Bella was trying very hard to breathe steadily. It was taking all she had just to inhale and exhale. Why all the anxiety? She was still trying to get up the courage to knock on the door of one, Edward Cullen. Bella had finally managed to get herself over to his house but was still lacking in the ability to actually make contact.
Her head swam as she thought back to their fight earlier that week. He wanted to get married and she didn’t. Simple, right? Except it wasn’t so much that Bella didn’t want to marry him, she did. The Cullen family, however, was not happy with the idea of the couple being a couple, let alone being a married couple. Everyone knew the rich and prominent Cullen family. No one knew the poor and struggling Swan family.
Bella was startled from her reverie by the abrupt halting of the piano that she had been listening to Edward play while she deliberated on his front porch. Seconds later, Edward was opening the door, shooting Bella a confused look in the process.
“Hey,” he said softly. “What are you doing here? And why were you just standing our here?”
“Um, how did you know I was out here?” Bella questioned back in her futile attempt to stall.
“Alice saw you pull up and has been watching you. She finally got tired of waiting to find out what was going to happen so she told me. Now, are you going to try to keep stalling or answer my questions?”
Bella looked behind Edward to find Alice failing to discreetly hide behind the massive staircase of the Cullen house. She practically vibrated with excited energy.
“You know,” Bella finally said, “I think that tone might be just a tad harsh under the circumstances.”
“Stall it is then.”
“Well, I mean is it not reasonable that I should be a little nervous about talking to you after the fight we had?”
“We will get nowhere pussyfooting around the issues.”
“You just stand there practically making accusations before even asking me in the house.”
“You hate being in the house.”
“Think about it, do you really want to get a reputation for treating your girlfriends in such a cold manner?”
“Well, would you really call yoursefl my girlfriend at this point? Not exactly the word I would use to describe you.”
Bella practically jumped as the harsh words hit her like a slap in the face. They had just had a fight. It may have been a big one but was that really cause for him to just blow her off. Bella was vaguely aware that Alice’s excited energy had faltered at his words as well.
“Look, Bella, I didn’t mean-“
“It’s fine, Edward, really,” Bella choked, holding back tears. “I guess this is just a little too soon to discuss this.”
“Bella, no. Wait, Bella.”
She didn’t wait. Bella jump off the porch and practically ran to her car, tripping over some kind of lawn ornament that was supposed to resemble some sort of furry woodland creature on the way.
Some part of Bella’s brain knew she was over-reacting. They were both upset and both were more that a little tense. But Edward, her dear, sweet Edward, never acted harsh toward her. And he was always the one to champion their relationship. Even when she doubted their ability to make it work, he always swooped in to make her feel like the only woman in the world to him. Always make her feel special and beautiful. A man she could always depend on.
Edward's comment was spoken off-hand and he clearly had not meant it, at least not the way it sounded, but for just one second Bella had felt as though he was giving up on them. That not only hurt her, it terrified her. She was always the dependable one. Always the one taking care of everyone else. Edward was the only one to take care of her. Bella let the tears flow freely as she faced the possibility that if she was not careful she could lose the only stabilizing force in her life.
No. She would not allow herself to lose Edward.
With a sudden intensity that surprised her, Bella began to formulate a plan of action. She pulled into her apartment complex and sprang up the steps to her apartment, making obligatory small talk with a handful of neighbors she passed along the way.
Dialing Edward’s number she rehearsed in her head what she would say to him. Bella was so absorbed in her thought process that Edward’s voice at the other end of the line startled her.
“Hey, it me,” she said.
Edward gave no reply and Bella began to feel incredibly stupid. “That wasn’t…it’s not how I planned things to go this afternoon.”
“Baby, I am so sorry for being cruel to you earlier.”
“No, Edward. I don’t want to do this over the phone. I’d like to do this in person.”
“Okay.” Bella could almost hear him gulp through the phone. “Did you want to come back over or-“
“You should come over here.”
“I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
“See you then.”
Edward hesitated a moment and Bella wondered if he had already hung up in his haste to get over to her apartment. “Hey, Bella? I love you, okay?” Edward’s voice had never sounded so small to her before.
Bella was pacing her living room when she heard keys jangle as Edward let himself in.
“I want to work this out, baby.”
Good, she thought. Let’s just jump right into this.
“Do you think we can?”
“I’m so desperately hoping.”