Along Came a Spider – Extras/E18

A/N: This snippet is from Chapter 40 in Along Came a Spider 2 after Al and Garrett brought Bella home. While sitting and chatting with mnnlisa at TFMU, we were discussing this story (surprise, right? lol), and I thought you might enjoy a little insight into Al’s “stewing.”

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“Something’s wrong,” I state, breaking the growing silence since dropping off Bella at her home.

“Nothing is wrong.” Garrett shakes his head.

“I can feel it. She’s never that quiet. I can’t believe you didn’t notice.”

“Maybe she’s tired,” he suggests, rubbing his forehead. “I know I am.”

“Four hours and barely a peep. I thought she could be asleep, but I saw the glow of her phone in my side mirror the entire trip. A polite decline to stopping? Um, hello? She’s pregnant. According to her, pregnant women need to make regular stops. Where’s the consistency? Ugh! Gare, she’s shutting me out!” I wail with exasperation. “Can you think of anything, anything I said that could have upset her? Her hug goodbye was . . . off. It just wasn’t right either. It was distant. I’m telling you, something’s wrong.”

“Al, you’re reading too much into it, and you said nothing to offend her,” Garrett reasons.

Bless him.

My hubby always has my back.

I remove my phone from my pocket. “Maybe I should send a text with an apology?” 

“And what would you be apologizing for?” He glances at me, then returns his eyes to the road. 

“I don’t know, but I have to fix this. I’m not going to be able to sleep until I do,” I reply.

“Whatever is going on, she will tell you when she’s ready. Bella always does,” Garrett reassures.

I hope he’s right.

Tapping my fingers against the armrest, I consider another possibility. “Did she look a little flush? Maybe she’s feeling sick or something. Did you hear a cough? I think I remember hearing a little something.” I attempt to mimic the sound I recall.

“She’s not sick. And I think she was clearing her throat,” he explains.

“To speak. And she said . . . that’s right, nothing. You don’t know she isn’t sick. What if it’s serious? We need to be there for her. Turn around. We should go back,” I demand.

“We’re not turning around. Edward is home. She’s fine. And if she isn’t, then he will take care of her.”

“I don’t know if I can accept that. Maybe it’s him? There was a game tonight. What if he got hurt?”

“How would she know that? We left before the game started,” Garrett points out.

“Maybe someone called or messaged her. They’re each other’s emergency contacts now. And I’m willing to admit that stings a little. I used to be her number one.”

“Oh, Al.” My husband releases a heavy sigh. “You should have known this was coming. I thought you were going to discuss this with your therapist?”

“I did. It seems as if I need to circle back to that during my next appointment, and I need to watch the game once we get home. Or . . .” I gasp. “What if it’s Pumpkin?”

“If it was Pumpkin, we would know. We’ve been with her all weekend.”

“Gare, you’re not helping. What else could it be? What could be more important than staying with her mom? You saw how much it meant to Renée that Bella was there, doting on her and anticipating her every need for the past few days.” 

He shrugs. “Maybe it’s an emergency at work.”

“No. Vic can handle it. That’s not it. What if something is wrong with Scout or Shadow? We don’t know their ages. Something could have happened.” I know I’m grasping at straws, but I have no idea what would prompt Bella’s unexpected early return.

“I’m sure they’re fine. Bella would tell you if it was that.”

“I know! But I’m coming up empty at what it could be. Gare, you’re not helping me think. What do most people keep secrets about?” I prompt as my frustration at not knowing what’s going on boils over.

“I can’t believe you won’t let this go.” 

“What if Edward is having a fling with some puck bunny and Bella found out? Oh, I’ll kill him. Turn around. We’ve got a body to bury,” I growl. 

“Stop being so dramatic. You know Edward well enough to know he would never cheat on her.”

“He better not,” I warn. “What if it’s that father of his? He’s finally gone off the deep end and something happened.”

“They don’t even know where he is.”

“Exactly. What if he’s found himself on the wrong side of someone and owes them money? What if they’re at the house, holding Edward against his will until Bella pays some ridiculous ransom. We have to go back. Turn around. She needs us.”

“You’ve been watching too many crime dramas, but I’m not saying no to part of that one.” Garrett tilts his head, rubbing the stubble along his chin. “Carlisle makes my father look like Father of the Year.” 

“Pregnancy is a common secret, but we know about that one.” I hold out my hands in question. “What else could it be? Maybe it’s something about Edward’s next game and she needs to be there? They’re going to honor him for a milestone or something. I know that’s a thing. They do it all the time.” After opening the app on my phone, I locate his team’s schedule. “It says he will be in Nashville on Thursday night. Probably not an honor at an away game. Maybe I should just call her.”

“And say what? You’re not calling her. It’s late, and by now, I’m positive she’s busy reuniting with her fiancé.” Garrett gives me a knowing look with a lift of his eyebrows.


After a quick intake of air, I look at him. “Oh, Gare.”


I reach out, placing my hand on his arm. “Gare.”


“I think . . .  Oh, no, no, no. She wouldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t what?”

“There’s a three-day waiting period in Texas.” I give him a long, expectant stare, waiting for him to figure it out.

His brow furrows with confusion. “Waiting period for what?”

“Oh my goodness. I can’t believe you. For getting married. I think they’re . . . eloping.” I cover my mouth with my hand, fighting back the tears.

My husband grins. “Awww, good for them.”

“No! No! Not good for them. What about us? And their parents? And Rose?” I list.

“You stop right there.” Garrett points at me. “If this is what they’re doing, you’re going to leave them alone and let it happen.”

I shake my head.

“Yes, you will. Bella doesn’t need the stress of planning a wedding. She’s been appeasing you with this engagement party, and if Edward is willing—”

“Oh please. Edward is always willing. It’s probably his idea. We have to go back and stop them. Turn around.”

“Nope.” Garrett reaches over and snatches my phone from my hand. “You’ll get this back when you can promise me you’ll leave them alone.”

“I’m going to do a tuck and roll out of this car,” I state defiantly. 

But deep down, I don’t really want to do it with the way my back has been feeling. Those hotel beds weren’t great, but I could be left with no choice. They’ll take me to the hospital and Bella will have to come check on me. It would stop whatever they’re doing . . . maybe that’s the move.

“No. You’re not. No tuck and roll. You’re going to be happy for one of our best friends. They’re doing this their way. You need to respect that. Why can’t you be happy for them?”

“Because I’m not there to help them celebrate.” I cry. “I’m not any part of this. Why would she do this to me?”

When she tells you what’s going on, and if you’re right, you’re going to need the next day or two to practice something more convincing and akin to happiness. Maybe it’s time to dust off those community theater acting credentials a little.”

“Or a lot,” I mumble.

“Hey, she loves Edward. And Edward worships the ground she walks on. We couldn’t ask for someone who would be a better match. Be happy for her. He’s her person.”

“I am happy for her,” I whisper, staring out the window. “Can I have my phone back?”

Maybe just one slightly vague-ish text, hinting at my suspicions, then I can gauge her response.

“Can you be good?” 

When I don’t reply, Garrett chuckles. 

“That’s a no. We’ll do another check in the morning.”

“I won’t be able to sleep. Is that what you want? Because if I can’t sleep, you won’t be able to—”

“No. That sounds like a you problem. I’m exhausted. I will be sleeping tonight.”

“I know all your hiding places,” I quip.

“Not this one and your phone will be in it.”

“Agh!” Crossing my arms over my chest, I frown, moping for the remainder of the ride home.

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