As promised, here is the next chapter for you. Thank you so much for your reviews. Keep them coming and the chapters will pour out that much faster!


Cheater

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The sound of her heart pounding filled Bella's ears as she slowly closed the door behind her, while her eyes surveyed the scene.

She glanced down at the pair of unfamiliar male, dress shoes strewn carelessly in the middle of the hallway, followed closely by a pair of heels –most likely her mother's. Her eyes lifted and she gazed intently at the mess she could see ahead in the kitchen. When she walked closer, she realized that pots and pans had been swept off the island and were scattered around the kitchen, with utensils strewn amongst them.

A shaky breath escaped her lips and she moved past the kitchen to glance into the living room. Pillows were lying all over the place and a few cushions were dangling precariously off their seats.

She then took in one more final breath before turning around to face what she'd noticed as soon as she'd walked into the house –what she'd been avoiding. There were articles of clothing strewn along the railing of the stairs and on the edges of the steps.

If it hadn't been for this last piece of the puzzle, one would have thought a miniature hurricane had run through their house. But that obviously wasn't the case and an urgent groan from upstairs confirmed this.

She moved towards the foot of the stairs and picked up the first article of clothing. It was a red blouse; the material seemed to be made of silk and when she flipped it over, she realized there were a few buttons missing.

Her breath caught in her throat and she held onto the item before continuing up the stairs.

"Oh!"

Bella's eyes widened in surprise at her mom's voice and she quickened her pace, picking up a men's t-shirt, a pair of trousers and a black pencil skirt.

By the time she reached the landing, her emotions were a blur –each jumbled with the other. But one stood out from the rest…anger.

Her jaws tightened as her teeth locked in place and her eyebrows scrunched together.

She turned around, balancing the bundle of clothes in her right hand and faced the door at the end of the hall…struggling to make up her mind.

They were in that room…she knew they were.

She heard the high pitched voice of her mother murmur something and it was quickly followed by a loud sigh from her partner. Whoever it was, it definitely wasn't her father and it was no secret what those two were up to in there.

A tint of rose colored Bella's cheeks at the mere thought of it.

She slowly began to walk towards the room, eyes planted on the door.

That wasn't such a hot idea.

Even at the snail's pace she was moving, she somehow managed to scuff the tip of her shoe against the floor, causing her to immediately lean forward and lose her balance.

The clothes went flying out of her right hand as her left arm reflexively went out in front of her to halt her fall.

Needless to say, she was unsuccessful.

A sharp shooting pain seared up her left wrist as she landed with a resounding thud on the ground.

"Oww." She groaned in pain and slowly sat up. Her small lips were quivering as she struggled to keep from crying.

"What was that?" She heard the man's voice rumble, sounding alert.

There was much shuffling around before she heard footsteps padding towards the door.

Bella's eyes widened once more, the pain in her wrist momentarily forgotten about as she hurriedly stood up.

"Bella…of course."

She looked up, startled to see the door slowly widening as a frazzled figure, donned with a bed sheet, came into view.

Bella stared at her mother. Her eyes were slightly hazy, her lips slightly swollen, her hair a tangled mess…the anger was brewing within Bella with each new characteristic.

"Mom…" she muttered, her voice sounding no louder than a whisper, "what are you doing?"

Renee's eyes rolled in her head as she glanced down at the stupefied girl before her.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" She retorted, mocking her daughter's frightened tone.

Bella's mind snapped to. Was her mother mocking her?!

Her breath quickened as she struggled to maintain her composure –her eyes seeing red.

"Where's Charlie?" she demanded.

Renee raised an eyebrow, surprised at the cold, hard voice that was her daughter's. She opened her mouth to respond, but the sound of the bed squeaking as someone got up interrupted her.

"Who's there babe?" he asked, his voice getting closer.

"Go back to bed Phil, it's just Bella…I'll get rid of her."

An unhappy grunt was thrown her way before the footsteps receded once more. This was just as well because Bella definitely didn't need a face to complete this picture.

Her mother returned her eyes to her, a sly smile on her face.

"I don't know where your father is, I haven't seen him all day." She answered, shrugging as though it was no big deal.

"But if you'll excuse me, I have some business to get back to…and it doesn't involve babysitting a 36 year old man." She muttered, moving back to close the door of the room.

"Wait!" Bella screamed, reaching out to hold the door. But it'd been the wrong hand and now the pain in her wrist came surging at her, full throttle.

She struggled to speak but the pain was too much to bear and her face continued to writhe in pain.

Renee frowned at her in frustration before quickly shutting the door in her face and locking it in place.

Bella remained frozen in place and when the pain had somewhat subsided, she turned around and slowly headed back down the stairs –in no hurry for a repeat fall.

When she'd reached the bottom, she walked into the living room and fixed the cushions and pillows with her good hand. She then moved to the kitchen, her steps slow and unsteady as she picked up the items on the floor and set them in their respective places, all the while wondering where her father could be. He was usually home from work by this hour.

She walked over to the house phone and dialed the number of the station. However, it was a different officer who answered. Apparently, Charlie had left the station to come home for lunch but had never come back, claiming he was sick.

That in itself was extremely odd. Charlie wouldn't miss his work for the world; no matter how horrible he was feeling.

She dialed his cell phone in vain, already knowing he wouldn't answer…he hardly ever did.

When the call fell unto his voicemail, she slammed the receiver down and leaned against the counter.

Where the hell could he be?

It was a very thoughtful looking girl that paced up and down the kitchen. Her eyebrows were knitted together so closely the skin between them was indistinguishable, her eyes squinted until she could barely see ahead of her, her front teeth nibbling on her bottom lip in contemplation, and her left wrist unconsciously cradled in her right hand.

But then…her head snapped up and her eyes widened in excitement, a light seeming to shine from them.

It was a long shot, but she knew where he might be.

Bella cautiously ran into the hallway, ignoring the groans from upstairs as she grabbed her keys from the hook by the door before heading out.

The door to her truck squeaked in protest as she yanked it open and jumped onto its springy driver's seat.

She soon had the key in the ignition and the monster of a truck roared to life before allowing her to slowly back down the driveway.

She kept her left hand cradled in her lap as she slowly made her way down the street and towards her destination.

Several minutes later, her truck veered off the road and onto the rough sandy terrain of the Indian reservation.

Charlie didn't have many close friends, but if he was feeling as depressed as she thought he was feeling, he most likely would like to confide his feelings in someone. The only person that had jumped to her mind was his old buddy Billy Black.

She maneuvered her truck on the familiar twists and turns before finally pulling up in front of the little house. A sigh of relief escaped her lips. The police cruiser was there.

She turned off the engine, the environment seeming deafeningly quiet now that the roar of her truck was gone.

She quickly opened the door and effortlessly slid down before closing it behind her.

"Bella!"

A smile slowly grew on Bella's face as she recognized the voice. She glanced towards the house and noticed the familiar figure bounding towards her.

"Hey Jake!" She giggled. Giggled? As he picked her up in a bone crushing hug.

She cautiously wrapped her right hand tightly around him as he spun her around. His playfulness had already raised her mood.

"How are you?" He asked, finally setting her down.

"Fine…I guess." She answered, shrugging her delicate shoulders.

Jacob watched her lively eyes slowly darken at his question and he almost slapped himself for his stupidity. How did he think she was doing?

"I'm sorry…I shouldn't -" he began, but she cut him off.

"It's okay." She said, glancing up his tall frame to catch his eyes.

He sighed and ran his fingers through his long hair in contemplation before leading her inside.

Her father was there all right. According to Jake, he'd been there ever since noon. Only he and Billy knew what was troubling him since he'd confided in them, but Bella had a pretty good idea of what it was.

"Are they gone yet?" Charlie asked his daughter, when she sat down next to him.

Bella shook her head, her heart leaping out to her dad when his face scrunched his pain. She couldn't get herself to hug him…it'd be too weird. They both had a hard time when it came to expressing their feelings about each other.

"Did you bring any extra clothes?" He asked, after a little while.

"No…why?"

"I'm going to be spending the night here and you can too if you'd like."

Bella thought about this but her mind was already made. She would not let her mom drive them out of their house.

"I'm going to go back home." She said, glancing at his tired face to gauge his reaction. He was surprised.

"We live in that house too dad and if we start sleeping out because of her, she's going to win."

Bella wasn't sure what her mom was going to win but it seemed to work for Charlie.

He nodded and leaned further into his seat. She took that as her permission to leave but as she stepped into the hall, she heard him speak after her.

"I wish I was as strong as you."

---

The car was still there when Bella got home and when she went upstairs she knew they were still in the room. Didn't they get tired?

She shook the thought from her mind and entered her own room. She was happy to find that it had been untouched.

She changed into her customary 'pajamas' and slid beneath her bed covers –mentally and physically exhausted. She was starting to develop a headache from all the thought running through her head and her wrist was aching like there was no tomorrow. Before she knew it, her mind began to wander away from the current situation and she slid into a state of peacefulness. She wasn't asleep…she couldn't fall asleep.

Ping.

What was that?

She quickly sat up in her bed and looked around her room.

Ping!

There it was again and this time, she knew where it was coming from. She got out of the bed just in time to see another rock hit her window.

Ping!

Bella shook her head laughingly and opened the window, catching sight of the bronze head beneath it.

"Edward stop that!" she whispered, before backing up to let him in.

As he began to climb the tree to her window, she retreated to her bed and slid once more beneath the covers. Soon after, the tall figure of her friend slid effortlessly into her room.

Without speaking a word, he took off his shoes and joined her on the bed.

"Why didn't you call me?" He asked, struggling to face her on the twin bed.

Her eyes lowered and she absently began to play with the buttons on his shirt.

"I just got back from Billy Black's house...Charlie's decided to spend the night there."

"Where's your mom? I saw the car…"

"She's in there with that man…Phil." She all but spat.

Bella's lips seemed to quiver once more as she relived her earlier moments at the house. Her mom had been so cold to her. Even when she'd seen that Bella was hurt, she'd merely slammed the door in her face.

What was going on with her family? This was like some soap opera.

Edward watched as Bella's eyes became thoughtful and he struggled to think of a way to pull her mind away from those thoughts. What he didn't know was that her mind had already moved away from her parents and was now on something completely different.

He watched as her eyes lowered from his, to his lips and back up to his eyes. There seemed to be some unspoken question in those brown orbs.

"Edward," she breathed, her eyes piercing his. "Can you help me forget?"

And suddenly he understood what that look was. He wanted nothing more than to fulfill her request, but it didn't seem like the right reason. She wasn't in the right state of mind and she might regret this letter.

"Bella I don't think that's such a good idea. You still-"

He was cut off immediately as her lips came crashing down on his. There was an urgent message in the way she tightly wrapped her right arm around his neck, refusing to let him pull back. And well…if this was what made her happy for now, why not play along?

Edward wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her slightly on top of him so that she wouldn't fall off the bed. She responded enthusiastically to this and pushed the rest of her body onto him.

"Bella." He warned, his tone chastising, but she took that moment to slip her tongue into his mouth. And Edward found himself…well…wow. Let's just say, he decided, he wasn't going to fight against her any more.

He loved the feel of this beautiful girl against his body, her tongue battling against his for control. He'd be an idiot not to.

She pulled away from him and he resisted the urge to groan as she sat up –the space where she'd just been seeming to get cold.

However that feeling soon went away as she reached for his shirt, her fingers fumbling with the many buttons as she struggled to use just her right hand. He didn't understand why she was doing that, but he lifted his arms and helped her unbutton the shirt. When she'd pulled it off, she laid back down on him, moving to lay her ear over his racing heart. A slow smile spread over her face as she realized the effect she was having on him.

"Edward." She began, moving back up to his face.

"Hmm?"

He noticed the hesitancy in her face as she looked at him.

"I thought about it like you said…and I still want to this. Just this you know? Not the other stuff yet." She mumbled, glancing away shyly.

He processed what she'd said and nodded in agreement, before laying her down on the bed.

"Hey!" she protested, struggling to get back on him. He merely chuckled silently.

"Bella it's really late and we have school in the morning. Trust me though, when I say we'll continue this tomorrow."

Hmm. Where had that self confidence come from?


There's so much more we wanted to have happen here but this is already long enough!

We hope you enjoyed the chapter and hopefully there weren't too many mistakes.

Let us know what you liked and what you didn't. We love to hear what you have to say.

EIMH & jojoStarr