A/N: Sorry, I know you were expecting Stephenie Meyer, but I am not her.
Jacob was humming quietly as Edward's car pulled up. I glanced up at his face. His eyes were closed; lashes gently brushing his high cheekbones, his full lips were parted slightly and pulling at the corners, a slow smile on his face. I wondered what memories he was sifting through as Edward got out of the car and quickly approached. Jacob's eyes flew open and found me, the smile broadening on his face.
Edward's expression was pained as he came to a stop next to us, his eyes flitting down to our hands, and then to Jacob's expression. I gave Jacob's hand a squeeze, and then releasing him I walked to Edward. He looked as though he was going to speak, so I raised my hand to cut him off. His expression was bleak, and I wanted to reassure him. The response was automatic, as reflexive as flinching away from my own pain. I brushed my fingers briefly through his bronze hair, and trailed my fingertips down the alabaster contours of his face. Seeing him as pained as he was, was a physical blow for me, and my throat began to ache from holding onto tears—suppressing them.
"Wait." I said slowly, keeping my voice low to prevent it from shaking. "We'll talk when we get to the house." His eyes were tight with emotion as he turned and walked me to the car, moving more quickly than I could track to open the door for me. I turned and gave Jacob a small smile, then bit my lip and sat in the car, pulling the seatbelt across my frame. Edward closed the door and walked around to the driver's side. His careful expression looked briefly to
Jacob, his topaz eyes scanning Jacob's expression. I looked at Jacob as well, not sure what to expect. Jacob's face was serious as he looked at Edward, his casual smile was gone, and in its place was a mixture of emotions. It looked to me as though he was giving a warning, though there was something else as well, something I couldn't read. It had the feel of sorrow, though that wasn't the exact emotion. His lips moved quickly and I was surprised at Edward's slow nod. His own lips moved and Jacob's expression seemed lightened. He nodded sharply and then turned his face to mine, breaking into a smile and waving. I felt my own smile automatically form and waved back as he turned and blurred with speed, running into the woods. Edward pulled his door open, sat down behind the steering wheel, and started the car. I didn't bother speaking, or asking him what the nearly silent conversation was that he had held with Jacob. I simply let the silence wrap around me and relax me.
The drive to the Cullen's home was short, and before my ears even registered Edward's door closing, mine was being drawn open. I held my hand out in the darkness, and he found it immediately, his cool fingers wrapping around mine. We walked to the darkened house, and then through it and up to his room without a word being spoken. He turned the light on and then looked to me, his face tight once more with emotion. I walked slowly to the giant bed and sat down.
"Where is everyone?" I asked, wondering where the rest of the family had disappeared to, and why they had left. Edward pulled a chair from his desk and sat in it, across from me.
"I spoke with Carlisle, and asked if I might have some privacy," he started, staring intently at his hands, "he decided to take the rest of them hunting, so they're gone for the night." He raised his eyes to me. "Bella, I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly sorry I am for what happened." He stood and began to pace, but then thought better of it and sat in a crouch in front of me, one hand on the bed next to my thigh, and the other brushing the hair from my face. "I allowed the feelings of jealousy and possession to dictate my actions, and it was absolutely inexcusable. I understand completely why you have made the decision you have, and I want you to know that the only person I am mad at is myself." His velvet voice was low as he dragged out the words, and it broke at the end. His face was a mask of anguish that wrenched inside of me, and I realized that tears were streaming from my eyes.
"Edward, I'm not leaving you," I choked out, and then attempted to catch my breath and slow my heart rate. He looked up at me suddenly, wonderingly, his eyes wide. He blinked slowly. "Edward, I love you, I want to be with you…the only 'deciding' that I did today was to realize that I couldn't live without Jacob." His face turned to confusion.
"Bella, I don't understand. You aren't leaving me, but you've realized that you cannot live without Jacob?" His voice was dark and his eyebrows were drawn together. He shook his head. "I don't want you to stay with me out of obligation, or because you don't want me hurt."
"Would you do something for me?"
"Hold still." Smack! "Ow, damn." I shook my hand, and pressed my fingers to my lips. "That didn't hurt as much when I did it to Jacob." Edward was looking at me in shock. "I'm sorry." I said quickly, and then tried to explain. "What part of: 'Edward, I love you, I want to be with you' do you not understand?" I tried to look at him as sternly as I could. "I am not staying with you out of obligation, or because I don't want to hurt you."
Edward reached up and pulled my stinging fingers to his lips. The cool feel soothed them instantly. "You really should stop trying to 'beat up' on hardheaded mythological creatures. We're pretty sturdy." He cracked a smile. The look was relief and happiness, which then turned into confusion again. "Why did you smack Jacob?"
I thought for a moment and then shook my head, laughing. "He ruined a childhood fairytale for me." I smiled at the memory.
Edward smiled too, and then it slowly faded. "Bella, I don't want you torn apart at the seams by this. It's a concern that Jacob and I share." I felt my face crumple, and fought back tears again. Edward quickly sat next to me and held me. "Bella, I'm so sorry. Please don't cry."
"I'm sorry; I just don't know what to do." I took a few shaky breaths as Edward started to rock back and forth slowly. I took a deep breath. "I'll think of something, though." I stated finally. "I have to."
"Well, I don't have any idea how to help you through this." He seemed to be thinking very carefully. "However, maybe what you need is a distraction." I looked at him.
"What kind of distraction?" I asked slowly.
"Well, in the event that you decided to forgive me of my earlier trespasses, I came to the conclusion that I should find a way to make it up to you."
"What did you—oh." I said, as his hand slid beneath the hem of my shirt. I shivered and he laughed.
"Bella," he started, and then leaned in for a kiss, and with his lips sealed to mine he continued, "I want to chase away any errant thoughts you might have, about how I feel concerning your desires." He moved his lips to my neck, and then to my collarbone. I shuddered and gripped his shirt tightly. I gasped loudly as he laid me down across the bed and crawled over me. He had removed his shirt, and pressed his chest against me. Some part of me was joyous at this turn of events, but another was deeply upset. My mind was absolutely spinning with the sensation of being this close to him, breathing in his beautiful scent, his liquid topaz eyes centimeters from my own. I needed to think, but it was impossible.
"Edward!" The name that fell from my lips was more of a gasp and moan as his right hand reached up underneath my shirt to cup my breast. He sealed his lips to mine, drowning out what I was going to say, making me forget nearly completely why I was going to say it. My skin was alive with heat, and I arched into him, pressing against him as my hands wrapped around his waist and pulled him closer. He pulled away slightly and pulled off my shirt, then cupped my breasts and let his thumbs trace over the nipples. Shit. Jacob! I was abruptly reminded of Jacob's earlier, similar action, and froze. I noticed suddenly that Edward wasn't moving, either.
"Bella…what did you just say?" His low voice was a whisper. I looked up into his eyes, they were nearly black. Oh, fuck…no, not out loud. My heart rate spiraled out of control.
"Edward, I just…it would hurt him if I did this with you, I can't do it." I held my breath waiting for a response. Edward's eyes remained black as they narrowed slightly. He pulled away from me carefully and closed his eyes. I grabbed my shirt and pulled it on. "Edward, I want this, you know that I do—but as much as I—" The room was silent. He wasn't there. "Edward?" I asked aloud. No response. I felt pained and started to panic. Of course he walked out, who wouldn't walk out on someone who said another man's name during an intimate moment? I walked quickly down the stairs, and saw that the front door was open. I crossed the dark room, and noticed Edward outside of the door. He didn't turn around as he spoke.
"Bella…do you have your shirt back on?" I looked down and nodded…then realized he couldn't see it.
"Yes." My voice wavered on the one word, and I saw Edward's head turn sharply. He was at my side in an instant, cupping my face in his hands.
"Bella, I am so sorry, again I have to apologize for hurting you." He sighed and then pressed his lips to my forehead. "If you could understand what was going through my head at that moment…what the instinctual predator in me wanted to do at that moment, you would understand better why I had to leave the room as quickly as possible." I opened my mouth to ask, but was cut off by his hand pressing into my lips. "You do not want to know." His voice was low and sent a chill through me that had nothing to do with his temperature. I nodded mutely. His hand dropped from my lips and traced down my throat, before resting on my shoulder. "I understand that you don't want to hurt him, Bella. I respect that completely. I am not upset over it." He smiled too innocently. "Jacob and I both aren't getting any older, so take your time."
I gasped and tried to shove him. "Maybe I will, then." I laughed. He stopped my attempt to push him and pulled me into an embrace.
"Bella, I love you. I know that Jacob feels the same, and that you love us both. This is the furthest thing from easy for you, so I am not going to make your life any harder by trying to come up with ultimatums, or demands." I sighed and rested my head on his shoulder. "I am going to call Jacob. Maybe if we are all together, then we can work something out."
I looked up at him slowly. "But, you're going to get along with him, right?" I tried to look stern. "Whenever the two of you see each other you end up—" I felt cool fingers press against my lips again.
"That was before I realized that you truly loved him, Bella. Knowing that now, and understanding that hurting him will hurt you, I couldn't possibly do that." He smiled and walked to the phone.
So soon. I'm not ready to do this. The thought was whole in my mind. If we really were going to sit down, and have this talk…I might lose one of them, tonight, forever. My heart started racing, and I took a few deep breaths. Instantly I felt cool hands brush my shoulder and begin to relax the muscles that had tensed up.
"You don't have to make a decision tonight, but I just thought it would benefit us all to have at least some conversation." Edward's voice was calming in my ear, and I relaxed. Jacob would be here soon, and we would talk…and I had absolutely no idea what to say.
A/N: So…we know Bella doesn't want to know what Edward was thinking when he had to leave the room abruptly…but if you do, then ask me in a review or PM and I will send you a short, graphic, dark Edward POV of that moment. Be sure that if you leave an unsigned review that you leave your email, and I will get the Edward POV to you.