A/N: No you are not being deceived! This is actually a continuation of Forbidden Attraction. So many of you hoped I wouldn't end it where I ended the previous chapter, and while that was my intention at first, some devil got a hold of me and had me write this continuation ;-) I hope you'll like it!

*This continuation is un-beta'd, so bear with my minor mistakes 'kay?*


The summer transformed into fall and I watched with a heavy feeling in my heart as the U-Haul truck on the Swan's driveway was slowly filled with Bella's things.

She had told me during one of our many conversations that she would probably attend the local college eventually, and her sudden decision to move out of state left me with the feeling that I was the reason for her flight out of town.

Actually, I was pretty much certain of that point. I know I would have done the same had I been in her shoes.

The idea to do exactly that was very appealing to me.

My decision to place a lid on my feelings for Bella and leave her alone had not caused a miraculous improvement on my marriage. Mary and I were still fighting like two male cats over territory, mostly because Alice had not calmed down and was acting out even more than before.

Just last month she had told us that she was not going to college. She wanted to go to L.A. and become a model.

When neither Mary nor I agreed with her, she threw a tantrum fit for a five-year-old and stormed out of the house.

Later that night, she came home sporting a taped-on bandage on the small of her back, and I just about choked on my own spit because I knew immediately what my baby girl had done in her rage.

"Alice Masen, please tell me that's not what I believe it is on your back."

She had smirked at me like the little devil-spawn she acted as. "Well, Daddy, I don't know what you believe it is, do I?"

Mary had entered the room, then, and all hell had broken loose.

Profanities I'd never heard being uttered in my house before exited both my wife and daughter's mouths. The line: "I fucking hate you!" had been followed by running steps up the stairs and a slamming door that caused the windows to rattle in their frames.

Bella exited her house with a box in her arms. She was wearing jeans that hugged her hips sinfully and a jacket that emphasized her waist with a belt. Her long, wavy hair was loose and when the wind caught it, she took my breath away. She didn't look nineteen to me at that moment and my desire for her flared up violently.

A guy on an MC turning onto my driveway pulled me from the vision of my young neighbor. He dismounted the powerful vehicle after killing the engine, but he didn't remove his helmet so I had no idea what he looked like. However, I could see blonde curls peeking out from under it, and even though he was covered in leather from head to toe, it was obvious the guy was muscular.

I frowned when I heard the unmistakable sound of my daughter's feet coming down the stairs, and I understood that the tool outside was waiting for her.

It would be over my dead body that my baby would ever get on that death machine behind a guy that was quite apparent too old for her.

She tried to pass the kitchen unnoticed, but I stopped her.

"And just where do you think you're going, young lady?" I asked to bring her to the attention that I knew what she was trying to do.

I heard her groan before she appeared in the doorway with bad attitude written across her painted face. She was wearing way too much black around her eyes, and the piercings in her lower lip and nose, which had given me an aneurysm when I saw them the first time, were on full display.

"Jasper's band has a gig tonight and he invited me to the pre-party."

I stared at my daughter and wondered, not for the first time, what had caused this change in her. From where had this rebellious attitude come?

"Jasper? Who's Jasper? How old is he?"

"Twenty-eight," she replied with a shrug, and the coffee cup in my hand very nearly slipped from my grip.

"Alice, you're only twenty years old. Don't you think he's a bit too old for you?"

She huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. She mumbled something under her breath that I didn't catch.

"What was that?" I asked.

"Nothing," she said and then bent down to tie her shoe lace that had become untied.

"Honey, you are not getting on that motorcycle with that boy, do you hear me?"

She looked up at me from her crouching position. "Oh yes, I am," she said calmly and straightened out before heading for the door.

"Get back here, Alice Masen!" I called and followed her through the door. She was already sitting behind the boy, her arms around his waist, and he was revving the engine. "Alice!"

I felt my fury fill my body as I helplessly stared after the disappearing vehicle. I was clueless when it came to that girl. Mary and I had done everything we could think of. She got lots of attention from us so there was no way she could feel neglected.

I just didn't understand.

A deep sigh escaped me and I turned to go back into the house. My eyes swept over the neighborhood and locked with dark brown ones.

Bella's eyes were filled with sadness, but when our eyes met, they changed into pools of desire for a short second before anger and guilt became the dominant feeling in them.

She hurriedly broke our connection and bent down for another box and I disappeared inside.

I waited five seconds after the phone began to ring on my desk before I reached for it. One signal had rung four times already before the caller hung up the phone. Once, I'd gotten a 'hello' out before the click resounded in my ear.

When I finally checked the number, I recognized it all too well, and I wondered what drove her to call me, but hang up before I answered. My stomach clenched at the thought of her thinking about me, possibly missing me; her body aching to have me close as mine did for her.

A full minute passed, but she didn't call again, and my heart dropped down into my stomach.

I knew it was wrong of me to cling to the hope that she would discard my words from that faithful summer day in her parents yard, but some days I couldn't bring myself to care about right and wrong, and I wanted to call her as much as she appeared to want to talk to me.

Why would she discard my words, though? She was so young, and while I had been completely truthful at the moment, how would she be able to predict that my determination to fix my family would waver so much after only one summer?

She couldn't, because not even I could. I thought it would be easier than it had proven to be. I thought my marriage wasn't doomed, and I thought my daughter wasn't beyond saving, but here I was in my office, second guessing all of that.

The signal that told me I had a customer out in the carpentry shook me from my damning thoughts, and I exhaled sharply before reattaching the mask of the character I played whenever I wasn't alone or with her.

However, the mask fell as soon as my eyes landed on the young woman in front of me. Only two months had passed since I saw her father drive her to college with that big U-Haul trailing behind them, but I could tell she had changed a lot. Her dark hair looked matte, she had circles underneath her eyes and she had lost a bit of weight. The changes weren't very noticeable, but I had spent hours of sleepless nights thinking about her, and I was positive I could describe her face perfectly. That was why I saw the changes immediately.

"Hi," I breathed out when she remained quiet.

Bella swallowed and inhaled before opening her mouth. "Hi," she replied quietly, and then she looked down. "It...fell and broke," she continued. I frowned in confusion as I didn't understand what she was talking about at first, but then I noticed the vanity mirror frame she was supporting on her hip. I recognized it as a mirror frame I had made for her myself when she and Alice were still children. Her parents had asked me to make if for her birthday, and I had gladly done it. I was amazed that she still had it.

Suddenly I felt embarrassed. Of course that was the only reason she was here. It wasn't like she wanted to see me. She needed the frame repaired and since I made it, I was the best choice for it to be done properly.

That was probably why she had called before. She had battled with herself whether to call or to just come here with it herself. As she stood before me now, I realized that she was a lot stronger than I had given her credit for. I would never have been able to stand in her shoes in that moment.

I nodded slowly. "I see that," I said as an answer to her explanation for why the frame was broken. "I should be able to fix it." I walked up to her and took the mirror from her hands. I turned around and walked to my workbench to place it there. "Are you on break from college?" I asked in an attempt at a normal conversation.

"Mhm," she said quietly, and I turned back to face her. She was looking down on her feet, but I could still see the red spots on her cheeks and I wondered what had caused her embarrassment.

I simply looked at her for a short moment, and I knew that I couldn't even try to act ignorant toward her. I could never be anything but honest when it was just the two of us. With that knowledge, I threw all caution to the wind.

"It's good you're here," I started, but she interrupted me with a small smile.

"I'm not so sure about that," she said and looked up at me with dark, vulnerable eyes. They drew everything out of me. Every dark secret that should be kept under lock and key bubbled out before I could stop them.

"I dream about you. I think about you every day, and I have dreams about you like a teenage boy."

Her mouth fell open and then she shook her head while looking everywhere but at me. "There's just no sense when it comes to you, is it?" she asks rhetorically, but I answer anyway with a shake of my head.

"No...it's not." I walked closer to her and she finally looked at me again. "There hasn't been since I first heard your poems." I couldn't stop myself from placing a stray lock of hair back behind her ear, and then, as if some stronger force than myself told me to, I leaned forward and kissed her neck. Her answering moan caused all reason to leave my head, and I stepped even closer so that our bodies were flush against each other. My hands moved to her hips to keep her close and I felt myself harden further with every second.

"Someone could walk in any second," she breathed, and I had a small second of clarity when I realized she was right, but my mind was soon clouded again with thoughts of her naked body beneath mine.

"Not in my office," I said, and Bella leaned away slightly to look at me with heavy, lust-filled eyes. She appeared to contemplate something, but then she stepped away from me completely, and I wanted to protest at the cold air that hit me where she was pressed just seconds before.

She didn't leave, though, as I'd thought she would. Instead, she locked the entrance door and turned back to me. I felt shocked and relieved at once, and when it truly sank in that she had no plans to leave, I held out my hand for her to take. This was going to be on her terms from the start. I would never do anything she didn't want.

She willingly accepted my offer and followed me to my office where I closed and locked the door behind us to be on the completely safe side. I knew exactly what I was about to do, and what lines I was about to cross, but when Bella was so close, none of that mattered. Still, it didn't mean that I wanted to put her in a position where we could possibly get caught.

I pulled her toward me and as soon as she was pressed against every inch of me, she stretched up to find my lips with hers. I instantly leaned forward and the pure taste of her exploded in my mouth, spread out to every fiber and made my blood boil as well as rush down south at a speed it made me light-headed.

I tried to touch every part of her through her clothes, over her back and down toward her bottom, tightening my hold on her to keep her against my ever hardening cock. My violent lust scared me. It had never been like that before. Not that kind passion. Not that all-consuming, raging, I-have-to-have-you-now-or-I'll-explode kind of lust.

"You didn't want to," I hear Bella mumble in my ear. "You didn't want this," she said, and the confusion was there in her breathless voice.

"But now I do," I answered her tightly. "I can't even remember the last time I wanted to this much." I snaked my hand underneath her sweater and traced her back until I felt the band of her bra. With just a twist of my hand, I unclasped it, and she gasped. I stopped as I suddenly realized that while she hadn't done anything but show me she wanted this, too, she hadn't actually said it.

I leaned away from her and studied her face. "What about you?" I asked. "Do you want to?"

She didn't answer me with her voice. She only pressed herself against me and it was as if every barrier was just obliterated. Both of us fumbled with the others clothes as we tried to get them out of the way as fast as possible, and all the while, our mouths never lost contact.

I grabbed a hold of her and lifted her up on my desk and moved one of my hands over her thigh and in between her legs. She was soaking wet, and my fingers easily slid inside her hot center. Her moan was loud and her muscles clenched tightly around me.

With strength I didn't know she possessed, she pulled me on top of her and locked her legs around my waist. I pulled my hand away and took support on the desk instead as I pushed into her so hard it caused the wood underneath us to creak.

It didn't last long. Half of a minute at the most. She clenched unbelievably hard around me, and I felt myself swell before my own orgasm exploded.

In the middle of the euphoria, I heard how my desk organizer fell over and everything inside it clattered out all over the floor.

For a moment, the world was perfect.

For a moment, we were in each other's arms, and I just had to kiss her neck, her shoulders, and her soft lips.

"I'm sorry," I said with a chuckle. "I couldn't control myself. You make me feel like a teenager all over again."

She smiled back at me with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. "You have nothing to apologize for. Nothing at all."

I wanted to remain in that moment, but our choice of place to have sex on wasn't very comfortable, and my back was protesting loudly. With a grunt, I straightened up and pulled out of Bella before helping her to sit up.

As we began pulling our clothes back on, reality slowly came back to me, and I realized what we had just done, and how completely irreversible it was. What would happen now? What did Bella expect would happen now?

In order to give myself some more time to think it all through, I asked her the last thing I believe she expected. "Have you eaten anything?" She shook her head with wide, confused eyes, but I didn't acknowledge her confusion. "We could go to Frank's if you want."

"Sure."

With tense silence, I drove us to the small diner, and we didn't say anything until we placed our orders with the waitress. Bella only ordered a coffee, and I frowned.

"You're not going to eat?" I asked.

"I'm not hungry," she replied, but I wasn't satisfied with that answer. I had noticed when she stepped into my carpentry that she had lost weight, but now it was starting to worry me.

"You've lost weight," I pointed out, but she didn't like that very much.

"Well, that's all on you."

I flinched at her words, and for the first time, I understood what kind of impact I'd made in her life. It made me feel ashamed, and I didn't say anything else. Neither did she, and I lost my appetite. I had only eaten half, but I was already feeling nauseous. I pushed my plate away and gazed through the window. A group of people in Bella's age stood across the street, talking and laughing, and with a surge of sadness, it came to me that I was pulling Bella away from what she was supposed to be doing.

She was supposed to enjoy her break from college by going out with friends; dating guys and partying; making memories that would last a lifetime.

"What are you thinking?" she asked me, and I turned to face her again. With a humorless smile stretching across my face, I leaned back in my seat and crossed my arms.

"I was wondering about the mess I've made."

It's quiet again, and I could see how she was processing my words.

"Do you regret it?" she asked.

I shook my head before actually knowing I was doing it, but I also instantly knew that it wasn't a lie. "I can't," I replied. "It's impossible for me to ever regret it. Do you?" I had to ask. There was a big possibility that everything had changed for her now. That she had now realized it wasn't what she had fantasized about.

"No," she said without fail.

Relief flooded through even though I had no right to feel it. "Good."

We ended up spending hours together, and it started to feel like it did before feelings came in and destroyed everything. Back when we were at the writing course and simply enjoyed talking about books and authors, but like every time we allowed ourselves to forget reality for a second, it came back with a vengeance, this time when I drove us back to the carpentry, and I had to go back inside.

Bella stood awkwardly with her hands in the pockets of her jacket as neither of us knew how to proceed from there.

"Now what?" she eventually asked, and I hesitated slightly. I wished I could tell her we could be together, but it wasn't that simple. I was still married, and her best friend was my daughter. Things couldn't get more complicated than that.

"I don't know," I said. "Maybe we should...take it slow for a while," I continued despite hating myself for it. I didn't want to hurt her, but we couldn't just jump into anything.

I unlocked the door to the shop. "I'll have your frame fixed by next week. It will be as new, I promise." I tried to lift the heavy feeling that was surrounding us, but it didn't help.

"Thank you..." Bella said, but her eyes were unhappy, and I just couldn't stand seeing her like that, so I took a quick look around before I placed my hand underneath her chin and lifted her lovely face up toward me so that I could give her a kiss goodbye.

When we parted, she still looked sad, but not as defeated as before. "Take care of yourself," I said, and she nodded before taking a step back and started walking away from me. I looked after her for a few seconds before I went inside.

Bella was back at college and with every day that passed, I came closer to figuring out that my marriage couldn't be saved, and I started to connect the dots between Alice's behavior and my fights with Mary. She got progressively worse the day after a fight between Mary and me had taken place, and I knew that she would only continue her destructive behavior unless a change was made.

A change I had been contemplating for almost a year but had not dared to approach fully until now. It wasn't just for myself anymore. It was for my daughter as well, because it was not healthy for her to live in the environment her mother and I was creating.

I stayed in my car for a long time that night, trying to build up my courage to go inside and discuss what was needed with Mary. I was dreading it, but it had to be done.

I climbed out of my car and took a few deep breaths before walking up to my door and going inside.

A strong sense of Déjà Vu hit me when I heard Alice's music blaring from her room, causing the walls to vibrate, and my wife talking on the phone, her crossed leg unconsciously bopping in time with the beat of the music.

The only difference this time was that when Mary saw me, she didn't smile, and it only further cemented my choice to have this discussion tonight, so after I had hung up my jacket, I walked past her into the living room to wait for her to finish her call.

She did only two minutes later, and she stood up to walk to the kitchen, but I stopped her. "Mary, could you come in here for a second?" I called out, and she appeared in the doorway after a few seconds.

"What?" she asked, and while her voice was tight, her eyes and face were weary. She was as tired of fighting as I was, but I knew she wouldn't agree quietly with what I was going to suggest.

"We need to talk about what's going on between us, Mary. Because what we're doing isn't working out," I said, and she immediately straightened her stance as she waited for the rest of it. "I can't continue like this, for my own sake, but also for Alice's."

Mary looked at me cautiously, the frown on her face smoothing out and her eyes narrowing. "What are you saying?"

"I want to get a divorce."

It was completely silent for a beat, and then a reply came, but not from where I expected it.

"What?" came from the stairs, and then Alice became visible as she descended the last few steps and came up behind her mother. The music was still playing in her room, and that was why neither of us had heard her coming down the stairs.

I closed my eyes and exhaled in defeat. This didn't go as I had planned. Mary and I were supposed to talk about it first, just the two of us, and after that, we would tell Alice, but now I dropped the bomb not only on my wife but our daughter as well.

"Alice, honey, would you be so kind and go back to your room? Your father and I need to talk alone," Mary said, and I had to give her credit for remaining so calm in front of Alice. I don't think I would have been able to had the roles been reversed.

"I'm not just going back there after hearing that," Alice protested. "What the hell is going on? Dad, are you serious?"

"Alice, please!" Mary said a bit harsher, but she refused.

"Mom, you can't just—"

"Alice Masen, go back to your room now!"

Alice flinched when Mary raised her voice—I did too—and her eyes watered slightly before she ran up the stairs. The music was shut off, and the house became eerily quiet.

Mary walked closer to where I was standing, and when I looked into her eyes I had to fight the urge to take a step back. I don't think I'd ever seen her look at me with such detestation.

"Who is she?" she asked with a deadly calm voice that scared me to my core. I had not expected that question at all, and for a moment I feared that one of her friends had seen me with Bella and told her. Despite that possibility, I decided to act stupid.

"What do you mean?"

Mary made a disgusted sound. "Don't take me for a fool, Edward. I can take a lot, but don't insult my intelligence."

She still hadn't confirmed that she truly knew what I had done, so I held tight to my act. "I would never do that. I truly don't understand what you're referring to."

"Oh please! All the signs are there. Working late almost every night, how you're distancing yourself from me. You haven't touched me for months. I know you're cheating on me, Edward, so just tell me who the slut is that's fucking my husband!"

I knew then that she didn't know about me and Bella. She was interpreting signs and suspecting, but she didn't have any proof. I hated myself for playing that game, but I knew it needed to be done, or everything could turn very ugly.

"You haven't once perhaps thought all of those things could be because our marriage is falling apart? That I'm working late because I don't want to be home fighting with you? That I haven't touched you because that spark died years ago?" It was cruel of me to say it, but it was also all true. Bella and I had sex once, so any signs Mary thought herself to have seen were because of what I had just told her.

"You fucking bastard!" she screeched at me, and I groaned. This was exactly what I hoped to avoid. I had wanted to have a grown up discussion about all of this. I had falsely believed that we could have settled things between us without throwing insults at each other, but that was just not how things worked in our household, and it was also one of the reasons why we had to split up. Neither of us was happy, and it was only stupid to continue and force it.

Mary inhaled to continue her string of insults, but I stopped her before she could truly begin. "Look, you're not exactly convincing me to change my mind here. I want a divorce, and that's final." I left the living room and went out to the hall where I put on my jacket and grabbed my car keys.

"Are you going to see her?" Mary spat out as she followed me.

I sighed. "I'm going to sleep at my office tonight. Tomorrow, I'm contacting a lawyer." I placed my hand on the door knob, and that was when I heard quiet sniffling, so I turned around to see Mary in tears.

"Edward, please, let's talk about this. We can work it out, we always have before. I know we can do it this time. Please, just stay."

I had never liked seeing Mary cry, and a part of me wanted to go up to her, hug her and comfort her because when it all came down to it, we had been deeply in love in the past. She had been my everything until Alice was born, so while it was my decision to walk out, it still hurt a lot.

But I couldn't stay. This wasn't like previous fights. "I'm sorry, Mary. I really am, but we're not happy together. Not anymore. I believe this is what's best for all of us." With those words, I went outside and closed the door to my old life forever.

As the Christmas holidays neared, I moved out of the house Mary and I once bought shortly after we married, and into my new two-bedroom apartment on the other side of town. The divorce wouldn't be finalized until after the new years, but I just could not stay in the house anymore. It wasn't practical to sleep on the couch as a forty-five-year-old man with slight back issues.

Initially, Alice took Mary's side and hated my guts for almost two weeks, and that hurt me more than anything else ever had, but slowly, the part of her that was more adult than teenager, she understood why it had to happen.

She and I had a long talk about it—the longest conversation we'd shared since she started High School—and she truly listened and wanted to know how bad things had gotten between her parents. Of course, I was very careful to not pass any blame onto Mary. I simply told Alice that when two people are not meant for each other, despite earlier convictions of the opposite, the differences has a tendency to get in the way and cause irreparable cracks.

In the end, she became neutral and even asked to live with me on the weekends. It elated me that she asked that because it gave me hope that I could get the relationship I used to have with my daughter back. I missed my little girl, and how she used to look at me as if I was the greatest man on earth.

However, as happy as I was that Alice wanted to live with me on the weekends, it presented a problem that I wasn't aware of until it stared me in the face.

I came home from work one day about a week after I moved into the apartment. It was Friday, and when I saw a pair of Alice's shoes by the door, I realized that she had gotten here earlier, and it would be nice to have dinner together just the two of us, but then I spotted the other pair of shoes that I didn't recognize.

I heard voices from the living room, and curious to see who our guest was, I went there only to freeze on the spot when it became all too clear.

On my new couch, my daughter slouched with her eyes glued to the TV, but my attention was on the woman that starred in my dreams.

Both of them turned their heads when they heard me, and while Bella's face became slightly red, my daughter acted as if everything was normal.

"Hey, Dad. I hope it's okay I invited Bella over for dinner. We didn't know when you would come home, so we ordered pizza. It should be here soon."

It took me a second to collect myself, but I hoped Alice didn't notice, and I tried to answer her as I would have before this entire mess happened. "That's absolutely fine with me. I'm going to change and take a shower, but let me know when the food's here."

"Sure," she nodded and turned back to the TV.

Bella and I locked eyes for a moment, but when those beautiful eyes of her started to have their usual effect on me, I fled to my bedroom.

As I stood underneath the spray of warm water, my thoughts ran rampantly in my head.

How had I not anticipated this? Alice and Bella were friends, after all, maybe not the best friends they used to be, but still friends as far as I was aware. Of course Alice would invite her over here eventually, but this quick?

Why was Bella even home? Was she already on her Winter break? How long was she back for? Was there time for us to talk? To meet up?

Images of our time on my desk in the carpentry flashed behind my eyelids, and I felt myself longing for her; for her heat; for her arms and legs locked around my body. I wanted her so bad because now that I'd been with her once, it wasn't just a fantasy anymore. I knew how she felt, and I knew what she looked like when she came.

All of that had ruined me, and I wanted more. In fact, I wanted it all.

A knock on the door of my en-suite bathroom woke me up, but it also made me realize that I was rock solid, and I was positive no amount of cold water would make it go down.

"Yeah?" I called out, and it sounded as if I was being strangled.

"Pizza's here! Are you done soon?" Alice said through the door, and you would think that would help me, but it did absolutely nothing.

"I'll be out in a minute. Go ahead and start without me," I replied and when silence met my ear, I figured she did as I told her. I exhaled and looked down at myself. Then, I shamefully took my cock into my hand and closed my eyes as I let those images of Bella underneath me fill my mind.

It was the most pathetic and disgusting jerk-off in the history of time, because not only was the woman I was fantasizing about out in my living room eating pizza, but my daughter was too.

When I was done, I had to swallow several times to try and dissolve the guilt that was building up inside of me. It didn't help, though, because the truth was that if Alice hadn't been here, I wouldn't have felt bad for what I just did. If Bella had been the only one here, I would have invited her into the shower and done a whole lot more than just jerking off like any other hormonal teenage boy.

I tried to push all of those thoughts out of my head as I dried off and put on my clothes. It worked to an extent, but when I joined my daughter and Bella in the living room where they were looking at some movie while munching on the large pizza on the table, I still felt like the biggest pervert ever.

Bella's attention drifted from the movie from time to time and I noticed every time, but only once did I look back and smile. It caused her to blush, and I wanted to chuckle because she was so different from when we were alone. I had gotten to know the side that was blunt and bold; passionate and with the sexy confidence that she could seduce me.

I wanted to explore that side more than I already had, and while I really had no defense at all, that was my reason to offer Bella a ride home when she said it was time for her to leave.

"Uuh, sure. That'd be nice," she said, and I got up from my seat to put on my jacket and shoes while she said goodbye to Alice.

As soon as the door closed behind us and the lock clicked, I pulled Bella toward me and began devouring her as if I was a starving man. She was just as fierce as she kissed me back, and I had to hold back a groan so that Alice wouldn't hear the echo.

"I've wanted to do that the entire evening," I said with a gruff voice once we pulled apart.

"Me too," Bella agreed breathlessly. She opened her eyes and looked into mine before asking what I knew she would ask. "Is it because of me? Is that why you and Mary are getting a divorce?"

"Let's talk about this in the car," I said and placed my hand on the small of her back to lead her to the elevator that would take us below to the garage.

Once safe inside my Volvo and on the road, I answered Bella's question. "Bella, I don't want you to ever feel that it's on you that Mary and I are splitting up, okay? It was inevitable and long overdue. I mean, don't you remember my poems from the course?"

"Of course I do," she instantly replied. "I just can't stop wondering if I helped speed things along."

When she said that, I knew I had to be truthful. "My feelings for you changed me, yes. It made me aware of how bad everything had gotten, but I would never say it's your fault. It's all on me, and I don't want to hear of you feeling guilty in any way. If anything, you helped me and it was long before our involvement became as complicated as it is now."

"I wish it didn't have to be," Bella admitted, and I agreed with her. "I know you don't want me like that, though," she continued.

I frowned in confusion. "What do you mean?"

She smiled reassuringly. "It's okay. I remember what you told me back in July. You can't take the chance with me, and you have too much to lose. Maybe not with Mary anymore, but certainly with Alice. I get it. I'm happy with whatever you feel you can give me."

The pure unselfishness of this girl astounded me, but the fact that she practically offered to be my mistress also worried me. Didn't she have any self-preservation? What was her reward in this deal?

"Do you really believe I don't want to be with you completely? Without all the secrets and hiding?" I asked, and I saw in my periphery how Bella looked at me questioningly.

"You said that—"

"I lied," I interrupted her incredulously. "It was the only way to push you away at that point. If I hadn't, who knows what would have happened with you. Maybe you would have decided that college wasn't for you. That you had to stay to be close to me. Don't you see how messed up that is, Bella?"

She didn't say anything and I was afraid I had hurt her enough for her to not want anything to do with me anymore. I would respect that decision if that was what she wanted.

We remained silent the rest of the way, and when I stopped outside her parents' house, we shared another look. I wanted to kiss her goodbye, but it was impossible to do that here. Her parents could be looking out through the window or Mary could come outside with the trash or something like that.

Before she got out of the car, though, I gently placed my hand on her thigh. "How long before you have to go back to school?"

"Two weeks."

"I want to see you again. Alone this time. Are you free next week?"

She nodded. "Yeah. After Christmas, I don't have any plans."

"So, Thursday then?"

"Not on your desk, though, right?" she said, and it caused me to chuckle.

"No, I was thinking more of my apartment. Take the bus into town. I will pick you up at Frank's."

Once again, she nodded, and I moved my hand over her thigh slightly before she got out of the car.

My Christmas was very uneventful.

I spent Christmas Eve with Alice since Mary had insisted on Christmas Day with our daughter. I didn't put up a fight because the whole reason for our divorce was so that Alice wouldn't have to witness any more of them.

I was sort of happy when I got the news from Mary that Alice had indeed calmed down a bit. Of course, she still had those days where she was almost out of control, but she was a lot more open to listening to both Mary and me when we explained that her behavior wasn't something that would get her anywhere in life.

The reason that I wasn't a hundred percent pleased was because my daughter was still dating that tool with the motorcycle. Apparently, his name was Jasper, he was a bass player in an alternative rock band, and I had imprinted that name into my memory the second I understood he was going to be a big part of my daughter's life, in case I would ever have to do anything not-so-legal to protect my little girl.

However, I still messed with Alice from time to time, pretending as if the tool's name was hard to remember, and I continuously mispronounced it. I'm sure she knew I was teasing her at this point, but it didn't take the fun out of my little game.

It was very good that Alice and I got Christmas Eve to be together. It gave me the chance to get to know her again, and I cherished that like nothing else.

I was also a bit worried, though, that building a new foundation with Alice, strengthening our relationship, could possibly make everything worse if my dirty secret ever came out. Even worse was that I wished it wasn't a secret. I wanted to be with Bella in every way. I had long ago passed the stage of simple physical attraction and juvenile feelings when it came to that young woman.

However, I was sure it wasn't ever a possibility for us to be together. By now, it wouldn't just ruin my life, it would ruin her's as well.

Alice would never speak to her again, and she would never have a family of her own; I was too old to start all over again. She would lose so much with her choice of being with me.

That didn't stop me from longing for the moment when we would be alone, truly alone, in my apartment, and as I drove to pick her up, my heart was about to burst out of my chest because of nerves that I didn't know I could even feel anymore. Something else was also about to bust free down south, but for a completely different reason.

I saw her the second I drove into Frank's parking lot, and she took my breath away. It was very cold outside and she was dressed quite casually in jeans, a white knitted sweater, her brown winter coat and boots. She had an adorably cute white hat over her brown locks, and her shoulders were slightly hunched against the cool wind. Still, she was the most beautiful girl in that moment.

She looked toward my car as I drove closer to her, and I had barely stopped moving before she had the door open and climbing inside.

"Fuck, it's cold," she said as soon as she was next to me, and I looked over at her in slight shock because I'd never heard her curse like that before, but it didn't bother me. I actually, weirdly enough, liked that she was a bit harsh around the edges.

"I can turn up the heat if you want," I replied and reached for the switch, but her freezing cold fingers stopped me.

"No, it's fine. I'll get warm soon enough."

My mind was instantly in the gutter as I contemplated all the ways we could get warm once we were at my place, and I know Bella knew where my thoughts went because when my eyes met hers, she had a small smile stretching across her face.

"You look beautiful by the way," I said, but it caused her to roll her eyes.

"Only to you," she replied.

"No," I disagreed. "I believe anyone would say you're beautiful right now. All flushed and dark-eyed."

Bella reached out a hand and touched my thigh. It felt as if she zapped me and it went straight to my crotch. With a sigh, I removed her hand.

"Let's wait with that, or I will drive us into the ditch." She gave me another smile and then turned to look out her window.

We didn't waste a single second once we entered my apartment. Gone was the blushing, shy girl Bella was around others as she grabbed me by my hand and led me into my bedroom. She was so confident it was almost as if this was her place and I was the guest.

"Don't you want to eat first?" I asked with an amused smile as I followed her.

Her own smile widened and she shook her head. "I'd rather not waste any time on something I can do at home."

I wasn't going to argue with her. I was at her mercy, and she made sure I knew it as she let go of my hand and knelt down before me, unzipped the fly in my jeans, released my cock and took me in her mouth as if it wasn't the first time she did this to me.

For a second, I blacked out from the pure pleasure of being inside her hot mouth, and I almost fell to the floor. Bella didn't appear to notice my struggle. Her eyes were closed as she focused on what she did; her long eyelashes brushed against her cheeks and her brown locks moved in time with her rhythmic movements. Her tongue was incredibly soft as she seemed to wrap it around me, and for a short while I wondered where she had learned her technique, but then as my orgasm approached, I threw that thought out of my head.

I was on the very edge of coming when Bella suddenly moved away, and I was so stunned by her sudden stop that I stood like a complete idiot for a few seconds while she walked to my bed, taking off one item of clothing with each step. When she was completely nude, she turned to me. "Are you gonna join me?" she asked innocently, and all I could do was gape.

"Who are you?" I asked, mostly to myself and it only caused Bella to laugh.

I removed my own clothes and stood in front of the woman I'd just understood had a lot more to her than I first thought, and with a small push, she forced me down on the bed. She crawled up next to me on all four and took a hold of my hand, which she brought down toward her center. She was warm and already very wet, and even though she had deprived me of my own orgasm, I wasn't going to deny her hers.

She writhed underneath my hands and gasped when the pleasure took her over, and I swear, she was the sexiest woman I'd ever laid eyes on in that moment. I wanted to see if she would hold on to her confidence if I showed her that I wanted her to take control, and therefore, I grabbed her leg and pulled it over my hip and rolled over on my back and she ended up on top. She didn't even hesitate as she used her hand to slip me inside of her, and when I was deep within, she started to slowly rotate her hips.

It was so different this time, compared to on my desk in the carpentry. It didn't have the feeling of having to rush through anything or that we had to keep quiet or hide away. It was so very liberating and we could indulge ourselves in our feelings.

My erection grew harder and larger and it felt as if I was about to bust wide open. The sensation was foreign to me and went far beyond simple sexual pleasure. It was as if something in her connected with me, altering everything.

Afterward, I was on my back; Bella was next to me with her hand on my chest and her leg slung across my hips. I had my arm around her and holding her hand against my side, just reveling in us finally being alone.

"Edward?" Bella said softly and I turned my head toward her. Her eyes were the softest brown I'd ever seen, and her face appeared to be glowing. She looked exquisite in her happiness, and my heart swelled, knowing that being here with me was what caused her happiness. "Kiss me," she said, and it wasn't a question, but I was all too happy to oblige.

Our mouths moved in sync and I couldn't believe I was so lucky to have this woman in my life.

When we parted, she moved even closer to me and brought her arms around my neck. My hands moved to hold her body against mine and she sighed contentedly. "What are you thinking?" I asked when she didn't explain her need to almost crawl inside me to be close enough.

"Just hold me," she replied. "It makes this more real." Her voice was quiet, but I could still catch the hint of skepticism.

"What do you mean?"

She exhaled, her moist breath hitting the skin on my shoulder and caused goose bumps. "I can barely believe you're with me. That you're lying here beside me. That you want me."

"Of course I want you. I always want you."

"I'll imprint every second of this into my head," she continued as if I had not said anything. "In case this is a one-time deal."

It was painful to know that I had instilled such insecurities in her, but she had all the right in the world to doubt me. I hadn't exactly been consistent when it came to her, and I understood her fears. Every time we went deeper into our relationship, I had pulled away for a time, and it was expected to leave its' mark on her.

This time, however, I wanted to let her know that I wouldn't pull back. While we couldn't, as of now, pursue a real relationship, right this moment, I didn't care about that. I just needed to let her know that then and there, she was mine and I was hers.

"It may be incredibly stupid of me to say this, or maybe it will lead to something amazing, but I need you to understand something." She looked up and supported herself on her elbows to look at me. "I know I've emphasized on how being with you makes me feel young again, but that's not the only reason for being with you. You make me feel something I haven't felt before, something I can't name yet. You've made me look at things differently, and I don't want to look back."

She opened her mouth, but I placed my finger over her lips because I wasn't quite finished. "You have every right to doubt me. I haven't been very kind to you or considered your feelings. I've been unforgivably selfish, but it's also because of that selfishness that I won't be able to let you go now because I'm in love with you."

Her eyes watered up and she appeared speechless, but I wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad ting. Finally, she opened her mouth again. "Wow, Edward, I don't know what to say."

I smiled and touched her cheek with the tips of my fingers. "You don't have to say anything. I don't even need to know if you feel the same way. I just wanted you to know."

She nodded, and then leaned forward to give me the sweetest, softest kiss. I couldn't stop there. We were completely alone in my apartment after all, and we had the entire day to ourselves. I didn't know what she had told her family about where she would be today, but I didn't care either. I pressed harder against her lips and rolled her over on her back so that I was hovering above her. With a small shift of my hips, I was between her legs again and easily entered her.

Our breathing was shallow, her cheeks and chest were flushed with color, and my skin tingled all over. Our moans echoed in the room and became increasingly louder as we rocked closer to that sweet, and somehow torturing, pleasure.

"I have chicken, beef patties, salmon...anything sound good?" I asked with my head in my fridge. Bella had insisted that she didn't want to waste our short time on eating, but when her stomach growled in time with mine, there was no way I would ignore it any longer, and therefore, we were now in my kitchen; Bella sitting by the table in a borrowed shirt and boxer shorts, and me looking in the fridge only wearing sweat pants. Neither of us had felt we wanted to get further dressed.

"You do know that I'm vegetarian, right?" Bella replied, and it caused me to stop in my tracks. I tried to think back to all those times our families had eaten dinner together, but I had never taken notice to what Bella ate. I had no idea if this was something she'd been for a long time or a recent occurrence.

I looked over my shoulder at her and gave her an apologetic smile. "I did not know that. Sorry."

She just shrugged. "It's okay. I can't blame you for having your thoughts on other things than my diet. I mean, we have only been neighbors for seventeen years and had family dinners together more times than I can count, but that's fine."

For a moment, I felt guilty for having missed this detail, but then I saw the gleam in her eyes, and I knew she was teasing me. I closed the door to the fridge and walked up to her. I was towering over her when she sat down, and she had to bend her neck back to be able to see my face. I stroke her hair and placed a hand underneath her chin before answering.

"How am I to take notice of your diet when you're sitting across from me looking more edible than the food?" I said and bent down to kiss her. I felt her giggle against my lips, but when I bent further down to get a hold of her legs assist me in wrapping her legs around my waist as I stood back up, her giggle transformed to a moan.

I turned us around and sat on the chair. I was already growing hard again and it didn't help that Bella was rolling her hips over my erection. Dry sex wasn't usually my thing because I didn't like making a mess in my pants, but with Bella, it felt so good I simply didn't care about my sweats.

Our mouths never parted as the thrusting of our hips became more irregular. I rubbed her hard against my cock by holding tight onto her ass with my hand, and the other went up to her breast where I touched her erect nipples with light feather touches.

Bella was so caught in the sensations and I knew she wanted to come desperately because one hand moved from where it had gripped my shoulder and went down inside her borrowed boxers to touch herself.

Just knowing that she touched herself was enough for me, and my orgasm shot through me at a speed it left me feeling dizzy and light-headed. The last time I came that fast was the first time Bella and I had sex, but this had felt a hundred times more intimate.

"We might have to postpone lunch," I said, and Bella laughed. "I need to clean up a bit, and my guess is that you do too."

"I do, but unless we take separate showers, we won't get very clean," she said against my mouth and kissed me again. We just couldn't stop touching or kissing. It was an all-consuming desire that was never sated, and it was that desire that caused me to shrug slightly as if our cleanliness wasn't an issue.

"Well, too bad, because I'm not getting in that shower without you. I've fantasized about having you in there with me ever since I was surprised by finding you sitting on my couch after I came home from work."

Her eyes glittered excitedly. "Are you serious?"

"Why do you think it took me so long to join you out here?" I answered, and for the first time since I picked her up at Frank's, a blush crept up on her cheeks. She was no-doubtingly imagining what I had been up to in the shower while she was sitting on the couch in my living room, non-the-wiser.

"You're a dangerous man, Mr. Masen. One day, I might regret crossing paths with you."

"I sure hope not."

It was past six when we knew we had to start saying goodbye. Bella insisted on taking the bus; I had opposed because it was pitch black outside, and I lived at least an hour by bus away from Bella's house, but she gave me the argument that if I drove her, we wouldn't be able to say goodbye properly because there could be people watching and there was no reason for me to drive her when Alice obviously was with her mother during the weeks.

I couldn't disagree because I knew Bella was right, but I still didn't like it.

We were standing by my front door; my hands were on her hips and her arms were around my neck as we kissed. I didn't want to let her go, and I was on the verge of asking her to stay the night, but the rational side of me told me it just wasn't possible.

"When can I see you again?" I asked when we parted and Bella sighed sadly.

"I have a week left before I have to go back to school. It's New Year's in three days, and then I have to go back on the fourth. Do you have time on the second?"

"I'll make time," I promised her, and she practically melted against me.

"Maybe you can come visit me at school?" she asked hopefully. "We won't have to hide there either."

It was very tempting as she said it, but I also knew that if I visited her at college, we would make the relationship official in ways I didn't think either of us was ready for yet. And I needed to establish my life after my divorce was final.

I truly wished the entire situation was less complicated, that Bella and I had been the same age at least because even if the gap didn't bother us, it sure would bother other people who felt they had a say in how we should live our lives.

A part of me, although a dark one, actually wished that Bella and Alice would stop being friends because that, too, would make everything easier. Alice would still hate that her dad was with someone who was technically younger than she was, but if they had no relationship, that would be the only thing she opposed of.

So, instead of giving Bella a solid answer, I replied with a, "We'll see."

After sharing one last kiss, and promises that we would meet again on January second, Bella walked out my front door. As soon as the sound of her steps out in the hall faded away, I realized how quiet my apartment was, and I had to put on some music to make the heavy feeling go away.

I had no idea how it would work out, but after that day, I knew that I had to have Bella in my life, and not as my mistress because she deserved so much more than that.

Somehow we would figure it out.

The question was just "when"?


A/N: Don't worry, I'm not gonna leave it here but I didn't want this chapter to continue on forever either. I don't know when the next chapter will happen though because I haven't written it yet and if you're friends with me on FB, you know how much 2016 has screwed me over and while I can write some (this chapter for example) and do some manips and banners, my creativity has taken a huge blow and I have a hard time to sit down sometimes and do this.

Anyway, things are getting more complicated in this story and the drama thickens. I decided to split Edward and Mary up because I really don't condone cheating, but some had to occur in this story to make it as realistic as possible.

I don't know yet where our couple will end up. While I do write HEA's they're not always what my readers expect them to be, as those of you who have been with me for long have experienced.

I guess I'll just quote Edward here and say: "We'll see..."