Accidentally in Love
Ch 6: I Trip Through Your Wires
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Bella made her way down the hall as I stood in the elevator, thinking about what she had said about our first night sleeping together. I snapped out of it after a few seconds and followed after her—quickly.
It was finally clear that Bella and I were on the same page. We both wanted more than a weekend together but I knew we were both scared. Scared that it might not work out, that this whole thing could blow up in our faces at any time. How the hell were we supposed to develop this new relationship while we were pretending to be engaged?
Or maybe I was thinking about it all wrong. Maybe in the face of our insecurities, this forced intimacy would be just what we needed to establish our relationship.
It didn’t matter though. Watching her hips sway as she walked to our suite all I could think of was kissing her again. After the flirting we’d been doing, I wasn’t going to stop myself this time.
She reached the room and held her hand out to me for a key, but I shook my head and ran the key through the code reader. She stepped into the room and I was right behind her, quickly taking her hand and maneuvering us so I could press her back against the door. Our bodies pressed together and my hands cupped her face as I leaned in and kissed her.
There was nothing hesitant about the way she responded. Her hands moved over my back and down to my waist, pulling me closer. I peppered kisses along her jaw and down her neck, breathing in the sweet scent of her skin. Her head fell back against the door with a moan when my teeth gently scraped her chin. My hands slid under her shirt and the feel of her skin was almost too much. She was soft and smooth and her breath caught as my thumbs caressed her stomach. One of her hands wove into the hair at the back of my neck, and she pulled my lips back to hers. I could have kissed her for hours but my body was begging to do more.
Just when I didn’t think I could resist stripping her naked there was a knock on the door and we both froze. I groaned, dropping my head to her shoulder, and Bella’s head lolled back against the door. My thoughts were jumbled and my heart was pounding.
“One second,” I called, clearing my throat.
I stepped back but ran my hands up Bella’s arms to rest on her shoulders. Our eyes met and I looked for a sign of regret. Thankfully, there were none. Her cheeks were flushed and she had a dazed look in her eyes. I was a little proud of myself for having that effect on her.
Smiling, I brushed some hair over her shoulder and kissed her forehead before moving out of her way. I straightened my shirt and adjusted my trousers, taking a deep breath before opening the door.
The bellhop was quick, bringing our bags in, accepting his tip and disappearing in seconds. When I turned to find Bella, she was standing by the windows with both arms wrapped around herself. I walked over to join her, gently pressing my chest to her back as I slid my arms around her. I wanted to ask if she was alright, but she hadn’t pushed me away, so I kept my mouth shut, resting my chin on her head.
After a few minutes, she whispered without turning around, “Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course, anything.”
“How exactly did you end up telling your mother we were engaged? You never told me that.”
“No, I guess I didn’t.”
I took a deep breath, trying to decide where to start with the story, and fighting very hard not to point out that she’d used the word we, referring to a time long before I’d met her.
“My mother can be very…persistent. She’s been very involved in our social lives, trying to set us up on dates or introduce us to the children of friends. We all just sort of got used to it and ignored her or pushed the attention off on someone else. Once my grandparents died it got even worse, so when Alice got married she was able to focus all of her attention on me. Moving to Seattle stopped her for a while, but a few months later she was at it again.
I was exhausted. I’d worked ten days straight with little to no sleep and had just lost a patient. On top of that, she caught me at a time I was feeling particularly sorry for myself.”
“What do you mean?” she asked quietly. She still hadn’t turned to face me.
“I’m almost thirty and the only person who consistently has any idea what’s going on in my life is Garrett,” I said bitterly as I took a deep breath, running my hands over her arms for a second to settle myself. “That week…I was just done. I want what she wants for me—to have someone to come home to, to care for and have a family with—but I started to feel like it was never going to happen. And her voice was different that night. It was like, suddenly it wasn’t about her getting old, but about me getting old. It was like she felt sorry for me and I don’t even know what came over me.”
I sighed and told Bella about the phone conversation with my mother.
“Edward, you can’t wait until medical school is over to find someone. Love doesn’t have a timeline like that, you have to be open to it whenever it finds you. Don’t lock yourself away.”
“I’m not, mom. I’m just busy. I work all of the time. I don’t have much to offer anyone.”
“Oh honey, you could offer them the world. Listen, I heard that all of the Clearwater’s will be out at the beach for the Fourth this year. You haven’t seen Leah in years, have you? She’s such a beautiful young woman. I think she’s a buyer at Macy’s. I’ll have to talk to Sue.”
“Mom, don’t set me up on any dates.”
I felt sick. I didn’t want my mother finding me women to date, but I was tired of being alone, of having nothing and no one that were mine.
“It wouldn’t be a set up. I’ll just see if she’s single, dear.”
“Well, if you’re not even trying…”
My chest was tight and I felt like I might be having a panic attack. She was right. I hadn’t been trying. I’d been letting life pass me by and I was done with that. I needed to start living, but I needed her to stop talking about Leah Clearwater and her long black hair. I was not going to let my mother play matchmaker any longer. It was my life. My wife. And I was going to find her on my own.
“I’ve met someone. It’s serious. Don’t set me up on any dates.”
She gasped. “It’s serious? What does that mean? Why haven’t you mentioned anything about this girl?”
“…And then suddenly I was telling her we were engaged. She was so happy she cried, and I just stood there in my condo trying to figure out what the hell I’d just done.” I gave a short laugh, shaking my head. “It was like I had this childish, internal tantrum to be independent and it totally backfired.”
She laughed and the rumble it sent through my chest made me hold her a little tighter.
“She backed you into a corner and you panicked.”
“Kind of. I don’t know. I freaked out, that’s for sure. Then I called Garrett and we got drunk. Somewhere after eight or ten beers he came up with the Craigslist idea and the rest is-”
“History,” we grinned, finishing the sentence together.
She gave my arms a quick squeeze then turned around to face me, her back against the window.
I tried to read her expression, but I failed miserably. “Do you think I’m crazy?”
“No, you were just overwhelmed.” She smiled sadly. “Is it crazy that I’m kind of glad it happened?”
“If you are then we’re both crazy.”
“Well, that’s good. We can be crazy together.”
She leaned up on her toes and gave me a quick kiss, then wrapped her arms around me into a hug.
After a few minutes I spoke quietly, “Are you okay?” I was a little overwhelmed by everything we’d been through since I picked her up; I could only imagine she was feeling the same..
She ran her hands through the hair at the back of my neck and I wasn’t sure which one of us it was meant to calm.
She hesitated just long enough to make my stomach twist. “I’m fine.”
I knew there was more to it. “I sense a but…”
She let out a long breath and leaned back so I could see her face. Her eyes drifting to the bedroom door. “I’m fine, but… I don’t think I’m ready for-”
“Being thrown on the bed and ravished before drinks with my sister?” I finished for her with a laugh.
“Right.” Her shoulders dropped in relief and she smiled. “I mean, a couple more kisses like the one by the door and I might be ready, but I’m not quite there.”
I wouldn’t lie and say I wasn’t ready because, well, I’m a guy and I was beyond ready to have sex with her, but I knew that waiting was the right thing to do—and I wanted it to be more than just sex.
“It’s fine, Bella. There’s no rush.” I looked into her eyes because I wanted her to know I meant it. Whatever was between us was building and I certainly didn’t want to ruin it by moving too fast. There was enough pressure on us as it was.
I stroked her cheek and watched as her eyes closed. She was so beautiful like that; her head tilted up towards me and a slight blush on her cheeks. I couldn’t resist and leaned forward to kiss her again. This time it was slow and sweet. It certainly didn’t lack for passion, but it felt like much more.
When she pulled away to catch her breath, she stayed in my arms, putting her head on my chest.
Eventually my phone vibrated in my pocket with a text from Alice wondering where we were. Bella asked for a minute to freshen up, and when she was ready we began walking the short few blocks to Grand Central.
We held hands and Bella looked around excitedly, trying to see everything. As we walked up Park Avenue we talked about movies the famous train station had been featured in, from Carlito’s Way to I am Legend and Madagascar.
We went through the main doors of the terminal and I put my hand on her back, leading her to the small flight of stairs that led to the Campbell Apartment. It was one of my favorite secrets in the city and an opportunity to experience another era.
The space had formerly been used as an office and reception hall in the 1920’s by tycoon John W. Campbell. Since Campbell’s death in 1957, the room had been used as an office, a closet and even a jail, but in 1999 the space had opened as a bar. The room had been redecorated to its original glory, with a large leaded glass window, a mahogany bar, a stone fireplace, with low lighting and cozy seating areas. They served old fashioned cocktails and the entire place had an old world air that always made me feel as if I’d stepped into a Hemingway novel.
Bella’s breath caught as we stepped into the dark bar. “This is amazing.”
Her reaction made me grin and I could tell by the look on her face that she loved it as much as I did. Glancing around the room, I saw my sister and Jasper seated on a small couch towards the fireplace.
Bella was still taking everything in when I tucked my hand under her elbow. “Ready?”
“Are they here?” She looked around almost frantically.
“Yes, right up there,” I said, raising a hand to Alice, who was practically bouncing with excitement.
Bella looked at my hand on her arm, then moved out of my grasp and took my hand in hers.
I smiled and brushed some hair off her forehead. “Don’t be nervous, it’s just Alice and Jasper. You’ve already talked to her.”
“I’m trying.” She took a deep breath, leaned up and gave me a quick kiss, then nodded. “Okay. I’m ready.”
I threw my head back, chuckling. “What was that?”
She shrugged. “A kiss for courage, I don’t know.”
“I’ll remember that,” I whispered in her ear as we made our way towards my family.
“Bella! Oh my gosh, it’s so great to meet you!” Alice gushed, stepping out of the seating area to hug Bella.
I greeted Jasper and we exchanged a one-armed hug before standing back to smile at his wife’s antics. We couldn’t hear what the girls were saying, but their heads were close together and they were giggling. Suddenly Alice was holding Bella’s hand up and examining the Claddagh ring she wore on her ring finger.
I was torn between being terrified and being thrilled at the sparkle in Bella’s eyes. Alice gave me a questioning look over Bella’s shoulder and I knew she was wondering if I was planning to give Bella Grammy Platt’s ring. Luckily, that was a conversation we could save for later.
“It’s beautiful,” Alice gushed. “So classic.”
Bella smiled back at her, eyes shining and I felt like I’d won the fucking lottery. I was falling hard and fast for this girl, there was no doubting it any more.
They were already beginning to chatter like old friends and Jasper stepped forward to interrupt and introduce himself. He gave Bella a quick embrace while Alice crushed me to her. She was strong for being so tiny.
“I love her!” she whisper-yelled in my ear. “Don’t screw this up!”
“I’m trying not to!” I laughed. Really I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but losing Bella or screwing it up was the last thing on my mind. I wanted it to work so badly I could almost taste it.
Finally we all sat down, Bella and I on the couch and Alice and Jasper in two club chairs. Alice launched into a million questions for Bella: How was our trip? Was there anything she needed to do in the city before we left for the beach? They were all very innocent questions, and because I knew Alice, I knew they were designed to lull her into a sense of security so she could pounce with more intimate questions when Bella least suspected it. At least that was my sister’s typical MO but she seemed to really like Bella, so maybe she wouldn’t be quite so nosy.
We ordered drinks and continued talking. Things went smoothly as I waited for the more difficult questions to come.
“So,” Alice started with a grin as the waiter delivered our second round of drinks, “how exactly did my brother propose to you? I’m dying to hear!”
I had my arm around Bella and my fingers tightened reflexively while she gave a nervous giggle.
“I’d love to hear the answer to that.”
My father’s voice shocked me as he came into view after the waiter moved out of the way.
“Dad!” I jumped up, surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, you know how it is.” He waved his hand as if it was no big deal. “If you’re not that first person to leave the hospital before a holiday weekend you’re inevitably the last.”
We were all on our feet as my father laughed at our shock and exchanged greetings with Alice, Jasper and me. Then he grinned at Bella, who was standing quietly by my side grasping my hand with both of hers.
“And you must be Isabella. It’s so good the meet you.” He leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
She bit her lip then smiled shyly. “Please, it’s Bella, Doctor Cullen, and the pleasure is all mine. Edward has told me so much about you—about all of you.”
“All lies, I assure you. And call me Carlisle, I insist.” He laughed as he pulled a chair over and sat between Alice and Bella. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you kids; I thought I’d be headed home before your flight even landed. Now, Edward, Bella, I’d love to hear the story of your engagement.”
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Link: The Campbell Apartment This place is so freakin’ cool. You should really check it out if you’re in NYC.