From the Desktop of Bella Swan
Saturday, August 14
Healthy Horizons Day Spa was the polar opposite of Cullen and Cullen, PC.
As I waited nervously for my appointment with Katrina Denali, I wandered the front of the spa, which was a retail cornucopia of new-age remedies. I sniffed the essential oils, feng shui candles and bath products designed to calm and soothe. I perused the selection of health-related books that suggested ways to treat my recurring back problems. But I couldn’t stop glancing to the anterior of the building, which was divided into numerous private rooms for massages, facials, steam therapy and more. I wasn’t sure how I was going to react upon seeing Kate again, or what I would say to her. I was hoping that she would take the lead and somehow make this easier on me. I wished desperately that I was in Edward’s massage room now, stripped down to my underwear and climbing under the flannel sheet, waiting for him to come and lay his hands on me.
“Bella, so good to see you!” a faintly familiar voice greeted me. I quickly put the candle I’d been inhaling back on the shelf and turned to face Katrina Denali--all six feet of her. It seemed like it, anyway. She was nearly as tall as Edward.
“Good to see you, too,” I managed, trying to return a fraction of her toothy smile.
“I’m so glad you decided to let me help you and Edward out,” she continued as she approached. “He’s very concerned that you continue to get the proper treatment for your back. Why don’t we go talk a bit, and then get started?” She motioned for me to follow her to the back of the spa and I obeyed.
Katrina ushered me into a massage room only faintly reminiscent of the one at Cullen and Cullen. It was a bit more austere, in pale shades of cream, yellow and blue; far less darkly sensual than Edward’s. The music playing softly in the background was soothing and tranquil, but not as exotic. And Kate’s blonde, blue-eyed lightness was in direct contrast to Edward’s green-eyed intensity.
“I know it’s none of my business, but I’m really excited that Edward decided to refer you,” she said as she closed the door behind us. She motioned for me to take a seat next to her desk, then joined me in her matching blue office chair. “He’s been wrestling with this situation with you for a few weeks now. His one ironclad rule is that he won’t get personally involved with clients. Besides, he really wanted to be the one to help you. He’s got a bit of a God complex that way,” she said with a wry laugh. “But he obviously decided that a personal relationship with you was more important to him. That’s a big step for him.”
I stared at her, stunned into silence. She had just shed some much-needed light on Edward’s motivations, and it struck me how much my reaction must have upset him. I suddenly felt like a bit of an idiot for my irrational behavior the other day.
My dismay must have been apparent, for Kate’s smile faded and she asked, “Is everything okay? I’m sorry if I overstepped. It’s not my place to comment on your personal life, I know. It’s just that Edward is one of my dearest friends, so when I see how happy you make him, I want to do whatever I can to help you two out.”
“That’s very thoughtful of you,” I said, feeling a bit queasy. “I’m not sure how happy he is with me right now, though. I may have overreacted a bit when he told me he wasn’t going to be my therapist anymore. It’s nothing personal against you.” Well, not completely. “It’s just that I really felt like I was improving with his help,” I faltered.
“It’s normal for clients to feel apprehensive about switching therapists. I’m sure he understands. And I’m going to do my best to follow his recommendations to the letter so that you keep improving exactly the way he would want you too,” she assured me. She picked up a couple of fax pages from her desk and looked them over. I glanced at them and saw several paragraphs hand-written in an elegant scrawl that could only belong to Edward. I wondered what he had written about me.
“Emmett and Edward sent me some notes about the care they’ve given you so far,” she said as she perused the faxes. “It looks like you’ve been making good progress.”
“I have,” I agreed. “At least, I think so. I guess that’s why I was afraid to make a change.”
“Edward and I took a lot of the same courses together in school,” she informed me. “We’re both fully trained in the type of myofascial work he’s been performing on you. I have no intention of changing his methods or doing anything other than what he’s outlined here. He was very thorough and clear in his recommendations for you.”
I blushed, secretly pleased. “He is kind of bossy.”
Kate laughed, a rich bell tone ringing throughout the room. “He can be,” she agreed. “In this case, though, I agree with him. Now, I’m going to have you stand up so I can examine you before we get started.”
I dutifully rose from my chair while she eyeballed me up and down. She then moved behind me and gently ran her hands over my shoulders and down my back, her fingers finding and probing the various trouble spots as she went.
“Okay,” she announced as she stepped away and headed for the doorway. “I’m going to let you undress and get situated on the table. I’d like you to lie face down for the first part of the massage. I think you’ll be okay if I keep it brief,” she smiled. I cringed as I realized that Edward must have detailed my reaction the first time he ever worked on me. I wondered what else he had revealed about me to her.
I undressed and tossed my hastily-folded clothes on the chair next to the desk. As I turned toward the massage table, a framed photo on the other side of the desktop caught my eye. I recognized the two women in the picture: Kate, and the redhead with whom she had waltzed through the door of Billy’s the night I hid and watched Edward perform with Jasper. I wouldn’t have thought anything about a photo of Kate with her friend, except that there was something about their posture that spoke of much more than friendship. The redhead was seated on the grass in a scenic locale with Kate behind her, arm thrown possessively across her in a close embrace as she grinned over the redhead’s shoulder. The redhead clasped Kate’s wrist; their foreheads were pressed together. Their faces beamed with happiness. It looked remarkably like an engagement photo. I gaped openly at the image as the question popped into my head: Was Katrina Denali a lesbian?
I instantly remembered Alice Cullen’s statement that hell would freeze over before anything ever happened between Kate and Edward. He always acted like I was being silly whenever I indicated I was jealous of her, but he never revealed exactly why. Maybe he felt it wasn’t fair to bring her sexual orientation into our arguments; or maybe he enjoyed making me jealous, as payback for his unwarranted worries about Jake. I didn’t put that past him. The possibility of Kate swinging the other way--away from Edward--filled me with a giddy sense of relief.
I climbed upon the massage table, considerably more relaxed than when I’d first arrived. Regardless of her relationship with Edward, Kate’s warm, easygoing demeanor made it hard to dislike her. In a way, it was comforting to know that these were the sorts of people Edward surrounded himself with now, instead of lowlifes like James. As I rested my face in the donut hole, I couldn’t help but think back to my first massage with Edward, when I mistakenly had thought Emmett was working on me. I longed to see Edward’s untied shoelaces in my line of vision now, knowing that his touch on my neck would be the next thing I’d feel.
Instead, my down-turned eyes were soon met with the sight of a pair of neatly tied, brightly-colored tennis shoes after Kate knocked and entered the room. I wondered if she’d be meeting Edward for a match later, and if that was something they did regularly. I’d never wished so hard for someone to be a lesbian before--ironic in light of the fact that she soon would be running her hands all over me.
She announced that she was going to work primarily on my upper body today, which was unsurprising given the still-sensitive nature of my tailbone. She told me that next week she would address that issue more directly.
Katrina’s fingers were long like Edward’s, but lacking his masculine strength. My muscles still responded to the methods she employed because they were methods my body recognized. As the minutes ticked by, I had to acknowledge that it was much easier to relax with her, knowing that the hands manipulating me were not Edward’s. I was unable to perceive her touch as sexual because it wasn’t his. Instead, I was able to concentrate on the feel of my tissues softening and stretching under her gentle but insistent pressure. Why did Edward always have to be right about everything?
“You feeling okay?” she asked as she made her way slowly down my back.
“I’m fine,” I nodded into the donut hole. “Really good, actually.”
“Your muscles are responding very well, much better than what Edward described at the beginning of your treatment. He’s a very gifted therapist.” Her tone was admiring, almost envious.
“He’s wonderful,” I concurred, the words slipping out almost wistfully.
“Well, I’m going to do my best to continue in that vein. Now, I’d like you to roll onto your back. I’m going to work on your neck and shoulders a bit.”
I obeyed, careful to keep the sheet covering my body as I maneuvered onto my back. Kate, with her bodacious mammaries, didn’t need to witness my glaring lack thereof. Not that she would care anyway, with a gorgeous girlfriend like the redhead, assuming that was their relationship.
Katrina coated her hands with a lavender-smelling lotion before working my pectorals, shoulders and neck. She even swirled her hands up into my hair, gently massaging my scalp and literally pulling the tension from my jaws and forehead. She really was nearly as good as Edward; and after she was done, I told her so.
She smiled and said, “Well, those are pretty big shoes to fill, so I’ll take that as a compliment.”
I tried to muster the courage to ask her about the photograph on her desk, but could come up with no unobtrusive way to do it. I decided I would ask Alice about my suspicions after I left the spa.
When I had called Alice to tell her I couldn’t make yoga class due to Rosalie’s hi-jacking of my Saturday, she had decided to ditch exercise in favor of joining us. The day after Jasper agreed to escort her to the Black and Red Ball, she ran out and bought herself a dress; but that apparently didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for helping Rosalie and I shop for ours. I already knew I would be the odd woman out on this day of traditional female pampering. Rose and Alice had been gearing up for a day of shopping and facials like athletes psyching themselves up for a big game. I wondered if I could get away with being merely a bench-warmer this time around. I already knew the answer to that. They’d drag me into the fray anyway, so I might as well be a good sport about it.
I dressed quickly after Kate finished our session, then met her at the front desk to set up an appointment for next week, same time. I was still disappointed to be meeting with her instead of Edward, but if he had arranged this so that he and I would be free to see each other, I’d be stupid to harbor any ill will toward either of them.
An hour later over lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, Rosalie concurred.
“You’re looking at this all wrong,” she declared with a wave of her avocado egg roll. “If you start dating Edward, you can finagle the massages for free.”
“Huh, good luck with that,” Alice rebutted from the seat next to mine in our restaurant booth. “I think he used me once as a guinea pig while he was in school. After he got his license, he refused to touch me without payment up front. Mercenary.”
“Well, how was the massage with Kate, anyway? Was it that bad?” Rosalie asked.
“No, she’s actually really good. Not the same as Edward, of course, but I doubt anyone is.” I suddenly remembered my question for Alice and turned to her. “I saw a very interesting photo on Kate’s desk, of her hanging on some gorgeous female redhead, looking a little… Sapphic. Is that why you told me not to worry about her and Edward? Is she…?”
Alice’s peals of laughter stopped my question in its tracks. “A lesbian? Totally! The redhead is her fiancee, Victoria. You mean Edward never told you that?”
“No,” I admitted, feeling a little irritated with him all over again. “He always told me not to worry about her, but he never said why.”
Rose let out a scornful laugh. “Well, of course he never told you! It was in his best interest to keep you guessing, especially if he’s been worried about Jake. Men,” she snorted, shaking her head.
Alice looked apologetic. “I just assumed he had told you. I really can’t make any excuses for him--he should have been upfront with you, especially when he referred you to her for treatment. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I mean, her sexual orientation is really none of my business. Besides, Edward keeping that from me helps alleviate my guilt over what I said to him the last time we spoke,” I sighed.
Both girls were silent, their faces curious. I didn’t want to admit the crack I’d made about him not being a real doctor. It was a low blow I never should have delivered, no matter how upset I was at that moment.
“I said something pretty hurtful that I wish I could take back,” I finally admitted, looking down at my plate and pushing the last few bites of crab cake around with my fork.
“Bella, trust me, Edward doesn’t fault you for anything that happened,” Alice said carefully. I knew she had probably spoken with him and was most likely trying to figure out which of our confidences to keep. “He’s the king of self-blame. The way he told you he was sending you to Kate wasn’t exactly tactful. Which is very unusual for him, by the way.” She munched thoughtfully on a shrimp roll. “You know, I think that’s actually a good thing--the way you keep Edward off balance. He’s become far too self-contained and controlled all the time. He’s been playing it safe for awhile. It’s time for him to stop, and I think he finally realizes that.”
“Sounds like Edward and I have more in common than I thought,” Rosalie commented. “Your other brother has been doing a good job of turning my world upside down lately,” she added to Alice with a slightly perturbed grin.
“That works both ways,” Alice replied happily. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that fire in Emmett’s eyes over a girl. He is completely smitten. And unlike Edward, I’m sure he wouldn’t even care that I’m telling you that.”
“He is an open book. It’s refreshing,” Rose agreed. “And kind of irresistible, after most of the game-players I usually attract.”
“God, this is so awesome,” Alice suddenly exclaimed, looking back and forth between me and Rose. “I can’t believe my brothers finally found cool girls they really like, who already know each other. It’s like kismet. We are going to have so much fun at the ball next week! I can feel it.” Alice’s leg began its requisite pumping and the booth bounced in accompaniment.
“Well, there is the slight problem that my dinner date is actually Jake,” I reminded her, glaring across the table at Rosalie. She appeared unfazed.
“A technicality,” she said dismissively. “I got you there, right? I had no way of knowing if Edward would ever get around to asking you.”
“He did wait too long,” Alice agreed. “He forgot the ball was even coming up. Boys are so clueless, and my brothers are no exception.”
“Boys are allergic to anything requiring them to dress up and act like civilized human beings,” Rose intoned.
“I can’t wait to see Jasper in a suit,” sighed Alice. “I might have to break my three-proper-dates-before-sex rule if he looks as devastating as I think he will.”
“Ah, the three-date rule. That’s a good one. Definitely hard to follow sometimes, especially with the Cullen brothers,” Rose said, giving me a knowing wink.
“Well, if my complete communication breakdown with Edward after last weekend is any indication, the three-date rule should definitely be enforced,” I said glumly. I wondered if things would have turned out differently if I had just stayed in my room Saturday night and let Edward and his stubbed toe fend for themselves.
Alice gave me a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry about it. Edward’s not going anywhere. He’s so jealous over you bringing Jake to this party that his eyes are ten shades greener than normal. You should see the suit he bought this morning--midnight black Gucci, being fitted like a glove as we speak. I didn’t even have to nag him to go to the tailor. He wants to look good, and I know damned well there is only one reason for that,” she concluded, waggling her eyebrows at me.
I tried once more to picture Edward in a suit, long and lean and dashing. I knew he would pull it off spectacularly. I suddenly felt a little more serious about our impending dress-shopping excursion. I wanted the impression-making effort to be a two-way street.
“He bought a new suit for this? The boy is serious, Bella,” Rosalie agreed. “You need to up your hot factor, chica. Luckily, you are in very good hands.”
Rose and Alice exchanged self-assured smirks. “I love makeovers,” Alice said with relish. “Not that you need one, Bella. Just a little fine-tuning.”
“Great,” I sighed in surrender. “Tune away, ladies.”
I put myself in their capable hands for the rest of the afternoon. The only (and obvious) rule for attire at the Black and Red Ball was that it be mostly black, red, or some combination thereof. Rose and Alice dragged me to most of the big-name department stores downtown, as well as some designer boutiques, in search of appropriate dresses. The price tags were well out of my budget in most cases. Money never seems to be an object for Rosalie, and I’m not sure if she has credit card debt up to her keister or if her parents help her out. Perhaps I’ll be in for a sizeable pay increase if I ever work my way up to her position at Java Noise. All I know is that Rosalie didn’t blink an eye when the strapless, floor-length crimson gown she fell in love with had a $750 price tag attached. We all agreed that it was stunning the minute she walked out of the dressing room in the curve-hugging dress, which was dotted with exquisite beadwork along the bodice and trailing down the split floor-length skirt.
“You look like Jessica Rabbit,” I exclaimed.
“Emmett is going to bust something when he sees you in that,” Alice proclaimed.
“That’s exactly the idea,” Rosalie said with a quirk of one eyebrow. We knew the dress was a done deal, and so was Emmett.
Now all that remained was to find something for me, plus shoes and accessories, of course. I had tried on several things in half a dozen stores, but nothing was right. Either they didn’t fit well, were too froufrou for my taste, or were the wrong color. I was beginning to despair in spite of the girls’ assurances that we wouldn’t rest until we found the perfect dress. “I want Edward to shit himself when he sees you,” Alice insisted poetically.
“I’d rather he didn’t,” I laughed, “though there are other involuntary reactions that I wouldn’t object to.”
“Ha-ha, fine. I really can’t think about that the fact that my brothers have penises, though, I’m sure you understand.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about that fact, unfortunately. Ever since last Saturday, an undeniable resolve had taken root deep inside me: I intended to make Edward Cullen’s manhood hard as a rock the next time I had the opportunity. I wanted him sober and suffering with desire for me. I’d condemn him to enduring the Black and Red Ball with blue balls half the night if need be. I simply had to make him want me as much as I wanted him. And I had to find The Dress that would do the job.
The miracle happened just as I was about to give up all hope. I had begun to flip through racks of garments that weren’t even my size, just in case there was something hiding somewhere that I had missed. And suddenly there it was: a stunningly simple black gown in my size that had ended up on the wrong rack. I pulled it out and looked it over; it appeared that it would fit. I practically ran to the dressing room before Alice and Rose even knew where I had gone.
It was an elegant long-sleeved wrap dress, tying underneath at the waist and then draping through a wide, simply ornamented belt before falling in a long train at the back. Every step I took would reveal my legs as the wrap-front opened and flowed behind me. The fabric formed a deep V down my chest, revealing more flesh than I normally dreamed of showing in public. But my decided lack of cleavage made the neckline less shocking somehow, and the way the fabric gathered as it met the belt seemed to add some dimension to the curves I did have. From the back, the dress clung in all the right places, hugging and accentuating my backside in a rather sexy way.
A slow smile spread across my face as I looked at myself in the mirror. This was the one.
I exited the dressing room and went in search of Rose and Alice. I found them in the shoe department, debating the merits of pumps that either matched or contrasted with the dress. I cleared my throat loudly until both looked up. Their expressions were all I needed to cement my decision.
“Be-e-ella-a!” Alice squealed, rushing up and grabbing my arms as she looked me up and down. “This dress is amazing. You look a-ma-zing! You must get it. Are you going to get it? You have to get it. Edward is going to shit when he sees you in this. Holy mackerel on a cracker.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at Alice’s enthusiasm. I was actually pretty excited to see Edward’s reaction myself.
“Turn around,” Rose ordered from her chair, where she sat with one strappy red shoe on her foot and the other in her hand. I obeyed, turning and giving her a melodramatic sexy look over my shoulder.
“Your ass looks incredible in that. Your legs, too. You get the right shoes to go with that and Edward doesn’t stand a chance. Not to mention Jake, or half the guys at this party.”
I felt a blush warm my cheeks at their compliments. For the first time in my life, I began to look forward to an occasion in which I had to play dress-up. I was even interested in trying on shoes, and left the dress on while I did so. Rose was on a mission as well, and we both decided that contrasting colors were better: she chose a pair of stacked black pumps, while I went for something similar in red. I was hesitant to cheapen the elegant look with red shoes, but Rose and Alice both thought that if I got a matching clutch, it would be in keeping with the Go Red For Women theme. I found closed-toe pumps in a deep scarlet color that managed to look classy rather than trashy, and I strolled around in them for a bit to make sure I could do it without falling down.
I was so happy about my purchases that, like Rose, I didn’t even look at the price tags until I took them to the register. I nearly had heart failure when the clerk rang them up. I felt a horrible pang of guilt as I handed over my credit card, but then I came to a decision: I would take cash out of the settlement to pay for them if I had to. You know I’ve never spent a dime of that money on anything frivolous. But somehow this time I knew you’d approve.
I was actually ready for our trip to the salon after our shopping excursion. I never knew shopping could be so exhausting. At least I could relax at the spa while they exfoliated and moisturized and whatever else they planned to do to my complexion.
“I hope you like this place,” Rosalie grinned as she ushered Alice and I through the towering glass door and into a serene ocean-colored waiting area. “This week they’ll do the facials and waxing so our skin has time to recover. Next week we’ll be back for hair, make-up and nails before the party.” Her eyes were aglow with anticipation.
“You really live for this kind of stuff, don’t you?” I commented with a laugh. “How did you ever get into the music business?”
“Eh, the pampering only feeds my ego. Music feeds my soul,” she replied. Succinct, insightful comments like that one always remind me why I like Rosalie Hale despite her deceptively superficial appearance.
Moments later, the three of us were lined up like monkeys in one of the many spa rooms, our freshly scrubbed faces covered in some kind of aromatic green goo, cucumbers over our eyes. We reclined in thick terry spa robes and laughed about what the boys would say if they saw us now.
After the masks were wiped clean and various toners and emollients were gently rubbed into our skin, we were each taken to private rooms for further grooming. A no-nonsense looking Asian girl invited me to lie down on the spa table after studying my face and announcing, “We wax your eyebrows and upper lip. You have little bit of shadow there.” She pointed at the corners of my mouth.
“Well, I am a brunette,” I grumbled as she prepared the hot mixture at a nearby table.
“What about down there? How much you want removed?” She turned and pointed in the area of my crotch.
I stared at her blankly. “What are you talking about?”
She picked up a card that presumably contained the spa treatments Rose had ordered. “Your bikini wax. You want a landing strip, or you want it all off?”
I stared at her some more. “You--you have me down for a Brazilian?” I finally stuttered. Clearly Rose had no clue about my fear of waxing. Obviously, since she was my boss, we’d never discussed it.
“Yes, full wax. You want legs too?”
“No, I’ll just shave those,” I said with a shudder. The idea of waxing my legs entailed far too much skin being tortured than I could possibly bear. But something about the bikini wax held a certain appeal, in light of Edward’s proclivities. He had spent quite a bit of time in that area. I was hoping he’d feel like doing that again. Maybe it would be nice to have it all smooth and bare and…ready for him. Just thinking about it made me ready.
She approached with the pot of warm wax and a small wooden stick, then leaned in and dotted the sticky substance around my eyebrows to catch any stray hairs. She followed suit with my upper lip. As she pressed small strips of cloth into the wax, she asked the million dollar question again.
“Leave landing strip? Or remove all the hair?” Her hand hovered near the opening of my spa robe. I ignored the stab of panic in my stomach and forced myself to say the words.
“Take it all off.”
I’m not sure my bravery has been tested to such a degree in quite some time. First came the humiliation of every intimate part of me, front to back, being coated in hot wax and pressed firmly with cloth strips by a complete stranger. Then came the waiting period as my pubic hair and the cloth adhered to the cooling wax, while I tried to brace myself for the impending pain. It’ll be quick, I reminded myself. It’s just hair. You’ll be fine.
The tiny bit of calm that I had managed to achieve disappeared the minute the Asian girl returned to my room to finish the job. I squeezed my eyes shut as she approached. The sting of the tiny cloths being yanked from my face was sharp but brief. The technician applied some soothing balm to the spots and smiled as she viewed her handiwork.
“Okay, you ready?” she asked as she made her way south. “Hang onto sides of the table. I do it fast. You be fine,” she said authoritatively with a brief smile.
I held in the screams as the girl ruthlessly and repeatedly ripped what felt like three layers of skin from my entire groin. I felt like I was on fire, my crotch burned raw and radiating with pain. What have I done? I’ll never be able to have sex again! was my first agonized thought.
The technician only smiled down at my hairless pussy, evidently pleased with the results of her chamber of horrors. She closed the spa robe over me and reached for a tube of cream on the nearby table. “Here, you put this on now and repeat later as necessary. You be fine in a day or two.”
After she left, I dabbed the ointment gingerly on my smarting skin. I had to take a look at myself in the hand mirror she had left on the table to see how bad it was. I was surprised to see that my flesh looked fairly normal, save for its bright pink appearance at the moment. It was strange seeing myself that way, completely hairless, every detail of my genitals clearly visible with the slightest parting of my legs. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. I wasn’t sure what Edward would think, either. But I felt oddly brazen about the decision, now that it was done. Besides, the hair would grow back in no time anyway.
I dressed carefully, hoping my panties wouldn’t rub too much on my tender skin. I was sure I was walking a little funny, too, like I’d just survived a weekend-long sex marathon. Hopefully the next time I was sore like this, that would be the reason.
“God, that bikini wax is always a bitch, isn’t it?” Rose said in far too chipper a tone as I slowly approached the front of the salon where she and Alice waited. Maybe they got bikini waxes all the time and it didn’t take them as long as mine apparently did. I really didn’t feel like asking.
I smiled weakly. “Yeah, you could say that.”
“Oh, but it makes for such amazing sex,” she sighed in obvious pleasure. Alice raised her eyebrows and nodded in agreement. I only hoped I’d soon get the chance to find out, and that my nether regions would be sufficiently recovered enough to enjoy it.
“So how do you feel, ladies? Ready to take on the world?” Rosalie smiled expectantly as we exited the building and headed for her BMW.
“Absolutely. Or Jasper, at any rate,” Alice laughed.
A grin stole across my face as I walked down the street, my body feeling newly alive and aware. It was as if the removal of that protective patch of hair had only intensified and exposed the awakening inside me that Edward had sparked last weekend. I’d never been so conscious of my sexuality before; never felt it burning so insistently between my legs, demanding satisfaction.
But the difference in me was much more than that. The clothes, the grooming, were merely pieces of evidence. The real transformation lay far deeper.
“I feel like I’m ready for anything,” I said resolutely. “Like I’m ready for everything.”
Rosalie and Alice gave me a knowing smile, like they understood. Perhaps we all share the same secret. I have no doubt that we’re ready to take on the world--at least, our world, and the people we want in it.
But are they ready for us?
Visual for the next chapter. Just add a tie to Robward.