Chapter Forty-Five: Making Repairs

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Here's Chapter 45--I hope you like it!! We're definitely winding down to the end, but it may take more than the five chapters I've planned to get there. We'll may get a few more chapters out of me after all.... ;)

School is starting tomorrow, so I hope to be updating each weekend. Please be patient with me as I have A LOT of work to do once school begins! Teachers never rest, you know.... ;)

Chapter Forty-Five: Making Repairs

After running Bella to work, I returned to her home to start repairing the door and door frame I had destroyed this morning. After a very short time, the new door frame I had built from carefully-matched moldings was drying after an application of primer; the new door I had purchased from the hardware store was balanced on two sawhorses in the backyard, also drying after a coat of varnish that perfectly matched the other doors upstairs. I seriously doubted that Charlie would ever notice the new door and frame as I was matching the new components with extreme care.

While the primer and varnish dried, I drove Bella's truck over to our house where, after donning automotive coveralls to protect my clothing, I changed the oil myself in our garage, using Rosalie's wheeled backboard to roll myself beneath the truck. While I worked, I couldn't help marveling that, despite its age, her truck was actually in great shape mechanically...with no thanks to Jacob Black's care and expertise.

I attempted to crush the envious thought; he was a mere boy who had known Bella since childhood. How then could I blame him for his admiration of Bella when so many others felt the same way about her? I sighed; so many boys were taken with Bella's outward appearance, but I was the only one who knew and adored her inner beauty which was of far greater value than the lovely package containing it.

But did Jacob know Bella as well as I did? It was a definite possibility.

Groaning to myself, I maneuvered my mind away from thoughts of Jacob and back to the topic of vehicles. Despite her protestations, I still dreamed of purchasing Bella a little Audi coupe—in a muted charcoal gray. It would be perfect for her. Fast, light, easy to drive, and safe, very safe—which was of the utmost importance for Bella, of course. Fate still seemed to be gunning for her, and keeping her protected and safe from all harm had indeed become a full-time job, one I accepted gladly and with full knowledge of the privilege I had been granted.

But for some strange reason beyond me, Bella adored this behemoth of a truck, so I resolved to keep my wishes to myself regarding the Audi and continue to maintain her truck well, keeping it in excellent repair. Its size and weight, while insuring poor gas mileage, at least kept Bella relatively safe. After all, it was nearly as indestructible as I was.

As I finished the oil change and minor maintenance, I rolled myself out from under the truck as Esme hurried a small basket out to the garage: lunch for Bella.

“I made her a chicken salad with pecans and dried cranberries, and I packed some cherries and a peach for her,” Esme explained. “Do you think she'll like it?”

I quickly removed my oil-splattered coveralls before hugging my mother. “It's perfect,” I assured her, kissing her cheek. “Bella will love it. Thank you.”

Esme returned my hug and kiss, then disappeared back into the house. I smiled, rejoicing in the love my family felt for Bella. She truly deserved it, too.

Moments later I was parking Bella's truck behind the sporting goods store in one of the dedicated employee spaces. Knowing that it was nearly time for Bella's lunch break, I rounded the building, entering through the front customer entrance, Esme's basket in hand. As I approached the register, I attempted to ignore Mike Newton's rather lewd thoughts as he eyed Bella who was standing on a ladder, stacking boxes of hiking boots into neat rows above a display. Because Newton's eyes were glued on Bella's derriere, he didn't notice my entering the store. But I couldn't quite suppress the growl that emanated from my chest at his thoughts.

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