-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
I climbed into my car and let out a long breath. Jesus. I’d called her my future wife. Talk about a Freudian slip of epic proportions. She had to think I was a psycho. I ran a hand through my hair, trying to look at the bigger picture, the whole night, and not just my fuck up before they drove away.
Meeting Isabella—Bella—had gone better than expected. Her response to my ad on Craigslist had been cute and straightforward, but it seemed a little too good to be true. I’d told her just that in my response, but I’d still been intrigued enough to meet her in person.
I wasn’t sure what I’d been expecting when I walked into Heads or Tails, but it certainly wasn’t the gorgeous woman who had been waiting for me. I briefly wondered why she was single, but decided I was desperate enough to risk a weekend with whatever crazy she could dish out.
Bella continued to surprise me as the night wore on. She didn’t seem crazy at all. She was smart, attractive, funny and caring. It upset me to hear about the way her ex had treated her. I’d been cheated on in the past and knew how much it sucked. That was something I would never do to a woman.
I laughed a little to myself when I remembered her comment, “His dick didn’t just fall into her on accident over and over!” The look on her face after she realized what she’d said had been priceless. She looked horrified, afraid she’d said too much, when all I could think was that Emmett would love her. It was exactly the kind of thing my brother would say.
My cell phone rang, pausing the music and flashing the incoming number on the radio dial. I recognized my best friend Garrett’s number and accepted the call, saying hello twice the way I always had to when I used the damn Bluetooth system.
“Hey man, what’s the word?”
“Bird is the word, G.” I don’t know how I managed to say it with a straight face. The joke from Family Guy never got old no matter how many times Garrett walked into it.
“Shut up. You’re a dick. How’d things go with your fake wife?”
“Fiancée.” I grinned, remembering the way Bella had corrected me earlier and my own slip with the word wife.
“Oh, sorry, fiancée,” he teased, stretching the word so it sounded more like Beyoncé.
“It was…way better than I expected.”
“Really?” he laughed. “Shit. I was expecting you to say she was a hag and she’d lied through her teeth. So she’s not some gold digging whore trying to get a free vacation so she can slip you a date rape drug to get knocked up and steal all your money?”
“Why am I friends with you?” I backed my car out of the parking spot and continued talking to my obnoxious best friend as I drove home.
“Because we’re both assholes.”
“Speak for yourself,” I laughed. “Anyway, Bella was great. We’re going to meet again to get to know each other a little more.”
“Whoa. You’re serious.”
“Yeah. I mean, who’d have thought? I figured you were nuts when you told me to put an ad on Craigslist.”
“Well, I was kind of drunk,” Garrett admitted with a laugh.
“Yeah, but when we sobered up it was still a decent idea, better than not trying anything. And I think it really worked. I think she’s going to do it.”
“What do you mean you think she’s going to do it? You want her to?”
“I think so, yeah.” I was a little surprised at how much I really did want Bella to meet my family. I sighed, unable to really explain to him what it was about the woman I’d met. “You’ll have to meet her, G. I think—I think we’re a believable couple.”
“Holy shit. You like her.”
“No, I don’t even know her, yet.” I did like her. There was no denying it. “Shit.”
“You fuckin’ like your fake fiancée. Classic.” Garrett laughed and I could imagine the shit eating grin on his face. “When are you seeing her again?”
I pulled into a parking spot outside my condo and ran a hand through my hair. “We’re meeting Sunday afternoon for coffee.”
“Ooh! I don’t work Sunday. I might have to stop by the coffee shop.”
“I’m not telling you where we’re meeting. And what, my brother isn’t here so you have to come approve of my girl?”
“Something like that. Also, you just called her your girl without even thinking about it. You’re just giving me more ammunition.” Before I could try to deny what I’d done there was a garbled noise in the background and Garrett groaned. “Ah, shit. Gotta run, man. A couple of trauma’s heading in. I’m gonna head down to the ER to see if I can get a little bloody.”
“Later,” I laughed as he disconnected without saying goodbye, off to squeeze his way into a trauma room.
I was busy with work for the next few days, barely having time to think about my upcoming coffee date with Bella. I’d avoided talking to my family, though my sister Alice had left increasingly demanding messages on my voice mail.
“Edward, you need to call mom. You can’t just tell her you’re engaged and bringing someone home without telling her anything more. Shit. You can’t expect us not to have questions.”
“It’s me again. Now Mom is freaking out that you never asked for Grammy’s ring. Did you give her a different ring? She—her—we need to know her name, Edward. This is ridiculous.”
“Emmett wants to know if you want to go to Riley’s party while you’re here…and if Ry knows that you’re engaged. Just…call one of us.”
“Alright, Mom is threatening to fly to Seattle. She was kind of drunk when she said it, but I wouldn’t put it past her. We just need the basics. Where did you meet her? How long have you been dating? What’s her name? I’m sure we’ll love her as much as you do, but you can’t just not tell us anything else.” She paused, then gasped loudly into the phone. “She didn’t break it off, did she? Fuck, Edward. Please don’t tell me you neglected her the way you do your family. We-”
The machine cut off her last, most desperate rant. I knew I’d need to call her back soon, but I really wanted to talk with Bella one more time before I started making more shit up.
Thankfully, I was already on my way to meet Bella so we could work out a plan when I listened to the message. I was fully prepared to move ahead with a fake engagement to Bella. In fact, I was rather looking forward to it. I wasn’t sure what that said about me, but the more I thought about a long weekend with Bella on my arm pretending to be in love with me…Yeah. I couldn’t wait.
I was ten minutes early when I made his way into the coffee shop. I was hoping to be there for a while talking and I wanted to find a comfortable spot. As I looked around the room I saw Bella making her way to a seating area in the corner with a leather couch and side chair. She was early, too. It made my heart jump a little, thinking she was as excited as I was about meeting again.
I called her name and she waved as I made his way across the room. Her blush was adorable. Without even thinking about it, I leaned in and kissed her cheek.
She giggled and quietly said hello.
It was hard to pull my eyes away from her smiling face, but I forced myself to take in her entire appearance and tried not to look like a total perv. She wore what looked like a man’s dress shirt over leggings and it made me wonder what she’d look like in nothing but one of my shirts.
I should have been embarrassed when I reined in my libido and brought my eyes back to her face, but I broke out in a smile instead—she was totally staring at my chest. I mentally patted myself on the back for wearing a comfortable t-shirt that stretched across my frame. I worked out a couple times a week, mostly to blow off steam, but the ladies seemed to appreciate the results as well. I certainly liked Bella’s reaction.
“So,” I cleared my throat. “Coffee? What can I get you?”
“Oh! No, you don’t have to buy my coffee.”
“I want to. What do you drink?”
“Um. A skinny mocha. Large. With a shot of caramel.”
“Got it.” Standing in line gave me a minute to calm down. I didn’t know what the hell it was about her, but Bella Swan seemed to put me off balance.
I returned to find her curled up on the corner of the couch and gave an internal fist pump that she hadn’t chosen the side chair. I handed her a mug of fancy coffee and made myself comfortable on the other end of the couch.
A small sigh slipped out of her mouth as she enjoyed her first sip. “Sorry,” she laughed. “Did I forget to mention that I have a caffeine addiction?”
“You may have.” I laughed and took drink of my own coffee. “But it’s something we have in common.”
“What are you drinking? I should know that.”
“Dark roast. I’ll occasionally get a peppermint mocha, but usually I just go for straight coffee, two creams.”
“Traditionalist.” She held her mug in both hands, blowing gently across the surface of the hot liquid before bringing it back to her lips.
We talked quietly for a while, continuing to get to know each other, and it was amazingly comfortable. Easy. I couldn’t remember ever feeling as comfortable with a woman on what could be considered our second date.
After avoiding it for as long as I could, I gave her an overview of my immediate family, hoping she wouldn’t be too overwhelmed.
“My dad is a cardiologist in Manhattan. He’s a great guy. He’d do anything to help a friend—give them the shirt off his back, the whole nine yards. My mom’s an interior designer with a soft spot for her grandkids and an affinity for expensive vodka.”
Bella laughed at my description, but she’d find out soon enough how true it was.
“My brother Emmett is a cop and his wife Rose stays home with their three kids—Bree, Kate and Peter. Rose was a dental hygienist when Em met her; she says she might go back to it when the kids get older. My sister Alice is my mom’s assistant, even though she’d rather work in fashion, and her husband Jasper is in real estate.”
“Wow. Okay.” She chuckled. “You might want to take notes to remember everything about my family. Ready?”
I laughed and nodded, confident that I could keep everything straight. I hadn’t made it through med school without having a good memory.
“My dad is the Chief of police in Forks.”
I waited for her to say more, but that was it.
“What?” I started laughing. “What about the rest of your family?”
She shrugged. “That’s it.”
“She’s in Florida—I think. We mostly talk by e-mail. She hasn’t had a job in years.”
I must have looked as confused as I felt because she took pity on me and explained a little more.
“My mom left my dad when I was little. I was ‘too much’ for her. She married a minor league baseball player and spends her time following him around. That’s all I know.” She looked sad, but resigned.
I felt myself inching closer, wanting to touch her in some way. “When was the last time you saw her?”
I couldn’t imagine not talking to my mother. I didn’t always enjoy what she had to say to me—thus the need for a fake fiancée to get her off my back—but even though we lived on opposite coasts I saw her a couple of times a year and spoke to her several times a month, at least.
It took her a second to think about it. “Christmas my senior year.” Three years. That was so bad…but she wasn’t finished. “Of high school.”
“Are you shitting me? You haven’t seen her in seven years? Wait, sorry. That didn’t come out right.”
She blushed and tried to smile. “It’s okay, but that’s why I didn’t mention her. It’s just been me and Charlie, my dad, for most of my life.”
“I can’t get my head around that. In some ways that’s really cool,” I said, trying to somehow make up for my earlier outburst.
“In some ways it’s not,” she murmured, “but it’s all I’ve known, so…” She shrugged.
In the course of conversation, we had unconsciously turned towards each other and moved together on the small couch, our knees brushing. I didn’t hesitate as I reached over and took her hand in mine.
“We can share my family. They’re nosy enough that they’ll love having someone else to fawn over.”
“Thank you.” She was still quiet and I caught her smiling at our joined hands.
“Hey,” I squeezed her fingers getting her attention again, “how long have you known Angela?”
“Forever!” She laughed and our conversation returned to lighter topics. Before I knew it, the afternoon was slipping away.
I didn’t want to ruin the perfect moment that we seemed to be having, but I needed know how serious she was.
The single word caught her attention, and she raised an eyebrow waiting for me to continue.
“My family has been asking questions. I just want to be sure you’re okay if I tell them about you. And us.”
She bit her lip and looked up at me through her lashes. I had no idea what she was thinking and it made me nervous. I wiped my palms on my jeans as I waited for her to say something. Anything.
Her mouth shifted into a small smile and I relaxed, slightly.
“I think so?” It was more of a question than a certainty. She shook her head and moved even closer. “I just… I think we need… Please don’t think this is too forward.”
Then her hands were on my shoulders and she kissed me. I forgot where we were. I even forgot to breathe. All I could think about was the feel of her soft lips on mine and the warmth of her mouth as I kissed her back without question.
After a few seconds Bella slowly pulled back. It was much too soon if you asked me. I grinned, taking in her flushed cheeks and parted lips. She opened her eyes slowly and returned my smile.
“Sorry,” she laughed. “I had to be sure.”
“That we had some chemistry.”
Blush crept up her neck and her nose wrinkled as she giggled. “I think we should do it again.”
I wasn’t sure if she was joking, repeating what she’d said about meeting again to get to know each other, but I didn’t really care. I felt like I could kiss her a thousand times and it wouldn’t be enough. Sliding a hand up to her cheek, I nodded as I leaned forward for another kiss.
Somehow I managed to keep my head and remember that we were sitting in a coffee shop. It was mostly PG as one of my hands slipped into her hair while the other rested on her thigh. Her hands made their way to my shoulders, and she sighed as I ended the kiss.
“Tell your family whatever you want,” she whispered before clearing her throat and opening her eyes. She moved back so we were still sitting close together but not intimately entwined anymore. “I mean, you can tell them about me. About us.”
I wanted her to mean it. I felt a little twist in my gut at her use of the word ‘us’ and I wondered if I wanted it a little too much. “Yeah?”
“I have to tell them how we got engaged.” I was thinking out loud more than anything, wondering how I would propose to Bella if I was truly going to do it.
“Tell them about today. That we were at our favorite coffee place and you couldn’t stop yourself.”
“What? No, that’s not-”
“It’s perfect, Edward. Too many lies are going to trip us up.”
I nodded; she had a point. A sudden proposal in the moment would also solve the problem of not asking my mother for Grammy Platt’s engagement ring. Emmett had given Rose Grandma Cullen’s ring and Grammy’s had been in a safe deposit box for years waiting for me to meet the right girl.
“How long did we date before we got engaged? What did you tell them at Christmas?”
Bella was smart, and somehow she was more aware of the details my family would want than I was. I tried to remember how I’d gotten my mother off my back as she fed me heavily spiked eggnog and told me how Alice and Jasper were taking a trip to the Bahamas in hopes of getting pregnant. She called it a babymoon and I almost spit out my drink.
“I told her that I’d met someone and I was taking her out when I got back to Seattle.”
“Perfect. So, six months?”
“Yeah,” I said feeling a little overwhelmed.
“And whose house are we staying at?”
“My grandparents’. Well, my parents’ now. It was my grandparents’ when I was growing up but my mom inherited it a few years ago. We usually just refer to it as the beach house.”
“Okay. What kinds of things will we be doing while we’re there?”
“Beach parties, fireworks, hanging out with my family. Nothing outrageous.”
She rolled her eyes. “That’s nice, but what am I supposed to wear?”
“Oh!” I laughed at myself, I hadn’t realized that’s what she was getting at. I thought for a second about how to answer her, but I honestly had no idea. I did, however, know exactly who would. I took a deep breath and pulled out my phone. “Let’s find out.”
Alice answered on the first ring.
“Hey, Bella wants to know what she needs to pack?”
“Yes, and I asked you a question.”
“Why are you only speaking one word at a time? Yes, Bella. She isn’t sure what kind of outfits to bring and I thought you could help.”
“I’m sorry, Edward,” Alice laughed. “You weren’t calling me back. I’d convinced myself that she’d either broken up with you or you’d made her up entirely. Is she there with you?”
“She’s right here, Al. Thanks for the faith in me. Who makes up a fake fiancée?” I looked over at Bella and rolled my eyes as she covered her mouth to hide her laughter.
“Whatever. Give Bella the phone.”
I hesitated, it hadn’t occurred to me that she’d want to talk to her. I knew Alice well enough to know she wouldn’t give up and, honestly, I wasn’t going to be able to tell Bella what she needed to bring. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted Bella talking to my sister yet, but I’d stumbled into it and there was no going back.
“Sorry,” I mouthed as I held the phone towards Bella.
She looked terrified and I apologized again with my eyes. “Um, Alice wants to talk to you. Just about clothes.” God, I hoped it was just about clothes.
Her eyes locked on mine and I felt like a complete asshole.
“Alice? Nice to meet you, this is Bella.”
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
A/N: Who makes up a fake fiancée? Um. Edward. LOL
Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to hear what you think. I promise I didn’t set out to end with that cliffy – it was just the perfect place to break the chapter.
I’m also participating in this round of The Twilight Twenty-Five…I’ll be putting up a twenty-five chapter fic between now and May 31, 2012 based on prompts from the challenge.