Spot Storm Brewing


Half an hour later, Edward arrived at my door with a breathtaking bouquet of multi-colored sweetheart roses.”All different colors?” I looked up at him, smiling.

“They’re supposed to be different colors. That’s the point.”

He was too perfect.

After I put them in a vase on the radiator cover in my sitting room, Edward joined me on the sofa where I used my mouth to express my gratitude non-verbally.

“Fill me in,” I said after we came up for air. “How did things go at home?”

“Very well. My mom was surprised more than anything else and felt betrayed by my father and me. None of it had anything to do with you, though she did initially wonder why a woman your age would have any in me, but then I reminded her of all the times she told me any girl would be crazy not to love me. She couldn’t argue with that.”

“Are you telling me she’s okay with this?”

“We have her tenuous approval. She’d like to get to know you a bit more, but she acknowledged the fact that when I leave for college in two months, I’ll be able to do whatever I want anyway. She said she knows I’ll behave honorably and make good choices, and then said a few other things that embarrassed the shit out of me, so I’m not going to repeat them.” He blushed at the mere memory.
“It wasn’t bad. They want me to invite you to our shore house for the holiday weekend coming up. Do you have Fourth of July plans?”

I didn’t, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to spend a long weekend with Edward’s parents.

“That’s very sweet, but I don’t think I can handle that after dinner last night.”

“Just think about it.”

“I’m not making any promises.”

When we arrived at Rose’s, Edward and Emmett settled in the living room with the Phillies’ game and a couple of beers. This morning’s revelation about Rose had made it clear to me that Edward and Emmett had way more in common than a mutual love of baseball. I was happy they were getting along so well.

Meanwhile, I helped Rose in the kitchen, but waited until she was finished cutting up the salad before having a little fun with her.

“Tell me, how did you feel when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded?”

She laughed. “Edward told you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me? It would have been nice to know you’d been there.”

“‘It’s very different from your situation. I met Emmett when he was twenty-three and in grad school. We didn’t have to deal with parents or the whole under-age thing.”

“They must know now. How did it go over?”

“It wasn’t a big deal. Emmett’s mother wanted to make sure I was Jewish and that eventually I’d give her grandchildren. When she realized she had nothing to worry about on either issue, she approved wholeheartedly. Emmett and I have the same values, the same goals. We’re good for each other. There comes a point where age is just a number. The question is if you think you and Edward can get there intact. Now, would you mind setting the table while I finish up?”

As I worked in the dining room, I thought about what Rose said and realized how little I knew about Edward. I knew he was incredibly bright and extremely mature. I knew he wanted to go to medical school like his parents. I knew he read everything he could get his hands on and liked early twentieth century art.

But there was so much I didn’t know. I didn’t know why he chose Princeton, or if he wanted to stay in the area when he graduated. I knew nothing about his politics, if he ever wanted children, if he believed in god and what he thought happened to us when we died. The more I thought about it, I didn’t know anything that really mattered.

I did know that I loved the way I felt when I was with him, and that he made me want to be better version of myself—one that would deserve him.

I put all of this out of my mind until we were driving home.

“Do you want children?”

He answered without hesitation. “Yes. Do you?”

“I think so.”

Well, that was one question down.

Once at my house, he walked me to my door. “I really want to stay.”

“I know, but I think it’s really important that you go home tonight. You should spend some time with your parents. They’re going to miss you like crazy in September.”

They weren’t the only ones.

“I’m going down the shore with my dad tomorrow to help with some things around the house. Can I see you Wednesday when I get back?”

“I’d like that.”

“I’m…uh…going to kiss you now.”

“I’d like that, too.”

It was simple—tongueless and innocent—but it left me wanting so much more.

The following morning I lazed around the house until it was time to go see Alice. As I sat on the Schuylkill in traffic, I saw the Art Museum. I’d so much rather be headed there. Who was I kidding? I’d rather be anywhere than shopping with Alice.

As traffic crawled forward, the view to my right included the Water Works. I smiled; Alice had exquisite taste. Her wedding would be stunning and elegant, just like Alice herself.

I felt awful keeping my relationship with Edward from her. She’d been telling me since we’d moved to Philadelphia how much she’d wanted me to find happiness with someone the way she had with Jasper. It was a nice sentiment. But how many people really end up spending forever with the first person they kiss?

When I arrived at the King of Prussia Mall, I used the valet parking. I unashamedly handed the keys of my beat up beetle to attendant and explained that he would have to double pump the clutch to start the car. I loved valet parking my beater. Nothing screams confidence like proudly claiming ownership of a thirty-year-old death trap while surrounded by a sea of Jaguars and BMWs.

I made my way up to Alice’s office quickly, wanting nothing more than to get this over with as painlessly as possible. She met me at the door and told me she was still working with a client. I told her I’d meet her in the shoe department when she was finished.

My plans were to find a place to sit down with my iPhone and text Edward, until I saw a full head of thick auburn hair looking over a pair of Jimmy Choos. I’d know that hair anywhere. It was Esme Masen.

Maybe if I backed away slowly, she wouldn’t notice me.

“Hello, Bella.”

Or maybe not. I smiled and counted to ten as she came over to me. “Hi, Esme.”

“Do you have a moment? There’s a cafe downstairs. We could have a little chat.”

I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to. “Okay.”

I followed Esme down the escalator  to a small coffee shop out in the mall, where she insisted on buying me a drink. A few moments later, we were sitting at a small table sipping lattes. We looked like girlfriends, except I knew better.

“I’d like to apologize for my behavior on Sunday,” she said.

“There’s no need.”

“Yes, there is. I made my own assumptions based on the limited information Edward and Carlisle provided me. The result was an incredibly uncomfortable situation for all of us, which would have been avoided had I just asked Edward a few additional questions. Even worse, I fear I may have left you with an inaccurate perception of me. I was a bit shocked, but I don’t disapprove of you. I’m not sure I understand you, though I’d very much like to. Has Edward told you what kind of medicine I practice?”

“No.”

“I’m a psychiatrist,” she said. “So you see, whereas I want very much to believe that you simply enjoy my son’s company as much as he enjoys yours, my experience tells me that is more than likely not the case. You teach where Edward attended high school. Even though I know nothing inappropriate happened while Edward a student, I’m sure you can imagine how it all looks.”

“I didn’t set out to enter into a relationship with a teenager. I met Edward at an Art Museum function at which alcohol was being served. He approached me with a glass of wine. I’m still not sure how he pulled that off.”

“Carlisle is his wingman,” she said wryly.

I had to laugh. “I should have known. I’m not with Edward because of his youth or the fact he was a student at my school, but in spite of it. Esme, it all just sort of happened. And Edward is…well, he’s Edward. I’ve never known anyone like him of any age. He’s amazing.”

“I know.” She nodded, the thought of her son causing a small, proud smile to form on her lips. “Has Edward invited you to spend the holiday with us?”

“Yes.”

“Were you planning to accept?”

“No.”

“I’d like you to reconsider. Look, I’m not going to pretend your relationship with my son is within my comfort level, but I am willing to work to get past that for Edward. Getting to know you a bit better would certainly help.”

“Thank you.”

“So you’ll join us?” she asked.

“Yes.” I would do it for Edward and hope that as a shrink, Esme had some klonopin stashed in the medicine cabinet.

Alice’s voice scared the shit out of me. “Bella, this is so not the shoe department. Good thing I needed my late afternoon caffeine fix. Oh Esme, I’m sorry I’d thought you’d left. I was able to get that dress for you, I should have it early next week. I’ll call you to schedule a fitting.”

“Wonderful, thank you for all your help, Alice. Bella, it was truly nice to see you.” Esme gave me what appeared to be a genuine smile before heading back into Neiman’s.

“Oh my god, you know Esme Masen? How?”

“Through a friend.” It wasn’t exactly a lie.

“She’s like, my favorite client. Her taste is impeccable and she’s so much fun. Seriously, during her appointments I have the best time. I totally forget I’m working. I’ve always thought she’d be so cool to hang out with outside of work, but had no idea how to invite her without it seeming weird.” Alice looked down at her cell phone. “We should go get started, I don’t have a lot of time. I have a few dresses I’d like you to try on. I’d like you and Rose to compliment each other, but not match.”

“Would you believe I just found out yesterday Rose was in her thirties?”

“It’s not like she hides it.” Alice laughed. “People just make assumptions based on her looks and what they know about Emmett. You have to admit, the whole Rose and Emmett thing is bizarre.”

“What makes you say that?” This was going to be informative.

“Well, they’re ten years apart, for one. And that’s a little strange. But she’s the older one, and that’s even weirder. We all know men mature more slowly than women. It’s got to feel like she’s dating a teenager, especially when you consider how Emmett behaves half the time.”

“Alice, not all men are less mature than women their age. We’re all individuals. There are no absolutes.”

“In theory, there should be no absolutes. At the same time, stereotypes exist for a reason. Believe whatever you want, but Rose is totally with a younger guy because she needs to be in charge. If it weren’t Emmett, it would be someone else in his mid-twenties. She doesn’t want an equal. She wants arm candy.”

“That is so incredibly unfair—to both of them.”

“Oh, give me a break. What is the first thing you think when you see an older man with a younger woman? Trophy wife. And I’ve heard you say it so don’t even try to deny it. You can swap out the gender roles, but the motivation remains the same.”

“Or they could just enjoy one another’s company. Have you spent much time with the two of them together outside of bars and Eagles’ games? They’re good together, Alice. It works.”

“It works now, but it won’t work long term. I just hope for Rose’s sake she realizes this sooner rather than later. She really wants children you know. And by the time Emmett is ready for that, she’s going to need fertility drugs. I just hope she doesn’t end up like that chick in California who had octuplets. Could you imagine the nanny bills? The thought makes me twitch. But enough about that. I give them another six months tops before her biological clock scares him off. I know that sounds awful, but you know I’m right. I really love Rose. I just want her to be happy.” She gestured toward my latte. “Are you ready?”

Oh, was I ever. I threw the empty cup in the trash and followed Alice back into Neiman’s, thankful for the mindless monotony of shopping.





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8 Responses

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  1. on 24 Aug 2010 at 4:02 amchansen

    Poor Bella, holiday weekend with the Cullens, plus Alice will come down so hard on her if there is ever a face to face with Bella and Edward together. He does seem older–except when sex starts to enter in the scene

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  2. on 29 Aug 2010 at 1:37 amizziey

    one comment regarding alice: ouch.

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  3. on 29 Sep 2010 at 7:47 pmlisa89

    It makes me sad that Alice’s views make it difficult for Bella to tell her about what’s going on in her life. I would like to think that Alice would/will prove Bella wrong, that she’ll be supportive of her best friend regardless of her opinion on the age difference, but something tells me I’m being too optimistic.

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  4. on 12 Nov 2010 at 12:58 amkng1986

    There are so many little old lady widows around that I think marrying a man six to ten years your junior is how it should be done.

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  5. on 25 Nov 2010 at 1:16 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    Yikes. Alice is going to freak.

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  6. on 08 Dec 2010 at 6:28 pmNKubie

    Apparently Rose knew what she was talking about when she warned Bella not to tell Alice. Ouch, harsh words.

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  7. on 03 Jan 2011 at 10:29 pmSea4Me

    B used all her bravado for coffee with Esme. Too bad Alice is pre-judging everyone. Klonopin is an antipsychotic, right? I guess B is doubting her sanity?

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  8. on 15 Mar 2011 at 8:45 pmNHJO100

    Oh boy….Rose called it big time. Alice is going to be a massive problem…good thing Bella seems to genuinely have a mind of her own. Oh, and I’m loving Esme and Carlisle in this!

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