Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chapter 24 You Belong to Me

Chapter 24

Disclaimer: We still own nothing except the “awesome” dads and their attitudes. ;)


“Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS

“Don't Dream It's Over” by Crowded House


Charlie’s face had paled after he hit Bella. But with my words, his face reddened and I prepared myself for what was to come.

“This is all your fault, Cullen,” Charlie shouted at me.

“This,” Bella pointed to her now swollen cheek and eye as she moved to stand beside me. “This was all you, Charlie.”

“Bella, you will show me some respect. I am your father,” Charlie told her.

“Right, well, today definitely earns you a nomination as father of the year, Daddy.” Bella squeezed my hand and looked up at me. “I’m ready to leave now, Edward.”

“You are not going anywhere with him young lady,” Charlie screamed and moved towards Bella again.

“Enough!” Billy’s raised voice surprised us all as he turned his chair to face his best friend. “Charlie, look at where we are at. My son just watched the love of his life be buried and look at how you are acting.”

“Billy, he has absolutely no right to be here-- at all!” Charlie said.

“Actually, Charlie, Edward has more right to be here than you do. My son invited Edward to be here. He is Jacob’s friend and Jacob wants him here. Bella wants him here. I want him here.” With each word out of Billy’s mouth Charlie looked as though he had been hit.

Charlie looked at Jacob and Billy who had both moved closer to Bella and I.

“Bella, you said you are ready to go.” Bella nodded to Billy at his words and he looked at me.“Edward, can you please help me to the car?”

Jacob wrapped his arm around Bella’s waist as I moved behind Billy and began pushing his chair.

“This isn’t over, Cullen,” Charlie said.

“Oh, it is most definitely over, Charlie.” Bella’s words were ice cold to her father. I saw Jacob rub his hand over her back to comfort her.

After a lot of maneuvering, I was able to get the chair to the car and Jacob and I helped Billy inside. As I moved to put the chair in the trunk, I felt his presence before he uttered a word to me.

“This has to end, Edward. You and Bella cause nothing but pain for each other. You will stop seeing her now,” Carlisle told me.

“The only people that I see around here causing people undo pain are you and Charlie Swan. Bella and I are together. Nothing you or anyone says or does will keep us apart again,” I told him.

“Listen, Edward,” my dad said as he reached for me.

“No, Dad, you listen. This is not the time or place for this. You all may not be happy with the decision that Bella and I have made to be together again but you are not us. We are living our lives the way we see fit. We are living our lives in a way that truly makes us happy. I think that Bella and I have had enough interference from our families to last a lifetime,” I said.

“Edward, you do not want to do this, Son,” Dad said harshly.

“It’s done, Dad. Nothing you can do or say can ever tear us apart.” I moved passed him and slid next to Bella in the backseat of Jacob’s car. I pulled her close to me and she rested the uninjured side of her face against my shoulder.

I turned my head and looked back at our parents as we drove away. It looked like time did not heal all wounds. Our dads already had their heads buried together. At least our mothers looked somewhat ashamed of what had just transpired.

“Well, that so was not how I pictured today turning out,” Bella murmured against me.

I kissed the top of her head and moved her hair out of her face to look at it more closely.

“Damn, Baby, that has got to hurt,” I told her.

“It definitely doesn’t feel great, E.”

“Bella, are you and Edward up to going to the wake with us?” Jacob asked.

“Jacob, as much as I would love to be there with you, I think I have had as much excitement as I can take today,” she told him. “I think that this would bring too many questions and too much unwanted attention,” Bella said as she motioned to her face.

“I understand. I really don’t think that I am up for all of those people either,” Jacob told us.

“How about if you drop us off at our hotel for now, Jake? We need to get some ice on Bella’s face before it gets any worse. You can feel free to come by and join us for some dinner later if you are up to it,” I said.

“That sounds great, Edward. Thanks.”


“How in the hell did this happen,” Carlisle yelled at me.

“I have no idea. As far as I knew, Edward and Bella hadn’t seen each other since January,” I told him.

“So it’s true then,” Esme spoke up. “You two made up the story about the restraining orders?”

“We had to do something, anything. She almost killed our boy, Esme. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. The next time we could have been standing over our son in the morgue because of her stupidity,” Carlisle said.

“Edward was not the one who was being hurt time after time by Bella physically,” I said through gritted teeth. “Renée, you’ve been awfully quiet over there. Don’t you have anything to say about this damn mess of a relationship that our daughter seems to have found herself in again?” I waited what seemed like forever for her response. Renée was never one who would stand up and say what she was thinking unless she was prodded for it.

“I’m as surprised as the rest of you that she is seeing Edward. She told me that she met someone at OU that she had started seeing and that they hit it off well. She seemed so happy when she was talking to me on the phone. I can’t believe she would make up a story about where they met,” she told me.

“Where did you say Bella is going to school?” Esme asked.

“OU, the University of Oklahoma. They offered her a variety of options in journalism-related fields and she had to move halfway across the country to do it,” Renée said.

“She isn’t lying about where they met up again then. Edward is going to OU and working towards a degree in physical therapy,” Esme shared.

“They must have been plotting and planning this whole time to find a way to be together. I can’t believe that we didn’t know about this sooner. Together they are toxic. We can’t allow them to continue to be together,” I said.

“While I don’t agree how you went around it, Charlie, I don’t want to see Bella hurt again anymore than you do. When you told me about what she did when she caught Edward cheating on her,” Renée shook her head. “I don’t want to lose her and I will do anything to keep her safe.”

I looked at Carlisle and Esme looking for their support in this.

“I agree with you and Renée. We have to keep them apart. Edward does not need Bella in his life. He was just turning his life around. I don’t want to see him be sucked into that black hole of lifelessness again,” Carlisle said. He looked at his wife. Esme looked extremely emotional.

“I just can’t,” Esme said. “I can’t support this conspiring and plotting against our own flesh and blood. Did anyone actually listen when Bella was talking?”

“She isn’t thinking clearly. Edward has always caused her not see things as she should,” I told her.

“Listen to yourselves,” Esme said. “How many times did we hear them fight and say nothing to them? How many times did we notice the odd bruises on Bella and say nothing? How many times did we let them get so into each other that they didn’t know how to exist without the other? Carlisle, we watched our son spiral down into such a deep pit of depression that he started taking drugs so he could forget Bella. Edward told us that he needed her and you lied to him that she didn’t want a thing to do with him. Carlisle, you might as well have poured a bottle of those pain pills down his throat by the pain that you caused Edward by telling him that Bella did not love him and wanted nothing to do with him. We, as parents, messed up along the way. Bella and Edward seem to see it and I am obviously the only one who saw this but those were not the same kids that we saw in January. While Edward and Bella being together may not be what we want for them, it is what they want. They are legally adults. It is their right to be together if that is what they want, if it makes them happy, if it isn’t causing them harm. The only one that I saw that caused anyone harm here today was you, Charlie.”

“It was an accident!” I shouted. “I would never hurt Bella on purpose. Are you with us or not, Esme?” I asked her. Protecting my child from Cullen and the violent rages I knew he could have were more important to me than anything else.

“I am with our kids and their happiness. What you three are planning will only hurt them and they do deserve to live their own lives without interference from us,” Esme said as she walked towards their car.

“I’ll talk to her, Swan. Edward and Bella together is no good for anyone. I will make her see that,” Carlisle told me. I reached out to shake his hand.

“Thanks, Cullen,” I said.

“Thank you for letting me know about this situation. We will end this. I have no doubt,” Carlisle told me.

He walked to meet his wife at their car and I turned to look at Renée and we began to leave.

“So, any ideas on how to make this thing happen, Renée?” I asked and she nodded at me while she picked up her cell phone.

“Yes, Charlie, if she won’t cut her ties off from Cullen, I know exactly what needs to be done,” she said.


My eye and face was still throbbing from where Charlie hit me. Even with the ice that Edward had insisted that I use to reduce the swelling didn’t do much. My eye was almost swollen shut.

We were curled together on the bed trying to relax after the confrontation that we had at the cemetery with our parents. I still can’t believe that they had the nerve to do that when I was saying goodbye to my best friend forever.

Edward must have felt my tension increase. He shifted and wrapped his arms tighter around me and gently touched my face.

“Are you in a lot of pain, Baby?”

“Not a lot, no. I was just thinking,” I told him.

“Thinking about what?”

“Today, everything. I just can’t believe them.” Edward kissed my cheek and hugged me tightly.

“We just surprised them. We knew this was going to be difficult.”

“I know, Edward. Is it really that difficult for them to see that they don’t have anything to do with our relationship?”

“B, I don’t think parents could ever stop trying to protect their children. Ours just have a shitty way of showing it,” Edward said as his finger ghosted over the swelling on my face. He kissed my forehead as my cell began to ring.

“Hi, Mom,” I said hesitantly.

“Bella, I’d really like to see you,” she told me.

“Mom, it has been a very long and an extremely emotional day. Can’t this wait until tomorrow?” I almost begged. I didn’t want to deal with anymore family drama and with Renée’s few words I heard the drama that was destined to fall from her lips soon.

“Phil and I are heading back to Arizona in the morning. I wouldn’t do this now if it wasn’t important. It won’t take long, Baby. Can I stop by your hotel to see you?” I rolled my eyes.

“Are you coming alone?” I asked with bitterness in my tone. “I am not in the mood to see Charlie right now.”

“Yes, Bella, it’s just me coming. I can be there in five minutes,” my mom said.

“Okay, see you soon,” I said as I got up out of the bed. Edward propped himself up against the headboard.

“So I guess we are getting ready to have a visitor, huh?” Edward said as he ruffled his hands through his bronze hair. My girlie bits squealed just a little bit seeing that sex hair take form atop his head. Those girlie bits wanted to be included in the sex with Edward factor very badly at that moment.

“Yes,” I said as I went to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my hair. I saw Edward come behind me in the mirror and he wrapped his arms around me and I leaned back into his body.

“Are you ready to talk to her, Bella?” He said as he made contact with my eyes in our reflected images in the mirror. I covered his hands with mine and nodded.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” I smirked at him. I turned to him and smiled. “How do I look?” I pointed to my damaged face.

“Bella, you look beautiful, always beautiful.” He leaned down and his lips met mine and I sighed into his mouth as he sucked my bottom lip into his mouth. I gently bit his lower lip and our kiss slowly intensified as our tongues began to stroke in and out of each other’s mouths languidly. With each stroke of his tongue against mine, the stress of the day began to slowly melt away and honestly all I could think of was that I wanted more parts of Edward stroking more parts of mine. Edward started slowing the kiss down more until he was barely touching his lips to mine. His forehead leaned against mine and his hands squeezed lightly at my hips.

“Thanks, Baby. I needed that,” I told him as he took his turn to smirk at me.

“You’re definitely not the only one,” he said as there was a knock at the door.

“It’s show time,” I said as I went to open the door for my mother.

“Oh, Bella,” my mom said as she reached for my face and I moved out of her reach. “How badly does it hurt?”

“Well, I can barely see out of my eye at all mom, so I am just peachy,” I told her. Edward came up behind me and whispered to me.

“Baby, try to play nice. She is your mother.” He looked up to my mom and said in his normal voice, “Hello Mrs. Dwyer. How are you?” My mom didn’t say a word to him as he went to grab his wallet off of the dresser.

“I’m going to run to the diner across the street and pick up some dinner, B. Anything in particular you want?” He asked.

“Surprise me,” I told him with a smile as I reached up to kiss him on the cheek as he headed to the door.

“Sure thing, Baby. Mrs. Dwyer, will you be joining us for dinner,” Edward asked.

“No, no I won’t,” Mom told him emphatically.

He closed the door behind him and I took a deep breath.

“So, what did you want to talk about, Mom.” I sat down on the foot of the bed.

“Bella, how long has this thing with Edward been going on?” She asked as she sat down in the chair across from me.

“Mom, we ran into each other one day at school a few months ago. We were totally surprised to see each other.”

“Oh, I bet he was surprised to see you,” she murmured.

“Mom, Edward and I have not just started where we left off. I will be the first to admit that he treated me like shit when we were together before. He was an asshole and when I first saw him I knew that I didn’t want a person like that in my life ever again.”

“Then explain to me exactly how it is that he is in your life, Bella. I need to understand this.”

“I didn’t want anything to do with him at first. He has more than proved to me that he isn’t the same person that he was.”

“Bella, people like Edward, they don’t just change overnight.”

“Mom, I had the same thoughts, but trust me. I know what I’m doing. He is different. It is possible for a person to change.”

“He’s just pretending to be what you want him to be so he can suck you into his life again, Baby. I don’t want to see you hurt ever again and this thing with Edward is destined to end badly.”

“Mom, think about what happened today. The Edward that hurt me, who almost thrived on hurting all of those around him, wouldn’t have been able to hold back if he saw a punch coming his way. He just stood there, Mom. He just stood there with Charlie’s fist flying at his face and he did nothing. He did absolutely nothing,” I said adamantly.

“Bella, you will just never see him clearly at all. Please stop this before you get hurt or worse,” she pleaded with me.

I reached over and grabbed her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. “Mom, he isn’t going to hurt me. I know that for an absolute fact.”

“I just can’t sit back and watch you be destroyed by this boy. You almost killed yourself over him.” Those words were like cold water being poured over my body.

“I am fine now, Mom. Like I told you earlier today, Edward and I were both messed up. I am not denying that at all. We have changed. I am happy. He makes me happier than I could ever imagine.”

“I can’t support you if you are going to be with him. I just can’t,” she told me. “If you won’t stop seeing him, you leave me no choice.”

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“All of those bills that you have been using my credit cards for every month for your household expenses, school, everything else, your father and I both will not help you financially while you are with that boy.” I couldn’t say that I was surprised that my parents would stoop to an all-time low.

“So, basically, you are telling me to choose-- between being able to stay in school and staying with Edward?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying, Bella.”

“Well, the answer is simple then. It’s Edward. It’s always been Edward. It always will be him.” I got up and went to my purse and removed the credit cards that she had given me at graduation. “Here, Mom. Take them.” She put the cards in her purse and headed towards the door.

“It doesn’t have to be this way, Mom. Edward is a good person. I wish you could see that like I do.”

“Bella, I love you too much to stand by and watch you destroy yourself.” Mom said as she shut the door and walked out of the room and by the way her words sounded to my ears-- out of my life.

You Belong to Me Chapter 23

Chapter 23

Disclaimer: We still own nothing except the pain and suffering that we give all the characters.


“Hate Me” by Blue October

“I Wanna Be Bad” by Willa Ford


I sat with rapt attention as I heard Edward recount his story about how is drug addiction started. My eyes never left his beautiful face as he spoke of its escalation and how it almost took his life. I had heard this story before, but after what happened with Emily, this story hit me with so much more force now.

When he finished and sat back down, I took his hand in mine and brought the back of it to my lips and kissed it gently. In that moment I closed my eyes and let myself imagine what could easily have been if he hadn’t stopped when he did. I could be facing the rest of my life with uncertainty-- without this beautiful man beside me ever again, without his love that made me feel more complete than I ever imagined. I said a quick prayer thanking God for sparing Edward’s life and allowing him to come back to me-- to come back to me as a person that I now saw as a part of my future.

I opened my eyes and saw Edward looking at me with questions in his eyes. I kept my hand locked with his as my other hand reached up and caressed his cheek, then his lips. His smile from those small gestures sent my heart beating into overdrive.

It was heart-wrenching to hear all of the other stories from the others at the meeting. Some of them had killed people they loved because of their addictions. Others had lost everyone and everything they ever cared for. Edward was one of the lucky ones, if you could call an addict lucky. He still had his friends and his family. He also had me.

We didn’t linger after the meeting. Edward didn’t say a word as he lead me to his car, opening the door for me before getting in on his side. He sighed deeply as he sat in the car and turned to look at me.

“Bella, if we are really going to be together, you need to know that I am a drug addict. Just because I don’t take the pills anymore doesn’t take that stigma away from me. Once an addict, always an addict. It is a disease. As you heard tonight, some people stay clean once they face their addiction. Others do backslide and allow drugs to rule their life again. Sometimes it is like a roller coaster ride where people are on a constant cycle of using and being clean. That tendency is in me and it is going to be there forever. I don’t ever plan to touch another drug again. I can’t tell you that there aren’t days when I crave them more than my next breath of air. Sometimes, after days like today, there is a place in my mind that says that a pill would have taken the edge off of everything. I don’t get the cravings often but when I do, I think about where I was when I took the pills. I think about everyone I hurt by my actions. I think about those that I could hurt if I started again. If that doesn’t work, I talk to my sponsor or even make a trip to an NA meeting. Sometimes I just come to a meeting because I want to be there for others and I need to hear what others like me have to say.”

Edward finally stopped and took a deep breath. “This is something that isn’t ever going away. Fuck, I wish I could take so many things that I did wrong in my life back and get a do-over, but I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if I did that. I want, no, I need to be with you. I can’t imagine my life, my future, without you in it. You are absolutely everything to me. Can you- are you willing to take me as I am, every flaw and all? I need to know if you are willing to share that future with me, Edward Cullen, drug addict.”

His eyes and face were so pained with every word he spoke to me. I knew from what I’d read in the past that addiction is a disease. Was this something that I could handle? Could I spend the rest of my life with the thought in the back of my mind that he could always slip into that world of addiction again? As I looked deeply into those jade eyes that were boring into my soul, my heart and mind answered and agreed with each other immediately.

“Edward, I can’t imagine my life without you in it either. You are it for me. You are everything to me as well. I think that this weekend has proved that as long as we have each other, that we can get through anything and everything that life throws at us. I am yours for as long as you’ll have me.”

I leaned across the console and kissed him with my heart, soul, and every ounce of love I felt for this man. I felt the tension leave his body as my body showed him that every word I had just spoken to him was heartfelt and honest.

As the kiss ended he reached for my palm and kissed it tenderly. “Bella, I can’t tell you what this means to me.” He kissed my palm again sending butterflies to my stomach and searing heat to my nether regions. Fuck, what he did to me with just the slightest gesture should be illegal.

“Edward, we are in this together.”

“Forever,” he whispered as his lips began to ghost over mine.

“Forever,” I agreed.


As we arrived back at Edward’s I couldn’t stifle the yawn as we entered his condo.

“It’s really late and there is a lot to be done before we head back to Washington. We should go to bed,” Edward told me.

“You’re right. Let me grab my bag and change.” As I began to dig through the bag, I quickly realized that I hadn’t packed anything to sleep in. I went back downstairs and poked my head in his bedroom. He had changed into pajama pants that hung low on those incredible hips of his. I gulped. It should be against the law to look as good as he does. “Um, Edward...” He turned and look at me and I almost pouted as I watched him pull a worn t-shirt over his head. “I didn’t pack anything to sleep in. Can I borrow a shirt?”

“Sure,” he told me as he reached into his dresser and pulled out a worn shirt and handed it to me. As our fingers accidentally brushed each other, I felt the familiar tingle like we created electricity when we were together. That current went straight to my girly parts that had almost had their dream come true earlier before the freak earthquake rocked our world. My world just so didn’t get rocked the way that I imagined it would.

“Thanks,” I smiled at him and pointed to his bathroom. “Do you mind if I change in there?”

“Of course,” he assured me. “I want you to feel at home here.” As I walked into the bathroom, I breathed in the scent that was all Edward, a combination of his unique musky scent and whatever incredible type of body wash he was using. I took off my shirt, unhooked my bra and slid my pants off. I hesitated a moment before I also pulled my underwear down my legs. I pulled Edward’s shirt over my head and it hit me on my upper thighs, barely covering my assets. With the light hitting me just right, it all of those assets were subtly showing off. My nipples were hard and very obviously wanting to be attended to. The hair at the apex of my thighs was slightly visible through the fabric with the light behind me. I closed my eyes and remembered how Edward had touched me earlier and how I wanted and needed so much more from him.

I folded up my clothes and set them on the side of his bathroom counter top. I took a deep breath and opened the door. Edward had turned the main lights in his bedroom off with only his bedside table illuminating his well-sculpted face. I leaned in the door jamb of the bathroom with the lights shining behind me and struck a sexy pose, my breasts sticking out begging for his fingers and his lips as one of my arms was propped on my hip and the other was behind the back of my head. The t-shirt rode up my thighs a little giving Edward a slight view of my pussy. I saw him visibly gulp and his fists grabbed the bedsheets tightly. He was fighting for his self control and I was more than willing to help him lose it.

I turned behind me and shut off the bathroom lights. He swallowed thickly and looked me over from top to bottom and back again. I was pretty sure that his eyes lingered on my upper thighs before his eyes met mine. Edward smiled cautiously at me.

“You’re welcome to the guest bedroom if you want.” I knew that disappointment clouded my features as he said those words. He looked at me nervously and pulled the sheet beside him up. “Or you can sleep here, with me.”

I wanted to do more than sleep with him. I wanted to be bad with Edward right now, very, VERY bad.

“Here, I want to be with you,” I told him as I walked in and got under the sheet and leaned over, wrapping my arms around his torso and kissing him. He kissed me back, but he was definitely NOT as into as we were before that earthquake. Fuck you mother nature! I need to get laid NOW! I told myself.

“Bella, as much as I would like to throw you down on this bed and shove my cock so deep inside you that you didn’t know what hit you, we both are exhausted and I want this, us...” He motioned between the two of us with his hand. “There will be no one else for me ever, but you. I want our last first time to be so amazing, so intense, so perfect. It will be so magical that nothing else in the universe could ever compare to it now or ever. I want it to be you and me and nothing else between us. As much as we both want to just feel alive right now, I want to wait. We need to wait. We will know when the right time is for us and when it does, we will be the ones rocking mother nature’s world.”

We both giggled and I sighed deeply when he wrapped his arms around me, my head nestled upon his chest. “My body is so going to hate me, but you’re probably right. I’ve got to say goodbye to my best friend in a few days.” I closed my eyes, squeezed Edward more tightly in my embrace and he pulled me even closer to him. Another thought came front and center in my brain. I didn’t just have to deal with the funeral. Charlie, the sperm donor who helped create me, would undoubtedly be there, as well. What the hell was I going to say to the man who thought he could decide who I give my heart to and who I could love?

“Night, Bella. I hate it that you are here with me because of what happened, but I am so grateful to have you in my arms right now.” He kissed the top of my head and rubbed my back gently.

I reached up and kissed him near his chin. “Good night, Edward. I can’t imagine anywhere else that I’d rather be right now.” I burrowed deeper into Edward’s warmth and silently thanked God once more for sparing Edward’s life and bringing the man he should have been all along into my life where I wanted him to stay until the end of days.


When I woke up the next morning, I woke up to an empty bed and was instantly disappointed until my hand reached Edward’s pillow where I felt a sheet of paper.


I didn’t want to leave your arms at all, let alone, wake you, but I needed to get started on my physical therapy exercises this morning.

Your bag is in the bathroom if you’d like to take a shower and get ready for the day.

I’ll be upstairs whenever you’re ready.

Yours always,


I was almost startled when I looked at the clock and saw that it was after 10 am. I dragged myself out of bed and decided that I better check my cell to see if I had any messages from Jake. I inwardly cringed when I saw more messages from him. I wasn’t ready to talk to him because I had no idea what I wanted to say to him.

I shot Jake a text.

I love you and I’m thinking about you. Let me know if you need anything today. Edward and I are heading to Washington on Tuesday morning. -B

Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for him to text me back.

Dad and I are heading back later tonight. Emily’s parents left on the first flight after the storage people came today. -J

Halle-fucking-luja the parents of the year were out of my house. I wanted to make sure that I saw Jake before we left so I decided to get ready so I could face what was sure to be a much different home than I had left yesterday.

I will be there to see you soon. Please don’t leave until I get there. -B

I had barely set the phone down on the counter when it started to vibrate-- Charlie, again. I wish he’d leave me the hell alone already. I threw the phone into my bag and got into the shower.

It wasn’t long before I was dressed in my skinny jeans and t-shirt with my damp hair cascading down my back and heading upstairs to see Edward. The site of him took my breath away. He was working out on an elliptical machine. Each movement had his muscles flexing and he was covered from head to toe in a slight sheen of sweat. It was almost like he was one of those oiled up male models for a fitness magazine ad. The sight had me wanting to do so many things to him. I’d start by licking and kissing him from head to toe.

I cleared my throat and his smile made the day that was destined to be difficult to deal with just a little bit brighter. “Morning,” I told him.

He stepped down from the machine and grabbed a towel and began to dry himself off. Damn, how I wanted my lips to be in place of that towel.

“Good morning.” That Greek God made his way over to me and kissed me ever so gently on my lips. I was pretty sure that I was now a puddle of goo on the floor.

“I just texted Jake and he and his dad aren’t flying out until this afternoon. I need to see him before they head up North,” I told him.

“Okay, I can be showered and ready to go in about 15 minutes. I made coffee this morning. I set out a cup for you and some mocha flavored creamer for you. I also have some chocolate Pop Tarts on the counter if you’re hungry.”

Could he really be more perfect? I asked myself. I was overwhelmed by how well he was taking care of me. Every time that I had even the slightest doubt that the old Edward was somewhere inside of him, Edward proved me wrong without even knowing that I was having doubts.

“Wow, thanks, Edward. Coffee and Pop Tarts sound perfect.”

“You’re very welcome my Bella. I’ll be back in a bit so we can go,” he told me.


I was surprised to see a cab waiting in front of my house when I got there. Billy was already in the cab but Jake was sitting on the front steps, obviously waiting for me.

Jake got up as soon as Edward pulled into the drive-way.

“Hey, Bells,” Jake said as he enveloped me in a huge hug.

“Hi, Jake.” I hugged him back harder than I had ever hugged anyone before. As I released him, I saw the sadness of his features and I just wanted to do anything to help erase the pain but I knew that even time wouldn’t make it all go away. “I thought you weren’t leaving for a while.”

“Yeah, well, Dad wanted to try to get there early. He hates flying anyway and being in the chair adds a lot of time for us getting in and out easily. I wasn’t going to go without saying goodbye, even though I know I will see you tomorrow.” His voice cracked at the end and the fissure in my heart that Emily’s death caused, opened up a little more as I felt a tear fall down my cheek.

“Thanks for waiting for me. You know that I’m here for you, day, night,” I told him.

“I know. Unfortunately, no one can help me with how badly I am missing her and needing her with me right now. That’s the only thing I want and I can’t have it,” Jake shrugged. “I’ve seen how Dad is even years after losing Mom. I know what everyone always says. ‘It’s not fair.’ ‘She’ll never really leave you.’ ‘She’s always with you in your heart.’ None of that fucking means a thing without her here by my side, with me for the rest of my days like I had planned. I guess God just loved to fuck my family over. Destroying the lives of the Black men must be at the top of his damned to do list.”

Every word he spoke was filled with anger and resentment of having taken Emily away. I couldn’t really blame him. Their family had suffered such a horrible loss when his mother was killed. He shouldn’t be facing this type of pain again. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair at all. People weren’t given more then they can handle. I had heard that expression many times, but how much more could he take before he broke. If I didn’t have someone, the person who was definitely my one with me, I wasn’t sure that I could make it through this.

I reached up and palmed his cheek. “I miss her too, Jake.”

“Sure, sure,” he told me as he backed away from me. I knew that he was coping the best he could but I missed her too. I just wished he would open up to me.

“Jake,” Edward reached up and embraced him. I was pretty sure my mouth hit the concrete of the sidewalk with a resounding thud when I saw Jake hug him back. Edward hadn’t told me what they talked about yesterday, but obviously they had buried the hatchet. To someone looking from the outside, it looked like they were close friends.

Before Edward let go, I saw him whisper something into Jake’s ear. I couldn’t hear what was said but Jake nodded. Edward gently tapped him on the shoulder.

“You’re coming with Bella to the... to La Push, right?” Jake asked.

“Yes, we will both be there,” Edward told him.

“Okay, thanks again, man. For everything,” Jake told him as he came up to me and hugged me.

Jake whispered in my ear, “I’m sorry if it seems like I’m being a dick or something, Bells. I just don’t fucking know what to do right now. I know you miss her too. She loved you, so much.” He choked on his words and he stepped away and wiped the tears that were beginning to fall from his eyes. “I love you too, Bells.” I nodded since I felt the tears rising up. I didn’t trust myself to talk.

I almost ran to Jake as I threw my arms around his neck. The tears were flowing freely for both of us now. We both held on like we never wanted to let go. I knew we weren’t just holding on to one another. We were trying to find a way to hold on to Emily too. I heard a horn honk and stepped back as Jake released me. He raised his hand and wiped the tears from my face. He looked over his shoulder at Edward then back to me.

“Don’t let him go, Bella.” Jake kissed me on the cheek as he walked to the cab. Edward came and pulled my back against his chest as I watched Jake leave.

“Fuck,” I almost shouted. “This shouldn’t have ever fucking happened.” I was almost as angry as Jacob. “Did you notice that Jake couldn’t even say Emily’s name? I agree with Jake. This isn’t fair and it shouldn’t be this way. This was not supposed to happen.”

“Bella, God works in mysterious ways.”

“It’s times like this that I wonder if there even is a God. No one should have to go through this twice. Jacob and Emily were happy-- so happy. They deserved to be happy together.”

Edward grabbed my hand trying his best to calm me by rubbing circles on the back of my hand. “Baby, I know that you are hurting. I know that Jacob is hurting. I know you are both so pissed that you would like to be left in a room with that drunk driver and beat him until he takes his last breath. No matter what you do, Emily is gone. If I could change that for you and Jacob, I would do it no matter the cost, but I can’t. Just know that you and Jake will have each other to get through this. You have me too, Bella. I’m here.”

I laid my hands and my forehead on his chest and Edward put his hands gently on my shoulders.

“Let’s get inside, B.” Edward dug my keys out of my bag and opened the door. I walked down the hall with one destination in mind. “Are you sure you want to do this right now, Baby?”

I paused with my hand on the doorknob. “I have to, Edward,” I could barely hear those words as I spoke them. I closed my eyes tight and turned the knob and pushed the door open. I felt Edward behind me, so I knew that I wasn’t doing this on my own. I counted to ten before I opened my eyes.

I walked in and turned 360 degrees. It was gone. Everything was gone.

I sank to my knees in the middle of the room and couldn’t stop my heartbreak from overflowing.

“It’s like she was never even here, E.” He sank down on the floor next to me. I laid my head on his lap as I mourned for my best friend who was more like the sister I had always wanted and never had. I would never have that friend again.

“Bella, close your eyes. Remember the first day that you met her.” I did close them and I could remember her exuberance and that instant feeling of connection with her. “Remember the first time you shared a secret with her.” I remembered telling her about the man who destroyed me. The man that I would never forgive. The man that I loved. The man that I’d hated. She’d never meet the new man that I loved. “Remember all the times that you shared a special moment with her that only belonged to you and her, no one else.” I did. I could see her face when she admitted that she loved Jacob and that she had never imagined that he would feel the same way about her. I had never seen her as happy as I did when she said his name-- or even when she heard it. “You will NEVER forget her, Baby. She’s here.” He touched my head. “Most importantly, she’s here.” Edward touched the upper left part of my chest, my heart. “You and Jacob will make sure that she is never forgotten. She will always live in the memories that I know you will never lose of her.”

He was right. My head knew that but my heart was having a hard time facing the pain. Another pain hit my chest. This one wasn’t about Emily. It was about Charlie.

“Edward, he’s going to be there tomorrow.”

“Who, Baby?”

“Him, Charlie, the liar, the fucking life altering manipulator.” He nodded solemnly. “He’s been calling me constantly, wanting to talk. Obviously, he doesn’t know that I know about the restraining orders, but I don’t know what to say to him. What do you say to the person who decided to play God? That’s basically what he did with your father when they decided to take our lives into their hands.”

Edward ran his hands through his hair. “I understand, Bella. I have no fucking clue what to say to my dad either. I wonder if our moms knew about it too?”

“I don’t think my mom did. She is more of an open book than me. I don’t think she could tell a lie if her life depended on it,” I said to him.

“My mom could have known. She always stands behind Dad. How do you think your dad will handle seeing the two of us-- together?”

“He will fucking go ballistic. I don’t care if he does either. I want you, Edward. I want us. If Charlie can’t accept that, can’t accept me the way that I am, I’m better off without him in my life. I have chosen my life and I want to live it. Emily wasn’t given the chance to live the life that she wanted. I’ll be damned if I let someone dictate to me how to live mine.”

“Well, I guess if I’m going to Hell I might as well do it thoroughly,” Edward said. He got up off the floor and reached his hand to me.

“I can’t stay here tonight by myself. Can I stay with you again tonight?”

“Yes, of course you can stay with me as long as you need to.”


The next day came much sooner than I wanted it. I didn’t let go of Edward’s hand for even one second while we were on the plane to Washington.

I had texted Charlie before we left telling him I would not be staying with him. That I was coming with a friend from school that Jacob had invited and that we were staying in La Push since Jacob wanted us as close as possible. Charlie tried to call right after I sent it but I didn’t pick up. He would get the hint sooner or later. Edward said that he had taken care of getting us a ride to the hotel. Jacob was going to pick us up for the funeral since he didn’t want to go with just his dad.

Edward said that Jacob was actually worried that Billy could back out at the last second and not go. Jake wasn’t sure if Billy would be able to face it. Emily’s damn parents didn’t even invite Jake to ride with them even though Em had been closer to Jake than she had ever been to them. They had their pastor call me and ask if I would say a little about her and read a poem. At least they didn’t tell me what to say or do. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect poem to share. Jake declined. He didn’t want to share his Emily with everyone. He was going to keep her just his. I couldn’t blame him for that at all.

Once the plane landed, we grabbed our carry-on bags and walked with our hands linked together to the arrivals terminal. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Jasper walked through the door. It was immediately clear he was surprised too. Jasper looked from Edward to me to our handholding to me to Edward again.

“You didn’t tell him?” I whispered to Edward as we neared Jasper.

“No, I told him I was coming with a friend. I didn’t want to get into everything on the phone. I think this,” he looked down at our entwined fingers and squeezed my hand gently, “speaks for itself, don’t you?”

“Probably. He didn’t bring Alice did he?” I didn’t know how Alice felt about me. All I knew is that she had totally written me out of her life after what happened to Edward. Facing her was something I wasn’t sure I was ready to do either.

“No, I specifically asked him not to. She doesn’t mean to tell everything, but once Alice gets started, there is absolutely no stopping her. It’s a good thing she isn’t in charge of our government’s secrets or there would be absolutely no secrets.”

“Yes, I remember.” I noticed Jasper’s shock never left his face as we finally were at his side.

“Hey, Jaz, it’s good to see you,” Edward said.

“Uh, yeah, you too, both of you,” Jasper said.

“Hi, Jasper.” I really didn’t know how to respond to him. It was a little awkward after all the shit that went down at the beginning of the year. Edward looked at both of us and just shook his head.

“Jaz, Bella and I are both going to the University of Oklahoma. We ran into each other a few months ago. It’s her best friend, Emily, who passed away in the car accident,” Edward told him.

“Bella, I am so sorry about your friend,” Jasper told me.

“Thanks, she was a very special person that I will miss very, very much. I’m just glad that I have Edward in my life to help me through this.” I stood on my tip toes and kissed Edward on his lips softly. That should answer Jasper’s question before he ever asked it.

“Wow, just wow,” Jasper whispered.

“Jasper, I know what you are thinking. Bella and I are two totally different people now.”

“Do your parents know about this yet?”

“No,” Bella told him. “I’m guessing the shit is going to hit the fan tomorrow. I’ve got a few things that I have to say to Charlie myself.”

“Damn,” Jasper muttered. “You told her about the restraining orders, huh?”

“Bella and I keep absolutely nothing from each other, no matter how much it may hurt to hear. Without honesty and communication, there is no way that any relationship will be healthy. We are trying to do it right this time by building a solid foundation,” Edward said.

“Jasper, this is obviously something that Edward and I have talked in great depth about. We are in this for the long haul and we know where we stand and how we feel. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned, it’s no one else’s business. We have matured from the fucked up people we once were. It may be hard for some people to believe. We have both forgiven each other for our past behavior, even though neither of us will ever forget it. In the end, it is no one’s decision but mine and Edward’s whether or not we will be together. It is our lives and we will live them for ourselves not how others want us to live them.”

“Wow, the fireworks are going to be visible from outer space when both of your parents find out,” Jasper said. “Are you both ready to deal with the fallout?”

“More than ready,” I told him and we followed Jasper to his car.


After Edward and I checked into our rooms, I called my mom to check in. She mentioned Charlie and I just told her that I was too busy dealing with things and barely had the time to do anything right now. I didn’t know what else to say to her. They wanted to stay in Seattle for the night and her and Phil would drive to La Push to make it to the service.

The only other person that I talked to was Jake. He sounded so distant. A part of him died when Emily did. I just prayed that some day that he would find a way to be happy again.



We arrived at the cemetery literally minutes before the service was supposed to start. Jacob and I helped Billy out of the car. While Jacob and Bella began to walk to our seats, I maneuvered Billy’s chair through the rough terrain.

There were only three seats remaining on the front row. Thankfully someone had saved them on an aisle. Jacob sat down on the end and I wheeled Billy next to him. Billy patted me on the hand.

“Thanks for helping with everything,” Billy whispered to me.

I nodded and took my place next to Bella. Jake held one of her hands. I looked over to her and brushed a lock of hair from her face. She smiled slightly and took my hand in her free one. I suddenly could feel the eyes on me. I looked over to see Charlie Swan shooting daggers my direction. The woman next to him also glared at me. I was pretty sure that was Bella’s mom. If looks could kill, I would have been a dead man right now. Charlie began to move our way as the minister stepped up and prepared to begin the services. The woman put her hand on his arm and Charlie stopped. He reached into his pocket and it looked like he was doing something on his phone as the minister began the services.

“Good afternoon, I am Reverend Webber. It is with heavy hearts that we come today to remember Emily Young, beloved daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Young. I had the pleasure of having known Emily her entire life. I christened her in my church. She was always energetic and full of life. How do we begin to say goodbye to someone so young, someone who was taken away by such a tragedy?” Bella clinched her fingers tighter with mine. I reached over with my other hand and rubbed her arm soothingly.

Reverend Webber continued, “I sat down and spoke with Emily’s parents yesterday. We remembered the day that she was brought into this world. Her parents had never been more thrilled than to welcome their precious daughter into their hearts. I, like many of you, also welcomed her into my heart. She came into our lives and changed all of us for the better. Emily taught everyone how important it was to love your fellow man. Emily believed in honesty, never hiding how she really felt. She loved expressing those opinions with the written word in her journalistic pursuits. Emily taught us about life and how to live that life to its fullest.”

It was ironic that he was speaking almost the exact words that Bella had said to me in Emily’s room-- about living life to its fullest. Bella and I looked at each other. This definitely wasn’t a coincidence. Bella had wanted Emily to meet me and to accept me into her heart. I could tell by the look on Bella’s face that she felt the same as me. This was a sign. Emily was sending us her understanding, her blessing, her acceptance, her love.

“If someone was having a bad day, Emily always found a way to lift them up,” Reverend Webber said. “She had such a thirst for life that it was contagious for all of us who were around Emily. Emily had a constant craving for knowledge and for sharing what she learned with those around her, especially her friends and family. Friends and family were always held near and dear to Emily. Her dear friend Bella Swan would like to say a few things about her.”

Bella got up and didn’t let go of my hand until it was no longer within her reach. She was never one who liked to be the center of attention. I knew that this was even more difficult for her because her father and mother were here and the atmosphere was feeling more tense by the minute. She bit her lip nervously and began to speak.

“Emily was my best friend. One look from her could always brighten up my day. She always accepted me so quickly and lovingly. I loved that she never judged someone without forming her own opinion first. It never failed that she found the good in everyone that crossed her path. She believed that all of us have good in us that we just have to search within ourselves to find it. I know that Emily helped me find myself and the person that I was meant to be. She was the best friend I’ve ever had, that anyone could ever have. I will miss her every moment of every day. One thing that I know about Emily is that she would want us to find a way out of our sadness. She would want us to remember all of those special moments that we shared with her and smile.” Bella looked over and nodded at me remember the words that I shared with her yesterday.

“She wouldn’t want us to dwell on the unjustness of her life being cut so short. Emily would want us to help her live on-- in our minds, hearts and souls. This poem paints a clear picture of what I think Emily would want from all of us.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on the snow.

I am sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there I did not die.

She is here.” Bella pointed to her heart. “She will always be a part of all of us who loved her and were so blessed to have her in our lives.” Bella wiped at her tears and sat back down between Jacob and I. He reached over and hugged her tightly and she reached back to grab my hand.

“Please bow your heads and pray with me,” Reverend Webber said. “Heavenly father, we come to you today to remember our daughter and friend, Emily Young. The Lord is my Shepherd; I Shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.” In the back of my mind I could hear the crunching of gravel and I thought to myself, someone is really late for the services.

“Amen,” I said with the others in attendance.

“The Emily’s friends and family would like to thank you for coming. You are all invited to our church for a luncheon where we will continue to celebrate the bright life of Emily Young.”

Bella and I got up and went with Jake to Emily’s parents. They accepted our condolences and we headed back to Billy. We stopped in our tracks when we saw not only Bella’s parents next to Billy, but my mom and dad were there as well. That was what Charlie was doing on his phone while the funeral was starting. I looked at our parents and while our mom’s both had mirrored looks of fear, the looks of anger on our fathers’ faces it what stood out most. Charlie’s face went from red to purple to blue. His hands were clinched at his sides. I think the only thing keeping him from coming after me was Reneé’s hand on his arm. Thankfully most of the mourners had left or were nearing their cars when Charlie spoke up.

“Bella, what in the Hell are you doing here...with him!” Charlie shouted.

Before she had a chance to respond, my father decided it was his fucking turn to chime in. “Edward, really, Bella Swan. She almost killed you and you are with her again.” A few of the stragglers who were still walking to their cars turned at looked after hearing the commotion turned and looked to see what was going on.

“Dad, this is not the time or place to have this discussion. If’ you’d like, we’ll have Jake drop us off at your house so we can discuss this matter privately,” I told him calmly and motioned towards the spectators.

“I don’t think so,” Charlie growled. “I demand to know what is going on here. I want to know right now, damn it!”

“You demand, huh?” Bella spoke up. “Not surprising that you are trying to take control of all the people around you. It’s something that you like to do isn’t it? You like to be the decision-maker, right?”

“Bella, you watch how you speak to your father,” her mother said. “Show some respect.”

“Not surprising that she is being disrespectful. She did shoot my son,” my mom said.

“With a gun that your damn son brought over to her house,” Reneé almost shouted.

“Enough!” Bella screamed. “This day was not about you. I can’t believe you are making a scene like this in front of Jake and Billy. Do you not even care why we all are here to begin with today? Someone died. Someone that I loved dearly. Someone Jake loved dearly.” She pointed to Jake who was standing beside his dad watching our families begin what very easily could become World War III at any moment. “Look over there, my best friend, the love of Jake’s life, is gone forever, because of a careless mistake someone made.”

“Sounds kind of familiar. You did almost put our son in the same place a few months back,” Dad told her in a harsh tone.

“Dad, there is absolutely no need to talk to her like that,” I said.

“Edward, how can you stand there and defend that...that...”

“Mom, don’t say a word to her,” I ordered.

“As much as I would love to stand here and be disparaged by you,” Bella pointed to my parents, “and for you to disparage him,” Bella pointed to me, “I would just love to know who’s absolutely brilliant idea it was to lie to me and Edward that we had put restraining orders on each other.”

Both of our fathers blanched at her words and our moms were honestly shocked by what she said.

“They were real,” Charlie said.

“Oh, Daddy Dearest,” Bella said sarcastically. “Do you really want to continue this charade? I know that they weren’t real. Emily and I did some research and there were never any restraining orders issued. Edward never filed one against me nor I him.”

Charlie cleared his throat. “Bella, something had to be done. You were both so toxic together. We had to do something, anything, to get you away from each other so you had a chance at a normal life. You deserve that, a chance to be happy without someone hurting you with words or with their fists.” Charlie shot me the evil eye with his last comment.

“If things between Edward and I were messed up before, why didn’t any of you try to talk to us about it,” Bella said.

“Bella, we did try...” Reneé started before she was interrupted by Bella.

“Did you, Mom? Because I don’t remember ever having a conversation with you all the years that we had been dating that you thought Edward and I had any kind of problems. All I ever heard about was all the things that you and Phil were doing.”

“Bella, that is just not true,” Reneé said.

“As much as I know all of you hate to hear it, you didn’t say one fucking word,” Bella’s voice was eerily quiet.

“You,” she pointed to each of our parents, “just ignored everything that we both did when you could have maybe, just maybe, opened our eyes to how fucked up we were back then, but no. Parents are supposed to protect their children. I understand that, but to totally ignore how we were for years and years and not say one word, one single solitary word. Where the hell were you, our parents when we really needed you? You decided to wait to do something when things escalated to the point of Edward and I physically hurting each other. Where the fuck was the communication? There is this saying ‘lying is done with words and also with silence.’ If you had said something, anything, we may not have ended up on the path that ended up nearly destroying us both. So you, our parents, and honestly after the lack of parental guidance you gave us when we needed it most, I am honestly not sure if you deserve the title, decided to take matters into your own hands and lie to us, lie to everyone. ‘Bella, Edward put a restraining order on you. He doesn’t want to see you ever again.’ ‘Edward, Bella doesn’t want you, ever. You can’t contact her because a restraining order has been issued against you.’ He almost died!” Bella said as she pointed to me. My mom and dad both flinched at her tone.

“We all could have lost him forever because of a God damn lie! I’m sorry, Charlie. I don’t think I can ever, ever forgive you for this.”

“I did what I had to do to get you away from him,” Charlie yelled. “I will do it now too.” Charlie grabbed Bella’s arm and she tried to get away from him. My well-controlled anger was on the verge of spilling over.

“Dad, Charlie, you’re hurting me. Let go,” Bella demanded through her gritted teeth.

“Charlie,” Reneé pleaded, but Charlie refused to release his grip on her arm. I wasn’t going to stand by and watch Bella be hurt by anyone.

“Charlie, take your hands off her now,” I told him.

“You, you don’t tell me what to do with my daughter.”

I walked closer to them and Charlie finally released her. I knew he would because I was always the one that he really wanted to hurt.

“Cullen, you are no good and worthless. You put your hands on my daughter and hurt her. You stay away from my daughter,” Charlie commanded me.

“Dad, you no longer have a say in what I do. Edward and I have changed. We aren’t the same people that we were. We are going to be together and there is absolutely nothing that you can do to stop us,” Bella told him as calmly as she could.

With my focus on Bella, I had lost my view of Charlie and he surprised me by grabbing me by the shirt. He threw his arm back and clinched his fist. His hand narrowed in on my face and before it could connect Bella stepped between us and Charlie’s fist collided with Bella’s face and she fell to the ground.

You could have heard a pin drop when I bent to the ground and helped her up. I gently cradled her head with my hands and inspected the injury that her own father’s hands had caused her.

“Baby, are you OK?” I asked her. She nodded and I put myself between her and Charlie.

“You say that I’m a worthless for ever putting my hands on Bella. You just punched your own daughter that you said you were trying to protect. What does that make you?” I asked Charlie.