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Bella wanted to dislike Esme, she honestly wanted to, but the woman made it impossible. She managed to pull out some of her secrets, the fact that she had no family left, and one of the reasons she bought a money pit cabin on the mountain.

"Just let him take care of the repairs until Emmett gets your money back." Emmett was the local sheriff, and apparently, had been waiting for a reason to hunt Jacob down like the dog he was.

"Fine, but money isn't the problem," she said and took a sip of the lemonade Esme gave her. "Nobody has time, and with fall and winter nearly around the corner, I don't want to be stuck with a drafty, cold house."

Esme nodded and drank deeply from her own glass. "Understandable, honey. Why don't you stay for dinner and then you can talk business with Edward, if you're so determined to pay for his services."

Bella tried not to think of what kind of services she'd like Edward to perform, but she wasn't successful, at all. Not that she'd ever had to pay for that kind of thing.

"Mom?" Bella heard the deep, rough voice come from the back kitchen door. "Don't tell me you gave her your homemade lemonade."

"Of course, I did," Esme said, hiccupping. Her glazed eyes widened, and from the way she swayed in her seat, Bella thought she was well on the way to being drunk.

She looked at her drink, shrugged, and drank the rest. "Yeah! Of course, she did. What's wrong with that?"

"Yes, son, what's wrong with that?" Esme stood up and walked, more like stumbled her way to the subzero freezer in the kitchen.

Bella eyed Edward, noticing that time had certainly escaped her. The sun was setting behind him, silhouetting him to perfection. He was tall, on the lean side, but built like her dream. She had left the house soon after Edward decided to go against her wishes and work on her damn porch anyway. Her intention was to see Esme and to check on Carlisle; maybe even talk some sense into them.

That visit had turned into a lovely lunch after they sprung Carlisle from the hospital. Other than bruises and a sore throat, he was doing well. Last time Esme checked, he was still sleeping. Personally, Bella thought he likely quickened his release since all the nurses were clamoring for a shift on his floor. Esme, for all her poise and grace, had a bit of a jealous and possessive streak. Same with Carlisle; that man was handsy, too, when he was loopy.

"What's the matter?" Bella asked a little too firmly. "Ain't I good enough for your mom's prized lemonade?"

"You're drunk." He walked over to the sink, washed his hands, and carefully led his mother to the chair she had vacated. "I'll get you another one, Mom."

Esme looked lovingly up at her son, patting his hand. Bella felt an ache twinge in her heart at the picture, reminding her of long ago memories. "That's a good boy."

Bella snorted, earning a glare from the good boy. "What?" She held up her drink. "Don't blame me for the state your mother is in. I had no idea there was alcohol in the lemonade." Edward took her glass as he rolled his eyes. She ogled his butt.

It was right there!

That's her story, and she's sticking to it.

His ass was perfect and something that looked chiseled and firm. She wanted to bite it.

"Bite what?" Esme asked, offering Bella some cheese and apples, all on a fancy plate.

"Your son's ass."

The sound of glass breaking reverberated around the room, followed by a series of expletives that made her blush, and Esme's eyes widened comically. Bella winced as the kitchen door slammed closed.

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