For some particular reason, Bella felt a burning beneath the skin of her face that sizzled down her throat and throughout her body as she stood barely two feet away from a rude man with hipster glasses and Star Wars pajama pants. He was as adorable as he was handsome and perhaps even… hot?
Bella shook such thoughts clear from her mind. “I’m here for—“
“Hootie hoo, bitches!” Emmett’s loud baritone was heard along with the stomping of his big feet up the stairs. “I’m gettin’ laid ta-night!”
Edward felt his face heat up almost immediately and braced himself for further embarrassment. Usually he avoided any and all interaction with his brother before his first cup of coffee. It was the only way he can tolerate Emmett’s overly boisterous personality. The horror.
“Rose is back in town, all is right in the world and with my coc—whoa!” Emmett skidded to a stop. “I tooootally forgot you were here, little B! So what’ja think? You down to jump aboard this bad boy or what?”
It was at this point where Edward’s interest peaked and he was forced to approach his loud and obnoxious older brother. “Emmett? A word please?”
However, Emmett was used to his uptight younger sibling and instead marched over to drop a huge bear paw down onto his shoulder. “Dude, I know what you’re gonna say, but at this point we could really use the extra dough and look at her, man?”
Both men turned to a fidgeting Bella Swan.
“She’s way hot, bro!” Emmett slapped his hand against his brother’s back with a strength that sent poor Edward flying forward into the middle of the hallway. “Anyway, room is yours if you want it, little B. Maybe you can even eventually help this guy,” he thumbed in Edward’s direction, “pull out the stick that’s been thoroughly wedged up his ass for the past 26 years. I don’t know, stranger things have happened. Anyway, I’m going to the gym then I’m gonna go see my Rosie. Let me know if you need help moving your shit.” He began to walk backward toward the stairs. “You got my digits and as soon as my little bro remembers his manner’s—you got Eddie boy, here. Aight?”
“Cool! Later roomie!” He then turned and jogged down the stairs.
The abrupt silence that followed was almost deafening.
“So…” Bella dared to turn Edward—or “Eddie boy,” if she were to take Emmett’s comment seriously. “I guess we’re, uh, you know… roomies now, huh?” She fought to break the proverbial awkwardness between her and Edward.
However, Edward’s curt nod threw Bella for a loop. “It would be pertinent for us to remain cordial with our predicament despite my brother’s lavish behavior. Therefore I will provide you with the roommate agreement that both Emmett and myself have signed and dated two years, three months, and seventeen days ago.” He turned on his heels and entered his room where a shuffling was heard before the slap of his slippers reentering the hall.
Bella stood dumbfounded outside her bedroom in wait.
“I always keep a spare just in case—which in this situation is a perfect example of my precognitive assumptions.” He held out a thin one-inch white binder that Bella attentively took into her hands with flushed cheeks. “I expect you to abide by all of these terms, but for Section 8: Hygiene—for example; paragraph four, which states that when using the facilities you must stand behind the green tape, in your case, that will be irrelevant and so I will redact that from your agreement when the time comes and provide you with an addendum to accommodate your… feminine routines so that they do not conflict with mine and Emmett’s.”
He went on to say more, but Bella could no longer focus on such trivial things. Her mind had already checked out onto moving plans and furniture shopping. She contemplated who in her handful of friends owned a truck. She didn’t have much, having left everything behind but for a duffel bag of clothes and a backpack of books and her laptop. She would have to get her dad to ship the rest of her things from the storage unit she rented in Forks after leaving Jake.
“—and also, no pets of any kind are allowed. Not even a goldfish or beta fish as they require regular maintenance that, if forgotten, can lead to mold and—“
Bella shook herself out of her head and regarded Edward cautiously. “Um…” she bit her lip—something that made Edward’s pants surprisingly tight—and swallowed nervously. “We have a problem.”
“Well,” Edward pushed his glasses up his nose gently, “I can be persuaded to switch cleaning days with you if you prefer to do your laundry on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Emmett is signed up for Monday and Wednesday. I was thinking Friday and Sunday or perhaps Saturday would be appropriate, but if you—“
“No.” She stopped him firmly. “I mean we have a problem with the pet thing.”
Edward’s brow rose. “I suppose we can work something out if you honestly feel you need to have a beta fish .” He grimaced.
She stepped forward and brought with her the most intriguing scent Edward had ever come across. So much so that his eyes closed involuntarily and his nose rose in the air to inhale deeply. Despite the tingly annoyance of animal hair that threatened to cause yet another sneezing fit, Edward had now found himself momentarily incapacitated.
“No, that’s not it, either.” She sighed and pulled a hand through her voluminous locks. “I mean we have a problem because I cant sign this.” Bella shoved the binder into Edward’s chest.
“Uh—I—well—uh…” He stuttered in shock, no one had ever said no to him before. How dare this woman—this beyond compare woman of absolute exquisiteness—deny the roommate agreement! Finally finding his voice, Edward sputtered, “W-w-why?”
“Because,” she said with a heavy lower lip, “I can’t live without my Jelly.”
Blinking in pure confusion, Edward was unable to comprehend. Perhaps it was true, beauty and brains could not completely co-exist. But oh, was she beautiful. But as her eyes began to water at a fast pace, making Edward’s heart thump away in his chest and his breath hitch in his throat, he suddenly felt the disturbing need to placate her.
“I assure you, Bella.” He paused—he’d never said her name before, it had a certain ring to it, did it not? “The roommate agreement is written entirely with the upmost respectable intentions to all parties. And I would never deny you fruitful preservatives on any kind. In fact, did you know that Jelly is made from fruit juice and Jam is made from pureed fruit? Preserves are actually made from whole fruit while spreads are made from whole fruit and/or pureed fruit. So you see, you have so many choices in the matter.”
Her big brown eyes stared back at him with tears clinging to long lashes and a plush full lip held between white teeth. “What?” She grimaced at an absolute loss.
“Jelly, Bella!” Edward shouted back in exasperation. “I did not wish to upset you, I don’t even know where you got this crazy idea of not being permitted to have it. As I stated before, I would never—“
“Edward!” Bella reached out to stop him with a hand on his chest where she could feel his heart rate accelerate at an alarming level. “Jelly is my cat,” she said. “I have a pet.”
“Oh, dear.” Edward exhaled deeply.