A/N: I would like to thank the ladies who have helped me through this; Pre-reader Patrizia, and Beta Fran. Thanks for your patience when I take so damn long. I do this, tirelessly. Thanks for not tiring, and for pausing other life things to help this through. Ily.

To the babies at the border who are still locked in, wondering what this life is, all while I wrote this silly story. It's saddening and heartbreaking, and immoral, and sickening, and ... and ...

Please vote.

I want to thank Christopher Knight, the real hermit, who would hate this story, and who hates the label, but who is the perfect base to this fascinating theme. He's not wrong to want to run away from this world and find silence. I hope he's found it, and hiding in a time like this. Apologies for romance, but I dare say, you would probably still read romance ... if circumstances were different, and you stumbled upon it on a shelf, in a cabin, and there were no other options—just like imperishable items in a pantry. I see you. I know about that woman in your life who visited you in jail that one time. Your drawings of flowers on letters after signing them says it all; a romantic!

Snort. I'll stop. But you don't stop here. Go read. I love you, and thank you for sticking through.

Chapter 70 - Unforeseeable Things

From the kitchen window, Sue has been watching him standing outside the cabin for a while. She's fascinated. She gives him a bit of time since it looks like he needs it. She knows what he's here for. Bella's text is in her palm about Edward's turn to pick up Elliot. Problem is, Edward hasn't worked up the nerve to knock on the door. He's standing outside staring at his boots, out at the lake far away, or … anywhere but the cabin.

Bella was tied up today. So was Sue. Edward volunteered. Well, after being quiet for a straight twenty minutes. He finally uttered his offer.

He's here early. Just giving him some time. Sue texts back.

Bella replies with a blushing, red-cheek smile.

What Edward is feeling is everything but silent. He took from this place; he's been inside hundreds of times. They know. The father definitely knows. But what they don't know is the key he has kept under that rock to let himself in. He's curious as he wanders to that spot. He kicks it, the rock flips. There it is.

He takes a breath. They could call the cops on him right this second, tell on him, and everything he's done. He knows it isn't logical, no tangible proof, but knowing they have that power over him makes him … uneasy.

The shame. His bones quake.

The front door swings open, and Edward startles a bit. He kicks the rock with a heel, and there's Charlie, standing at the door.

Sue rushes close behind, her hands at his elbow … to keep Charlie from running down the steps and charging at him? She doesn't know, but Charlie caught her watching from her hiding spot, and now he has butted into this process.

Edward scratches his neck. His shirt is grease-stained, his Carhart khakis dark with some streaks. Emmett's. Large and a bit saggy. He looks tired and overworked. His hands dry with stained fingernails. But he likes them. He's working.

Right now, he's kicking himself for not cleaning up before coming.

"Elliot?" Charlie asks.

Edward nods once, giving him a glance, hands on his waist.

"Well, why didn't you just knock?" Charlie says, leaving the door ajar. "Christ."

Sue slaps his arm. She smiles warmly at Edward. She lifts a finger and pushes the door slightly to get some privacy.

"Guess he isn't used to knocking. He just walks right in, helps himself," Charlie says, faintly drifting to the outside. Sue is muffled, but he can hear her going ape-shit on him through her teeth. Edward doesn't blame him; he has a good point. He's not hiding behind faux innocence. He's done what he's done; he'll take whatever aggression he has against him. His spine straightens, waiting. He's just here for the kid.

Sue pops out. "He's asleep." She waves him over. "Want to pick him up and get going?"

His stomach drops. Here goes nothing. He walks in and fuck all shame at this point. There was a promise to Bella.

Charlie is sitting in the living room. He looks up briefly. "I'd show you the room, but I'm betting you know your way around." He presses some buttons on the remote.

Edward pauses, then walks off, leaving a gaping Sue behind turning red at her husband's remark.

Edward sure knows the way. He won't hide it.

"You know what I'm craving tonight, Sue? A good, old fashioned lemon chicken," Charlie snarkily says from the other room as Edward walks down the hallway, the wall of photos to his left. He doesn't look up at that. He doesn't have to;he's the monumental change.

He aims for that purple room he's sure is Elliot's napping place.

Charlie chuckles, it's far away, but Edward hears just fine, and he knows exactly what he's referring to. Nothing he can do but take the sarcasm. Edward keeps his hands to himself and jaw clamped shut. He lifts his boy in his arms, gets a good whiff of his soft hair, and all is worth it. He walks right out the front door, just in time to get the last of Charlie's tickled humor.

Sue is about to shut the door when she steps back. Edward walks in again. Surprised, Charlie looks up. Then, he watches him deposit a key on the coffee table, Elliot still over his shoulder.

"This belongs to you," Edward says. One simmering look into Charlie's eyes. Millions of apologies, but a clear sign of knowing and of knowledge. He's got this campsite decoded, years of practice, the human surveillance. He says without words, 'Don't underestimate me.'

Four words and Charlie is speechless. He watches Edward turn and go.

Bella stares at her phone, wide-eyed. Sue texted back, and slowly her lips spread wide. She laughs so hard, practically falling over the kitchen table.

God, she loves him. Edward. Her dad? Sure. But Edward? She sighs. Her heart so big.

She sobbers before he walks into the house, a very awake Elliot now, still on his shoulder. No, she won't run to Edward to kiss the shit out of him. It would give it away.

"Thanks for that," she says over her shoulder as she makes dinner. But she means it in so many ways.

She has meant so many things in so many ways, but Edward Anthony Cullen, The Mind Wanderer, hasn't caught on.

She's laughing now, but on regular days she burns inside.

Living with Edward has been exciting and interesting, and … sexuality frustrating. There, she said it, in her mind.

They've fallen into a routine. She's finishing classes; he's walking to his parents' house on weekdays to work in the garage with Emmett. In the evenings they sit down together at the table to eat … as a family. Oh God, just that thought makes Bella vibrate inside and plaster a silly grin over her face. Elliot is animated every time, and he's the buffer for two shy adults.

It's been … a little awkward, to say the least. But chores and tasks keep them from needing to stomach those quiet moments or politely move around one another, like college roommates. That odd relationship where they run into the other person, sometimes in the hallway or the kitchen, and they both look up and shuffle around one another to pass by. That happened a few times. Bella couldn't take it the third and reached up to kiss him sweetly. He came alive for that second. He went in for a lingering kiss.

Nothing transpires.

Elliot is always there to extinguish any plans. If it were Bella's choice, she'd hook a leg over his hip and undress herself if the kisses lingered long enough.

She scoffs, thinking about it. Oh, does she think about it. Every single night, just like every single day, she gets a gorgeous grease-stained man walking around her house. His used shirts are smaller, as farm work helped him fill them in, chest and arms. He's sun-kissed, hair lighter, and in disarray being under the sun. Those days Bella swears she'll climb him and tear him apart anywhere she bumps into him.

She sometimes watches him. Elliot runs around in circles, and Edward is quiet. His eyes drift to the windows or at walls lost in thought, and Bella knows. He's at his wits. He needs quiet and standing still.

Bella rushes to get Elliot out of the way. She keeps the boy busy as Edward naturally wanders to the patio and takes a walk. It happens without words. Bella's training teaches her to observe and see the changes. They seem to work well together. But Bella still worries about his sanity.

He just continues to do what anyone does in a household when he comes back content. Though, very quietly. He's silent for a time. Bella has to begin the process of opening him back up.

When he's out of his shell, he's the epitome of a perfect roommate. He's used to working his way around chores. It's what he did in his camp. He does laundry—no scraping clothes on a rock anymore—with a machine and drier by the kitchen. He's made himself in charge. He read up on both machines, clicking or turning knobs curiously. He even popped the front once to see inside and ended up cleaning a filter Bella never knew was there.

She leaves him to his own devices, with an Elliot looking over his shoulder. At the end of the day, the machine is being used to its full potential, and clothes have never been cleaner. It makes her laugh.

The best part is seeing him with Elliot like they've never been apart a day in their lives. He's always behind him watching what Edward does. He even mimics him, as he sits, or picks up a book—mostly holding it the wrong side up.

That's the reward. Nothing else matters.

Bella has more time to herself as their little routine is bedtime reading in Elliot's room. He reads to him.

Edward reads aloud to Elliot.

Bella was floored the first time she heard. She stood at the door unnoticed and just listened. His baritone voice softened for a boy's imagination. Elliot would quietly listen, for once. As loud as he is during the day, Edward's calm spirit transfers. Elliot's inherited traits pull through, and he becomes as attentive.

Nights are busy with schoolbooks, so time on the couch is sparse. When they do end up in front of the TV for the night, he's glued to it, experiencing movies for the first time. Bella just pulls books over her lap to take advantage.

Nothing. No touching. No contact. This has been their new life.

The day comes when Bella finishes her semester. She arrives at the house, not a mess in sight like usual when it's just her and Elliot on a weekday. It's tidy and clean, making Bella sigh audibly in delight.

Elliot is still with Sue and Charlie. Edward just arrived from work, too. His hair is damp, his clothes clean after a shower. He's in the kitchen brushing work off his nails; grease and grime he's not used to dealing with. He loves it, though. He's figuring things out under hoods, working with electrical aspects of cars when he's not doing general maintenance, like oil changes. If anything, the clients are turning an eye. They request for his hand more often than his brothers'.

Bella hooks her house keys right by his at the door. That detail makes her smile every time. He looks over his shoulder when she comes in. He's been quiet. It's one of those spells. He straightens from the counter as there's company in the room. He shuffles a bit, knowing there are watchful eyes. He gives Bella his typical greeting; a slight smirk before looking away.

Bella looks around.

Right. They're alone.

Picking up Elliot can wait. It's the end of the week, which makes tomorrow the weekend.

She wanders toward him, discarding her bag and things as she goes. She pops in beside him and watches him brush over fingernails.

"Here, let me," she offers. He lets her grab the brush from his hands. She tries. He watches her profile as she does. "Good day?" she asks.

He nods. "How was your exam?" He remembers. Her crazed state of studying for weeks.

She shrugs. It grazes his chest. "I guess I did all right. I'm not exceptionally good at exams. But it's over. That's what matters," she says, occupying his hand. It feels so good under hers, and she has an idea and gets her nail kit. She comes back and makes the tasks faster. He's impressed. "Thanks for helping with Elliot. I couldn't have done it without you here." She smiles up at him. He glances at her, his ears a bit red.

He answers that briskly. "It's fine."

He's done so much, and keeps this place so clean she's embarrassed to admit she's never had that much patience.

She turns on the sink and washes off his hand. A towel next. She slows because the next thing is letting go. Instead, she brings her lips to his palm and lays a soft kiss there. Edward seems to freeze over as that feeling zips right through him. He follows her with dark eyes.

"Kiss?" she whispers up to him, pulling her head far back onto his shoulder. She taps a finger to her lips, then his. He complies, slowly meeting her.

Her brows dip as he lets go. She finds her toes to reach up again, her heart aching as he's very reserved this time. She lets go with a sad smile.

"I'll go get Elliot early today before it's dark," she says. He nods and doesn't offer. Maybe he never will again. His mind is still full with what he did to Charlie. Charlie's reaction. His own anger. Edward knows he has no right to be angry, he knows. But he was anyway.

He hasn't confessed it to her yet. He's sure he won't.

"I'll start dinner," he offers.

"Sure, whatever you'd like, we'll have that," she says with a smile. A smile that turns sad once she turns away.

The trail is still bright with the sun. Friday's are easier as they're both home earlier. Elliot loves it, as there's more time to play, preferably outside.

Bella stares up at the trees. She wonders how she can turn back time to get the same fire from Edward that he had weeks ago.

Something is wrong, and she doesn't know how to get to the bottom of it.

Sue opens the door when Bella arrives, and her grin fades at the look of her.

"Tell me," she says. It's instant. Sue knows she's aching. Bella's face crumbles and tears slip out. She grabs onto a girl who's got a lot on her shoulders. "I know, I know," Sue coos as she hugs her tight. "Just one day at a time. Patience. He'll come around." Bella doesn't even need to explain. Sue speaks. "Give him time to adjust."

Bella nods on her shoulder. Sniffs up tears.

"Do yourself a favor, Bella," Sue begins to say. Bella hasn't spoken yet; she just lets her eyes water and her hands pull at them hurriedly, so Charlie won't see. She hates to admit that his warnings from the beginning are turning out just the way he said they would be. She can't confide in him; Sue is her only emotional support. They stand outside the cabin through this, so he won't see. Bella listens to her words.

"Tomorrow morning, when he's rested, do this: Hug him close and tell him how you feel. You hear me? Every word."

Bella thinks about this silently. She doesn't know how. It all seems impossible.

"People like him, Bella, they need the push, constant stimulation. They won't do it for themselves unless they're driven to the extreme. It could be years before he reacts the way he did when he came to you. Something changed for him that day. That was key. You see that?"

She does. She knows. Stupidly she thinks this would've been a happy ending. A silly fairytale with him close.

"What's he doing now?" Sue asks curiously.

"Dinner," Bella manages to say.

Sue huffs. "So, what are you complaining about? He sounds perfect to me. Send him over. I'll take him." They laugh together.

"Over my dead body. All mine," Bella utters. She files in and prepares Elliot to make the trek back home.

Dinner is almost ready when they arrive, and it's the nightly routine of a weeknight. Elliot is loud through mouthfuls. Edward's soft smiles over him. Bedtime reading and then a few quiet hours in front of the TV. Bella simply sits by him, and this time she dares to lay her head on his shoulder. Sue's words are palpable, so she grabs his hand and mindlessly plays.

Edward's eyes travel down, and his shoulders seem to relax more.

Sue is a genius.

Now for a planned step forward in the morning. Bella is so ready, she's vibrating.

The sun comes up, and she's watching. No sleep. She wraps the ties around her kimono, hair brushed, face fresh and showered. Dabs of perfume around her neck already applied. The mirror shows a determined woman with gleaming eyes, falsely looking like she woke up this way. She glances down and pulls on her robe to show more cleavage.

Fuck it. If she's doing this, she'll need all the help she can get.

Her cheeks are red. She chuckles incredulously and marches out to meet him and Elliot on a bright Saturday morning.

Loud cartoons play on TV. Edward tinkering at the coffee pot; bare feet, gorgeous legs under shorts, broad back muscles moving under a T-shirt. All garments a bit off in sizes. Emmett's hand-me-downs again. She makes a note to go shopping and make a day of it, buy him everything he needs.

The moment he turns, about to take a sip of piping coffee, he freezes. His eyes go a bit wide. Head to toes; they roam over her.

"Morning," Bella nonchalantly says.

Yes, a … different one, he thinks.

He stands there and gapes. Bella tries the fridge, pulls out ingredients, and she's happily moving about with a grin on her face. "Oh, could you pass me the butter? Forgot it," she asks from the stove. He comes alive to help. Coffee forgotten; he does what she asks sneaking glances.

He stands back to watch her make eggs and toast. On the menu today. She's putting away things, and he walks over to grab the spatula as she's distracted. Then, he feels her hug him at his side.

"Sleep well?" she asks from below. She lifts his shirt sleeve slightly to plant her lips there. His bicep tenses.

He quirks his mouth slightly like that'll answer that. His breathing accelerates. He stares at the bubbling eggs at the edges and pulls at those. Intently watching that, not her soft breast pressed to his elbow.

"I'm free now that classes are out. We can do a few fun things with Elliot this summer. Or go shopping today. You need clothes," she suggests tugging the waistband at his hip.

He clears his throat. Barely saying an irrelevant, "Yeah."

He steps back, a bit perplexed, as she suddenly wedges herself between him and the stove.

"Hey," she says. "Look at me." He does. "Honesty?" she asks. His eyes move over her face. She's captured his full attention. He waits. "I need you to open up to me."

There. Straight and to the point.

He blinks slowly as her arms wrap around his back. They're pressed together. He leans on the stove on either side of her … to brace himself.

"I want honesty," she continues to say. "I want you to tell me when you need time alone. I need you to tell me when you're overwhelmed. Tired. Sick of me. Dizzy from Elliot." She pauses, gaging him. "Sometimes, I want to scream being around him." She grins, admitting that. "This is a lot of change for you. Tell me what you want. We'll work it out. But right now, I'm asking you what's going on." She looks into his eyes. "So, what's going on?"

Edward lets out a breath through his nose. He shifts where he stands, eyes wandering out the window.

"You do this grand gesture. You come in here and kiss the shit out of me, and I'm in love with it," she whispers that last part, her lips close to his jaw but holding fast. "But then, I've been dreaming about it, because it was just that once. Why is that?"

He shakes his head. "It isn't my form of payment to stay. I don't want it to seem that way." He looks straight at her. "You understand?"

She lets go, shocked a bit, but he doesn't move. She's stuck between him and the stove.

"Oh, I understand. What I don't understand is your assumption of who I am or what I'd think." She lets that sink in. "Funny, how the tables have turned."

They're like this for a moment—him looking into her eyes.

She hugs him, bravely delving her hands to his ass to pull him close. He shifts, surprised.

"Let's see, what was it you asked me weeks ago?" She pauses for effect. "Oh, right. Are you frightened of me?"

She slowly reaches to kiss his chin, then his mouth, slightly ajar with the feel of … her dare.

"Hm." She scoffs, and lets go. "Who knew assumptions would be our struggle." She grins, taking the spatula off his hand. She turns in front of him. "I won't initiate this again. I came to you once and look where that got us." She winks at him over her shoulder.

Her reference is the boy who wandered over and is now standing by looking up at them curiously. Edward looks over at Elliot, who watched Mommy and Daddy kiss on the mouth.

"Mommy, I'm hung-we," is all he says. Edward looks away, tight jaw, his feelings mutual.

He doesn't move away, and Bella lets that burn take hold. Her nerves are racing—the relief in her steady sigh.

Let him suffer.

She turns then, a plate in hand, still between his arms. "Pardon me," she says, as a tease. He looks down at her chest, up past her neck, to her turned cheek. The most delicious scent coming off her. He lets go of the stove, and she squeezes by.

Bella triumphantly sits at the table to feed the hungry boy, completely avoiding any burning looks that might be coming her way. Looks that roam over her legs, to the slip of her silk robe under the table. He finally takes a sip of his now cold coffee. A grimace. It splashes down the drain with grit.

All day Edward is on the brink of … something. He doesn't know what or what to do with it.

They have a day. They jump into the car and drive farther off town to get to the big stores. Edward stares out at the scenery he hasn't seen in a long while. Years even. He traveled north, but not south. The store is huge; from groceries to electronics to clothing. Elliot sits between his tense hands in the cart he pushes. They follow Bella anywhere she goes. This is all new. Well, to him. Elliot is far more comfortable than he is.

"This?" Bella pulls up garments in hangers every now and then, showing him. He just stares. She shrugs and dumps them into the cart. She talks all the while, softly, like a melody. Probably to keep him present. She glances at him over her shoulder. Definitely to keep him present.

She smiles now and then, and he just pictures her like this morning, soft and stuck to him. He wishes they weren't here.

It's an adventure. To Elliot, at least. To him? He's lost in thought, mute the entire time. People walk by, glance over, watching her hand under his arm, both surrounding their son in the store cart, looking like the perfect family.

And yet, he can't seem to touch her. And yet, he's broken. And yet ...

Bella is oblivious after pulling such a stunt that morning. He watches her grazing the aisles, gracefully moving about, talking to him about this or that. Like she didn't completely tear him apart just earlier. He's in a dampened cloud.

The cashier is all smiles, just like Bella. Like she knows, too. Like all females know something, he never will. His antsy bones hope this is over soon, so he slides over his debit card to get this going, sooner than the cashier needs it.

Bella. Another smile over her shoulder.

The cashier. Same.

What is it with the looks? He's tired. He's bothered. He wishes so badly they weren't here.

This time, as they walk out, Bella lays a hand over his on the cart, like she knows. He guesses women do know, or this one beside him does.

She whispers for only him to hear. "Not bad, right? Crowded, I know. Always is. Can't help that.

"I'm going to have to stick a sign on you everywhere we go, though. Lots of stares your way." She chuckles. She looks up at a blank face, one that's silently curious as to what the sign would say.

Bella knows wholeheartedly it would say 'mine,' or 'I'll tear out your limbs if you try' but she's not saying it aloud.

She figures he's not talking today, so they both keep those thoughts to themselves. It's fine. She's done a number on him. She's giving him time to process. She's waiting.

Poor guy.

That night, he goes through the motions, but silently. He puts Elliot to bed, no reading this time, and stands in the living room listening to her get ready for bed. His own bed full of new things, he'll never care about more than this draining feeling.

He scratches his head for the thousandth time, stares at a wall for another thousand minutes.

The light finally goes out in her room, and he's a raging mess.

This anger in him. It boils inside. He can't take it.

He marches in. He stands by her bed.

Bella hears him, and she's taming hard heartbeats where she lies. The moon lights up the room, a cool glow, shadows over him. She watches his reflection through a mirror; her back turned to him. She waits for the break.

He sizes the bed, her peacefulness lying there, his bravery. His fists tighten and loosen. Is she awake? He realizes it doesn't matter; he'll wake her if he has to. He's not letting doubt deter any longer.

Bella watches, dizzy, as he removes his shirt, pulling from his nape, over his head. She sighs. She turns just in time to see him pull at his waistband, stepping out of his pants and into her bed. She reaches for him as he flicks the covers open to make room for himself.

Bella sighs, hungrily kissing him. She is panting already, inebriated with the feeling. He meets her there just as quickly. No wait, he pulls that damned nightgown down her shoulder and lifts a breast with his thumb and brings it to his lips. He pulls her close, his hand wrapped around her back. She sighs like she's been holding out for dear life and finally finds relief.

He pulls his lips away, his warm breath over her. Softer breasts in his hands than he remembers. A woman beneath him with curves. He caresses one, kissing both, one after the other, watching them perk. He does that to her.

Then he says to her chest. "You think we could get Sue to watch him tomorrow?"

Bella is all closed eyelids, feeling everything. Her hands in his hair. "Yes," she whispers breathlessly. She arcs her back as his words trickle over her skin.

Right. He spoke. She opens her eyes, his find hers. "Sure. Of course. Why?"

"You asked me what I want." He reminds her.

She nods. "Anything." She cups his face, skims her lips to his, desperate as he holds off.

"What I want will take all day." His eyes fall to her lips.

She lets out a moan. She won't survive this; she'll burst. She kisses him hard. Her elbows hooked to nightgown straps; she quickly shimmies out of it beneath him. Edward watches, below and above and all over as her thighs press together, knees pop up, and her hips dip from one side to the other. Her muscles tense over her belly down to her navel. She kicks it off, revealing everything he's only remembered in dreams. So ardent, scooting under him eagerly with each breath. She hugs him, chest to chest.

"I'll die this second; I'll die. I'll die ..." she chants at his cheek. He hears her, frantic. She grips at his arms, shoulders. She sucks on his bottom lip, curling her legs around his waist next. "Hurry, Edward. Hurry," she whispers.

But he calmly settles himself between, feeling her soft, himself hard, and he knows it's been a while … a long two years. Hurry is not what he needs this second. He closes his eyes and moves deep, her sounds; strained and stirred by his ear. She's lost in sparks behind her lids. Bella is relieved, hot tears, gyrating her hips slowly to get all of him.

"All day, all night. Promise me," she says as they pause. She widens her legs, toes curled, before this begins. She moves her hips so he'll start, but he's trying so hard to calm down, head on her shoulder.

This is unimaginable in daydreams to him. Never the same as the real thing. He opens his eyes to her, and she's honest, knitted brows, hoping for anything from him. He pulls and pushes back in earnest. He promises in more ways than one.

They start, and it doesn't stop until half the night when they lay over one another panting and spent. But before that, he gets more chances to make up for unpracticed times. And every time, she takes it upon herself to find their center and touch herself around him. She cries out, alleviated, granted hope of waiting this long. Bella lets out content sighs when she comes undone. She lies back and watches him dissolve when it's his turn, too. And just like she knew, he is not shy. He takes hold of her legs as he moves, touching her, meeting her hips hard, falling to her chest, and then wanting to do it all over again when they've barely had enough sleep.

Bella is loud, letting go, but holding him close. Damn shame. She has none. She easily rolls over him to watch him from above one time. He watches her, sweat on him as he obliges, anything she wants. The sight. Her breasts above him. The same that dipped in lake water under the moon as he watched.

He's never stopped thinking of that night. He never let the burned image of it fade behind his lids. He grabs her hips, flips her, and he's working her like he would've if it weren't for fear. Let it be damned. Grunts at his lips with every push. They find a crazed rhythm. That round, they pull in air around the other, naked chests filling and falling, melded, trying to calm. He rubs his face over her chest, addled and consumed.

Bella leisurely lays back on pillows, arms around her head letting him ... just letting him. He's touching every part of her, and she'd lie here forever if that were an option—blurred eyes at emotions. "Finally," she can't help but say with little breath. She blows a lock of hair away from her face. She lets out a laugh when he looks up from below. He gets on all fours and pulls her beneath him. Her light laugh deflates a tense room.

She pulls herself up on elbows and feels him, more than sees him in shadows. Her head falls back, her legs slack over his hips. And maybe they've got one more in them … so much time to make up for.

In the morning, he's gone. Bella rubs her eyes and sits up; the sheets wrinkled, spilling over the edges of the bed. Skin still hot and prickling.

It wasn't a dream. No. She holds her chest and breathes, eyes to the ceiling. It wasn't a dream.

She's a damn mess and loving it. He's not in the house, and she's breathless, knowing.

Breakfast for Elliot. Clean the kitchen. Get him dressed. Dump a pajama set in his backpack in case? She stares into space dizzily. Yes. In case. God, she hopes. She dumps it in.

Robotically, like she's on autopilot, she gets Elliot ready and out the door. He happily runs to Sue, who waits.

Just one look in Bella's eyes, and Sue knows. Oh, it worked. She chuckles.

Bella gives her a pleading look, but a happy one. Her waving hand high above her head as she goes. To the cabin it is. Not hers. The other one. Where the breeze flows and dreams come true for her. The path is quick, and the boulders stand tall and welcoming. She runs in.

Everything is still.

"Edward!" She calls when it's all too quiet. Her heart a jolt.

He pops his head out the door. He calmly walks out, mug in hand. His other on a hip watching her like he's in his element, an old soul like Sam's age already. His face like, what's wrong? He tilts his head at her to come.

She does, grinning the whole way, kind of embarrassed at her sudden panic.

"What's all the yelling?" he asks. She bites her lip and hugs him.

"Just … had a moment." She kisses him.

He shakes his head, looking down at her. "He's okay?" He asks after Elliot. She nods, kissing him to pieces. "Well, you ready?" he asks.

She pauses. "For what?"

He pulls his brows in. "I keep my word. All day. Possibly lunch somewhere in there." He walks in.

Bella beams, completely enamored at this new … confidence. "And dinner, and wine, and possibly dessert?" she adds. He looks back at that. "No, dessert first," she whispers, holding her loaded bag with those exact things. He gives her a dark look, head to the tips of her toes.

"Definitely none of these, then." He pulls her in and gets started on the hem of her dress. Bella again does his favorite shimmy.

They land on the bed for a while, then find their way into the tub. That picture window a perfect picture of fireflies outside. Night falls, and so do all their inhibitions.

"Hm, they came early this year," he says, pondering. Silence but for bath water shifting around them. Bella smiles, leaning back. His words speaking to who he was and how much he's still in touch with that part of himself when he'd sit here alone.

"Do you miss it?" she asks.

He looks at her in front of him, droplets of water running down her neck. He chases them with fingertips, thinking on this.

"No." Simply said. Those two years of being lost and in Nova Scotia changed him. "I have more now." He dabs a finger against her earlobe. "I know what you're asking."

Bella smiles, shameless. A little relieved. She can't believe how far she's come with a stranger she ran into on a trail in the woods. The journey to get here seemed impossible. It was. This was a miracle. She never anticipated this, and neither did he.

But then, neither of them could ever anticipate one additional unforeseeable thing. That just like Elliot, it only took once to create him that night years ago in a tent, it only takes once to conceive Emily. They don't know they already have.

Edward and Bella always did work well together.

Emily will come on a cold, winter morning, filling her father's eyes with instant wonder.

For now, only fireflies, the sight of Bella's warm skin, and a long night ahead of them fill his eyes.

Both unknowing where they sit, both content.

Unimaginable things will come.


The End







A/N: Epi of those unimaginable things? Thanks again. xoxo