“Edward?” I heard behind me. Edward bristled and turned around. A low growl emanated from his chest. I looked behind us. Leaning against the wall was a chunky blonde with curls and too much makeup on. She was nervously fussing with her hands. “You looked awesome out there.”
“What do you want, Tanya?” Edward asked curtly.
“To congratulate you,” she said quietly, walking toward us. She had obviously put on a great deal of weight and was trying to hide it with large clothes. “I saw your short program and I was absolutely floored at how elegant it was. Better than anything we ever did.”
“It helps that I trust my partner,” Edward answered. “Tanya Juneau, this is Isabella Swan. Isabella, Tanya.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said quietly, holding out my hand. Tanya stared at it blankly before limply returning my handshake.
“Sure,” she said with a tight smile. She shook off her terse behavior and gave me a genuine smile. “You and Edward did very well today. Absolutely beautiful. I’m sorry I was a bitch before.”
“No big deal,” I shrugged.
“I just wish I was out there. I miss it,” she whispered. “But, I’ve come to the realization that I will never be a competitive skater again. I went to rehab for my addiction to the pain killers and I can’t skate as well as I used to because of the injury. Anyhow, I wanted to support my former partner.”
“Thank you,” Edward murmured. “That was really nice of you, Tanya.”
“Edward, you deserve the best and you finally have it,” she said. “But, I do have a question for you. That song…I’ve never heard it before. Who wrote it?”
“I did,” Edward said, arching a brow. He looked down at me, gently taking my hand in his. “I wrote it for Bella.”
“Edward,” I whispered. “We…”
“It’s okay, Bell. We can trust Tanya with our relationship, right?” Edward asked as he looked at his former partner.
“You’re a couple?” Tanya squeaked. Her bright blue eyes traveled between us, darting at our hands and the love in Edward’s expression. “You’re totally in love with each other.”
“It’s true,” Edward said as he wrapped his arm possessively around my waist. “We trust each other implicitly and love each other even more.”
“But, we’re keeping our relationship on the down low because the press will have a field day,” I murmured. “Please, can you please keep this to yourself?”
“Edward, I know I broke your trust when I kept taking those pills,” Tanya said. “But, I still trust you and I’ll keep this secret for you. I promise you. We’re still friends, right?”
Edward nodded and grinned crookedly. “Perhaps we can go out for drinks once the competition is over?”
“That sounds great. You can meet my new boyfriend, Steven,” Tanya smiled. “How long are you in London?”
“We head back to the States on November thirteenth,” I replied. “Edward lengthened our trip for my birthday. We’re staying here for a couple of weeks after the competition.”
“Then, you both can come to my Halloween party. It’ll be oodles of fun! Please say you’ll come?” Tanya begged.
“Text me the information,” Edward said. “We’ll try to make it, okay?”
“Your number hasn’t changed?” Tanya asked.
“Nope. I still have my London number,” Edward explained.
“Can I at least give my old partner a hug?” Tanya questioned sheepishly. Edward looked at me. I pushed him toward Tanya and they embraced. “I’m proud of you, Masen. You kicked major ass out there and I want you to wipe the floor with all of them on Friday, okay?”
“I will, Tan,” Edward said as he rubbed her back. “It’s good to have you back.”
They pulled apart and Tanya turned to me. “Isabella, you keep his scrawny ass in line,” she giggled. “Make sure your toe picks are sharp.” She hugged me tightly. “Love him, Isabella. Never let him go. He’s one of the good ones and they’re rare.” She gave me a smile and pulled away. “I’ll be here on Friday. I’ll probably be the loudest one. I need you both to win. Okay?”
“We’ll try, Tan,” Edward said as he kissed my temple softly.