Chapter 6

Probably the biggest irony in me being the one getting a full ride to medical school at the University of Michigan was that I’d moved from one giant football school to another. I had never cared about football; not in Phoenix, not in Forks, and certainly not at North Jacksonville, the high school in which I had technically enrolled during my senior year. It simply had never been something I’d paid attention to. But then for no reason other than that it was close enough to my shrink, I ended up at Florida for undergrad, where people lived and breathed the sport. On Saturdays, you could barely move through campus for all the drunken students, the girls in their tight orange t-shirts and the boys with their chests painted some combination of orange and blue.

Saturday had always been my day to go into the lab and spend the day with my degus.

At Michigan, as near as I could tell, it would be no different. The only saving grace was that the stadium was nowhere near either my apartment or the medical school, so even though I still saw throngs of students making their way across campus on foot, by bike, and on the big blue campus buses, they weren’t in my way. I still spent Saturdays in my lab or at the library.

So I was surprised when on Thursday after the cider mill, a knock came at the door of my lab and I opened it to find Nabil.

Once I opened the door, he just stared, as though it was me who’d surprised him.

“Yes?” I asked after a minute.

“Oh, hey Bella,” he said, blinking. “Sorry.”

“You look like you were surprised to see me. This is my lab.” I waved him in and gestured to one of the stools on the far side of the table from the two opened carcasses with which I’d been working.

“Sorry for the gore,” I said. “Post-mortems today.”

He nodded. “It’s all good.”

It was extremely odd. None of my friends, if you could call them that, dropped by my lab, really ever. Sometimes Kelsey and I went for lunch, and perhaps once or twice Dan had joined us, but I’d never seen Nabil.

“Oh.” He grinned. “No. Not that. I just needed to ask something.”

“And your email was broken? I mean, Google is downtown, you could get them to fix it.”

He frowned. “That’s the AdSense headquarters, not the gMail division.”

“I was kidding.”

“Oh.”

He stared at the floor.

“So, what did you need?”

“I wanted to know if I could park at your apartment after Illinois.”

“After what?” Or was I supposed to ask, after where?

“The Illinois game. Saturday. For Kelsey and Dan’s party?”

Oh, right.

“I wasn’t really planning on going,” I admitted. “But yeah, you could park at my place if you wanted—aren’t there spots at their complex, though?”

He looked crestfallen.

“Yeah, I guess I could park there. Why aren’t you going?”

I shrugged. “I don’t like parties that much.” Or at all, really. I’d gone to exactly three during undergrad—two in my freshman year and one in my senior. I hated the claustrophobia of other students with their sweaty bodies crushing in on me, and the inevitable stink of spilled, stale beer. Plus there was always the problem that guys usually got a little too friendly after a beer or seven, and I didn’t need that.

“I thought what’s-his-face was coming. I figured you’d show.”

“Who?”

“That guy. The singer. Equal Opportunity Asshole.”

“C—Will?”

Nabil nodded. He spun on the stool a little bit so that it creaked. “Yeah, Will.”

“Where’d you hear that?”

“From Kelsey. He asked her for their address on Tuesday after Anatomy.”

He had to be kidding. Carlisle was planning to go to a house party? I didn’t answer for a good minute.

“What?” Nabil said at last.

“I’m just surprised he’s interested in going. He isn’t really the party type.” Which was an understatement. He wasn’t the fun type, not really, unless you counted the occasional baseball game with his family. In the half-year I’d known him, I couldn’t even remember a time when I’d seen Carlisle so much as watch TV.

Had Alice told him to do this?

Nabil raised his eyebrows. “I guess we’ll find out, huh? Does that mean you’re coming?”

“I’m honestly not sure I could miss that. When are people getting together?”

“Nine-ish. I’ll come by then? We can walk over together.”

“Okay.”

Nabil grinned as he hopped off the stool. “I’ll see you then, Bella.”

When he disappeared, I forced myself to go back to work, and tried to banish thoughts of Carlisle and any possible partying. It took me another hour to finish the dissection and take care of my biohazard waste. On a normal day, I’d be crazy about getting my results written into my spreadsheets right away, and I’d probably spend another two hours carefully picking apart the data as thoroughly as I’d picked apart the bodies. But instead I just jotted down my observations into my spiral notebook, shoved it into the desk on my half of the room, and hopped on my computer.

I only had to type “W” into the “TO” field in my Gmail. Apparently there was only one “W” I ever sent to.

 


me to William John Edward

You’re coming to Kelsey’s party?


 

The reply was instantaneous.

 


William John Edward to me

I am giving it due consideration.

Sent from my iPhone


 

“Due consideration?” I muttered. “Carlisle, you’re ridiculous.”

I opened a reply.

 


me to William John Edward

I’ll see you there.


 

I sat with my computer open for the next half-hour, but no reply came.

~||x||~

            Nabil was more punctual than any guy had a right to be. He showed up at 8:58, according to my phone, and parked his car directly in front of my place. Oddly, he looked kind of nice. He had cleaned up from the afternoon—all my friends had student tickets to the games and went every week—and had on jeans and a collared shirt.

I invited him in while I grabbed my purse.

When I came back, he was staring at my wall of photos. There were a handful from college, but mostly they were of me and Renee and Charlie, high school and later. Renee and me on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Charlie looking pensive in a fishing boat.

“These are your parents?” Nabil asked.

I nodded. “Renee is my mom, and Charlie is my dad. And the guy in the baseball cap is Phil, my stepdad.”

He stood, scouring  them, with his hands crossed over his chest.

“My parents are divorced, too,” he said after a while. “Must be nice to have that be normal.”

“Normal?”

He shrugged. “Divorce is rare in Islam. It was a really big deal when my parents split.”

Huh. I hadn’t really thought about it. I’d never been very religious myself—Charlie was a lapsed Lutheran, though sometimes he went to the church in Forks. And Renee was into whatever spiritual exercise caught her fancy at the moment. But of course that made sense; Nabil was obviously Middle Eastern; I’d just never given it much thought.

He raised his eyebrows.

“I didn’t realize you were Muslim,” I said. “I guess I should have guessed.”

He grinned. “‘Nabil’ didn’t give it away?”

“The town my dad lives in has three thousand people.” I gestured toward the door. “It’s ah…kinda white. And my neighborhood in Phoenix wasn’t a lot better.”

“Ah.” He actually held the door for me, then waited for me to lock it before we made our way toward Plymouth Road, the huge thoroughfare that made the official line between the North Campus and the rest of the city.

“But aren’t you from Michigan?” I asked as we walked. “I mean, not that you couldn’t be from Michigan and be…ah, shit.”

He laughed. “You aren’t from around here. And it’s okay to say the word ‘Muslim.’”

I blushed, and hoped it was dark enough he couldn’t see.

The walk light turned.

“Anyways,” he said as we crossed, “Southeast Michigan is full of Arabs. It was always funny in high school during Ramadan—three quarters of the school would just hang out in the auditorium or outside during lunch, and you’d look in the cafeteria and there’d just be the black kids and the Latinos.”

“That’s really wild.”

Nabil shrugged. “That’s what it’s like.”

“So where are you from?”

“Dearborn.”

“Ah, I mean—crap.”

He laughed as I backpedaled.

“Jordan,” he said, when I was fairly certain I might melt. “But I’m third generation. My grandparents live here in Michigan and so do all my aunts and uncles. I’ve only been to Jordan once. Met my third cousins. It was weird. My Arabic sucks; I took French in high school.” He grinned again.

“I took French, too.” Sort of. I’d only been in an actual French class for two years; my third year had gotten cut short by Edward.

Funny how even in my head, even six years later, I still couldn’t form the words Edward’s death.

“Was your dad’s town where you met Edward?”

My heart leapt into my throat.

“What?” I managed.

“Edward. The Asshole. Isn’t that his name? Will Edward?”

Oh. Right. Will Edward. Of course. The part of his new name I almost forgot to pay attention to.

“Yeah,” I answered, after I successfully recovered from the near heart-attack. “Yeah, that’s where I met him. Except I knew his brother better.”

“That’s right. The dude you used to date. Was he as big of a douchebag?”

“No.” Realizing what I’d implied, I added, “And Will isn’t a douchebag.”

Nabil rolled his eyes. “Sure he’s not. A tall blond guy with a body, and none of you girls care at all what he’s like as a person.”

“That’s not true! I just…knew him before all this.”

“Sure.” Nabil gestured toward the apartment building ahead of us. “Well, if he’s not a complete D-bag, maybe tonight he can prove it.”

“If he’s even here,” I muttered, and Nabil laughed again.

“Yeah, there is that.” I thought I heard him add, “Let’s hope he’s not,” under his breath.

Kelsey greeted us at the door and invited us in. Their apartment was on the second floor of a building with outdoor stairs, which was probably going to suck in about a month. She grabbed our coats and threw them over a chair.

“Make yourselves at home,” she said. “There’s snacks and stuff on the counter, there’s beer in the fridge, and the guys are watching…” She paused.

“Wisconsin,” Dan called.

“Wisconsin. Cheese. I don’t know who they’re playing.” She laughed. “Get food.”

I made my way over to the table, which was filled with bowls of chips, salsa and pretzels. There were about eight other people here already, milling around. The TV, a large flatscreen, was on, and was showing a football game. A small knot of guys stood huddled around it.

I didn’t see Carlisle.

That was, I didn’t see him until a small eruption occurred near the television, and I looked to see one of the players running down the field at top speed. Judging from the groans, I assumed it was the team we weren’t rooting for.

“Did you not see that, you morons?” a familiar voice piped up. “I could tell with my eyes closed that he was going to run that ball! Where the hell was the stop?”

A second later, Carlisle stood, a disgusted look on his face.

“Wisconsin needs to fire their defensive coordinator,” he said. “I mean, what was that? They’re playing Purdue.

“Purdue are fucks,” one of the other guys agreed. He slapped Carlisle on the back. “Can I get you another beer, man?”

My eyes immediately darted to Carlisle’s hand. Sure enough, his fingers were wrapped around the neck of a bottle that had a big cartoony orange sun on the front.

Was he actually drinking?

That answer must have been no, because he shook his head and said, “I’m still working on this one.”

As he looked toward the kitchen, his eyes landed on me. He only appeared slightly startled, which I guessed was an improvement.

“Hi,” I said, and waved.

He scowled, took what appeared to be a swig of the bottle, and plopped back down on the couch.

“Wisconsin’s going to blow this game if the defensive line doesn’t get its act together,” he said to no one in particular.

From across the room, Nabil shot daggers. When I made eye contact with him, he mouthed, “D-bag.”

I rolled my eyes and concentrated on filling my plate. College parties had never been my thing in undergrad, they were always filled with too much alcohol and crazy. The crazy, of course, being the bigger problem. But I was glad to see that graduate parties were much more sedate. The guys, it seemed, were mostly huddled around the football game, and the girls were gathered in the kitchen.

“Bella, do you want a beer?” Kelsey called.

“No,” I called. “It’s okay.” I had never been much for drinking. It reminded me a bit too much of Forks, to be honest—of the ways the bored high schoolers in such a small town had nothing other to do than drink cheap beer, Franzia, and Boone’s Farm. I didn’t care for the taste of alcohol, and although I’d been enough of a loner at Florida that my teetotalership hadn’t hurt my already crappy reputation, it hadn’t exactly made me more desirable either.

But then, I looked across the room. Carlisle was standing with some of the other guys near the chips. Every few seconds, Daniel or one of his friends would reach out, grab a handful of Cheetos or chips or pretzels and shove them into his mouth, in what had to be one of the grosser displays of masculinity. Then he would take a deep swig of his beer.

Carlisle, of course, didn’t reach for any food, but every now and then, his beer lifted to his lips briefly. Even from where I stood across the room, I could tell that his was old; it had long since lost the fresh-from-the-fridge sweat that hung on all the other guys’ bottles.

“On second thought,” I called to the kitchen, “what do you have?”

“A lot of Bell’s,” she called back.

For a second, I thought she’d somehow channeled Charlie. “Bells?”

“Oh. Sorry. It’s a brewery in K-Zoo…uh, Kalamazoo.”

Kalamazoo?

“Kalamazoo is a real place?”

Dan laughed and started snapping his fingers. “I got a beer…from Kalamazoo,” he sang, and the others laughed.

Kelsey leaned her head out of the kitchen and rolled her eyes. “Never mind my boyfriend. Yes, Kalamazoo is about an hour west of here. It’s a real city. And they make good beer.” She came out of the kitchen and thrust one of the bottles into my hands—it was the same as Carlisle’s, with the cartoony orange sun across the label.

“Thanks.”

“No problem. If you don’t like it, there are some other types in there, but Oberon is one of my favorites.”

“It’s sweet,” Dan said. “Just like my honey.” He pulled Kelsey into him and smacked his lips against her cheek. She rolled her eyes, but she was grinning.

Apparently I was one of the only sober ones.

That would probably end quickly, I thought, as I lifted the beer to my lips. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant—it tasted a little like an orange might, if you made an orange into a beer. But I didn’t notice much of it; I just chugged it down in large gulps, in between a conversation in which Kelsey started crabbing to one of Daniel’s friends about our Patients and Practices professor and looked to me for corroboration. I nodded and smiled and added “Yeah, yeah, totally,” at all the right times, while Kelsey and Nabil constructed most of the story.

When only a tiny bit was left in the bottle, I mumbled something about going to the dip table. Carlisle and a couple of the other guys had sat back down and were engrossed in the football game again—I kept hearing cheers and scattered applause, followed by the occasional groan or swearing at the referees.

Carlisle participated in all four types of outbursts, yelling right along the other guys.

“That’s it,” he called, clapping appreciatively. “Nice carry, Pedersen. Very nice carry.”

His beer sat on the side table next to him, still as warm and full as ever.

As I slipped past the table, I set mine next to it, then quickly picked his up. For a brief moment, his eyes flickered to me, to my hand with the full beer bottle, and then to the empty bottle on the end table. His eyes narrowed, but when I frowned back at him, his expression softened and he turned back to the TV.

The warm beer was even more gross than the cold beer had been, but I drank it in large gulps anyway. I’d have to keep a good eye on how fast the other guys were going through their drinks—Carlisle was a bit taller and heavier than almost all of them, and it would only make sense that he would finish his alcohol faster. And it wouldn’t matter, I supposed, if he didn’t seem to be getting drunk. His size would likely make it seem fine. And he could always claim he had a fast metabolism.

On the second one, Carlisle frowned at me when I swapped out his bottle, but he still played along with the charade and went to the kitchen to recycle my empty bottle and get himself a fresh one. He gave me a look of concern; I gave him a look back that I hoped said, I’m covering your ass here, knock it off.

I was surprised—I’d never cared much for beer, but this one went down relatively easy. I was on about number three or so when I moved over behind the couch.

“So explain this,” I said to one of Daniel’s friends.

“Explain…?”

“This. This thing.” I gestured to the TV.

He stared from my hand to the TV, and then back to me.

“Football?”

“Yes.” No time like the present, if this was going to be all that anyone talked about all evening. “This is the second football school I’ve gone to, and I’ve never been to a game.”

Somehow, that was easy to admit.

“Seriously?” The guy’s eyes bugged out. “Oh, dude, we’re going to have to fix that.” He twisted in his seat to holler into the main part of the living room. “Who is going to take…”

“Bella.”

“Who is going to take Bella to a football game?”

“I didn’t say I wanted to go to one,” I answered, but I found I was grinning.

It was Kelsey who answered first. “Bella, you’ve never been to a football game? Seriously? Like, not even high school?”

I shrugged. “My one high school was giant so I didn’t have to go, and the other one was tiny and they didn’t really have a team.” And the third one was entirely online from an inpatient psych ward, but I didn’t add that part.

“Well, shit, then,” Dan answered. “We’re going to have to take this chick to see some Wolverine football!”

There was a weird spattering of cheering, and the guy—Jon, I remembered—patted the seat next to him on the couch.

“We shall teach you the finer points of the game, then, Miss Bella,” he said, his voice oddly syrupy. I sat down, and found a warm arm slung over my shoulders. It felt kind of nice.

Carlisle, who was on my other side, suddenly went very stiff.

“Okay, so,” he said, pointing at the screen. “Wisconsin has the ball. They’re the team we want to win.”

“Why?”

“Because we beat them in the conference opener. So if they keep winning, they’re a really good team, and if we beat a really good team—”

“We’re an even really gooder team.”

Jon threw his head back and laughed. “You weren’t an English major, were you?”

“Neuropsychology.” The word was a little difficult to pronounce.

“That’s even really gooder,” Jon said, laughing. “So, yeah, our ranking improves the more they win. So we want them to win. So every time they go, they have four tries to move the ball down the field ten yards…”

Jon started to explain, gesturing to the screen every time something happened, and explaining things which still seemed vaguely disconnected in my head—first down, second down, punt, fair catch, something called a false start, and something else about interfering passing that caused the entire room to break out in booing and jeering and lots of “Purdue, you suck”.

Giggling, I yelled at the screen, too.

It was sort of freeing. Maybe this had been the kind of thing I’d missed out on in undergrad—yelling obscenities at the referees, cheering every time our team made it further down the field. Every now and then I’d yell at something and Jon or one of the other guys would go, “Nah, that was good!” and proceed to explain to me what was good about it, which generally made no sense. But it was still fun to yell about it.

I finished my beer and reached over Carlisle’s lap to put my bottle on the side table, but when I reached for his full one, he caught my wrist in a tight grip.

“Enough,” he muttered through clenched teeth.

Oh, so now he was going to acknowledge me? I twisted my hand out of his, which was difficult—Edward had always told me that he possessed the capability to crush my bones with a single errant grip.

He looked shocked.

“I’ll be right back,” I said. “Can I get that for you, Will?”

Carlisle glowered, but didn’t say anything when I picked up his bottle. This time I came back with two; one which I set next to him, and the other that I shoved between my knees and drank between plays.

Twenty minutes later, I was feeling a little lightheaded, but I swapped the bottles anyway. Jon had his arm around me almost full time now, which felt comfortable and which I didn’t think much of until a hand appeared out of nowhere and grasped mine.

“Bella, let’s get you something to eat,” Nabil said, shooting daggers at Jon and Carlisle both.

Good idea, I saw Carlisle mouth, and I stuck my tongue out at him. What he hell was he doing, anyway? He ignores me for weeks, then we show up at the same party, and all the sudden he wants to be a substitute father and keep an eye on what I’m doing.

Well, that ship sailed.

From somewhere, Nabil produced a sandwich—maybe from Dan and Kesley’s fridge?—and the next thing I knew, I was sitting on a stool at the table. It was ham and cheese and mayo and tasted amazing.

“This sandwich is unbelievable. More people should make sandwiches like this,” I told Nabil.

“That’s only because she hasn’t been to Zingerman’s,” Dan called.

I’d heard about Zingerman’s; it was this world-famous (well, okay maybe country famous, but it seemed like people from out of town knew it) deli in the Kerrytown area just north of downtown.

“Nah, this has got to be loads better than Zingermans.”

“Or…you’re just drunk,” Nabil answered, but he was grinning.

“I’m not drunk,” I told him, laughing. “It’s really good. You must have master sandwich making artistry in your blood.”

He rolled his eyes, but he’d put an arm around me. It felt nicer than Jon’s. “Yes. We are masters of good sandwich making in Dearborn. We make a lot of them.”

Kelsey guffawed at this.

“Yes,” she added. “Didn’t you know that you have to be good at sandwiches to make cars?”

“Hmmm?” I looked up. “What do cars and sandwiches have to do with each other?”

“They make cars in Dearborn, Bella,” Kelsey said. “It’s where the Ford plant is.”

“Oh.”

“And Nabil is from Dearborn.”

“And no good at making sandwiches,” Nabil added.

“Nah, that part you’re shitting me about,” I answered. “This is the best sandwich in the history of sandwiches.”

There was a tiny rustle on the couch, and then I saw the tall blond figure emerge. Carlisle’s look was a cross between pity and concern—over what? I stuck my tongue out at him again.

“Too bad you can’t have this,” I said, holding out my sandwich. “Because it is the best sandwich in the history of sandwicheses.”

For a split second, he looked stricken. But then he said coolly, “I’m sure it’s delicious. I’ll have to try Nabil’s extraordinary sandwiches some other time.” Turning to Kelsey, he said, “I think I’m going to get her home.”

“You can’t try Nabil’s sandwiches next time. You don’t eat food.” For some reason, this was hilarious, and I found myself doubled over laughing. “No seriously, guys. He doesn’t eat anything. No sandwich for you!”

I held it in the air.

Carlisle, who was eight inches taller than me, plucked it out of my hand.

“Bella, let’s go,” he said quietly.

I thought Nabil was going to body-block him, he stepped in so hard and so fast. “I got this, man,” he said. “I brought her here; I’ll take her home.”

Carlisle looked him up and down with this look of incredulousness, as though he was thinking like hell you will.

“I really think it’s safer if I take her,” he answered.

“It’s okay, he’s a vampire,” I told Nabil. “Very safe. Can’t kill him. And he’s super strong.” As soon as I said it, I clapped a hand over my mouth, and my stomach wrenched violently.

Had that actually come out of my mouth? What about the secret? How was it that the Volturi knew if someone violated the secret? Would they be coming right away, or could we outrun them?

“You’re a vampire?” Nabil frowned. “Remind me to bring a stake next time.”

Carlisle laughed—laughed? I was expecting to be dragged bodily out of the apartment.

“Stakes don’t work. I’m a super vampire,” he said. He flexed his muscles, then added, “Also, this is why you shouldn’t go to med school with your friends from high school. They don’t let you forget that you once thought LARP was cool.” He tugged my arm. “Let’s go, Bella.”

When the blast of sub-freezing air hit my face, I had a brief moment of clarity; enough to pull my own coat on over my shoulders, even though Carlisle, Kelsey, and Nabil were all shoving me into it.

A firm arm slid around my waist.

“If you let her fall…” Nabil’s voice said darkly.

“I’ve got it.”

“I don’t know. They always say I have two left feet,” I said, and giggled. “See? Left, and the other left.”

Carlisle rolled his eyes. “Yeah. I see. Let’s go.”

“Be careful on the stairs,” Kelsey called.

We were halfway down the first flight of stairs when I heard Nabil say, “So the Asshole is a LARPer? That’s new.”

Then the door closed and I couldn’t hear the party anymore.

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§ 12 Responses to Chapter 6"

  • StormDragonfly says:

    I enjoyed the chapter, as always! What a great surprise to see a posting today. :-)

    Unfortunately, I feel I suffered from the spoiler on this one. I saw a gChat teaser quote that you posted in your status months ago, and construed from it that Bella would get drunk at the party and Carlisle would take her home to prevent someone else from taking her home. And, of course, that she would give him a hard time about it afterward, since that was the actual quote you posted – which turned out not to be a part of this chapter. Alas!

    New things: Nabil’s interest in her, and Bella drunkenly non-outing Carlisle. Love the irony that it was the behavior meant to protect him that led to her speaking the big secret. It’s also a good thing that the party at the friend’s apartment was more of a mellow large group of friends than the crusher that she was dreading. Can’t imagine Carlisle in a crusher either. Someone might actually get crushed.

    Now I’m thinking about the physical ramifications of that. If Carlisle were in the middle of a standing-room-only party, surrounded by, let’s say, 30 people, would he cool down those closest to him, or might his own body temperature rise to match? If the latter, how many people would it take for his body temp to actually rise to something closer to human heat?

    Moving on, is Nabil sadly just another Mike Newton? Jon rolled with the flow, but Nabil was more high-strung about interacting with Bella.

    Looking forward to the “morning after” discussion between Bella and Carlisle, and the reaction of the partygoers to him taking her home.

    LARPing!

    • giselle says:

      Ah yes, I suppose I did spoil that one in my gChat, didn’t I? Sometimes I forget that people who are not my betas are in my chat box. Sorry! And yes, this chapter was stretching on super long, so I cut it at a good break point, but we didn’t get to the aftermath (which is fun).

      Carlisle in a crowd–I think according to SM’s theory, he’d freeze everyone around him. I actually think SM grossly misunderstands physiology, and so I tend to assume the Cullens *feel* cold simply because they have no circulation to speak of and that they take on the temperature of what’s around them. So that’s the headcanon behind anything I write about their body temps. Fortunately, though, not a problem here.

      As to Nabil, well…let’s just say I’m not a fan of any of the ways SM set up romance in her novels. Things were always way too pat, and Mike Newton was part of that. And that’s all I’ll say.

      Thanks for sticking with me!

  • Tina says:

    Carlisle the LARPer is brilliant! Way to pull off the cover-up.

    No matter what has passed, they try to protect each other. Interesting. I’m sure Carlisle feels an obligation – for Edward’s sake. And I guess Bella does, too.

    She still doesn’t seem to understand when guys are hitting on her. Yet she plays the role of flirt pretty well. lol

    I love the easy, fun moments, laced with the bittersweet memories of Edward and of what happened when he died.

    Always eager for another chapter. (Or sneak peeks.)

    • giselle says:

      C definitely gave me the save on that one with the comment. I should’ve known the characters would solve my dilemma if I let them. Also I love that now everyone is going to think that he’s into LARP.

      Bella not figuring out when a guy is interested in her is totally canon. :) But fun to play with, nevertheless.

  • Nichole says:

    Oh wow. This is another great chapter. I love that you constantly stir up more questions in my head. Why is Carlisle there? Obviously something is driving him there. Is it to keep an eye on Bella out of fear of responsibility? A need to protect her as that of a child or something more (obligation perhaps)? Is he playing hard to get and acting like other young men by acting like they do not care about said woman when really they focus on them 100%? What is he really struggling with in relating to Bella and her presence.

    I do appreciate the tender moments that you highlighted (the understanding that she was going to help him out by swapping his beer). I look forward to the conversation that is coming about her spilling his secrets.

    • giselle says:

      You’re asking all the right questions. Or rather, the ones I hope are occurring. And that’s quite a compliment so thank you! I’m pretty sure Carlisle has no idea what’s driving him, but I do. ;)

  • atonau says:

    Love the ‘like hell you will’ look.

    It’s always a little painful for me to see a character get drunk and lose self control. Carlisle does a good job covering for her, and of course Bella got that way because she was covering for *him*, but I still find it a bit uncomfortable to read (I can’t even sit through sitcoms…I always get too embarrassed for the characters). I think Bella is in for one hell of a conversation, and then one hell of a hang over. I did notice, though, that Carlisle was uncomfortable when Bella was getting attention from other men. It’s very fun to imagine what must be going through his mind (assuming that he’s self-aware enough to notice his reaction).

    I do so love this story, and the characters you’re developing. I think Carlisle especially is just fascinating. So much pain, and yet he hasn’t given up. They are both such survivors.

    Thank you for writing and sharing. As ever, I will patiently await the next installment.

    • giselle says:

      Ha ha, sorry. Maybe I should put in a trigger warning for drunkenness. :) It wasn’t the easiest thing to write, although it was fun trying to figure out how to convey that mismatch that happens between what you *think* you’re doing and what you’re actually doing when you’re drunk.

      Carlisle keeps drawing me back to this story. It’s one of the most fun ways I’ve ever written him. I hope the next installment won’t be too far out–a good chunk of it is written, I just realized I couldn’t make it all one chapter without losing momentum.

      Thank you for sticking with me.

  • fuzzyltlwingedthing says:

    Wow, I had almost forgotten about this story, but based on your blog post from a week or so ago you obviously didn’t. I had to re-read the entire thing, which isn’t a bad thing since you’re writing is so fabulous. My mind is going a dozen different ways where this story could be going. It will be interesting to see where you take it. I can’t imagine Carlisle and Bella getting together, but I can see her bringing the family back together, but where does that leave her? She wouldn’t want to be a vampire any more and live with a broken heart forever. Maybe she just gets as over it as she can and lives a happy life with vampires in her peripheral life. I can see that. I’m going with that until you clear it all up. Can’t wait to see where you take it!!!

  • Silver Nightingale says:

    Among your work, I’ve read (and favorited at FF) Ithaca is Gorges and Stregoni Benefici. You write in a very believable manner. Among the various stories I’ve read, I have to say that yours are among the best-written and best-presented. I truly have no idea how you achieve this (actually, i’m aware that it has something to do with your talent as a writer but still, it’s beyond that because writing a story is not just strictly writing a story).

    I am looking forward to the completion of this piece in particular. I’ve been searching for a good quality story featuring Carlisle and Bella and well, look at that, I’ve stumbled upon your majestic piece. It is nice to watch the good doctor actually get to pose his age for once. And Bella is very charming and very Bella as well. This is the first time I’ve read a story like this that has very nice characterization. All interactions among the characters were presented very fluidly. In fact, reading your work is like running a hand through cool water–very refreshing and very smooth.

    A truly want to extend my well-wishes to you, giselle. Reading your work is akin to experiencing magic. Never stop writing for as long as it brings a smile to your face to do so.

  • foufymaus says:

    I don’t know how i missed this update, for that i’m just… wow. But i did read it and I adored it. I loved how William (Carlisle) is beginning to go out in to the world again. Assuming that after Edward left ( I still don’t believe he’s dead, but that’s just me), Carlisle turned into himself. Which is how i assumed he did when he was without a companion at least before Edward.

    I liked the fact that Bella is still utterly clueless when people of the opposite gender expresses interest in her. Seriously, how could she not realize it was a date and that she was being flirted with by John. It’s very reminiscent of the Twilight novel. I remember Edward was the one pointing out that the thoughts of the other boys around her were of a covetous nature.

    The fact that they do have a shared history of affection and heartbreak is a plus. They seem to need each other if only to remember the boy they both loved. I think Bella helping Carlisle just shows how strong she really is emotionally. That even though she is still hurting that she has the compassion that had probably drew Carlisle in when she was with Edward.

    I believe that they both need each other to help grow and perhaps patch each other up emotionally. Which is how brilliantly this is written. With a small amount of coaxing and coaching, Carlisle is being invited to parties, he’s interacting with humans again. He’s relearning how to live again. With luck and support I hope he does get to the point where thinking of his son isn’t as devastating as it was.

    Bella and Carlisle need each other. :D Even if they find the presence of one another startling and discomforting. LOL Thanks for the update I loved it.

  • EdwardsMate4ever says:

    Oh. My. God. Bella! Don’t you ever get drunk again! Great save by Carlisle though – LARP, LOL. Classic.

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