Punch Me, Love Me, Save Me

Chapter Fifteen—The Clinic

A cold sweat beaded across Edward's brow, his hands started to shake. "Pull the fuck over!" he roared, fear and anger forcing him to do what he did best.

Lash out.

"You fucking bitch!" he screamed as his hands clawed at the door. When she refused to do what he asked, he went for the steering wheel. The truck fishtailed as Bella fought to keep control of the truck.

She had little choice; she elbowed him in the nose and managed to gain control again. However, it slowed enough for Edward to jump of the car. She watched in horror as Edward rolled onto the rocky shoulder. With a curse, she came to a halting, neck-breaking stop and climbed out of the truck. By the time she reached where Edward fell, he was several feet away, holding on his shoulder as he tried to run.

"Edward!" she screamed. "Stop right now!" She pulled something out of her pocket and prayed she didn't have to use it. "I don't want to hurt you!"

"Fuck you!" he cried out, not bothering to look back.

"Look around you. We're in the middle of nowhere. The nearest town is almost an hour away by car. On foot, you'll never make it."

Edward swirled around. "Take me back."


"Then go fucking hell, cunt!"

She rolled her eyes at the name-calling and let it roll off her back. The words no longer stung; she heard them all before.

When Edward turned again, she raised her stun gun and aimed. "I mean it, Edward. Get back here. Don't make me force you!"

He said nothing, just kept running. She had one chance or else she'd have to go after him and risk breaking a damn ankle with all the rocks around. With a huff, she squared her shoulders and fired.

Edward's body seized and a scream froze in his throat. Every nerve in his body seemed to suddenly burst and then numb as his body fell to the ground. Grit, gravel, and dirt dug into his sensitized skin, yet it took his mind minutes to figure out what happened. Paralyzed by fear and whatever Bella hit him with, he tried to get control of his breathing, but found that he couldn't.

He heard her grumble as she stood over him, rolling him to the side. He felt a strange pinch on his back before she helped him to roll again, the sky blue and bright now overhead. Words were thick on his tongue, his throat opening and closing involuntary.

"The effects will last for a while," she murmured, running her hands over his body. "I'm checking to see if you broke anything."

A slew of curses tried to leave his mouth, but he likely looked like a fish out of water. Though he was breathing, his lungs strained to accommodate him. The running, the recent withdrawal, and his fear had been too much for his body.

"I hit you with a Taser," she said, shrugging. "I couldn't risk you running any further. There's a ditch up ahead you were about to take a nose dive into."

"B-bit-ch," he stuttered, proud that he was able to say anything. His tongue felt too big for his mouth, tingling along the tip of it.

Bella smiled and shook her head at him. "Well now, I have the pleasure of dragging your ass to the truck." Her hands continued to roam over his legs and worked their way up his thighs.

Great, she's finally touching me again and I can barely feel anything.

Bella grunted as she tried to get Edward to sit up. The man seemed to weigh a ton. His legs looked like noodles as she got him to his feet. She tried to take a step forward when they buckled, making her wince in pain. His arm was heavy on the back of her neck and shoulders. Even though he couldn't talk, she swore she could hear all the names he was calling her in his thoughts.

"It's a lovely day for a stroll," she said a southern drawl. Edward was able to send her a scathing look that had her smiling again. They managed about ten feet when she heard the sound of car brakes squealing from the direction of the road. She stilled as her breath exhaled sharply. Fuck, she left her other weapon in the truck.

Her eyes shot up to see Jasper running toward them. Her first thought was, thank God. The second was, he's leaving.

"What's going on?" Jasper called out. "Did he get sick again?"

"Something like that," she answered. The weight on her neck was lifted as Jasper took Edward's other arm. Edward looked less then pleased, but there wasn't anything she could do. They had to get him into the truck. The three of them hobbled the rest of the way, and Edward was uncharacteristically quiet. Jasper opened the truck door and heaved him inside, and Bella worked the seat belt over Edward's lap and shoulders. She opened the glove department, pulled out her weapon, and stashed it at the small of her back.

Edward watched, unable to say another word as Bella and Jasper spoke outside the truck. She looked reserved, as if she was preparing to say goodbye. Edward noticed that the openness she seemed to have that night by the pool was gone; another wall erected around her.

He shouldn't have run. It was stupid, but he'd been desperate to get away. From what, he still wasn't sure. Bella couldn't force him to work at the clinic, and he knew it. She would never put patients at risk like that. Not without knowing what he was capable of. The question was, why she was forcing him to go to one, if she'd known he'd refuse.

He had shown no fear when they poked and prodded him at the facility clinic, but that was because he'd been the patient. At the clinic, there would people he'd be responsible for. That was something he'd never be ready for, ever.

He might not have gotten away, but he was positive it would have the same affect. She would be forced to return to the facility. He still was pissed at the harpy for tasing him, but at least she hit his back and not his ass. He'd seen what happened when someone got hit there, it was mess and not pretty. He shuddered at the thought; the numbness from his shock was wearing down.

Thank God, for small favors.


"You're leaving," Bella said, rubbing her arms as Jasper worked to fix her stun gun.

"I was about to," he said, shrugging. "I was thinking about turning around and going back when I saw the truck.

She smiled and shook her head. "I knew you wouldn't be able to leave."

Jasper rolled his eyes, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "You know I like helping them, too."

"So we're good?" she asked, smiling up at him.

"We're good," he said, handing her his stun gun and taking hers to arm again later. "I'm going to head into town for some good food." He rubbed his stomach. "I'm hoping Inez is still working her magic with carne asada, salsa, and freshly made tortillas."

"She is," Bella said with a smile. The old woman who ran a restaurant in Garza was like a surrogate mother in the last five years since they'd met. "Jasper," she said, squinting up at him, the sun bright overhead. "I have to ask that you don't exactly show your face until he's calmed down."

Jasper promptly removed his arm, scratching the back of his neck. "He's probably pissed that it was me that came to the rescue."

Bella rolled her eyes, not wanting to admit that Jasper was probably right. "Shut up, I would've gotten him in the truck."

"To the truck, B," he said, chuckling. "There was no way you'd have been able to get him inside it." Taking off his baseball cap, he sat it on her head, to protect her from the sun. "You forgot sunscreen again." She huffed and groaned. She pulled out a cap from her back pocket. "Keep it and give him yours."

"What are you going to do about Alice?" she asked, handing her cap to Jasper instead.

"I like her, Bella." He shrugged. "I meant what I said. I don't feel that way anymore, I promise. I'm not playing with her."

"I won't pull the corporate type crap of no fraternizing with the clients," she said, pulling out the truck keys.

"Thank you." He turned to look at a glaring Edward. "I think we learned another lesson today."

Bella snorted. "Yeah, always take a target in a car with childproof locks." She wasn't about to tell him that Edward had actually tried to take control of wheel.

"Yup." He turned back to look at her and smiled. "James is going to torture him, you know that right?"

"He does that to everybody."

"Especially with the assholes that look at you like he does," Jasper stated and gestured toward Edward, who had his eyes now glued to her ass.

Bella groaned. "I hate leggings!"

Jasper sighed. "Is what I said about what you wear bothering you?"

"You remember what happened the last time I bumped into Carlos. I'm not going to give him more reason to touch me." Jasper's hands fisted at his sides at the name of the asshole that terrorized her and Alec before. "Alec said most of locals hadn't heard from him for a while."

Jasper growled, "I hope the fucker is dead." She only nodded in response.

"All right," she said, shaking her head. "I'm heading out."

Jasper smirked. "You're still going to the clinic, aren't you?"

"I think he was pretty close to a panic attack. I don't expect him…No. I know he won't do anything to help, I know that for sure," she stated. "Plus he's covered in scratches, so I need to get him cleaned up. I hope it'll get him to talk later. Even if it's to tell me off, it'll help me, help him."

"Good luck with that," he said and jogged off to the van he was driving.

Bella waited outside of the truck, her eyes on Edward who stared at her with an intensity that felt more as if he was reaching inside her.

Time to face the music.


Edward watched as Bella drove to their destination and called her every name in his book, as well as a few others in different languages. He didn't even try to keep them to himself, and all she did was ignore it. He had convinced himself that she'd turn back. That she wouldn't subject him to further hell after his reaction; instead, she continued as if nothing had happened.

His jaw hurt from clenching it so hard for the past thirty minutes, since she shoved his ass into the truck. Instinct, and perhaps self-preservation, stopped him from jumping out of the car again. There was also the fact that he'd seen that southern prick give her another stupid stun gun. He didn't think his body could take any more abuse.

After another hour on the road, Edward started to see the signs of civilization. There were a few houses, ranch style, fenced with barking dogs in their yards. The conditions of them were a little dilapidated, in desperate need of repair. A few people were out in their yards, but on closer inspection, he could see one woman feeding pigs and some goats. As they reached the outskirts of Garza, Edward could see kids running around.

"If you think you're going to put me to work at the clinic, you can go fuck yourself," Edward growled, his hands itching to reach for the door again. He found his voice, hoping she wouldn't ask him why. The lump caused his throat to close again.

Bella only shrugged in response and didn't bother to say or ask anything. The pueblo couldn't have been bigger than a city block in Seattle. They passed small restaurants, a cantina, and a meat market before he could see a queue of people, young and old, near a small fruit and vegetable store.

"Fucking hell," he groaned, hitting his forehead against his window.

"Immunizations for the kids," Bella said. "Alec hadn't been able to come by until yesterday and the people know it will be a while until he comes back. By the end of his week-long stay, just about every residence will come in for a check up."

Edward said nothing.

"Those that can't come to him, he'll go to them." She continued as if he wanted to listen, as if he cared.

Edward didn't, or at least, he didn't want to.

"He doesn't turn anyone away and gets no compensation of any kind." The truck pulled up beside the front end of first mobile unit. There was more than one, and Edward couldn't imagine the astronomical costs of such an endeavor. There was the main unit that the line seemed to start from and wrapped around another building. The second mobile unit was larger and used for radiology and imaging.

"The townspeople do pitch in for some of the diesel required for the generator that the rolling hospital uses."

Edward's anger had reached the pinnacle. "Shut the fuck up already," he hissed at her. After a few seconds, she turned toward him and he expected a glare, the anger, that fire that flared in her eyes whenever she was pissed at him. He didn't get that.

It wasn't pity, or even sadness. It was nothing. There was no emotion in her eyes. He'd rather have the anger.

She turned off the truck and exited, not checking to see if he'd follow. When she reached the door, Emmett and some big ass, almost seven-foot tall giant met her outside of the main mobile unit. She talked to them, shrugged, and went inside, never looking back at Edward.

He rubbed at his chest. Why the fuck did he care so much about the look she'd given him? That thought evaporated when he realized she set her guard dogs on him. He shook his head as Emmett gave him a wide grin through the windshield. The asshole's hands rubbed together and there was nothing short of glee in his eyes.



For two hours, Edward sat in one of the tiny rooms of the main mobile unit. Bella had Emmett and the big guy named Juan drag him inside where Rosalie patched up the litany of scratches he'd gotten while running from Bella. His shoulder from his body hitting the dirt when he jumped ship, hurt like hell and would be for a while. The strange feeling in his body after his harpy stunned him was mostly gone, but there still some tingling along his toes and fingertips.

Bella hadn't come to tell him to get to work. There had been no words exchanged between them since he'd told her to shut up. The privacy and solitude should've made him feel better. Instead, he was fucking bored out of his mind. Twice, someone came and talked to him, offering him something to eat or drink.

The third time, Emmett came by. He asked the same question as before, "Do you need anything?"

Edward decided he wanted his harpy to come to him. To do that, he had to piss her off. "Yeah, get me a fucking Corona."

"Sure," Emmett said, nodding. "Then, Bella will grab your passport and send you on the next flight out of Mexico."

"Fuck yeah," Edward growled, pounding his first on the desk he sat at. "Sounds like a damn fine plan to me." Maybe he'd get fucked up enough to forget the little bitch that turned his balls to raisins with that stun gun of hers. He wasn't sure he was in a forgiving mood, considering his cock still had yet to recover.

Before Emmett could respond to Edward, they heard several screams coming from the other side of the trailer. Emmett was gone in seconds, leaving the door wide open. Edward darted toward it and didn't find anyone guarding him, so he walked down a short hallway to find Emmett and Alec with their hands raised.

"Wha—" the word died on his tongue as he surveyed the scene.

Besides Alec and Emmett, there were two young boys, twin brothers by the look of it, Rosalie and a young woman, and a man in his late twenties holding a gun to Bella's forehead.

What the fuck?

His throat tightened as well as his fists. She stood before the man, her face impassive as the tip of the shotgun touched her skin. There was no outward appearance of nerves or fear, but there was something in her stance that told Edward that she was planning to do something. Whatever it was, it could go horribly wrong; there was no saving her if the gun went off. His stomach lurched at the vivid image of her brain splattered on his t-shirt and wall behind her.

Bella's eyes darted toward Rosalie, who immediately pulled the two boys toward her and the cowering teenager, their sister. She had the same features as her brothers did. The second they were within her reach, she clung to them.

As calmly as possible, Bella asked the man what he needed in fluent Spanish. The shotgun shook in his hands, sweat beaded across his weatherworn and caramel-colored skin. His black mustache twitched, his bottom lip trembling along with his chin.

The gunman's words were a jumbled mess and spoken too fast for Edward to understand with his limited two years of high school Spanish. The reason he'd passed that class was because of his on and off again girlfriend, Maria. His thoughts were a mess; the strangest things popped in at the worst of times.

Edward shook his head to clear it and stepped forward—to do what he had no idea—but he just couldn't stand there and watch.

"No," Emmett hissed, thwarting him with a bulky arm across his chest.

Clearly shaken, the gunman repeated his rant. "Mi esposa está embarazada y se está muriendo. Necesito que venga conmigo!"

Alec moved from Bella's right with his hands raised, asking in Spanish where the man's pregnant wife was.

"Està muriendo!" She's dying.

A shiver ran up Edward's spine as Bella spoke clearly to him in Spanish. "We help everyone that needs it. There is no need for violence. We will help her." From what Edward could understand, he saw the line of people and knew his wife would never make it if they had to wait. Was that what drove him to do this?

Bella nodded, making the man's hands shake, and she stilled again, the clench and release of her hands were the only indication of her stress. The quake of the gun was enough to launch Juan, the big man from earlier, into action.

"No!" Bella cried out, forcing the barrel of the gun to point at the ceiling. At the sound of the blast, screams rented the air. Inside the trailer and out.

Edward's voice was hoarse, he hadn't realized he'd called out to her until he felt the rawness in his throat. He hadn't been the only one, Emmett looked like a bull ready to charge. Heart pounding in his chest, Edward fought to find Bella in the cloud of dust and debris from the ceiling the gunshot busted up.

"Bella!" Edward growled and caught her arm, pulling her against his chest. She let him, too.

On the ground, Emmett and Juan struggled with the sobbing husband. Before Bella could issue instructions, Alec and Rosalie were outside in search of the man's pregnant wife.

Bella fought against Edward's hold after he held her for a full minute. When he released her, it was only to reach for the three children, who were frightened and crying. Doing her best to console them, Bella turned toward Emmett.

"Get someone to call Ernesto," she whispered. "Handcuff him while he's here." Emmett nodded just as the door burst open as two local men carried a tiny Hispanic woman that looked far beyond her due date.

"The baby is a breach," Alec answered Bella's unspoken question. Rosalie led the three children from the clinic and spoke with the others outside. "Rose! I need you and call Heidi from imaging. Get me an ultrasound down here now!"

Emmett sat the gunman in a chair, who openly cried as Alec tended to his wife. She screamed, clearly in agony as Edward's vision started to blur from the lack of air.

"Edward!" Alec hissed as the woman tried to thrash, crying out for her husband and for them to save the baby. Bella tried to explain that they had no choice but to detain him. "Edward! Grab her legs. She's going to hurt herself."

Edward exhaled sharply, shaking his head violently as he started to step back. Bella sprinted into action, putting the woman in a better position as she continued to soothe her with her voice.

"Edward, go back to the room," Bella said. He was in complete agreement, but that look of nothingness was on her face again and seeping into her eyes enough that they looked almost black. He wanted to blame on the lighting, and not on the fact that he disappointed her again. Chest aching with the need to breathe, he rubbed at the spot over his heart and he retreated.


After what happened in the clinic, Bella checked on him a few times and that blank look was a stab at his heart. He tried to ignore it. When that was impossible, he wanted to know why it affected him so much.

It ate at him; he thought the look of disgust and disappointment was the worst he'd ever seen on a person. His mother was the queen of those kinds of looks, and over the years, she was able to mask it, ignore him when he'd become too much trouble.

Seeing Bella with that same look was too much. He didn't want to be a disappointment to anyone. She had to be angry with him, maybe figured out he was hopeless. Was that why she told him to leave instead of asking for his help as Alec had?

An hour after the incident, his anger started to grow. He wasn't sure at first why he was angry, only that he was, and all of that emotion he directed toward Bella. She put herself in a dangerous… He shook his head, refusing to relive the memory of the gun on her again. She put him in the situation in the first place.

You wouldn't be here if you weren't a drunk.

Edward had done his best to ignore his emotions for the last few years; he had to continue doing so. He wasn't about to let her get to him. It took time to get this emotions and thoughts under control, and once he had, he spent the rest of the afternoon going over Alec's mini library.

By five-thirty that evening, Bella and Edward were sitting beside each other in her truck, both clearly exhausted. He hated the silence. It seemed endless as the cooling night air blew from their lowered windows. After his anger had leveled out, the fear at seeing her held at gunpoint ate at him. Anyone else would've gone into some sort of shock after an incident like before, but not Bella. He didn't know what to make of that. Twenty minutes into the drive back to the facility, she was the first to break the silence between them.

"How are you feeling?" she asked, keeping her eyes on the road.

"Like I've been electrocuted," he deadpanned, pretending to shudder in his seat. At that point, he'd do anything to break the tension between them, even try to make her laugh.

She shrugged, showing little emotion again. Damn her, he thought. "I had no choice. If you would've fallen into the ditch, you'd be in the hospital instead of sitting here on the way back."

"How do I know I wouldn't have liked that better?" He gave her a wide smile, only earning an eye roll.

"Emmett would've sat on you in your room to make sure you didn't get away," she indicated, shaking her head. "Trust me, it wouldn't have been better." Their eyes met for a few seconds, and she added, "We both know that." He heard the implication in her words; she knew he hated hospitals and probably guessed why from his records.

He didn't want to talk about it and made sure she knew it. "Whatever." There was no use in denying it. She was right, anyway. He hated hospitals. The idea of breaking something like a leg or something didn't sound appealing, either.

With the topic over, the silence returned, the tension rising once again. It almost felt tangible, as if it curled around them in attempt to bring them together. Edward fought the urge to talk, too afraid to broach what happened earlier. He was waiting for her to ask why he threw such a fit when she told him where they were heading.

She didn't.

Not during the over hour-long, drive back to the facility. Nor when they cooked dinner and did the dishes after together. In fact, it was as if nothing had happened, but there was that nagging feeling that she was playing him. He knew that she was disappointed with him, deep down. That shit didn't sit well with him. He'd dealt with disappointing others for a long time, and he did what he always did. Lower their expectations so that they never had a reason to feel that way about him. The only one that saw through that was Alice and it was obvious that now, so did Bella.

At least she wasn't ignoring him. He felt like an idiot for being thankful for that, reminding himself that it was her job to pay attention to him. It was inevitable that she would make him sit on some couch and pick his brain eventually. The waiting, however, was kicking his ass. He felt as if he was looking over his shoulder.

They talked as they did the normal chores he was required to do, but the tension between them only seemed to build more as he waited for the other shoe to drop. As she turned away, after she put the last of the dishes in a cabinet, she said she'd see him later.

"Are you going to order me to my room?" he asked, not ready to see her go.

She looked over at the clock on the microwave and shook her head. "Your curfew isn't for another few hours."

"So now I have a curfew."

She gave him "duh" look that he wished he could swipe away with his mouth. "You tried to escape twice now. Of course, you have a curfew."

"All right," he said, rubbing a hand over his face. "What do you suggest I do until then?"

She leaned back against the counter and cocked an eyebrow. "I'm not your event coordinator. I don't have every single hour of your day planned. Do whatever you want."

It was his turn to give her a look, but this one had some heat, and said, "You shouldn't have said that."

She rolled her eyes she crossed her arms over her chest. "Within reason, asshole." There was his nail biting, bitchy harpy.

"There isn't much to do," he said, even fucking pouting to get some damn sympathy from her.

"You have to earn the right to use the media room."

He nodded, knowing he'd done nothing to earn it. "Are we going to talk about what happened earlier?" Edward wasn't sure who was more surprised by his question. He couldn't take it back, either, like he wished.

She exhaled sharply after a minute of staring at him. He knew what she was doing, trying to determine what to say. "I should've warned you how bad it gets," she stated, shaking her head. "It happens every once and a while. Even though we tell them repeatedly that treatment is free and those served first are those needing care the most."

They both knew he wasn't talking about that, but he decided to go with it. "You've been held at gunpoint before?"

"I should've never put you in that situation," she said with a shrug. "You handled it well. Anyone else that has witnessed something similar ended up in a tailspin so soon after withdrawal. I'm proud of you."

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Why would she lie to him? After hearing from Alec and the others, even her, that they don't lie to the addicts, she pulled shit like that with him. "Cut the shit, 3B!"

She sighed, offering him a small sad smile. "It's always easier to hear bad things about yourself, isn't it?" Even though he said nothing, she continued. "I put you in a place I knew you'd find it difficult to be, but I'm not the type of person that would let that stop me. My methods are harsh sometimes. In fact, most of the time. But it's gotten the job done. Despite your trepidation, you stayed in that clinic, and even after witnessing me being held at gunpoint, and that poor pregnant woman, you managed to hold yourself together. That's something to be proud of."

She didn't stick around for whatever he had to say. For the first time, he couldn't find the words to tell her anything.

Edward spent about an hour in the gym. His body still held the aches typical of being sick for days, but he was desperate to shake it off and get back on track with his health. When he checked his weight earlier, he nearly choked. He had gained about twenty pounds and blamed the beer munchies after his drunken binges.

Standing in front of the mirror, he removed his t-shirt and scowled at his reflection. He had fucking gut, and apparently, an ass that wasn't there before. His pants usually fell low on his hips because he had nothing back there to hold them up.

"Great, now I'm a fucking chick," Edward muttered, falling onto the mat and starting some push ups. On his fiftieth, he heard someone enter the room. He wasn't ready to face his warden but when he looked up at the mirror, he saw that it was Emmett.

"What's up?" he asked as he started some stomach crunches.

"Would you like some help getting back to shape?"

"Whatever," Edward said, shaking his head a bit. "I haven't worked out in a while, though."

Emmett nodded and discussed what they could do together to get Edward back into shape, including a schedule. He hated the early morning start, but if it got him healthy again, he'd get through it.

"Wait, what are we doing for the hour between seven and breakfast?"

"Bella has that spot covered," Emmett indicated, not looking him in the eye.

Edward groaned. "What does the harpy plan to do to torture me before breakfast?"

"Swim lessons."

Bella had told Edward that she'd get him to face his fear of pools and water. He cursed under his breath and continued to work out as Emmett instructed. Once done, Emmett promised to wake him up for their run the following morning.

Edward trudged toward his room and he wondered if anything between him and Bella would ever be like the night by the pool. He liked how easy talking to her turned out to be. Even though it hurt like bitch, he admitted, she made it easier. Not that he planned to discuss why he freaked about going to the clinic when she finally asked him.

His shower was amazingly warm and perfect. Despite the heat of the day in Garza, he still had moments of bone-chilling cold, lingering effects of his withdrawal. It would take a few more days for his body to adjust to not having so much alcohol in its system.

As he finished getting dressed for the night in the bathroom, he expected someone to lock him inside soon. He walked out into his bedroom and was surprised to find Bella sitting in the only other chair in the room, with a book in her hands.

"I thought you'd like a bedtime story," she said with a cheeky grin.

Alec's words floated through his mind at the wrong time. He knew if he said or did anything to make her uncomfortable that she'd likely run. It wasn't something he wanted, even if she pissed him off ninety percent of the time. It was fucking stupid to him, but that was how he felt.

"What are you going to read?" he asked, towel drying his hair.

She looked curiously at him. "You need a hair cut and a shave."

Edward smirked, scratching at his beard. "About time you noticed." She rolled her eyes and looked at the camera and asked for the kits. He tossed the towel in the bathroom and joined her. He sat against the wall on his bed, and once settled, she tossed him the book.

"On the Road," he said, smiling.

She shrugged and went to answer the knock on the door. Edward was surprised to see Jasper handing her the items. Obviously, the asshole decided to stay after all. She thanked him and locked the door again. Without a word, she handed Edward the shaving kit and pointed at the bathroom.

Edward couldn't help thinking about the last time she helped him shave. The memory of standing between her gorgeous thighs made him twitch. "You're not going to help?"

She cocked an eyebrow. "I think you know that's not a good idea." He sighed; she was right, but it didn't mean he had to like the wall she erected between them.

He did what she asked and spent the next several minutes watching her through the mirror as he shaved.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" he asked, pointing at his hair. She shrugged and nodded. A few minutes later, freshly shaved, he sat in a chair as she started to clip away at his hair. He nearly purred every time she ran her fingers through it. His body still ached from his withdrawal, but his cock seemed to forget that and itched for a touch from his harpy.

Itched, he reminded himself. There was more than one reason his cock couldn't go anywhere near Bella's pussy. He was on the tail end of his clap and her ethics wouldn't let her give in to have what she wanted. He had to remind himself of that; too bad his body wouldn't listen.

She used the clippers to clean the edges around his ears and shortened his sideburns slightly. From where he sat, his eyes were level with her tits and they made his mouth water. The air conditioning in the room seemed to be too cold for her because her nipples were hard beneath the bikini top and loose t-shirt she wore. Unless she was aroused as he was, but from what he could see, there were no other telltale signs.

His hands clenched on his thighs, waiting for her to finish. If she didn't hurry, he'd do something she'd probably regret and hate him for it. The fingers on his legs wanted desperately to touch her smooth thighs as she moved side to side while she worked on his hair.

"Hurry," he muttered. She stilled for a second, saying nothing as she finished the rest of his hair quickly. Her soft fingers worked to remove the snap-on cape she had him wear, causing the hair at the back of his neck to stand. "Fuck." He said it with a hiss and that had her retreating. She turned away from him and packed everything.

"I'll leave this in the hall," she said, exiting the bathroom.

"I'll clean up," he said through clenched teeth.

She nodded, understanding that he needed the time to gather his control.

"Should I go?" she asked.

He swallowed, not meeting her dark gaze. "No."

He took the time he needed, cleaning up with a small broom and pan under the sink. He cursed the timing. With his body was finally under control, he exited the bathroom to find Bella once again in the chair, leafing through the book.

"What happened to On the Road?"

She shrugged, not meeting his eyes. "I don't know."

"J.D Salinger?"

"You can pick something else, if you'd like," she offered.

"No, its fine. I haven't read it since high school."

She smiled as he climbed into bed, and she surprised him when she joined him. They leaned back against the wall, as she handed him the book.

"You start," she said, pulling his blanket over her legs.

He mockingly glared at her. "You're fucking bossy."

"Don't you forget it," she said as she laughed, smacking his stomach with a hand. She positioned herself a little lower than he was, giving him one hell of a view down her top.

He scratched his stomach, giving his hand something to do and not rub the ache between his legs. Not with her so fucking close. When she looked at him with her big brown eyes, wide and warm, he wanted to kiss the fuck out of her and a whole lot more. Maybe being that close to her like that wasn't such a good idea. Hell, trying to be her friend wasn't one, either. It wasn't what he wanted.

Before he started reading, he asked her something. "Are we really starting the swim lessons tomorrow?


The thought of those lessons took care of his problem down below. He even shivered. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

He expected a textbook question, like, "How do you feel about it?"

What he got was, "Yes, I do."

"I'm scared shitless," he said honestly.

"I won't let anything happen to you," she whispered, giving him that warm smile he didn't see often enough.

"I'm not worried about something happening to me."

"I know. Nothing will happen to me, either," she stated knowingly. It didn't annoy him as used to; even the fact that she knew everything about him and he barely knew anything about her. "If it gets to be too much, you just say the word and we'll stop."

He grinned, wanting desperately to lighten the mood. "You're safe wording me, 3B?" He wiggled his eyebrows, licking lips and leering at her. "Kinky." She rolled her eyes, slapping his gut and grabbing his pillow to pummel him once in the face.

As they fought, laughed and read, he thought, maybe he could just be friends with her. Maybe.

AN: thanks to kyla713 for your help with this chapter. I made some changes after she looked through it, so any mistakes are mine. I know some of you are thinking what the fuck is Bella doing? I told you and she's said it too, her methods are harsh. She's a bitch, she has to be, but she has her moments.

Now I have a question, do you prefer short chapters with updates more often, between 2-3k and two updates a week or just one big chapter like this one?

I've been to Mexico and depending on the areas you visit, you'd see towns just like the one described above. That said, I have to say this:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of my imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead, business establishments, events, or places are coincidental.

Sorry, had to make sure I was safe just in case. I swear, I won't ever write this long of a note until the end again. Thanks!