Chapter 20: Edward
The next few months went by quicker than any previous months in my ninety years. Having Bella in my life often made me wonder if I was truly immortal. Maybe I had died and gone to heaven, or perhaps Bella was right; this was a fairly tale. I laughed to myself. This whole experience had opened my eyes to something beyond what I thought my life was. I understood my family so much more than I ever had before. I used to get so easily frustrated at their constant little disappearing acts. I never fathomed how much I would feel the need for anyone else. Bella and I had spent most free moments in our room. We explored each other's bodies, we talked for hours, we sat and listened to the rain, and she always made me laugh. I may have laughed and smiled more since I had met Bella than I had in years. I didn't mind the relentless teasing from my brothers, and I didn't even mind school. The thought of Bella soon joining me made school not such a bad place.
She had been making incredible strides with her ability to control herself. Alice had made her go out shopping on several occasions. Bella didn't care for shopping, but she appreciated being out and she couldn't resist Alice's pleading. Bella, Esme and I had gone into Port Angeles where Esme had run into an acquaintance who suggested we join her for coffee. Esme and her friend sat at a separate table from us as we ordered coffee and pretended to drink. Bella was hilarious as she smelled the coffee.
"It smells so good. I can make out all of the individual flavors; the coffee, the vanilla, cinnamon; I almost want to drink it," She said with her nose still close to the brim of the mug. She glanced over at me, stuck her tongue into the coffee, and then wrinkled her nose. "It's bitter."
I could better relate to Carlisle now. In the past, when there was a newborn among us, he was always so interested in watching them experience everything. I was now captivated by Bella discovering our way of life. When she was changed, she had spent all of her time in heavily wooded areas, making every effort to stay as far away from humans and civilization as possible. A simple thing like shopping was a totally new adventure for her. As we walked through Port Angeles in the rain, wielding our umbrellas; we passed a farmer's market. Bella's reaction to the smell of fresh fruit was so cute. She jaunted over to the bins of fruit and smelled each one, savoring every fragrance, and even taking a bite of an apple. I raised an eye brow as she held up the piece of fruit; seconds later, after she had taken a bite and begun chewing, she looked at me nervously and I grabbed a napkin off the counter and handed it to her. I chuckled as she spit out the chewed up apple, realizing that she had never attempted to eat any human food.
"Thank you. That wasn't what I expected," she said.
"It tasted so different than I remembered. It was sweeter and juicier and the texture was rough on my tongue," she said. "I was going to swallow it, but I couldn't."
"Eating food can be a little difficult, but it is possible, if you ever need to." I said and she gave me a confused look. "There have been times, when I have had to eat to keep up appearances."
She handed me the apple, and I could tell she wanted me to take a bite. She looked up at me with innocence and curiosity in her eyes. She was adorable and I could not refuse her, so I took a bite, quickly chewing and swallowing it. I tried not to grimace as I felt the apple move uncomfortably through my body, and smiled down at her as she laughed and took my hand. We continued to walk through downtown in the rain. Esme decided to join her friend for an afternoon of shopping and Bella and I continued our walk.
I brought her to two of my favorite shops. First, we went to the book store. She had an eclectic taste in books. First she picked out some classics; Charles Dickens, Bronte and Jane Austen, but she also liked modern writers such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and poet Saul Williams. We both laughed when she picked up a copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Then we walked to the music store. She loved music of all kinds of music. This particular store had private listening stations, so I sat in a cubicle with Bella on my lap and we took turns picking out music to listen to. I picked some of my favorites; Chopin, Debussy and Stravinsky. I loved watching Bella listen to new music- she listened so intently that I could tell she really appreciated the depth of the classic piano music that I held so dear. She opened me up to the idea of liking modern music by introducing me to so many new artists. Where before, I had found most modern artists to be cliché and trite; she had introduced me to a whole other world of unclassifiable music that held my attention and my respect. Everything she expressed interest in, I would buy for her.
"Edward… That is enough. I don't need all of this. You don't have to spend all that money on me," she said.
I paid for everything and carried the bags as we walked back to the car to meet Esme. Bella was quiet for the first time all day; she was still feeling uncomfortable with the never ending spending on her. I stopped and stood in front of her.
"Isabella Renee Cullen, you are going to have to get used to this," I said. I looked to her pouting lips and I had to laugh.
"Bella, Carlisle makes a very good living. He has spent his life collecting money, literally. We have made many investments and with Alice as our financial planner, we have more money than we know what to do with. We live off the interest alone, and as you can see, we spare no expense." I took her hand and kissed it tenderly. "I love you and I plan to spoil you rotten."
She sighed and rested her head on my shoulder. A few minutes later Esme joined us and we drove home. As we entered the house, Carlisle approached us.
"Good, you're home. Do you two have a minute? There are a few things I would like to discuss with you." Carlisle said.
Bella nodded and we followed Carlisle to his study. He sat at the desk and pulled out a manila envelope.
"Bella, these are for you," he said as he slid the envelope across the desk to her. She opened it and began to look through the documents; there was a passport, birth certificate, social security card and drivers license all with the name Isabella Cullen. It made me giddy that she had chosen to share our last name. I couldn't help but smile as she looked up at me. I put my arm around her shoulder and gave her a mild squeeze. She looked one last time into the envelope and pulled out a black card wrapped in a piece of paper.
"What's this?" She asked quietly.
"I've set up spending accounts for everyone in the family. That is your card, and you can use as a credit card or to withdraw cash. There is a statement outlining your balances, account numbers and passwords. Feel free to use it as you see fit." He said, leaning back looked at her. "Well, Bella, your physical appearance seems to be back to normal. Your skin has darkened a bit and you look beautiful with golden eyes. Are you feeling ready for school?"
"Yes, I am. When am I going to start?" She asked.
"I can call the school. You could start next Monday, if you are comfortable with that."
"That sounds good. Are you enrolling me as a junior?"
"Yes, I thought that would be best. You, Edward, Alice and Jasper will be enrolled as juniors. I have no doubt that you can pass for a seventeen year old. I hope you understand, I must ask you to act younger, in order for us to stay in Forks as long as possible." He said.
"Oh, I understand and it is no problem. Thank you so much, Carlisle. I am actually really excited to start school! These past few weeks, have made me realize much I missed… living." Bella said. She leaned her head over to my shoulder and sighed, and I wrapped my other arm around her. I could feel a tingling in my fingers where I touched her skin.
It is alright, My Angel. You and I have eternity to make up for lost time.
She turned her head and kissed my cheek. Then it was Carlisle's voice I heard.
Edward, I spoke to Kate this morning. We will be going up for a visit during the fall school break.
"Who's Kate?" Bella asked. Carlisle gave her a curious look.
"She has her shield on me. She can hear your thoughts." I said and he smiled. Carlisle nodded and thought his reply.
Kate and her family are a coven from Denali, Alaska. We have known them for a very long time and we consider them family. We're going to visit during the upcoming school vacation. And there is no need to worry, they are also vegetarians.
"I've always wanted to see Alaska." Bella replied.