AN/ I know I should be on my knees apologizing to you people for the looong time you had to wait for this Update..In my defense I had good (personal) reasons for being away...I hope there are still some readers out there who forgive me and TropicalSorbet for the delay, which was all my fault!

As always a big Thank You to HappyMess who beta'ed this Chapter in less than a day!

Without further ado I give you this Chapter and see you down there!


Chapter 12


"Bella?" Edward raised his eyebrow at me in question.

I hadn't answered him yet. I was frozen in place, my mouth slightly hung open as I searched for the words. A few minutes had passed since he asked me to tell him what happened with Eric.

I noticed he looked a bit disheveled. His hair seemed wilder than its normal state of disarray.

I wondered what kind of day he had. But it was obvious to me that he wasn't in the mood to talk about his day. He wanted answers and who could blame him?

He came home to a big oaf sprawled out on his floor.

I looked at Alice but there was no help coming from her side of the room. She was looking at me suggestively, no doubt still thinking it would be best for me to tell Edward the truth.

I had nothing against the truth. As a matter of fact I hated lying, but I learned the hard way that in certain situations being entirely truthful was a dangerous path to take.

I opened my mouth to speak without much of a plan. "He was drunk?" I sounded like a little girl unsure of her answer.

Edward didn't falter. His dark green eyes silently urged me to continue.

I felt my pulse quicken. I was nervous that I would screw things up by enraging Edward, which would subsequently start trouble for him with James. I just couldn't allow that to happen.

My hands began to fiddle with the hemline of my shirt. "It was an accident, actually." I tried my best to sound convincing. "Eric lost his balance and then when he tried to steady himself he ended up accidentally grabbing me by my shirt….by accident." I took a deep breath and held it in while gauging Edward's reaction.

His eyes narrowed at me, I quickly avoided them by looking over to Alice, who was to my surprise suppressing a fit of laughter. I could see it bubbling up in her throat.

" are by far the worst liar I've ever met." Edward said in an emotionless tone.

My eyes were very busy roaming everywhere but his face. Suddenly Alice's loud chuckle burst out into the room.

It startled me more so than it normally would have since my nerves were completely fried. But what startled me even more was when Edward burst into laughter right after her.

"She really thought she could keep this from you. The poor girl, I guess no one's ever taught her how to lie. It's obvious she's not a natural at it." Alice was still giggling lightly.

"Damn it..." I muttered.

"Seriously Bella, I knew you were going to lie from the moment you bit your lower lip trying to come up with an answer." Edward gently brushed the hair away from my worried face.

All traces of humor quickly left the room.

His eyes softened a bit, but I still saw anger in them. "Now, would you pleasetell me what happened here and I want the truth?"

"This..." Alice started to say before Edward interrupted her by raising his hand.

"Alice, if you don't mind I'd like Bellato tell me. She needs to feel comfortable confiding in me or else none of this is going to work,"

He turned to face me. "I don't want you to feel you ever have to lie to me. You can always talk to me about anything. It's very important for you to trust me."

His words were sincere and his face sublime. In my heart I knew I could trust him. I agreed to accept his help...more or less. We should be working as a team.

There really was no point in keeping secrets from him. I knew all this and yet for some crazy reason I still felt the urge to shoulder my problems on my own. I still wanted to keep him as far away from all the madness as possible.

I couldn't help feeling that I needed to protect him. It was an instinct for me…like breathing.

"I'm sorry I tried to lie to you," I put my hand on his shoulder. "I just didn't want this one fluke occurrence to become a huge problem. Eric showed up here drunk; actually, more than drunk. He was bombed." Suddenly the truth poured out. "I guess he never saw me in decent clothing before. He grabbed me a bit roughly. But that was all, he didn't do anything else." I knew that fact was of utmost importance.

Edward's face looked visibly relieved.

I waited a few moments before I continued. "I was worried that if I told you the truth chances were good that you would go all West Side Story on him."

A small smirk broke out on his face.

"I really don't want any more attention from James and I definitely don't want you at war with him over something like this?" I was rambling.

My exasperation with this whole matter made me blurt out everything I had been thinking using no filter at all. I'd gone from one extreme to the next in a matter of minutes.

"I think that's the first time I ever heard you say so much in one breath." Alice commented still amazed. "You should have asked her to speak her mind long ago Edward."

I turned tentatively to him. His expression was unreadable. I couldn't say if he was angry or simply stunned.

"Alice," he said without looking away from me. "Thank you for keeping Bella company today. I'm sure you have errands to run for your wedding." His tone was firm.

"I'm being dismissed." She grumbled jokingly. "Fine, I'll go. As a matter of fact I do have some things to get done and Bella will tell me everything you talk about later anyway. Right, Bella?"

"Go away, Alice." Edward said in a stern voice, but I could see the ghost of a smile on his lips.

Alice stuck her tongue out at her brother and went to retrieve her things from the family room. She returned with her purse in hand a few moments later.

She hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear. "I want every detail and while you're being so open you might want to tell him what you told me earlier about James."

I was a little confused. I assumed Edward of all people would have known that James hadn't had sex with me since I became his submissive. Surely James instructed him not to have intercourse with me just like he'd done with the others he rented me out to.

"Bye Big C, "Alice threw at Edward before she ran out the door snickering.

"Big C?" I turned to Edward once we stood alone. I didn't know what to say and I hoped that would be a good opening.

"It's an old nickname, Alice and Emmett love to drudge it up every now and then." Edward explained without looking me in the eyes.

He's embarrassed about something.

"Do I want to know what it stands for?" I asked with a sly grin.

"No!" He stated firmly.

Wow must be very heavy stuff.

"Why not?" I insisted, enjoying the sight of him squirming uncomfortably for once.

He scowled. "Because it's not important and because you're trying to divert me. We have other things to talk about." He finally brought his eyes back to mine and I could see that conversation was over….for now.

"Fine," I pouted. "Let's talk." I sounded like a petulant child but I really didn't want to talk about Eric, James and all the rest of the insanity.

Yet that seemed to be all I ever got to talk about.

"Come with me." He looked down at The Reaper's lifeless body. "This shithead's gonna wake up soon enough. He'll come find me. I'm curious to see how he's gonna explain his actions."

Edward took me by the hand and led me out of the kitchen and down the hallway.

I got a small tour of his house when I arrived the first night, but I had no idea where he was leading me to. After passing a few closed doors, one of which I remembered to be his office, we came to a stop in front of an elegant set of double doors.

They looked more like a piece of art. I was distracted for a minute as I took their beauty in.

When Edward pushed the doors open a bright room came into sight. It was like a closed-in garden. It actually looked like a small piece of heaven and I couldn't help but to stand there gaping in awe.


I heard Bella gasp and I looked over at her curiously. I'd forgotten how the sight of the winter garden affected people when they saw it for the first time.

It was so rare that I brought anyone in there.

"My grandfather built this room." I said by way of explanation.

Bella was still looking around utterly fascinated. I remembered how I felt when my grandparents finally allowed me to see what was behind those doors.

I was about twelve years old when my grandfather deemed me worthy of the honor to enter the 'grown-up-room' as we used to call it when we were kids.

I was delighted especially since Emmett and Alice were just dying to get a glimpse of what was behind the magical looking doors.

When you entered the garden room it was like entering a parallel universe or traveling to a far off world.

I stepped closer to a very enchanted Bella. "My grandfather lived in Germany for ten years, though he spent most of his time in the Alps. That's where he met my grandmother. She was studying in Switzerland on an educational trip in Vienna. My grandfather was the guest of honor at a soiree there. He said it was love at first sight. The Alps was always their special place. My grandfather was determined to bring my grandmother a piece of their special place here."

What the hell made me just tell her that story?

I was more than shocked by my sudden urge to share that ridiculously sappy story with Bella. I'd always been touched by my grandfather's endless devotion for my grandmother, but through the years I grew bored and eventually downright annoyed by the numerous times he told me that same story.

Now there I was sharing it with Bella. Oddly enough it sounded much less ridiculous to me now.

Something was clearly wrong with me and it wasn't just the shock of meeting the Volturi brothers, chatting with Charlie Swan, confronting Jasper or walking in on an unconscious thug sprawled across my kitchen floor while the girl I desperately wanted to protect stood by looking terrified…of me.

I walked over to the bench in the right corner of the room. My Grandfather bought it from a native Alpenhütte, he was so proud of it.

I sat down and gestured for Bella to join me.

I took a deep breath and let my brain catch up with all that was going on around me. There was a strong sense of tranquility in the garden room.

I chose the most peaceful room in the house to talk with her…the most peaceful room in the world in my opinion.

Her eyes were still widened in wonderment as she made her way over to me. "This room is just amazing. I never imagined a place like this could exist." She lightly touched the greenery to see if it were real. It was. "It feels like we're outside. Are we really still inside your house?"

Bella sat down next to me with a massive smile on her face. If I knew she'd react like that, the garden room would have been the first place I brought her.

Hell, she could fucking live in there if it would keep thatsmile on her face.

Her eyes got a far off look. "That was such a beautiful story. Your grandparents must have been deeply in love."

I grinned at her, feeling slightly embarrassed. "Yes, they were. I guess most people would present this room by explaining where they bought the art or what types of plants are in it."

She shook her head. "I liked your introduction muchbetter. It was insightful," she blushed at the last word and I wondered why.

It seemed I was always trying to figure her out.

"It's peaceful here." I commented impassively. She nodded her head in agreement, while silently looking around. Her eyes landed on the waterfall in the center of the room.

It wasn't ornate. The room was a horticultural masterpiece that was for sure. The flowers actually appeared to be growing directly from the earth.

There was even an artificial hill at the end of the room that allowed the sun to come in at just the right angle to watch it set each night.

Twilight in the garden room was breathtaking.

It was actually where I used to spend a lot of my time when I was a younger. I used to get into trouble quite often. My temper was even worse back then and my grandparent's garden room became an oasis for me.

I had a feeling it was going to serve the same purpose for Bella.

She pointed across the room. "How did your grandfather create that hill?" Before I could respond she asked, "Is this room connected to the house by that glass cupola?" She pointed to the dome shaped glass ceiling that encased the room. Her childlike enthusiasm was infectious.

I took her hand in mine, entwining our fingers together. "This house used to be a bit different than it is now. When my grandparents passed away they left it to me." I ran my fingers across hers as I spoke. "I spent a good amount of my time with them when I was growing up. I always called this house my home, which used to drive my father absolutely crazy." I smirked at the memory. "I suppose that's why I was the one they left it to."

Bella's eyes found mine and we shared a brief moment…a connection. I found I could get lost in these momentsif I wasn't careful.

My thumb gently massaged the palm of her hand as I continued. "A few years ago I hired an architect to make a few changes. Though I made sure this part of the house was preserved.

The house still has most of its original layout, but to me it feels homier this way. I can show you pictures of how it used to look if you're interested, but not now I need to talk to you about other matters."

She took the seriousness of my words in and within seconds she was hunched over as if she were carrying a huge burden on her shoulders.

Gone was her gorgeous smile. It was replaced with a worrisome frown.

She pulled her hand away from mine. "I know what you want to talk about," Her back stiffened. "I really am sorry I lied to you. It was wrong, especially since I promised to accept your help. But I just can't stop feeling like I need to protect you. It's just who I am and I can't apologize for that."

There was fierceness flickering in her eyes.

"I worry a lot and try my best to protect others and...Well my brain is kind of a private place. I don't let people in very easily or very often." Her lips formed an even tighter frown. "It's just that I'm so used to taking care of myself and those close to me." She fell silent just as suddenly as she had started speaking.

"Wow that was quite impressive. I must say. I didn't even have to tell you my idea." I smiled to let her know how pleased I was.

She looked up at me confused. "What do you mean?"

"I was just about to make a suggestion to you, I'd like for usto make this our special room to talk with each other openly, with complete honesty, but it looks like you beat me to it by doing exactly that. Did you read my mind?"

I wiggled my eyebrows at her in an attempt to make her laugh. She didn't disappoint. The sound of her giggle was infectious.

Her hands dropped down to her hips in mock annoyance. "No, actually I was just trying to ease some of my perpetual guilt and the truth slipped out." She stuck her tongue at me playfully but then turned serious right after. "I really am sorry about lying Edward, but don't you see I felt responsible for bringing that lug head into your house to begin with. I was trying to spare you from bearing the consequences of his inappropriate behavior. " The look of stubbornness swept across her face.

I frowned at her words. "Bella, that's just it. You just don't get it do you?" My fingers ran through my hair in frustration. "We all make mistakes, you're only human and frankly I still don't understand why you think it's your fault that you met a guy who turned out to be a psychotic bastard. HE is a manipulating son of a bitch who's controlling you by using your weakness. He knows you would do anythingto prevent harm to your family and that you won't allow anyone to help you."

My temper was rising.

I had to get through to her somehow. "Don't you see? James knew he could own you because of your loving nature." I grabbed her hand. "He calculated every step of the way. If you would listen to what I'm saying you'll find that you have the power to destroy his plans simply by not doing what he expects from you. But you have to let me in Bella. You have to trust me." I was relatively sure my eyes were pleading with her.

We sat there without speaking again for what seemed like hours, the bubbling of the water and our slight breaths the only sounds in the room.

"I really like your idea about being honest in this room." Bella said, breaking the silence. "I'd like to start by telling you something about James…and me."

She looked so nervous that I couldn't help but worry how bad her confession was going to be. My entire body stiffened, preparing for the worst.

She locked her eyes onto mine with determination. "I...uh… just wanted to tell you that James and I haven't had sex since I became his submissive." Her eyes darted around the room before returning to mine. "I assumed you knew that since it was always a stipulation to his business associates. They were forbidden to have intercourse with me. In his deranged mind he believes he's sparing me pleasure." She rolled her eyes. "I thought he surely gave you that same instruction, but Alice was so surprised when I told her. She thought I should mention it to you."

I couldn't help but wonder why James hadn't given me that instruction. That thought intrigued me, but the relief over her admission was so great that I let it go for the moment.

She was crimson red by the end of her speech. It was the best news I'd heard in a long time, probably ever. I broke out into a wide grin followed by a joyful laugh.

I let out a deep bellow that I was sure had never come from my mouth before.

It was several moments before I realized she may have misunderstood my reaction. She looked insulted. How could she mistake my reaction as anything other than pure joy?

I ran my fingertip across her flushed cheek. "I'm sorry Bella," I said through a massive grin. "I just expected you to say something far worse than that."

She pulled away from my touch. "Well, I'm glad I could amuse you. If this is how it's gonna feel when I speak my mind, I may need to rethink your idea of open conversation in this room."

Oh shit, she really is angry with me.

I took her hands in mine. "Bella, come on. I'm sorry I laughed at your confession. I've had a rough day and when you said you wanted to tell me something about you and James, I automatically assumed the worst." I looked into her eyes with sincerity. "I'm just sorelieved. That's why I laughed. I wasn't mocking you. How could you even think I would do that?"

Her brow rose curiously. "Why did you have a rough day?" Trust Bella to pick up on that. "Was it so bad with your father?"

Now she looked worried for me. It appeared both of our moods were all over the charts and given the content of what I needed to discuss with her it wasn't going to get less erratic anytime soon.

I shook my head reassuringly. "No it wasn't bad at all. Don't worry."

I was trying to give myself a little time to sort through my thoughts. I honestly didn't know where to begin.

I knew I had to tell her that I met her father and the about his fundraiser. I also had to tell her about the Volturi brothers and what their interest may mean about Jasper.

She folded her arms firmly together. "I thought you asked me to be honest with you and now here you are being evasive with me." She raised an eyebrow suggestively, the same way I'd done to her. It made me smile.

I let out a long sigh. "I'm not being evasive, I'm just hoping to process the day a bit before I start telling you about it."

Her face softened, her arms unfolded and she reached out for my hands, squeezing them tightly in hers. "Why don't you just tell me everything and we can process it together."

Before I could even think about what I was doing Bella's mouth was against mine. I had to taste her sweet lips before the stench of the words I needed to say filled the air.

I was pleasantly surprised when she reciprocated…very enthusiastically.

There was a desperate feel to our embrace. As though we needed to enjoy a few moments of pleasure before the pain of reality hit us full force.

I gripped the back of her head firmly. Her fingers eagerly wound their way into my hair and tugged on it gently.

The raw sounds of our lips smacking together was like fuel to the fire.

I devoured her mouth until I ran out of air. It took all the strength I had not to lay her down on that bench and dive into her.

Mentally I was screaming at myself to slow the fuck down and be gentle with her. But my mouth was far too busy assaulting hers, biting her lips, her jaw, gliding my tongue down the side of her neck.

Bella's soft moans filled my ears, instantly removing all coherent thought from my mind.

I fought to gain control. I pulled my face away from hers only to dive back in over and over again. She was like a drug to me, a mind altering, nirvana inducing drug to me.

Her hands ventured down, sliding discretely into my shirt. She touched the bare skin on my chest, and then dropped down even further to explore my abs, which instantly clenched in anticipation.

I knew exactly where her warm little fingers were headed and just the thought of it made me groan into her neck.

"Baby, stop." I heard my gritty voice croak, shocking the hell out of both of us. Baby? I never called anyone that before and I certainly didn't want her to stop what she was doing.

What the hell?

Much to my dismay, she listened to me and removed her soft, warm hands from my body and her luscious lips from my face.

"Sorry." She murmured placing her hands in her lap.

"I'm not," I said firmly. "Far from it." I stilled my hands that had been shamelessly groping her merely moments before and placed them on top of hers.

She looked up at me through her long lashes; her chocolate brown eyes took my words in carefully. Bella's eyes were so expressive. Like two open books for me to read. I could easily get lost in them.

An almost devilish smirk ran across her face. "Actually to be honest, I'm not sorry either, not at all." She blushed lightly, but her demeanor remained confident.

I smiled as I listened to her confession. "Well, that's very good to hear."

We sat there both of us still trying to catch our breath, panting lightly. I guess some part of my brain stayed fully functioning during my lust filled haze.

In the past I was accused, quite often, of thinking with the wrong head. So I felt kind of proud of myself…and horny, very horny.

I was so energized from our impromptu make out session that right after I caught my breath I dove right into our talk, all walls were down. There would be no barriers between us.

I started off by telling her about the meeting with my father and the fact that my parents wanted to meet her.

She gnawed away on her lip for a few seconds before cautiously agreeing to accompany me to a family dinner. I explained that my father knew nothing other than the fact that she had an abusive ex-boyfriend that I was helping to keep out of her life.

Once I felt confident that she swallowed that first bit of information I forged ahead. "There is one more thing I need to tell you about my visit with my father."

She instantly sensed my apprehension. "Just tell me Edward please. There are nosecrets in this room. Whatever it is we'll work it out together."

I ran my fingers through my hair as I exhaled a deep anguished breath. "When I first walked into my father's office, he wasn't alone." I paused briefly, feeling her eyes on me.

"Oh, who was with him?"

I took her hands in mine. "Your father." I spoke softly.

Her face went blank. She blinked several times processing the magnitude of my words.

"My father?" Her eyes widened dramatically.


I explained the fact that Carlisle Cullen was an active member of the community with many political connections. She seemed to be taking it all very well. Her eyes got a little glassy when I told her how warm Charlie was to me.

It wasn't until I told her about the fundraiser and my father's insistence on my attending it that she reacted.

"You're going to my father's fundraiser?" She gasped.

I nodded slowly. "I planned to get out of it but for some reason my dad's adamant that I attend. I promise to keep myself scarce and I won't be staying long. Are you okay with this?"

She took a few deep breaths as though she were trying to calm herself down. "I suppose. I mean I just hadn't thought…it's just everything is becoming so connected now." Her breaths were rapidly getting heavier. "Oh god, if my father finds out about the insane contract I was crazy enough to sign it will kill him. Please, don't let him find out Edward." Her eyes were pleading with me.

I wrapped my arms around her. "Listen to me. I promise I'll do everything in my power to protect you and your father from harm."

I could feel her heart beating rapidly against my chest. "Thank you," She whispered into my neck. The warmth of her breath trickled down my skin.

I pulled away from her so that I could look into her eyes. "Your father seems like a good man." I brushed my fingers down her cheek, "a strong man."

She nodded her head in agreement. "He's the most generous and fearless man I know."

I frowned when I saw her bottom lip poke out. "I hear he's had to fight hard for everything that he's ever gotten and that he never backs down from a challenge."

Her eyes were misty as she continued to nod her head, acknowledging the truth to my words.

I slid my arm around her shoulders. "I'm also told he's a devoted family man, and a loyal friend."

She sniffled a bit. "He is." She said in a shaky voice.

I gently pressed my lips to her forehead. "So if all of that is true then why would you believe the photos James showed you are authentic and how could you ever think your father wouldn't want to protect his little girl from the clutches of a crazed psychopath?"

There was silence for several minutes followed by a loud exhale. "I never said he wouldn't want to protect me." She paused. "He would die for me. I know that. He would do anything to take away my pain." She furrowed her brow and looked at me with steel determination. "Believe me not even for a second did I believe my father would ever cheat on Sue. But I realized it didn't matter what I believed, if James released those pictures to the press they would have a field day on him. There are so many people just dying for the chance to ruin his career. I've caused my dad enough pain already Edward. I will not allow him to suffer another minute on my account. Not if I can help it. Please say you understand that."

It was in that moment that I realized it wasn't just my heart that was connected to Bella. It was my whole freaking body. It was like every fiber of my being reacted to her in one way or another.

I was in deep….real deep and I was treading on uncharted territory. I'd never felt like that before. To be honest I didn't think it was even possible for me.

Nor had I ever wanted it.

Yet there it was just the same…feelings…strong feelings. They had somehow invaded my body and mind. It felt entirely foreign to me.

I pinched the bridge of my nose, squeezing it tightly, hoping to find the right words to say to the wounded girl sitting next to me. "I do understand." I did, to a certain extent. "There is nothing wrong with you wanting to protect the people you love, but I think you're doing more than that."

I paused briefly and decided to just come out with it and ask her what I really wanted to know.

"Bella tell me the truth, is this only about protecting your family or are you punishing yourself as well?"

Big, wet tears spilled from her eyes. Her quiet sniffles became heavy sobs. Instinctively my hands were on her face helping her to wipe them away…but they kept falling.

I grabbed her by the hips and pulled her up onto my lap. "Shhh. Baby, it's okay. It's not your fault. It's not your fault." I kept repeating those words to her, hoping they would sink in, wanting so badly for her to believe them.

"I… killed… her… Edward. It is my fault, all my fault." She exclaimed through gut wrenching sobs. Her whole body was shaking beneath my arms.

There was so much pain in her voice. "Bella, you didn't kill her. Your mom died in a tragic accident that was caused by bad weather conditions."

I ran my hands through her hair. She continued sobbing uncontrollably.

I grabbed hold of her chin, lifting it up to force her eyes to meet mine. "Tell me this, would you have still asked her to drive if you knew you were going to have an accident?"

She instantly shook her head.

I kissed the side of her face. "Of course you wouldn't. But no one knows what the future holds. Sometimes it brings pleasant surprises." I brought her hand to my lips and kissed each one of her fingertips. "But sometimes it brings unexpected tragedies."

I pulled her in closer to me. Her head fell on my shoulder. I held her tight, hoping that at least some of my words managed to get through to her.

Once her breathing evened out she lifted her head up off my shoulder. "Thank you." She said through a sweet smile.

My brow furrowed at the appreciative look on her face. "For what?"

She kissed my lips softy. "For being a pleasant surprise."

I smirked at her. "You're very welcome, but the pleasure is all mine. I assure you."

She giggled lightly, her face still wet from her tears. Corny as it may be all felt right in the world again, just from that one simple sound.

It didn't take long for me to realize that all was notright in the world, far from it. Unfortunately, I needed to discuss with Bella just how not right the world really was.

So, after a few quiet moments I went on to explain my visit with Jasper and the subsequent ride I took with the Volturi brothers.

We spent some time analyzing what type of connection Jasper could possibly have with such an infamous crime family. She agreed there was a strong possibility that he was a blood relative of the Volturi's.

The deceitful bastard.

I thoroughly dissected my day with her and we concluded that I needed to pay Jasper another visit and this time he would talk.

There was no fucking doubt about that.

Time always flew by quickly in the garden room but once Bella was added to the equation it seemed to double its speed. Before I knew it darkness had fallen upon us. We must have spent hours just sitting together talking on that bench.

I wondered if Eric was still unconscious or if his worthless ass was roaming around my house searching for us.

Let the fucker sweat a little... I couldn't wait to lay into him. I realized it would be wise for me to reprimand him for slacking off on the job rather than to reveal the fact that my rage was actually due to him manhandling Bella.

I had to hide my feelings for her around him.

Once we got all the heavy issues out of the way we managed to actually take it down a notch and just spend some time getting to know each another.

We talked about trivial things, our favorite films, books and music. I thirsted to know more about her and she seemed eager to learn about me as well.

We had a lot in common, though I certainly didn't share Bella's great love for Matthew McConaughey movies. What the hell she saw in that flake was beyond me.

I endured my fair share of sappy chick flicks over the years thanks to my sister. So I knew firsthand what his films entailed.

I was in the middle of teasing Bella for her ridiculous taste in movies when I saw a spark of light flash through her eyes.

I couldn't resist it. "Hey there perty lady. What's on yer mind?" I drawled, giving her my best Matthew McConaughey impression.

She giggled mischievously and then flushed brighter than I'd ever seen before.

She coughed lightly. "Um... well I was just thinking about…oh…never mind." She looked away in embarrassment.

She was covered in a delicious pink blush. It made me want to do obscene things to her. I couldn't help but wonder what on earth had gotten her so riled up?

"Bella?" I reached out for her chin bringing her face close to mine. "Come on. Tell me what you're thinking. Remember, there are no secrets in here."

I gave her a crooked smile, hoping it would weaken her resolve the way her smiles always weakened mine.

She squirmed around a bit, clearly uncomfortable with what she was about to say. "I was just thinking about last night." Her skin practically burst into flames beneath my fingertips. I still had her on my lap, with no plans of ever letting her go.

My eyebrow shot up. "Really, which part of last night were you thinking about?"

I spent a good portion of my day thinking about the previous night. Having her warm body so close to mine certainly wasn't helping matters, but for the first time in my fucking life I didn't want it to justbe about sex.

It wasn't like that with Bella.

Don't get me wrong, sex with her was by far the most mind blowing experience I'd ever had, but it wasn't the only thing I wanted from her. Not by a long shot.

She pulled herself up straight using my shoulders for leverage. "Um…pretty much the whole night, but when you made me come like I never knew possible. That was kind of my favorite part."

I choked on my own breath. She was certainly full of surprises. "Oh yes, I vaguely recall that."

She narrowed her eyes at me. "Well, it's something I'm quite sure I'll never forget."

I looked directly into her eyes. "Neither will I."

A smug grin erupted on my face, I can't lie her words stroked my ego, but I didn't want her to think it was purely physical for me.

I wanted her to know how I felt about her, but the same damn doubts kept holding me back.

When did I turn into such a wuss?

I decided to just grab the bull by horns and stop being such a fucking pansy.

"Last night…meant a lot to me. I'm not very good at this sort of thing, so bear with me." I glanced up at her and was rewarded with a warm smile. "I'm not proud to tell you this, but in the past sex meant nothing to me." I wanted to be honest with her. "It was always just for fun."

Her smile disappeared completely.

I exhaled a deep breath. "But with you, it's different. Everything is different…it's better. There are… feelingsthere. That's something I never experienced before. I care for you Bella."

And there it was, my heart, I threw it on the line for her.

She looked speechless and I was really hoping that wasn't a bad sign. After a few endless minutes she finally responded. "It meant a lot to me too, so much." She said softly.

I felt like I was in high school all over again, but even then I never went so soft over a girl. Bella was just different that was the only way to explain it.

"It's probably really obvious, but I have feelings for you too." She blushed wildly and I fought the urge to lick her. "I feel like a completely different person when I'm with you….less inhibited…alive. As a matter of fact I was just thinking…" she abruptly clamped her mouth shut.

I stared at her intently. "You were just thinking…?"

She shook her head. "Uh…nothing." She looked away quickly.

"Come on, you can tell me anything."

She looked hesitant, but I made sure to give her my most desperate eyes.

She fidgeted a bit with her hair, nervously pulling it behind her ears. "Okay but please don't laugh at me. I'll die. Promise you won't laugh?" She eagerly awaited my response.

"I promise." I said confidently, laughing was the lastthing on my mind at that moment, if she only knew the thoughts that were racing through my mind she'd be heading for the hill.

"Well, I was just thinking that we're going to have to do a play scene soon, you know so Eric can report it back to James." She paused, glancing my way. "Not that I'm complaining about Eric being there or anything, I understand it's a necessity…but what if…." She paused again.

The suspense was killing me. I had no idea what she was trying to say.

She took a deep breath and looked directly into my eyes. "What if we played our first scene without him around?"

My mouth literally dropped open. I was speechless. Why in the world would she even want to do a scene without him around? If Eric wasn't there then there was no need for us to act as Dom and sub at all.

Her eyes darted to the floor. I hadn't thought it possible but she managed to flush even brighter than before.

What the hell is going on?

Slowly I brought my lips to her ear. "Bella." I whispered very softly. I didn't want to mess this up. I could see how fragile she was and I knew my reaction was crucial.

Her body shivered slightly as my breath ran down the side of her neck.

"Yes?" Her eyes were closed tightly.

My lips hovered over her ear. "Why would you want to do a play scene with just the two of us?"

Her eyes popped open and slowly she turned her face to look at me. "Um…I was just thinking it would be kind of nice if our first scene was a more personalexperience." She cleared her throat. "Then when we have to do it in front of Eric it might feel a little more comfortable." Her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip. "It's a stupid idea. Just forget I said anything okay?" She went to stand up, but I grabbed her hand pulling her back down to me.

"Where do you think you're running off to?" I scolded her playfully. "I never said I didn't like the idea. As a matter of fact, I think it makes a lot of sense."

"It does?" She looked shocked.

I nodded my head. We sat there staring at each other intently.

"I just have one last question and since there are no secrets in this room I want you to answer me honestly okay?"

She nodded her head in agreement.

I took a deep breath and released it slowly before speaking. "Is that the only reason you want to do a scene without Eric around?"

Her eyes widened slightly. It was several moments before she slowly shook her head.

My heart was racing in my chest. I swallowed forcefully. "Tell me."

Her chin dropped down elongating her beautiful neck. "I know it sounds crazy, but there's a part of me that's...curious to find out what it would feel like to be dominated by someone that isn't a sadistic psychopath." A guilty look was etched into her face.

Oh Christ, she was killing me. "Bella, you don't have to be dominated by anybody. You never have to do anything that you don't want to do."

She kissed my lips softly. "I know I don't have to." Her eyes held firmly on mine. "I want to. Well, I mean I want to see what it would be like...with you." She rubbed her nose against mine sensually.

Fuck! Was she serious? "Are you serious?" The filter was off and I was just saying my thoughts out loud.

She nodded her head in affirmation. "I know you're not a real Dom and I'm not a real sub and I'm probably not very good at it. I...I just thought that maybe you were a little curious too, but if you don't want to-"

I stopped her right there, placing my finger on her moving lips. "Meet me in the playroom in ten minutes."

So here we are finally going to the playroom in the next Chapter. TropicalSorbet and me changed the last part of this Chapter several times. I wasn't sure Bella should be the one asking for the playroom but fact is it has to be her idea. Edward would never ask of Bella to be his submissive. This Chapter was all about their relationship. Unfortunately they started it with sex so I'm sure this will cause some problems in the future but for now Bella chose sex as a communication device.

I already started Chapter 13 so before you all get angry over this fact wait till you read Bella's explanation..if you are still not convinced by then you can flame all you want ;)

I'm still open for suggestions regarding the first time in the playroom...I'm having some ideas but what do YOU think should their first play be about? I'm not promising to write every single suggestion but I promise to make it worth it for everyone if you send me your ideas (of course I will give you the credit for the idea if I use it ;-) )

Can't wait for your ideas! Review!

About the Winter Garden: The origin of the winter garden dates back to the 17th to 19th centuries where European nobility would construct large conservatories that would house tropical and subtropical plants and would act as an extension of their living space.