AN: This is RPOV of the aftermath. It begins with her running out of Bella's apartment (chapter 5) and moves forward from there.
For weeks, I had been able to tell something was amiss with Edward. He was my best friend, after all, and I could be honest enough to admit that we found ourselves in a rather precarious situation.
The fact was that the moment I'd seen Bella – dark haired with big brown eyes and a winning smile – I'd known she was Edward's type.
Thing is…she was my type, too.
Normally, I would've stepped aside and let him approach her alone, but he had all but stopped dating, so I seriously doubted he would do anything about it anyway. More than that, though, there was something alluring about Bella, something unusual. I couldn't place it, but I felt drawn to her in a way that I'd rarely felt before, and that was without ever hearing so much as the sound of her voice.
I wanted to know her, too.
So I'd pushed him, teased him a little, until he'd agreed we should try this…thing out, and it had worked beautifully.
Bella was amazingly receptive; I knew she wasn't a lesbian and that I was guiding her through her first girl-on-girl experience, but it hardly seemed to matter. When she willingly went down on me - and Edward had been uncomfortable watching – I had been prepared to be done with the sexual side of our impending relationship with Bella before it had really even begun.
I'd assumed we would have that one night, and then it would be over.
But everything was so perfect…
And then she'd all but begged us to continue.
Neither Edward nor I could tell her no.
So, we continued to meet on Fridays, alternating the locale between each of our places, and I watched as Edward grew more and more uneasy with our arrangement.
Perhaps it was selfish of me. It had been a long time since Kathryn, and I'd been sorely lacking in any kind of sexual release that wasn't self-induced. Perhaps I was just a horny bitch who needed to get off, and Bella was conveniently there. Or perhaps I just really liked Bella as a person, and the fact that she wanted to be with me, in that way, was just what I needed.
I knew it was a little of all three.
But when Edward had mumbled and run from the room that night at Bella's, my heart had leapt into my throat.
Thank God I was still dressed, because I had hardly been able to catch up with him when I ran from the room. I'd felt terrible for leaving Bella with no explanation, but the truth of the matter was that Edward was the one person I couldn't live without. He was my backbone, my sanity…I simply couldn't lose him.
"Edward! Edward, wait," I called out just as he reached his car door. The silver of his Volvo – a car I teased him for owning, considering the money he had at his fingertips – seemed garish and bright in the light of the street lamp, and he paused, his body frozen as his fingers curved around the handle of the door.
"Rose," he replied. His voice was quiet, broken, somehow.
Guilt rose up in me. This was my fault. I should have asked him what was wrong. I should have shown him I could see that he wasn't comfortable.
Fear was next. What if this did our relationship in? What if we couldn't get past this? My hands were trembling as I approached him, and I wondered if I could trust my voice.
Panic began to overwhelm me as I tried to think of what to say. Should I apologize? Should I tell him to go back upstairs so we could give Bella some realistic explanation of what had just transpired? My breathing started coming in short pants and gasps and to try to steady myself, I leaned on his car with one hand.
"Rose, I'm sorry," he said, finally looking me in the eye.
The emotions that reflected back to me in the deep green of his eyes were enough to calm at least one fear.
He was afraid he would lose me, too.
"You're sorry? Why? I should have said…I mean, I knew you were…" I couldn't decide what to say, and my breathing was still uneven. My stammering was so unlike me that I just stopped to take a deep breath.
"I should have been up front about…everything," he said, regret coating each word like a thick fog.
I looked up at him and sighed. "I should have, too," I said.
"I…look, Rose, I can't do this here, okay? I have to go home and try to sleep and not think about this mess for a while, alright? I know the timing of this is terrible because this week is insanely busy for me, but I swear, we can talk about it later." He paused and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I promise. Later."
I nodded and moved to hug him. His arms instantly wrapped around me, and I suddenly knew that we could get through this.
It would be hard, though.
When we parted, I stepped back onto the sidewalk and watched him drive away. After I cast a fleeting look up at Bella's window, I sighed and walked to my car, glad I'd thought to snatch my purse up on my way out and after Edward.
I knew we owed Bella an explanation, but I wasn't prepared to talk to her. Not yet.
Quickly, I walked to my car. As soon as I sat down, I groaned.
"Rosalie Hale, you're an idiot," I chided myself aloud, and then pulled away from the curb.
Wednesday, I called Edward. I'd tried hard to give him the space I knew he needed, but I was unable to handle the silence that stood between us any longer.
"Hey, Rose," he answered the call.
I took a deep breath before replying. "Are you…alright?"
"I am. Are you?"
"Yeah…Listen, Edward…can we get a drink or something? I think we should talk." I wondered if he'd say no, tell me to go fuck myself and hang up, but of course, this was my best friend. He'd never do that to me.
"That's probably a good idea, Rose," he said. We arranged to meet at The Signature Lounge an hour later, and I found myself pacing back and forth in my kitchen before I left.
Fears were gnawing at me. I worried that somehow, we wouldn't be able to recover from this…whatever this was. And then I felt like crap because, as much as I was truly terrified to lose Edward, I couldn't get Bella off my mind. She was this constant presence, always there, always around, and in the absence of Edward, I felt wrong for thinking of her.
We met just outside the doors and went in, immediately moving to the bar to order a drink.
"Sidecar, please. And a Signature Pear, as well," Edward announced to the bartender.
"You don't have to…"
He cut me off. "Yes I do. I always buy your drinks," he said with a small smile. "Stop being difficult."
His teasing broke some of the tension, and as we stood near the window, looking down at the street from so high up, he finally said, "You know, Rose, I really should have been up front about the fact that I was no longer…okay…with our arrangement."
I sipped my martini and shrugged as I caught his eye. "I should have made you talk."
We both said we were sorry, one on top of the other, our words tumbling together easily.
It was silent.
Then, "Where do we go from here?" he asked. "I won't lose you in this, Rosalie. I can't. You're my backbone, and you're too important."
"I feel the same way, Edward. It's…Maybe we should just focus on the two of us. Getting back to what our friendship was before things went a little haywire." I paused and stared down at the floor near my feet. "I'm sorry for pushing you into participation," I said softly.
"Hey," he said in a strong voice, just loud enough that I jerked my face upward to look at him. "Don't think that way. I wanted her. You didn't have to do too much convincing, if I remember correctly. And after all, she's the one who suggested we continue our…routine."
I didn't miss that he never said her name.
He wasn't over something, even if he was professing to me that we were going to be fine.
We discussed taking a few days to think through anything we wanted to say to one another. We decided that we'd talk again after we'd had enough time to work through our own personal dilemmas. Overall, we agreed that rebuilding our friendship was important, but in order to do that, we had to determine what was most important to us as individuals first. We finished our cocktails and went home for the evening, and even though I was reassured that I wasn't going to lose Edward, I still felt on edge, uncomfortable…worried about whatever it was he wasn't telling me.
Edward and I talked briefly, but both of our professional lives were incredibly busy in the week following that Friday at Bella's. We really were fine, but I could tell there was something he was still holding back; something he was, for whatever reason, not ready to say aloud.
This seemed different than whatever his discomforts were regarding our arrangement with Bella. I was relatively sure it was tied to her, but I couldn't quite discern how.
The next week passed, and when Friday came, I found myself curled up in a blanket on my couch, despite the warm weather we were experiencing.
My book was face down on the couch next to me, and I realized I really wanted to apologize to Bella. For leaving her. For not calling sooner.
For this mess we were in.
I knew it wasn't completely my fault. We were all legal, consenting adults who knew what they were getting into, but still. I was of the opinion that we all owed each other a bit of an apology.
I needed to tell Edward I was sorry for pushing him into this whole scenario. He needed to apologize to us both for not being open and honest regarding whatever was going on in his mind. Bella should possibly have apologized for manipulating us the morning after – because, in truth, that's what it was – because, in truth, Edward and I would never have considered a relationship with a girl…together.
Sure, in recent years, I'd taken a liking to brunettes, which meant we often found the same women attractive, but the fact remained that a threesome blurred lines, and that was a bad idea.
We'd known that from the beginning, but Bella had enthralled us both, and apparently, we'd been robbed of our reason as well.
Still, I missed her.
I wanted to see her.
I had no idea how she'd react if I asked, but I had to know.
I picked up my phone and dialed her number.