Sorry for the delay--I ran into a wee smidge of writer's block on this chapter. The good news: it's longer than usual, over 3000 words. So I hope that the added length helps to make up for the delay. Enjoy!!!! And please vote, fan, like, comment, etc. Thanks!!
Chapter 42: Summer Nights
Bella moved back to her home the second day of August and returned to work at Newton's a few days later. I greatly missed her constant presence in our home, mourning more than a little (as Alice pointed out more than once) when Bella insisted upon going home to care for her father. When she picked up her job again, working only two days per week for her first two weeks back, according to Carlisle's orders, I missed her even more. Although I attempted to mask my sullen mood in front of Bella, at least, my family was all-too-aware of my darker attitude as I spent hours pacing in my room, unable to be at peace until I was in the presence of my beautiful girl once again.
Of course, I spent every moment with her that I could, especially with summer slipping past us all too quickly; only three weeks remained until the Labor Day holiday weekend; our final year at Forks High began the following day. And then Bella's eighteenth birthday arrived exactly a week after the first day of classes.
Alice was already plotting a huge surprise party to celebrate Bella's birthday, blatantly ignoring my dire warnings that Bella would despise such a public celebration. My sister was planning to invite nearly the entire senior class and even debated having a swimming pool installed behind the house so that she could host a pool party with a Hawaiian theme, complete with grass skirts on all the tables, fresh plumeria leis overnighted from Honolulu's best florist, and actual Hawaiian beach sand around the edges of the pool area.
I definitely had my work cut out for me in reducing Alice's wild plans into something that Bella would actually not hate with a passion. Not that Bella would enjoy any celebration, but I would have to acquiesce to at least a small family party to partially appease my dynamo of a sister—a party complete with a specially-designed cake (even though Bella would be the only one to consume it) and lavish gifts that Bella would certainly object to.
My dream celebration of Bella's birthday was quite different from what either Alice or Bella would consider: I desperately wanted to fly Bella to Paris for Labor Day weekend (on the supersonic Concorde to make the most of our limited time), spending several days alone together, showing her the sights of the most romantic city in the world. But I knew my love too well: Bella would cringe at the money spent on the extravagance of such a trip, and Charlie's objections would be vociferous despite the fact that my motives were pure (well, mostly pure), so I didn't dare mention my wishes. Nor was I foolish enough to bring up Alice's extravagant party plans, hoping that my pixie-of-a-sister would envision Bella's severe distress and change her lavish plans without my interference (and thus I could possibly escape Alice's considerable wrath).
And as much as I desired to shower Bella with expensive gifts to celebrate her birthday, I knew better. She had already bound me to a vow of not spending any money on gifts for her. In fact, she had extracted such promises from my entire family and even from her own parents. Bella was adamant about keeping her birthday completely under wraps at school and minimizing all family efforts to celebrate her in any way.
So I did not dare to mention my wishes for the Paris trip to Bella as I had heard far too much grumbling about her upcoming birthday already. Apparently Bella despised the fact that on her birthday she would be eighteen, a year older than my so-called “age.” No matter how many times I attempted to persuade her that I was truly 107 and that she had nothing to worry about, she pouted in silence, her deep brown eyes both frustrated and sad.
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