Monday, August 13, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 155 - Bella

~oOo~

Seattle... Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 3:42 P.M.

"Tell me again why I can't ride with you," Edward grumbled, sliding his hands low on my back and pulling me against him.

I chuckled, leaning up to brush my lips over his. "The girls and I haven't had any girl time since you guys got home. So we're taking the time during the trip to Forks to gossip," I teased.

He grinned but quickly tried to cover up his amusement with a frown. "So you want to talk about us, huh? Am I already annoying you with my toothpaste habits? Did I forget to put the seat down?"

Giggling, I shook my head. Edward had been being so careful at trying not to do anything to annoy me, even though I'd repeatedly told him to just be himself, that he didn't have to try so hard. "No, you silly man. Just normal girl talk. Now, can you trust me with your baby?"

Edward had just picked up his new car the day before, and he wanted to get it out on the highway, so he was letting me drive it to Forks. He had originally wanted the C70, but I'd talked him out of it because a convertible wasn't exactly the best choice for Seattle weather. Instead, he'd gotten a sleek-looking black S60, and so far, he seemed pretty happy with the choice.

"Mm," he hummed, running his nose up my jawline to press a kiss to the soft skin under my ear. "The question is...can I trust the car with my baby?"

Smiling, I pulled back enough to kiss him. "I'll be fine. The car's solid, babe."

He started to say more, but Emmett walked up to him and clapped him on the shoulder. "C'mon, Sarge. Say goodbye to Bellybutton, and let's go. I wanna get on the road. The Chief promised that his bride-to-be would have dinner ready for us when we get there."

"Yeah, man," Jasper agreed. "Sue's venison chili and jalapeno cornbread are delicious. Can't miss those, so get a move on."

Edward laughed, shaking his head. "Fine," he grumbled, pouting adorably. "Kiss me one more time?"

Emmett, who was still standing beside him, leaned in and gave him a smacking wet kiss to his cheek, making the rest of us – minus Edward – double over with laughter. Edward's expression was one of horror, and he took a step back and turned, reaching out to punch at Emmett's shoulder, but Emmett dodged the blow, bouncing back on the balls of his feet.

"C'mon, Eddie," he teased. "You asked for another kiss; I gave it to you!"

Edward reached up and swiped at his cheek, looking at his hand in disgust before looking up at Emmett. Without a word, he pounced, barely missing Emmett, who turned and hightailed it across the small yard, squealing like a little girl.

The girls and Jasper were in stitches as Emmett nearly ran into a tree when he looked back to find Edward hot on his heels.

I snorted into laughter as I watched the two of them face off. Emmett puckered up again, and instead of reacting like he had before, Edward suddenly stopped moving. They were close enough that we could hear him speak.

"Oh, Emmie bear... You want another smoochie?"

The coquettish smile on his face was priceless, as was Emmett's reaction.

"Oh, fuck no, dude! I was just playin'!" He looked around, his gaze finally settling on Rose. "Rosie, a little help here?"

"What?" Rose asked, teasing Emmett. "Edward's kisses aren't good enough for you?"

As Emmett sputtered, Edward tried to hide his smirk as he stuck his nose up in the air and sniffed, turning on his heel. "That's fine. I don't need your kisses. I'm sure Bella will make it all better."

I laughed as he moved to me, his eyes twinkling with amusement. "Damn straight," I told him, sliding my arms around his neck.

Our kiss was short and sweet, because we both knew we needed to get on the road. I brushed Emmett's kiss on the cheek away with my fingers, replacing it with a kiss of my own, and then winked.

"All better, Sarge," I teased. "Try not to let him get you all riled up on the drive there, 'kay?"

Edward chuckled. "Drive safely, Isabella. We'll be right behind you."

With one last kiss, we all finally split up. The girls and I piled into Edward's Volvo, with me behind the wheel, Rose beside me, and Alice in the back seat. She was shortest, so she could sit in the middle and lean up to chat, and I could still see over and around her. The guys got into Jasper's truck, and since Emmett's huge-ass shoulders wouldn't fit comfortably in the back, that left Edward to climb into the back.

Jasper backed out of the drive and pulled off to the side to wait for me to go by. I honked as I drove past, and we waved at the boys, relieved that we were finally on our way to Forks.

~oooOOOooo~

For the first thirty minutes, I concentrated on getting us to the gas station, where Edward filled the car with fuel while the girls and I went inside to get something to drink, and then out onto the highway. Once we were clear of traffic – it was not a very busy road once you got outside of Seattle, since there wasn't a ton west of there – Rose turned in her seat, and Alice leaned forward.

"So...?" Alice raised an eyebrow as I looked at her in the mirror.

"So what?" I asked cheekily.

"Bella!" She laughed, grinning as Rose and I joined her. "How are things going?"

"Yeah, Bells," Rose said, sobering a little. "It's a big change, going from living alone to living with someone else full-time."

I shrugged, smoothly changing lanes to get around a semi-truck. Glancing behind me, I watched as Jasper followed my lead. "It's great, honestly. I wasn't really worried. He's still kind of walking on eggshells – like making sure his clothes aren't strewn everywhere, asking me first if I mind if he turns on the TV...that sort of thing. I think he's worried about being an annoyance, but honestly, I'm ready for him to just...be, if that makes sense."

"It does," Rose confirmed, and Alice agreed with a nod. "It's a little bit harder to find your normal because this is the first time you guys are together in person, not just the first time you're living together."

I knew she meant together in person permanently, not just for a visit. "I suppose, yeah. You guys didn't have to worry about this type of thing when you moved in with the guys, I guess?"

Alice shrugged. "Jazz and I spent a lot of time together before I moved in with him, remember. We'd known each other and been together live and in person for over a year. So we had already spent plenty of time together as a couple at his house."

"There was a little of that when I moved in with Emmett," Rose stated with a smile, "because he's so laid back, but it didn't last long."

"You'll be fine, sweetie." Alice smiled reassuringly at me when I glanced at her. "He'll settle in quickly enough."

"Thanks," I told them, glad what Edward and I were going through wasn't totally abnormal.

"Edward's going to go to school with Jasper, right?" Alice asked.

I nodded. "He's got an appointment scheduled for a couple of weeks from now to talk to an admissions counselor. He wants to teach music, but he's not sure what the best course of action is – he's assuming he'll need to major in Education, but whether he should just minor in music or be a double major, he wasn't sure. Also, he needed to find out about whether or not he needed to audition on the piano or not for the music part of it."

"He's applied already, though?"

Nodding again, I answered, "Yup, mailed it off today, in fact. Hopefully he'll hear back before his appointment, but the lady in the admissions office said when he called that he could still meet with them even if he hadn't heard back yet. He shouldn't have any trouble getting in, so..."

"Jasper's planning on getting his master's degree?" Rose asked Alice, who nodded.

"Yeah, because I think he wants to teach at the university level." Alice shrugged. "We'll see. I'm not sure that's what he'll end up doing."

"What about Emmett?" I glanced over at Rose for a second before focusing back on the road. "You said something about Franklin's son and his shop?"

She grinned, looking animated as she replied, "Yeah, you know John, the son, owns an auto body shop. It's where I've filled in before. Anyway, he's looking for someone new to help out. In fact, he's looking for someone to come in as a partner in the business because remember, he and his wife just had a baby not long ago, so he wants to cut back on hours. Emmett's gonna start there in another week or so, and if the two of them get along – and if Emmett fits in with the rest of the crew – then Emmett may be able to slowly buy in as a partner."

I knew how much Emmett would love that. He liked working on cars as much as Rose did, but he didn't want to teach. I also knew he wouldn't want to just work for someone else for long, so the idea that he might be able to buy in as partner was perfect.

The rest of the drive, we continued talking about the upcoming few months, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Alice's parents would be back in Forks by Christmas. I was excited to introduce Edward to my second set of parents. In some ways, Esme was more my mother than Renee was a lot of the time.

With all our conversation, the three-hour trip seemed to take no time at all. Before I knew it, I was pulling up in front of Charlie's house. His cruiser was in the drive. and Sue's Bronco was parked beside it. The porch light was on, and when I got out of the car, I could see my dad in his recliner in front of the window. The sun was just beginning to set, so I could barely make out the reflection of the television flickering across his face.

When I turned around, Edward was there, my suitcase in one hand. With the other, he reached for me, a smile on his face as he pulled me to him.

"Three hours was entirely too long," he huffed as he lowered his head to kiss me hello.

I laughed, reaching for my bag. He shook his head, adjusting us so he could take my hand as the rest of the group came up beside us.

"Ready to meet my dad?" I teased, giggling when Edward froze for a second, his eyes wide. "You'll be fine, babe. Remember, if he loves these guys—" I motioned to Emmett and Jasper, my grin widening "—he'll adore you."

"Hey!" Emmett protested. "The Chief adores me!"

I winked over at him, and he grinned, punching Edward's shoulder lightly.

"Seriously, dude. Chill. He's cool."

His chest rose and fell as he took a deep breath in and let it out slowly, and when he raised his eyes, he looked much more calm and in control.

"Good," I told him. "Then let's go."

With a squeeze to his hand, I led him up the steps to the front door.

~oOo~

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