Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Massage Therapy, Chapter 18 - Countdown, day 2

Edward Cullen's Little Black Notebook
Tuesday, August 31

“So how are things going with Rosalie these days?”

I took another bite of Moo Shu pork and hoped my question to Emmett sounded offhand. I’d suggested lunch at the Chinese place again, and he’d readily agreed. I couldn’t stand not knowing just what that shrew had revealed to him. Bella told me her boss had acted like nothing happened at work yesterday. While the two of them pretended it was business as usual, I could tell Rose’s betrayal was still bothering Bella.

“Pretty good,” Emmett replied, trying to pass off a rigid smile as his usual easy grin. It finally faded and he took a deep breath. “We patched things up after I let her have it about what she did to you last week,” he finally admitted. “I’m glad you asked me to lunch today because I’ve been wanting to talk to you about it ever since she told me the whole story last night. I knew something was bothering her all weekend, and I finally got her to ‘fess up. She was out of line, and I’m sorry.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Don’t apologize for her. I’m just glad she was honest with you, because I was afraid she was going to keep the whole thing a secret. She set me up, trying to get a rise out of me. Trying to get me to admit to some crazy conspiracy with Bella to start our own label. I still can’t figure out where she got that idea.”

“Well, she didn’t come right out and say it, but it sounds like this kind of thing has happened to her in the past. She’s been burned before in this business. She jumped to the wrong conclusions and let her suspicions get the best of her. I’m not making excuses for her, but I guess I can see where she’s coming from,” Emmett said apologetically.

Hell, he does have it bad if he’s okay with that kind of behavior, I thought. But I merely said, “Well, I just hope she doesn’t pull that kind of stunt with me again. I didn’t tell Bella the extent of it - she doesn’t know that Rosalie actually thought she would defect and start her own label for me. But I warned your girlfriend that if she ever gives Bella a reason to doubt her, I’d tell Bella everything.”

Emmett let out a heavy sigh. “Gotcha. I’ll remind Rose to keep her paranoia in check.”

I nodded but still felt irritated. “I don’t think I would have minded it so much if she had just come out with her suspicions, you know? Just asked Bella or me point blank what the story was. But she let her imagination go wild and then cornered me behind Bella’s back. That’s the kind of thing I just can’t condone.”

“Neither can I,” Emmett agreed. He rubbed his hand over his face a moment; he looked weary. “Don’t worry, I already went a couple of rounds with Rose about how she handled things. She doesn’t like to do anything in a small way if she can make a big impact. She likes the drama, you know,” he added wryly.

“Obviously.” My tone was acid. I thought again of you, which is happening more and more now that The Countdown is on. You cured me of any attraction I might have had to drama queens, that’s for sure.

“For what it’s worth, I know Rose feels bad about what she did. And she knows she’s going to have to earn your forgiveness. I just hope you’ll let her try.” Emmett’s eyes were beseeching.

“You do have it bad, don’t you,” I mused aloud. “If she means that much to you, then yeah, I’ll work on letting all of this be water under the bridge.”

Emmett’s smile was easier this time. “Thanks, brother. I owe you one.”

“I’ll let you pay for lunch,” I suggested with a laugh.

He let out one of his own. “Done.”

I gulped down the last of my iced tea while he reached for the check. And then, I thought of a way he could repay me.

“There is one thing you can do for me,” I said cautiously as he pulled some bills from his wallet.

“Name it,” he offered.

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention anything about . . . Tanya at Mom and Dad’s next Monday.” It took every ounce of willpower I had just to say your name out loud.

Emmett’s eyes darted to mine, then narrowed as he discerned my meaning. “You mean you haven’t told Bella anything?”

I shook my head. “Not yet. But I’m going to. Soon.” In fourteen days, to be exact.

Emmett shook his head, either in pity or disapproval, I’m not sure which. “She’s not going to judge you. She’s not like that. She’s crazy about you.”

“We’ll see,” I muttered, unconvinced. “But if you could maybe mention to Mom and Dad that the subject is off limits, I’d appreciate it.”

“Sure,” he agreed. “I doubt it’s something they’d bring up anyway, but yeah, we’ll do our best not to make any blunders there.” His expression was a bit judgmental, which surprised me. Judging me and reminding me what an ass I am are usually Alice’s department.

We were quiet on the walk back to work. But right before we got to the front door, Emmett spoke with unusual seriousness.

“Secrets can fester like old wounds if you keep them covered up. Rose didn’t want to come clean with me, but I could tell that she was hiding something, and I didn’t let up until she confessed everything. In the end, we were both glad she did.”

I let out a sigh and nodded.

“Something to think about,” he said, giving me a quick squeeze of support on the shoulder before opening the door.

His advice was moot. Secrets are all I’ve been thinking about lately.

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