A/N: I don’t usually do A/N’s on the blog – but you’ll see why…
I woke up this morning to discover that FFnet had pulled one of my stories (an outtake from LoF that was posted separately) because there was a curse word in the title. While that, in and of itself, is a bummer…the bigger bummer is that now I can’t post on FFnet til sometime Friday. GRRRRR. Hopefully people will find me here, or they’ll have to wait a few days for the update.
What a crazy couple of weeks! I’ve been busy trying to crank out the end of my Twi25 stuff (2 chapters to finish in 3 days), so I think I only got to half of the review replies for AiL – but I read and appreciate every review. Thank you all so much for reading whether you take a minute to drop me a line or not.
Thanks so much to Midnight Cougar for rec’ing and reviewing AiL on her RobAttack! blog last week! Her kind words made me all sniffly.
Thanks also to SydneyGen and Seastarr08 for being the greatest support team evah!
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
“…Now, Edward, Bella, I’d love to hear the story of your engagement.”
I wanted to laugh as soon as the words were out of Edward’s father’s mouth. It was obvious from the very start that the Cullens were a close family, but I clearly had no idea what that really meant. In the last two hours, Edward’s sister had absconded with my hotel room assuming it was for her, and his father had swooped in to crash our casual cocktail hour. These were not things I was used to. I felt a little bit like I’d stepped into an episode of Leave it to Beaver, or possibly Mad Men, either way it was not my reality.
We would have been outed if I let Edward tell our story. He talked a big game, but lying to his family’s faces was going to be difficult for him. My hand was on his thigh and I gave it a gentle squeeze before I smiled at his father and began to speak.
“Oh my gosh, he totally surprised me!” I laughed.
“I surprised us both,” Edward laughed, turning to gently kiss my temple.
I grinned at him, understanding that the kiss was both a thank you and encouragement. Then I smiled at his father again and wove the story we’d planned.
“We were out for coffee, and Edward told me the story about how you and Esme met. I joked that you fell hard and fast, and he said that was the norm in your family. He told me about Emmett and Rose, then the two of you.” I smiled at Alice and Jasper, then looked at Edward, meeting his eyes.
I opened my mouth to finish, but he interrupted, picking up where I left off.
“And then I told her that it had happened to me, too. That I knew she as the one for me. I dropped to my knee and said, ‘I wasn’t planning on doing this today. I don’t even have a ring with me, but I can’t wait to ask you. Marry me?'”
His eyes never left mine. The story had become a confession, and while my head tried to argue that it was too sudden, my heart knew he spoke the truth.
I reached over, cupping his cheek and leaned in to give him a quick kiss. His hand covered mine, then joined our fingers and put our hands in his lap.
When I turned my head I realized that Edward’s family was staring at us with a mixture of shock and awe.
I waved my hand in front of my face, laughing a little to clear the air of of our emotions. “And then I cried and said yes. It was perfect.”
Jasper smiled sweetly at us while both Alice and Carlisle looked a little emotional.
“I’m so happy for you,” Alice gushed for the umpteenth time.
It was almost like she just couldn’t believe it. Not that she couldn’t believe us, but she couldn’t seem to get her head around the idea that Edward was engaged to anyone. I felt bad for him. I knew that it wasn’t that he didn’t want to find love, but that his priorities had made it nearly impossible.
I took a sip of my drink and listened as the Edward and his father talked about a doctor they knew who was retiring. Carlisle smiled at me then his brows creased and he tilted his head looking confused.
“I’m sorry, is that a Claddagh ring?”
“What? Yes.” I held my hand towards him, displaying the simple but elegant ring. “It’s beautiful.”
“Yes, of course, it’s beautiful. Classic. It’s just not… ” He paused, his eyes moving to Edward. “I didn’t recognize it. That’s all.
“We just told you it was a spur of the moment thing.” Edward’s eyes were on his father, and I knew there was something going on that I didn’t quite understand.
“Edward gave me this a little later. He knows I love what the Claddagh stands for.” I looked at Edward, trying to let him and everyone else know that I didn’t feel the least bit slighted because he hadn’t bought me a flashy engagement ring. “He can give me a diamond at the wedding.”
Alice almost choked on her drink and I hoped I hadn’t come off sounding like a gold digger or someone just out for a big rock. That wasn’t me at all.
“That’s sweet,” she said, trying to cover for whatever her reaction had really meant.
“It’s lovely,” Carlisle was backpedaling, “and I’m sure Alice, Rose and Esme would love to go ring shopping with you sometime.”
“Oh, yes! We’d love to!” Alice’s eyes got bright. “Have you set a date, or decided on any sort of time frame for the wedding?”
Edward cleared his throat and sat forward. “Since Bella teaches it probably won’t be until sometime next summer. Christmas is too busy, and too soon.”
Alice nodded as he spoke. “That’s perfect. I could organize something in a shorter amount of time, but a year is great! I’ll have to plan a trip to Seattle. Oh, Jazzy, we could go to that antique store I love near Pike Place Market.”
It took a second for her words to sink in, but then I realized, one, she assumed she was planning our wedding, and two, she thought our potential-fake wedding would be in Seattle.
“Wait,” I said quickly, holding a hand out and glancing at Edward before I looked back at Alice.
“We’re still talking about it, but we’ll probably get married here—well, out east. I, um, don’t really have much family, and there are so many of you it just makes more sense.”
“Oh, of course, even better. I have so many great contacts here in New York. Edward, we should check available dates at the club this weekend while we’re at the beach. That might be a great location.”
“Relax,” Edward grinned at his sister, laughing. “We have time. Don’t overwhelm Bella or she won’t let you help.”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll need her help.” I didn’t want to push his sister away so early in our relationship. She seemed a little sensitive and overprotective where Edward was concerned, and I didn’t want to step on her toes.
“I was just teasing.” He smiled down at me, then pushed a lock of hair over my shoulder.
I felt myself get caught in his gaze, unable to look away. There were suddenly so many things that I wanted to ask him, and to tell him as well, but we were trapped in a lounge playing out a bizarre role-play with his family. I thought we’d have time to ease into the lies, but we’d jumped right into talking about the fake wedding that I was beginning to want just as much as the gold ring on my finger.
Sure, when Edward and I had come up with our story I’d told him the truth about what I wanted in a wedding, but pretending something was real and wishing that it was were so very different.
“Are you alright?”
I watched his lips move but his voice was so quiet I’m sure no one else heard. My heart thumped a little, thrilled at his concern. I could only manage to nod but it was enough for him to relax again. The worry left his eyes and his shoulders dropped just slightly.
Carlisle was talking with Alice and Jasper and I turned to watch them, noticing that they seemed oblivious to Edward and me. It seemed that we’d convinced them of our relationship so far, though I had a feeling Alice had a few more questions for me.
Edward slid his arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer to his side. I loved knowing that he wanted me to be there, that it wasn’t just an act. I sighed and leaned against his shoulder. We’d had a long day traveling and, though we weren’t entirely lying, the front we’d put on for his family was draining. I hoped that after we had a little more time alone together we could relax even further.
“Well,” Carlisle’s voice brought our attention back to him as he put his hands on his thighs and stood before taking out his wallet and putting some money on the low table. “I need to head out before your mother sends the cavalry. Bella, it was lovely to meet you.”
We stood and said goodbyes, and Alice promised not to keep us out too late, telling him we’d see him in the morning. Things were suddenly uncomfortable when he was gone, the four of us standing there looking at each other.
“So, Alice,” Edward finally broke the ice, “you won’t keep us out too late? What do you have planned? We haven’t eaten yet, I was thinking we could get some dinner.”
Jasper’s eyes lit up and it was more excitement than I’d seen from him all night. “That sounds great! Wait—you mean what I think you mean, right?”
“Yes, I mean what you think I mean.” Edward grinned and Jasper looked relieved.
Alice simply rolled her eyes at them then muttered, “Boys.”
“What?” I laughed. “You lost me.”
“Jazz wants Shake Shack,” Alice put an arm around her husband and smiled like she was indulging a child. “He has some insane need to eat there every time we’re in the city.”
“Is it good?”
“Is it good?” His eyes got big and he looked shocked that I would even ask. “Edward, haven’t you told her about Shake Shack?”
Jasper grabbed the bill that our waiter had just placed on the table and checked it against the cash Carlisle had left. Satisfied, he handed both to the waiter and looked at Edward, waiting for his answer.
“You know, I’m not sure I specifically mentioned it. It was purely self-preservation, I swear, there’s nothing like it in Seattle.”
“Not cool, brother. Not cool.” He motioned me over and held out his arm for me. “Let me tell you about the greatest hamburger chain in the city.”
Somehow I lucked out and Alice turned off her interrogation for the rest of the evening. She filled me in on some gossip about their family and neighbors so I would be prepared for meeting everyone. Edward and Jasper rolled their eyes thinking it was unnecessary, but Alice and I knew how essential it was.
I felt like Edward and I had done a good job of making Alice believe our engagement, though I had caught her staring at my ring a couple of times. Edward had been unconsciously touching me all night—rubbing my back, holding my hand, leaning over to kiss me every so often. When we stood in line at Shake Shack I thought I might go crazy. He was right behind me, his warm body pressing into my back and his hands resting casually on my hips. I’ll admit that I might have leaned back against him and wiggled my ass a couple of times. I couldn’t resist, and he deserved it for teasing me like that.
By the time we rode the elevator up to our hotel room I was exhausted and turned on and nervous all at once. I tried to focus on Alice and Jasper’s words as they made plans for us all to meet in the morning, but I was distracted by Edward’s thumb, which had eased its way into the waistband of my pants and was burning against my skin.
We said our goodnights as we reached our floor, and I saw Edward whisper something to Jasper. He smirked and nodded in response and they exchanged a one armed hug. Alice practically squeezed the stuffing out of me, telling me again how glad she was to meet me and that she could see how good I was for her brother.
I bit my lip as we entered our room, halfway anticipating Edward pushing me against the door again but he moved all of the way into the suite and turned on a light. I put my purse down next to my suitcase and watched him bolt and chain the door.
“Is that what you were whispering with Jasper about?”
“What? Oh, I told him not to let her wake us up too early. She can be a little over excited sometimes.”
“I can see that,” I laughed, thinking that it could probably apply to his entire family.
It was quiet for a few seconds and until Edward cleared his throat. “What you said earlier, about our first night together…” He ran his hand through his hair, pausing to meet my eyes, “I remember what you said and I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.”
He was adorable. It was obvious that despite his odd codependence of his family members that he had been raised well.
“I wasn’t worried.” I stepped towards him and put my arms around his neck. “I trust you and what you said just now proves that I can.”
He sighed, gathering me in his arms and I rested my head on his chest. “Tonight went well, don’t you think?”
“It did. Your father was a surprise, but I think everyone believes us.”
“What’s not to believe?” he chuckled, his chest rumbling under my cheek.
“That we’re not actually engaged.”
“Psh. A technicality.”
He ran his hands down my arms, stopping to squeeze my hands. “I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Should we get ready for bed? You can go first.”
I nodded. “Sure.”
My suitcase was on a bench next to the dresser, so I opened it up and rifled through it until I found my cosmetics bag. Then I dug in my carry-on for for the smaller bag that I kept in there with a few essentials I didn’t want the airlines to lose.
I headed into the bathroom and changed into my pajamas before going through my evening routine. I used the toilet, brushed my teeth, washed my face and put on moisturizer. And then, because I was getting in bed with Edward, I put on a little extra deodorant and a spritz of vanilla body spray.
When I opened the door I saw Edward sitting on the end of the bed dressed in sleep pants and a t-shirt. He held his toothbrush and toothpaste in his hands as he watched Sports Center. It was so… domestic… that it stopped me in my tracks. I could imagine Edward watching TV in bed every night and me falling asleep despite the flickering lights and murmuring voices. I leaned against the doorframe and watched him, the light from the TV flickering over his face as he made quiet comments.
“Ridiculous… They should have traded him years ago… No shit he’s not living up to his potential… Damn, now that’s a catch.”
He was cute the way his eyes narrowed and his lips pursed in disgust at something the commentator said. I couldn’t stop the smile that spread across my face or stifle my giggle when he shook his head and mumbled, ‘fucking Jeter.’
His eyes popped up to mine and he caught me watching and laughing at him. He smiled as he ran a hand through his hair and stood. “Sorry, I was just catching up on some baseball news.”
“Of course,” I stepped out of the doorway and took my folded clothes to my suitcase. “The bathroom is all yours.”
“Thanks. I’ll just be a minute.”
He went into the bathroom, closing the bathroom door behind him. I rummaged around in my suitcase, putting away my clothes and re-arranging things so my outfit for the next day was on top. Then I stood in front of the bed for a second, not sure which side to take. We hadn’t talked about which side of the bed we preferred to sleep on. It seemed like such a little detail, but it was important. It was definitely something I should know about Edward. I debated whether I should wait for him or climb in and decided to go for it. I drew the comforter back and slipped under the sheets, adjusting the pillows around me the way I liked.
Edward came back into the bedroom and turned off the lights before walking to the other side of the bed. He put his knee on the mattress and smiled down at me.
“That’s your side, huh?”
“It is,” I said, sitting up on my elbow.
He got into bed, leaving the covers around his waist and lay on his side facing me. “That works out good; I like this side.”
“I like to be close to the wall.” I wrinkled my nose, not able to explain more than that.
He nodded. “I’ve always slept away from the wall. My mom said that when I was little I would sleep on the edge of my bed practically falling out.”
“Do you still?”
“No,” he chuckled. “I think I’m beyond the fear of monsters in my closet and feeling like I need to be able to jump out of bed in a heartbeat.”
“It’s a secret.”
We lay still, facing each other and smiling for what felt like forever but was probably less than a minute.
“Thank you,” Edward whispered, breaking the silence.
“For sleeping with you?”
“That too.” He laughed, then got serious again. “For doing this. For being willing to travel across the country and let my family watch our every move.”
“I think we’ve past the point where you need to thank me. It’s not about the ad anymore; I truly want to be here with you. I’m just nervous about lying to your family.”
“Thank you,” he sighed, and I rolled my eyes at him for saying it again. He reached forward to cup my cheek, and I felt my head turning into his palm. “I want to be here with you too. I think my family will see that and the rest is just details.”
“Right. Wedding plans—no need to worry about discussing those with your family.”
He laughed and leaned closer so he was a breath away. His hand slid to the back of my neck, bringing us even closer together. His breath was warm and minty against my lips.
I started to nod my head and his mouth covered mine, kissing me softly. Every gentle stroke of his tongue was a promise that things would be fine. We kissed like that for a while, our hands moving over each other lightly, learning contours and spots that made each other moan. We ended up shirtless, making out like teenagers. I hadn’t made out like that with someone in years and was amazed at how fun it could be.
Things with Edward were certainly moving forward and I didn’t want to be anywhere else, but neither of us were ready to have sex. At least I didn’t think we were. I wasn’t, yet.
But after feeling what he had pushed against my side and the way his fingers worked my nipples and between my legs—I had a feeling I wasn’t going to survive the weekend without it.
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
*ducks and hides* Sorry for the tease – well, not really! We’ll get there kids, I promise.
Thanks again for reading. Glad you’re still here with me. I know I say this after every chapter, but I’m thrilled and overwhelmed by how much people like this story. So glad to give everyone something happy to read.
I’d like to say I’ll start updating sooner, but I don’t want to jinx myself. I need to get written ahead a little farther, and summer weekends are getting busy. I’m going to stick to my 2 weeks for now…but hopefully I’ll get it to every week soon. Thanks again!