Edward Cullen! I’d just spoken to Edward Cullen!
The funny thing was, I’d had a crush on him when I was a teenager, but when he’d gotten together with Tanya Denali I’d gotten over him. That didn’t mean I still didn’t think he was a superstar or that he was cute, it just meant that I took his poster off of my wall.
I couldn’t even believe it when I saw Bella’s picture with Edward, but there it was on my phone, in the celebrity sightings section.
I fought the urge to call everyone I knew and tell them that I was going to Tanward’s house. I wondered if either of them would be there. Edward said that he was sending a driver. That didn’t mean he’d be there when I got there. It was nice of him to help me out. I really didn’t want to fight my way through the reporters. It wasn’t like I knew anything, but they’d never believe that.
I pushed Elizabeth on a swing until a black Lincoln Navigator pulled up. The man that got out wasn’t big, he was huge. I’d have been terrified if he wouldn’t have flashed me a heartwarming smile. “Alice?” he asked.
“Emmett?” I responded.
“At your service,” he smiled.
I lifted Elizabeth out of the swing and put her in her stroller before pushing it toward the car. Emmet put it in the back while I buckled Elizabeth in. “Do you want to ride in the front or back?” he asked, standing next to the car. I’d never been driven by anyone except for the school bus driver and the few times I’d been in a cab. Still, I chose the front. He opened the door for me and I climbed in.
The drive was short and neither of us said anything. I could tell we were getting closer because the houses began to look like shopping malls. When we rounded a corner, I saw the reporters and knew we had to be at the right place.
“Turn your head toward me,” he said. I did as he said and turned to look at him. “Good, keep looking at me. Look down a bit. Let your hair fall in your face… just another few seconds… there.” When I looked up I saw that we were inside of the gate. “Between the tinted windows and the angle you gave them, they have no idea who you are. It should help keep your name out of it anyway.”
“Thanks that was sweet of you,” I said opening the door and jumping down.
“Naw, just my job. That’s sweet though,” he said opening the door to the back seat. Elizabeth was sound asleep in her car seat. He pushed the button and took her out of the seat gently. She never woke as he carried her into the house. I followed, in awe that I was in Tanward’s house.
A woman met us in the foyer. “You must be Alice,” she said. “I’m Esme, Edward’s sister.” She turned toward Emmett. “And this must be Elizabeth.”
“She fell asleep in the car on the way here,” I explained.
“Why don’t you go and lay her down in Charlie’s porta crib,” she said to Emmett. “Here, let me go with you and set it up.” She turned back to me. “Why don’t you go into the living room and make yourself at home . Edward was just showing Bella around the yard. I’m sure they’ll be right back.”
I felt like Alice in Wonderland. What had I eaten to end up here, in Tanward’s house. I wondered if Edward was as cute in person as he was in movies and if Tanya was as sweet as the characters she often played.
Esme and Emmett walked into the living room and I followed. They both walked up the stairs, but I waited in the large room below. The house was huge, and I was standing in what could have been a ballroom. It reminded me of the house that the Von Trapp family lived in in the movie The Sound of Music.
I looked up the staircase again and they were gone, likely into the baby’s room to put Elizabeth down. I stood there awkwardly for a moment, then decided to look around. There were couches and oversized chairs strategically placed to create conversation centers. A large piano sat at one end of the room, and at the other, a rack filled with beautiful dresses.
Like a moth to a flame, I walked toward them. I loved fashion. The outfits worn on television and in movies fascinated me. It would be a dream job to create a wardrobe for an actor or actress and here I was looking at what had to be Tanya’s clothes.
As I got closer I realized that a dozen of them or so, were lying on the ground. I bent over to pick them up. I’d hung most of them back on the metal rack when I heard a voice behind me.
“Just take them and get out.”
I turned around and stared at him wide eyed. Did he think I was stealing them?
“I.. uh… I …” I stuttered. “I’m supposed to be here.”
“Oh, I know you are. You’re here because of… her.” The way he said ‘her’ was dripping with venom. “And give her a message for me will you? Tell her that if the press gets wind of what she’s doing, it will ruin the entire Tanward image.”
I saw red. What exactly was she doing that was so wrong? It wasn’t even her idea. “Excuse me? She’s just doing what she needs to do.”
“What she needs to do? What she’s doing is appalling and she should be ashamed of herself. I’ve never seen a more selfish person in my life!”
I stepped closer to him. If he wasn’t an entire foot taller than me, I’d have punched him in the face, even if he was incredibly sexy. “How dare you talk about my sister like that!”
His brow furrowed at my last statement. He seemed at a loss for words.
“What is going on in here?” I spun around to see Edward Cullen standing a few feet from me. Bella was right next to him. I hadn’t even heard them come in, probably because I’d been shouting at the asshole insulting Bella.
“Why are you two yelling?” Bella asked.
“He was saying awful things about you!” I explained.
“Not about her, about Tanya,” the asshole said, catching me off guard. “Why would I say anything bad about Bella? I just met her and she’s here...um...for Charlie.” He looked from me to Bella in the awkward silence. “Wait, you’re Bella’s sister?”
“Yes, I’m Alice,” I said with my hands on my hips.
“Alice, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Edward.” He held out his hand and I shook it. He was cute in person, too. “I see you’ve met my agent, Jasper.” What was it with Hollywood? Everyone was so fucking hot.
“Yes, we’ve met.” I turned to face him. “Do you make it a practice to insult people randomly?”
“It wasn’t random. I thought you were Tanya’s assistant here to pick up her dresses for the Oscars,” he explained. His voice was so cute, with the southern drawl, and his lips looked so kissable that I nearly forgot to be mad. Nearly.
“So you insult Tanya? She just had a baby. Where is she?” I asked looking around.
Edward sighed. “She’s not here. She’s… uh… busy.”
I pictured her out working with orphans or something else. I didn’t know her, of course, but I knew her characters in movies and she was so sweet and loving. I’d also seen her in the papers doing volunteer work at charities and things like that.
The sound of a baby crying interrupted my thoughts. At first I thought it was Elizabeth, but then I realized it was a much different sound.
“Excuse me, please,” Edward said and began walking quickly toward the stairs.
“I’ll be right back,” Bella said and followed him. She was saying something about him not needing to go, but I didn’t really hear what she was saying because they were hurrying up the stairs.
That left me alone with the asshole I now knew as Jasper.
“See, there was no need to say bad things. She’s busy,” I said looking at him. “I bet it’s important?”
He looked at Jasper who shrugged his shoulders. “She’s at the spa.”
That didn’t seem noble at all, but then again, she’d just had a baby. Maybe she needed a few hours to herself to feel good again. “Everyone deserves an afternoon off.”
“She’s been there for three days,” Jasper said softly.
“Three days! But her baby was just born. How can she leave him so soon?” My head was spinning. I recalled my first conversation with Esme and when she told me about how Charlie was unable to take formula. I looked up at Jasper, “But, her baby is a newborn, and having trouble eating. How could she leave him to go to a spa? Its…its…appalling.”
He smiled for a moment and I realized then that I’d used his exact word. He’d been right. I felt the need to apologize. “I’m sorry that I yelled at you before.”
He nodded. “It’s ok, Bumblebee.” He smiled at me.
“Bumblebee? Uh, my name’s Alice.”
“Yeah, but Alice is an old ladies name. You’re more of a Bumblebee.”
I put my hands on my hips. “How am I like a bee?”
He chuckled. “There you go again. Buzzing about something, flitting around, stinger out, just ready for a fight.” I looked up at him, outraged by his audacity to say such a thing. “And, you’re tiny like a little bee too.”
“I might be tiny, but I can do anything you can...in fact, I can do it better!”
He laughed. “You sure are feisty. But I don’t think there is anything you can do better than me.”
“Wanna bet?” I retorted, hands on my hips. We were both smiling now. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to punch him or kiss him.
“Yes, I’d bet you that in any contest you pick, other than shopping, or buzzing around like a little bee, I’ll beat you.”
“What are we betting?” I asked, trying to think of what we could compete in.
“Well, when I win, you will have to wear a bumblebee costume for twenty-four hours straight.”
I laughed out loud. “Deal. And if I win…” I paused to think of something.
“Which you are not, but just for fun, what is it you’d want?”
I looked around the room and saw the rack of dresses Tanya was looking at for the Oscars. “When I win, I want a ticket to the Oscars.”
His eyes widened but he nodded. “Deal.”
I held out my hand so we could shake on it. It wasn’t winter, but the strangest thing happened when he took my hand. It was like an electrical charge jumped from his hand to mine, or the other way around. He felt it too because he looked down.
“Well, at least you two aren’t yelling,” Edward said coming down the stairs and over toward us. “Bella asked if you’d go upstairs. She’s with Charlie. Take a left at the top of the stairs. His room is the second door on the left.
I nodded. It didn’t sound complicated. “Thanks, and I’ll get back to you with the contest,’ I said making Jasper smile.
I walked up the stairs taking a moment to appreciate that I was in Tanwards’ house, though, I was reeling from what Jasper had said. Tanya had always played these sweet, girl next door characters, and I just couldn’t see her as the kind of woman Jasper was describing. I wondered if maybe there had been some sort of misunderstanding.
Finding the door Edward described, I knocked softly. “Bella?” I called into the thick wood.
“Come in Alice,” she said.
When I opened the door, all thoughts of Tanya flew out the window and my jaw nearly hit the floor.
Bella was sitting in a rocking chair with a baby on her lap. She wasn't just holding him, she had him to her breast and was nursing him.
“OH MY GOD!” I said emphatically, though my voice was a whisper. “Bella! What are you doing? What if Edward sees!”
“See’s what? Me nursing?”
“YES!” I hiss coming toward her. “Pumping is one thing, but this...this…”
“Is what he’s now paying me five hundred dollars a day to do,” she said, finishing my sentence.
“Five hundred a day? That’s insane! Cool, but insane.”
“I know. Charlie needs my milk and I need the money. It’s perfect...well except for the press. How bad was it?”
I sat down on the bed that was on the opposite wall and told her about all of the people and how Emmett had picked us up at the park. I didn’t tell her about the rest of the conversation I’d had with Jasper. I hated to spread gossip and for all I knew, she really was the wonderful person I’d always thought she was.
Bella told me about the house and about how she planned on spending as much time with Elizabeth as she could during the day and pumping when she wouldn’t be here.
“What about nights?” I asked her. “I remember Elizabeth getting up all night long.”
“Well,” she said biting her lip. “Edward said I could stay here. He offered me my own room, or I could sleep in here. I kind of figured I could come over after Elizabeth went to bed for the night.”
“Or maybe she could stay here too?” I suggested.
“Oh, I couldn’t impose like that!” she said. “They are already being generous enough.”
“Well, do what you think is best, but it seems like they have plenty of room, and if it makes you here more of the time, that would definitely be a plus for Charlie.”
“I’ll think about it,” she said.
Charlie pulled off of her just then and looked up at her with his big blue eyes. “Hey, can you do me a favor?”
“Tell Edward that Charlie is done eating and that he’s awake and playful.”
I left Bella changing Charlie and blowing bubbles on his tummy. It was almost like he was her own baby.
Edward was still in the living room with Jasper. “Hey Bumblebee,” Jasper said as soon as I came into view. “Come up with a competition?”
I hadn’t, but when I turned to look at him, I got a glimpse of the beautiful pool just outside the patio doors. “Can you swim?” I asked in a flippant tone.
“Better than you,” he retorted.
I doubted that. I’d been on the swim team and had medaled several times over my high school career. “We will see.”
“Yes we will, Bumblebee.”
I rolled my eyes at him, then ignored him. I didn’t care if he was sexy as hell, I wasn’t going to let him tease me.
“Edward,” I said, emphasizing that I was talking only to him. “Bella said to let you know Charlie is done eating and is awake and playing.”
Edward stood quickly. “Thank you for the message. We’re so lucky to have your sister. She’s like an angel.” I loved how his face lit up when talking about Bela. “And I’m sorry for any inconvenience this caused her, you, Elizabeth or Elizabeth’s father.”
I looked at him quizzically. “Elizabeth’s father? How does he factor in?”
“Well, I’m sure the paparazzi has the place surrounded still.” He took a breath and it almost looked like he was calming himself. “He could come here too. I could send Emmett.”
“Uh, Elizabeth’s father Jacob?”
“Well I don’t know his name, Bella never mentioned it.”
I had to smile at the assumption Edward had made and wanted to set him straight. “She probably didn’t mention him because she hasn’t seen him in nearly two years.”
His mouth opened wide then closed again but there was this huge smile on his face. “I’m going to go and play with them, him, Charlie, now,” he said hurrying from the room.