One Down

-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-

Sitting on the beach with Bella I wondered what else I needed to tell her to prepare her for the weekend. I’d thought that we’d done a good job covering things before the trip, but clearly I was wrong.

“So, Maggie?” she asked.

“What about her?” Jesus. What had she talked about with Rose and Alice?

“She’s not going to like that you’re engaged?”

We’re engaged,” I laughed. “It’s not just me.”

She pushed my arm. “I know that, dork.”

I groaned when I realized I actually had to tell her about Ry’s stepdaughter. “Maggie is a pain in the ass; that’s about it. She and her friends are bitchy socialites looking for husbands.”

“I’m guessing they have certain criteria these potential husbands have to meet,” she giggled.

“Yes. Money and the potential to make more.”

“I bet they love you,” she snorted before clapping her hand over her mouth. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be, if I didn’t live in Seattle I’d be their wet dream, they’ve been campaigning to get me to move back east.”

“Seattle’s not good enough for them?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Is it New York?” She shook her head. “Then no, it’s not good enough.”

“So, they chase after you every summer? This is like, an annual thing?”

I threw my head back laughing. Bella was amazing. She took everything in stride. “Yes, it’s the annual husband hunt, if you will, and I am generally a target.”

She giggled. “I feel kind of bad, ruining their fun.”

“Don’t,” I rolled my eyes. “Maybe this year I’ll actually enjoy the party instead of spending the entire time making sure I’m turned so no one can stare at or grab my ass.”

“Aw,” she said sweetly, leaning in and cupping my cheek. “I’ll protect your fine ass.”

“Just my ass? I thought you’d be my bodyguard,” I teased.

She nodded, her eyes holding mine. “You’re all mine, not just your ass.”

I stared at her for a moment, the light hearted joking had somehow become serious, much like our entire relationship.

I licked my lips. “Don’t tease.”

“Never.” She shook her head and kissed me and, good lord, she could kiss.

My father found us then, wrapped up in each other and oblivious to everything else. He told us that my mother had dinner ready and asked us to head into the house. Once inside I introduced Bella to Rosalie and Emmett’s twins, Bree and Katie. They were four and were adorable, charming Bella right off the bat.

“You’re uncle Edward’s fence,” Bree said right away with a nod at Bella, proud of what she thought was her use of a grown-up word.

“Fiancée,” I whispered in her ear, laughing.

“That’s what I said,” she whisper-yelled back and rolled her eyes. She was more like her mother every time I saw her. She turned back to Bella, still acting like her know-it-all self. “That means you’re getting married to Edward and Jesus. Are you going to wear a princess dress like Cinderella?”

Bella ignored the Jesus comment without even a laugh, which was really impressive. “Do you think I should? I haven’t picked out a dress yet.”

Bree nodded emphatically. “And you should wear a crown.”

“What do you think Katie?”

“My mommy has a crown you can borrow, but she won’t let us play with her poofy dress. It’s in a big box at nana’s.”

Bella smiled sweetly despite the fact that I was pretty sure hell would freeze over before she borrowed anything from Rose. “That’s very nice. Maybe your mommy will help me shop for my dress.”

“Rose can come with us, but I picked out her dress!” Alice called from the kitchen.

“There’s free champagne at the store Alice likes. I’ll come for that.” Rose shrugged, and I wanted to kick her ass for being such a bitch to Bella.

-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-

Dinner was harrowing, yet uneventful. I anxiously waited for one of my family to trip her up with a question. Alice and mother made idle small talk with Bella and Rose while Emmett drew my father, Jasper and I into talk about baseball and the new car he was considering.

Bella sat next to me, and it felt natural for her to be there. She fit in well with everyone in my family, except for Rose, but that was just Rose being standoffish. She wasn’t really the bitch she came off as. She was opinionated and didn’t feel the need to sugar coat things. She also thought that my family was too trusting. Growing up, her parents drank most of the grocery money each week and gambled away her college savings. Trust didn’t come easy for her, but once she knew and trusted you, she would protect you at all costs. I knew she and Bella could be friends if they got to know each other. In the meantime, I planned on talking with her about the way she treated Bella, but the over dinner was not the time or place.

When the meal finished I wanted nothing more than to escape to the bedroom with Bella. Talking with my family had been nice, but she and I needed to continue getting to know each other. I’d let Bella down by not telling her more about my past with Riley and that couldn’t happen again.

Before I could whisk Bella away, Emmett announced that he’d started a bonfire in the copper firepit on the deck. Once we got outside Alice and Jasper stretched out under a light blanket, and Rose sat on Emmett’s lap. Peter had fallen asleep, and my parents insisted on putting the twins to bed, so that left just Bella and I to find seats around the fire.

Bella hesitated for a second standing between two lounge chairs, and I realized that she wasn’t sure where, or more specifically how, we should sit. I took her hand and gently pulled her back with me as I settled into a chair so she could sit between my legs and lean her back against my chest. There were any number of less intimate ways we could have sat, but I was afraid that if had a view of her face  it would be the only thing I looked at all night. There was something about the way her emotions played across her features that I couldn’t resist.

She shifted against me, settling in, and I moved her hair out of the way before resting my chin on her shoulder.

“You okay?” I whispered quiet enough so she was the only one who heard me.

She nodded brought her hands up to cover mine.

“Bella, we’re so glad you’re here.” Alice beamed at us. “We haven’t seen Edward this happy in a long time.”

“Or like, ever,” Emmett chimed in and I wanted to hide under a rock.

Bella laughed and squeezed my hands. “I’m glad to be here and, really, Edward makes me pretty happy, too.”

I didn’t know what to say to that without sounding completely whipped. I had to let her know how much it meant to me, so I kissed her temple. She sighed and leaned her head against mine.

“So what would you be doing in Seattle if you weren’t here?” Alice asked.

I thought it was an odd question, but I had to admit I was curious to hear Bella’s answer. I also really appreciated Alice’s attempts to get to know her. She was non-threatening and curious.

“Well,” she laughed, “my best friend Angela and I would probably watch movies and eat Ben and Jerry’s while Edward was at work.” I kind of loved that she assumed that if she was in Seattle I would be there too.

“You don’t go out to watch fireworks?” Alice followed-up. She loved fireworks, she oohed and ahed with the kids every year.

“If I don’t go back home to Forks for the weekend, then no. I’ve gone to the big display in Seattle a couple of times, but it’s kind of like what I’d imagine it’s like at New Year’s in Time’s Square, you know? A bunch of drunk people and very few bathrooms? Then throw in a few thousand kids who are up past their bedtime… ” She shook her head, then looked back and surprised the hell out of me. “I didn’t think about it, but there’s probably a good view from your condo.”

I nodded. At least my neighbors said there was a good view. I’d either been working or in New York for all of the Fourths that I’d lived there.

She shrugged at Alice. “We’d probably watch from there.”

Alice nodded and grinned. She was buying it—hook, line and sinker. It was perfect. Bella was perfect. She’d only been to my condo once. For her to come up with that? Yeah, I had no words.

“Well, like I said, we’re glad you could join us. There’s a good show here, and the view from Riley’s place is great.”

“I’ve heard a lot about this cookout.” Bella laughed and squeezed my hands again, thinking about Maggie and her husband hunting friends I was sure. “I hope it lives up to its reputation.”

“Oh man,” Emmett groaned. “It’s a blast. Last year Mags and her college friends went all Girls Gone Wild after the old folks left.”

I rolled my eyes. Maggie and her friends were obnoxious. I swear they didn’t know how to take “No” for an answer. I was glad that Bella would be with me so they would leave me alone.

“They were nuts.” Jasper shook his head. “Didn’t a couple of them get arrested? Indecent exposure?”

I was mid-sip and choked on my beer. “Shit. I hadn’t heard that.”

“Oh yeah! You left with Randy to see a band.” Rose shook her head. “They got out of control. Emmett tried to get video of it all for evidence,” she made air-quotes and laughed, “but he was too drunk to hold the camera steady.”

“What happened?” Bella laughed and stole my beer to take a sip.

Emmett’s eyes lit up as he told us the story. “So, Mag’s friends left Ry’s and walked down the beach to a different party—a younger, more cool crowd, I guess. Anyway, they ended up shit faced and went skinny dipping, then some of the cool kids stole their clothes and they tried to walk home naked on the beach.”

“I think someone gave them each a hand towel,” Jasper added.

“Like that covered any of their silicone!” Em rolled his eyes. “It was perfect timing though because as they were coming up the beach with, like a hundred dudes following behind them, the beach patrol came by and flipped on a spotlight.”

“Epic!” Bella laughed. “Did Maggie get arrested or just her friends?”

Emmett snorted a laugh. “Oh man, it was just her friends. I think Mags was hookin’ up with some dude already.”

Rose slapped his head. “You have no idea where she was.”

He gave her a dirty look. “We’re talking about Maggie. She’s either following Edward around or hooking up with some random dude. Ed was at the bar, so…”

“So you still don’t know where she was,” Alice finished. Emmett looked surprised at her defense of Maggie, and she shrugged. “I just don’t like you assuming she was hooking up.”

“Right?” Rose agreed. “That’s not cool, Emmett.”

And because she was amazing Bella broke the tension by asking them to tell stories from our childhood. It was genius, really, admitting that there was so much she didn’t know about me. My family jumped at the chance to humiliate me.

I was surprised that my mother didn’t have some sort of radar that brought her running to embarrass me as well, but she didn’t. She was probably waiting until she could show Bella the old photo albums and give her visuals to go along with the stories—like if she told Bella about my piano recital when I was ten she could show her the awful picture of me in the black suspenders and bow tie. Yeah. I might need to hide those albums.

A few beers later and Emmett was launching into a story about me and Riley getting caught sneaking out the beach house to meet up with some girls when we were fifteen.

I laughed as I stood up and took Bella’s hand, pulling her up as well, “All right. Enough of let’s make Edward look like a douche.”

“Aw, come on, Edward! This has been fun!” Emmett laughed. “We didn’t tell her about-”

“And you won’t tonight,” I laughed. “Goodnight everyone.”

“G’night,” Bella chuckled and put an arm around me, leaning into my side.

“Shopping in the morning?” Alice asked her.

Bella nodded. “I’ll wear my walking shoes.”

“Yay!”

We finished saying goodnight, and I led Bella into the house. The night had gone unbelievably well, and I was ready to settle in alone with her to decompress. She held my hand in both of hers, following me through the living room. We didn’t see my parents, so they must have been in bed.

We climbed slowly up the stairs to the room we were sharing. I was a little surprised that my mother allowed us to share a room, but I suppose her desire for grandkids overrode any rules of propriety.

Bella closed the door behind us, and I turned to face her, pulling her into a hug. I’d spent most of the evening with her in my arms, but it didn’t seem like nearly enough. I inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent of her hair and letting the tension of the day roll away.

“We made it,” she whispered against my chest.

“We did. You’re amazing, you know that, right?”

“I’m exhausted.” She sighed. “I really like your family, but I felt like I was on stage the entire time, like any minute I was going to get my lines wrong.”

I put my hands on her shoulders, they were definitely tense. My fingers dug deep, massaging her muscles, and she groaned.

“You were great, though.” I kissed her forehead and continued to rub her back. “I don’t think we’ve given them anything to question us about. Well, aside from Rose’s general skepticism.”

“She’s a piece of work.” Bella chuckled, and her hands moved over my back. “And, apparently, you weren’t exaggerating about Maggie.”

I groaned and dropped my head to her shoulder.

“I am so sorry. This whole thing was a horrible idea, wasn’t it?” I ran my hand through my hair and lifted my head to look her in the eye. “Should I come clean to my parents tomorrow? I can just tell them that I lied-”

She put three fingers over my lips, stopping me. “No. We’re too far into this.” She took a deep breath and licked her lips. “I mean, I think we know each other well enough to fool them. I know I was nervous earlier, but Rosalie just shook me up. We’re doing great. No one is on to us.”

“I don’t know,” I sighed, “there’s so much more we should talk about.”

She rolled her eyes. “We could talk all night, and we won’t talk about the one thing Rosalie asks me about tomorrow morning.”

“Bella,” I said, trying to be serious.

“Edward,” she mimicked and smiled.

I shook my head and tried not to smile, but I couldn’t stop myself. “Are you sure?”

She nodded as she moved her lips closer to mine to kiss me. It started out sweet, as most of our kisses had, but before I knew what was happening we were making out hard core against the bedroom door. Bella’s hands were under my shirt, running up and down my back, pulling me tight against her body. I had one hand in her hair and the other on her hip.

“You know, there is a bed in here,” she managed through panting breaths as I kissed her neck and ran my nose along her collarbone.

“There is,” I laughed kissing her jaw and looking into her eyes. I wasn’t sure what she wanted to do on the bed, or really how far she wanted to go, but the thought of getting in bed with her was hot.

Her voice was low and seductive. “Have you ever had a girl in your bed here?”

“No,” I said with a groan, and I really just wanted to throw her down on the mattress. “You’re the first.”

Her eyes got wider, and she licked her lips. “Shit, that’s hot.”

She had no idea. Or maybe she did. But seriously, the idea of having a hot girl in the bed that I’d grown up sleeping in every summer? That was the stuff of fantasies.

She lifted my shirt and I pulled it over my head, tossing it behind me. My hands moved to her shirt as well, but she beat me to it, slipping it off and grinning.

I kissed her hard, pressing my hips against her so she could feel just what she was doing to me.

Noises in the hall caught my attention, but I tried to ignore them. We weren’t being loud so I figured everyone would pass by on the way to bed without incident. Of course, I was wrong.

“I bet they came upstairs to fuck.” I heard Rose’s voice right outside the door.

Bella and I both froze. We stood forehead to forehead listening. I was going to kill Rose, both for being a bitch and a cockblocker.

“So what if they did? It’s not like you haven’t had sex here, and what happened to not making assumptions?” Alice huffed.

“Bella’s spunky. I bet she’s a screamer.” Emmett; fucking pervert. “Ow. Shit, Rose, that hurt.” She must have hit him.

“I don’t want to hear it, and I don’t want to think about Edward’s spunk. I just said that’s probably what they’re doing,” Rose bitched again.

I was debating in my head whether or not to respond. Should I say something? Should I kiss Bella to distract her or let her know I didn’t care what Rose had to say? It didn’t matter though, because Bella was on it.

“We were about to fuck, but you’ve ruined the mood. Thanks, Rose.”

Loud laughter boomed from the hallway for a second before they tried to quiet themselves down.

“Be quiet. Don’t wake the kids,” Emmett warned everyone then apologized for his wife. “Sorry, Bella.”

I snorted. “What about me?”

“You’re always sorry,” Emmett laughed. “Burn!” Fucker.

There was another burst of laughter before I heard a couple of mumbled sorrys, footsteps scattering, and doors closing.

Bella snorted and dropped her head to my shoulder. “Your family is crazy.”

“I’m going to kill them all.”

She sighed and pulled her shirt back on. “I’m going to go brush my teeth.”

I groaned as I sat on the bed and ran my hands through my hair. It was a shitty ending to a roller coaster of a day. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on the fact that even though the mood was ruined, Bella was going spend the night in my arms, even if it was only to sleep.

And first thing in the morning I would have words with my sister in law, that was for damn sure.

-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-

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