Sunday, December 1, 2013



Knocking on my front door summoned me from bed. My hand was pulsing as though I was gripping a hot coal in my fist and I was ready to rip Alice a new one for not just using her damn key. I stumbled down the stairs and flung the door open to find Edward, fully clothed and looking deliciously irritated.

“What are you doing here?” I panicked, painfully aware that I was nowhere close to decently dressed for this.

“You didn’t call,” he muttered.

“It’s nine o’clock in the morning.”

“How’s your hand?” He ignored me, eyes falling to the burning coal that was normally my hand I was clutching to my chest. Just as I was about to retort, there was more knocking, this time from the back door and I turned to spot Alice waving at me with a mug in one hand. I was late for our morning coffee date. I pulled Edward inside, telling myself that he’d seen me in skin tight leggings and a bra . . . underwear and a tank top weren’t much farther off the mark. I tossed him out the backdoor to entertain Alice and dashed up to my room, throwing on the first piece of clothing my eyes spotted. Something that was a little too long to be a shirt but a little too short to be a dress. Alice rolled her eyes at me when I emerged but I pretended not to notice.

She hated everything I wore. And vice versa.

We ended lounging in the yard all day. Alice made sun tea with peppermint and lavender out of the flower beds and Edward fondled my broken hand softly against an ice pack as we lounged on my old faded quilt. I was enjoying the baking warmth and the repetitive stroking of Edward’s fingers, pressure that only edged up on pain for split seconds before fading away. Both Alice and Edward had looked concerned when I allowed them to look at my hand, his eyebrows smashing together in the middle and her mouth forming an ‘o’ of amazement.

They both insisted on the ice-pack.

“I’m sorry you can’t climb today,” I mumbled into the blanket, half asleep and felt Edward shift beside me, my toes brushing his legs.

“Who says I can’t climb today? I see plenty of things to climb.”  He scanned the yard decisively and I scoffed at him.

“You can’t climb up the house or anything.”

“You want to put money down on that mouth of yours?” He smirked at me and jumped to his feet, abandoning his job of tending to my hand. I watched in equal parts horror and amazement as he strode toward the house and stopped right up against the wall, testing the siding with his fingers. Before I even processed what he was doing, he was four holds off the ground.

“What are you doing?” I stuttered, even though it was fairly obvious.

“Climbing the house. Can’t you tell?” He laughed over his shoulder and scampered up a few more feet until he was lounging comfortably on the roof of the little covered porch. Alice emerged from her own kitchen and wandered across her yard distractedly, ducking through the fence into my own before she even noticed. She seemed awfully distracted lately.

“What in God’s name are you doing?” She shielded her eyes against the sun to peer up at him. I thought he’d give her the same cynical retort he gave me, but he didn’t.

“Proving Sparkles wrong,” he smiled brilliantly at her. Maybe it was the sun.

He didn’t come down the easy way either, and I was starting to understand that I shouldn’t ever underestimate him because he’d likely prove me wrong. I thought that he’d shimmy down the columns that held up the porch, but instead he stretched those long fingers to snatch the rather flimsy looking top of the tree nearest to the porch.

“Edward, don’t-!” I tried to stop him, but of course he didn’t listen. He flung himself off the roof and into the tree like a damn spider monkey. The tree flopped wildly from side to side, heaving under his weight and it looked as though he was wrestling the limbs to get them back under control. He eventually succeeded, kicked off his shoes from the lowest branch, both of them landing with a heavy plop in the grass. Alice wandered the flower beds and I watched Edward stalk through the foliage that edged the yard, his feet stepping soft and sure along the limbs as he darted from tree to tree. For the most part he was just fleeting glimpses of tanned skin and gleaming hair. I lost track of him all together for a moment before he fell from the tree beside me, summoned by his ringing phone.

I listened to him take a call from Jasper, one-sided, while he paced the lawn.

“No, I’m shutdown today. Bella fucked up her hand.”

It was the first time I’d heard him say my name out loud, or even call me by something other than Sparkles, and it did funny things to my insides.

“Spotting. . .  yeah, me,” Edward growled into the phone. “Who the fuck else would it be?” He glanced over at me with a scowl on his face before his eyes darted to Alice who was kneeling in the strawberries. “Yes, she’s here . . . Well, they live right next to each other and I’m watching her stuff her face with strawberries, so yeah. I’m sure.”

He snapped the phone shut and looked over at me, shoving his hands into the pockets of those cut-off dress pants.

“Jasper’s coming over.”

“Good. He can entertain Alice.”

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