Saturday, July 14, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 87 - Bella

~oOo~

Tampa... Friday, June 18, 2010 at 5:50 P.M.

I felt better after talking to Edward. Just hearing his voice had calmed me, and his sweet words about the two of us and his feelings for me were a soothing balm to my worried, nightmare-beaten heart. When he had asked about his dog tags, I'd reached up to take them in my hand, using that physical presence to ground me, and I hadn't let go yet.

Alice's phone chirped, and when Rose and I turned to looked at her, she grinned and held up the phone. "That was Jasper. We're all clear."

Thank fuck. I didn't think I could handle waiting any longer.

We were just blocks away from the boys' house, so within three minutes, we were walking up to the front door, dragging our bags behind us. Alice pulled out the key Jasper had slid under the cushion on one of the porch chairs when he had left the house a few minutes earlier.

I gave a cursory glance around the house as I walked through to the master bedroom. It was a bit of an older home, but the rooms were a great size, and it was nicely decorated. You could tell it was a rental, because there weren't a ton of personal items on the walls, but the guys had done a good job of setting up the entertainment unit. Even though they hadn't been here long, it had a nice, comfortable, lived-in feel.

"Bella, take a shower, and then we'll work on your hair," Rose said as she walked past me on her way to find Emmett's room. "Alice is going to wait until one of us is out so she can open the door for the delivery guys."

"Yes, ma'am," I answered, giving her a mock salute.

From what Edward had said, his room was at the end of the hall, so I continued down until I stood in the doorway. I knew immediately that I was in the right place. For one, the blue sheets stood out on the messy bed. For another, he had framed all the photos I'd sent him, as well as printed out and framed the ones I'd emailed, and they were everywhere – on the walls, the dresser, and one he must have snapped during our first Skype conversation in a dark blue frame on the bedside table. The rough, edgy feeling my nightmare had left me with started to soften at the sight of just my face so lovingly placed everywhere.

Dropping my bags, I collapsed on the edge of the bed, picking up one of the pillows and burying my face in it. The scent that I had smelled on the T-shirts he'd sent me invaded my head, and with it, the enormity of the situation dawned on me. I was within hours of finally seeing Edward face to face.

That thought spurred me into action. I could look around all I wanted later. Right now, I had to get ready to meet my man.

~oooOOOooo~

Just over ninety minutes later, Edward's gift had been set up in the corner of the living room, where he would see it when we came back later tonight. I was dressed in the tight black miniskirt, which hit me mid-thigh, and matching top, both covered in large white polka dots. I had a cropped, light gray denim jacket with sleeves that I would roll up to the elbows to put on over it just before we left. The big black buttons and visible stitching had caught my eye first, and I hadn't been able to resist splurging. It was mismatched, casual, but perfect for a beach bar in Florida.

The girls had blown my hair out into waves and left it messy and down around my shoulders. My lips were a deep red, and my eyes were smoky, but not overdone. Alice had tried to convince me to wear earrings and a couple of bracelets, but the only "jewelry" I was wearing were Edward's dog tags, which I had tucked into my dress.

"Ready, ladies?" I asked, handing Rose my phone, driver's license, credit card, cash, and lipstick. She was carrying a small wristlet that matched her smoking-hot red dress. Once we were with the guys, I'd give Edward my stuff, but for now, she'd offered to hold it for me.

Alice locked the door behind us, and we made our way to the car. We were due to meet the boys at the club just a handful of miles down the road from their house. According to Jasper, it was about a fifteen-minute drive.

We were quiet until we reached the club. I was lost in my thoughts about seeing Edward for the first time, of course. But as much as I was looking forward to seeing Edward, I knew Alice and Rose had worried about and missed their husbands something fierce. They'd been dealing with this a lot longer than I had, and I knew it didn't get any easier as time went on.

The music was loud as we stepped past the bouncer at the door, giving him smiles. Alice went first, since Rose would draw enough attention from the crowd that it might alert Edward, and if he were looking around, he was sure to spot me. Rose and I stayed in the shadows until Alice came back and gave us the all clear.

"They are at a table across the room. Edward has his back to the door, so we should be okay to go in." She giggled. "Even the short time I was watching, two girls came up to the table. They must have asked Edward to dance, because he looked at them long enough to shake his head no, and they had to walk away disappointed."

I grinned. That was my Edward. I'd had no doubts that he was a chick magnet. "Okay, so Alice, you're going to go—"

"Talk to the DJ, yeah," she finished for me. "Then I'll meet you over there"—she gestured to a spot off to the side, closer to the guys—"so we can surprise them."

Rose and I nodded, and when she turned around to head up to the booth to speak to the man behind the music, we started making our way to the spot she'd indicated.

As we waited, I watched while two more girls – both young, hot, and blonde – walked up to their table and were dismissed with a smile from Emmett and a shake of Edward's head.

Not three minutes later, Alice joined us. "Okay, it's up next, so let's go."

The closer we got, the more nervous I became. Butterflies had begun flying around in my stomach, and my palms were sweaty.

Jasper saw us first, and other than a quick flash of a grin, he gave no indication. When Emmett looked up from his beer, his jaw dropped, but a quick finger to her lips from Rose shut him up fast.

The girls stayed close as I stepped up behind Edward. The music changed, and that was my cue. With my heart in my throat, I asked, "Hey, handsome. Can I have this dance?"

~oOo~

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