What's Love? Ch 18
Sitting in Alice’s shop getting poked and prodded for my soon to be sister-in-law’s wedding is a different kind of experience. Cora is amazing, and she and Alice are really hitting it off. They seem to have a lot of similarities in their business and fashion sense.
“Ouch!” I feel the needle against my thigh for the third time. “Cora, I feel like you’re purposely poking me.” I raise my brow at her as she sits on her rolling chair.
She raises hers in return. “Now, Bella darling, why on earth would I do such a thing?” Her voice is sweet and very sarcastic.
I can’t help but chuckle at her antics. “Are you wanting something?”
“Since you are offering. Alice and I want to collaborate, and it would be easier to have some sort of computer program. Maybe so that we can share information across the state lines that doesn’t involve emails.”
I smile, immediately thinking of just the program that would work with a few tweaks. “Yes, Cora, I have just the thing.”
She claps excitedly and says she’s done with me.
“Fuck, yes.” I escape Cora who laughs at me. I high five Rose as I walk away and she walks up.
Alice is on the phone, so I decide to look for Miah. I find her in the corner with the laptop I gave her and some books she borrowed from me. Before I get to her, my phone vibrates.
Edward's goofy smile flashes, showing he texted me. Have you survived the measurements?
I snort a little. Just barely. Cora poked me three times trying to blackmail me into creating a program. She could have asked me like a normal person.
He immediately texts me back. You’re asking too much, sweetie.
I can’t help but snort and get fluttery when I read the sweetie part. I guess I am.
Tucking my phone away, I take my seat next to Miah and read over her shoulder.
“Very impressive. What are you trying to make it do?” I read the code she’s writing. It looks like Charlie's, with a few missing pieces and modifications.
“Um, I was trying to create something like Charlie, but I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.” She lets out a frustrated growl as she picks up another book.
I smile, remembering those days. “When we get back, I’ll dig out my first coding of Charlie and see if you can figure out what you’re missing.” I wrap my arm around her shoulders and hear her sigh of content.
“Yeah, that sounds great, Bella.” she says distractedly as she continues reading.
It isn’t long before we finally go to lunch. I find myself playing with Miah’s hair. I can feel Rose and Alice staring at my actions.
“Bella, can I put my headphones on while I work?” she asks me with her dad’s eyes sparkling at me.
I look to Alice, whom she usually asks, and Alice’s eyes are twinkling with happiness.
“Yeah, that’ll be fine, sweetie.” I watch her put the headphones on and begin to zone out, much like I do.
Looking up, I see Rose and Alice staring at me with such gleeful looks it scares me at what they could possibly be thinking.
“So, you and my brother seem to have gotten cozy.” Alice is smirking as she begins this topic.
“We’re becoming good friends,” I evade her assumption that he and I are more than that.
“Emmett told me that you two have been having dinner every night together.” Rose takes a drink, trying to hide a smirk.
I sigh, looking at Miah to make sure she isn’t listening to what we’re saying.
“Jasper came home last week ranting that Edward tried making a move on you.” Alice tries prompting me to get more specific.
“Yes, Jasper thinks it’s a bad idea for Edward and I to start anything, considering that he just got out of a relationship and I just ended a marriage. He wants me to fix myself before trying anything.” I'm still trying to remain vague. I really don’t want to get into a conversation about my life.
“What does he mean by that?” Rose questions.
I give another hard sigh, knowing I can’t keep myself closed off forever. “I have never been in a real relationship before. My marriages were shams, I never even had sex that I wanted, really. I had sex once with each husband and guy that I was somewhat seeing. I have no desire.” I whisper the last part, thinking how I am developing desires for Edward.
“What about now, are your feelings changing?” Rose inquires.
“I feel different. I don’t feel alone, and I like having Edward around. He brings certain things out of me that I didn’t think were possible.” I smile, looking down at Miah typing away.
Alice changes the subject, knowing how difficult it is for me. We begin talking about bridal showers and bachelorette parties that need planning, and of course further lunch dates.
Miah and I go back to my house but I can’t help but feel as if I’m being watched once we get out of my vehicle. I take in my surroundings and notice a blue sedan parked a few houses down with a man sitting in it. Being discreet, I quickly alert Charlie to surveille the car and get any information he can on it.
I get inside the house and watch Miah go into my office while I go into the kitchen. I try not to panic as I wait for anything from Charlie. I sigh, realizing it could be nothing and start dinner before Edward gets here. I manage to keep myself focused on making beef and noodles and also get my old code out for Miah to look at.
“Bella, I have found more information about the blue sedan,” comes Charlie’s voice.
“I’m home!” Edward’s chuckling voice comes through the door just as Charlie announces his find.
Ignoring Edward for the moment, I order, “Tell me.”
“It appears to be a rental under the name Felix Perez, but the credit card used traced back to a Felix Harden. He flew in just yesterday to Seattle and drove from there.”
I can feel Edward's hard gaze on the side of my face. “Track him, I want to know everything.”
I walk to the sink, trying to avoid Edward.
“Where’s Miah?” His voice has an edge to it as he asks about his daughter.
“In the office,” I quickly answer, still avoiding his eyes.
The silence is deafening. I finally cave and turn to face him, and his eyes are dark with something I can't name.
“Bella, should I be worried about this?”
“I’ll let you know if you should be,” I reply, trying to ease his worry.
He nods his head, but I can tell he won’t give up.
“How was your day?” I pick a lighter topic.
I hear a small chuckle escape his lips. “Emmett put me on a project with a cougar, he thinks he’s hilarious.” I can’t help but think that’s funny. “And that same lady came into the shop wanting a tattoo in a very inappropriate place. I gave it to Alec. And Alec being the perv he is, enjoyed it a little too much.”
I can’t help but laugh at the predicament Edward found himself in.
“How was your day today, other than getting poked?”
“I had a good day, I had a nice lunch, where Rose and Alice had to probe into our friendship.”
“Yeah, what did you say?”
“I told them that it’s a friendship.” My heart hammers against my chest, knowing I am just lying to myself. I can feel his disappointment, but he smiles anyway. “I want more though, every time I hear myself say we’re just friends, it feels wrong. When I’m around you I feel things I never thought I would be able to feel. I gave up on meaningful relationships, and I gave up on love.” I walk away, not wanting to see his expression at my confession.
It doesn’t take long for me to feel his presence behind me. I turn to him, finding his eyes dark with desire. “You want more with me?”
“Yes.” Our foreheads are touching and our lips just mere millimeters away. I feel slightly panicked, but wanting his lips on mine are outweighing the panic.
“I want to kiss you, Bella.”
“Then kiss me.” The sound of my voice is very foreign to me.
“Dad? Bella?” Miah’s voice brings us out of our bubble in a crashing reality. I jerk away from him just as he does the same. I’m sure I look like a deer caught in headlights as I look at Miah.
She’s smiling with delight. “Were you guys about to kiss?”
I can’t help but start laughing at how delighted she sounds at the prospect. I hear Edward laughing with me.