyday—even sunny days."
His grin was hilarious, but it was Jasper's goofy smile as he bounded over the sofa to me that caused a snort to escape me. "You're totally my new science partner," he said with a childish nod.
"The sciences belong...to me!" Edward growled menacingly with a smug smile, but his eyes darkened briefly. "You can have history," he told to a snickering Jasper offhandedly. The whole room laughed at that.
"Oh, Jesus," I huffed, shaking my head. I gave Edward a raised eyebrow warning glare, smirking when he chuckled adorably. But it was Carlisle I gave my attention to. "Is this what we need to do to stop Sinclair? Or Tanya, for that matter?"
While Alice was nodding slowly in my peripheral vision, it was Carlisle that answered.
He grimaced, looking at each and every one of us. "I know you guys like to start somewhere and stay as long as you can. And I know you want to get back to England. But I feel..."
"Committed." Edward sighed, folding his arms across his chest as Carlisle nodded. "You want to stop Sinclair."
I couldn't quite pick up Edward's mood concerning this whole thing. He looked pensive, yet excited at the thought of school again. He looked tense and almost angry, like he was about to spring at an enemy that wasn't even there yet. But his face was set in almost an accepting expression.
I looked to Jasper, and he just shrugged. He mouthed, "Just worried."
"As always, guys, it's up to a vote," Carlisle continued. "We can go home and let Marcus deal with it..." He sat back a little, turning to Esme. "Or we can move to New York until this is over."
"I really didn't want to freakin' move again," Rose sighed, looking up at Emmett. "I mean, I was willing to go back to school, but..."
I winced, because I felt the same way. I missed Edward's and my house something awful. His head snapped up from listening to Rose, to meet my gaze from across the room. I shook my head, thinking to him, It's not all that important, Edward. I just understand where she's coming from. We were settled, you know?
He nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets like he was trying not to reach out and grab me, to soothe me or apologize in some fashion.
"But... I'm in," Rose conceded finally, when Emmett finished whispering in her ear.
"I don't have to ask Jasper and Emmett," Carlisle chuckled, looking between the two. "You look damn excited."
They both nodded, but Jasper said, "I'm looking forward to meeting Sinclair." His voice was laced with threatening tones.
"Bells, Edward?" Carlisle asked, looking mostly to Edward.
"I'm okay with it," I stated with a shrug. "I don't want kids to get hurt."
Edward's brow furrowed, his head tilted at me, as he read my thoughts. He could see that I wanted to stop Sinclair. That making contact with Jessica's friend, Megan, was important to Jessica and to finding Sinclair, according to Alice's visions. And if Tanya crossed my path in the process, then so be it. He smirked at that last thought.
"Okay," he said with a nod. "Okay, baby. What about the house in London?"
"Are we going back?"
"Not right away, Bella," he sighed, "but eventually. I'll ship anything you want to New York, you know that."
I smiled, rolling my eyes at my over indulgent husband. "No," I pouted. "My house stays the same."
He grinned, turning to Carlisle. "I'm with her," he chuckled, jerking his thumb my way.
"Like I expected anything different," Carlisle muttered wryly. "Alice?"
"We have to go to school in order to meet this Megan...whenever that is," she stated, folding her arms across her chest. "We have to meet Megan in order to catch Sinclair. I see him die, so I can only connect the missing parts, Carlisle... We have to be in school for this stuff to fall into place, and..."
"That's a yes," Jasper laughed, wrapping an arm around his babbling mate.
We were all about to get up, when Esme spoke softly, commanding all of our undivided attention. "I don't regret getting my Alice, but I want this Sinclair caught and disposed of for what he did to her. He's disgusting and foul, and he goes against everything we believe. He hunts humans, but not only that, he tortures them. I want him stopped. No one should go through what Ali did...or Adrian and Brody, for that matter. No one."
And with that said, we began to get our things together for the flight back to New York.
"I'm glad you came for Christmas, Bells." Charlie smiled, wrapping me in a big hug. He was in his uniform, stopping by our house on his way in to work. "Sue says she's sending you her Avon books."
I chuckled, shaking my head. "I've never known Avon sales people to be so aggressive, Dad."
He snorted, rolling his eyes.
"Take care of each other. And tell the boys to keep in touch."
"Sure, sure," he snickered, leaning into my kiss to his cheek, but he pulled back and studied my face. "Something's changed. What's up, Bells? You guys are leaving here on high alert."
"We think we've got a chance to catch Sinclair," I sighed, leaning against his cruiser. "And it's possible that Jess' friend is...well, she's like us now."
He grimaced, but nodded, looking down at his shoes. "Jake thought that was a possibility, too." He took a deep breath, looking up at me. "You be careful. Make sure Edward takes care of you."
"He doesn't know how not to take care of me, Dad," I giggled, rolling my eyes.
"You're probably right," he huffed. "But this guy needs to pay for..."
"Alice," I finished for him. "Yes, you are among the majority of the vote on that one, I'm afraid."
"Right," he harrumphed. "Well, she's here, and we should be grateful, but how she got here was a nasty story. Maybe it means more to me, because I investigated it myself, but..."
"I know," I said, kissing his cheek again. "Oh, brace yourself, Dad. You're about to be attacked."
I giggled when my sisters bolted from the house, wrapping Charlie in big hugs.
He turned a sweet pink in his cheeks when they smooched him loudly. "Okay, my girls, a man has to make a living. Keep me posted, okay?"
"Sure, Dad," I said, walking him to the driver's side door.
He cranked the car, but paused to look up at me. "I spoke to Renee last night, Bells. She's fine, and so is Phil. I thought you might like to know."
"Thanks, Dad," I whispered, giving him a quick nod and a sad smile before closing his door.
I felt my hair being tucked behind my ear, and I turned away from the plane window and my memory as we landed at La Guardia. I was met with such love filled, concerned eyes that I couldn't help but lean in and kiss Edward softly.
"I love you, too," I whispered against his lips.
He smiled softly. "You okay?"
"Mmhm," I sighed, nodding slightly. "Who do I thank for getting to see Charlie? You, or Carlisle?"
"No one," he stated, almost sounding affronted. "You never have to thank us for anything."
"Silly, that's just good manners," I teased him with narrowed eyes. "Surely, Esme has taught you that." I smiled at her soft giggle in front of us.
He chuckled, shaking his head. "Fine, sweet, beautiful girl. It was my suggestion, but Carlisle's final say so."
"Well, thank you both," I snickered. "It was good to see him."
"Your happy face was thanks enough, baby," he said, leaning his head back to the headrest.
I mirrored his position, a smile playing on my lips, but I turned to my thoughts. Are you ready for school with me again?
"Yes, ma'am," he chuckled, caressing my cheek with the back of his fingers. I could see the spark of mischief in his eyes when we talked about school again.
You know what this means, don't you? I asked, carefully masking my thoughts and watching his face shift into a really cute but confused expression.
He shook his head no.
I get to dress you again, my own personal Ken doll.
His fingers shot to my belly, tickling me relentlessly and chuckling when I tried in vain to fight his fingers and my squeal of laughter. "Shh, you silly thing," he laughed softly against my lips to hush me up.
But we locked eyes when Alice popped over the seat from behind us with a gasp. She beamed, looking between us. She was practically vibrating with happiness and excitement. "So...shopping, then?"
I groaned, and Edward snorted into a wicked laugh.
The airport was busy and filled to capacity with humans coming in for New Year's Eve and returning from their Christmases with families. I couldn't imagine so many people crammed into Times Square, but that's what they were there for. I had no alternative but to shield myself from their touch and their scents. The sound of pounding hearts and breathing and rapidly flowing blood through perfect veins roared through my ears.
"Bells, here...now," Jasper growled, linking his arm through mine to hold me securely. "Too many?" he whispered in my ear.
"Yeah...just...get me outside, Jasper."
Another hand landed on my shoulder, and I looked up at Edward. "Jasper, grab our stuff. Bella, you come with me to get the cars, okay, baby? You can get some air."
I nodded, holding my breath from it all. I wasn't expecting this many people. I can handle shopping and friends and family, even school, but there were bodies pressed against us everywhere. It was worse than a dance floor or a busy club. I had no problem with that, but this was just more.
"I know," he whispered softly in my ear. He placed a kiss to my temple. "I forget that sometimes this can still be too much for you." His face was pained, as well, causing me to wonder if he was getting it worse than me, because he had a massive amount of thoughts hitting him, along with their scents.
I nodded again and let him lead me out into the chilly air to the car rental kiosk. As the cougar-aged woman ogled my husband, I leaned against a thick post, inhaling the fresh scent of slushy, rain-filled air. My head cleared instantly, but I left my shield up against the scent of all that human blood.
I watched the car rental woman, Maryann, flirt shamelessly with Edward and realized I was in no mood for it. I was, however, in the mood to stake claim to what was mine.
Strolling over to the counter, I fought my smile as Edward shot me a look that said, "You best behave, Isabella." I ignored how he slowly raised an eyebrow, and how his whole body turned my way as I walked up to the desk.
Feigning innocence, I grazed my fingers down his strong bicep, over his forearm, and linked our fingers together on top of the counter, all under the watchful eyes of Maryann. I laid my head on his shoulder, saying absolutely nothing.
I felt his silent chuckle that I was pretty sure the woman couldn't hear. But it was the kiss to the top of my head that sealed the deal blatantly in front of her face.
"How are you feeling, beautiful girl?" he asked, using the voice that drove me and all other women crazy – all smooth, liquid honey, laced with a sensual cadence. "Better now, love?" The two terms of endearment were not lost on me, and were totally used on purpose.
"Mmhm." I nodded, looking up at him. I fought my giggle as he brushed my hair from my face with his perfectly crooked smile firmly in place. "A little better."
"Good," he smirked, giving me a sexy ass wink. Again, the woman missed none of our exchange. "We're almost done here, and we'll get you home, okay?"
"Yeah, baby," I purred, nodding slowly. "What are you getting this time?" I asked out of pure curiosity. I commanded his attention like a maestro, much to the woman's dismay. Maryann's disappointment of Edward not being single was written all over her face.
"A BMW Z4," he grinned, all manly machismo and boyish charm and excitement. "That's for us, but Carlisle wanted the Mercedes."
I snickered, rolling my eyes. "Spoiled man..." I muttered, smiling up at his silly, sweet face.
"Here you go, Mr. Cullen," Maryann sighed, giving him a longing, yet pathetic look.
She was old enough to be my mother. It was appalling.
Edward pinched my side at my thoughts, but thanked the woman smoothly and politely.
"All your cars are being pulled around to the curb here, Mr. Cullen," she told him, her eyes drifting past us and growing wide.
I turned, snorting at the sight of my family. I couldn't even imagine what conclusions she was coming to, but Edward thanked her again – because he was way too polite for his own good sometimes – and we joined the family to wait.
"She liiiiikes you," Emmett sang to Edward as we joined them at the curb, ducking his fist while we were waiting for the cars. They wrestled around like two seventeen and eighteen year old boys normally would, so they were barely given a second glance as they dodged each other's punches. "She wants to kiiiiiissss you," he snorted, hiding behind me, his hands on my shoulders.
I chuckled at the thought that I was between the two brothers. "At least she didn't have any moles, baby..." The family broke into laughter, but I kept a straight face, looking up at him and blinking my eyelashes innocently.
"You—" he pointed, raising a dangerously sexy eyebrow at me, "—think you're funny."
"What are you up to?" Edward smirked, his attention on Esme as we all rode the elevator up to the penthouse.
"You'll see," she sang, a knowing look on her face.
"Innocence does not become you...and neither does you screaming Frosty the Snowman in your mind, Mom," he chuckled, shaking his head and wrapping his arms around my shoulders from behind.
We all laughed, turning our attention to her. Carlisle wasn't in on it, either, from what I could see from his confused face.
"Let's just say that I had two elves working in my favor while we were gone. I'm allowed to spoil my children, Edward," she huffed, rolling her eyes. She turned to Alice, who was just about to shatter with excitement. "I'm trusting you to keep it under wraps for at least the next sixty seconds." She chuckled. "You're the only one I couldn't keep this from."
Alice squeed – an ear splitting squeal of pure happiness that followed her pixie frame all the way out the elevator and to the apartment door. She burst into it, dragging poor Jasper behind her.
We were all greeted by a very happy Adrian and Kevin. Suddenly, I realized all sorts of things could've happened while we were away, and I rushed to my sweet, human friend. He was safe and sound.
"Kev, I missed you. How was your Christmas?"
"My goddess!" He chuckled, picking me up and swinging me around. "I'll tell you all about it, but come," he snickered, setting me down and taking my hand. He dragged me to the living room entryway.
"Whoa!" We all gasped, except for Esme and Alice, who were grinning like Cheshire cats.
In the living room, which had been completely rearranged, were drums, guitars, and a baby grand piano, in the most beautiful deep cherry finish. It all fit snugly at one end of the room, still allowing the seating area to be used comfortably.
"Wha—" Jasper started, his mouth hanging open.
"They're just rentals, but I know you guys – and my girls – miss music, so they're here until we leave." She smiled widely at us all.
"Stop it!" Rose and I gasped, looking up at Emmett, who was already bounding over to a really pretty blue Pearl drum set with double basses.
Edward quietly stepped in front of the piano and lifted the lid. The reverence was so sweet. His head shot up to Esme's, some unspoken question written all over his very handsome face.
"I've gone shopping for pianos with you enough times to know what you like, son," she giggled, rolling her eyes. "It should be tuned, too."
He sat down with the most adorable of grins, running his long, perfect fingers up the scales so quickly that his hands were a blur. "Yeah, tuned," he chuckled with a slight nod of his head. "Thanks, Mom."
"Yeah, thanks, Mom," Jasper sang with a grin, strapping a guitar over his shoulder and plugging into an amp.
Emmett darted from behind the drum kit, kissed Esme so softly on her cheek, and then went right back to his seat. He played a kick-ass drum solo that rivaled that of Garth's from Wayne's World. I half expected him to say, "I like to play," and tap the cymbal.
"Oh, the neighbors," Carlisle groaned and chuckled at the same time, shaking his head.
"That's why we get the penthouse!" Jasper grinned, tuning the guitar and strumming a few loud, rock chords.
"You know what this means, don't you?" Kevin asked casually, leaning a hip against the piano.
"Open mic night!" Alice finally exploded, jumping up and down and clapping. "I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!"
"Is that what you ladies want for New Years?" Edward asked with a smirk – like our minds weren't screaming it at him. "Instead of Times Square?"
The answer was a grinning, head nodding, jumping up and down, resounding, "Yes!" from all of us.
"Okay, someone needs to explain to me how your school thing works," Adrian laughed from the dining room table, where he and Kevin were sitting with all the girls, including Esme. "'Cause, I don't get it. You mean, humans really don't figure out that you're older, or hell...something else altogether?"
"No, Adrian," Bella chuckled, and I could practically hear her roll her eyes. "Believe it or not, humans can be really...oblivious."
We all chuckled, because we knew it sounded strange, but it was the easiest way to live somewhere for a long period. We were just used to it. And my girl was right, humans didn't want to see what we were, so they accepted the lies we told them.
The few days after Christmas, after our return from Forks, were hectic, to say the least. We needed to make arrangements with the school, Alice insisted that we all needed new wardrobes, and we'd met with Demitri and Marcus to let them in on Alice's latest visions.
But the whole house felt lighthearted and silly. We were all just happy to...be at the moment. I wasn't sure what was causing it, but it was comfortable and easy. Even Jasper kept a silly smirk on his face most of the morning.
At that very moment, the girls were getting our identities straight and the school paperwork filled out, while my brothers and I were practicing music for New Years Eve, though we had no clue as to what to play or where, as of yet. So really, we were just fooling around in the living room while Carlisle watched the news on TV.
"I don't want to be Brandon this time," Alice pouted. "Sinclair would recognize it instantly."
Jasper's head shot up from tuning one of the bass guitars. "Well, darlin', you better figure it out, because I have to contact Jenks. And soon!"
"I know, I know," she growled, her mind frantic with what to do.
My brothers and I were all sticking with the last name Cullen – playing the adopted sons of Carlisle and Esme. Bella insisted that I go back to that name. She had missed it, craved it, she'd said. So the girls had to go a different route, playing the foster children.
"I'll use McCarty again," Rose sighed, sounding bored, and I could hear her flipping the page to the magazine she was reading. "It's been a while..."
Emmett nodded in happy approval from his drum kit, but otherwise stayed quiet as he scrolled through his playlists on his iPod.
"Ali, why don't you use Swan?" I suggested, thinking those two acted like blood sisters anyway. They might as well share the name, for however long this thing was going to take. "Different mothers or something..."
The squeal of pure, unadulterated joy rang throughout the house from the two of them. I snorted, raising an eyebrow at Jasper, who was chuckling and shaking his head.
"Oh my God! That's so perfect! Holy crap, Edward...you're a freakin' genius!" Alice gushed from the dining room table.
I laughed again. Sometimes, the girls were just too damn easy to please. "I try, I try," I muttered wryly, rolling my eyes and going back to the piano.
I'd been playing Esme's song, just because that was really the reason she'd rented all of the equipment for us. She'd just plain missed the constant sound coming from us. Hell, she didn't even care what we played, but she knew it was a stress release, a time killer, and the girls lived for it. She'd made the whole household's holiday with her gesture.
"God, Heavy E will break his arm patting himself on the back for that one," Kevin scoffed, but his mind was teasing.
"It solved the problem, didn't it?" I argued back petulantly.
My brothers and Carlisle laughed at the exchange, all three thinking Kevin had truly become a member of the family, and could give and take with the best of us.
"It did, Edward," Bella giggled, "and it was perfect. Thank you, handsome!" She sang the last three words to me with a sweet lilt to her voice.
"You're welcome, baby," I huffed, feeling better now that my girl had stroked my ego. Damn, I was easy to please, too.
Carlisle snorted from across the room, shaking his head at us, muttering, "It's like having real kids..."
The two rooms got quiet, except for the sounds of the three of us lightly picking at a song here and there. The girls were diligently filling out paperwork, casually gabbing about celebrities or TV shows or clothes they wanted when they finally went shopping tomorrow.
There was a part of Bella's mind that wanted to change my style, and I suddenly cracked up. "Really, sweet girl?"
"Shut up, Edward!" She laughed, and suddenly, a pen flew my way.
I caught it swiftly with a chuckle.
"You don't always have to pay attention to my idiotic ramblings."
"Shield it," I reminded her, "if you don't like it... I hear your mind first, silly girl."
"...show you shield," she muttered, and I suddenly found myself flat on my back on the floor. She'd shoved me off the piano bench, without having to even leave the dining room table. I couldn't help but chuckle with my brothers.
"Dude, why do you test her?" Jasper snickered, offering me his hand. He jerked me up, a wry smirk on his face. "Take it from someone who knows, man..."
I looked over to the dining room, smirking at my girl, who was fighting her smile. Her raised eyebrow was adorably sexy, but her thoughts were sweet. Maybe I don't want you to dress like all those other spoiled kids, Edward. Give me some credit. How I dress you is all for me, anyway.
I chuckled, giving her a wink. She was right. I could care less what she put me in, just as long as she liked it.
"These quizzes are so stupid," Esme muttered, turning a page in her magazine. "I mean, how can your favorite flavor of ice cream tell you what kind of lover you make?"
The whole house cracked up. I looked over to Carlisle, and he just shook his head in disbelief, his eyes barely leaving the TV screen. But his mind was totally amused at the silly vibe the whole house was in. He felt that it was a nice contrast to all the drama we'd all been put through the last few weeks, with hunting for Sinclair, the fights, and even the emotions running high while we were in Forks.
"It's not the questions," Rose snorted. "It's those dumbass multiple choices they give you. Let me answer them for real, and maybe we can figure something out..."
"Oh, this should be outstanding," Bella chortled, reaching across the table. "Please...allow me." She took the book from a chuckling Esme, flipping through a few pages. "Okay, Rose... Are you a sexually driven person?" She laughed, her eyes gleaming with mischief as she looked up at our sister.
"Um, yeah! Of course, she is – she's my diva. Next quiz," Kevin laughed, shaking his head, and Adrian snorted behind his hand.
Emmett chuckled, pulling his earbuds from his ears.
"No, let me hear this," Rose chuckled. "Go ahead, Bells."
"Fine." She grinned, folding the magazine back and leaning back in her chair.
I noticed that every man in the living room had become completely still. I snorted, folding my arms across my chest and waited for what I was sure was going to be a very interesting conversation.
"Now wait," Rose laughed, holding up her hands. "I'm not the only bitch taking this quiz. Everyone at this table will answer."
That being said, Adrian got up without a word and joined Carlisle on the sofa. He smiled when Carlisle squeezed his shoulder, saying, "I don't blame you one bit, son."
"Not a chance in hell," Adrian muttered, shaking his head.
"Everyone ready?" my girl asked. Again, her sweet, silly smile was too cute for words. There were nods and mutters around the table. "Okay. 'What sets a mood for a night of romance?' Is it...candles, dinner, or jealousy?" My Bella paused. "Jealousy? The hell?"
I looked to Jasper, who was now leaning on the piano beside me. His focus was totally on the other room.
"See?" Rose laughed. "None of the above. Aggression sets it for me. Now...I can see Esme and Bells both saying candles... Ali?" Both my mother and my wife shrugged and nodded, turning to Alice.
Alice's nose wrinkled. "Candles are okay, but when Jazz hunts..."
Jasper was beaming with pride, and I couldn't stop from rolling my eyes at him.
"Enough!" Rose snorted, shaking her head. "Kevin?"
"Jealousy, baby," he sang. "Nothing makes me hotter than to see someone after my man. Remember, Bells?"
"I didn't steal him," Bella growled through gritted teeth. "I have apologized to you more than once for that night."
I barked a laugh, causing Kevin to turn around. "Shut it, Heavy E. You broke my heart playing your silly games with my goddess."
"I will not apologize for that," I said haughtily, waving him off. "I can not help it that I surprised her that night..."
Bella giggled, biting her bottom lip. Her mind caressed the memory of us meeting at a club as strangers. It was the first time I'd met Kevin, and I'd come off of a very long work week from the hospital. My girl ate up my flirtatious behavior. I'd do it again, just to see the way she'd smiled at me, looked at me with dark eyes through her long eyelashes, and stared at me as if really seeing me for the first time. She'd been beautiful and silly and so very sexy.
I shot my wife a wink, and she went back to her magazine, but her mind wrapped around me like the caress of her hands. I vote 'none of the above' as well, baby. Candles are nice, but I think Dirty Edward should be on this list. He gets me going every time...
I fought my growl and my erection as I watched her specifically not look my way, but she fought her smile, because she knew exactly what she was doing.
"Next," she chortled, her eyes flickering my way before going back to the quiz. "'What turns you on about your mate?' Is it...the way he dresses, the way he speaks, or the way he treats you?"
"Now that's a good one," Esme said. "All of the above."
I could hear Carlisle chuckle from the sofa.
"I have to agree with her," Alice and Bella said at the same time.
"Me, too," Kevin added.
"Fine, so there's one question worth a damn...with halfway decent answers. Go on, Bells," Rose sighed.
"Okay, last one... 'What sound do you like during lovemaking?' Is it...his sounds, your sounds, or music?"
There was a brief pause at the table, both mentally and physically. My sweet girl couldn't decide; neither could Alice. Kevin didn't like the options, and Esme was leaning towards music.
Rose, however, snorted into a laugh. "None of the above."
"Well, then what, diva?" Kevin smirked, leaning his elbows on the table and setting his chin on his hands. "Do tell us what sound you prefer..."
Emmett was now leaning next to Jasper, just as enraptured by this silly quiz as we were. And while neither Carlisle nor Adrian were showing it, they had no idea what was on the TV screen they insisted on staring at.
Rose licked her index and middle fingers and slapped them against the opposite palm. My brow furrowed, because I had no idea what she meant. But the table exploded.
"Holy crap!" Kevin gasped. "You're so right."
"Mmm, damn, that is the best sound," Bella growled low, tossing the book on the table, almost in a surrendering gesture.
"What the..." Emmett growled, turning to me. "Eddie, what is that?"
It took a minute for me to figure out their minds, because they were all completely lost in memories and fantasies concerning Rose's revelation. But finally, I caught my Bella's mind, and I completely froze, my mouth hanging open.
"Oh, damn," I breathed, a laugh huffing from me.
"Seriously, Ed...spill..." Jasper begged, looking from the uproar at the table back to me.
"That's the um, well... It's the sound..." I was speechless, because everyone was in complete agreement at the table, including my wife, and I suddenly wanted her to truly hear it, just to make sure she really liked it.
I shook my head to clear it, and turned towards the sofa to see both men there waiting for me to answer, but it was Kevin that bailed me out.
"Mmhm, the sound of a cock hitting a strong stomach. Now that's a sound I wish I could record," he crooned, getting, "Hell, yeah," from the entire table.
"Oh," Carlisle and Adrian both breathed. They both had gaping mouths and wide eyes.
"You mean... it's that..." Emmett tried to speak.
I couldn't move from the piano bench, lest my issue would be known to the entire household.
I ran a hand through my hair, answering his unvoiced question with, "Yeah." It wasn't until my wife actually replayed a real memory of that exact occurrence that I groaned, putting my face in my hands and my elbows on the piano. I could see her looking down at my body, licking her lips as she unzipped my jeans. The sound my erection made when it fell from my clothing and hit my own stomach was what she craved to hear. "Jesus, Bella," I whined, feeling my jeans tighten.
"Oh, damn," she gasped, suddenly appearing at my side. "I'm so sorry," she giggled, not sounding apologetic. At all.
"No, you aren't," I accused, sounding more like a pouting child.
Her hand appeared in my vision between my face and the piano keys. "Come on, sweetheart," she sighed. "Let's go for a walk."
I lifted my head to see that we weren't the only ones that needed a break from this situation. The whole house was slowly pairing off. I raised my eyes to hers, which I noted were dark and needy. "Roof?" I asked, verifying what I was seeing in her mind.
"Yup, come on," she said, taking my hand and switching to her thoughts. I'll show you why that sound drives me crazy...
As I led my poor husband up the stairs to the roof, I realized all that we'd talked about at that table, but even more, I realized all that I had thought about. And suddenly, I felt awful for it.
I guided him to one of the air conditioning units that were currently not being used, due to the cold weather. "I'm so sorry, Edward..." I winced, making him sit down so I could step between his legs and cup his handsome face.
He snorted, but looked up at me. "You drive me crazy sometimes, beautiful."
I grinned at him. "We're quite even on that, you know."
"I know..." He looked so damned sweet and horny and disheveled when he tilted his head up and gave me a long look from under his eyelashes. I couldn't help but kiss him.
I groaned into his mouth when I felt the hunger he was feeling. His hands gripped my waist, slowly slipping back to cup and squeeze my bottom, pulling me into his lap. I groaned again when I felt his steel hard arousal press into me.
I broke away from his lips, but kept my mouth on his skin as I nipped my way to his ear. "Do you want to hear it?" I asked, referring to the conversation that had taken place. "Do you want to know why?" I crooned, suckling his earlobe and palming him outside of his jeans.
"Yes," he breathed, nuzzling my neck. "Harder, baby."
"Uh uh," I chided with a smile against his jaw. "Wait. Listen," I whispered, popping open the button of his jeans and pulling his thermal shirt up just a bit, just enough that his tense abs were exposed.
Slowly, I lowered the zipper, pulling back to watch his face, but his eyes were on my hand. As I pulled him, throbbing and twitching, from his pants, I let go, just to hear it. The soft but heavy sound of skin on skin hit against his stomach, and it caused every nerve ending I had to spark into life.
His eyes shot to mine, and I smiled, licking my lips slowly. "It's the most amazing sound," I sighed, kissing his lips softly. "It's a sound that, at it's purest definition, means you want me." He didn't say anything, but his mouth hung open slightly as I wrapped my hand around him. "I imagine it's how you feel," I said, dragging my tongue along his sharp jaw line, "when you smell that I'm wet for you."
"Like now?"
"Mmhm." I nodded slowly. "Very much so. Always."
"What do we do about that, sweet girl?" he asked, wrapping his hand over mine and guiding it up and down over his cock.
I smiled, licking slowly across my bottom lip. "I'll survive, but you look...tortured." I grinned at him. "I don't want to undress up here. Anyone could walk up."
"Shh," I whispered against his lips. "Let me..."
He linked our fingers together, gliding our hands up and down and giving a slight twist at the tip. I used my thumb to gather his already leaking juices up, smiling when he moaned most deliciously in my ear.
"Harder...faster, baby," he begged, looking at me with dark, pleading eyes.
His breaths came out in pants, his hips writhed under me, but his other hand slipped beneath my sweater, cupping my breast.
"I want you...you, Bella...I need all of you."
"'Kay," I breathed, my eyes rolling back into my head when his thumb brushed across my hardened nipple. "Where..."
His eyes broke from mine, and he looked around the rooftop. "I have an idea, baby..."
With that, he stood us up, keeping me in his arms. He walked to a darkened corner of the building, where the edge of the roof made a low wall.
"Put your feet down," he commanded, and I did. "Face the wall. This way...they only see me, love. Okay?"
I nodded, because just thinking about him taking me was about to drive me crazy. He wrapped his arms around me, his hands meeting at the front of my own jeans. Teasingly, he unbuttoned them, lowering the zipper. He tugged them and my underwear down just enough so that I could feel his cock teasing me from behind, his fingers in front of me slipping through my wetness.
"Fuck, Edward..." I whined in a fierce whisper, my hips pressing back against him.
"Oh, Bella," he groaned, his voice so soft against my ear, and I found my hands holding myself away from the rough wall. "I want so badly to say...things..."
A huffing laugh pushed out of me, my forehead hitting the wall. Damn, no Dirty Edward, huh?
"I'm afraid not, baby..."
I knew there were windows below us, knew that we could be heard up on the roof if someone was near them.
"Yes, ma'am. Exactly," he sighed against my neck, sucking on my flesh. "I hate to disappoint..."
"Never, Edward," I moaned when his dick slipped through my folds, brushing against my clit and delving just inside my entrance. "Oh, God, you never have..."
"Good to know..."
And with that, he slid into me with a touch of desperation and a grip to my hips. I was lost to him, even my mind shut down as he surrounded me against that wall.
"Are you really changing Edward's style?" Alice giggled, looking up at me as we walked down 5th Avenue. "All bad boy with leather jackets and ripped jeans?"
"No," I snorted, shaking my head. "I was just daydreaming, and he freakin' heard it. I don't think he cares, but still..." I laughed, looking over at her.
We had split up when it came to the school shopping. Rose and Esme went one way, and Alice and I went another. They were giving us a chance to work on our "sister" story for school.
It was way too easy. Charlie was our dad, who had an affair with Alice's mom at the same time as he got my own mother pregnant. We were foster children, because Charlie had no other family, and he was killed in the line of duty. No abuse, no drama...just two very close sisters that didn't care that our father had cheated. The story was that Alice's mother had died in child birth. Renee had raised us together and had died of cancer when we were very young.
It was as close to a Disney movie as we could get, where the parents die in just about every single one. Yeah, that was Alice and me. And we adored Edward for suggesting it.
"Actually, he doesn't care," Alice snorted, nudging me with her shoulder. "So..."
"So...I'm not saying he needs a total make over, but the bad boy thing does sound intriguing," she giggled, closing her eyes for a moment. "He'll definitely make an impression at school."
"I don't know," I mused, stopping in front of the store we had been aiming for. "Isn't that supposed to be some really rich school?"
"And how are you dressing Jasper?"
"His normal way...jeans, button downs, sneakers. He just needs new stuff." She shrugged one tiny shoulder, looking way too innocent.
I paused for a moment, studying her. "Cut the shit, Ali," I laughed. "Tell me what you see."
She grinned, folding her arms across her chest. "I see Edward in clothes like we put him in when we were at Dartmouth. Young, a little edge to it. And I see...you enjoying the looks he gets, and fucking loving the fact that he ignores them."
I smirked at her, thinking that was perfect. I didn't need to mark my territory every single day. I didn't need him attracting too much attention for obvious reasons, and not so obvious reasons. He hated girls thinking about him, and we didn't need him too closely watched. His Dartmouth wardrobe was young and sexy – a mix of Hollister, Aeropostale, and American Eagle, with some Sun Pac thrown in for good measure.
"That is us at school in a nutshell," I chuckled, opening the door of the store. "Lead on, Oh Wise One."
Hours...and I do mean hours later, we arrived back at the penthouse, with the poor doorman at our heels loaded down with everything on the planet, it seemed. It wasn't easy shopping for school, and it was even harder shopping for four people, two of which were men that could give two shits what we put them in, as long as they were covered and we liked it.
I found Edward in the living room, sitting on the arm of the sofa, a guitar in his beautiful hands. His face lit up like the brightest of sunny days when I walked into the room. Even Jasper snickered at what I was sure was pure bliss rolling off of us.
"Hey, baby," he sighed with the best of smiles, setting the guitar down and opening his arms. "I thought I was going to have to organize a search party and come to your rescue."
I giggled, falling hard against him and pushing him down onto his back. We landed on the sofa with a grunt, our legs hanging off of the end. "I feel tortured and beaten," I whined, snuggling close.
Edward chuckled, wrapping his arms all the way around me. "My poor girl," he crooned. "Alice is evil. Shall we destroy her?"
"No," I mumbled against the crook of his neck. "I need her for her clothes buying foresight."
He chuckled again, placing kisses to the top of my head. I felt the tiny absence that we had endured for the sake of fashion heal slowly, making me take a deep, happy breath.
"Me, too, love," he said, lifting my face with his fingers under my chin. He gave me a sweet, long, chaste kiss. And I sighed again, smiling against his lips.
The front door opened, letting in the din that belonged to the rest of my family, including Kevin and Adrian. But Emmett rushed into the room.
"So, what are we singing New Years?"
"You guys found a place?" I asked, sitting up slightly.
"Yeah, so what are we singing?" Emmett practically bellowed.
"You know what we want," Alice chirped with a smug smile, plopping down on the loveseat.
"No," Jasper and Edward both groaned.
"Aw, come on, please?" Rose begged from the living room entryway.
"Yeah, please?" Alice and I whined, and I even put my hands together and gave Edward my best pathetic puppy face.
"No," Jasper growled. "That song is cheesy, and you only want us to do it because you like the thought of us singing those words. No, no, no."
"Oh, Bella, please?" Edward whined. "No, baby. Anything but that."
I looked to my biggest of brothers, who was laughing. I knew he didn't care. He was an eighties fan from the word go. His chuckle was deep as he shook his head at us.
But my biggest brother was also brilliant. "You know, Bells." He laughed when my husband shot him a menacing look. "You won that game of tag in London. And you never claimed your prize. You know...where you get one favor..."
"Oh my God, I love you, big Em... That's it. I want that song as my prize, sung the way you practiced." I laughed as my sisters danced in celebration, hopping up from Edward's arms.
The poor thing looked defeated, until his wicked smirk crept up his face.
Alice gasped in the midst of her celebration, and she turned to face him. "You wouldn't dare, Edward!"
"I believe I won as well, when we found Alice the next night. And you girls singing will be my choice."
"Aw, shit," the three of us growled.
But my eyes narrowed on his smug face. "Yes, and as your partner that night, I think we share that prize, so we'll sing, but it's our choice of songs."
Emmett grinned, giving me a fist bump for my proper counter.
Edward chuckled at the two of us as he looked between his brothers. "Ladies choice all the way around... Fine. Deal?"
My sisters and I were already hopping up and down. Seeing the boys sing the song we wanted far outweighed the drama of singing. Meeting Rose's and Alice's happy gazes, we all said, "Deal!"


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