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A Second Chance at Love

Summary:
Bella dismisses Edward when he returns in New Moon. She moved on with Jacob, and promised Edward that he would find happiness and love someday. With the letter she wrote him in hand, he believes her and moves on with his life, in search of his love. Forty years later, he and the rest of the Cullens re-enroll in High school. Two new students throw his world out of orbit and he’s faced with the reality of the promise Bella made him. AU after New Moon. Edward is a little OOC because he doesn’t want to repeat history, otherwise, canon couples with the exception of Edward of course. Note: Jacob was a werewolf, but Bella wasn’t necessarily all human herself. Rated NC-17 for language and content in later chapters. Yes there will be lemons but not at first.


Notes:


4. Chapter 4 You must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest... with... a herring

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4914   Review this Chapter

Arbie POV

Kissing Edward is by far the most wonderful thing on the planet. His flavor and scent is like a drug to me. I can’t get enough of him. As soon as I pull away from him, standing alone in his driveway, I feel the absence of him deep in my soul. It’s like he’s literally taken a part of me with him. Once I’m home I see my mothers’ car parked in the driveway. I run inside and pull them both into a tight hug. It has been weeks since I’ve seen them.

“Arbie!” they both chant. “I see you’ve missed us almost as much as we’ve missed you.”

“Yes, it’s not the same without you here. Hey uncle Shasta,” I greet from across the room. He never likes to be touched by anyone. He offers me a warm smile and a nod in reply.

“I can tell you’ve been keeping some interesting company,” Mama Bree marvels, tapping her nose. She must be able to smell Edward on me.

“Yeah. Turns out Edward Cullen is my one and only,” I remark.

“Edward Cullen, you say? Is that why you asked if I knew them?” she asks.

“Yes,” I reply. “His siblings are Alice, Rosalie, Jasper and Emmett,” I add. Her eyes grow wide.

“It must be the same ones then,” she says. “They have to be. There’s no way that’s a coincidence.”

“I agree,” I respond. “I’m just not sure how to go about breaching the subject.”

“What’s he like?” Mama Hwin interjects.

“Tall, pale and handsome,” I quip. “He’s got strangely bronze coloured hair, beautiful golden eyes and porcelain skin. He’s incredibly smart of course, gifted, incredibly romantic, yet very respectful.”

“Does he know about us? About what we are? About what you are?”

“No not yet. I’m trying to figure out how to tell him. I know the longer I put it off, the more extreme his reaction is likely to be. I know he knows I’m something different, but he hasn’t figured it out yet, I don’t think.”

“I can smell him all over you,” Hwin states. “Have you been kissing him?” she asks, sniffing close to my lips. I nod in response. “And he’s being respectful?”

“Very. To a fault actually,” I reply. “He’s rather inexperienced, and therefore old fashioned, to say the least.”

“As well he should be,” Mama Hwin states. “Any man, regardless of species should be respectful of you, never taking advantage and always allowing you to set the pace.”

“Mama, I really don’t want to have this conversation right now,” I reply, suddenly embarrassed. I can feel the heat rushing to my cheeks.

“I know we’ve already had the talk with you, but there’s no harm in reiteration. Especially when someone like Edward Cullen is involved.”

“Well he’s definitely not letting me set the pace,” I reply. “I want to go much faster than he does.” Their eyebrows lift in surprise, hearing that for the first time ever I’m not pushing a boy away. Up until now, I’ve done just that, out of necessity. I’ve never been allowed to let anyone get close to me, let alone have a love interest. With Edward, none of that applies. I can truly be with him, truly be myself with him. I just hope that whatever it is that connects my family to his does not ruin our chances to be together.

“I’m afraid we can’t stay long dears,” Mama Bree says to Jeb and I. “I know we said we’d stay longer this time, but Hwin just got a new patient and is needed in Ithaca to treat him for the next few weeks.” We nod in response, knowing that they can’t stand to be separated for more than a few days. This is why we are left to fend for ourselves most of the time. Both Bree and Hwin travel around for their professions, in order to retain their relative anonymity. And uncle Shasta is forced to be rather nomadic given his involuntary effect on the atmosphere around him.

We spend the rest of the evening talking with each other about our lives for the past few weeks. Bree and Hwin are at the top of their game in their professions. Celebrities everywhere are asking for Dr. Hwin for their mental health treatment, and for Breescapes for their landscapes.

Bree, Hwin and Shasta are long gone by morning, every window in the house open to assist in expelling their scents. I mentioned having Edward and possibly Alice over for a homework session, and they mentioned the idea that if I wasn’t ready to tell the Cullens about them that I had better not let them smell them in the house. After Jeb and I eat breakfast, I grab my phone to call Edward. He should be up and around by now.

“Hello?” he answers somewhat seductively. Damn Caller ID to the pits of hell.

“Yes hello sir. My name is Arbie Bentley, and I’m looking to speak with this devastatingly handsome young man who captivated my attention and held me captive night before last.”

“Held you captive? That doesn’t sound like anyone I know,” he replies.

“I never said it wasn’t against my will,” I retort, adding a hint of seduction in my own tone. “Listen, if you can find said man, would you tell him that I would request his presence at my house today. My ah… studies are in need of a tutor. Oh and his pixie of a sister is invited, too.” I can hear Alice’s squeal of delight through the phone.

“Well be there in an hour,” she calls.

“I guess we’ll be there in an hour,” Edward echoes. As I give him my address, I can hear him plunking buttons on a GPS system. “Rosalie wants to know if she can come, too. She has calc with the same teacher, but a different hour, and she could use the study session, too,” he says, sounding completely rehearsed.

“Yes of course she can come. And no, she doesn’t need to use the excuse of calc homework to come over and try and sneak a peek into my garage. In fact, Jasper can come help me with our Ancient Civ project aka look under the hood of my Bugatti, and Emmett cam come… be the comic relief?” I hear his guffaw and Jasper’s snicker in the background as Edward relays my statement.

“Are you sure you want all of us there, Arbie?” Edward asks. “I mean, you just saw us all yesterday. Don’t feel like you need to invite all of us just because you invited me and Alice.”

“No worries,” I reply. “I like hanging out with your siblings almost as much as I like hanging out with you, Edward. If Emmett gets too bored with homework, I’m sure Jeb would love to toss the ol’ pigskin around in the backyard or watch whatever game is on.” I look at Jeb who nods his agreement. It sounds like Emmett is all for that plan as well.

“Okay, but I thought you wanted to spend time with your parents,” he replies.

“I did.” I debate how much to truly tell him. “They were here when I got home yesterday. We chatted late into the night, and then they had to head out again early this morning. I wasn’t kidding when I told you they leave us to fend for ourselves much of the time.” I wonder if Carlisle and Esme will look too far into this and consider child neglect issues or anything like that.

“I’m not sure how I feel about that,” he says. “I mean, parents are supposed to be there, right?” Oh lord, he we go.

“Yes, and they have been, always. Now that Jeb and I are practically grown up, they trust us. They know we’re totally fine here; and also, now that they know your parents are nearby, and more than likely willing to be that parental authority if necessary, they trust us even more and worry even less,” I explain. I hope he takes the bait. The last thing the Bentley family needs is a social services investigation. We cover our tracks well, but some things are harder to hide.

“I guess that makes sense.” I breathe a sigh of relief at his reply, hoping he doesn’t hear it over the phone. I can hear a muffled conversation that is taking place between Edward and presumably Alice. “Alice says to get off the phone so we can let you get ready for our arrival, and we can get our things ready. Do you need or want us to bring anything?”

“Just your homework and a smile,” I reply, letting my own smile leak through my words. He giggles his reply and promises again to be here in less than an hour. I race around the house, ensuring that any trace of my parents’ scents is long gone. Jeb gets a fire going in the fire place, burning birch tree logs, which will help to expel any lingering scents that we couldn’t air out. I take in a deep breath just as I hear their car pull up the driveway. The smell of burning birch has filled the main room and wafts all the way to the foyer. I doubt they’ll need to go venturing all over the house. Jeb and I made a decision not to offer a grand tour, but will gladly give them one should they ask.

Jeb and I are standing, expectant on the other side of the double French doors, waiting for the Cullen siblings to ascend the six steps to the porch. I’m scanning through each room of the house in my memory to make sure I opened the window, the door, and turned on the ceiling fan wherever applicable. Alice is the first to the door and knocks excitedly, though she can see us clearly through the stained glass of the door. I walk slowly to the door and open both sides wide to accommodate all five of them who now appear to be rushing to get in, full of excitement. “Come in Alice, Edward, Emmett, Jasper, and Rosalie,” I say, inviting them all in individually as required. Once they’re all in, they glare at Jasper as if he had done something horrible like pass gas in the car or something. I quirk an eyebrow at him, to which he frowns slightly and shakes his head dismissively. Huh. Something weird there, but I decide not to press the matter.

“Bienvenidos a Casa de Bentley,” I greet. Edward rushes to me and pulls me into a tight hug, as if he hasn’t seen me in weeks rather than less than a day. I lead them to the main room where Jeb and I have already spread out our homework on the floor. Edward, Alice, Rosalie and Jasper follow our cue. Emmett looks around him before settling on the couch. I toss him the remote for the television, realizing he either doesn’t have any homework or doesn’t care to do any. He grins hugely at me, flashing a set of perfect white teeth that looked sharper than a diamond cutter.

“I’d swear you were the mind reader instead of -” Rosalie cuts off Emmett’s rant with a book to the side of his head.

“Subtle, Rose,” Alice chides.

“This robot football is completely ridiculous,” Jeb interjects, successfully changing the subject. “Whatever happened to real people playing sports? Just because some small amount of people like seeing robots tear each other apart is no reason to replace every sport with this crap. I think I have some vintage games saved on the DVR, do you wanna watch one of those instead, Emmett?”

Emmett is beaming. “Hell yeah dude! How old of games do you have?” he asks, grinning from ear to ear, dimples diving deep into his cheeks. I chuckle under my breath. He’s like a kid in a candy store.

“All the way back to the first Super Bowl, my friend,” Jeb replies, putting his hand on Emmett’s shoulder. That even makes Edward’s and Jasper’s ears perk up. I can tell that what was supposed to be a study session is quickly delving into the realm of boys watching football.

“And cue the nostalgia,” I say as I gather up my books. “Alice? Rosalie? Wanna head up to my room?” They both grin and nod in response as Edward and Jasper begin to watch with rapt attention as Jeb pages through the old football games on the television. For the first time since I’ve known him, Edward is completely oblivious to me leaving the room.

We head up the stairs, books and bags in tow while the guys start hooting and hollering over the game they selected. Super Bowl X from what I can discern. Alice and Rosalie enter my room when I indicate which door is mine. I follow closely behind them, wary of any lingering traces of my parents having been in here the night before. They don’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary. “What a beautiful vanity!” Rosalie exclaims as she drops her bag unceremoniously in a chair and heads towards the object in question. “It looks really old,” she adds.

I nod in response, “It was in my Mom’s family for a long time. She gave it to me as a sweet sixteen gift last year.” Rosalie takes a seat at the antique stool, lowering herself slowly and gently so not to break anything. She’s taking a lot more care than I ever have. She looks at me in question, I figure asking for my permission to ruffle through the drawers and cabinets on it. I nod my assent. Alice is already in my closet, though I don’t recall saying, “Go ahead and reorganize my closet, Alice. I don’t mind at all.”

“You have more nail polish than the salon, I think.” Rosalie gazes in my two top drawers that are lined front to back with bottles of nail polish.

“I like to do what’s called water marbling, so I have quite a few colors to make the patterns with,” I explain.

“Water marbling?” they both chorus in unison. Something I know about manicures that they don’t? I almost don’t believe my ears.

“What do you say we ditch the homework and do manicures instead?” I ask. They both light up, clearly not having been excited at all about doing any assignments. None of which are due until later in the week. I’d already finished the ones that would have been due Monday days ago. We pack up our backpacks to have optimal space. I pull out a card table from the hall closet so we have plenty of room to spread out the bottles of polish and all the equipment. I may be slightly rough with my vanity, but even I know that nail polish would completely ruin it.

We each take a side of the table, as we set up the colors. Alice helps to group them by color, making a rainbow of polish bottles across the table, while I get three dishes filled with water. Rosalie is filling dappen dishes with acetone as I requested. I then place jars of toothpicks, cotton swabs, and sable brushes on the table. “Okay, so what is this water marbling you mentioned?” Alice asks once I seat myself at the table. She is practically bouncing in her chair with excitement. I’d think she’d had about three pots of coffee with the energy she was emanating. I place a dish of water in front of each of us, testing the temperature to make sure it’s lukewarm.

“Pick three colors you want to use to create a marble, swirl like pattern. Maybe colors you wear a lot or colors that will go with many outfits,” I begin. Rosalie picks three varying shades of pink, while Alice selects black, red and silver. “Now make sure you don’t wear any brown while having this manicure,” I tease Alice, knowing full well that she’s well aware that black and brown do not belong in the same hemisphere as far as fashion. I chose three varying shades of blue and threw in some silver glitter for good measure. “Open all the bottles of polish you chose and line them up right around the dish so you don’t get drops on the table.” They do as told and wait expectantly for the next instruction, their eyes flaming in excitement.

“Now you want to cover the skin around your nail with this cuticle oil. Up to the first knuckle,” I start, demonstrating on my own finger first. Alice and Rosalie exchange a brief glance. “This will prevent the nail polish from adhering to your skin, making it a pain in the ass to remove once it’s dry.” Understanding flashes across their faces and they each reach for a brush in the cuticle oil jar. “Just do one finger at a time,” I clarify before they cover all ten fingers with the slick oil.

“Perfect,” I say appraising their now shiny index fingers. “Now take a color and gently place a drop in the center of your dish. You’ll see that it spreads out almost invisibly along the surface.” I watch as they do just that, their eyes shimmering as the polish spreads out along the water surface. “Now, repeat the same thing with the next color, and then the color after that. You’ll drop each color in the center at least three times, creating a target like shape. You can put the colors in any order you wish.

“Take a toothpick and drag it through the polish, creating a marble pattern. Over mixing will blend your colors more than you want. Turning red into dark red and silver into a dull gray.” I demonstrate by dragging mine from the center out to the edges, creating an almost spider web like effect. I look at them to see the patterns their making. Nodding in approval, I move on to the next step. “Now here’s the trickiest part,” I begin. “You line up your fingernail parallel to the water just over your favorite part of the marble design. Then ever so carefully dip it into the water and hold it under the surface for about 15 seconds.” They are perfectly still as they hold their fingers under the water. “Now, with your tooth pick, drag away the excess polish from around your finger like so,” I explain, demonstrating. “Carefully, lift your finger out of the water. Don’t hit the sides of the dish, or you’ll ruin it. Now dip a cotton swab into the acetone and clear away the excess around your nail.” They follow instructions beautifully. Both of their fingers have a beautiful marble pattern. I should have known they’d get the hang of it on the first try.

“And there you have it!” I exclaim. “Repeat the process with the other nine nails, and you’ll have a beautiful marble-esque manicure that lasts and lasts. Especially once you apply this ‘diamond hard’ top coat.” I hold the bottle of clear polish as if I’m modeling it on a game show. They erupt in peals of bell like laughter, nearly falling out of their chairs. Once they recover, they resume their manicures. The room is relatively silent save for the occasional gasps of delight at the designs that appear on our fingernails. Luckily I have three bottles of the diamond hard top coat I modeled, so we all can seal our manicures at the same time.

“Arbie?” I hear Edward’s voice calling me from the stairwell. We have been up here for the better part of two hours. I imagine the game was is half time, and he noticed I was no longer in the room.

“In here,” I reply. He appears in the doorway, looking every bit like the Adonis he is. His eyes light up as they land on me. “We were just doing our nails,” I say waving my now manicured nails at him. He walks to me taking my hand in his, appraising the pattern on my nails.

“This is beautiful. Wherever did you get this idea?” he asks, apparently amazed by my manicure skills. He looks over at Rosalie’s hands followed by Alice’s, complimenting them on theirs as well. Such a gentleman.

“I saw a video for it online once. I can’t claim creating the technique.”

“Well, either way, it looks simply stunning,” he says, smiling as he kisses each of my fingers, which I’m sure still have traces of cuticle oil on them. I am right by the evidence of it on his lips and the grimace on his face as he absently licks his lips. “What is that?” he hisses in disgust.

“Cuticle oil,” I reply laughing as I hand him a paper towel to wipe off his mouth. He scrapes the towel across his tongue, too, making faces the whole time. Alice, Rosalie, and I are laughing uncontrollably now. I have successfully fallen out of my chair and am gripping my sides in a fit of laughter.

“Oh, you think I’m funny do you?” he gripes as he throws himself to the floor and begins to tickle me all over.

“Oh no!” I cry as I begin to wriggle all over the floor. His tickling is relentless. As soon as I block one spot, he’s tickling another. It’s like he knows exactly what are the most ticklish areas on my body. I spare a glance at Alice and Rosalie through my giggles and see their faces frozen in masks of shock at what their brother is doing. Perhaps he’s not usually a tickler? “Please stop, stop, I’m out of breath!” I plead. He stops immediately, his face filled with remorse. Trying not to let him dampen the mood, I tackle him and plant a hard kiss on his lips. “I’ll get you back, Sir Tickles-a-lot. You can believe that.”

“Too bad I’m not ticklish,” he replies.

“So? Who said I had to tickle you to get you back?” I whisper as my finger ghosts up his forearm. He shivers in response, making my point for me. He pulls me in for a kiss, which he makes long and full of passion. I can feel his emotions pouring out of him through his lips.

Edward POV

Jeez, the lust rolling off of you is ridiculous. I can feel it all the way down here. Jasper’s thought pull me out of my reverie and I back away from Arbie slowly. She looks instantly hurt at my distance. I lean in for a chaste kiss before helping her to her feet. “I thought we should stop before my sisters tell us to get a room,” I whisper in her ear. Her body shivers at my cool breath against her neck, but I can tell it’s a sensation she enjoys immensely. While her blood has no scent, her arousal is a different matter all together.

Do you need us to leave? Rosalie asks me silently. She and Alice are still sitting at the card table staring at us intently, still partially frozen in shock. When I tackled Arbie and began tickling her, they were both seeing a side of me they’ve never seen before. Not even with Bella. Sure I was immensely happy with Bella, but I always restrained myself from acting on that happiness in any way other than chaste kisses and gentle caresses. I never would have tackled or tickled her in a million years, I could have killed her so easily with just a flick of a finger. Arbie is different. She’s a lot more durable than Bella was, and instills more feelings in me that I feel if I don’t act on, I’ll spontaneously combust.

I shake my head lightly at Rosalie’s internal question, glancing her way briefly. I’m still surprised at her strange acceptance of Arbie. She never cared much for Bella and was truly jealous of her. She has some small feelings of jealousy towards Arbie, but seems to recognize that Arbie is something more than human. “I take it the game is over,” Arbie says. I nod in reply pulling her close to me. It was actually only half over, but I didn’t care about the rest. I was at that game for goodness’ sake. “And you missed me,” she adds. I nod against her, breathing in deeply. Her blood has no scent, but she still smells wonderful. Whether it be her shampoo or soap or what ever, she smells heavenly.

Rosalie and Alice stand up silently and leave the room, Alice shooting Arbie a wink on her way out. “I guess we got to have the room anyway, huh?” she says pulling me towards the bed.

“Arbie,” I warn. “What are you doing?”

“Cuddling,” she replies, pulling me up to lay next to her and wrapping my arms around her waist. She rests her head on my shoulder and strokes my back with a feather light touch. I find I have to pull my pelvis away from her slightly or she’ll notice Mr. Banana again, as she named it. “Edward?” she asks lifting her head to look into my eyes. Hers have darkened ever so slightly, she’s feeling lust I figure.

“Yes, sweet girl?” I reply, kissing her forehead. One my lips now many favorite places to touch.

“I’m having an incredibly hard time waiting,” she says, hitching her leg up on my hip, turning her body towards mine and pressing her body flush against mine.

“I know. But wouldn’t you rather save this for a night when we don’t have school the next day?” I whisper as I ghost my lips across her jaw and down her neck. “And on a night when we have the house to ourselves?” I continue grasping her hip firmly in my hand.

“Blast it all, you’re right. Of course. Gah!” she exclaims as she rolls off of me, and saunters out of the room. I know she swings her hips like that just to torment me. A few hours later, we take our leave, stating that our parents requested us home for dinner. At that comment, I could swear I saw Jeb smirk as if he knew we were lying. Arbie and Jeb were both invited to dine with us, but they declined stating they’d just eat at home.

“I’ll see you tomorrow. Bright and early?” she asks, a tiny hint of sadness in her tone.

“I’ll be the one smiling as soon as my eyes land on you,” I reply, pulling her close for a last passionate kiss of the evening.

“Oh drat!” Rosalie exclaims as she leaps out of the car. “I never got to see any of the cars,” she says pouting.

“Oh, it might take a while to show them, so perhaps another time?” Arbie suggests. Rosalie agrees and slides back into the car. I kiss Arbie once more and head to the car myself. There’s a wistful expression on Arbie’s face as we pull out of the driveway and head home.

“I will echo Rosalie’s previous sentiment of ‘Oh drat’” Alice states. “The sun is going to be out tomorrow.”

“I don’t recall betting my bottom dollar, Alice,” I reply. Emmett immediately breaks out into song.

“That’s because you know better than to bet against me ever,” she says, sticking her tongue out at me.

“Well, what are we going to do then? Arbie is expecting me at school tomorrow.” I remember back to when I was absent from school for the first time due to the sun when I was with Bella. She fell in the woods near tide pools and was worried about whether or not I was okay. That was also the time when she figured out what I was. I don’t want to cause similar distress in this young one, and I am most certainly not ready for her to know what I am. I want some more time with her before she goes running for the hills.

When we get home, Carlisle and Esme are already working on their excuses for not going to work the next day. Carlisle is actively sending an email to the principle at the school and plans to call him in the morning, stating our weekend trip will be extended due to the pleasant weather.

“Worse news,” Alice says to me once I’m alone in my room. She’s still on the other side of the open doorway. I gesture for her to enter, which is odd as she generally never requests access to my room and just barges in whenever she feels like it. “It’s going to be nice out all week. Which may make it a perfect chance for us to test that new sparkle concealer I’ve been developing, but I wasn’t sure if you wanted to chance it just yet.”

“I’ll try it,” I reply. “Anything so I can see Arbie tomorrow.” Carlisle overheard my conversation and quickly reworded his email to the principle stating that I wasn’t feeling well enough to go on the trip but will be at school alone. The rest of the family isn’t ready to try out the concealer yet. Alice felt it would be a good idea to try it individually rather than all seven of us failing at hiding our sparkly nature.