Chapter Thirty-One: First Day

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I really like this chapter--in fact, it came to me all in one sitting (whihc never happens) and needed very little editing. Yay!! And I have only one more week of classes/grading and then I'll be DONE with SCHOOL for the summer!!! I have an idea for at least one more Twilight fan fic that I know you all will love; I'll start it after I submit final grades...the joys of being a teacher! LOL!

Also, if you have a fan fic you'd like me to read, I'll try to get to it after the 10th of June when I'm DONE!!! I'll have one more class to grade for after that, but I won't be pulling all-nighters like I will be all this week to finish my other classes. 

Enjoy this, vote, comment, fan, share, and please, please, PLEASE VOTE!! 

Chapter Thirty-One: First Day

Halfway home my cell phone vibrated in my pocket, and I halted in the midst of the forest. Pulling my phone from my jacket, I didn't bother checking the caller ID before whispering, “Yes?”

Alice's voice did not surprise me. “Edward, you're actually leaving her alone in that store?”

I closed my eyes. “I can't stay there all day, Alice. Bella wouldn't want me to 'spy' on her, especially not on her first day.”

Alice nearly snorted into the phone. “Yes, but what Bella doesn't know won't hurt her. This is Mike Newton we're talking about, Edward.”

I stiffened at her words, attempting to keep my voice calm. “Bella can handle him.” But I knew it would take very little persuasion on my sister's part for me to stay within hearing distance of Bella today...and perhaps keep an eye on her, even if it had to be through Newton's mind.

“Edward, I think you need to stay there. All day. Just for today.” Alice's voice was oddly insistent.

“Why?” I questioned, more concerned now. “Alice, what have you seen?”

“Trust me on this one. That's all I'm saying.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose between my fingers, then capitulated. “Very well, Alice. I'll go back to Newton's. But if Bella finds out and gets angry, I am blaming you completely.”

“You do that,” she retorted. I detected both her smile and satisfaction in her few words as she disconnected. Pressing the “end” button on my phone, I ghosted back to the woods that ringed Newton's Olympic Outfitters.

Moments later I was settling myself thirty feet above ground in an ancient spruce, only fifty yards from the sporting goods store. I was thankful to hear Mike's mother's voice as she finished giving Bella a tour of the store, explaining how they displayed their merchandise.

“We hired a marketing firm from Seattle to come out for a few days and help us with a plan,” Karen Newton told Bella proudly. Through her eyes I watched Bella nod, trying to take in all that she was being taught. I noted an addition to her wardrobe: a bright orange canvas apron with the logo for Newton's Olympic Outfitters across her chest. I smirked, preparing to tease Bella just a little when she got home about wearing her favorite color; Bella despised orange.

“Our main sellers here are the shoe department,” Mrs. Newton continued, “and the backpacking supplies. So they're in the back of the store to cause customers to walk through the other merchandise, hopefully seeing something else they may need or like.”

She then led Bella to the cash registers where Mike had just finished ringing up a sale of yoga gear for a young mother. “Have a nice day, Mrs. Anderson,” he said cheerfully, waving at the toddler in the jogging stroller she pushed in front of her. The child looked at Mike and promptly wailed, the mother giving Mike an indignant glance as she bent over to soothe her small daughter; Mike winced.

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