I reach my hand down and grasp her little hand into my own. She's so warm and soft. I am smiling like an idiot, I know I am. What the hell is wrong with me? I am acting like a 12 year old little boy with a crush or some shit like that. Glancing over at my son, he is looking back and forth between the two of us and he pretty much has the same look on his face as I imagine I have. Well, well, it looks like I'm not the only one with a crush on the lovely Bella.
"Thanks," she murmurs quietly to me, looking up at me under her lashes.
"I am so sorry about knocking you down. Are you ok?" I ask her quickly, hoping to God I haven't hurt her.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she giggles at me. "Um, can I have my hand back now?"
Oh, yeah, right. I am still holding her hand. Do I really have to let it go? I don't want to. In fact, I want to hold this hand, right here, forever and ever. Truly. And that electric current, yep, still going strong.
"Sure, sorry about that. Thank you so much for bringing Masen back, I was going out of my mind trying to figure out where he went," I tell her.
"It's no problem, really. I was just sitting over there," she points to a bench not too far away. "I was reading and next thing I know that little guy," she says as she looks over at Masen who is grinning back at her with the same shit eating grin that I have used at least a thousand times with my own mom, "is playing with my new puppy Rufus," she finishes explaining to me.
"After establishing that he should not talk to strangers," she continues, "Good job getting that to stick by the way, and getting him to tell me his name, I decided to take him to find his dad so that I didn't wind up with some man freaking out me or something like that," she huffs at me.
When she finishes, she sticks her hand back out to me and says, "My name is Bella Swan, by the way. It's nice to meet you Edward Cullen."
She looks straight into my eyes and I swear she can see all the way into my soul. I have never believed in any of that love at first sight bullshit, but I know right now, at this very moment, I have completely fallen in love with Bella Swan. Wait a minute, fall in love? Ok, now I am freaking myself out here, there is no way in hell that is possible, I mean I have only known the girl for like, 15 seconds for cripes sake!
"Nice to meet you too, Bella. It is very nice to meet you." I tell her, never taking my eyes from hers and trying to not let go of her hand for the second time.
"Daddy!" I hear Masen yelling at me.
"Yeah, Mase?" I ask, looking at him rolling on the ground with Bella's puppy.
Maddie has made her way over to us and is playing with Masen and the puppy, too. God, they look so happy. I start laughing at them, hearing the musical sound of Bella laughing beside me. Oh, I hope I can hear that sound again…soon.
"Daddy, come meet Rufus. He loves me, doesn't he Bella smella? And, Daddy, Bella told me I could play with him again, next time we come to the park, isn't that cool?" He loudly asks me.
I start to walk over towards the jumbled mess of kids and puppy when I feel a tug on my hand. Crap, I have to let go of Bella's hand now. I look at her, and if I am not mistaken, she looks as unhappy about that prospect as I do. I won't lie; my insides do a little happy dance at the thought of that!
"Sure buddy," I tell Masen.
Really, Rufus is the cutest damn puppy I have ever seen and listening to the giggles from Maddie and Masen has me rethinking this whole waiting for a puppy rule. Maybe I can get Bella to come live with us, like immediately, and then I wouldn't have to worry about it! It's just a thought, but shockingly enough, not one that makes me want to run in the other direction. Huh, I'll have to think about what that means…or not.
I lean down to pet the puppy, sitting down on the ground in between Maddie and Masen. I swear I hear a very quiet sigh come from Bella as I hold the little guy, but when I look up at her, she's looking at Maddie.
"Maddie, can you say hi to Masen's new friend, Bella? This is her puppy, and she was nice enough to let you guys play with him." I ask her.
"Hi Bella," my baby girl says as she looks at Bella with a look full of awe.
Yeah, I know baby girl, she is something to look at, isn't she?
Bella comes a bit closer and kneels down beside Maddie and puts her hand out for her to shake, "It's really nice to meet you, too, Maddie. You sure are pretty and I love your shoes, they look almost like mine," she says as she points between her black Converse and Maddie's pink ones.
Could she be any more perfect, I mean come on! A beautiful woman that wears the best shoes ever made? Next, I'll find out she likes to read and listen to Debussy or some shit like that. I look over at my daughter and for the first time in a very long time, I miss the fact that she doesn't have a mom. Yeah, she has my mom and Alice, but I refuse to delude myself into thinking it's the same thing. It's not, not even close. Again that flash comes in my mind that maybe Bella being Maddie's mom wouldn't be such a bad thing, and again, the thought does not make me want to shit in my pants.
"Bella, I think Rufus needs to potty, can I walk him over by the trees over there?" Masen asks Bella.
Wait, my son, my mini-me is actually asking, politely, if he can take the puppy to use the bathroom? I look at him wondering where the real Masen Samuel Cullen is hiding.
"If its ok with your dad, you can," Bella answers him. "Thanks, sweetie, that's really nice of you to take care of him like that. Maddie, did you want to hold his leash on the way over and Masen can on the way back?" she looks to my daughter and asks.
Sweetie…sweetie? What the fuck, now he has two nicknames from her? Ok, now I am really jealous and I am not kidding around. So not fair!
"Oh my gosh Bella, thanks!" my adorable little princess pops up to take the leash from Masen.
Bella and I laugh as the two of them are being dragged behind the tiny puppy over to the trees to watch him do his thing.
Bella laughs again, God I can never hear that sound enough, and looks to me saying, "Edward, you get the pleasure of telling them they have to clean up his business when he leaves it!"
She said my name again. I love the way my name sounds coming from her gorgeous, pink lips.
"Gee, thanks a lot for that Bella smella. You're a real peach!" I say as I playfully push her shoulder with mine.
Yep, the electric current alive and well with that touch.
She smiles at me. Can I say again that she has the most beautiful face I have ever seen? I have come across many women that I would say are attractive or pretty. Besides my mother and sister, I have never truly seen another woman I would classify as beautiful, but Bella is in a class by herself. I shake my head as I hear her say, "Um, sorry about the Mase face I called Masen. When I was asking him his name so that I could try to find you, he told me, well…he said he didn't have a mom when I asked him who he was at the park with and it seemed to make him a little sad so I said the Mase face thing to make him laugh. I'm sorry about asking him something that upset him, Edward; I was just trying to figure out how to find you." Bella quietly says to me, looking scared of my reaction.
"Bella, hey, it's ok, promise. The Mase face thing is cute, and the thing about his mom, well, um, yeah… I don't know what he told you, but he doesn't have one," I stammer to her.
How do I explain Lauren to her? Do I even do that with someone I just met? It's strange, but I want to tell her, tell her all of it.
"Oh Edward, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry," she says.
I wonder briefly if it would be inappropriate to ask her to record herself saying my name so I can set it as the ring tone on my phone. Yeah…probably a bit much - for now. But definitely a goal for the not too distant future I tell myself.
The air around us seems a bit tense, and thankfully the kids pick that moment to bring Rufus back.
"Um, Daddy, what do we do with the doo doo?" Masen asks me.
A snort bursts from Bella, who immediately blushes and puts her hands over her face. A snort and a blush from my angel, how utterly and completely adorable!
I roll my eyes at her and tell Masen I will take care of it.
Bella reaches into her backpack and hands me a plastic bag and some napkins and points to the trees where I make way to get rid of the doo doo. Jesus help me, how does a 32 year old man smile and willingly say the word doo doo? Oh right, he does it because he is totally enamored with the beautiful creature that owns the puppy that made the mess.
I make my way back to my little group after disposing of the mess and hear Maddie asking Bella, "Bella, can you please come eat lunch with us? I'm starving and Daddy always takes us to eat after we get done playing at the park, pretty please?"
Oh no, she's giving Bella the Cullen pout. Wait, what the hell am I saying? I want her to come too!
"Ah, Maddie, I'm not sure I should intrude on your family time with your Daddy and brother, thanks for asking though," Bella answers her.
Ok, time for the big guns here as I turn my pout on her and say," Bella, really, we would love for you to come with us. Please?"
And now for reinforcements, "Isn't that right Masen? Don't you want Bella smella to come eat lunch with us, too?" I turn and ask my son.
"Please, Bella, come on, you know you want to!" my wing man begs Bella.
"Gah! Ok, ok, I'll come. But only if all of you promise no more pouting! Geeze, I swear, you people are lethal with that pout!" She laughingly tells us all.
I reach over to give Masen a fist bump and a wink. He giggles back at me. Yeah, he's a mini-me all right. He knows exactly what he is doing. Makes me so proud! I turn to look at Bella, knowing full well she knew what we were up to, but I'm so glad she's coming with us. Maybe she doesn't want to say good bye any more than the three of us do either? I can only hope, and oh boy do I hope!
I give her my hand to help her off the ground, excited to be touching her again. Pulling her up to stand next to me I lean in and say, "Yeah, the pout will work every time! I should know, I perfected it."
"Oh, I have no doubt," she laughs at me.
I notice as she stands up, she takes a moment to look around. She turns from one side to the next, her eyes moving everywhere, like she is searching for something…or someone. Oh, crap, she's here with someone, but then why would she spend all this time talking with us? What do I do, I definitely do not want this time with her to come to an end, do I tell her she really doesn't have to come with us? The kids would be so disappointed, and hell, so will I. I am just about to say something when I see her face relax and she looks at me and bites her lip.
"Edward, are you ready to go?" she asks me.
I can't even form a sentence. Seriously, her biting her lip is the sexiest damn thing. I could watch that on a loop over and over for hours at a time, just that. I want to bite that lip, then kiss her, and run my fingers through her hair, and feel her warm little body next to mine and oh shit… I better stop that train right there before I embarrass myself.
"Yep, let's hit it everyone," I chuckle to her and the kids.
We make our way out of the park and onto the street. It has warmed up a bit but the streets still aren't too crowded. I glance at Maddie and Masen laughing and talking as they are each holding onto Rufus' leash. I wish I had a camera. My parents would get a kick out of seeing them enjoying the day so much.
I turn to Bella and say, "Bella, thank you. I can't remember the last time the kids and I had so much fun during our Sunday bonding time. And, I don't think I ever properly thanked for taking such good care of Masen when he slipped away from me. You must think I am a pretty shitty dad to let his kid go running off like that. I swear, I was pushing Maddie on the swing and turned my head for just a few minutes and then he was gone. Thank God he found you instead of some freak at the park. Shit, what if that would've happened, how would I tell my parents…," I rambled on to her.
"Edward, calm down. Really, it's ok. I know these things happen. And to be honest, I'm glad he found me, otherwise I may not have met you." she finished off quietly as she reaches over and places her hand on my arm.
Oh my God, just the thought of not meeting Bella today makes me dizzy and makes my heart…hurt. But her hand on my arm? Heaven, absolute heaven.
"Bella, I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that I met you today," I tell her honestly.
We make our way to the little deli that we come to every Sunday. They have tables outside on the sidewalk and the best club sandwiches you have ever tasted. As we approach, Bella asks me, "Edward, would you mind if I sit out here while you guys order your food? I am sure Rufus is tired from all that walking and I want to give him a chance to rest. You guys just go in and order and then when you're done, I'll go in and order my food if you'll stay with the puppy," she tells me.
I notice her doing that looking around thing, not really meeting anyone's eyes that pass by. She has pulled her cap down a bit on her head and slipped her glasses back on her face. Hmm, wonder what that is about but I don't have time to think about it as Masen and Maddie are pulling on my hands to go order our food.
I turn to Bella and tell her, "I'll just get your food when I get ours, after all, we begged you to come with us. Besides, it's the least I can do after you let the kids play with Rufus all day! Come on Bella, you know you want to try one of Saul's famous club sandwiches!"
"Ok Edward, you win. That sounds good, and can you get me a Coke, too, please? I am craving one so bad!" She giggles at me.
I win! I win! Score one for Cullen. I can't stop the crazy smirk from my face, nor do I want to. This beautiful girl has to know the power she has over me.
The kids and I go inside to order at the counter. We come every Sunday and my parents have been coming here for years so Saul comes to take our order personally.
"The usual Edward?" he asks me.
"Yep," I answer, "but add one more sandwich please; we have a guest joining us today. And can I get 2 Cokes and 2 Root Beer's?"
"A guest," he smirks at me. "Is this guest of the female persuasion, perhaps, Edward? Have you been holding out on ol' Saul? I'm gonna have to give Mrs. Esme hell for not telling me!"
"Mr. Saul!" Mase excitedly yells at him. "Her name is Bella and she is mine and Maddie's new bestest friend and her baby doggie Rufus is outside with her. You should come see, he's sooo cute and Miss Bella is the prettiest lady, I think she should be Daddy's new girlfriend!"
Ok, after I pick my chin off the ground and push my eyeballs back into my head I look at Masen and tell him,"Masen, I don't think Bella is going to be my girlfriend, but I do hope we can be friends with her, ok?"
That was not as easy to say as I just made it sound, that's for sure. The thought of Bella not being my girlfriend just sounds like all kinds of wrong if you ask me. Yeah, I'll just pretend I didn't just say that. Right, like that's going to work. Fuck me. This woman has me so confused and I've known her all of a couple hours now. This is insane.
As I wait for the food while Maddie and Masen are busy looking at the pictures on the walls, I contemplate the last few hours with Bella. Most beautiful woman I have ever seen: check. Laugh that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy: check. Great with kids: not a hundred percent positive, but from what I've seen so far: check. Crazy ass desire to lay her out on the table outside and kiss the shit out of her: check. Weird, freaky electric current floating all around us that makes me want to constantly touch her: check and double check. Pain, lots and lots of pain at the thought of never seeing her again: triple check.
Yep, I'm completely fucked.