Chapter 23

Waiting in the Twilight

Ch. 23

BPOV

I wasn’t sure what woke me up as I stretched languorously and blinked my eyes open to the familiarity of my own bedroom. The sound of my text message ringtone shrilled close by. The thing was programmed to repeat every minute for five minutes, or until I opened the text. That must have been what woke me up. It was probably Andrea needing help with her homework. What was the time zone difference between Florida and here anyway? Ugh! It was too early for math and I was way too tired! The phone sounded for the third time but I wasn’t going to answer it. I wanted to get back to my dream about Edward. Wow! What a dream that had been! I didn’t have many of those and this one had been a real doozy! All my heart’s desires rolled into one. I fluffed my pillows in an attempt to get comfortable again, smiled at the black leather cuff on my wrist, and closed my eyes. Cuff? Holy shit! I flipped over in bed so quickly I almost tossed myself onto the floor as my cell phone rang again. Ow! My right foot hurt like crazy! Despite the pain, I grinned like an idiot. The cuff, the pain in my foot…it was true! It had all really happened! Edward Cullen loves me!

I snatched my cell phone off the nightstand and opened the text message.

From: EC  

Subject: Am I Still Dreaming?

Good morning, beautiful! It’s 2 pm here in Berlin, so I know it’s morning for you. Were the past 3 days real, or were you just a lovely dream? Text me when you wake up and pinch me LOL! Miss you so much, love!

EC

*Squeee!* It was real! I hugged my phone to my chest in sheer joy as if I was hugging Edward himself! The entire weekend ran through my mind at super high speed, like a movie on fast forward! I paused and replayed the night we made love in slow motion. I kind of got stuck in that memory for a while before the phone sounded for the fifth and final time, reminding me that Edward was waiting for a return text message.

Two pm in Berlin? Wow! We were back to a huge time zone difference. Looks like I would be up late again, not that I was going to complain. Hitting the reply button, I typed as fast as I could, completely aware that I was grinning like a fool.

To: EC

Subject: Good Morning!

*Pinch!* And you know where Imma pinching you at! *Snickers!* I’m awake now, Darlin’! I know what you mean…it was pretty surreal, wasn’t it? But, if it was a dream, we dreamed it together {again LOL} and I hope I never wake up! I love you! Now go…work…and hurry home to me!!!

Love,

EDGe

Pain throbbed through my foot as my feet touched the floor. Damn, that hurt! I needed my pills. I hobbled out of bed on my cast with two major intentions: start the coffee, and get my laptop going so I could find the first live feed of Edward in Berlin. His schedule was in my luggage, somewhere. I would need it if I was going to follow him online. By my side, or miles away, I was still an Edward fan girl! Wobbling over to my desk, I opened my laptop and punched the power button with more enthusiasm than ever before. I was so not a morning person but Edward’s text message had been like a shot of pure sunshine through my heart and soul! Outside, it was dark gray and heavily overcast despite the untouched whiteness of the snow. Yep, I was gonna need that coffee.

I opened my bedroom door and…

“EEEPP!!” I squealed and dove back behind the door. Here I was wearing only a tank top and panties with two big, burly, strange men standing around in my house! One stood at the front door while the other was stationed at the dining room French doors that lead out to my now frozen garden. It took a few seconds of panic before I remembered they were Edward’s men, the bodyguards he’d sent home with me. How could I have forgotten all about them? God, I needed coffee!

Yesterday, it had started to snow during the long drive from the airport to my house and, by the time we arrived, several inches lay on the ground. Half expecting them to follow me inside, I’d been surprised to learn that, on Edward’s orders, as well as their own protocol, they would remain outside, regardless of weather. Apparently, Edward had informed them I had a lot of work to do and they were not to disturb me for any reason. Now that I thought about it, I wondered where they were going to go to the bathroom. Geez! They must have bladders the size of Texas because they hadn’t asked to use the facilities even once. To me, it just didn’t feel right for them to stand outside in the cold all day and night, but they weren’t budging.

Later that evening, I’d opened the door to two different big guys standing at my door, not the ones who had accompanied me on the flight. The taller of the two explained that they’d flown in six hours behind us to relieve the first bodyguards and informed me that they would be changing shifts every 12 hours. When I told them to come in and get warm, they put up a fuss, but I wasn’t backing down this time. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to sleep knowing they were out there freezing their asses off all night long to protect me from nothing so, after delivering my cross-armed Dom stance, death glare, and pouty bottom lip, they finally caved and agreed to come in for the night. I chuckled when the men thanked me for the large thermos of coffee and sandwiches I provided before I went to bed. Since my house is literally “Down in the Boondocks,” it’s not like they could leave to grab a quick snack and, as far as I could see, they hadn’t brought any provisions with them. As the next shift was from 10 am to 10 pm, I figured the first team would be back here by the time I got up to start working on my new book.

Unfortunately, these guys were going to have to go back outside until I got myself ready for the day. No way was I going to shower and change with strange men in my house. Dashing into my closet, I grabbed a robe and threw it on before opening the bedroom door again.

“Hey guys, would you mind giving me some privacy to get organized this morning?” I was being nice by asking politely. I didn’t like having them here and one part of me would love to just throw them out, insisting they leave altogether. The other part just couldn’t do that because these were Edward’s people and I wasn’t going to have them telling him what a bitch I was.

“Sure thing, Miss Swan,” one man said, quickly retreating out the front door. Once it was closed, I could only partially see his left shoulder through the small glass panes, but the other man, now back outside the French doors to my backyard, was in full view, standing straight and tall with his back to the doors.

I scowled at him through the glass. Crap! I liked sitting at my dining room table to write and I wasn’t sure if I could do that with him standing right there. It would feel like he was hovering over me. Maybe I could sit in the living room to write, or maybe sit on my bed. There was a desk in my room I’d bought for writing but it was quite small and I liked having space. Truth be told, I was a table hog! The living room table was too tall and narrow for comfortable sitting, not to mention there was no space to spread out.

I stood in my kitchen glaring at what I could see of the two men. They made me feel like a prisoner in my own home. I couldn’t remember their names to save my life, probably because I resented them being here when there was no need, not for me anyway. Edward’s worry had been that I would be hounded by paps but there was no media circus on my lawn and I truly didn’t foresee there being one. They were very polite and respectful. I had nothing against them personally and, if Edward were here, I probably wouldn’t give them a second thought. But this was my home and it just seemed like a complete waste of time and resources to me.

I sighed as I turned on the coffee pot. Edward didn’t keep bodyguards around him all the time so I knew he was just being overprotective. Oh, well. It was only a week until he returned. By then, this whole premiere scandal would have blown over and I’d be free of these men.

I’d just set out eggs, bacon and biscuits from my fridge and turned to grab the orange juice when my phone suddenly started ringing again. I hobbled to my room as fast as I could on my injured foot, snatched my phone off the bed and sat in the chair as I propped my right foot up on the footstool.

From EC:

Subject: Woo Hoo!

I can’t wait to feel that {and more!} for real. I’m traveling at the moment. We should be at our destination soon. Just wanted to check and see how your foot is doing? Are you in a lot of pain? How are your shoulders? Are the bodyguards behaving? Is there a media circus on your doorstep? You know, I’m just extremely curious. 😛

EC

From EDGe:

Subject: Woo Hoo!

Come here and I will make you feel better than you ever have in your life and then I’ll get serious!! 😀 Foot is fine unless I walk on it. Getting ready to make breakfast and take my pills. That should help. Shoulders are sore but I will live. My arms are empty and missing you along with the rest of me. The bodyguards’ presence is annoying but they are very polite and not doing anything to bug me. No media circus BB! Hate to say I told you so but very glad you were wrong. I’ll be watching you at the premiere from my laptop.

Much Love to you, Darlin!

EDGe

Tucking my phone into the pocket of my robe in case he sent another text, I struggled to my feet. After a few “human moments” in the bathroom, I donned a pair of flannel pajama pants. Since it was still cold inside the house, I started a fire in the living room fireplace before heading to the kitchen. I took pain meds for my foot while I cooked breakfast and enjoyed my first cup of coffee. Glancing up as I worked, it didn’t escape my attention that the man at the French doors would shiver and pull his collar up around his neck every once in awhile. I looked out the window and noticed the wind had picked up, blowing the snow into a heaping snowdrift in my backyard.

An hour later, I opened the double doors, “Hey, come on in and get warm before you freeze to death.”

“Thank you Miss Swan, but we’re supposed to stay outside. Mr. Cullen will already be upset with us for having stayed in the house all night,” he said through chattering teeth.

“I don’t care what Mr. Cullen told you. This is my home and you’re here to protect me. There’s no imminent danger so come in here and sit down at the table…and don’t argue!” I stormed to the front door, jerked it open, and basically had the same conversation with the man standing there. He didn’t seem to be as cold as the other guy since the foyer provided enough protection on both sides to block the wind off of him. Once inside, both men put up a fuss when they saw I had place settings for three on the table. They could argue all they wanted but I saw them looking at the steaming mugs of coffee with lust in their eyes.

“Miss Swan, we’re very grateful for your kindness but it’s not necessary. We’re trained and well paid to endure the weather and we’ll be changing shifts in 30 minutes. We can eat then,” said the larger, taller man who’d been guarding the front door. I’d seen him once before when I’d been with Edward and finally recalled his name.

“Your name is Sam, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Yes ma’am.”

“And you are?” I asked the other one.

“Seth.”

“Well, Sam. You and Seth are here to protect me from paps, the media, and any other dangers lying in wait for me. You can do that better if you’re warm and dry and not half frozen and starving.”

“But, Miss Swan…”

Are you gonna stand there and tell me I just spent an hour cooking for you two and you’re not going to eat? Don’t make me call Mr. Cullen because I will!” I said, whipping out my cell phone from the pocket of my robe. Looking contrite, the two men sat down at the table and began eating. Ha! I was right, they weren’t only cold, they were hungry, too. I watched in smug satisfaction as they scarfed down the bacon, egg, and cheese omelet like hungry wolves. Sitting down to the table to eat my own breakfast, I continued to lay down the law.

“Look, guys. You’re only here for a week and there’s obviously nothing to protect me from. As long as it’s less than 40 degrees outside, you will do your job from inside the house,” I said. Sam immediately opened his mouth to protest but I cut him off before he could say a word. “Don’t even start! Honestly, I don’t like you being here. I have work to do and having you hovering around makes it harder for me but I won’t have you standing out in the bitter cold unnecessarily. And, if you think complaining to Mr. Cullen will do you any good, you’re wrong.” I’d barely gotten the words out of my mouth when all hell broke loose.

Abruptly, a loud stomping and clatter came from the front door, accompanied by a blast of cold air. I didn’t even have time to blink before Sam jumped up from his chair, pulled his gun and had his back braced against the foyer wall. Seth jumped up, grabbed me by the arm and, in one fluid movement, pulled me up from my chair, whirled me around behind him and drew his gun, too. In a flash, they were both moving before my mind had time to register anything. Sam attacked whatever was coming through the front door and nailed it to the floor in front of the fireplace. Finally, the sound of my name being yelled brought me out of my stupor.

“Bella! Run!” a muffled voice screamed from the floor.

“Jake?” I gasped in shock. In seconds, Sam had Jake pinned to the ground, a gun trained on him while he searched for weapons. Seth was backed against the open front door, gun drawn, waiting and watching for more intruders. Seeing no one else out front, he darted to the French doors, yanked them open and began searching cautiously around the house.

“Get off him! Let him up! What are you doing? No! Stop it!” I hobbled over to Sam and tried shoving him off. Sam was beginning to realize his mistake and loosened his unrelenting hold on Jake. Somewhat dazed, confused, and royally pissed off, Jake tried to stand. Sam reached out to help him up but Jake shoved his hand away just as the front door burst open yet again.

“FREEZE!” someone yelled and Jake was suddenly tackled to the ground again by yet another man, who must have heard me yelling at Sam. Oh, great! The relief team has arrived. Must be 10 am already.

“Stop! You’re hurting him!” I screamed.

“Stand down!” Sam yelled, yanking the man with the gun off Jake’s back by his collar.

“Oh, Jake! I’m so sorry! Are you okay?” I asked, trying to help him up. Jake was so angry and confused about who these men were, he slapped my hand away.

“What the hell is going on around here, Bella? Guns? Really? Just who are these bozos? And just what the fuck were you doing on TV with that vampire guy?”

“Hey! I don’t know who you are but, if you can’t talk to Miss Swan with some respect, I’ll have to escort you out,” the bodyguard who’d yelled “freeze” snarled. Seth returned from outside looking utterly bewildered.

“Okay, everybody out except Jake. It’s all right, he’s a friend,” I said. It took a few seconds, but all three of them reluctantly filed out the front door. Jake started his tirade the moment the doors were closed and I doubt he noticed that another man had returned to stand guard outside the French doors, but it wasn’t Seth.

“You coulda told me you were flying to LA. Didn’t you even stop to think I’d be worried about you? And how’d you get to the airport without your car anyway? Can you imagine how I felt when I came by and saw your car, but you never answered? I thought you’d gone off on a walk and got hurt or something. I went tracking through those woods forever looking for you!” I stood there waiting patiently while Jake had a cow. Hopefully he’d wind down soon.

“Hell, I even called the police but they wouldn’t report you missing for 24 hours. By then, everyone in town knew you were in LA with that actor. It made me look like a damn fool for reporting you as a missing person when you were out in California cavorting with some freakin’ movie star!” I let him rant all he wanted because, until he was done, there was no point in trying to get a word in. I hobbled over to the table and sat down in my chair. When Seth had grabbed me up and spun me around behind him, it had set my foot off and, between that and trying to rush over to help Jake, it was throbbing like crazy again.

“Why are you limping? What happened to your foot? Why is it in a cast?”

“Well, you seem to know everything else about my trip. I figured you knew that, too!”

“Did he hurt you? That actor guy? I’ll kill him! You’ve got some serious explaining to do!” That did it! I’d had enough! He kept saying “actor” like it was a filthy word and, after Sunday’s premiere and the incident with the paps, I’d had enough of people verbally attacking Edward!

“Don’t you dare say a bad word about him! Edward is a kind man and a wonderful human being! I’ve got explaining to do? Who the hell do you think you are? You’re not my guardian! I don’t report to you about anything? I’ll come and go as I damn well please!”

“Well, that’s obvious!” Jake said angrily. He sighed heavily, hands on his hips as he looked up at the ceiling. Eventually, he looked back at me. “Look, Bella. I’m not trying to control your life but why don’t you get that I was seriously worried about you? Couldn’t you have just picked up the phone and called me? Sent a text message…something?

“No, Jake. I couldn’t. I had entered a writing contest, the chance of a lifetime, and I won! But, one of the stipulations in the contract was that I had to sign an NDA and…”

“That actor guy made you sign an NDA? What the hell kinda perverted loser makes a beautiful girl sign an NDA? You…” Hearing Jake call Edward a perverted loser really pissed me off! Despite the pain in my foot now traveling all the way up my thigh, I jumped up and stood toe-to-toe with him.

“His name is Edward and he didn’t make me do anything! The NDA was Summit Studio’s idea! If I contacted anyone before the reveal on Friday, or before I was given my laptop and cell phone back on Saturday, then I would have been disqualified! I…”

“Oh, so you’ve been allowed to call me since Saturday! How generous of him! You just didn’t care enough about your best friend to even consider my feelings!” he said, cutting me off. “It’s Tuesday, Bella! You know what? I…I just can’t talk to you right now. I can’t even look at you.”

“Jake! Jake wait!” And with that, he stormed out of the house without another word. As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. I could have called him Saturday, or Sunday, or even Monday after I had arrived home. I’d had plenty of time to call, to share my joy and excitement with him, but I’d been a bad friend, too wrapped up in my own world. I tried several times to get him on his cell phone but he was ignoring my calls. In essence, he was telling me it was too little too late. I didn’t blame him at all.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After cleaning the dishes, making my bed and getting dressed, I retreated to the living room with every intention of working on my novel and looking up the live feed for the Berlin premiere. I’d had enough of bodyguards and feeling guilty about Jake. What I needed some distraction. Unfortunately, the next pain pill I took resulted in a long nap until mid-afternoon.

Edward must have been getting reports from the bodyguards through Emmett because, when I woke from my nap, there was a text message waiting for me.

From: EC

Subject: Drama

I heard about the drama you had this morning. I apologize for the confusion. Hope your friend Jake was unharmed. Get some rest, Love. I’ll be pretty busy till late this evening. I’ll check to see if you’re online but don’t wait up for me ok?  I will text you in the morning. I love you!

Missing you every second,

E.C.

He was such a sweet man. I couldn’t believe I’d missed even a moment of time with him by sleeping through the sound of his message coming through! Even though I knew he wouldn’t get it for quite some time, I sent a reply anyway.

To: E.C.

Subject: All is well.

Sorry I missed your text. The painkillers knocked me out. Don’t worry about Jake. Only things hurt were his pride and his feelings. I will be online waiting for you tonight. And when you are at the premiere, know that I will be there watching you and sending you my love.

Miss you much, Love you more,

EDGe

With only one quick search, I found the location of the first live feeds for Berlin, made a note of the start time, and bookmarked the page. That done, I pulled up my novel and began writing until it was time for the premiere. For what seemed like forever, one star after another crossed the screen, stopping to talk to fans or giving multiple brief interviews. The biggest, brightest, best star was always last, but I wasn’t going to take the chance of missing one second of seeing Edward’s beautiful face. It seemed to take forever for him to appear but, finally, my patience was rewarded. He spent a long time among his fans and, despite knowing him personally, despite having slept with him, I was still fan-girling over seeing him on the red carpet. I was also envious of them all; not exactly jealous, but envious that, once again, they had him in person and I didn’t.

The first close-up of Edward came during an interview and, when he ran his hands through his hair in such a familiar way, I couldn’t help brushing my fingers over his lips on my monitor. As if he knew I was there and what I was doing, he licked his bottom lip and then bit it. Whatever the reporter said must’ve been funny because I heard his familiar man-giggle and squealed with delight at the sound. God, I missed him so much! We’d only had three days together and yet, somehow, it seemed like we’d had a lifetime of love with each other. It wasn’t nearly enough. In fact, an eternity with a man like Edward Cullen wouldn’t be half long enough. What was I saying? There was no one like Edward and there never would be.

I’d convinced myself that it was only for a week. Between watching him at all of his events on the computer, keeping in touch via phone and text, and working on my novel, I would barely know he was gone. I’d told myself I would be so busy that the week would fly by in no time at all. Watching him now, I knew I was only kidding myself. This week was going to be the longest week of my life and every second I wasn’t talking to him or seeing him was going to seem like an eternity.

All too soon, the premiere was over and Edward was gone. I felt like crying. I knew the longer I sat there thinking of him, dwelling on how much I loved and missed him, the slower time would pass and the deeper I would sink into depression. Edward wouldn’t want that so, for him, I forced myself to close everything but my Word doc and went back to work on my story. More than once, I caught myself letting my mind wander to memories of my weekend with Edward…his smile, his laugh, the feel of his touch, his kiss, and I would have to force myself to start writing again.

At some point, I glanced at the clock on my computer and was surprised to realize it was 10:15 pm. The bodyguards would have switched shifts by now, putting Seth and Sam back on duty. I hadn’t received any e-mail alerts from Edward yet or any more text messages. I carried my laptop back to my bedroom, and donned a black silk nighty Alice had given me. Maybe I would send Edward a picture of me in this nightgown to remember me by. I grinned at the thought of his reaction to receiving such an e-mail. It was still cool in the house so I put on my heavy terry cloth robe over the top. I set everything up so I’d be able to talk to Edward on EA and, when I was done, I hobbled to the front door to check on the guys. I couldn’t bear the thought of them standing outside in the freezing cold all night long. Opening the door, I was surprised to see that Seth wasn’t at his post. Instead, I was greeted by a woman with bright red hair and a very soft voice. She was dressed all in black and wore leather gloves.They’d sent a female bodyguard especially for me?

“Um, hello. What happened to Seth and Sam?” I asked after she introduced herself to me.

“We’re on rotation, Miss. My partner and I have taken their shift for the night,” she said with a smile. She looked too well-groomed and delicate to be a bodyguard but looks could be deceiving. I knew not to judge a book by its cover so I smiled and invited her in. It would actually be less intimidating for me to have a woman in the house instead of two strange men.

“Really? You’re inviting me inside?” she asked, seeming quite pleased at the thought.

“Yes. You and your partner. There’s no need to stand out there all night freezing. Is your partner out back?” I asked. Turning to go towards the sliding glass doors, I looked back over my shoulder to see the woman closing the front door and locking it.

“Yes. He should be there by now,” the woman said. Puzzled by the smug tone of her voice, I looked out the sliding glass doors just in time to see a dark hooded figure crossing the backyard.

“I suppose I should introduce myself,” she giggled coyly. “I’m Victoria…pleased to meet you.”

 EPOV

God, I was tired. It was four in the morning by the time I finally made it back to my hotel room. I’d tried to beg off the after party but my cast mates had kept at me until I’d finally caved. At least it was still fairly early for my EDGe. I didn’t want her staying up all night to talk to me when I woke up. She needed to get some rest and stay off her feet so her ankle would heal faster. I could talk to her online for a few minutes before going to bed and crashing for a while. I grabbed a bottle of Heineken, a new pack of cigs and my laptop, and climbed into my bed. As soon as I was situated, I sent her a message via PM on Ed Attack.

EC: I’m here, Love. Can’t wait to talk to you. Maybe together we can figure out how to set up Skype and save some time. I need to see your beautiful face.

The minutes ticked by with no reply. I checked the member’s page and it showed that she was available, which meant she was online. Maybe she just hadn’t heard the incoming message ping. I tried again and waited.

EC: How are you feeling, EDGe? Did you ever hear from you friend Jake again?

I knew about her friend Jake from a few of the PM’s we’d exchanged before the contest. She’d described him as an overprotective little brother, always trying to do things for her. It had made me feel a little better knowing she wasn’t totally alone when she was home. I was glad to know she had someone to check on her. From the way she talked about him, I had this visual image of a tall, thin, gangly teen every time she mentioned his name.

Ten minutes passed…nothing. Perhaps she’d fallen asleep or was napping thinking that she’d meet me here at midnight or later her time like we’d done in the past. I should’ve given her a time to meet me here. Now I was afraid she’d be up very early waiting for me, by which time I’d be out cold. I decided to send her a text message. If the sound of her phone didn’t wake her, at least she’d more than likely check her phone before she checked EA. I opened my phone and saw that she’d sent me a text earlier. Of course! She must’ve taken more of her pain meds and fallen asleep again. Poor baby.

To: EDGe

Subject: My bad

I should have been more specific about a meeting time for us on EA. Sorry, Love. I will text you in the morning. How about we meet on EA at 8 pm your time tomorrow evening? Maybe we can Skype? I hope you sleep well. I love you EDGe.

Always Yours,

EC

I waited until 4:30 to see if she would reply either way but, when I’d finished my beer and another cigarette without a word from her, I got undressed and went to bed.