So every time you hold me
Hold me like this is the last time
Every time you kiss me
Kiss me like you'll never see me again
Every time you touch me
Touch me like this is the last time
Promise that you'll love me
Love me like you'll never see me again
Like You'll Never See Me Again ~ Alicia Keys
The sunlight filtered through the opening of the bedroom, hitting her face, bathing her in radiant warmth. Her eyes flicked open, and her left hand immediately flopped down her side, in default setting in search of her bedwarmer. Only then did she remember, she no longer had a bedwarmer as of two weeks ago.
She sighed, mourning the absence of comfort Edward's embrace would sure to provide her. She berated herself for being too difficult, too logical last night. She should have let her guard down, and asked him to stay.
Her phone rang.
She groaned. Way too early to face the wrath of the pixie. "Yes, Alice. I'm here."
"Oh, thank God! I've tried calling you for the last week or so! Then Jasper said that you were off to Europe then I tried calling again but I still got the damn voice mail. Then I called Leah and she informed me you have another international line and I was like waiting for it to finally be morning wherever you are so I could call! I was so worried!"
"Hello? Are you there? Bella!"
"I'm sorry, Alice. I swear, I didn't know what I was thinking. I didn't mean to disappear on you," she apologized sincerely in deep regret. The magnitude of her rash decision had disrupted the lives of others around her, she realized.
She could hear Alice sighed. "It's okay, Bella. I should have known to call Leah earlier. I guess when Jasper told me about whatever happened between you and Edward, I was on full-fledge panicking mode."
"Again, I apologize, Alice. That was inconsiderate of me."
"Bridge under water now, Bella. What I would really like to know, how are you holding up? Has Edward gotten over to you?"
"I'm fine. He found me in Budapest," she replied softly, sitting up to lean against the headboard.
Alice exhaled. "Thank goodness. How's my little nephew slash niece doing?"
"Peanut is fine too."
Alice laughed. "Peanut?"
"Yeah, Edward knighted him, or her, last night," she informed, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. She smiled reminiscing Edward's antics yesterday.
"So I take it you guys have resolved your issues?"
Bella paused. "Not quite, Alice."
Bella bit her lips and held her sigh at bay. "He told me he loves me."
Alice muttered noisily. "Finally." There was a moment of silence. "And how do you feel about that?"
Bella pursed her lips. The comforter was getting stuffy and her legs were already plenty warm. So she pushed it aside and climbed off the bed. "Elated. Scared. Hopeful. But mostly scared."
Alice sighed. "Oh, sweetie..."
"Yeah," she nodded to nobody in particular. She made her way to the bathroom. Facing the mirror, she realized with a sinking feeling the was only a single toothbrush residing in the glass. She missed the sight of Edward's toothbrush next to hers.
"You guys need to talk, ASAP, Bella."
"Refer the previous statement, Alice."
"You mean, 'yeah'?"
"No, before that."
Another sigh. "How are you going to work anything out if you don't talk?"
Bella inhaled deeply. "He hurt me, Alice. As much as I hate to admit that he could affect me this much, he did," she came clean.
"Bella, you pretty much did the same to him when you left him," Alice argued.
"He accused me of sleeping with Jacob. I think I have more credible rights to be offended," she defended.
"What, so you think he would bark out a laugh at the idea of you accusing him with Tanya?"
"Alice, you were the one who planted the seeds in my head. So don't you dare."
"I know, and I apologize. But sweetie, as a spouse, and as someone who loves him, you should have given him the benefit of the doubt."
"He obviously didn't give me any when he made premature judgments about the nature of my relationship with Jacob."
"Are we talking about what's fair and not fair?"
"Maybe. So what?"
"So you're just plain immature."
"I understand that you're hurt, Bella, but you have to understand, he is too. But at least he's not being a chicken-shit coward about his feelings. He came clean. Could you speak the same of yourself?"
"You're supposed to be my best friend, Al. Aren't you supposed to hold my hand and promise to beat him up?"
"That I would but don't you forget, he's my brother. I would bitch at anybody who doesn't give my brother a half-decent chance. Especially if that person is you."
"You're mad at me."
"Of course I am. Apart from missing you like crazy, I also want to rip your hair off somehow. You're not acting logically."
Bella grimaced. The pain was almost palpable. "Ouch."
There was a short silence. Alice's voice softened. "Bella, I love you."
"I love you too, Alice," Bella replied tentatively.
"So give that boy another chance. Give yourself another chance."
"I'm scared, Al."
"He's scared too, Bella. So you guys can be scared together."
Bella chuckled. "That doesn't sound very convincing."
"Well, at least it's better than being scared alone, isn't it?"
"When you put it that way..." She stared into her reflection in the mirror. Bed hair. She was taken back to their kitchen, the morning Edward found her only in her AC/DC t-shirt and underwear. Her cheeks warmed at the memory.
Startled, Bella frowned. "What?"
"I haven't said anything, Alice."
"You don't have too. Listen, put that boy out of his misery, will you?"
"What do you mean?"
"You don't have to say it now but you can always show it, right?" Alice coaxed.
Sighing, Bella rolled back her shoulders. "I'm not promising anything."
"Please try, though."
Bella contemplated for awhile before replying. "Okay."
"Jasper sends his love to you and Peanut."
Bella laughed. She had a feeling the name is stuck. "Give him a kiss for me too, Alice. I miss you guys."
"I miss you too, Bella. Come home soon."
"I will. And thank you."
"No need for thanks."
Edward was losing his mind. He dashed through the lobby without a second glance backward. He needed to find her before it would be too late.
He had woken up this morning and his first instinct was to check up on her. He had padded down the lounge to her room, to find her bed empty and partially made. It was always like Bella. Although they could rely on housekeeping, she was just so used doing everything by herself. He had tried the bathroom next, and it was too, empty.
His body had moved on autopilot by then. He had dashed back to his room, threw on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans before bolting out from the suite. He had tried calling her phone, but it went straight to voice mail. He didn't wait for the elevator to come, instead opting for the emergency staircase. He was berating himself. If he couldn't find Bella, he would not forgive himself...
The sliding door opened and his eyes frantically tried to spot a mahogany head. Did she hail a cab or did she walk? He ran down to the parking lot, all the while craning his neck to survey the main road. It was a typical Friday morning; some vehicles, a few cyclists, a lot of pedestrians, but no sign of Bella. He was about to throw open his car door, when he spotted her walking around the corner of the building next to the hotel.
He ran. He shouted her name. He remembered vaguely crossing the busy road haphazardly, rousing honks and yells. He barely registered them all as he tried to catch up with her. She wasn't far now, probably five yards away. He shouted again, and she finally looked up. Her eyes widened.
To Edward's surprise, she didn't bolt.
His lungs were bursting. Not from the exertion, but from finally remembering to breathe. She didn't run. She didn't even fight when he threw his arms around her and crushed her body against his. He didn't care if they were in front of a busy grocery store buzzing with activities. He wouldn't let her get away.
"Bella... Bella," he chanted, holding her tight still. "Don't go, don't leave," he pleaded.
Bella was stunned. Did Edward think she was leaving? She could almost hear the erratic beating of his heart. He was scared. He was petrified.
She reached her free hand to rub soothingly on his back. He had burrowed his face at the corner of her neck, and she swore she felt stray tears heating her skin there. "Shh, Edward... I was not leaving, baby," she coaxed, placing a soft kiss on his neck. She was aware of the eyes witnessing their drama, but she couldn't give a damn.
"Promise me, Bella. Don't ever leave me again. I'm begging you..."
Bella pulled away slightly to look into those beautiful emerald eyes, which were slightly reddened by contained tears. She felt a lump in her throat at the sight of him. He was hurting. And it was all her doing. "Edward, I'm here. I won't leave you," she spoke earnestly, her eyes boring straight into his.
They walked back together to the hotel, her arm around his waist as if guiding a lost child. Edward was still disconcerted, his hair messier than normal, and his eyes kept darting back to Bella's face, to make sure that she was really by her side. Bella responded by reaching up to peck softly on his cheek, rubbing his side reassuringly.
Behind closed door, Bella gently pulled Edward towards the couch to seat him. He looked downright distraught. Bella felt a tug at her heart. It killed her to see him so lost. She knelt down in front of him, stroking his face gently. "Edward, I'm sorry I didn't tell you that I ran out to get breakfast," she said tentatively.
The man's wrinkle softened as he gazed into his wife's eyes. "It's okay, love. I'm sorry for freaking out. It's just, I couldn't take it if you really did disappear on me again," he whispered, cradling the beautiful face on his palms.
Sighing, Bella leaned into the touch as her own fingers ran gently through his messy hair. "I'm sorry, baby. I'm sorry..."
Edward exhaled sharply as he tugged her form into his lap. "Say that again, Bella."
Frowning, she barely noticed herself straddling Edward. "I'm sorry?"
He instantly shook his head. Tightening the grip on her waist, he urged her with his pleading eyes. "No, no. What did you call me just now?"
Bella blushed. Of course. "Edward -."
"No, you called me 'baby' just now. I want to hear it again from you."
"Humor me, Bella."
She inhaled deeply and tried to avert her gaze from her husband's imploring stare. She was not one for endearments. It made everything looked so... intimate. She wasn't ready to go back there. Not yet.
As she was contemplating on what to say next, she smelled more than felt him burying his head in the crook of her neck. She almost let out a sigh. All musky and man. His lips left a trail of small kisses down her neck, all the while chanting 'I love you' softly.
"Hmm?" she responded idly, too caught up with the feel of his lips on her skin.
"I can't live without you," he confessed quietly.
She let out a small sigh and turned in his lap to face him. "Edward -."
He cut her speech with a finger on her lips. "No, listen, love. I can't bear to be apart from you. I love you, baby. So much. Now that I got you, I don't want to be apart from you, ever again," he spoke again earnestly, his green eyes darkening.
Bella pursed her lips. Her heart was fluttering in her chest. Edward's hand which was rubbing a small spot on her lower back wasn't helping her condition.
His eyes were on her lips when his hand crept to the front of her dress to rub her stomach lovingly. "How is Peanut doing today?"
"Um, Peanut's fine but Peanut's mom is pretty hungry," she admitted as her stomach growled.
Edward let out a small chuckle, his eyes were still trained on her lips. "I'm sorry, love. I'll make something for you," he spoke.
"It's okay, baby. I went out to get some doughnuts. You know, before you had your nervous breakdown episode," she teased him, her eyes twinkling.
A smirk bloomed on Edward's face. "Say it again, Bella."
She blushed. It felt so natural to be calling him that.
Instead of heeding his request, she reached up to cradle his head in her hands and leaned in to plant her lips squarely on his.
Things were not perfect. But they were trying, and to her, it was what counted the most.
A/N: I apologize for the long hiatus, my lovelies. RL decided to interfere and I've been working seven days a week for the past six months on my new job. I know this is not a legitimate reason to be AWOL for so long, but hopefully now that things have kind of settled down around here, I'd be able to update more. I'm not keeping to any schedule, I will write when the time permits. Til then, hopefully this update will appease you guys out there and thank you for sticking with me. You guys rock!