A/N: Hey guys! Thanks for all the reviews from last chapter. They were really nice and really made my day! Here is the next chapter. I hope you like it .

Once again, many thanks to the marvelous BROOKIEO, for betaing this chapter. Her work is why you're enjoying a chapter this good.

Disclaimer: If I owned anything would I be here or buying a house in Beverly Hills?

Chapter 10

Bella and Edward hung on to this initial kiss, mesmerized and unwilling to let it end.

Edward felt as though it'd just been confirmed he was King of the world—and yet even that couldn't compare to this sensation. He'd waited so long for Bella. Never before in his life had he happened upon anybody like her. But originally, she hated him; he believed he would never achieve this moment.

For it was this moment that he spent over a year hoping for—nay, it was a hope of a hope—Bella, content in his arms, love burning in her eyes; it was this moment that made his eyes well simply at the thought. Bella was the only person that said those three words and meant every bit of it. Bella was the only woman who ever looked at him this way: hers was a gaze drowned in love, devotion, and passion. Each time he blinked, he couldn't believe his eyes weren't lying; he couldn't comprehend that this moment was real. He wished to pinch himself, but he would have to release her to do so. He smiled gratefully.

She kissed him again, and he finally gave in; the tears flowed freely.

"Oh Edward," Bella commiserated before she dabbed at his tears with her lips, tightening her arms about his neck. He reciprocated, blushing at his awkwardness. He hoped he wasn't ruining the moment for her.

Soon, thankfully, all of his tears were gone. Denying the instinct rising in the fork of his legs, he inched away as much as he could bear, eschewing a breakage of certain social rites that must occur before they proceeded.

"Love, let's not be hasty. Don't do anything you'd regret." he whispered, berating himself for not taking his own advice. He knew he could have her in five seconds, but that would be wrong, and he would later feel as though he may as well have drugged and raped her. (And, he conjectured, she already appeared drunken with love.)

Bella nodded unsteadily, grinning at him as though in a dream state.

Bella knew the most logical thing to do was to ignore Edward's woos and run far, far away, as fast as possible. If she was smart, she'd have paid less attention to her heart and more to her brain. But she wasn't smart, and Cupid wore a blindfold.

She shouldn't be in love with her abductor; the man that broke her best friend's arm, held her captive, and vowed to never set her free. But in spite of all that, she just couldn't help herself. It was true that he committed those awful crimes but he was also the one that rescued her from sexual assault, cared for her, and brought her best friend to visit. He even made a headstone for her father, which was something that Bella would be eternally indebted to him.

I guess I'm a green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstance, Bella noted, admiring her man. My man. Bella liked the sound of that. She gripped tighter around his neck and held her grin.

Edward sat back down on the vintage, leather chair he was relaxing in when Bella first joined him, and pulled her to his lap. He cuddled her and made sure she was comfortable before speaking to her.

"So where do we go from here, beautiful?" he asked as he worshiped her silken hair. Simply stroking it was one of the greatest pleasures he'd ever experienced. He secretly hoped it wasn't the epitome of what they had in store for their relationship, however…

She thought a moment, and then smirked. "Well, I suppose we just act normal. I mean, normally, we act like a couple anyway; the only difference now is that there are...benefits," Edward leaned in and kissed her cheek, eliciting a giggle.

He hesitated, then finally admitted, "You can't imagine how much this means to me. I have waited so long for somebody as wonderful, as selfless, as… perfect as you." He paused, not wishing to ruin the pleasance in the air. "…I-I wanted to apologize for how our relationship began. I was wrong to hurt you. And…," he grimaced; his voice had cracked, "if there is any way I can punish myself for what I put you through, just say the word. I would obey in a heartbeat." Bella winced. She appreciated his straightforwardness, but it wasn't necessary. She felt she had caused Alice's...incident anyway. She peered up at him, rubbing his hand reassuringly.

"Let's… not talk about that... That's in the past, anyhow." She took an unsteady breath, then continued, as though putting all the memories behind her. "You aren't that person anymore." She wished she could leave it at that, but there was more. She would be insane to completely dismiss all of his conditions. "But how will this work? I want to go to college and see my friends again—I-I want to find some way I can do that and still be with you," Bella said.

Edward stiffened. His arms pressed around her; the veins on his forehead showed above eyes which had clouded over and become dark with anger. He was mumbling something to himself, but Bella could only make out two words: "leave" and "die." Bella didn't want to let him get upset, so she leaned in and kissed his forehead. He softened at Bella's politely apologetic expression, relaxing almost immediately. His arms loosened and his hands began to massage her lower back. The anger had drained from his eyes and was replaced with his usual, gentle smolder.

"Bella, you have to understand… that will be hard for me. It seems everyone I loved has left, and were you to follow suit, I doubt I'd recover. Something happened…I can't tell you what...not yet...but… I know I can be obsessive of you at times, and that is why." He folded his hands in her lap. "Please understand: change will be hard for me, but for you I'm willing to, for you." He squeezed her leg to emphasize every word. "Bella, I can take care of you. Leave this to me." His hands returned to her chocolate locks.

Bella sighed, then confessed, "You're too good for me."

"There is no such thing," Edward insisted, and they kissed again.

Bella did a 180° to straddle Edward's lap. Their hormones were going to be a problem, he decided. Their mutual attraction was apparent, but Edward didn't wanted their first time together to be special, not a rash decision.

"No," Edward answered Bella's unspoken question. He turned her back to face the fireplace once more. She blushed, but looked hurt. He frowned. "Love, I—" Oh god, he thought, don't be awkward, Edward. Don't be awkward about it. "I really think we ought to wait." He left it at that.

Bella nodded; she was beginning to sober up. She took a breath, trying to calm her instincts. She removed herself from Edward's decidedly cozy lap. She smiled and explained that Alice would be waiting upstairs; she couldn't neglect her. Edward grudgingly approved, at which Bella laughed and awarded with a last kiss. She couldn't, however, wipe the massive grin off her face as she navigated through the halls, unable to extricate her thoughts from the Edward category. She felt strangely elated, as though the world was now a much happier place.

When Bella reached her bedroom, she saw Alice had already donned her pyjamas. But she was too busy flinging questions to allow Bella to do the same.

Her eyes were bright, aware of every—little—expression Bella made in response to each query. "What happened? Did you have sex?" Bella knew that, by now, interrupting didn't work. She waited patiently instead. "If you did, I hope you used protection! Does he hurt you? Should I get my shotgun?" She jounced the mattress after every other word.

"Alice! Breathe. Relax. We didn't have sex!" Alice nodded, perched on the edge of the bed, intent on sucking up every bit of information she could. "After I left you, I went to his study to tell him I loved him and—"

"EEEE! You kissed!" Alice interjected, kicking her hyper feet.

"-Yes, we kissed, and, he is honestly the. best. kisser. ever. And he makes me feel safe. ….I-I'm just scared 'cause I really fell hard for him, Ali." Bella sighed and studied the intricate rug at the foot of the bed.

Alice pulled Bella to her in a hug reassuringly. I saw the glint in her eyes—the one she gets when she's 'got a feeling.' (And Alice's feelings usually come true.)

Bella then continued to tell Alice all about her conversation in the study. Alice advised Bella to convince him she's 'in it for the long haul.'

Afterwards, Bella pyjamafied herself and climbed into bed while Alice told her everything there is to know about Jasper. Bella tried, but could not listen well, for she was still wondering what could have happened to Edward to make him so…afraid.

Bella's mind skipped back to when she was about to enter that room adjacent to the library and Edward caught her. That room must be the answer to whatever was wrong with Edward.

I'll have to get into that room. Once I know what happened, I'll be able to make sure he knows I won't leave, Bella planned.

The two girls fell asleep soon after.

The remaining week passed in a blur. What with Bella's days being spent with Alice at whatever Edward had planned for them next- whether it be the mall, the beach, a restaurant- and her nights being spent with Edward, Bella was exhausted at the end of every day. She had no free time to even think of her plan, let alone execute it. She would have to continue it once Alice left.

Alice had work and college to consider. She couldn't get any more time off if she wished to stay employed. Thence, she and Bella spent their last day together watching movies and munching snacks together. Neither spoke of Alice's departure, wishing to assure themselves they'd be fine after another separation. They wouldn't be.

Their time together seemed inefficient after such a long duration apart. Bella wouldn't have anyone to confide in but Edward—which wasn't so bad, but he wouldn't understand some things. Alice felt devastated that when she left, there'd be a hole in her heart where Bella was. Of course both girls were being dramatic, but they figured sisters were meant to be when it came to being torn apart.

Once reality set in, they couldn't quit bawling and hugging. Alice had to pick her way through a briar patch of tears and embraces before she unwillingly reached the limousine.

Alice was gone. Bella felt shocked again—just as she had when Alice arrived. The thought that Alice wouldn't be beside her when she woke the next morning made her limbs Jell-O; she had to sit on the porch steps to maintain her balance. Both girls cried and watched each other fall further away until the car blended in with the horizon.

Edward carried Bella back into the house; she was unable to walk through her tears. He took her to the library and let her sit in his lap in the big chair. He caressed her hair, whispering endearments and loving phrases to soothe her misery. Once Bella calmed down—or at least dried up after a constant flow of tears- Edward leaned in to kiss her and reached for Bella's favourite book, Wuthering Heights.

"Will you be okay here by yourself? I must go and deal with …something. I shouldn't be gone more than an hour," Edward told Bella apologetically. She sighed sadly, but saw her opportunity.

"I'll be fine. Take your time," she smiled convincingly enough that Edward left the room, although grudgingly.

Bella waited to make sure Edward was far enough away until she couldn't hold herself in the chair anymore. She shot up agitatedly and began the brisk walk to Edward's library on the floor below. She whisked through the ornate double doors and the maze of stacks.

She found the adjacent room without much trouble.

It was closed off by a gaunt, mahogany door with floral embellishments adorning its edges. As she reached the door knob, Bella paused, and then persisted that this would truly be beneficial for both of them as a couple.

Bella turned the silver handle.

A/N: Did you like it? Well leave me a review regardless. As always, ideas are welcomed and encouraged. Especially this time, as I really have no idea what should come next . Until next time, xoxo

*P.S. The line in which Bella describes herself as a 'green girl' is actually from Hamlet, in case some may not have caught on. (: