AN: Really nervous about this chapter. Hope it goes down well, and, I hope you all had a nice Christmas (:

Some gore, I guess, and adult stuff in this chapter.


"Edward...your mother...she's dead."

I had been pissed off that my pool session with Edward was ruined by Charlie interrupting, but, as soon as I saw the look on his face, I knew it was serious.

The moment Edward and I had shared...I knew it would have led to more than our bodies pressed together, and suggestive words. It would have advanced well beyond that, and everything would have been perfect.

But Charlie came with his bad news, and Edward collapsed.

He fell backwards into the water; his body limp and pale. I screamed and jumped into the water after him. He was face-down and completely unresponsive to touch or sound. He was out of it.

And I was freaking out.

I tried to scoop him up, support him somehow, but I was simply too weak. Charlie had caught on and was suddenly beside me in the water, complete in uniform. He helped me pull Edward's body out of the life-threatening pool. I couldn't have been more grateful.

Edward wasn't breathing. Charlie began to pump his ribs while I blew air into Edward's mouth violently.

It seemed to go on for hours. I couldn't bear it.

Then, in a display of the most fantastic miracle I'd ever witnessed, Edward moaned. I lifted my lips off his mouth and he vomited a mix of water and lunch. It was disgusting, I'll admit, but I was too concerned about Edward to care.

He slowly opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. I wasn't sure what to say, so I simply planted a soft kiss on his forehead. A tear leaked down his wet cheek. It was the most heart breaking thing I had ever seen.

Once Charlie was certain that Edward was in no immediate danger, he excused himself and left us to sit in the pool room.

It was so silent that I was sure I could hear our breaths echo among the tiled walls. It was strangely deafening, and, I wanted it to stop. So, I turned to Edward, looked him directly in the eye, and spoke what came to mind.

"I am so sorry. I'm here. Always. I'll never leave."

"I know" he said, his voice croaky. It sounded painful.

"Do you need water?" I asked. He nodded. "Stay there" I said carefully, watching his blank expression with concern.

I rushed to the kitchen and poured a glass of ice-cold water. It would feel good, I was sure of it. Just in case, I tipped a few Valium pills from the medicine cabinet into my palm on the way back.

Edward was lying on the cold tiles, face-down, when I returned. I announced myself only by clearing my throat. Edward didn't sit up. He barely even moved.

"Here" I said as I approached him, "Water, and something to help you relax."

He sat up upon hearing the last item, "Valium?" he asked skeptically. I nodded.

"Take it. You can stay here tonight."

"I don't want to impose."

His voice was so flat, so blank. It hurt.

"It's better than staying home."

Edward didn't get a chance to argue.

Charlie knocked on the sliding glass door. I waved him in. He looked upset; genuinely upset for Edward's loss, and his wellbeing. I knew he didn't hate him.

"Edward, I just got off the phone with the team down at the station" he paused, choosing his words carefully, "Tomorrow morning, they want you to go and sign some papers, and help out with the investigation."

"Investigation?" I asked stupidly, "But they only conduct investigations if there's been a murder or suicide..."

Charlie flinched as I said suicide. Edward didn't miss this, and, he inhaled sharply. Charlie and I froze, awaiting his reply.

"Sure. Look, Bella, I'd really like to just go home..."

Charlie's eyes widened, "Edward, you can't go home, there's an investigation going on right now..."

"I won't stay there. I just need to see..."

Without having to explain himself, I knew Edward's intentions. He needed to say goodbye, whether his mother was present or not. He needed some clarification, some closure. And I would supply him with that.

"I'll drive you."

"No, I want to go alo-"

"Edward, you've just popped four Valium. You're not fit to drive."

Charlie's face tightened at the mention of the Valium, but, he didn't protest. I didn't think he would. Edward needed it. We both knew that.

The drive to the Masen home was...sad. Edward had slipped into a state of severe catatonia. He didn't respond to me at all. His body was limp and fragile from the Valium, yet his mind was sharp, but someplace else. Not here. Not with me.

I wanted to know what he was thinking. I wanted...I wanted to help. But all I could do was drive him to the scene of his mother's suicide. All I could do was feed him drugs. I hated how useless I felt, but I was certain it was nothing compared to what he was feeling.

I couldn't even begin to comprehend what he was going through. I didn't want to. It would hurt us both too much.

"We're here" I said quietly, not expecting a response. But, to my surprise, Edward unclipped his seatbelt and stepped out of my Volvo. He still hadn't said a word to me, or even looked at me. It was unsettling, but I knew I shouldn't have expected too much from him.

His mom had just freaking killed herself. I was...I was a goddamn idiot. That's what I was.

I was just so used to the state of normalcy we'd achieved, I was in shock, and I was in denial. Things were changing so rapidly. I hated it. I hated everything.

And Liz...she'd killed herself. I hated her. I hated her for Edward, and for myself.

Edward practically sprinted to his front door. Red and blue police lights lit up the driveway. Nobody wanted to see those lights outside the front of their house. Nobody.

But we were seeing them. They were real. This wasn't a dream. I'd tried pinching myself on the drive there, but, I felt the pain, and I didn't wake up.

The saddest thing of all was seeing Edward's eyes change from happy to...devastated. They were more than that; they were lost. It was as if he's suddenly lost so much of who he was. I was so worried, it made me feel sick.

"You can't go past here" a tall, burly officer said to Edward, holding out his arm to restrain him. Edward pushed through, despite the obvious strength of the officer, and ran inside.

"He's the son." It was all I could say, "And I'm the..."

What was I? Girlfriend was not the right word. It felt like we were more than that.

Friend. Friend was too casual, and probably not enough to get me through the front door.

I settled with daughter of Liz, since, she'd once told me that she's always wanted a daughter. She had hugged me and whispered into my ear, that one day she hoped I would become her daughter.

The officer let me through hesitantly, and I instantly saw Edward. He was on the floor, curled up into a ball. I saw his body shake uncontrollably, and it was obvious that he was sobbing.

The officers nearby cleared out of the room, advising me not to contaminate any of the evidence, and left us to our despair.

All I could do was stand against the wall and sob along with Edward, because what I saw was horrific.

The living room that I had spent so much time in with Edward was now just a room. It was less than a room; frankly, it was a collection of destroyed furniture, broken appliances and pools of deep, red blood. It was still wet, though beginning to clot and dry up.

I gagged a few times.

Edward stopped sobbing before I did. He hadn't heard me until he stopped, and he stood up instantly and rushed over to hold me to his chest. His heartbeat was surprisingly very slow and comforting.

"Oh, Edward" I cried into his bare chest, "I can't believe-"

"Shh" he said, rocking us back and forth for the second time that day, "It's okay."

It struck me as ridiculous that he was comforting me. He was stronger than I could ever be. I admired him for that; probably more than he would ever, ever know.

Edward pushed me away slightly so he could properly inspect the room. Now that he'd exerted his tears, he was free to really absorb our surroundings.

The blood. The vomit. The smashed television screen. The scattered DVDs and alcohol bottles. The torn couch.

And finally...the spot where Liz had clearly died. There was a distinct splatter of blood where her wrists and mouth had been, and there were other unidentifiable stains on the carpet that suggested her death was violent and unpleasant.

Edward didn't say a word. I could barely tell if he was still breathing.

"It's time to go" I said finally, taking his hand in mine. I seemed to shock him out of a sort of trance, and he looked at me, confused.

"You're tired. You need rest."

He let me drive him back to my home. Charlie agreed to let him stay, as long as he remained in the guest bedroom.

Of course, I argued with him.

"He can't be alone. He's...I'm scared about him."

"What else am I meant to do, Isabella? I'm not just going to let some boy-"

"He's not some boy, he's my best friend, whose mother has just died. It's not like we're going to be doing anything shady. His mother has just died!"

Charlie lost.

Edward, wearing a pair of Charlie's sweat pants, climbed into my bed beside me. He was warm and soft and...heartbroken.

I hugged him tight. So tight, I thought my arms might fall off. But they didn't, and we stayed wrapped in each other's arms, not uttering a single word, until we both were overcome by exhaustion.

I woke up two hours later. I could taste the panic in the air.

Edward was thrashing about in my bed, still asleep, obviously having a nightmare. It took me a few minutes to wake him, and when I did, he was shaking in a cold sweat.

"Oh, God, come here. You're freezing."

Edward snuggled into my arms. I felt, for the first time that night, like I was actually helping him. It wasn't much, but I knew I was making a difference. What would have happened if he'd not known me, and I wasn't here to comfort him? Would he be dead, along with his mother?

I cringed at the thought.

"Edward, please, speak to me." I knew it may have been selfish to push him so hard, but I was scared, and I had no clue how to handle him. So I just went with instinct.

"What do you want me to say?" he asked dully. I shrugged.

"I just...I think I just needed to hear your voice."

He attempted a smile. He didn't succeed.

"Thank you, Bella."

"Thank you, Edward."

He woke me up again an hour later. We went through the same thing. I refused to grow impatient with him; it wasn't his fault. I knew whose fault it was, but, I wasn't ready to place blame just yet.

I felt ashamed at the intense hate I'd felt for Liz before, and I was determined to keep that out of my mind while I was in Edward's company. It just didn't seem fair on him.

None of this did.

The third time he woke me up, I noticed something was different. His eyes were wilder than they'd ever been, and his body was shaking even harder. He was so cold.

"Jesus, Edward, you''re like ice."

He simply nodded and shook some more.

It took a while, but, somehow I ended up underneath his body. His arms were resting beside mine, holding himself up so he wouldn't crush me. His lips were all over mine. Frantic. Desperate. Lonely.

I let him do it to me, because, well, he needed it. I think we both did.

Our kisses were becoming more passionate, more desperate, and I knew that our clothes would soon be on the floor. And they were within minutes.

I barely had time to examine his body, but I did get a few glances. The moonlight jutting in through my open window illuminated his tanned skin, making him positively glow. He was muscular, but not disgustingly so. Just the way I liked it.

He stopped attacking my mouth to take in my naked body. I tried not to blush.

He went back to kissing me, and I finally allowed myself to respond. I grabbed his hair with my fists and sighed into his kiss. He tasted better than I could have imagined. Minty, yet with a hint of cigarettes. And he smelled perfect.

His hands explored my body, rubbing my nipples harshly and caressing my stomach. I was starting to get...excited. Of course, I felt awful for feeling such a positive emotion at a time like this, but Edward was there. And he wanted me. He had me.

I was his. Completely and entirely his.

It was touching and kissing like I'd never experienced before. There was something beyond physical happening. We were connecting on a higher level than that.

And we fit perfectly together. Our bodies. Our hands. Our mouths. Our tongues. We were built for this.


Bella's nails raked at my back as I groaned quietly. I knew Charlie would be in here as soon as he heard the slightest bump or moan. I kept shit quiet.

The further we progressed, the louder and sexier Bella's moans grew. I brought my hand to her lips and held it over them, translating to her that if we were heard, we were fucking goners.

We kissed and touched and stroked for...for hours, it felt like. But it wasn't enough. I felt hollow. What I was doing with Bella; it didn't feel real, or permanent.

"Do you want to-" I half-gestured to her pelvis. Hopefully she would get the hint.

She nodded, and that was all I needed. I allowed myself one more kiss, one more semi-innocent rake of my hands across her naked stomach, and then I aligned myself with her opening. I hovered over her, so the tip of my dick was barely touching her.

And then she did the sexiest fucking I think I've ever seen. She moved her arms down to my dick, wrapped her hand around it, and squeezed. I gasped because it felt that fucking good.

Sex wasn't a new experience to me, but, what lay ahead was something completely different.

She plunged me inside of her. Our eyes simultaneously lit up, and I couldn't tear mine away from hers. Unspoken words were travelling between our eye contact.

"Fuck" I whispered, slowly plunging myself in and out, in and out. Bella was moving in perfect harmony with me. I wasn't long off my climax, and she knew it.

She was just so warm. So fucking soft and warm...

"Oh, Edward" she moaned as I pushed myself completely inside of her. I filled her nicely. It was like we were fucking meant to do this.

My moans evolved into grunts within a minute, and, I could feel the pressure building inside of my lower stomach. I couldn't let go yet; I owed it to her. I needed to feel her breath on me, feel her nails dig in, feel her teeth wrap around my skin and clench down hard.

And, I did feel all of that.

In a split decision, I brought my right hand away from her collar bone, and felt for her spot.

When she gasped and clamped her legs together, I knew I'd hit it.

"Fuck, Bella, let go" I urged, thrusting harder into her, rubbing harder on her clit. "Fucking let go."

And when she did, I couldn't help but explode into what must have been the greatest orgasm in fucking history.

She clawed my back, bit my wrist, and slammed her body against mine. I quickened my thrusts, feeling the pressure release.

"Holy mother of fucking God" I moaned as I felt myself pour into Bella. She felt it, too, and smiled.

I fell asleep on top of her immediately afterwards. Completely fucking satisfied. Completely fucked.

It was morning when I finally awoke. I was alarmed to find myself fully clothed, lying on Bella's floor. Alone.

I didn't bother to get up. There was no point.

I'd had ample time to process my mom's death, but, I still had...doubts. She couldn't be gone. She was my mom. She was always there, whether I wanted her to be or not.

My eyes stung, and I felt tears beginning to trickle down my face. I just couldn't handle everything.

I was down a mother, and up a lover.

I did love Bella. I fucking adored her. She was my whole fucking world, now.

But...I missed my mom, no matter how she may have treated me. She was my mother. I didn't hate her. I never did, and, I don't think I ever could.

She left me, and, I still fucking loved her. I still wanted her back.

The idea that I was the cause for her suicide had occurred to me. I tried desperately to bury that particular theory. I was yet to find something that worked.

Reality was inescapable. I couldn't forget about anything, no matter what I tried.

Even while having sex with Bella- I still felt that nagging self hatred in the back of my mind. I had little doubt that I'd be feeling like this for the rest of my dreary fucking existence.

I should have been the slightest bit happy. I was in love. Finally, I'd found somebody who I could connect with on a whole new level. We were unbreakable, we were unlimited.

But I wasn't happy. At all. I was...angry. I was angry at myself. I was angry at my life. I was angry at Charlie fucking Swan. I was angry at the police and whoever else got in my way.

I was angry at everyone and everything, except for Mom and Bella. They were the exceptions. They would always, always be the exceptions.

Somebody knocked softly on the door. I didn't sit up or even attempt to; I maintained my position on the ground, my back to the entrance.

"Edward, are you awake?"

It was Bella.

I wanted to jump up and pull her into my arms. I wanted to confess to her that I loved her to fucking pieces. I wanted to do so many things to her, but I didn't. I had the desire, but not the motivation, and not the energy.

So I stayed on the floor.

Bella kneeled down beside me. I could feel her hands caressing my back, attempting to comfort me. I wish I could say it worked, but it barely did a fucking thing.

It was probably comforting her more than it was me, anyway. So I let her continue.

She leaned over my body and planted a warm kiss on my cheek. I kept my eyes shut tight.

Soon, I was asleep again.

"Edward, you really have to wake up now" Bella said softly, pushing lightly on my shoulder. I groaned. I didn't want to participate in fucking life. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to take Valium and sleep.

"Please. I'm so worried about you." Her voice cracked and she began to sob quietly. Warm tears fell on the side of my neck.

Say something to her, Masen, you useless fucking loser.

I didn't turn to her. I couldn't muster up the energy, or the confidence to look into her eyes. But I did speak.

My throat was dry and sore, so my words came out croaky and unlevelled.

"I don't want to go anywhere."

She remained silent for a long time.

"You have to go to the-"

"I know" I interrupted, gasping at the pain that shot down my throat.

"I brought you water" Bella said, setting down the glass in front of my face. I sighed, knowing I would have to drink it, and sat myself up. I leaned against her bed frame for support. My head was spinning; I couldn't trust my coordination.

She scooped up the glass and held it to my mouth.

And she fucking poured it into my mouth. She was fucking feeding me.

I was a hopeless, useless motherfucker. I was disgusting.

Her eyes never left my face. I drank with my eyes closed. There was something in her stare that I wanted to avoid at all costs. Maybe it was because, when I'd gazed into them last night, all I could see was sadness. Her despair mirrored my own, and it hurt to see.

I didn't need to say thank you to Bella. She knew that I appreciated her more than I had anything before. Especially now that I'd lost my fucking mom.

I choked out a sob.

So did Bella.

Then she hugged me, and flashbacks of last night commanded my every thought.

It was, ironically, the best night of my life. It was also the fucking worst, and I wanted to die. I just wanted to let go and die. I wanted everything to end.

The only thing stopping me was the shining beacon of light in my life, and, well, it wouldn't take a brain surgeon to understand who was responsible for this.

"When do I have to be at the station?" I asked Bella. My voice sounded almost normal again, despite the hollow tone I spoke in.

"You mean we" she corrected. I must have grimaced at her assumption, for she sighed and placed her hands on my face, bringing it level to her own.

"I am not letting you do this alone. I'll be damned if you have to sit in that office, answering questions and looking at coroner's reports all alone. That's just...I can't do that. I won't let you."

I leaned forward and pressed my lips to hers. That was the only way I felt I could convey what I felt for her at that very moment. Words would have failed miserably.

"Come on" Bella said after yet another silence. She didn't mention our kiss.

She helped me clean myself up, and fed me another Valium because I collapsed in her bathroom. Crying. Fucking bawling like a child.

I hated that she had to see me like I was, but, there was nothing I could really do.

I wasn't strong enough to simply not cry, or ignore what was happening all around me.

I fucking wished I was, however.

The police station was horrible. It was cold and unwelcoming. Of course, I had been there several times. I'd stayed there overnight on a few special occasions. I was no stranger to this place.

I sat in the hard plastic seats, waiting for the receptionist to call my name. Bella paced around the waiting room, never saying a thing to me.

I'd either scared her off with the kiss, or, she just didn't know what to say. I would place money it was the second. I just knew her, and, she wouldn't be scared off by a kiss.

Would she?

The sex was different. While I felt so much fucking love and adoration for her during the act, it was more for comfort, than anything. At least, that was what I felt from her.

I couldn't be sure how she felt for me. We had chemistry but...I didn't know. Fuck, with chicks you could never be sure of anything.

"Masen" the receptionist called. Initially, I didn't move. I didn't even look up, because I hadn't heard her. I was too lost in my own fucked-up world.

I noticed that things around me didn't seem as sharp as they once had. People's faces became hard to distinguish, voices blurred together, and so on.

I recognized Charlie's voice. He was seated at a table with two other men. I didn't give them second glances.

"Edward" he said carefully, "How are you feeling?"

"Awful" I said, because there was no use lying. I felt like fucking death set on fire, and then hit by a bus.

Nobody said anything for a while. I could feel Bella sobbing beside me.

She cried a lot. It hurt me every time I noticed her tears.

"We're going to assume that you don't know why you're here today, even though I know you do. Elizabeth Masen has passed away, and we've found her case a little...peculiar. Her death was not natural, and we're most likely considering this a suicide, but there is still the chance of..." he paused and frowned, "...Homicide."

My stomach dropped, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Charlie couldn't respond. He shook his head and stared down at his hands.

Bella pushed her chair from the table and stood up, "Charlie...Dad...I'd like a word with you."

"I'm on duty, Bella."

"Now" she growled.

The remaining officers began to hound me with questions while the Swans were absent. I answered every one of them with pure contempt and offense.

"Where were you on the eve of Mrs. Masen's death?"

"At Bella Swan's fucking house."

"Did you hate your mother?"


"But she gave you reason to, yes?"

"She was troubled."

"Would you classify yourself as troubled, Mr. Masen?"

"What? Fuck. My mom just died..."

The questions went on. I wasn't expecting a fucking interrogation. I should've had a lawyer with me or some shit. I was sure I wasn't following proper interrogation etiquette.

I just wanted to leave. My mom had obviously killed herself. Why were they so intent on knowing so much?

"Can you fucking stop, now, please?" I snapped as Bella and Charlie came back inside.

"Gentlemen, that will be enough for today. I think we can all obviously see that Edward here is deeply upset by his mother's death. He was nowhere near her at the time...I could continue" Charlie said harshly, gathering his papers and switching off the microphone on the table.

The two officers left the room. Charlie went to follow them, but, hit the doorframe with his shoulder on the way out. His papers skidded along the floor, and I instinctively went to help him retrieve them.

And then I wished I hadn't.

There were photos. So many fucking photos. Coroner's photographs of my mother.

"Edward, don't-" Charlie began, but he was interrupted by Bella's loud gasp.

It took me a while to absorb what I was seeing. When I finally did, I threw up and blacked out.