Monday, May 2, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 68

Authors notes:

It's late.  Considering all the extremely important Nutella talk that was deemed necessary on Twitter, I'm lucky I got any of this done.  The original chapter met with a big ole delete key, becasue it sucked.  That happens sometimes.  You got this one instead. :)

Do not look up at puppy dog eyes…do not look up at puppy dog eyes…
Chapter 68
I sat against the wall by the bed, my knees drawn up close to my chest, cigarette dangling from my fingers, and generally feeling wretched.
Nothing like a little realism to completely destroy what I thought had been a pretty nice evening.
We’d had dinner in the hotel restaurant because I didn’t want to venture out in the open.  Bella had protested a little, but eventually gave in for the same of her safety and my sanity.  She wanted to see the sights of Paris, but I needed a little more intelligence gathered on my late night visitor and at least one, mostly incompetent stalker.
Dinner went well, all things considered.
I drank a little too much, which probably didn’t help the rest of the evening.
Bella didn’t drink anything, which probably didn’t help the rest of the evening, either.
I might have admitted to myself later that I was brooding a bit.  I had promised Bella a wedding night, and I had no idea what that should entail.  I thought I’d get someone at the hotel to help me come up with ideas and whatever of shit to do, but I overslept. 
Maybe if I had gotten my shit together that night it would have gone better.  Probably not.
“I’m glad we came back to Paris,” Bella said as she swirled a spoon around in her dessert.  “I just hope you’ll at least let us get out a little bit.”
“I will,” I said, hoping I could keep my promise.  I took a swig of my…fourth?...fifth?...scotch.  “We should have the rest of the information we need sometime tomorrow.”
“Perfect!” Bella smiled.  “Then you can take me out for my birthday.”
Shit.  I had forgotten about her birthday.
“It’s tomorrow?” I asked.  I felt my hand tugging at the ends of my hair.
“The day after,” she corrected.  She raised an eyebrow as she peered over her glass at me.
Oh good…some time to prepare…um…something.  A cake?  Did they even make birthday cakes in Europe?  Fuck if I knew.  There was only one thing she really wanted, and I couldn’t give it to her.
“Sorry I couldn’t get you back to your family by then,” I told her, then immediately regretted mentioning it.  Bella’s eyes dropped to the table.
“It’s all right,” she said in a voice that made it damn clear it wasn’t right at all.  “I do wish you would let me call them, though.”
“No way,” I said.  “Not until it’s time for you to go home.”
“What difference does it make, Edward?”  Bella’s eyes glanced up at mine.  “If I could just tell them I’m okay, then they wouldn’t spend my whole birthday wondering if I’m dead.  I could just tell them not to worry…and that I’ll be home soon.  Edward, please.”
Do not look up at puppy dog eyes…do not look up at puppy dog eyes…
“No,” I repeated.  I couldn’t look at her, because the look that was bound to be in her eyes would tear me up.  I wanted to give her what she desired, but I couldn’t give her that.  It wouldn’t be safe for either of us.  I took a deep breath and tried to change the subject.  I clinked my scotch glass against her water.
“Here’s to the few short days we have left,” I said stoically. 
“We’ll still be able to see each other afterwards, Edward,” Bella said with a little smile that did not touch her eyes.  She was obviously a little pissed about the phone call thing, but we had that conversation at least once a day.
“Yeah, sure we will,” I mumbled.  I slipped enough to cover the bill and tip and started to stand.  My legs were a little shaky, and walking was not my forte at that precise moment.  “We should go back to the room.”
Bella stood as well, dropping her napkin down on her plate.
“Why can’t I call?” Bella continued to push as we entered the elevator and listened to the hum as it rose into the air.  “I won’t tell them where we are, just let them know I’m okay, and…”
“No!” I finally yelled.  I was sick of the whole conversation.
“Why not?” she yelled right back at me.
“Because I really don’t relish the idea of Cop Daddy showing up here!” 
Bella’s face went pale. 
I stomped out of the elevator and down the hall to the last room.  When I opened it, the Eiffel Tower lights were sparkling in the darkness.  I heard Bella walk in behind me and the click of the door as it shut.
“You didn’t tell me you knew,” she said softly.
“You didn’t tell me your dad was a cop,” I turned and quipped at her.  My head was definitely fuzzy.
“What difference does it make if you already know?” she snapped back.
“So you were intentionally keeping it from me,” I challenged.  Again, this was very likely the single malt talking here.  Fuzzy-schmuzzy.  I was drunk.
“Are you saying that you thought I was keeping it from you, and you turned around and kept it from me, too?”
Something about the overly serious look on her face – or again, the single malt – made me laugh.  I stumbled a little, too, but mostly I laughed.
“Pot, meet kettle!” I said with a smile, pointed first at her, then at myself.  I was feeling warm and snarky, and pretty sure I was making a damn funny joke, regardless of the look on Bella’s face.  “Kettle, meet pot!  Pot, kettle…kettle pot!”
More laughing.  I was kind of waiting for her to join me, but she didn’t.
“Do you think,” I was definitely slurring at this point, “when he meets me, your dad will want to shoot me straight in the face, or will he prefer to blow my balls off first?”
I laughed again.
Then I tried to figure out why the side of my face was stinging so bad.
And next, I tried to figure out why Bella had tears in her eyes, and then why she was locked in the bathroom.
It all happened so quick, and even when I kind of came to my senses – either from the slap across the face or from the slam of the bathroom door, I wasn’t sure – I still didn’t really understand what had just transpired.
Visions of a half dozen women walking out on me after a apparent fight that I didn’t understand was happening danced through my head.  Kate walking out of my office, Jessica walking out in the middle of a restaurant, Tanya leaving me on the dance floor at the fucking prom.
I’d fucked it up.
I didn’t know what I had done, but I had definitely fucked it up.
She was going to go.
She was going to leave me.
I was going to be alone again.
And unlike the other times, the thought wasn’t just bringing me back to a state of normalcy.  This time the very idea crushed down on my chest and I felt like I was drowning.  I couldn’t get enough air, and I started panting just to get oxygen.  Not long after that, I dropped to the floor, unable to keep my feet underneath me.
Once my little hyperventilation attack was over, I crawled over to this place next to the bed and started chain smoking.
This was a smoking room, right?
Chapter End Notes:
Well, you know they had to fall apart eventually, right? I mean...he's done some good here, but a drunken doofuds is definitely a doofus.
Next update - tomorrow. 
I finished the Unexpected Circumstances Outtake for Fandoms fight Tsiumani.  Go to the site todonate and get your copy, along with a ton of other wonderful one shots and such for abotut 300 writers!