Saturday, June 16, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 21 - Bella


Seattle... Saturday, April 24, 2010 12:05 P.M.

"Just ask your question, beautiful."

My insides clenched at his teasing, sweet voice calling me beautiful. I didn't think it would ever be something I'd get tired of hearing.

Putting a pink-tipped finger to my pursed lips, I looked up and to the right, pretending to be deep in thought. In reality, I already knew exactly what I was going to ask him. At his chuckle – that deep, sexy tone sending lightning bolts from my ears to my nipples, making them harden into points under the thin t-shirt and simple white lace bra – I looked back at the screen to see him smirking at my playful teasing.

"Okay, okay. Keep your panties on, Masen," I huffed, shooting him a grin and wink to show I was teasing.

He mumbled something which sounded suspiciously like "What if I don't want to?" but when I raised an eyebrow, he just grinned.

I kicked back on the couch, bringing the laptop with me. "First kiss," I said once I was settled. I hoped to God it wasn't Tanya...

Edward barked out a laugh, shaking his head. "Random much, Bella?"

Shrugging, I giggled. "What can I say? I need to know if I should be jealous."

He actually rolled his eyes at that but grinned and said, "No need to be jealous. That would have been...Jane Reynolds in second grade. She cornered me on the playground. I don't remember much – only that it was wet and I acted grossed out to everyone around me, while inside, I was a bit embarrassed but happy that she seemed to like me."

My heart melted at the thought of the tough little boy hiding his feelings. "All right, I suppose you're right... No need to be jealous about that one," I teased.

"Turnabout's fair play, beautiful," he said, raising an eyebrow. "You ask, you answer. That's the rules, remember?"

I grinned, thinking back to middle school. "Riley Smith. We were in sixth grade and at our first school dance. He dared me to go around the bleachers and kiss him. I, of course, couldn't turn down a dare, so we waited until the teachers' backs were turned, and then I took his hand and we tiptoed around until we were in the shadows of the bleachers on the other side of the room. He was gentle and sweet, and there was nothing but lips involved. He didn't even use his hands to hold me close. Of course, then we got caught by one of the chaperones and earned a day of after-school detention, and we weren't allowed to come to the next dance, but that was okay. So totally worth it."

Edward's eyes had darkened slightly, and I giggled as they narrowed. He was jealous!

"Hmm," he murmured. "Riley Smith, you said?"

The giggle turned into a laugh, and I shook my head. "Silly man. Your turn, Edward."

He grinned sheepishly and ran a hand through his hair, tugging once. "I, uh, didn't think to have any questions ready..."

"Well," I started, drawing out the word, "I suppose I could ask a second one... But that means you owe me!"

This time, his smile took over his whole face, and his head fell back as he laughed. "Yeah, sweetheart, I'll owe you one."

Again with the clenching belly.

Taking a deep breath to calm my racing heart, I asked, "If you could have dinner with anyone – alive or dead, famous or not – who would it be?"

He smiled almost shyly, glancing down at his lap for a moment. With a hand through his hair, he finally lifted his eyes toward the screen. "You," he said simply, his mouth quirking up into a shy, but sexy smile. "You, Bella. I'd give anything to be on the other side of this screen right now."

I had no response to that. Zip, zero, zilch. My heart was beating furiously, my mouth was dry, and my breathing was heavy, but I felt so light that I was almost afraid I would float away.

I must have been quiet for too long because his eyebrows drew together and he sat forward, looking concerned. "Bella, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I'm sorry if that's—"

"No!" I interrupted quickly, laughing at how loud my outburst had been. Softening my voice, I hurried to assure him. "You didn't make me uncomfortable, babe. Just speechless – and if you ask the guys, they'll tell you that's hard to do." I winked, bringing a relieved smile back to his face. "Oh, and Edward?"

"Hmm?" Relaxed again, he sat back in his chair, arms folded across his chest and eyebrow raised in question.

"That was the perfect answer. I don't think I could have put it any better than that," I said softly, my heart fluttering at the slow smile that formed on the sexy man on my laptop screen.

Our moment was broken by two loud, boisterous voices calling my name.

"Bella!" Jasper sounded happy as his face came into view over Edward's left shoulder.

Emmett popped up on the other side. "Bellsy! How's this guy treating you?" He patted Edward's shoulder. "Do we need to kick his ass yet?"

Rolling my eyes, I grinned. "Thanks, guys, but I think I'll be okay." Damn them for interrupting. I was glad to see my friends, but they were interrupting my Edward time!

"What's up, guys?" Edward asked, his eyes not leaving mine.

Jasper shot me a wink before looking down at Edward. "Sorry for interrupting, Sarge. Just wanted to let you know Lieutenant Stephens was looking for you. He said to come find him ASAP."

Edward frowned but nodded. "Thanks. I'll go see him now. Give me a minute?" His eyes were still focused on me.

Emmett and Jasper nodded, clapping his shoulder once more.

"See ya, Bella," Jasper said, smiling. "Give Alice a kiss for me."

"Oh, damn, tape that shit if you do," Emmett crowed and then grunted as Edward's elbow connected with his stomach at the same time as Jasper's fist made contact with his upper arm. "Okay, okay, sorry!" He laughed. "Later, Bella."

After a moment, it was back to just the two of us, and Edward sighed, running a hand over his face tiredly. "Sorry, beautiful. I need to go. He wouldn't have summoned me if it weren't important."

I nodded, smiling sadly. "I know, Edward. It's okay. Email when you can?"

His answer came immediately. "Of course." Then he held up a finger. "Hold that thought." He moved slightly off screen, and I heard a muffled noise, as if he were rattling things around in a drawer. When he sat back in his seat, he held up a pen and paper. "Can I call you sometime?" he asked, his voice back to that shy, quiet tone, a touch hesitant.

I rattled off my phone number in answer, watching as Edward scribbled down the numbers and then ripped the page off the pad of paper. He tossed the rest of the paper and the pen back somewhere behind the computer and then smiled.

"Thank you for coming on here," he said sweetly. "It means...more than you know to know you wanted this. Wanted me."

My lips curled upward, his demeanor and words tugging at my heartstrings. "There was never a choice, Edward," I answered softly.

He looked back over his shoulder for a second, frowning.

"Go," I told him. "You won't be able to relax until you talk to him and find out what he wanted. We'll talk again soon."

Edward nodded. "I'll email tomorrow, and I'll call when I can." With another soft smile, he said, "Have a good afternoon, beautiful."

"Good night, Edward," I whispered, swallowing around the lump in my throat, and then quickly clicked to hang up the call before my tears fell.

I was so overwhelmed with everything I was feeling – ecstatic that I'd gotten to see him and talk to him, overjoyed that the chemistry from our letters and emails was still there on a video call, and scared to death about why his lieutenant had been looking for him. I knew the threat of returning to Kandahar still loomed over his head, and that thought terrified me.

After a few minutes, I wiped the tears away, deciding they weren't helping any. I needed to get out of the house for a while, so maybe I'd go to the store and get the ingredients needed to make cookies to send to Edward.

But first...


From: Bella Swan
To: EAMasen
Date Sent: Sat, Apr 24, 2010 at 1:03 P.M.
Date Received: Sun, Apr 25, 2010 at 1:03 A.M.
Subject: I'm so glad we got to talk...

Hi, babe.

I know we just got off Skype a few minutes ago, but I wanted to write so you'd have an email whenever you got to the computer next.

I just wanted you to know that it was everything I could have hoped for and more, seeing you there on my screen, talking with you in real time. Maybe next time we're able to talk, we'll get more time. If not, just the brief conversations and glimpses of your gorgeous face (with that lickable jaw...) will do until I have you in front of me.

I'm off to get the stuff needed to make some cookies. Know anyone that might want them? I'm thinking my special trail mix cookies and maybe snickerdoodles this time?

Hugs and kisses,



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