218 Chapter 218: Retreat. 

(I'm Back Everyone.)

[Edward POV]

"27 days left before Halloween," I muttered, checking the date as I rose early in the morning on the 4th of October. 

Slowly, I descended from the luxurious, oversized bed in the expansive bedroom. The room had French windows that bathed the space in gentle sunlight, while a butler, dressed in a distinguished black suit, complete with a monocle and a mustache reminiscent of the Monopoly man, opened the curtains for me.

"You sure are excited for Halloween, Mr. Newgate," the butler remarked jokingly, approaching my side with a knowing smile.

As the paparazzi's relentless harassment intensified following the president's decision to award me a medal, I found myself seeking refuge and hiding away in one of Pepper's mother's vacation homes. Nestled in Altadena, a serene location near the Angeles National Forest and adjacent to the historic Cobb Estate, this retreat became my sanctuary.

"Well, I've never done Trick or Treating before, so it'll be my first time. Of course I'm excited about it." I said as I put on the white shirt and pants that the butler had given me. 

The outfit, giving me a touch of Old Money Style, satisfied me greatly. I looked at the butler with a complicated look and said, "You know, I didn't want a butler when I first got here. But now, I don't think I can go back to how I lived before."

"You flatter me Sir." the butler said with a genial smile before saying, "Breakfast is ready. Your father, and your aunt are already there, waiting for you. And Max–" He sighed subtly as he mentioned the last name.

"Thanks James." I replied with a kind smile. Then, both of us went out of the room. I descended a spiral staircase from the third floor to the ground floor, creeped out by the oil paintings of the old lords as I did so. 

The house exuded a renaissance charm, with elements of a castle-like structure that left me in awe upon my first sighting. While it lacked an outdoor pool, it compensated with indoor pools which added a sense of modernity in it. That was the only thing that was added later to the place when Eve bought it.

The mansion spanned an impressive 24,000 square feet and boasted a sprawling field, garden, and lawn that stretched out in front of it. I've been jogging on the estate for 2 days since I got here, after the day I met with the president. 

To ensure my security and privacy, Eve, overprotective grandmother, had assembled a team of 30 armed guards strategically stationed throughout the mansion. Her generosity knew no bounds, as she not only offered me a refuge but also extended the offer of permanent ownership of the house should I decide to marry her grandchild.

"Just so you know, the offer still stands." James whispered to me as he saw my mesmerized eyes.

I was jolted out of my imagination. "Stop trying to convince me to marry!!" I said with a grumble before walking into the dining room. My dad and my aunt were looking awkward as the staff served food on the table, but their eyes glinted in excitement as they saw me.

"Morning Ed." My dad greeted me. 

"Mornin'." My aunt said as she stuffed her mouth with food.

James coughed twice, reminding Camila about her manners. She grimaced and said, "This is not okay too?"

"Behaving properly is the key to becoming a classy young lady." James said.

"I don't need to become a classy lady!?" My aunt asked with irritation and confusion.

I snided to my dad, "She knew not to add young there. At least she has some self awareness–"

My aunt shot a glare at me as she heard all of it. I flinched and waved at her with a smile before casually putting butter on my pancakes.

Suddenly, Max sauntered into the dining room, clad in nothing but a frilly black bikini. The old wooden floor bore the evidence of her recent dip in the pool, with wet footprints leaving splashes of moisture in her wake. Her bold entrance immediately elicited a grimace from James.

"Now, this is an irredeemable young lady," James muttered under his breath, unable to hide his disapproval.

Max, undeterred by James' disapproving gaze, greeted him with a cheerful tone. "Good morning to you too, James," she replied, her voice brimming with unwavering cheerfulness. She cackled and said, "Glad to see your face is still sour today."

"It's only sour when it's in your presence Max." I shot her a gesture to come sit next to me. "Is this a scheme to stare at my chest while you eat?" She asked playfully.

"Of course." I replied with a mischievous smile. "Why else would I want you to sit next to me?"

"That's rude. I have other qualities besides my chest." Her eyes glinted mischievously, "Like my butt." She added jokingly.

James coughed twice, but Max ignored her, making the old man fume as I just bursted into laughter.

After breakfast, Max went to the company, hitching a ride with my old man, leaving only my aunt and me inside the estate.

But as Camila couldn't take the nagging, she also went out to check on a barely opened store in Calexico– her store, which is almost a two hour drive from here. 

"Why don't you take the chopper?" I said, pointing at the helicopter landing side.

"No, I'd rather drive for hours than spend any more time here," she replied firmly.

I laughed and waved her off, saying, "Goodbye, chocolate bread."

Perplexed, she mumbled, "What is that? Why do you keep calling me that?" before huffing away, leaving me chuckling to myself.

I checked the time and said to the butler, "James. I'm going to do a live session on my instagram, can you help me set it up?"

"Sure, in which room do you want me to get the equipment ready, sir?" James asked dutifully.

"The kitchen will be fine. Wait, or should I do it in the piano room?" I mused for a while. "Oh, by the way, have you ever eaten a Japanese souffle cheesecake before?" I asked curiously.

"I have, sir. As part of my butler training, I needed to be familiar with cuisines from all over the world," James replied proudly.

"Great," I smiled. "Then, James, I need the ingredients to make the cake… on my own."

"On your own?" James questioned, unsure about my request.

"Yeah, I need to make it before Sage and Taylor come here," I explained. Pepper would stop by after Taylor's final concert in LA, with Harvey tagging along to discuss a few things before Taylor's tour across the country starts. 

As for Sage, There were a few tests that were conducted at school last week, but unfortunately, I couldn't attend any of them. As a result, Sage, the principal's reluctant designated representative, was instructed to bring me the test.

"I understand, sir," James acknowledged before he walked away to gather the necessary ingredients.

[General POV]

"Good afternoon everyone." Edward waved to the camera as his Instagram live session started. From 5 viewers, it jumped to hundreds and to over a thousand viewers in less than 30 seconds, and the numbers kept going upwards.

As the live session's schedule was posted on his official fanpage, numerous fans were flocking into the broadcast.

[Lily: Hi Edward! (Heart Heart Heart)]

[AnnieEdison: Hi Edward! (Heart Heart Heart)]

[Haley: Hey! Where are you hiding?!]

Edward saw Haley's name popped up amongst his early fans and he burst into laughter, "Where am I? I had to go into a retreat because my house is getting swarmed. I'm staying at my grandmother's house."

[Lily: Edward has another grandma?]

[Annie: This is not in the Wisconsin Ranch. So maybe.]

[Jenna: Bring us with you?]

[Enid: (RAWR!) Edward is a vampire! (vampire.Emoji Werewolf.emoji)]

"Enid, don't talk nonsense." Edward scolded her immediately in a flat tone, causing her to spam dejected dog emoji. The live session went on normally after that with some Q and A with the fans.

Edward read the questions as he answered them, "Are your wounds hurting? No. It's healing pretty well." Edward folded his sleeves to show the stitches to his fans.

[MargotR asked: Is the story we heard true?]

"Well for most part. Some of it was exaggerated." Edward replied casually.

Max made a sudden entrance into the kitchen, her attire drawing immediate attention. She sported a black tank top that seemed a size too small, accentuating her figure, along with a split-side bikini outerwear floral skirt that revealed her fair legs.

"Hey, what do you need me for? Wait, are you recording?" Max asked with a surprised expression as she saw the camera in front of her.

Edward smiled and said, "Yeah. I need you to help me bake a cake."

"Oh. Alright then." Max replied casually.

[Jenna: WHO IS SHE?! (FUMING!)]

[Enid: ANOTHER BIG BOOBED GIRL! (Blowing hot air through nose.emoji)]

[Annie: Is this your type?...I may have a chance…]

"Max?" Edward looked at Max, who was also looking at him. Then, both of them smiled and replied at the same time, "She's my/I'm his, Half-sister."

As if a bomb was dropped into the chat group, it exploded with numerous questions from the fans about Edward's family genealogy. 

"Let's get started." Edward said as he wore an apron. He handed one to Max, who refused to wear it. "I'm more comfortable in this," she said.

"You don't think that only rich people wear an apron or something, right?" Edward asked jokingly.

Max smiled and retorted, "That's right. We poor people are already comfortable being all dirty and sticky."

"Are you sure that's for ALL poor people? Or are you confusing it with your Tuesday night?"

Max gasped in amazement and said, "You really are my brother!"

"I'll do the cream cheese, you do the meringue." Edward said as he took out a few bowls.

Max needed to beat the egg whites until it became foamy, and she giggled as she did it. Edward smiled and turned to her, "Are you censoring yourself from saying something?"

Max cackled as she said, "I had to. Your audiences are young kids."

The prep work was done in under 30 minutes, and as the cake was placed in the oven, Edward said to the fans, "We have to bake it for 70 minutes to see the results. I'll post a video of the cake on my feed when it's done."



[Cameron: Let us see the cake!]

[Abraham: Is Max single?]

"Way out of your league Abraham." Edward said as he chuckled at the audience's reactions. 

"It's not like I don't want to do the live session any longer. But, I am preparing for a surprise, so I can't drag the time." Edward said while flashing a conflicted look.

"Is this about the surprise for Taylor?" Max blurted out.

Edward was surprised and he turned to Max immediately. She covered her mouth as if saying she shouldn't have said that, and Edward turned back to the live session with a nervous laugh.

"Alright. You guys. Promise me not to spoil it for her okay? If she knew that there would be a surprise waiting, it's no longer going to be a surprise, right?"

[LukeDunphy: HEY! Where's my cake?!]

Edward shut down the live session the moment that Luke had begged his mother to create an account for him so that he could comment on Edward's feed. He soon had to wait for a few more days before he could finally satisfy his desires.

"Good Job Max." I said as I high-fived with her. Then, she asked nervously, "Is it okay for me to say that? I'm sorry that I blurted it out."

"It doesn't matter anyway. The surprise isn't about the cake. We didn't give away anything else in the live session." Edward said with a shrug.

"The party is still on?" Max asked excitedly.

"SHHHH!!! Yeah the party is still on!" Edward replied with a whisper, but with similar enthusiasm. 

Max quickly turned around to check and see if the old butler was in the vicinity. Luckily for her, he was out in the garden, tending to some tree sculptures, oblivious to the scheme brewing inside the estate.

Twenty minutes after the conclusion of the live session, Miss Anna, also known as Sage, arrived at the mansion. She was dressed in a pencil skirt and a fluffy white sweater, and her jaw dropped in awe at the sheer size of the estate before her.

"Hey," Edward greeted cheerfully as he approached the main door to welcome the teacher. James, observing Anna's striking beauty, couldn't help but feel a twinge of apprehension, concerned that she might become a rival for his master's grandchildren.

Sage snapped out of her daze and greeted Edward, "Hi... What is all of this? How can you afford this?"

"No, no," Edward hurriedly replied. "I didn't buy this house. I haven't found another place to move into yet." He took hold of Sage's hand and gently pulled her inside. "Come on, I'll show you around. This place is amazing."

Edward brought her to sight see for 20 minutes before James coughed twice as he saw the two of them were getting lost of time. He said, "Sir, shouldn't you finish the test first before continuing. It is almost 2 O'clock."

"What's wrong with two o'clock?" Edward asked in confusion.

James flinched a bit, but he quickly collected himself, "I must've made a mistake sir."

"But this old beard-o is right. We should do the test first." Sage said.

"Alright then." Edward agreed easily and released Sage's hand. He placed his hand behind his head as he walked to the study where he would be tested there.

James breathed in relief after seeing that Edward and Anna had gone. "O-Old Beard-o?" He muttered in disbelief as he suddenly noticed what the teacher had called him.

"Too easy," Edward remarked smugly as he handed his completed History paper to Sage, having finished writing his answers in less than 15 minutes.

"That's just for History. You have other subjects too," Sage reminded him.

"I know that," Edward replied with a smirk. "Can't you just give me all of them at once? You know I'm going to get a perfect score in all of them anyway."

Sage rolled her eyes, a mix of amusement and exasperation evident on her face. She placed all of the test papers on Edward's table, including Math, Sciences, Language, Geography, Spanish, and several other subjects that needed to be tested. Originally, Sage was scheduled to come for three days to administer the exams, but Edward wanted to complete them all in under two hours.

While Edward was engrossed in his exams, Sage left him alone in the room as she could smell cheesecake, neglecting her duty to supervise him. This left James, the old butler, feeling perplexed.

"Is she really a teacher?" James grumbled to himself, questioning Sage's professionalism. 

He decided to take over her role by discreetly watching Edward from a nearby window to ensure he wasn't cheating. However, James's efforts were in vain because Edward had never once attempted to cheat his way through any of the exams.

In the kitchen, Max was shocked when she saw Anna suddenly appearing behind her when she was taking out the cheesecake from the oven.

"You scared the bejesus out of me." Max said with irritation.

Anna said casually, "Don't use his name in vain. That guy doesn't like that. This is Edward's cake, right?"

"Yeah. Oh, You must be his teacher. Hi, I'm Max." She introduced herself.

"Anna." Sage replied, her eyes glued on the cake. Max chuckled a bit and said, "Now I know why he wanted to make cheesecake for today. He wants to impress his gorgeous teacher."

Anna shook her head and said, "That'll never happen. Edward has no interest in me, and he never will have."

Max was shocked and she said, "Why? Did you used to be a man or something? If you were, then I must say, you have a really REALLY good doctor."

Anna wasn't offended and said, "Nothing of the sort. He treats me like a family member. That's all."

"Hey, he treats me like family too. But it doesn't stop him from ogling at these two treasure chests like a horny pirate." Max replied as she pushed her chest upwards.

"We're not the same." Sage replied as she grabbed a fork and tried to taste the cake. But Max slapped her hand, making her taken aback.

"Hand's off. We need to wait for him until we can cut it." Max replied. "Oh, and by the way, your outfit is not really appropriate for this estate. I think you need to change."

"Huh?" Sage was confused. "Change into what?"

Back in the room, Edward raised his arms into the air and stretched as he finished the tests. "Ah. It's over." He mumbled.

"Good job sir. I've been watching you from the beginning, and I must say, you have the most brilliant mind I've ever seen." James entered and complemented Edward as he collected the papers.

"Still not going to marry Denise." Edward replied casually.

"Tsk." James clicked his tongue subtly, but Edward caught it and he burst into laughter.

Sage reentered the room after James had finished collecting the papers. "Young lady, I'll need to have a talk with you about professional work ethics– Oh heavens." James's jaw dropped in disbelief as he saw Sage.

"What– Oh lord." Edward turned to look into James's direction, and he saw Sage wearing a polka dot bikini and a long, translucent pink skirt as she walked towards him.

After Sage claimed she needed to mark the history question paper, she requested James to leave the study, leaving her alone with Edward inside the room. Meanwhile, Max had discovered James's previous hiding spot and decided to observe from there, curious to see if Edward would show any signs of being flustered in the presence of his teacher.

However, she was shocked to see Edward reacting like it was nothing.

"Why are you wearing that?" Edward asked casually.

Sage, who was being sensual without even trying to, marked the papers and said, "Max told me it's the tradition here?"

Edward thought for a bit, and decided to go along with the fabricated tradition, "Yeah. It's true. And I'm surprised you picked this one. Shouldn't you wear a grandmother's bathing suit or something–"

Sage slapped Edward's head with a rolled up question paper before she went back into grading them.

"Oh, right. I wanted to ask you something." Sage said.

"Sure. What is it?" Edward replied.

Sage suddenly turned solemn and asked, "In the last few days, the president has been acting like a mad dog, and even exposed the entire degenerate island himself, even if he was among the list of clients who frequented it. He turned into a saint, and he's suddenly trying to clean out all of the filth in the government."

Edward gulped his saliva as Sage stared into his eyes and asked, "Did you use your eye power on him?"

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