First of all, I think I need to assure everyone that I have not given up on this story. I will finish it and I still love it and its characters. Just RL has been kicking me in the ass lately, so taking the time out to focus and write has been minimal and I do apologise for that.

I'm predicting 2 more chapters after this one and then the epilogue, so the end is near for these two. Will there be a sequel? I've been asked this question a number of times. As of now, no there will not be, the epilogue will wrap it up for them but if down the track I change my mind, then well... i guess I'll write one.

I have another story that I'm writing at the moment too and I have been slowly working on it for a few months now. That will be posted once the THE Epi is posted.

Hope I haven't lost any readers with this late post and in case you have forgotten what happened last chapter, Edward found out his true paternity and lies and betrayal of his parent's marriage. Might want to give that chapter a reread to refresh your memory.

Huge thanks to my beta luv4jake for beta'ing this despite what she's going through now... *hugs*

Stormyinco and Debbliss... three words, I love you!

Stephanie Meyer owns all thing Twilight.


BPOV

I was trying really hard. I really was but the panic had seemed to take on a healthy life of its own inside of me. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep and my mind just wouldn't switch off. I had no idea where he was or when he was coming back. No one knew. Not even Emmett and that was enough to send me into a tailspin.

After my shift at Newton's the day after Valentines, I spent the evening with Alice and Rosalie. The three of us had been seriously lacking in the friendship department as of late. The only time we ever really saw each other anymore was at school and even then it was around the boys. So Alice had declared a girl's night to which Rosalie and I had happily obliged.

I didn't get home until around ten and when I did, I sent a simple text to Edward informing him I was home and that I'd see him the following day at school. His failure to respond was no big deal. I figured he had most likely gone to bed early.

It wasn't until the next morning while I was waiting in the kitchen for him to pick me up that I started to wonder about his absence. When I still hadn't heard from him and he was running ten minutes late, I decided to call him. I got a recorded message informing me that his mobile phone was switched off. After two more tries with the same response, I grabbed my school bag and headed out to my truck.

I drove straight over to his place, my mind whirring with possibilities, all of them explicable and reasonable. His phone ran out of battery and he'd slept in. He's misplaced his phone and is trying to look for it.

It wasn't until I pulled into his driveway and I noticed that his car wasn't in its usual spot that I began to worry. I made my way to the front door and knocked a few times, impatiently waiting for an answer. It was a while before the door was swung open and the sight before me sent my heart racing. Emmett's expression was one I'd never witnessed on him before. He was grim and stressed, his hands fidgety.

"Are you ok? What's going on?" I asked not even bothering with pleasantries.

He pursed his lips, appearing hesitant in answering me. Without a word, he stepped out and shut the door behind him.

"Ah…" he rubbed a hand onto the back of his neck and it only added to my anxiety.

"Emmett, what is it? You can tell me."

"Look, there's just been some shit that's happened… family drama… and ah, Edward was in the midst of it."

I blinked at him. I was confused. He wasn't making sense.

"What?" I finally uttered. "What do you mean? Where's Edward?"

"Calm down."

"Where's Edward?" I snapped, getting agitated over his vagueness.

"Fuck, ok. Look, he got into a fight with Carlisle and Caius last night and stormed off. We don't know where he went."

"Have you tried calling him?"

"He wouldn't answer. And then I think he switched his phone off."

My insides began to churn. I realized I may have been over reacting but this was unlike him. To ignore his phone and then voluntarily switch it off, he was obviously desperate to be left alone. That in its self hurt me to the core.

"What happened exactly?"

"I think it's better he tells you, Bella." Emmett answered slowly. "It's pretty big."

"Well, he has to be somewhere." I said turning around to face the streets, as if Edward was going to magically appear out of nowhere. "We need to find him."

"He could be anywhere."

Knowing very well it was hopeless but needing to feel somewhat useful, I took my phone out and dialed his number again, cringing when I heard that same recorded message.

"Oh God…" I muttered breathlessly. My legs were beginning to fail me so I took a seat on the first step of the porch. I cradled my head in my hands, forcing out a few deep breaths. It did nothing to calm the thrashing beat of my heart.

"Ease up. He'll be back." Emmett said reassuringly as he lowered himself beside me.

"Yeah, but in what state?" I asked, lifting my head to look at him.

"He's not the same Edward he used to be."

"I believe that, but at the moment it's doing nothing to ease my worry." After a moment's silence I asked. "Can't you tell me what happened? At least a little?"

Emmett blew out a breath through his cheeks, appearing hesitant to discuss anything regarding what happened.

"It's complicated in a sense. It has to do with our mom." Emmett replied.

"Well that explains it," I mumbled sadly. "His mother was the world to him. He's so sensitive when it comes to her."

"No shit."

"I hope he's ok."

"I'm sure he will be."

I never went to school that day.

After leaving Edward's, I drove to the meadow, believing he was there. I kept telling myself not to get my hopes up, but regardless of how much I pep talked myself before hand, I couldn't explain the way my heart sank when I reached the clearing to find it empty.

I spent a few hours in the meadow alone cradling my phone in my lap, checking the screen every few minutes in case he'd tried to call me. I was desperate. Desperately hoping he'd appear. Desperately hoping he'd call and say he was back and needed me. Desperate for something. But I got nothing.

I tried not to think too much about him but unfortunately that was all my brain could do. I thought back to our night together on Valentines and how perfect it had been. Closing my eyes, I could almost feel Edward's weight on me, his warm smooth skin, his heavy breaths in my ear. It was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

Edward had progressed dramatically since he first arrived in Forks. He has taken some huge steps forward and not without some serious heartache in the process. But he was getting there. And I felt that each time he'd take a step forward, there was something that would push him a few steps back.

The following day that passed I was a wreck. I went to school but I was out of it. People spoke to me but I heard none of it. I sat in class but my attention was centered elsewhere. I sat among my friends but I might as well have been sitting alone. Jake made attempts to cheer me up, at one point offering to take me for a ride in his Rabbit but I wasn't up for it. Surprisingly, he didn't say anything in regards to Edward. And thank goodness he didn't because it wouldn't have been pretty.

"Bella?"

I was startled at the sound of my name and snapped back into focus. I forced my hands into work, tidying the pamphlets before me so it wouldn't look like I had been miles away.

"Yes, Mrs. Newton?"

"I need you to wipe down all the counters and sweep the floor. We're closing in fifteen, it's pretty quiet."

"Oh, sure." I mumbled, brushing a loose strand of hair behind my ear. I watched her back as she walked off and I let out a forlorn sigh.

Curled up in my bed and sleeping the day away sounded so much better than heading into work and I had seriously considered it. After school I had considered approaching Mike and informing him I was sick and I couldn't get into work. But then I figured I needed the distraction, anything to keep my brain occupied. It was a shame it wasn't working.

The drive home from work was a blur. My mind had taken another wander into the world of Edward. It was incredible just how much I missed him. It was a heavy weight smack bang over my heart and it hurt. Missing him physically hurt me and the thought of not knowing when I'd see him again stung even more.

I pulled up alongside the curb outside my house and switched the truck off, the silence that followed almost deafening after its loud roar. I threw my head back against the seat and closed my eyes, willing away the tears. It was going to be another long sleepless night.

Squeezing my eyes shut tightly and refusing to breakdown, I reached for the door handle of my truck and clambered out. Still fighting back my emotions, I treaded up the footpath toward the front door wringing my fingers together anxiously. But then something to the side of the house caught my attention. I cast my eyes over, and froze dead in my tracks, my breath catching in my throat.

Against the tree outside my bedroom window, sat Edward. His leather clad elbows were resting on his bent knees, his face buried into his hands. I hesitated, only because I feared what I would find.

But then my feet were moving in his direction on their own accord and my heart was thrashing wildly. There was so much to ask, so much to discuss that I was terrified to hear any of it.

He must have been completely out of it because when I came to a stop a mere few inches away from him, he had failed to hear me.

In the silence of the night, I could distinctly hear his breathing. It was harsh and quick, his back rising and falling rapidly and I wondered whether he was crying. That thought alone had me on my knees in an instant.

"Edward." I uttered.

His head whipped up in my direction, his eyes bloodshot and unfocused. My chest tightened at the sight but I fought hard to ignore it. I needed to stay strong. Not just for my sake but for his as well.

He raised his hands to scrub at his face roughly, his eyes clamped shut tightly. When they dropped from his face, he looked at me again, a weak smile tugging at his lips.

"Fuck I missed you." He murmured, reaching out to grab me. He pulled me to him by my hand and I practically collapsed onto him, my arms shooting out to catch my fall. But once I'd gathered myself, I snaked my arms around him and greedily held him to me as tight as he'd go. I inhaled deeply, greedily, hoping his scent would calm me but all I could smell was cigarettes and alcohol.

"I didn't mean it." He said after a long while. I shuffled against him and moved back a little, catching his gaze. "I know I hurt you by running away."

"You did." I admitted honestly, feeling like he needed to know that much. "But I'm willing to let it go."

"See, this is why I don't deserve you." He said with a dry chuckle, looking away. "So damn forgiving."

"Would you prefer I add to your distress and scold you for leaving without so much as letting me know? For disappearing without a word on your where abouts, or why you left or for how long?" I questioned heatedly. "Because I could do that. Because you hurt me. I understand you needed to escape but I'm your girlfriend. I should have known. You scared me so bad… I was so worried… and…I…" I closed my eyes and bit down on my lip to stop it from quivering. I hadn't meant to get angry with him, I hadn't. But it felt good to let it all out considering for the past few days I had done nothing but bottle it all up inside of me, refusing to talk about it with anyone.

When I finally opened my eyes, he was grinding his molars, his eyes miles away as he focused on something behind me.

"I'm sorry." I said quickly, seeing the hurt in his eyes.

He groaned, his cloudy eyes snapping back to my face. "Don't fucking apologize. I fucked up. I completely understand that and to be honest, I don't know why I did it. I wasn't myself. I was lost, so completely lost that my body was working without the function of my brain. Before I knew it, I'd taken off."

"It's ok." I assured him, threading my fingers with his own and squeezing. "Now you're here." When he said nothing in response, I asked my question tentatively. "So… what happened?"

"Could we… I just… I don't feel like talking right now." He answered, his voice suddenly rough. I nodded, noticing he was on the verge of breaking down.

It was freezing, the wind like crisp ice against our skin so I made a move to get up, wanting to suggest we head inside when he stopped me. He followed me and stood up but kept his grip tight on my hand.

"I can't go back home."

I looked at him for a moment, trying to decipher what was going through his head but couldn't. He was grave serious though.

"Ok," I nodded, stepping closer to him. His statement only escalated my need to know further. It must have been something really big and profound if he refused to go home. "Stay here tonight."

"It's going to be more than just one night, Bella."

"Then stay as long as you need to." I suggested with certainty.

"Ah… how's that gonna work?"

"Renee will understand."

"You can't be fucking serious." He muttered.

"Do you want a place to stay or not?" I questioned heatedly. Without awaiting an answer, I turned and strode toward the front door.

Thankfully he seemed to give in and followed me. Once I had the door unlocked, I turned back to face him.

"Stay here while I figure out what to say to Renee."

"I don't think it will work."

"We've got nothing to lose." I retorted getting irritated by his negative attitude.

He pushed a hand through his hair and sighed irritably. Then he nodded.

Without another word, I stepped inside and closed the door quietly behind me.

"Baby, you're home…" Renee smiled when I appeared in the kitchen.

"Yeah," I mumbled shifting on the spot. "Hi, Phil."

"Hey, Bella." He said before taking a pull from his mug.

"Mum, could I talk to you, please." My eyes darted over to Phil so I quickly tacked on, "Privately."

Their eyes met, a message was exchanged and then Phil was standing up and heading out of the kitchen without a word.

I moved over to the kitchen table where she sat and lowered myself into a chair slowly, buying time so I could figure out how I was going to go about this exactly.

"Is something wrong?" Renee asked, evidently picking up on my mood.

"Ah… no, it's just… Edward needs a place to stay." I blurted out, just needing to get it over with.

"Excuse me?" she asked, as if she'd heard incorrectly.

"Edward, he's… he needs someplace to stay and I want him to stay here. Please."

"Bella…" Renee began, appearing completely taken aback by my sudden request. "What's going on? What's wrong with his home? Did something happen?"

"You could say that."

"Is Dr. Cullen ok?"

I huffed because we were steering off topic. "Yes, he's fine." I replied rubbing my fingers across my forehead. "Edward is just… going through some… stuff right now. Its better if he stays here."

"Do you know what you're asking?"

"Yes, I do. Please mum." I pleaded. "He needs me."

She frowned, her eyes locked on my face, studying me, assessing me.

"For how long?"

"Not long," I lied. I wasn't sure how long Edward was planning to stay away from home but I had to play it safe. She couldn't very well kick him out if he ended up staying for longer than she had anticipated.

"He wouldn't be allowed to sleep in your room." She said as if that might change my mind. I let out a breath in relief but quickly reminded myself she hadn't confirmed a yes yet.

"Sure."

"He'll have to sleep on the couch."

"Understood."

"The same rules that apply to you will apply to him."

"Ok." I replied feeling my hope bubble to the surface.

"I can't believe I'm agreeing to this." She mumbled to herself. "Ok, Bella, he can stay."

My face transformed as a huge grin took over my features. I leapt out of the chair and threw my arms around her shoulders.

"Thank you, mum. Thank you so much." I mumbled into her hair.

"Yeah well, I don't like the idea of it but I can't very well turn him away now, can I."

"You're the best."

She let out a little laugh, "I don't know about that. Don't make me regret this."

"I won't." I said pulling away. "We won't." I corrected quickly. I turned for the front door to go call Edward.

"Where are you going?" She called out from behind me.

"He's outside." I replied turning back to face her.

She raised an eyebrow at me, "A bit confident aren't we?"

"He was here when I got home from work." I explained then without waiting for a response, I darted outside.

"She said yes." I said as soon as the door was open. Edward's head spun around from his position on the porch step. He took one last pull from his cigarette before tossing it to the grass. He stood up and turned to me, smiling tightly in response.

"Great. Good." He nodded, his face still tight.

I frowned, because I realized then my focus had been too much on his stay here rather than the reasoning behind it. I walked up to him and slid my hands around his neck, my eyes sliding shut as my body came into contact with his.

"You want to head inside or would you like to go somewhere?" I asked. He brought his face close, rubbing his cheek lightly against mine, his breaths ragged.

"I don't care. I just need to be alone with you right now."

My heart tumbled with his words. It felt like it had been so long since we'd been together. The three days that passed had felt like an eternity.

"Let's head on upstairs to my room."

I untangled myself from him but kept my hand firmly in his as I turned for the door. We stepped inside quietly, Edward's heavy steps hesitant behind me.

We had to walk past the kitchen on the way to the stairs so I stopped in there so Edward could see Renee.

"Hey, Mrs. Dwyer." Edward nodded with an uncomfortable clearing of his throat.

"Edward, hi." Renee smiled.

"Ah… I would just like to thank you for accepting me here. You know to stay… so, ah… thank you." He cursed under his breath as he shoved a nervous hand through his hair.

"It's quite alright."

"We're just going to head on up to my room." I informed her. One of her eyebrows arched.

"Remember my rule about-"

"We're not sleeping just yet." I cut her off before she could finish. When she gave me a curious look, I felt my face redden and I internally cringed.

"We're just going to… talk. Hang out. You know, as friends do…" I grimaced, and squeezed my eyes shut. I could not believe I was trying to convince my mum that we weren't escaping upstairs for sex.

Edward squeezed my hand and when I glanced over at him, I saw he was trying to hide a smirk. Well, it was good to see he found my discomfort amusing.

"Ok," Renee relented, smiling with amusement at me also.

I let out a breath of release at the chance to escape and pulled Edward toward the stairs a little rougher than I intended. Once in my room, I shut the door behind me and pressed my back into it.

"That was horrible." I groaned, burying my face into my hands.

"It was funny." Edward said quietly, appearing in front of me. I dropped my hands and looked up into his eyes. They were intent on mine. He threaded a hand through my hair and pulled my forehead to his. He held me like that, just quiet and unmoving.

Achingly slowly, his lips brushed mine, barely touching but enough to make me light headed. I yanked him closer, wanting more of him but he pulled back, eyes squeezed shut.

"Are you ok?" I asked, feeling the tension in his body.

"Yeah," He pulled away and ripped his jacket off. He then collapsed onto the edge of my bed and leaned his elbows onto his knees.

"If you need to take a shower, by all means…"

"In a minute."

I nodded, shifting uncomfortably. He was in one of his moods and I never knew how to respond whenever he was in one of them. His moods fluctuated faster than I could keep up.

He eventually looked up at me, his eyes raking over me from head to toe slowly.

"Could I hold you? I need to hold you right now."

I nodded and closed the distance between us. But when I came to sit down, he stopped me and shook his head. Then silently, he raised his hands to the buttons of my jeans and began work of them. I had to close my eyes when the back of his fingers brushed against the skin of my stomach.

He pushed them down my legs and when they pooled around my ankles, I kicked them off. He didn't waste time in working the buttons of my shirt, his slender fingers once again brushing against my exposed skin. Once all the buttons were undone, he pushed the shirt open, exposing my black and white bra.

His eyes were trained on my breasts, my stomach, my neck and I felt absolutely no shame, no discomfort. It was a far cry from the first time, a few months ago when I'd let him see me topless for the first time.

He pushed the shirt off my shoulders where it joined my discarded jeans on the floor by my feet. His eyes continued their slow exploration of my skin, unwavering, intent and eager.

I expected him to remove my bra next, or my panties or even to start groping me. But he did none of that. He slid his hand into mine and pulled me down onto the bed. He yanked his shirt off his body, pulled his jeans off then scooped me up and held me as close as I'd go. And he did exactly what he said he needed to do. He held me.

Questions still burned the tip of my tongue, desperate for release, desperate for answers and explanations and it took a lot of restraint to hold them back. I understood Edward now. He would come out and tell me all about it in his own time when he felt he was ready and I wasn't going to push him on it. For now I'd just let him be.

"You smell great." He murmured.

"You smell like alcohol." I muttered.

I felt him about to shift back so I quickly grabbed onto him and pulled him back to me.

"I don't really mind… it just… it concerns me more than anything."

"I drank… a lot. A shit load, actually."

"Did you touch the stas-"

"No." he said quickly shaking his head. He rolled me onto my back and leaned over me, forcing the intent of what he was saying. "I promised you I'd never touch that shit again and I meant it. I didn't."

"Ok, I believe you." I reached up and ran my fingers along the side of his face. His facial hair was course beneath my fingers. He had day's worth of growth.

"But… I was close. I almost did. I sorted out three lines but then-"

"Sh, sh, sh…" I said, pressing my fingers over his lips to silence him. "You don't need to explain it to me. What you did shows so much strength and growth."

"I've fucking turned you into Dr. Phil, you know that?"

I chuckled but said nothing, letting my fingers continue their exploration of his face. He smiled a little, the side of his lips curling up faintly, before he tilted forward and kissed me. I sighed at the feel of his lips, warm and inviting against my own. This time, when I brushed my tongue along his lower lip, he didn't pull back. He met me halfway, his tongue peeking out from between his lips to caress my own.

My fingers weaved into his hair, pressing him harder into my mouth. I wrapped my legs around his waist and pulled him down against my core. He groaned then kissed me deeper, his kiss turning more desperate.

His hips surged into mine, and in response, I threw my head back against the pillow as heat rushed into my core. I was wet, and wanting to add to the friction, I lifted my hips off the bed and swirled them against his.

"Oh, fucking shit, how I've missed you." He whispered.

But then, realization hit me that I had no lock on my bedroom door and Renee or Phil could walk in any time they pleased.

"Edward… off… Renee could just walk in." I pleaded with a little push to his chest. He begrudgingly relented, taking his time in slowing his movements and rolling off me. I was scooped back into his arms immediately, his face buried into the crook of my neck. We laid like that for a long time, in complete and utter silence. It could have been months or years and I wouldn't have known.

There was a knock on the door quite a while later and it completely startled me out of the stupor I was in.

"Bella?" Renee's voice carried through the barrier of my door.

I scrambled out of bed and began to thrust my clothes back on, frantically whispering for Edward to do the same.

"Yeah?" I called out as I hopped into my jeans.

"I got the couch ready for Edward if he'd like to come down. Phil and I are going to bed." It sounded more like a demand than a suggestion.

As soon as both Edward and I were dressed, I walked to the door and opened it just enough to peer through.

"Thanks, he'll be down."

Renee, being the nosy person that she was, tried to peer over my shoulder into my bedroom.

"Mum!"

"Sorry, mother's curiousness." She replied with a helpless shrug of her shoulders.

"Bella?" Edward's voice came from right behind me so I moved aside for him.

"I'll be down. Thanks." Edward said smiling gratefully at Renee.

After Renee disappeared into her bedroom I followed Edward downstairs. As she'd stated, a pillow and a blanket sat folded neatly on the sofa.

"This sucks. Its not going to be a very good sleep." I mumbled apologetically, eyeing the narrow sofa.

"It'll be fine." He said moving toward it. He pulled off his clothes again, until he was in just his black boxers.

He punched the pillow a few times, tossed it to one end of the sofa then settled down, lying back onto the pillow and stretching his long legs out.

"Room enough for two." He said with a leering smile.

I smiled in response, and snuggled up beside him. We lay in the darkness for a while, talking quietly, nothing of real essence at first until he suddenly changed the topic.

He took a deep, long breath and hesitantly admitted in a rough voice, "Carlisle's not my father."

I froze in shock, my mouth falling open as my eyes flared.

He chuckled dryly. "Yeah, exactly."

"Oh my… I'm so sorry. I can't believe it. How did… what on earth…" I snapped my mouth shut when I realized I was just mumbling incoherently. The words still hadn't fully registered in my mind.

He sighed, long and sad and the sound settled heavily over my heart. "Carlisle just came out and told me that afternoon after Valentine's Day."

He then went on to tell me the whole ordeal. His mother's affair. The secrets. Carlisle's heartache, and the most shocking of all… that his uncle Caius was in fact, his biological father. By the end of it, I was speechless, completely irresolute of what to say.

He shifted in the tight space of the sofa and I moved with him, snuggling closer into his side. My heart bled for him. It was taking all I had in me not to let the tears spill. "I don't think I have come to terms with it just yet."

"I don't think you will for a while."

"You know what shits me the most… it's the fact that she cheated on Carlisle. I think that's what fucking burned me the most. My mother. She betrayed him then lied to him, all those fucking years! How could she have done that? How do you do that to the person you love?"

"People make mistakes. Do things they don't mean."

"That's exactly what Caius said. It's a crock of shit."

"Edward?" I questioned, hoping to tread lightly with what I was about to say next. I was hoping it would help him understand.

"What?"

"Think back on your own life and the mistakes you've made."

"What the fuck are-"

"It doesn't change who you are. It doesn't make you a different person or a bad person."

"Bella." My name came out in a low growl but I chose to ignore its warning.

"Just think about it, that's all. It might help."

He went quiet and I was hoping it was because he was thinking about what I suggested rather than trying to fight back his anger. His body was stiff and tense so I knew how he was feeling. I just wished there was some other way to help take this pain away from him. He deserved a break. He needed some happiness and positive energy in his life.

"It doesn't change things." He said after a long silence.

"Maybe not but it certainly helps in understanding them."

"Its kind of eerie how similar the situations are though. It certainly makes me my father's son in so many fucking ways."

"I don't know him that well, but he seems like a good man from what I've seen. This would be incredibly hard on him too… have you thought of that?"

"It's the consequences of not keeping his dick in his pants. And not understanding the unity of marriage. So he deserves to suffer for it."

"No one deserves to suffer."

"You're just too nice and naïve."

I twisted on the sofa so that I came face to face with him. My eyes were narrowed into slits.

"What did you just call me?"

He cursed and scrubbed a hand over his face harshly.

"I'm sorry. It just came out."

"Which means you meant it." I snapped, standing up.

"No! Fuck, no I didn't." He groaned. "My brains fucked. I feel like I'm still suffering the after affects of a hangover and I'm tired and pissed and angry and it just came out and I'm sorry. Please, Bella..." He pleaded sitting up and shaking his head at himself.

I was reluctant. His words stung but he was right. He wasn't in the right frame of mind at the moment and it was obvious to me that he wasn't. So I decided to let it slide.

"It hurt." I said returning to sit beside him.

"I know and I hate myself for it. I love you. I don't think I have told you that today. At all. Fuck… I love you." He looked into my eyes and I could see every ounce of regret reflected in them.

"I love you." I replied quietly. He smiled, a full heartwarming smile and it was the most beautiful sight to witness on him.

He tilted forward and captured my lips. He kissed me languidly with absolutely no rush at all, his tongue stroking my own at a torturously slow pace.

"Now this is my medicine." He mumbled through the kiss.

xx—xx

The following morning was odd. Waking up to your boyfriend on your couch was a little weird to be honest. When I padded down the stairs the next morning, I was greeted by Edward's form languidly splayed out on the couch. He was on his back, one leg hanging off the side of the sofa with his forearm thrown over his eyes. The blanket was gathered around his bottom half, tangled between his legs.

I smiled a little then continued on my way to the coffee pot to get it running. He needed the sleep and there was no way I was going to wake him up, even if that made us late for school.

I knew what lay ahead was going to be a bumpy ride… a long, winding, and dark bumpy ride. But I didn't have any fear toward the situation. I knew whatever came our way, Edward and I could fight. Of that, I was positive. The only thing that concerned me was the cuts and grazes that were going to occur along the way.

The following few days that passed were a little difficult. Edward didn't deal well with parental units, as he liked to call them, so whenever Renee and Phil were home, he'd either cower away in my bedroom or suggest we take a drive somewhere to be alone. I was fine with that but I wasn't too sure Renee was. I think she sensed that Edward was trying to avoid being around her and Phil for any length of time.

Edward was… well, moody. His mind was elsewhere and to an outsider, it appeared like he was walking around with a fire cracker up his ass. Little things would set him off.

He spoke to Emmett at school. Things seemed a little weird between them in the sense that you could tell they were both trying to undoubtedly avoid a sensitive topic. It would have been inevitable that Edward's paternity would affect his relationship with not only his father…fathers? But with those who shared those relationships too.

He never brought up the topic when we were alone and I never broached the subject. I figured I'd give him time. For his sake, I hoped it wouldn't be too long. He needed to figure out where to go from here. He had to eventually go back home and face reality but for now, I decided I'd let him stay tucked away into purgatory, because that's exactly where he was right now in his life. Neither moving forwards nor backwards, just hovering aimlessly.

I rushed home from my shift at Newton's that evening, barely getting a bite to eat at home before Edward whisked us away. I was fine with it. Any time alone with Edward was great.

We sat in his car on the fringes of the track leading to the meadow. It was pitch black so Edward left his car beams on providing us with some faint light. He lit up a joint and sucked in heavily, holding the smoke in his lungs before exhaling a soft cloud of smoke.

It had never escaped me that Edward never offered me any. It took me back to the night of Marcus' party when I'd found him sitting in the back yard against the side of the house. I'd asked for a puff, the request nothing more than a way to impress him, but he'd refused, stating shit like that fucks people up.

"Can I try some?"

His head whipped around to face me, an eyebrow cocked up in surprise. "Seriously?"

I nodded.

"This stuff can fuck you up. I'd rather keep you pure. God knows, being with me has fucked you up enough." He took another long inhale then stubbed the last inch or so against an old cardboard drinks tray he had in the car. He then flicked it out the window.

"Why would you think that?"

"Think what?" he asked, reclining his seat back and closing his eyes.

"That being with you has screwed me up…" he inhaled long and deep then let his breath out slowly, a hand going up to his face and scrubbing over his features.

"I'm not good for you. We both know you could do so much better. You could be with someone who isn't so fucked up. Who doesn't smoke like a chimney. Who doesn't consume alcohol like its going out of fashion or someone who isn't fucked up over the death of his mother and best friend. Someone who didn't fuck his best friend's girlfriend, someone who isn't struggling to deal with the sudden information that pretty much all he's known his whole life was a sham. But the thing is, I'm too God damn selfish to let you go, which is even worse."

I stared at him for a moment, my tongue dry and heavy. Is that how he really felt? I didn't want him to think I could do better, because I couldn't. I loved him. All of him, the good stuff and the bad.

"If I didn't want you, I would not have hung around this long."

"I didn't say you didn't want me. I said I don't deserve you."

"Just shut the fuck up." I snapped before I could take it back.

"Excuse me?" he asked through a surprised chuckle.

"I, ah… I said to be quiet… don't put yourself-"

"No… that's not what you said. I don't think you've ever told me to shut the fuck up before. Let alone curse." He smirked at me, making me bury my face in my hands. "My girl is growing some serious balls and I like it."

"Edward," I groaned.

I felt his hand cover my own and gently pry it away from my face. His eyes met mine and I found myself grinning back at him. He was so beautiful.

"I just don't want you thinking like that." I sighed. "I love you and I'm not any better than you."

He scoffed but said nothing.

A long silence passed, so silent that the only thing you could hear was our steady breathing and the creak of Edward's leather jacket as he moved.

Then suddenly he spoke, his voice low and husky as if he was trying to keep check over his emotions.

"I need to talk to them. Both of them…"

He didn't need to elaborate for me to know who he was referring to. I was just more shocked that he was the one suggesting it. I had figured Carlisle or Caius were going to have to be the ones to drag him into a talk.

"I'm sick of not knowing. I'm sick of my life, Bella. I'm tired of the entire heartache and the struggling…" He drifted off and took in a deep breath, exhaling in a shudder. "I want to… no, I need to get on with my life… I need to focus on me, on my future because truthfully, I'm not sure how much more of this I can take before I seriously crack. I feel like I'm hanging on by a string."

I reached over the centre console and grabbed both his hands, raised them to my mouth and planted a soft kiss to them. He kept his eyes closed and I knew it was because he was on the brink of breaking down.

"Not many people are as strong as you Edward." I murmured. "Most people would have cracked a long time ago." When he shook his head, his eyes squeezing shut, I climbed over into his lap, the position cramped but good enough. I palmed both sides of his face and brought his forehead to mine.

"I love you, and I will be there every single step of the way. We're in this together, you hear me? Whatever you decide to do, I'm there. We're one entity, Edward."

He cursed then pressed his lips to mine, firm but gentle.

"I can't lose you." He murmured, opening his watery eyes. "I've lost so much already… I can't lose you too."

"You won't."

"Jesus, I love you."

It wasn't until almost three weeks later that he worked up the courage to speak to Carlisle. He was tense as hell the days leading up to it and the morning of the talk I kept quiet, because I knew just trying to reassure him would only lead him to crack further. I let him be.

He left early the morning of his talk to meet Carlisle at home and in that time I made the drive over to Jacob's. I needed a distraction and Jacob was the perfect one. Now a days, his life was filled with more drama than my own.

When I got to his house, I found him in the garage with Seth and surprisingly a girl I'd never seen before.

"I'm Nessie." She smiled tightly, nodding her head in my direction when Seth introduced us.

"Bella." I returned, shoving my hands into the pockets of my jeans. I moved over to an overturned crate and lowered myself onto it. I watched as she walked over to where Jacob was busy working on Seth's car, her thick auburn hair swaying against her back. She propped her hip against the side of the car, her eyes roaming over Jake's bare shoulders. I rolled my eyes.

"She's cute, huh?" Seth asked quietly as he stood beside me.

"She's ok…" I mumbled, keeping my eyes on her as she laughed at something Jake had said.

"Am I sensing jealousy?"

"No, you're not." I snapped. "He can screw whatever he pleases."

"Ouch."

I sighed in irritation but said nothing in return.

"She's better than Leah, that's for sure." Seth murmured after a while. The whole Jake and Leah fiasco from New Years Eve had pretty much fizzled out. Eventually, Leah had relented to hear Jake's feelings toward that night. He explained that his feelings toward her were still nothing more than of a friendship basis. That did not go down well with her but she accepted it none the less. They still spoke briefly every now and again but their relationship was nowhere near as close as it once used to be.

I walked up to Jake once Nessie had sauntered off. I had yet to speak to him apart from my greeting when I'd first arrived. Nessie had been stuck to his side the entire time.

"How's my favorite girl?" He grinned as he wiped the grease off his hands with a stained rag.

"Good… Edward is… well, he's off so I thought I'd spend the afternoon with you." Jake knew the briefings of Edward's situation but never made an effort to pry for more information which I appreciated immensely.

"Hope all goes well." He said clearing his throat. He tossed the old rag aside and placed his hands on his hips, his eyes focused ahead of him. I followed his gaze to find him eyeing out Nessie, specifically her ass.

"When did you meet her?"

"Two weeks ago. She's Paul's cousin, actually."

"Oh, great." I muttered under my breath. If she had that kind of blood in her I'd hate to see how tough she was.

"Yeah, she came over with him one afternoon and we kinda… I don't know, hit it off." His eyes came back to my face and smiled. "I'm thinking of asking her out."

"Well, good for you. I think you should." And I meant every word of it. I may not have liked what I'd seen so far but that was not a reasonable excuse enough to base an opinion on someone from. And I wanted Jake happy. So whoever could do that, I was more than supportive.

He draped his bulky arm over my shoulders and crushed me into his side. "Thanks, Bella. Now, how bout we go grab a little something to eat."

I joined Jacob, Seth and Nessie for lunch which gave me the opportunity to get to know Nessie a little. She seemed ok. She was polite but I got the sense that it wasn't whole hearted when it was directed at me and that she was only putting on a front for Jacob's sake. I didn't really care, I wasn't the one that was going to be dating her and I surely wasn't going to pull her aside and give her the consequences of I what would do to her if she were to hurt Jake in any way, shape or form. I wasn't going to stoop to Jake's level like he'd done with Edward and I. He was a big boy, he could handle himself.

After lunch I headed straight back home. I had the afternoon free from work thankfully so I made the decision to just hang around in my bedroom while I waited for Edward to get back.

It was about an hour later that I decided to go take a shower. I was grabbing a change of clothes from my drawers to head in when my bedroom door opened up, revealing Edward. He glanced over at me, his eyes telling me everything I needed to know. He ran an anxious hand through his hair before shutting the door slowly behind him.

Because I knew he'd appreciate it, I didn't question him on how it went. I knew he wouldn't be in the mood to talk about it or to reveal anything just yet so I did the one thing I knew he'd need. I walked over to him and wrapped my arms around his neck. Without missing a beat, he lifted me up wordlessly; my legs instinctively wrapping around his waist and carried me over to my bed.

We slipped beneath the covers, clothes and all and just held each other. He buried his face into the crook of my neck and took a few deep breaths.

I couldn't tell you how long we lay there tangled within each other. Time didn't exist in that moment, it didn't matter to us. Silence enveloped the room, curling around our bodies and protecting us from anything and everything outside the room. Only we existed.

Finally, Edward moved. His lips found my skin and my eyes fluttered closed at the contact. He took his time, his mouth following the lead of his hands, slipping beneath my shirt and brushing over my torso.

"I need to be with you right now. Can I?" he asked softly.

I looked into his eyes and saw the vulnerability staring right back at me. He was feeling small, insignificant, lost in a path he had no clue on where it ended. So I gave him all of me and devoted the same amount of attention to his body as he did to mine.

As clothes started to disappear slowly, our breaths grew deeper, more erratic. I was a squirming mess by the time I was in nothing but my panties, Edward between my legs, his mouth teasing me through the flimsy material.

I was on the brink of an orgasm, my fingers wrapped tight into the bed sheets, pulling in ecstasy, my back arching off the mattress.

His name fell from my lips in a gasp as my body seized and then started convulsing.

Before I'd even settled, Edward was on top of me, pushing my legs further apart, settling in between.

"I love you… forever." He murmured before entering me.

It was slow and languid and everything beautiful. Edward's face was inches from mine, his eyes locked with my own, expressing everything words in that moment couldn't. I loved him, entirely so and I'd made the vow to myself to always take care of him. Treat him and cherish him in a way everybody else had previously failed in doing. He deserved that, and so much more and I was prepared to give him all of me in any way he needed it.

When I fell over the edge, he fell right along with me, his breath on my neck, his muscles on his back tensing beneath my fingertips.

He took a moment to catch his breath, then quietly, in a soft murmur he said, "I need to go to Seattle."

In a heartbeat I said, "And I'm coming with you..."


Hope you enjoyed that... see you next time :-)