Thank you to everyone on FF, TWCS, and Twilighted who has taken the time to read and comment on my story. I appreciate you all so much. I honestly wanted to get this chapter out before Thanksgiving, but family commitments slowed me down! I know: Epic Fail.
As always thank you to Mel and Lisa, my PTB betas, and Magan Bagan, my Twilighted beta. You ladies are so awesome on so many levels; you have no idea how much your support means to me.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Way We Were
When Edward rolled to his side, I went with him. Draping myself over him, I laid my head down to rest over his frantically-beating heart. Our bodies were slick, and we both struggled for breath.
Our marathon-like sexual reconnection had left me tired and aching. Regardless, I had never felt more complete. The moment Edward had shut the door—and the imaginary thread that held our tightly-twisted fates in a delicate balance broke—we leapt forward with a renewed determination to shower each other with love. The moment the walls came tumbling down everything was utterly perfect.
I was one with him as he was with me. I couldn't put it into any words that made sense, but I knew that the milestone we had achieved, during the course of the night, wasn't one of only satiating lust—it was one to intertwine our souls again.
His lips pressed against my temple, and I couldn't help but smile and hum in response. Edward shifted a bit from under me and pulled me closer to him. The movement reminded me that he was still deep inside of me. He was just as hard as when he first entered me, and I smiled when I remembered how beautiful it felt to be filled by him.
The moisture I felt inside reminded me of the fact that we hadn't used a condom. My old self would have been worried or consumed with the implications of our actions, but I couldn't force myself to give a damn.
I loved my husband with all my heart and soul, and if a child was to result because of our actions, that baby would be the reward for overcoming and fighting for ourselves.
The thoughts of a child helped stir a familiar longing that I had felt earlier that day. The idea of feeling Edward's baby inside of me…I almost wanted to cry at the relief I felt then thinking of it.
I turned my face up and looked upon Edward's face. His eyes were shut, and the mask of concern had slipped off, only to be replaced with a look I could only describe as contentment.
How was I? Was it good for him? I mean we had made love a few times already…so it had to be amazing right?
The thoughts raced around my mind until we both settled in for the night. A few hours later, when I was sure Edward was asleep; I sighed and turned pressing myself against him.
Leaning down, I kissed the soft skin of his chest and rubbed myself against him until I felt a familiar heat between my legs.
Would he mind if I woke him up? I mean we should be making up for lost time, shouldn't we?
Edward surprised me as he brought me up to him roughly only to turn us in bed until he was on top of me, kissing me fiercely and pulling me from my inner thoughts.
I loved it when he kissed me that way—so demanding and a little reckless. Earlier, Edward had been so careful and started out with his softer side. It was like he was holding back or trying to prove his love to me gently or in a way that he thought I deserved.
I wouldn't stand for it; I honestly just couldn't. I knew he hesitated when I held his face in my hands and whispered against his lips that I wanted more—that I wanted it harder.
"Trust me when I say I won't break. Just give me everything—make me yours again."
His eyes were wide with worry as he bent his head in submission, and I knew he was questioning his ability to bring us back where we both desperately wanted to be.
I stuck my tongue out, licking his lips, and made him look deep into my eyes. Kissing him softly, and then tightening my hold of his hair, I wrapped my legs around his waist. I wouldn't let him do this. I wouldn't let him hold back.
I owed it to Edward to show him how serious I was about us making a new start. If taking control and using our love-making to show him how much things had changed then I'd do it.
When I reached between us to stroke his cock and kiss him passionately, Edward moaned into my mouth. I smiled when I realized how natural it was to elicit such sounds from my husband.
Working with my hands, my body, and my mouth, I conjured up my own magic and did my best to cast a spell to break the bonds that held back my husband's inner sexual beast.
The more he moaned and the more his breathing became labored, I knew it was working. I pressed my heated body against him and undulated my hips up to invite his cock home. The words of lust and ecstasy that tumbled from my mouth seemed foreign even to me. I couldn't remember the last time I had ever spoken to him that way but couldn't bring myself to stop. Especially when I was so close to achieving what I knew we both so desperately craved.
When I helped set Edward free, nothing could have prepared me for the lust-filled beast which emerged from inside Edward's cage.
My screams of lust were muffled when Edward's mouth took control of mine and his cock surged forward into me. My pussy pulsed with need when he entered. The feeling of our flesh—mine against his—was the fullfilling of a need so primal, all rational thought fled from my mind.
"Goddamnit, look at me, Bella." Edward had demanded my eyes be open and on his when I came the first time. I was vulnerable and he knew it. The old Edward would have pulled back—demanded that the more aggressive Edward be careful. But thank God, that Edward was long gone.
"Yes! Fuck me harder. Make me yours again—just take me!" I baited him with words that I knew would elicit the primal nature of my man. His responded by fucking me harder and demanding that I say that I was his and his alone.
When I uttered my words of devotion, Edward, using his muscled thighs he spread me wider and pounded his hips into me. Over and over, he plunged deep inside of me. I chanted his name repeatedly. Even though certain angles had brought a slight ache, it filled my pussy with such a desire that it shot through, making me feel more alive than I had ever felt before.
He begged me to come again, his voice so strained with need that the words almost sounded like he was growling. He knew he was in control, and at his command, my body was slammed with an orgasm with such force that I had to reach out for the headboard to steady myself.
"Oh my God, I love you so much, Bella." His words were followed with him slamming into me again, as deep as he could, grinding himself and emptying himself inside of me.
So there we lay, rejuvenated after our lovemaking, Edward kissing me vigorously, his need very evident—again.
"I love you, so much, Bella." The emotion in his voice overtook my heart, and I cupped the side of his face.
"I know. Baby, I know, and I love you so much too." I took a deep breath and whispered, "You make me feel so normal. The ache and the pain—the feeling of being broken—it's totally gone when I'm with you. I never thought we'd get this back—but by God, I am so thankful."
I was able to keep myself from fully crying out, but I wasn't able to stop the tears of happiness and relief from flowing. Edward leaned down and kissed every single one that escaped and trailed down my cheek.
His eyes filled with such adoration that I almost missed the words he had whispered.
My eyes widened, and I shook my head a little. "Um what? What did you say?"
"I love you, Bella. I don't think I could ever survive another separation or episode like we've gone through. Promise me—please—just promise me we'll fight like hell to never go back there again."
His eyes were filled with so much emotion, they glistened. I smiled up at him and pulled him down to me and kissed him passionately. Pouring all the love and desire I felt deep inside into my kiss, I did my best to reassure him that I wasn't ever going to let us get back to that horrible place again.
Edward pulled back and trailed kisses down my neck. He couldn't stop moving his body against mine; using his thighs, he spread my legs open, and slipped into me again.
As if I were made for him, my body accepted him deep inside of me without any resistance.
"I love you, Bella. I love you, I love you, I love you." He repeated the over and over again as he pressed his face into my hair. I closed my eyes and enjoyed how perfect it felt for him to be inside of me.
He loved me so seductively and so softly. He held me so possessively, and I loved it. The emotions he pulled from me so easily had me moaning loudly.
The deeper Edward pushed, the closer I came to the edge. I opened my eyes and looked to Edward, who begged me to tell him that I was his—again.
When I felt myself falling over the edge, my words of love and devotion tumbled out in a whisper. It was only then that Edward let himself go deep inside of me.
As we lay there, a tangled mess of limbs and panting breaths, I rolled to my side and Edward spooned me from behind. He pulled me to him, with my back to his chest, and kissed my shoulder.
As we both settled in for the night, I took comfort in the thoughts of this new beginning that Edward and I had. While we still had a lot to overcome, the hardest parts were over. I watched the snow falling softly outside the bedroom window and heard the wind rustling through the trees.
My mind drifted to thoughts of the evils that were following me. I was filled with a sudden dread when I realized that I still didn't know who was after me. Letting out a deep sigh, I pushed those thoughts away. I wouldn't let myself go there, not after the night that Edward and I had shared.
So I closed my eyes and decided I wouldn't think about who was trying to kill me.
Don't think about it. Be happy for tonight; you deserve it. Think about who is trying to kill you tomorrow.
It was easier said than done, but I did my best to take my own advice and tightened my hold on Edward's arm and quickly fell asleep.
He was trying to kill me. That had to be it.
I can see the headlines now. "Death by too many orgasms."
It was the only answer that flashed across my mind. We made love throughout the night, but he didn't stop there. Edward woke me while it was still very early the next morning and made love to me again.
At first I thought I was dreaming when I felt him brush my hair to the side and put his mouth to my back. But the sizzle that raced through me the moment I felt his lips against my skin had me moaning his name and realizing that I was truly awake.
The night before, our lovemaking was frantic—desperate almost—but the next morning it was all about expressing our love. He kissed the curve of my ass, rubbing it with his hands. As he worked his way down, he kissed my legs and teased the back of my knees with his tongue. It drove me wild, and he knew it.
It wasn't long before he turned me over and kissed me deeply. Edward kept his lips to mine before spreading my legs and sliding inside of me.
He pulled me up from the bed and rested on his heels. I felt him so deep inside of me; my moans were so desperate with need. Edward murmured his love for me as he kissed my lips and neck. We stayed against each other as we rode together.
There were no more words between us. None were really needed. When I kissed his mouth softly, I realized I needed more. Slipping my arms around his neck, I deepened the kiss.
Edward held me around the waist as he fucked me harder.
I came with such force that I shivered in his arms. The sheer power of it had my wet sex pulling his cock into me deeper. I felt Edward tighten his hold on me as he was pulled over the edge and gave in to ecstasy.
It was emotional. Not because of the sex. Well, not really. It was emotional because this was the morning after. Where we were pulled out of the shadows of the firelight and moonlight of the night before and thrust into the light of the new day.
It was natural to feel hesitant—or nervous even. Yet, none of those feelings came to the surface. It was like the natural chemistry that had abandoned us was back. Even though Edward and I knew what we had been missing all this time, this feeling, it was different somehow. It was stronger.
Honestly, it was impossible to believe that less than twenty-four hours ago I felt the comfortable connection that Edward and I'd had was unachievable, and here we were basking in it once again.
That hopeless feeling that felt like a lead weight inside my chest was replaced by a fluttering that filled me with a determination to hold on to what we had and never let go.
My beautiful man was stunning, his chiseled features and sculpted body naked and on display for me to have my way with. I don't know what I had done to get back to a place where things were normal, and frankly I didn't care. I just wanted what we had to last—forever.
"We better get up. I think we need to clean up downstairs." Edward pulled me from my inner thoughts and kissed me on the forehead before he slipped out of bed. My body protested at the loss of his body against mine, but I watched his perfectly nude ass walk across the floor and open the door to our bedroom.
"If you're gonna take a shower first, I'll just head downstairs and pick up. I think I left some of my clothes down there," I said as I started to sit up but stopped when Edward held out his hand.
"No need. I'll grab everything and straighten up. Why don't you jump in the shower first?" He winked before he said, "I'll join you as soon as I straighten up."
"Put something on!" I yelled after him.
"I'll only be a second!" he yelled back. "Prude!"
I couldn't help but smile as I rolled to his side of the bed and hugged Edward's pillow to me. I took in his scent and smiled.
There was a light feeling in my chest, one that I had been sure I would never feek again. Letting out a deep sigh, I laughed when I felt myself going all schoolgirl and was filled with the urge to hum a nursery rhyme.
"Edward and Bella sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love then comes marriage—" I was startled from my humming when I heard Edward let out a fearful shout.
"Edward!" I screamed as I bolted out of my bed and tripped on the bed sheet I pulled around me. I wrenched open the door and fumbled my way down the stairs. "Edward! What's wrong?"
As I made it to the bottom of the staircase and turned the corner, I ran right into the solid wall of Edward's chest. The bed sheet started to slip from my grasp, and I felt it begin to slide off but not before I felt Edward's hands quickly pulling it back up to cover me.
"Edward, what's going on?" I whispered, reaching out to touch him.
But before he could answer, a voice rang out. "OH, MY GOD! NOT YOU TOO?!"
My eyes clamped shut as my blood turned ice cold.
No! No! No! Please, dear God in heaven, please don't let that be my dad!
I pressed my eyes shut and pulled the bed sheet closer around myself as Edward pulled me to his chest. I pushed back when I realized he was still naked. My mouth open, I looked up into his fearful eyes and realized why he had screamed.
"I can't believe you two! There have to be rules, Bella! I mean goddamnit, Edward, this is my home!" I could hear the tension in Charlie's voice. It was obvious from the thudding of his boots he was pacing back and forth in the living room. "A man has a right to come home and not see his son-in-law or little girl running around his house naked! I think there is a law somewhere that states that very fact!"
Before I could say anything to retaliate, I felt Edward turn and walk into the living room—still fully nude.
"For Pete's sake, man, please put something on!" Charlie screamed with utter disgust evident in his voice.
Edward let out a deep sigh and grabbed the blanket that rested on the side of the sofa. He wrapped it around himself before turning to face Charlie again.
"Charlie, I'm so sorry. I can't even say anything to justify the way we left your living room. You are absolutely right; no man should have people frolicking around his living room naked—especially his daughter." I could hear the finely controlled tone in Edward's voice. "But with that being said, you have to know we meant no disrespect to you or your home. We just…we just—"
It wasn't fair for Edward to have to shoulder the blame of the situation. It was obvious from the look on Charlie's face that he was holding Edward solely responsible for everything. That just didn't sit well with me. Before Edward could finish his sentence, I stepped forward and slipped my hand into my husband's. He looked at me before his eyes drifted down to our intertwined fingers. I gave his hand a reassuring squeeze before l lifted my chin up and looked Charlie straight in the eyes.
"Dad, what Edward is trying to say is that while we completely understand why you're upset, we didn't mean any disrespect." Charlie took a slow breath to calm himself down. He looked away for a second before he glanced back at us.
"I know you both didn't mean anything. It's just…" Charlie's softened expression hardened when he looked back at Edward. "You should have known better, Edward. Bella's just been through so much. Can you imagine if you two were still at it and your mother walked in here? Or someone else, maybe? I mean, she's worked so hard to overcome so much. Now, I'm not saying you two shouldn't behave in a way that a husband and wife should, but I feel that any shocking situation could set her back. She—"
I'd had enough. While it was sweet and endearing that Charlie was thinking of me and my emotions, at the same time, his holding Edward solely responsible was just wrong.
"She is right here." My serious tone had both Edward and Charlie looking to me. "Dad, you can't keep blaming him for things that I participated in. I know you're worried about me and that something could set me back. But don't you see babying me is not the answer?"
I felt Edward squeeze my hand. "Bella, he's right."
I shook my head in protest, pulled my hand from his, and lifted it to silence him.
"Uh-uh. Not you too. What was the point of getting clean and talking about everything with Riley, if not to better myself to the point where I am not a basketcase?" I gave them both a stern look. "I know I still have a ways to go, and granted stressful situations could eventually take their toll, but you both forget I still don't know who is trying to kill me. If that isn't stressful enough to make me break, then you should know I can handle things like this. As embarrassing as it is, at least I know my dad isn't trying to kill me. So yeah, I'm good."
Edward and Charlie both stood there with utterly shocked looks on their faces. I knew my blunt words would make an impact, but there really wasn't any other way to explain to them just how silly it was to continue to try and protect me.
"Bella, how can you talk so calmly about it?" Edward's tone was soft but filled with tension.
"How can I not? I mean, this is my life, isn't it? Even before I realized that someone was after me, nothing in my life was ordinary look around"—I gestured dramatically—"does this look like a normal setup to you? Do normal people get attacked, hurt, and almost killed? Do normal people have a security detail involved in every aspect of their lives? All of this is my acquired normal. That now includes having someone trying to kill me."
"Sweetheart, no one is going to get you." Charlie's voice held a slight panic. He walked up to me and held my shoulders. "You have nothing to worry about."
I shook my head. "You aren't listening to me. I know that I'm okay. I trust you, Edward, and the security teams we have. But, Dad, that isn't the point. What I'm trying to say is, you have to stop—you both have to stop thinking that I can't handle things or that I shouldn't have to. It's not fair to me or to yourselves to treat me this way. I have overcome a lot, and I deserve a chance to make my own mistakes without you all freaking out. This means that if you need to place blame on someone for finding us in this situation, then it isn't only Edward's fault, it's mine too."
"Fine, fine, whatever you say. Can we just stop talking about this? And for Pete's sake, can you both go and get dressed?" I couldn't help but smile at Charlie's pleading.
I stepped back and fumbled with the bed sheet in my hands. Before I made my way up the stairs, I kissed Edward on the cheek and asked if he was coming.
"In a second, okay? I just want to finish talking to Charlie." I rolled my eyes, realizing that no matter how much I demanded to be treated like a fully functioning adult, Edward and Charlie would always do what they felt was best for me.
"Fine." I huffed as I thudded up the stairs toward my bedroom.
They both are such control freaks. They're never gonna let me just make my own decisions or handle anything.
Irritated, I started to shut the door when I heard the front door open and shut quickly. It was a few seconds before I heard a feminine shriek. "Edward! Oh my God!"
"Mom! Mom! I swear I can explain." Edward's voice was laced with a fear I hadn't heard from him—ever.
As much as I tried not to, I couldn't help it. Before shutting the bedroom door, I had to smile.
"You have to hold it steady. Just remember not to apply too much pressure to the trigger because it can mess up how you aim." Edward looked at me from over his shoulder and rolled his eyes. "Hey? What was that for?"
"Since when did you become the authority on how to shoot guns? I thought they freaked you out," Edward said with a challenging tone.
"That is not true. I'm not freaked out by guns. I just don't like them. There is a difference, you know," I said with a teasing tone. "Besides I'm the police chief's daughter. Knowing how to shoot guns is in my DNA."
Reaching out my hand and asking for the Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun, I nudged Edward out of the way and kept my footing firm as I took aim at the empty beer cans. Keeping my grip relaxed, I pulled the trigger effortlessly and watched the cans fly off the fence.
The security guys who had gathered to watch and make sure we didn't accidently shoot ourselves hooted and hollered their praise.
"Still got it." I lightly laughed as I turned to Edward and flaunted my win. "Is there anything you'd like to say?"
"Um…Is it wrong that I'm extremely turned on right now?" Edward's voice was low and suddenly filled with need. It was amazing how the sound of his voice still warmed me all over. "How about we forget about target practice, and we try practicing something else that we haven't done since last night?"
I knew what he meant and couldn't help myself. Slipping the safety lock in place and handing the gun to one of the security guys, I strutted over to Edward to steal a kiss. When he pulled back and smiled, I felt the desire he held for me, not only from the look in his eyes, but I felt it straining in his jeans.
Normally, any kind of public display of affection between Edward and me would have me on edge, but not anymore. I projected my love happily and didn't want to miss a moment where I could show Edward how much he meant to me.
When he reached out and tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear, I leaned up and pressed my lips to his. Edward reached down and lifted me off my feet to deepen our kiss with equal enthusiasm. I loved this side to us. While it was so much like when we first had fallen in love, it was still different. The stresses and roadblocks that had littered our past were paved over, and we just gave in and loved each other without reservation.
We were free, and we loved it.
I was so caught up in my make-out session with Edward, I didn't hear Charlie when he walked up behind us.
"You two just can't help yourselves, can you?" Charlie growled at us. "I'm sorry to break up your little honeymoon, but you have a call, Edward."
Well, one couldn't blame him. While we didn't go frolicking naked around the house anymore, it wasn't like the make-out sessions or marathon sex sessions had slowed down.
More than once Charlie had muttered that we were trying to drive him mad with our public displays of affection. Of course that wasn't our intention, but I won't lie, a small part of me enjoyed giving my father a jolt every now and then.
I justified it by telling myself that I was making up for the lack of rebellion during my teenage years. Of course my defiance in marrying Edward against Charlie's wishes didn't count.
Edward smiled against my lips and gave me another quick peck before he set me down on my feet. When I finally turned to look at Charlie, I wasn't in the least embarrassed by my behavior. Edward slipped past me and ducked around Charlie as he walked up to the house.
Charlie just stood in front of me with a concerned look on his face. It was a look that I had seen countless times growing up, only this time it seemed like he was trying to hold back from saying whatever was on his mind.
I crossed my arms and took a deep breath. "Go ahead, Dad. Let it out. I can tell something's on your mind."
Charlie looked around a bit before walking over and leaning on the back fence. He glanced over his shoulder at the security guys who were standing back putting away the guns we had been using.
"Do you remember how scared you were when I first tried to teach you how to shoot?" Charlie asked with a small smirk on his face.
"Yeah, I do. I was so scared." I laughed as I walked over and leaned with my back against the fence. "Do you remember what I said when you asked me why?"
"Of course! 'Dad, please. I don't want to do this. You know me. With my luck, I'll shoot myself before I shoot the person I'm aiming at.' Funny thing, the way you shut your eyes every time you pulled the trigger, I almost started to believe you!" Charlie let out a deep laugh, and I joined him after giving him a friendly elbow to the ribs.
"Hey, now! I did eventually get it. I mean, look that empty beer cans. I'm the only one who was able to hit them." I nudged my dad with my elbow as we both laughed a little.
It was nice being able to joke with him and just laugh without everything being so serious. When he quickly reached around me and pulled me into a one-armed hug, I slipped my arms around his waist and held him close.
Whenever I thought about how Charlie had caught Edward and me in that embarrassing state of undress, I would shake involuntarily. It had taken some time for Charlie to get over it; I don't think he stepped foot into the living room for at least two days.
It hadn't escaped my notice that not only had Charlie started to spend most nights out on the Rez with Sue, but probably had thrown blanket Edward had covered himself with was missing, as well. Charlie had probably dumped it in the trash the moment Edward dropped it after rushing upstairs to put some clothes on after Esme had walked into the house.
I let out a laugh when I remembered how Edward had rushed upstairs beet-red, almost having a panic attack when Esme realized why her son was standing naked in the middle of Charlie's living room. Edward tried to explain himself, but he couldn't get a single word out without stuttering, so he just tucked tail and ran up to hide with me.
"You know it's good to hear you laugh." Charlie's voice brought me back from my thoughts.
"Thanks, Dad. It's good to have something to laugh about, I guess." I felt him give me a slight squeeze before he kissed my forehead.
"So how are you doing? I mean, with everything." Charlie's voice was soft, but I could tell he was tense.
"What do you mean?" I wasn't sure what he was getting at.
Charlie let out a deep breath as he turned to face me. Reaching out, he made sure I was bundled up okay and held my eyes with his.
"I mean, how are you holding up with this whole Thanksgiving thing? It will be the first one back in this house in a long time, and a lot has changed. God knows I don't like to remember the last one we had together." He let out a tension-filled sigh and kicked a rock into the forest that surrounded us.
"Yeah, it wasn't fun. But things are different now. I mean, we're past all of that. At least I know that I am." I walked up beside him. "Dad, are you worried about something? Is there something that I should be thinking about or concerned about?"
"Oh darling, no." Charlie reached out and held me around the shoulders. "No, I didn't mean it like that. What I was trying to say was that maybe you need to talk to Dr. Biers a little and maybe talk about Thanksgivings that we used to have."
"Why don't you just tell me what you're worried about. It's obvious that you're irritated by something." I looked up at Charlie and waited as he silently figured out what to say.
He straightened up for a second, let go of my shoulders, and looked around. There were so many emotions racing around; it was so evident from the look on his face.
"I don't want to say something to bring you down or make you worry, but I'm just concerned about how you're gonna feel about your first Thanksgiving here at home without Jacob."
When Charlie said his name, a small pang of hurt filled my chest. It wasn't the first time that it had happened, but I had a good handle on how to react. I had to; Edward and I were going to confront Jacob any day now.
Even though I was adamant about confront Jacob along with Edward and needing answers, there was still an inner worry of how I would be able to handle just seeing him for the first time since everything that had happened.
Jacob was a double-edged sword. He had saved me countless times over the course of my life. There wasn't a moment of my life until now that he hadn't been a part of. If I had to be honest with myself, there was a constant war inside of me between the anger and the guilt I carried when it came Jacob.
Recently, I had found myself starting to make excuses for the way he behaved, and there were times I had myself believing that in time we could be friends again. I missed him. I couldn't lie about that to myself. I missed Jacob in a way I never knew I ever could. Regardless, any hope I felt for us as friends was always short lived. Just one look at Edward and how hard we had to fight to be with each other brought all the rational thoughts barreling back in a snap as to why Jacob Black could never be a part of my life again.
It was the truth and it hurt, but I knew that after I confronted Jacob, the part of my life that had him in it would officially be over.
"Bella?" There was a strong anxious tone in Charlie's voice.
My poor dad, the whole time I was busy frolicking in the rekindling of the love that Edward and I had, he was busy thinking about how I would handle a Thanksgiving without the guy who had been my best friend my whole life.
I pressed my lips together and tried to keep my face as well masked as possible.
"Dad, of course it's gonna be hard. I mean, all this time, everything that I have gone through…it's been hard without Jacob. But the truth of the matter is I need to be a big girl about it and face it head on." I hoped I sounded strong.
"It's not that I think that you won't get over what Jacob has done. Honestly, just watching you through all of this…I mean, look at us. I think if anything I look at how we have made a breakthrough, and I know how strong you are, sweetheart." He ran his hands through his hair. "It's just that, Bella, talk it out, okay? Don't hold it in. If you think no one will understand you, just talk to Dr. Biers."
Through the babbling and comments, I realized that what my dad was really worried about was me losing all the progress I had made.
"How many times do I have to tell you? I'm not gonna crumble just because things might get hard." I hoped Charlie could hear the strength in my voice. "You have to try and believe me when I say that everything is different now. While I might have setbacks that doesn't mean I'm gonna just fall to pieces."
"It's not that I think you're weak or incapable of ever really being strong. I just got you back, Bella. You have no idea how afraid I am of losing you again. We were so dysfunctional before, and I was to blame for it. I failed you by not being there, and well, I guess now that I can see what we should have had from the start, I'm just afraid of anything that could ruin how far we all have come." Charlie's voice was so thick with emotion I was sure he was going to cry.
I reached out and hugged him close. Charlie rested his chin on top of my head. I felt the emotions he was carrying on the inside in the way he sighed and kept his arms around me. I loved my father so much. This connection we felt was very important to me. It was everything I wished we'd had all along.
I pulled back slightly and looked him in the eye.
"The old Bella would have been someone who you would have had to be really careful about. She would have been nervous and hidden away her fears. But I'm not that girl anymore. Yes, I will have my weak moments, and at times I will need to lean on you. The only difference is that now I'm not only stronger, but I'm no longer afraid to reach out to those I love. What we've worked so hard toward, Dad, I plan on fighting like hell to keep it. Okay?"
We stood close and moved on to other topics of conversation. They were more lighthearted and more emotionally safe for us to talk about. Charlie held a small twinkle in his eye when he spoke about Sue. It was nice to hear how much she understood my dad and the difference her companionship had made in his life.
When the wind picked up and it got cooler, we both walked back into the house. Esme and Edward were sitting at the kitchen table smiling and talking in low voices over a freshly brewed pot of coffee.
"Esme, I didn't know that you were here." I kissed her on the cheek before I sat down next to Edward at the table.
"I just came to drop off some dinner and let you know that everyone is flying in in a few days. The kids are going to fly in with Carlisle. I can't wait for all of us to be together finally." Esme's voice was filled with love as she went on about the meal that she and Sue were going to be whipping up.
"Where is everyone going to stay?" Edward asked as he poured a cup of coffee for Charlie and handed it to him.
"Well, at first they were thinking Port Angeles, but since Dr. Biers and his staff are flying out for the holiday, we will have more than enough room at the main house. You know if you and Edward wanted, you could stay there as well during the weekend. That way all of us would be closer together."
Edward and I briefly looked at each other and shrugged.
"How about we talk it over and let you know?" Edward asked.
"Of course. No pressure at all. You two just let me know what you're thinking." Esme leaned over and gave my chin a light tap. "By the way, I should warn you. Alice is in full wedding planning mode."
"We'll be okay, Esme. I'm just really excited about seeing everyone." I was happy that the emotions I felt was genuine.
"All right then, I'm going to get going. I have more errands to run before I head back to the house." Esme looked at her wristwatch as she got up. "I'll see you both tomorrow, okay?"
Charlie finished his cup of coffee and let us know that he was going to head out to Sue's and spend the night there—again. He offered Esme a ride, which she happily accepted.
Edward and I walked them both to the door and stepped out onto the front porch and watched them drive off.
After dinner and doing the dishes together, I left Edward clicking away on his laptop in the living room, as he needed to check in on something work-related.
It had been a long day filled with so much reflection and heavy conversation that I decided to slip into a nice warm bath to soothe the small tension that I had started to feel. Jacob wasn't the only person whom I had been betrayed by.
My unc—no, my grandfather Aro was someone whom I had also been betrayed by. While his betrayal had stung, it wasn't quite as deep as Jacob's. But unlike Jacob, Aro was not someone who ever took anything lying down. When Aro loved someone, he loved them deeply. But cross him or wrong him and you'd better watch out.
I wasn't fully sure how I felt about facing Aro, but the thought that he would have hired someone to kill me was still very unimaginable. After stepping out of the bath and changing, I lay on my bed and hugged my pillow after turning off the lights.
No matter how hard I tried to stay awake, I had fallen asleep before Edward could come to bed.
Deep down inside, I had a bad feeling that in my dreams I would face a fear that I hoped I had put to rest. Sadly, I was right.
The demons that I had tucked away in the darkest parts of my mind found their way back to me and punished me in the worst way.
The nightmares were horrible. The savagery that they unleashed on me was brutally accurate. Most of them had Jacob coming forward and confessing his part in the hurt that he caused Edward and me. The worst of it was that the attacks I had suffered when I was pushed down steps in Italy which caused me to lose the baby, the overdose that everyone was sure I'd had a hand in, and being attacked in New York, now had Jacob playing the role of my assailant. The images, the horrible words he used, and his smile which morphed into a diabolical grin seemed to surround me and made me cower in fear. I fought. I swear I ran where I could, but at every corner, his apparition followed and grabbed at me.
He held me down and refused to let me up. As he spoke, the memories of different painful moments were accompanied by Felix and Aro taking a leading role in my emotional and physical torture.
It was so painful. I knew I was screaming Jacob's name—begging him to stop. Even in my sleep I knew the terror that he was causing had me physically reacting to him.
When I felt two hands hold on to me, I fought against them. I screamed and kicked; I was frantic and tried my best to get away. However, when Edward's voice called out to me, I felt my inner fear start to break, and my screams turned into soft whimpers. His voice pulled me back from the depth of whatever hell that was holding me down, and I pushed away everything just to reach the safety of his voice.
"Baby, wake up." Edward's voice pulled me free, and when I opened my eyes, a sob escaped me. "Shhh, it's okay. You're safe."
I held on to him and felt Edward wrap himself around me. The nightmare was so intense that I was drenched in sweat and my throat felt so raw. I clung to Edward and buried myself as deep as I could into his bare chest, taking deep breaths to calm myself down.
When I felt safe enough to pull back, I realized that Edward had changed and slipped into bed. It was late, really late. Glancing up, I looked into Edward's eyes, and all I could see was the fear they held that my nightmare was going to set me back.
"I'm so sorry," I whispered as I felt my lower lip quiver and a sob start to form in my throat.
Edward's eyes suddenly held a look of steel as he pulled me back to him and kissed my forehead.
"How many times do I have to tell you? Never, ever apologize for having a nightmare." He pulled back and looked at me again. "Do you understand no matter what you're feeling—no matter how small—I want to know about it, okay?"
I nodded in response as he tucked me into the safety of his arms.
"Tell me, Bella. Just tell me," He begged softly.
"I don't know," I sobbed. "It was like Jacob—Jake…"
I covered my face with my hands and cried. It wasn't like before where I was just hurt. I cried because my dream made everything so real.
"Oh, baby." Edward's soft voice was filled with so much emotion. I heard him take a deep breath, and I knew it was to steady himself.
"I saw him in a new light. I saw Jake. He confessed to everything, and he was so evil." I sat back to wipe my eyes. "He hurt me, but I never saw that he did before. He hurt me so badly. I mean, here inside me heart…he was my brother, Edward. He was my rock for so long. When we were apart, I only got through it because he was there. And now—to realize that he was part of the reason everything was so fucked up."
"Baby, you can't sit back and scrutinize everything that happened with him. You are gonna go crazy." Edward reached out, took my face in his hands, and kissed my lips. "He is an asshole, and I hate him. I hate him for so many reasons. But, baby, even I know that to an extent his hands were tied. Aro is a sick bastard who wanted to control you; unfortunately, Jake had to follow his lead. I mean, look at Charlie—even he couldn't stand up to him."
"But there were so many times that he could have told me the truth, or told you. When Emmett came to see me, after I lost the baby. He called Emmett even though Aro didn't want him to." I argued.
Edward just pulled me back into his arms.
"Baby, I know. But he did what he did, and nothing we think about is gonna change that." Edward stroked my back softly, almost as if he wanted to stroke away the pain. "I don't know how, but I swear it will be okay."
I tried to hold back my tears and sniffled as I leaned into him. Just feeling the emotional connection I had with Edward, it was so overwhelming. My throat started to close up, and I blinked away tears.
"You know, when I was dreaming, I tried to pull myself out of it. Even though I fought it, I couldn't do it. But your voice…I heard you. That was when I was able to pull myself away. I knew if I could just get to you, that you would protect me—that you'd keep me safe."
Edward took me by surprise and pulled me into a fierce kiss. He wrapped his arms around me and pushed me down til he was hovering over me.
As he continued to kiss me, he took my arms and slipped them around his neck. I moaned when I felt him press himself into me. When Edward reached between us and pulled my nightgown up, I lifted myself up so he could slip off my panties. Using my feet, I pushed his boxers down and happily opened myself up to him when I felt his erect cock rubbing on the outside of my pussy.
"I know I did a shitty job of showing you just how safe you are, but I swear I'll never make that mistake again." Edward leaned on his arms that were resting on either side of my face. He stole soft kisses from me as I hooked my legs over his firmly toned thighs.
"Baby, you have to believe me. You are my life. You always have been and you always will be." The passion-filled words overwhelmed me.
But nothing compared to the fluid motion Edward made when he entered me. We both gasped and clung to each other. It wasn't too hard or too soft; his motions were perfect and immaculate. He took his time and gave my body what it needed.
Looking into his eyes, I realized that Edward was the gate-keeper to my soul. He might not know it, and maybe I'd never tell him and just let him find out on his own, but I would never deny him anything.
As his body surged again into me, I pulled his face from my breasts to my lips and begged him to keep touching me.
"I'll never stop, baby. I swear it." Edward's husky voice sent erotic shivers through me.
"Edward, please harder!" I begged when I realized that he was holding back. "I need you so much."
He did as I asked and pounded into me so deep. I felt the mixture of fire and lust as it raced through me. I tightened my thighs around him, and I knew that Edward could feel me approach my climax.
We looked into each other's eyes, and I leaned up, seeking his mouth. I nipped and sucked, making sure to drive him wild with pleasure as we met each other thrust for thrust. The yearning grew and grew; the feeling was one that only he could elicit from me.
"I want you. I want this. Edward, please give me everything!" I begged.
And he did. We came together; the fire within us had us both screaming our releases. When I felt him spill himself into me, a small prayer left my heart hoping that the moments we spent like that would plant the seed of a permanent memory within me.
We stayed connected and in each other's arms. Neither one of us wanted the connection we felt to end. Right before I drifted to sleep, I felt the bed shift and the nightmares I had suffered before were threatening to take me back under with them.
"No…no…don't leave me." I tightened my hold on Edward's arm. "Just please don't let go of me."
"Shh, baby, I'm right here." Edward's voice calmed me the instant I heard it. "Go to sleep, baby. I'm right here. I'll never let go."
An: Phew. So was the smut hot enough? Lol. Thank you for reading. I'll update as soon as I can.