Saturday, July 21, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 105 - Bella

~oOo~

Tampa... Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 4:52 P.M.

I had just folded a T-shirt of Edward's from the basket of clean laundry when my phone beeped, signaling a new text message.

E: Beautiful, I hate to do this, but the guys and I are going to be late tonight. Got called in to a last minute meeting with some of the bigwigs to talk about how we think the training program is going so far.

B: Aww, babe, it's ok. I have a lasagna in the oven, so I can just turn it down, and it'll be ready when you guys get here. Know how long it'll take?

E: We're just waiting for the last few to show up, but they won't be here until 5, so we have a few until it starts. So...no idea when we'll get home.

Well damn... We had less than a week left here in Florida, so any extra time Edward had to spend on base took away from that. I hated it, but there was nothing I could do, so I put on my game face and sent him another text.

B: K. Well, we'll see you when we see you, I suppose. Try not to get too bored while you're waiting. ;) Love you, Sarge.

E: I love you, too, sweetheart. See you when I get home.

Rose and Alice walked in right after I set my phone back on the table, frowns on their faces.

"You got a message, too, huh?" I smiled sympathetically.

"Yes," Alice grumped, folding her arms across her chest as she sank down into one of the recliners.

Rose nodded. "Hopefully it won't take that long. 'How's it going, Sergeant Masen?' 'Just fine, sir. The soldiers are learning quickly.' 'Good, now go home.'" She grinned. "See? How hard could it be?"

I laughed and tossed a balled up pair of socks at her, dodging when she threw it back at me.

She settled in beside me on the couch and kicked her feet up on the coffee table, wiggling her newly-painted, deep red toenails.

A few minutes later, the house phone rang, interrupting our conversation.

"Go ahead and answer it," Alice said, gesturing to the phone that was sitting on the table by my end of the couch.

"It's their house phone. We can just let it go to the machine." I felt kind of weird answering the guys' phone when they weren't there.

Rolling her eyes, Rose shoved playfully at my shoulder. "Just answer it, Bells. They won't care."

Sticking my tongue out, I finally grabbed the phone on the fourth ring. "Hello?"

"Hello," a woman's voice echoed. "Could I please speak with Edward?"

I raised an eyebrow. "He's not here right now. Could I give him a message?"

The woman made a huffing sound of frustration. "Yes, could you tell him Tanya called?"

Tanya? I thought, before stuttering, "T-Tanya?"

Alice and Rose sat up straight, eyes narrowed.

"Yes, that's right. Eddie got in touch with me recently to tell me he was back in the States, so naturally, I had to call him back." She paused and then asked, "Who am I speaking with? Are you one of the wives of his roommates?"

Edward had called her? Why? I swallowed back the ball of nerves and disgust that had gotten lodged in my throat and bit out, "No, this is his girlfriend, Bella."

"Oh, yes... The one he met through a silly little letter. He mentioned something about that. I didn't pay much attention to it. After all, now that he's back in the U.S. and getting out of that dreadful job soon, he'll want to come home to me. I'm the only home he has and the only tie back to his parents. He won't be able to give up that tie, so you should prepare yourself now, Beth." Her voice was totally bitchy and condescending, and I fought the urge not to throw the phone through the living room window. "Thank you for helping him get through being overseas, but I'll take over for him now. He won't need you anymore. We can be happy again, like we were before he made the decision that broke us."

Suddenly, I wasn't nervous. I was just pissed. "First of all, my name is Bella."

I nearly blew my top at her muttered, "Whatever!"

"Second, if Edward was planning to go home, as you put it," I said snidely, "then why did he sell everything? Hmm?" Looking up at Rose and Alice, who looked as murderous as I felt, it reminded me of something. "By the way... I believe you have some photos that don't belong to you. If you grab a pen, I can give you the address of where to send them."

When she finally replied, she was calm, her voice cool. "Not everything was sold, Becky. Eddie still has many things here. In fact...I believe I have several boxes of his things. If he wasn't coming home to me, would I still have them?" She sniffed. "I think not. As for the photos, he was just upset . I know those were just pictures he collected to try to make me jealous, so I threw them out. Eddie would never cheat on me."

My inner warrior reared back and verbally smacked her. "No, the cheater would be you."

Tanya gasped. "You bitch! You don't know anything about me or my relationship with Eddie. You just wait. Once he hears I called, he'll throw you out and invite me down there. In fact, I think I'll go look at tickets now." She hung up without another word.

I fumbled with the phone, finally pressing the End button and tossing the phone to the table in front of me. I felt totally and completely numb from my head to my toes, and I was afraid if I stayed where I was, I would be sick. I knew my reaction to the bitch's call didn't make sense. Edward loved me, I was sure of it, and I loved him. So what was my problem? Why had I let her words about Edward's "home" affect me like they had? I wasn't sure I believed her about him having contacted her or that she had several boxes of his things, but what if I was just being naïve?

I couldn't think about it anymore. I had to go lay down on the bed before my wobbly knees forced me down to the floor.

"Bella, what's wrong?"

"Talk to us, sweetie."

"Bella Swan, you're scaring me. What did she say?" Alice's arms were crossed, and her expression was murderous.

They both sounded worried, and I knew if I tried to talk, I would shatter. So instead, I simply shook my head and pushed my way past them, moving to the bedroom. I left my friends, my phone, and my self confidence behind.

Once in the bedroom, I stripped off my clothes, leaving on my panties, and then reached into Edward's drawer and pulled out one of his soft T-shirts – a deep green that reminded me of his eyes. Seeing the dog tags he'd given me with my other things on the top of the dresser, I grabbed them and slipped the chain over my head.

Shaking, I climbed under the blanket on the bed, turned on my side, and hoped if I could fall asleep, maybe when I woke up, the last hour would turn out to have been a nightmare.

~oOo~

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