“Do you care for her?”
“Very much, Mom. I’ve never met anyone so strong, graceful and wonderful in my life. She reminds me of you, in a way, with this quiet power behind her every move,” I said, taking my mom’s hand.
“Then, let her lead you through this. I can see that you have feelings for this woman, but she’s still grieving and you need to give her time. My suggestion to you is to make up some excuse to get out of the ‘date’ this weekend. Give her time to calm down and when she’s ready, Bella will contact you. Edward, you’re a fixer, just like your father. You see something wrong and you automatically want to fix it; make it better. The only thing that can fix Bella is time, understanding and patience,” Esme said. “But don’t be mistaken, she cares about you, too. Bella’s just confused, scared and lost. She’s been a widow for a year and so she feels badly for wanting to move on. She probably thinks that she’s broken and that she’s using you.”
“She’s not!” I barked.
“Trust me, she does. Bella, I’m assuming, has taken some comfort in what you’re offering, but feels horribly that she can’t give anything in return. You’ve been affectionate, loving and kind, right?” I nodded. “Hugged her, provided her the support she needed?” Again, I nodded. “Bella yearns for that, but her heart is still attached her husband and she wants it to be him, but she’s taking it from you. And I know that you’re going to continue giving it because that’s just who you are. My suggestion to
you is to give her some space. Do not push her or she’s going to shut down completely.”
“How did you get to be so smart?” I chuckled humorlessly.
“You’re not the only one who’s talked to Shelly,” Esme said, pinching my arm. “I’ve had to come to grips that I’m not going to be here forever. I’m healthy, for the most part, for now. The cancer not growing, but it’s not stopping either. It’s only a matter of time until it decides that the chemo can’t stop it anymore and I’ll die. Ideally, I’d like to see Emmett and Rose have children and for you to be married, but it’s in God’s hands right now. So, don’t piss him off.”
“Okay,” I said, leaning back on the couch.
“Now, if you’re so desperate to go grocery shopping, I’m having a good day. We could go together and I can teach you how to make chicken stir fry,” Esme quipped, getting up from the couch. “I had a date with Emmett on Wednesday, now today, I have a date with my handsome middle son. While I get ready, send Bella a text or call her or something.” She kissed my forehead before walking upstairs.
Taking out my cell phone, I found Bella’s number. Being a chicken and realizing that she was probably teaching right now, I sent her a text. Bella, I’ve had something come up. I’m pulling a double shift on Saturday. I’m working in the morning in Forks and then helping out in Port Angeles in the evening. Rain check on our grocery shopping? ~ E
Her response was almost immediate. No big deal. It frees up my weekend to go to Seattle with Alice and my mom to go Christmas shopping for my kids. Some other time? ~ B
You call me when you’re ready ~ E
She never responded and my heart shattered slightly. Shaking it off, I called Charlie and asked for some extra hours. He gave me the time I needed and I went to the Thriftway, picking up the necessities with my mom along with the makings for the chicken stir fry she wanted to teach me. It wasn’t the same as going with Bella, but at least, I had more in fridge than Lean Cuisines and a twelve pack of beer.