Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 17 & Pics

Chapter 17
As a little kid, I never thought to question my parents on certain things. Esme Cullen had always been open and forthcoming with all three of us. She’d explain things, teach us things, and she’d done it all with patience and love and hugs.
The sound of the splitting log sounded dull in the snowy late morning. I stood the next one up and swung again as my mind sorted through memories.
I was trying my damnedest to remember if my father had ever hugged me – or any of us, for that matter. Other than the occasional medical issue, I was pretty sure he’d never touched us. Actually, I’d never really wanted to be anywhere near the man. I’d been perfectly content in my mother’s presence.
Sunday, September 27, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 16 & Pics

Chapter 16
“And the fairy king knighted the archer boy so that his daughter could marry him,” I said, smiling when Alice squealed and clapped her hands.
“So they married and had a bunch of fairy babies, living happily ever after,” she concluded, bouncing in her bed.
“Yo, Ed, that war was awesome, with the acorn slingshots and the fiery arrows! And then there was the hummingbirds they flew on…like horses!” Emmett proclaimed, tossing his baseball up and catching it in his mitt.
“Excellent job, baby boy,” Mom whispered into my ear as she kissed the side of my head and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “You should write it down, my love.”
“Will you help me get it right?”
“If you want,” she said through a soft sigh, raking her fingers through my hair.
“I do! I wanna be a writer like you, Mom,” I told her but fiddled with the string of my pajama pants and then adjusted my glasses. “But… Dad says… Dad says writers starve.”
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 15 & Pics

Chapter 15
“Take your break, kiddo,” Tanya said, ruffling my hair on her way back to the front counter, but she stopped and cupped my face. “Gonna miss you when you’re gone.”
“Why? ’Cause you got more shifts?” I teased her, jerking when she poked my side, and I almost spilled the sugar I was refilling.
“Well, there is that, but…” She narrowed her eyes playfully. “You know, I’m old enough to be your…very awesome young aunt,” she said, grinning when I laughed. “You’re a sweet kid, Edward. I’d warn you all about being safe and being a good boy, but I don’t think I have to. I’d warn you not to hurt Bells, but I damn well know I don’t have to do that, so just…hurry back, okay?”
When I nodded, she kissed my cheek and ruffled my hair again, and I remembered her saying something about her own father being a problem. “Hey, Tanya?” I asked, putting the lid back on the sugar. She stopped before heading out front, and I said, “You… Y-You said your dad was…”
“Toxic, Edward. He was bad news when I was a kid.”
Nodding, I tilted my head at her. “You ever see him now?”
“See him? No. Though, I do call him every few months or so to make sure he hasn’t drunk himself to death or…forgotten to pay his rent, so… He’s an asshole, but I’m all he has left, despite the fact that we can barely stand one another.” She walked back to me, tapping my chin gently. “You can’t pick your family.”
Grimacing, I nodded. It seemed to be a repetitive statement surrounding me lately. “Yeah, Bella’s dad said the same thing.”
“They love you. Hell, kid, we all do, so if things get shitty, then…remember that. Remember who’s in your corner here. You live here now, not back there. You’re just going back for a visit.” She tapped my temple. “Home is where this is,” she added, tapping my chest to indicate my heart. “And I am pretty sure you’re leaving it behind.”
She shot me a wink when I nodded. “Break, Edward.”
Sunday, September 20, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 14 & Pics

Chapter 14
“Go, go, go!” Jasper and Charlie whisper-yelled at the football game, and it ended in groans of disappointment when the player was tackled.
Dinner had been amazing, and I was so stuffed I could barely keep my eyes open. Bella and I had stayed up late. My face heated with the memories of what we’d done. We had also ended up reading into the wee hours, and I was pretty sure it was because neither of us was willing to be separated just yet.
The kitchen was cleaned up, leftovers put away, and Aunt Jane and Renee were out back on the porch with hot cups of coffee.
However, it was the sleeping girl with her head on my chest that kept me right where I was on the living room sofa. I didn’t give a damn about the football game, and it wouldn’t have taken much for me to fall asleep with her, but I was enjoying the simple act of holding her.
“You know, Ed, you can move her,” Jasper said softly with a chuckle to his tone.
“No, no…” I laughed, shaking my head, and running my hand down her hair. “She’s fine.”
Charlie snorted, drained his beer, and stood up. “I’m not sure she’s ever made it past halftime, but you don’t have to be her pillow, son.”
Grinning, I nodded. “She’s helped me more times than I can count, so…assuming the role of the pillow is an easy thing,” I stated honestly.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 13 & Pics

Chapter 13
“There he is!” Renee sang when Bella and I walked into the kitchen to find the place was buzzing with activity. “I was beginning to worry. With the crazy drivers out there and it being a holiday weekend… Well, anyway…glad you made it, sweet pea.”
My brow furrowed, but I leaned into the kiss she gave to my cheek. “My roommate was saving the universe from aliens controlled by a kid in Dubai.”
Jasper cracked up, glancing up and over his shoulder from the counter. “Nice.”
“Well, good. Better video games than idiot drivers,” Aunt Jane said, hugging me from the side with her free arm. The other hand was holding a casserole dish full of what looked like homemade scalloped potatoes. “I’m glad you’re here. I could use another strong back. And you’d better bring your A-game appetite tomorrow, kiddo.”
I pushed up the sleeves of my shirt and nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”
I tried to focus on the tasks they needed done and not the fact that they’d been worried. I’d been just over the hour I’d told Jasper I’d be, but I wasn’t used to any adult worried about me. Back home, it didn’t matter, simply because I’d never gone anywhere but school, and usually my siblings – one or the other – had been with me. I was pretty certain my dad didn’t give a damn.
“C’mere, you two,” Renee called, pointing to Bella and me. “You guys can work on these green beans.”
Sunday, September 13, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 12 & Pics

Chapter 12
Except for the sound of water running in the kitchen, my house was quiet when Edward and I walked in. Aunt Jane glanced up from the sink to smile our way.
“Hey, kids,” she greeted, shutting off the water and drying her hands. “Don’t mind me. I’m going back to the guest house. There’s a marathon of Housewives of some shit or another. I plan on losing a few IQ points to it but gaining a pound or two with the tub of ice cream I’ve successfully hidden from my son.”
“Sounds like a damn good date, Aunt Jane,” I teased her, kissing her cheek.
“Trust me, it’s better than some dates I’ve actually been on, so…” She shot us a wink and squeezed Edward’s shoulder when he chuckled. “There’s plenty to eat in the fridge – leftovers, sandwich stuff, frozen pizza – so enjoy. And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” she sang on the way out the back door.
“That doesn’t leave much,” I muttered, smiling when Edward laughed again.
“Why does she keep her ex-husband’s last name?” Edward asked out of the blue.
“She’ll tell you it’s because she didn’t want Jasper to be different after the divorce, but really…she hates the idea of changing everything back to Swan. Don’t mind her; she’s crazy, which explains Jasper completely, right?”
Edward grinned and nodded. “She’s funny, though.”
“She is that.” I stood up on my toes to kiss his cheek. “You know where everything is, so make yourself at home, baby. I’m going to change clothes.”
“Okay,” he said softly.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 11 & Pics

Chapter 11
The sky was a bruised, purplish gray, flickering with bright strands of lightning. It was fascinating to watch from the large windows of Sunset Roast. The rain was so different in Glenhaven compared to back home. It was heavy and harsh, with cold, fat drops that spattered against the glass. It was also interesting to see it roll in off the water, covering the blue sky in its path.
A part of me could feel the old fear at the sight of rain and ocean, but the other part knew I was safe inside the café. I was warm and dry indoors for at least the next couple of hours. October was starting to cool off in Florida, which made me smile at the hoodies and jackets and sweaters I’d seen the last few days.
The café was quiet; we’d had a rush earlier before the rain had rolled in, but now everyone was where they wanted to be in order to wait it out. I finished wiping down all the tables, and I wanted to get a head start on the floors before closing. With no one in the sitting area, it seemed like the perfect time.
It was just Tanya and me working. Maggie had asked for the night off for a party somewhere on campus – the same party that Ben and Angela were going to, I was pretty sure. Jasper and Bella were with Renee in the art building helping her get set up for the art show that coming weekend. I’d offered to help after we’d closed.
I was just about to take advantage of the quiet downtime and work on my Creative Writing paper, but my phone buzzed in my pocket. Pulling it out, I grimaced at the sight of my father’s number.
“Hey, Tanya?” I called, holding up my phone. “I’ll be right out back, okay?”
“Yeah, honey. Do what you do,” she said, barely glancing up from the magazine she was flipping through. “Tell Bells I said hey.”
I smiled but shook my head as I walked through the kitchen. I wished it was Bella.
Sunday, September 6, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 10 & Pics

Chapter 10
My eyes couldn’t focus on the notes Professor Swan was writing at the front of the classroom. Instead, they raked along tight, faded jeans and the hand slowly doodling at the top corner of her page. My brain was still scrambled from our kisses. The one from the night before in the guest room of Bella’s house, to the one this morning on her front porch, never mind the few minutes we’d lost ourselves in her car when she’d pulled into the parking lot at Edgewater – my thoughts were consumed with her, the feel of her, the taste of her.
Rubbing my face, I forced myself to pay attention to the front of the classroom and take notes on what the next assignment was before he released us for the day.
He shot us a smile and wave as we left the room. Bella’s hand slipped into mine as we walked across campus to the dining hall. She stayed quiet, which was a bit unusual for her, so when we were finally outside at our table under the shade, I glanced up at her.
“You…okay?” I asked, scanning my head for something I might have done wrong.
She smiled and nodded, dragging a fry through ketchup. “I’m…perfect. I just… I have a question for you, but I’m not sure how to ask it. Or if I should ask it.”
Frowning at her, I took a deep breath. “Did I… Is there…”
Suddenly, her smiling lips were on mine. “Shh, you’ve done nothing wrong, baby. I just…” She pulled back to cup my face. “I just… What are you doing about the holidays?”
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 9 & Pics

Chapter 9
“You eat as much as you want, sweet pea,” Mom crooned to Edward, who was on his second bowl of beef stew. She patted him on the shoulder before taking the seat next to him.
Despite the late hour, my family was still up. Jasper was watching TV in the living room, Dad was grading papers in the library, and my mother and Aunt Jane had been cleaning up the kitchen when I’d walked in with Edward in tow. Not one of them batted an eye when I told them he was taking the guest room for the night; they simply heated up dinner for us and sat us down at the table.
Looking at Edward right then, you’d never know all the shit, the hailstorm of hurt and heartache he’d been through. He never showed it. Before I’d gotten to know him, talked to him the first time, I’d thought it was aloofness, but it wasn’t. It was the walls he’d put into place to keep from being hurt, picked on, and it kept him from having to explain himself. As I looked at him sitting across from me, smiling at my mother and aunt fawning over him, I could see he had the ability to shut off the parts of him that had been battered and bruised.
I’d never, ever considered myself a violent person, but as I watched the sweet, beautiful man in front of me, a long list of twisted, vile acts flickered through my head, things I wanted to do to his dad. They ranged from instant gratification, to slow, meticulous torture. Shaking my head, I stood up from the table.
“I’ll be right back,” I told Edward but locked gazes with my mother. “I need to ask Dad a question before we head upstairs.”
“Sure, baby.”