I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted from my chest. I’d wanted to make my relationship with Bella public for a long time. I’d been afraid it would come out somehow and we’d both be killed by the press. I was slightly worried for my career, but more worried the tabloids would eat Bella alive. Jasper had done a background check before she moved in. I swore it was more about Alice, but either way, it came back clean as in criminal records, but I was sure there were things in Bella’s past she didn’t want made public.
One thing I was always worried about was Elizabeth. I thought of her as just Bella’s, well mine and Bella’s, but I knew she had a father. Bella had told me he left and had no part of her life. I wondered if that would always be the case. Part of me worried if it became public that Bella and I were together, he might come back and want something from her.
Jasper had said that I should just do what I wanted, and Ellen, as well as her audience, had made it clear that it might be all right to go public with Bella. I decided to test it out a few days after the show.
“Would you like to take the kids to the park?” I asked Bella on Saturday morning.
“That would be great. Elizabeth is going stir crazy!”
I had Emmett drive us to the park we usually went to. I took Charlie’s infant seat from the car and clipped it into his stroller. Elizabeth asked me to pick her up and put her on my shoulders. I’d done it before, and she loved it. I liked it too. Bella smiled at us and started to push Charlie’s stroller. Usually we kept our distance in the park, but this time I stayed right next to her.
We came to the play area and Elizabeth started to bounce on my shoulders. “Play, play!” she squealed.
I lifted her down and set her on the grass. She took off climbing onto the play structure. Bella stopped the stroller near us. I took a few steps back toward her, keeping my eyes on Elizabeth. I’d already noticed one paparazzi taking a few photos. I exhaled and decided to do what I wanted, and what I wanted was to hold Bella’s hand. I reached down and took her hand in mine. Bella’s eyes went wide. “Edward, there are people watching,” she whispered, trying to pull her hand from mine.
I held onto it. “I know, let them look, let them take photos. You look beautiful, and I think you’d make a great headline tomorrow.”
We only held hands for a few minutes before Elizabeth begged us to push her in the swing. After that Charlie woke and we left the park. It had been long enough, though. It was just as I predicted, Bella and I holding hands made the front page of a few tabloids.
“A little playing in the park?” Alice giggled, walking into the kitchen in the morning. She dropped the paper on the table. Bella and I had been eating bagels and kissing a bit, while Elizabeth made a mess of hers.
I looked down at the cover then turned to the story. “It says that it looks like you were moving on and finding a family within your little family,” Alice informed us.
“Did they say anything about Bella?” I asked, still scanning the article.
“Not really they did call her Bella Swan, otherwise known as ‘Souper Girl’.”
“I swear I’m never going to live down that name.” She laughed.
“It could be worse,” Alice said knowingly.
“Yeah, and you are pretty super, and my girl.” I leaned over and gave her a big kiss.
“I think I’ll grab coffee and go. I just thought you’d want to see.” Alice went to the counter then left the kitchen, leaving Bella and I alone again.
“You’re alright with being in the papers, right?” I asked her.
“Yup, it’s just part of being with you.”
She was wonderful. I loved her so much and felt lucky to have her. A lot had changed in just a few months. I had no idea that life could be so great.
Jasper came over later that afternoon. “Was it a slip up or intentional?” he asked the second he walked in the door.
“You said to do what I wanted, so I did.”
“Good. I’m glad. It’s about time, man.”
“You know, you could take your own advice.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s pretty obvious that something is going on with you and Alice.”
“I don’t want to talk about it. I was talking about you,” he responded.
“Look, I don’t mean to bring up a bad subject, but I want you to be happy. Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me there’s nothing more than friendship between you and Alice.”
He just stared at me.
“Maybe if you, I don’t know, hooked up, had a wild night, it would get it out of both your systems.” Jasper looked down. I’d never seen him look embarrassed or guilty, but that was exactly how he looked to me. “Jasper? Did you?”
“It’s not like you think. I mean, it’s not like I just, well, it wasn’t just a hook up.”
I bit back the smile. I’d known something was going on. “But you did hook up?”
He nodded. “More than once, but things are complicated.”
“Things are always complicated. Just go for it. Tell her how you feel.”
“You do realize she’s over a decade younger than me, right?”
I raised my eyebrows. “I really don’t think she cares.”
“There are some things she’s going to care about. When I met her I never knew I’d end up feeling this way. There are things I should have told her a long time ago, and now it seems too late.”
“Things? What things? Jasper, I’m sure that nothing you’re going to tell her will scare her off. I mean, maybe if you were like that character Oliver I played from Midnight Caller, and wanted to tie her up and spank her, it might throw her a bit. But seriously, I really think she likes you for who you are, and who you are is a good guy.”
He exhaled slowly. “I’ll think about it. I’ve got to do something. Maybe it would be better to get it all out in the open.”
I had no clue what he was talking about, but I wished him well.
Bella and I didn’t make any more public appearances for a few days. When Saturday rolled around I had a plan. She’d just finished nursing Charlie in the afternoon. Elizabeth was down for her nap. When she came out of Charlie’s room, I took her by the hand and led her into our room. I called it that because we’d spent nearly every night together sleeping in it.
“Oooh, Mr. Cullen,” Bella giggled, “are you looking for a little afternoon delight?”
“Any afternoon I spend with you is a delight,” I replied with a laugh, knowing it was cheesy.
And it was. Bella was perfect. Her moans and mewls as I licked between her legs made me hard as a rock. After she’d come two times, I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to be inside of her, but she stopped me. “Edward, please let me return the favor,” she said, sliding lower in the bed and putting her mouth right next to my cock.
She didn’t wait for more; she just lowered her head onto my cock. I nearly died when she licked the tip with the flat part of her tongue.
I bit my lower lip to keep from screaming out in pleasure. She had a way of sucking cock that made me forget how to breathe, let alone who I was.
I was so hard so fast that Bella gagged and let my cock slip from her mouth. “I’m sorry,” I quickly apologized. I started to stroke her cheek and lift her off of me when she slid my cock back into her mouth. “Ohhhh fuck! Baby, you... don’t… oh Bella!”
It was heavenly. I ran my fingers through her hair and down her gorgeous neck as she gave me more and more pleasure.
When I finally erupted in her mouth, she licked her lips and put her head on my chest. “I wonder if the kids would let us nap?” she asked.
“I hope so, because you’re going to be up late tonight.”
Bella smiled. “Are we having another date night?” she asked.
“Not like the ones we’ve done in the past. I’d actually like to take you out to eat.”
I saw her eyes widen. I knew she understood the implications of what I was saying. I was going to make our relationship public. She sat up in bed. “I need to decide what I’m going to wear!”
I chuckled and pulled her back down. “You know Alice will already have something planned. I swear that woman is psychic and has an outfit for everything.”
“You’re probably right.” Bella giggled.
“Probably? This is Alice and fashion, and besides, we’re going out hours from now. Lie down with me.”
We did get in a quick nap. It would have been longer if we wouldn’t have spent half of our time kissing. There was something about Bella that made me want to kiss her all the time.
When we did get up, we went downstairs to grab something to eat. “Let me just go tell Alice we’re going out first,” Bella said as we walked down the stairs holding hands.
“I’m going to call Jasper and give him the heads up.” I pulled out my phone. I pressed his contact, and when we got to the bottom of the stairs, I swore I heard his phone ringing. “Jasper?” I said when he answered.
“Oh, hey Edward, what’s up?” he said in an odd voice.
“Hey, I wanted to talk to you about something. Is now a bad time?”
When we got to the bottom of the stairs, Bella gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and headed in the direction of the guest quarters where Alice was staying.
What happened next was odd. Jasper was in the middle of answering me that it was a good time, just give him a second. I could hear him moving around in the background, but then I also heard a knock. “Alice, it’s Bella.”
The sound came from two directions. I could hear Bella knocking and talking from just the other room, but I also heard a muffled version of it in Jasper’s phone.
“Okay, I um, okay, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”
I could now hear Alice and Bella talking in the background of Jasper’s phone, though not through the house anymore.
“Well, how about we start with, why you’re over?”
“Over?” Jasper said.
“Cut the crap, I know you’re over here. I can hear Bella and Alice in the background. Why are you hiding?”
Jasper sighed. “It’s complicated.”
“Why is it complicated? I mean, it seems to me…”
“Shhh,” Jasper interrupted. “I think they’re talking about me.”
I was about to tell him that he sounded like a kid in junior high, when I realized I could go and tell him to his face. It was crazy to keep it hidden like this. And honestly, if there was something going on between him and Alice, I wanted Bella to know. I didn’t like knowing something she didn’t. It made me have to keep a secret.
Alice’s door was open. Bella was standing in it and Alice was talking. “It’s just complicated,” Alice said with a sigh.
“No, Edward and I are complicated. This is simple. If you like him, tell him,” Bella answered before she saw me.
“Oh, hi Edward.” Alice’s face was bright red.
“Hey Alice,” I responded. “Bella is right. It’s better to just say what’s on your mind.”
“Is that why you came here?” she asked, changing the subject.
“No,” Bella said with a smile on her face. “Edward and I are going out tonight, like on a real date.”
“In public?” Alice gasped.
“Yes, in public,” I answered.
Alice ran over and hugged Bella. “This is so exciting. I have the perfect dress for you to wear! It’s in my cl…” Alice stopped talking. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing. She wanted to show Bella the dress, but I had no doubt that Jasper was in her room, perhaps in the closet. “Just wait here, I’ll go get it,” Alice said quickly and turned around.
Bella looked confused as Alice ran off. She looked to me then around the room as if there would be an explanation. Her eyes widened and she giggled. I saw what she was looking at. Sticking out from under the couch was a pair of boxer shorts.
Alice came back out from the room with a dress in her hands. It was navy blue. I thought the color would look amazing on Bella. “Can I go try it on in your room?” Bella asked. I could tell she was hiding a smile.
Alice waited a moment then said, “Um, sure. I just didn’t make the bed.” She turned to me. “If you’ll excuse us. It’s bad luck for you to see her in her dress.”
“I thought that was a wedding dress?”
“Well, we don’t want to take any chances,” Alice said, pulling Bella into the bedroom.
“All right. I’m going to go make lunch. I’ll see you in a few minutes, or hours.” I laughed.
I left Alice’s suite and walked to the kitchen. I couldn’t have been more confused to see Jasper standing there with both Emmett and Rose. “Jasper?” I asked, shocked. “I thought you were... uh…”
“Yeah, um, I just got here.”
“Well, that’s good. I have a few things I’d like to talk to you about. Let’s go into the study.”
He followed me into the quiet room. We sat down in two leather chairs facing each other. Books lined the shelves, but I never read of them. I tended to use the room as a quiet place to think. “So what’s up?” he asked.
“I wanted to let you know that I’m going out on a date with Bella tonight, in public.”
He smiled. “That’s great. I’m glad you two are going public. Sure, there might be some backlash, but that would happen no matter what. I think it’s going to be great.”
“And how about you, Jasper?”
“How about me what?”
“How about you coming clean about your relationship?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Cut the crap, Jasper. I know about you and Alice. Last we talked, you gave me the impression it wasn’t anything, but I was just in her place.”
“Oh?” Jasper said, still sticking to his lie.
“Yes, and something was off. Alice wouldn’t let Bella into the bedroom.”
Jasper exhaled, and I knew he was giving up the facade. “Edward, I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t want to tell. It was Alice’s secret too.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “I just want to be here for you. What is going on?”
“I have no clue. Honestly, I don’t. I mean, it started out as just a date to the Oscars. I mean, I was attracted to her, yes, but I had no clue we’d end up in bed together.”
My eyes were wide, I knew it. “Oscar night? Like, your first date?”
Jasper’s jaw tensed. “Yean, our first date. But Alice isn’t like that. I mean, she was a virgin for fuck’s sake.”
If it were possible, my eyes went even wider. “Holy shit! You took her virginity the night of the Oscars?”
He nodded. “Well, it’s not like I knew she was a virgin, not until… well… after.”
“So, is that it? Is that what’s bothering you? You feel this sense of obligation because you took her virginity? Is that why you’re always over?”
“No! That’s not it at all. I’m always over because I can’t get enough of her. I get that there is this massive age difference, but I just want to be around her all of the time. You have no idea what it’s like.”
I smirked. “I have no idea what it’s like to want a woman when you think you can’t have her? Come on, I lived it. The only difference was, I really couldn’t have Bella when Tanya was here. What is stopping you and Alice.? Screw the age difference. It’s not that big and it doesn’t look like Alice minds at all.”
“If that was the only thing, then maybe.”
“What else is there?”
“There are parts of my life you don’t know anything about, Edward.”
“Maybe so, but if you want a relationship with her, and she wants one with you, just tell her. She’ll understand.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I do. Do you love her?”
“Yeah, I love her,” he said without hesitation.
“Does she know that?”
“I haven’t actually told her or anything,” he said. “There never seems to be the right time.”
“Funny, ‘cause usually after you make love is a good time to say it.”
“That’s the worst time! I don’t want her thinking I’m saying it because we just had sex. I need the time to be right.”
“I suppose it doesn’t matter, just be truthful with her. Maybe tomorrow, get her away from here, go on a real date. Take her to dinner, a movie, back to your place.”
Jasper laughed, looking a lot more relieved.”You really think she’d accept everything about me?”
I had no idea what he thought his big dark secret was. Maybe he collected Beanie Babies or something. It didn’t matter; it was obvious Alice was as into him as he was her. “I really do think she’ll be fine with whatever you tell her.”
“Thanks for the talk, Edward.” He stood up.
“No problem, and also, your underwear are under Alice’s couch.”
I walked out of the room, leaving Jasper standing there with his mouth wide open. I knew Bella would probably spend the rest of the afternoon getting ready for our date so I went to work out, get a bit of script reading done for the show, and figure out what I was going to wear myself. I’d already called and made reservations at a club downtown. I had no clue if Bella liked dancing, but at least we’d be out at a popular place. I knew we’d be seen and it would make the tabloids. I was ready for it; so was she.
Just as I’d anticipated, she looked spectacular. As I’d also anticipated, we made the tabloids in the morning. “Edward Cullen Seen with Smoking Hot Souper Girl.” Jasper laughed, showing me his phone when I walked into the kitchen in the morning, holding Bella’s hand.
“What?” I asked sleepily. It wasn’t that we’d stayed out that late, just past midnight, but we had stayed up until three in the morning making love. I’d never met someone so insatiable, and I felt the same way.
“Well, apparently the two of you were seen...wait...let me read this correctly...oh, here it is...” Jasper scrolled through his phone. “Edward Cullen was seen in a downtown Los Angeles nightclub with his son’s nanny, a.k.a. Souper Girl. The two spent hours dancing and ended the night with a kiss. See photos below.” He looked up, and oh boy were there photos below.
Bella squeezed my hand. I turned to look at her. “Is that all right?” I asked her. “I mean, we knew we’d be seen.”
“Is it all right with you?” she asked.
“That people know I was out with you? That they saw me kissing the hottest woman in the club? Hell yeah!” I said, laughing.
“Hewl yeah,” Elizabeth repeated then and laughed, making me spin around.
“Fuck,” I hissed, “I’m sorry.” I looked apologetically at Bella. I turned again, looking at Elizabeth, hoping she didn’t repeat my second expletive.
Bella laughed., “Maybe we do need to start watching what we say; she’s getting older and older.” I saw a wistful look pass across Bella’s face. I wondered what it was about, but it wasn’t the right time to ask.
After that, our relationship moved quickly. We went on more dates. She came to visit me at work, and we took the kids to the park, not worrying if people saw us kissing or not. We really didn’t make headlines anymore. We were just an ordinary Hollywood couple, uneventful.
I wished I could have said the same for Alice and Jasper. I’d given him the advice to tell Alice how he felt, and I wondered if he had, because something in their relationship had changed. Jasper never came over anymore and Alice seemed miserable. It had been a few weeks.
Each time I asked Bella, she told me she was just as confused as me. She’d asked Alice what happened. Alice had told her there wasn’t ever really anything between her and Jasper, so there was nothing to be over. We both knew it was bullshit, but what could we do about it? When I brought it up to Jasper, all he had said was, “It worked out for the best.” That was also bullshit, but what was I going to do, convince Jasper to try again? I felt bad that my advice might’ve been the reason they weren’t together, though he insisted it was of his own doing.
I just hoped that whatever it was, they’d work it out. In the meantime, I was enjoying every moment spent with Bella. Life was perfect.