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Rumors

Summary:

Bella meant to tell her friends about the wedding on her own terms. But when word gets out before she can prepare, the whole town is soon buzzing with rumors about the police chief’s daughter and that Cullen boy.


FINAL CHAPTER -- NOW POSTED!!


Notes:
ATTENTION READERS: DO NOT STEAL MY STORIES. Someone has stolen some of my stories from this website and posted them as their own on fanfiction.net. It is plaigarism, it is stealing and it is illegal. Read, enjoy -- but don't steal. This takes place after the last chapter of Eclipse -- before the Epilogue. I originally meant for this to be a oneshot, but it came out much longer than I'd imagined. So I've broken it into chapters. The good news for all of you -- the story is already written, so I will be able to post updates fairly regularly. I just hope you all still post nice reviews -- they will encourage me to post the next chapter! Also, I'd like to say a huge THANKS to addictedtotwilight. I was got about halfway through this story and hit a wall, so to speak. She kindly helped my get past it.


5. Chapter 5

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1507   Review this Chapter



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I was in no hurry to get up after awaking the next morning. In fact, I was quite content to continue lounging in Edward’s arms – tracing lazy circles with my fingers on his skin. He sighed, content, with each new invisible pattern – occasionally brushing his lips across my neck or burying his nose in my hair and inhaling. It was a perfect morning.

Then I felt his body stiffen and he sat up behind me, sliding to the end of the bed. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

He was already moving toward the door, pulling me with him. He snatched up my bathrobe from the floor and wrapped it around me, then I was in his arms and down the stairs – into the living room. As he propped me up on the sofa and turned the TV to something a teenager might watch (MTV, I think), he explained.

“Charlie’s on his way home and he’s not happy … not that I can blame him in this case. Really, it would probably be better if I weren’t here, but I wouldn’t dare leave you to face him alone. Not in this mood.” He sighed, tugging on his hair in frustration. “I thought it would be better if it appeared that I’d come over for breakfast this morning,” he said, explaining the quick move to the living room. “It wouldn’t improve his mood if he knew I’d spent the night.”

I nodded, mostly understanding. “But why is Charlie –“

But I didn’t get to finish my question. No matter, it seemed I would know the reason for Charlie’s anger soon enough. The door opened and shut loudly and the house trembled as he stomped into the living room, where the TV droned on mindlessly.

“Dad?”

He was purple. “I can’t believe I swallowed that load of crap you fed me the other night.” His body shook as he exerted every effort to maintain at least some control over himself. My eyes flickered to his hip, where his Smith and Wesson still rested in its holster; I hoped the safety was still on. “You ‘love each other’?” he said, mockingly.

“Yes,” I said quickly, still confused. I glanced at Edward. The terror in his eyes did not comfort me. Whatever Charlie was thinking was bad enough that Edward was both furious – and fearful. And it took a lot to make Edward fearful, especially of a human. “Dad, what’s going on? Last night you were happy for me …”

“That was before I found out the real reason you’re getting married.”

“What reason? I told you –“

Then he was flying at Edward, shaking him violently by the arms. “I can’t believe you knocked her up, you son of a bitch!”

“What? Dad, no –.“ No wonder he was so furious. I quickly tried to wedge myself between my father and my fiancée. “Dad, stop,” I pleaded. “He didn’t knock me up –“

“And you,” he said, turning on me. “I thought you said the two of you hadn’t … I thought you were more responsible than that!”

“We didn’t!” I defended vehemently. “And I am responsible … and so is Edward. Probably more so than me. Dad, please, listen – I’m not pregnant!”

“Don’t lie to me, Bella,” he roared, rocking on his heels. “I heard everything.”

I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. “Dad.” I stood up and placed my hands on his shoulders. Then, using all my strength, I pushed him down onto the sofa and sat beside him – looking into his face. He must have still been thinking murderous thoughts, because Edward got up and stood over us, not saying a word – but poised to intervene if necessary. Now I understood why he’d stayed. “Dad, please listen to me. I don’t know what you heard – or who you talked to last night on dispatch. Listen to me – I am not pregnant.” I was impressed with my coolness; that I’d actually kept a level head about all this.

It seemed to work on Charlie, too. I watched his shoulders fall as his body slumped and relaxed. “Really?”

“Really, Dad. Now, who told you this?”

“It’s silly, really,” he said, shrugging. “I don’t usually believe the gossip that comes over dispatch … but it’s not usually about you.”

“Dad – who?” Now that he believed me, I wanted to find out who’d started this nasty rumor. And then I’d let Edward kill them. Or at least scare the crap out of them.

“Mrs. Mallory called. Her daughter said …”

“Oh,” I said. “I see.” My blood boiled. I was furious; I felt the heat rise up in me and a wave of red rage washed over my eyes. “Excuse me,” I said, then tromped upstairs. I changed, dressing quickly, and pulled my hair into a messy knot at the back of my head. Wordlessly, I tromped back downstairs and out the door, grabbing my keys on the way.

Edward rushed to my side and met my pace, getting into the passenger seat without a word for once. I don’t think he’d ever seen me this mad. The engine roared to life and I peeled out, the gears squealing in protest. Edward watched me warily as I drove. “Bella, where are we going?” he finally asked.

I replied through clenched teeth: “I’m going to kill Lauren Mallory.”

“Bella?”

“You can do it, if you’d rather. I’m not too picky.” My tone was casual – Edward probably found it disturbing – but determined.

I pulled up to the curb outside Lauren’s house and slammed on the brakes, my body flying forward and straining against the seatbelt. I released myself from the buckle and was out the door before Edward had time to properly react. He followed quickly, but waited on the walkway as I hopped speedily up the front steps and onto the porch. I knocked impertinently, until a woman opened the door.

“Hi,” I said, plastering a pained smile on my face. “Is Lauren here?”

She must have recognized me; Mrs. Mallory stuttered then told me “just a moment” and hollered for Lauren. The girl in question appeared shortly at the door, peering out at me hesitantly. She took a step forward, just past the threshold, facing me on the porch. She glanced nervously down at Edward. He stood casually, arms crossed, watching our exchange.

“Hi Lauren,” I said, still too falsely cheery. “I was wondering … do I look fat?”

“Huh?” My question had thrown her.

I lifted my shirt and turned slightly to the side, poking at my belly. “I mean, I know I’m not exactly svelte … but I didn’t think I looked fat. Do I?”

“Um, no …”

“Then why the hell would you think I’m pregnant?” I said, my voice turning to icy stone.

“Uh …”

“Wrong answer,” I said, balling my hand into a fist – tucking my thumb under, as Charlie had recommended after the debacle with Jake – and swung at her jaw. It made a pleasing smacking sound as my fist connected with her face. I shook out my fingers as she clutched her mouth, and was happy to discover my hand did not feel at all broken. I grinned, wiggling my fingers.

Lauren gasped, looking at me with wide, shocked eyes. “Bella, what the hell is wrong with you?”

“Me? Nothing’s wrong with me,” I said. I could see the blood pooling under her skin where I’d punched her, turning it the slightest shade of violet. “I’m happily engaged to a man who loves me more than life itself. I want to know what’s wrong with you. Why you hate me so much? What I ever did to make you loath me with such vehemence? What would prompt you to spread rumors that I was pregnant? That I was getting married because Edward had knocked me up?” My voice rose in pitch and volume with each question until I was shrieking.

“Bella, I …” She trailed off, lost for words.

I shook my head and started back down the porch steps; back to Edward. “You’re pathetic,” I mumbled.

Taking Edward’s hand – he looked at me both in wonderment and in fear – I walked back to my truck, hopped in and sped off. I was still angry about the rumors. But exerting myself physically had felt good; socking Lauren in the mouth made me positively gleeful. The drive back home was much calmer.

Charlie was asleep when I got home; that’s what happened when he worked the overnight dispatch shift – he slept all the next day. I was on my way upstairs to change my clothes and wash my face to go meet with Alice, when the phone rang. I rushed to answer it before the sound could wake Charlie.

“Hello?”

“We have to talk Bella.”

I sighed; after everything that had happened during the last two days, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. “Hi Jake.”

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