Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 37

CHAPTER 37
EDWARD
"Alice, stop!" my girl cried, bursting into the most adorable of giggles. I couldn't help but chuckle at them. "It's ridiculous to do this," she sighed, getting up from the table.
We were all doing homework in some fashion, but the girls – Rose included – were playing on the laptop at the head of the table. We'd decided to stay in New York to wait out Alice's vision, so we were doing our best to keep up the facade of homework, tests, and social events at Memorial High.
It had been a few weeks since Sinclair's demise, and as we – my siblings, my wife, and I – attended school, Carlisle and Esme worked with the Denali clan to hunt down Tanya, Mark, and Megan. Marcus, Demitri, and Carina were helping, using the subway tunnels and sewer to search day in and day out. Some nights we would help, but only after school, because Alice was convinced that Megan would approach Bella any day now.
But the biggest change was Alice. Ever since Sinclair's death, she seemed relieved, calm, serene. She had found her past and had not only come to terms with it, but had helped destroy the monster that had changed her. After the torture she'd been through, I couldn't blame her, nor could anyone have stopped Jasper and me from removing his existence from this earth.
"No, Bells, you have to!" Rose snorted. "You have to keep up your page, so you might as well take the damn thing. And it will keep us up with all the parties..."
"What the hell are you guys up to?" Jasper chuckled, looking up from his Chemistry book.
"Facebook," they all said, but Bella's voice came out wry and sarcastic, and included an eye roll.
"Kev, are you hungry?" she asked, and in her mind, she was totally trying to change the subject. She made her way into the kitchen, rolling her eyes again at Alice's pleading face.
"I could eat," he said, looking up from the TV, where he and Adrian were watching some reality show.
"'Kay," she sighed, starting to pull out ingredients for whatever she was going to make him.
"You're not getting out of this," Alice chuckled, pointing to the screen. "Whitney has already friended you, so you have to fill this thing out."
"Oh, Ali, come on," Bella whined, shaking her head.
"What is it?" I asked, unable to contain my curiosity, because not one of them would think about it directly.
"A survey," Rose snorted. "It's called the Top Five Faves."
"Don't encourage them," Bella chuckled, pointing a spatula at me from the other side of the kitchen bar.
I grinned, getting up and sitting between my sisters to see what the big deal was.
Both Alice and Rose went into rapid explanations with enthusiasm. Apparently, Facebook was quite popular at Memorial High, and all the students used it to communicate, so Alice had taken the liberty of setting up pages...
"For all of us?" I laughed, seeing my name on Bella's top friends list.
Emmett and Jasper guffawed, looking down at me from the other end of the table.
"We'll delete them all when this is over," Rose chortled, "but they're deadly helpful. See?" she asked, pointing to Kimber's statement of the day.
There was to be a party for Ellie later in the month for her birthday.
"They're set to private, so we can monitor who we add as friends," Alice explained. "The profile pics are just icons, so unless you're a friend, you can't see us – which is good for people who might be searching for us. It's simple and easy, and they'll be gone as soon as we are."
In all reality, Alice had done an amazing job with them. They looked real, legitimate, making it seem like we all maintained them, like the normal high school kids we were posing as. She had even gone as far as putting pictures of all of us in each photo album.
Mine was linked to Bella's, and we were both "in a relationship." There were even pictures of us together at football games and malls. The other pages were just as detailed. But I wanted to see why my girl didn't want to answer the survey.
"Name your five favorite colors," I chuckled, looking up at my Bella, who was glaring at me from over the stove. I laughed, waving her on. "Come on, sweet girl. I'll type the answers. You can continue to cook, my love."
"Sweet talking fool," she muttered, which only caused the laughter to roar around her.
It also drew Kevin and Adrian into the room, and they took seats in front of her at the bar.
"Go on, my goddess," Kevin snickered, looking over at her. "Those are harmless. It'll keep up the front."
"Fine," she sighed, finally giving into all of us. "Purple, blue, black, gold, and silver."
I chuckled, typing her answers into the appropriate lines, before going to the next question. "I know why silver, sweet girl," I teased her, knowing she was thinking of my old Volvo.
"Just type," she growled, not even looking up from the stove, which caused another round of laughter.
"How many questions are there?" Jasper chuckled.
"Too many," Bella sighed.
"Top five favorite movies." I grinned, typing these without her answer.
"You're not even waiting for me, Edward," she scolded with a giggle.
I smiled, stating, "Princess Bride, The Notebook, Pretty Woman, Lord of the Rings...all of them...and Arsenic and Old Lace..." I looked up from the screen to see her smirking at me.
"Smart ass," she muttered, pulling a plate down from the cabinet.
I laughed, "Some of these I don't need to ask, baby."
"What? Not Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?" Emmett teased.
"I do not look like Cedric Diggory!" I growled, rolling my eyes at the huge explosion of laughter. They had all told me I looked like that guy.
"No, not quite. You have better hair, baby," Bella giggled from under the counter of the kitchen, popping up to give me a wink. "Would you just get it over with, please?" she huffed, but her smile was sweet and now indulgent.
"Top five favorite things about your man/woman." I grinned, leaning back in the chair to wait for her answer, which caused another round of laughs.
"Does that make Alice my woman?" she asked Kevin, who just about choked on the soda she'd just given him.
"You wish, Bells," Alice chuckled, holding up her hand in a claw. "Rawr!"
"That's a porn movie waiting to happen," Kev snorted. "Just answer him, silly."
She laughed, giving me a wink. "Hmm," she sighed, tapping her chin. "Should I give the Facebook people what they think they want to hear, or tell the truth..."
I chuckled, shrugging at her. I knew her list, so it would be interesting to see if she gave the real one.
"The truth!" our siblings yelled.
"Ha!" she barked, setting Kevin's plate in front of him. "No...I don't think so. Facebook answers," she giggled. "His...hair, his smile, his laugh, his eyes, and his...butt." She laughed, our sisters joining her.
I shook my head, typing her answers and looking up at her out of the corner of my eye. She grinned, shrugging innocently.
"Top five favorite foods," I chuckled, shaking my head.
"Really?" she scoffed. "You want me to put...mountain lions and bears down there?"
We all laughed, but I shot her a wink, before saying, "Just...what were your favorite things when you were human, baby?"
"Um...pizza, steak, french fries, coffee, and..." She paused, snorted, and shook her head. "Mushroom Ravioli."
I barked a laugh, typing her answers.
The next few questions were about music, which peaked my brothers' interests immediately.
"Top five favorite guilty pleasure songs," I chuckled.
"Teenage Dream," Bella, Alice, and Rose all giggled.
"For sure," Kevin agreed, getting a chuckle from Adrian.
"Pour Some Sugar on Me," Alice laughed.
"Bad Romance," Rose chuckled, and the girls sang the chorus.
You know that I want you...
You know that need you...
I want your lovin',
I want your revenge.
You and me could write a bad romance...
They shattered into hysterics, which was contagious as all hell.
They picked the rest of the guilty pleasure songs, then the top five romantic songs – which included Wild Horses, my girl had said with a sweet, sweet smile. My brothers and I helped her with driving songs, movie songs, but things took a weird turn with the next question. And I suddenly found out why Bella may not have wanted to do this in the first place.
She was cleaning the kitchen when I said, "Top five break up songs."
"Dunno, never broke up with anyone," she mumbled, her back to us as she washed dishes. And her thoughts vanished from my mind.
I winced, looking back down at the screen, but thank God for Kevin's and Emmett's senses of humor and knowing what was needed to lighten up the room.
"Time For Me To Fly," the two of them guffawed, bellowing the beginning of the song.
They warbled through it dramatically, only causing us to roll our eyes at them.
"Okay!" Rose growled with a laugh, when Jasper even joined in on the REO Speedwagon song.
"Fuck You by CeeLow Brown," Adrian said, getting a chuckle from everyone.
But my girl was still quiet as Alice nudged me for the next category. I shook my head, but she read it anyway.
"Next question... Top five angry songs," she stated, looking around the room.
"You mean...what you listen to when you're pissed off?" Jasper laughed.
"I guess," Alice snorted with a shrug.
"So What," Rose chuckled. "You know...by Pink."
"Mad World," Kevin stated, but I could see him turn to Bella, wondering where she'd gone in this conversation.
"Going Under by Evanescence," she stated softly, before turning off the water at the sink, wiping her hands, and leaving the room.
"Going Under...Going Under," Jasper muttered to himself, turning to Emmett, who suddenly looked sick as he glanced at me apologetically.
Em pulled out his iPod, fiddling with the playlist. He set it down, playing the song.
Now I will tell you what I've done for you -
Fifty thousand tears I've cried.
Screaming, deceiving and bleeding for you -
And you still won't hear me.
(going under)
Don't want your hand this time - I'll save myself.
Maybe I'll wake up for once (wake up for once)
Not tormented daily defeated by you
Just when I thought I'd reached the bottomI'm falling forever (falling forever)
I've got to break through
I'm going under
I'm dying again
I'm going under (going under)
Drowning in you (drowning in you)
Blurring and stirring - the truth and the lies.
(So I don't know what's real) So I don't know what's real and what's not (and what's not)
Always confusing the thoughts in my head
So I can't trust myself anymore
I'm dying again
I didn't wait for the end of the song, before grabbing the iPod and turning it off, but before I could leave the table, Alice grabbed my shirt.
"She's not mad...wait," she smirked, her eyes flickering to the hallway, where my sweet girl was coming back out with her school books.
She plopped down dramatically with a sigh, smirking up at me. "Is that stupid thing done yet?"
"No," I chuckled, giving her a wink. "Aren't you done with Chemistry yet?" I teased her, just grateful that she wasn't upset.
"No," she and Jasper both growled, rolling their eyes.
"And I'm still not doing it," Jasper huffed, getting up from the table to grab his acoustic guitar. He sat back down and picked out a soft melody.
"Name five favorite dates," Rose said, nudging me to type.
"Damn it," Bella chuckled, shaking her head. "Forty thousand freakin' questions."
I laughed, pulling her chair closer and setting my chin on hand. "Let's go, love. Five favorite dates you've been on..."
"This I have to hear," Emmett snickered, looking up from his English paper. "Eddie's damn smooth...this should be good."
"I'm in hell," Bella snorted, looking to me. "Paybacks are a bitch, Cullen."
I grinned, leaning to her ear. "Any time, Mrs. Cullen. You bring it." I sat back up and said, "Now answer the questions."
"Some of our dates can't posted on the internet," she said with an adorable smirk, which just caused more urges from our siblings. They all whined until she gave in. "Okay! All right! Damn," she sighed, shaking her head. "Our first date in Port Angeles..."
"Does that count?" I chuckled, but typed it anyway.
"Does it count because you were stalking me all day...and saved my life...yet again?" she asked with a laugh. "Yes. You bought me dinner. That's a date, silly."
Kevin found that highly amusing. "Stalking?"
"I...you have understand. Bella was a magnet for trouble," I growled, rolling my eyes. "Especially when she was human..."
"Whatever," she giggled, waving me off. "Um, that art and music festival you took me to in Seattle not long after you came back. That was really nice."
"Oh, yeah. I remember getting you ready for that one," Rose said with a grin and a nod.
"Good job, too," I muttered, typing that one out and shaking my head when the girls all laughed. "Keep going..."
"God, Edward...there are so many," she huffed, looking up at me from her homework. "I can't list them all. There's our trip to New York for Valentine's Day. There's our anniversary in Europe...Paris, specifically. There's that motorcycle outing we took on our honeymoon. Or how about the day we went to Stonehenge? See?"
"Chicago?" I suggested with a raised eyebrow and her favorite crooked smile.
She snickered, biting her bottom lip. "Exactly. That was fantastic. Pick yours and put them down there. I loved them all."
"Chicago..." Jasper chuckled, nodding and looking up from his guitar. "That's right, you showed her where you came from."
Chicago had been our first anniversary trip. She'd taken in my past, my history like a sponge soaking up water. I'd shown her my house where I'd grown up and lived as a human, the hospital where Carlisle had found me, and the graves of my parents. It had been a good trip, a healing trip for me, because I used to see my home as a place of pain and loss, of sadness, and the beginning of never ending nights. But taking my Bella there, I saw it through her eyes. She was grateful for the chance to see everything – to get to know more about me. She saw it as a blessing that I was born, died, and re-born just for her – a thought that made me smile all on its own, because she always had a way of making me see the flip-side of every coin.
I smiled and started typing out our first "picnic" in our meadow, showing my girl, who nodded with a warm, sweet smile. I also added her birthday trip to the London Orchestra, moving on to the last question.
"Last one, sweet girl," I told her.
"Thank God," she sighed, looking up at me. "I hope you enjoyed yourself."
"I did," I chuckled, thinking that just watching her squirm under all the innocent questions was too adorable for words.
Well, until the last question – it wasn't so innocent.
"Well, what is it?" she asked, when I paused at the question.
"You'll never answer it," I laughed, looking up at my brothers, who were just about to burst from their chairs. "Is this really important to high school kids?" I laughed, shaking my head when everyone bolted up from their seats to come read over my shoulder.
"Name five favorite places to have sex," Bella read, fighting her smile.
"Ooh, hot damn!" Kevin cheered, sitting back down at the kitchen counter next to Adrian. "Go on, my goddess. Teach us, oh wise one."
Bella laughed, looking at the question one more time. "What makes you think I wouldn't answer, Edward?"
"Well, I...um...I just thought," I stuttered, unable to tell her in front of everyone that I assumed she just didn't want to reveal that much. But from the look in her eye and the thoughts I was reading, this was the payback she'd been waiting for, for making her go through with this survey. It was my turn to squirm. And God, I loved her for it.
"Fifty bucks says she answers it," Emmett started, holding up a folded bill.
"Fifty says she lies," Rose snorted.
"Fifty says Eddie doesn't make it past number three before he leaves the room," Jasper laughed, snatching all the money and slapping the bills down on the table.
"Fifty says more than one of them is hell-yeah-freaky," Kevin laughed, adding his money to the pile on the table.
Suddenly, Alice's mind went blank on me, her thoughts completely shielded by Bella, who was communicating with her like they always did, with hardly a word spoken, just giggles and smiles.
"Yeah, but what do I get if I answer?" she asked, looking around the table, and finally to me. "Do you want me to answer, Edward?" Her voice took on that soft, sexy thing she did when she wanted my undivided attention, which wasn't hard for her to achieve anyway.
"Anything you want, and yes..." I breathed, because I damn well wanted to know her opinion on this. I was stuck in a seventeen year old body, for God's sake, and I was married to the most beautiful woman in the world. What man wouldn't want to know?
That caused a round of chuckles, everyone waiting for her.
With one last look to Alice, she took a deep breath, thinking to me, I want a night out. Alone, Edward.
"Done," I vowed, fighting my smile at the cries of outrage from our siblings because they weren't privy to our deal.
She smiled, tapping her pencil against her lips lightly. "Okay," she chirped, "I'll do it. Type, baby..."
She got up and started pacing, her mind caressing mine like soft hands. You do realize, I'm about to up your 'guy rating' by like a million percent? You will be 'the man' when I say the first one...
"The hood of the Vanquish," she stated, holding back her smile as my brothers lost their minds.
"Aw, no fuckin' way, dude!" Emmett growled, shaking his head. "The Vanquish, are you kidding me? You wouldn't even let me drive it."
I raised an eyebrow at him, not even defending myself from that at all. No one but my girl touched that car – and Rose, when she tuned it up.
"Nice," Alice and Rose nodded in agreement.
"You had sex on a car that cost more than my parents' house?" Adrian guffawed. "That's awesome!"
"That's serious cool points, brother," Jasper said, holding his fist out, and I bumped it back.
Told you, my girl's voice sang in my head.
I winked at her, mentally vowing that whatever night she wanted to go out, I would do anything she asked of me. I didn't give a damn what it was.
"A fucking Aston Martin," Kevin sighed, shaking his head. "Oh, Heavy E, you are a spoiled thing, aren't you?"
"You have no idea," Bella giggled, blowing me a kiss.
"I miss that car," I sighed with a huge shit-eating grin as I typed "on car" on the list. The survey didn't need details. Period.
"Next!" Alice, Rose, Jasper, and Emmett all begged with guffawing laughter.
I watched my sweet girl's face as the best of memories flitted through her mind – the Eiffel Tower in Paris, our meadow, my bed at the Forks home, my Volvo, her old truck, the Biology lab at Forks High, and her Mercedes SUV, which was the first car I'd bought her.
"The drive-in," she chuckled, locking eyes with me, but her mind was deadly, considering the company we were in.
I typed her answer, despite the calls of "cliche" that surrounded us and ignoring her memory of exactly how Dirty Edward had acted in that car.
"Bella," I groaned, but smiled any-damn-way. It had been one of the first times she'd wanted me to dominate her. It never lasted long when we played that way, because I detested ordering her around, but sometimes, it drove her crazy.
"Three more," Rose chuckled, "but the next one, we'll find out if Jasper's bet holds up."
With that said, my girl got a wicked sexy smirk on her face when she walked behind my chair. Bending to my ear, she crooned, "The piano, Edward..."
I groaned internally, shaking my head as I typed her answer. She chuckled, kissing the top of my head as Jasper patiently waited for my reaction, but he was disappointed when I didn't leave.
"That's freaky hot," Kevin muttered to Adrian, who was nodding. "I don't care who you are. Ain't nothin' wrong with a little Pretty Woman action. Go on, my little Julia."
"The last two, Bella," I sighed, trying to ignore everything but her fingers running through my hair.
"Camping in the desert of Arizona," she chuckled, "and the beach on our honeymoon."
What she didn't elaborate on, was that the honeymoon was during a storm and we'd completely lost ourselves in the rain, wind, and lightning. The desert was a hunting trip to Phoenix for mountain lions, and our instincts had taken completely over.
I locked eyes with her, smiling that she could take what were really out of control, completely sensual moments and make them seem tame to those around us, but what she was really doing was keeping the important meanings between us.
"There's more to all of that," Rose snorted, looking between us.
"Yeah, so?" Bella countered with a laugh, sitting back down to her homework.
"So wait! Who won?" Emmett asked, looking to Alice.
"You and Kevin split it, because she didn't lie, and Edward stayed past the third one," Alice said with a smirk.
"Sweet," Kevin and Emmett cheered, each taking two fifties from the pile.
"Now...tell us," Kevin started, smirking and folding his arms across his chest. "Who wins the bet about the dirty talk?"
The whole room froze, except for Bella and me, because the bet on this subject was ridiculously large, and they were all in on it.
We looked at each other with a smile, both saying, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
~oOoOo~
BELLA
"It's a wonder the Cullens can maintain a decent grade point average. It's like they're always absent," a girl muttered behind me to her friend in Algebra.
"They go camping. Something about family time, because they're all adopted or foster kids or some shit," her friend replied in a whisper.
"Decent," Jasper scoffed, rolling his eyes. "I have a four point oh, thank you very much."
"Imagine that," I chuckled, handing my homework toward the front and pulling out Edward's latest note.
We all maintained perfect grades. And we'd all been absent the last two days due to bright, clear days. But today was sloshy, rainy, and a touch chilly, and we were back to school under the guise of having been "camping."
However, their assumptions weren't quite off this time. We had spent time with the family during the last two sunny days. We'd combed the underground of New York with Kate, Irina, Carmen, and Eleazar, looking for Tanya. We did locate a few newborns, but they had no clue as to where they'd come from, and according to Edward, the only vampire they were aware of had been Sinclair. Despite the fact that we'd ended them, it was getting tiresome not being able to find Tanya.
I took a deep breath, shaking my head. My hatred for her had grown – if that was even possible. Knowing that she had caused all of this death, destruction, and chaos, made me livid. But knowing she'd done it just to draw us in, made my temper flare to an all consuming ire.
"Bells," Jasper sighed, sending me a wave of calm and then a shot of happiness.
I smiled, looking over at him. "Thanks," I chuckled, biting my bottom lip.
As Mrs. Sorren turned towards the board to start class, I smoothed out Edward's note. He wrote them right behind me in Spanish class, only to hand them over as we parted ways until lunch. I prepared myself for either very sweet, very romantic...or damn deadly.
Today...he was a little mix of both.
My Gorgeous Girl,
I sit behind you in class and wonder if you have any idea how alluring you are. Even back in Forks, you had no idea how beautiful, how sensual you could be.
When I first met you, I'd ache to know how that bottom lip, which you insisted on torturing, tasted. I used to take pages from your notebook, just to be able to take your scent with me. One sheet would smell of freesia and strawberries for at least two days. I'd tuck your hair behind your ear, just to be able to feel the soft curls against my skin.
But now...now I know. I know how that bottom lip tastes – like the sweetest honey. I carry your scent on me all day. Oh, and it's with pride that I'm drowning in your essence, because I know the reason why, my love. It means I've had the honor, the privilege of making love to the most beautiful creature to have ever walked this earth. And your scent means you've marked me, claimed me as yours, completely yours.
And your hair – I watch it fall down your back in a long ponytail, revealing the soft curve of your neck. It's all I can do to stop from reaching out and touching it, to pull it to the side so I can press my lips to that sweet spot right behind your ear.
While I'm at that sweet ear, I want to tell you in class to stop thinking about last night and the way I said your name over and over, or I'll go mad. I want to tell you that I want to run off to the nearest empty room and kiss you senseless, because you can't keep your pen out of that amazing mouth of yours. And I want to tell you that my love, my want, my need for you can never be sated, because I look at you and revel in the fact that you love me, want me, need me just the same – that you completely understand.
I want to tell you that I love you, so very much. That I miss our house and the little life that we were building in London. I miss our solitude and privacy. Not because of the house in particular, or even the city, but what it represented. Our life, our house. The place could be anywhere, but as long as I have you, I'm perfect.
I want to tell you that I am looking forward to taking you out tonight. I know it was planned all in fun because of all the questions I made you answer online, but I'm really looking forward to losing ourselves in the city away from everyone. I'm glad that we have one night that we can get away.
I can't wait to sink my fingers into your hair, which sways, just barely brushing over the top of my desk, every time you answer Mr. Martinez's question. I want to touch you, taste you, kiss you with wild abandon, knowing that our family can't hear us, even if I have to duck us into the park to do it. And I want to walk with pride with you on my arm, because you're stunning and sweet and oh so loving, and it radiates from your very soul.
I know that things are stressful, but know that we share the same goal. I won't disgrace this page with her name, but please know that we are in sync when it comes to her. That we both just want it over and to go back home – wherever we want that to be.
I love you, my beautiful, sweet, sexy Mrs. Cullen.
Always,
Edward
My forehead hit my desk with a soft thump, and I flipped my chuckling siblings off, which only caused Alice to snort a little louder and gain attention from Mrs. Sorren.
"Miss Swan?"
"Yes, Mrs. Sorren?" Alice and I said in unison as I raised my head up, which caused chuckles not only from the class, but from the teacher, as well.
"Yes, right...both of you...well, anyway," she stuttered, fighting her smile. She was a sweet older woman, who Jasper said really liked me and Alice. "Alice, please tell me how you got this solution."
It took all I had to force my attention from Edward's beautiful note back to class, but with a deep sigh, I pocketed it, starting to take notes.
~oOoOo~
"Edward, Emmett...I'm wondering if you could help me move this desk around, boys," Miss Gibbons asked sweetly. "We need to get this room organized."
"Yes, Miss Gibbons," they both answered politely, standing up from our table in Study Period.
We'd realized pretty quickly that while young Miss Gibbons didn't really openly ogle Edward – and now Emmett – she did appreciate a good looking boy. And she really appreciated their calm, sweet manners. I could imagine that she wished they weren't so young, but that looking never hurt anyone. She was never rude or outwardly flirtatious, but Edward said her mind did register his, and now Emmett's, good looks. He said that she was biased towards them in her mind, but never showed it in class. Edward also said that she liked us all, really, because we didn't make trouble, we always did our work, and she sympathized with our familial situation.
"She just wants to stare at their butts," Rose snorted, bursting into a silent laugh as both boys shot her a hard look.
"Mm, blame her?" I chuckled, taking a long slow gaze up his legs to that perfect ass of his and shaking my head as Edward rolled his eyes at me.
"Nah," Rose sighed and shrugged, turning the page of her magazine. "So where are you two going tonight?" she asked as the boys moved furniture around for the teacher.
"He says it's up to me," I told her, slipping my Algebra homework into my notebook and pulling out my history work for the next class to check it over. "To be honest, I don't care. Just getting out will be...a treat," I snorted. "Hell, a movie and a walk in the park would be fine."
"Do you miss London?" she asked, hardly able to fight her laugh as Miss Gibbons now had the boys moving a bookcase.
"I miss our house," I sighed. "I miss our privacy." I looked up at her, knowing she would understand, because she and Emmett had lived alone once in a while. In fact, while Edward was away from me for those two years, they'd been living as a newlywed couple in New Hampshire.
Rose nodded, turning another page in her magazine. "Edward's always been private, quiet – probably because he could hear everything. You are a break for his mind. And you both like alone time. Living with the family must get tedious," she mused, and we both turned when Emmett's boisterous laugh met our ears.
"Not tedious, but the occasional break isn't a bad thing," I giggled, letting my eyes caress every inch of my husband's flexing muscles as he lifted another bookcase. His arms bulged slightly, the muscles rolling under the smooth skin of his forearms. His back was strong, but his ass was just perfect as he bent down to pick up a stack of books to set them back on the shelf. But it was his wry smirk and raised eyebrow that he shot my way at my thoughts, that caused my laugh to escape me.
You can write naughty notes to me, and I can't stare at your ass, Edward? I don't think so. Get to work, I thought to him with a soft giggle, leaning back in my chair to enjoy the show.
He grinned at his feet, shook his head, and turned his attention back to rearranging the classroom for Miss Gibbons. There were rumors that there was to be some inspection, so we assumed she was getting ready for that. She wasn't the only teacher behaving this way.
Rose chuckled at our silent exchange, and I turned to her with a smile. "What?"
"I was just thinking," she started with a smile. "Edward never smiled like that in school before you." She snickered, shaking her head. "He wasn't...miserable, but he wasn't...that..." She pointed at him as he and Emmett joked around as they helped move a few tables.
I smiled again, looking up at her. I couldn't help but feel a little smug, a little proud that it was me that caused such a change in him. "He wasn't the only one," I pointed out quietly.
"Oh, I know," she said with a grin. "I remember."
We didn't say anything more about the subject. Rosalie wasn't exactly my biggest fan at the beginning. She thought I was just experiencing a human crush, and that Edward was temporarily distracted by me. It wasn't until Edward fell back into my life, that Rose and I became close. She'd seen what our being apart had done to her brother.
When Miss Gibbons seemed to feel that the room was up to standards, the boys sat back down with us, but it wasn't long until the bell rang, signaling the end of class.
"See you after class, baby," Edward said against my forehead as we separated in the hall.
"'Kay," I sighed, nodding against his lips. "Love you..."
"Love you, too, sweet girl," he whispered in my ear and then planted a long sweet kiss just behind my earlobe.
My history class was on the other side of the planet, it seemed. It was on the west side, down three flights of stairs, and in an annex building just outside the back exit of the school. As I stepped outside into the courtyard, I smelled her.
My head snapped to the left, and I saw her standing between a tree and the school's brick wall. She was a tiny thing, with curly hair and crimson eyes.
"Megan," I breathed, recognizing her instantly from the photo that Charlie had given me.
She nodded slowly, but her eyes were on the students around me as they filtered in and out of doors, getting into their last classes of the day.
I knew that Edward could see my thoughts, and I was definitely sure that Alice would see this. It was what we'd been waiting for, what we'd stayed in school for.
My phone vibrated in my pocket.
E: Alice says she only wants to talk, love. We're all close, though.
I'm okay, Edward, I thought to him as I found myself alone with the young immortal.
Megan stayed eerily still as I walked towards her. She seemed to brace herself as I stepped in front of her. With one last look behind me, I could see we were alone.
"Bella?" she verified, looking me over from head to toe.
"Yeah," I said, nodding. "You're Megan. You know, Jessica's worried about you..."
She grimaced, her gaze falling on the tree next to us. "I know...I wish...she shouldn't..."
"She knows more than you think," I told her softly, raising an eyebrow at her. Her eyes snapped to mine, and my heart broke with the hope, the desperation that I saw there. "She just wants to know...anything about you. She'll be glad to know that I've seen you."
Megan nodded, taking a deep breath and smiling sadly. "Mark was right about you. You are...kind."
I smiled, biting my lip. "I suppose...when it's warranted."
She grinned, and she was truly beautiful. It fell quickly when she took a deep breath. "Look, I don't have a lot of time. If I take too long, she'll know I'm not just...hunting." I stayed silent, waiting for her to continue. "Mark told me to find you. Told me that you guys would see me coming. I didn't believe him."
I snickered, saying, "Mark knows us, knows how we work. How is he?"
Her features softened, and then hardened in an instant. "He's in trouble. We need your help. I..." She huffed, shaking her head. "I know that you guys killed Sinclair. And that just set Tan..." She stopped, blinking rapidly.
"It's bad, isn't it?"
"Yeah," she whispered, rubbing her face. "She's out of control. Mark asked me to beg you for help and to tell you...he's sorry. That he didn't know about her. He said to tell you she lied."
"We need to know where she is, Megan," I urged, placing a hand on her shoulder. She flinched a little, but didn't step away from me. "We want to help. It's why we stayed. We know about you and Mark. We know Tanya is...doing things."
"Don't say her name," she whispered, looking around frantically.
"Oh, Megan," I chuckled darkly. "I'm so not scared of her. Please trust me when I tell you that. I know you are, but we want to help you. She needs to be...stopped."
"Mark wants to see you, but we have to plan it," she whispered, squeezing her eyes closed, but I could tell that my shield was pulling her in. I liked her. She was just a victim of Tanya's big scheme.
"Okay. Tell me when and where. But we need to know how to help you," I said, looking behind me. In the windows of the school, I could see my family watching carefully out the windows. But it was Jasper that I saw standing by the wall on the other side of the courtyard. I turned back to Megan. "Can you call, communicate in any way?"
"No," she gasped, shaking her head frantically.
"Okay, so Mark needs to use that power of his...he needs to lift it, so we can see you, see your plans."
"He knows that," she sighed, looking behind her. She was quiet for a moment. "She uses newborns to watch us. Gives them instructions to kill us or tell on us if we talk too much, go somewhere we shouldn't, or even if we look at each other too long. I barely got away today." She paused and blinked rapidly again, swallowing thickly, and I realized she was trying so very hard not to cry. "He's...everything..."
"Megan," I groaned, shaking my head. "You have to be strong, be smart about this. She's very clever, but she's not...wired right. She's exploiting your weakness, and that's each other, but Tan...she's easily flustered."
"I know," she said, and a wry smile flickered briefly across her face. "Mark told me to tell you... 'Have Alice watch.'"
"We will," I assured her. "I promise."
"I have to go."
"Wait," I whispered, grasping her hand. "Can you tell me anything? Like where she is or how many newborns she has. We can't help you if we don't know anything."
Her nose lifted into the air, and I smelled another immortal scent at the same time she did. We were being spied on. I spun around to see Jasper sprint towards the gates.
"Bella, let me go! She'll know if her creations don't return. They'll tell her I spoke to someone. Please!" She struggled a little, but I held her with my hand and my shield.
"Jasper will stop this one. We've been killing them all over the city, so one missing won't mean a thing." We listened as there was a low growl that erupted in the alley across the street. I couldn't see, but I could very well imagine that Jasper had things under control.
I turned back to Megan. "When Mark is ready, tell him he knows how to let us know..." She nodded, tugging her hand, but I stopped her again. "Do not let her use you, Megan. She's a bitter, foul beast. And it's jealousy that guides her."
"Please don't leave us," she begged, gripping my forearms in a grip that was almost shocking. Her newborn strength was amazingly forceful. "Please stay..."
"We aren't going anywhere, sweetie," I vowed, shaking my head, but stopped when I smelled sunshine, honey, and clean linen. "Hey," I whispered urgently. "Do me one favor." I looked behind me to see my husband emerging from the back door of the school. He was moving cautiously, and his eyes were calm, a slight tilt to his head. "I know you can't say anything, because you think they're listening, but think about where you're staying, where Tanya is right now!"
Her mouth fell open, but her eyes flickered behind me. She must have known about all of our talents, because she smiled just a little, nodded, and said, "Now you know, but don't do anything until you hear from Mark. Okay?"
I nodded frantically, just to keep her calm, but she was out of my grasp quickly.
With that, she was gone and over the fence in a flash.
Instantly, Edward was at my side. "It's lower Manhattan. Let's go. We need to get to Carlisle," he said, taking my hand.
I stopped him, tugging his attention to me. "I promised her we'd do nothing until we heard from them. We can't do anything yet."
"We won't, love," he soothed, brushing my hair from my face, his eyes calm, sweet, and sympathetic. "You were right to promise her that. If we go in now, she could panic and use her army to hurt them. It's not their fault. We'll stand on your word, baby. I swear it."
I nodded, taking a calming breath. My heart was breaking for her as I pulled out my phone.
"Are you sure that's a good idea, Bella?" Edward asked, pulling my hand up to his lips.
"She should know, but I'd rather tell him first," I sighed, pressing send on my phone. I put it to my ear, sighing when a raspy, smooth voice answered. "Hey, Jake...we need to talk..."


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