Chapter 23

(Edward's POV)

Feelings are a dangerous thing aren't they? They make you feel things that you know you should not feel. Those mental feelings then soon turn to psychical actions. It doesn't matter if those physical actions make sense or not and they usually won't, because they are based on feelings, not coherent thoughts.

Damn

I knew what I was doing or more likely where I was headed and where I was headed was good. I had stayed with Bella through the night and had left before she woke up. It wasn't until I walked into the kitchen I remembered I had told Jasper to grab Emmett and patrol the outside. As it turns out that Bella's nightly screaming was exactly that, a nightly thing. Not sure why I never heard her before but then again I never had an issue with sleeping through the night. I did not know what I was feeling but I knew it was not good.

I needed to get out of here. All of a sudden the ranch seemed too small; it was hard to breathe. Everyone and everything seemed smothering. I jogged into the kitchen and looked at the list stuck to the fridge. A trip into town, to get out of the house was exactly what I needed. I grabbed my overnight bag and the list. It was a four hour drive to town and when you take in the time it took to shop and then the drive back, it made better sense to just stay the night in town.

No one was in the house so I just left a note and headed towards the truck. I turned the truck onto the dirt road and headed towards town. I was relieved to be away from everything but something in my mind would not let go.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I drove out of sight of the ranch. My mind was going a mile a minute. Why had I stayed with her all night? I guess, part of me saw the little Alice in her. The part that couldn't understand what she did wrong to deserve her fate. Why she couldn't go back home to the family she missed and surely the family that missed her.

Being around Bella brought a rare sense of guilt out in me. It was like when she was around, all my mistakes, past failures and shame were laid out in front of me. Yet, I couldn't leave her alone. She didn't need me exactly; she just needed someone to be there. I understand that feeling well, where you want to be alone in your head to deal with your personal demons but you need someone in the room at the same time.

I also knew feeling for this girl was not something that I should be doing. I could pity her from a distance couldn't I? I couldn't figure out how to avoid the girl without being a jerk to her. Whatever the solution I needed to figure it out soon, being around her and my family was putting more strain on me than I'd let to admit.

I tried focusing on the road but kept having to remind myself that I was taking this trip to clear my head. My thoughts kept drifting back to her, where she was and wondering how she was doing. With nothing to focus on but the road, my drive became as tortuous as the ranch. I flipped through the radio channel and even tried counting the deer I saw but nothing helped, I kept thinking about her.

I finally pulled into the town's only hardware shop and put the truck into park. I took a few breaths and promised myself I would think of no one and nothing in relation to the ranch. This was my time to relax and I was going to take it.

As I walked through the aisle and placed the various things on the list, my phone buzzed. Fearing it was one of the family members; I ignored the call and continued shopping.

As I loaded the back of the truck with the purchases my phone buzzed again. I finished loading and looked at the screen of my phone, it was Chelsea.

Chelsea, I thought, was exactly the type of distraction I needed and wanted. I answered the phone with a smile. After arranging the sleepover I was off to one more store and then Chelsea's place.

Chelsea was waiting by the front porch as soon as I pulled up. Before I was even able to close the door of my truck she was running towards me. I laughed and opened my arms for her. She hugged my neck, jumped up and locked her legs around my waist. Our mouths were stuck together before I knew what hit me. I think I kicked the door shut as I carried her into her house as our tongues explored one another. My mind thought of nothing else as pulled her shirt over her head.

She was sleeping on my chest as I stared into the darkness. I wasn't sure what time it was but I was sure it was pretty late. Chelsea was a great girl but something never did fit with her and I. I loved her in my younger years and I still do to this day but the issue was I was not in love with her. She felt the same way about me, we loved each other dearly but our relationship just never worked. After many fights and too many hurt feelings we broke each other's hearts but only realized it was the companionship is what we missed. Yes, the sex was amazing and it was usually the only thing that fueled us to stay together back then. We were both happy with where we were at; free to do as we pleased but always knew the other was a phone call away. We are happier now then we were officially dating; we both knew it was strange but this strange worked for both of us.

"So what brought you back?" Chelsea asked. I hadn't known she was awake.

"Family," I replied without further explanation

"Got ya," she answered.

I smiled and kissed the top of her head. She never pried and never pushed, I loved her for that.

My phone buzzed and I looked at the caller I.D. it was a restricted number. Immediately my adrenaline started flowing and I feel my heart beating through my chest. As directed I did not answer, I waited until the buzzing of the phone stopped. Chelsea sat up, confused by my reaction but said nothing. My phone buzzed again, it was him.

"Hello," I said into the cell phone as I motioned with my hands for Chelsea to get me a pen and paper. Without question she did as I asked.

'Ready," I spoke to the man on the phone.

I wrote down the exact information he gave me. We said nothing more and he hung up the phone as soon as I confirmed I had it all.

"You going to explain that?" Chelsea asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No," I simply said as my brain reeled with the new information.

As usual she said nothing further but she stared into my eyes. Suddenly she was straddling me and I couldn't help but be memorized by the shape of her body in the moonlight. She placed both her hands on each side of my face and looked at me intently.

"Edward, where is your head at?" she questioned.

I gave her no response because we both knew she did not want to know. She gave a sad smile and leaned her forehead against mine.

"Whatever you plan on doing…please don't do it," she whispered.

Ever have that one person in your life that knows you too well?

Without saying a word I claimed her mouth to mine. She let out a giggle as I grabbed her hips and grinded her against me, suddenly ending the one-sided conversation.

It was daylight when I awoke. As quietly as I could I got dressed without waking Chelsea. I gave her a kiss on her cheek and a little note on her nightstand before I headed out to my truck.

I pulled into the feedlot, my last stop before heading back to the ranch. I ordered the grain on the list and few extras that I thought we might need. I watched as the men loaded my haul into the back of the truck and exchanged greetings with the owner. I was about to walk back to the truck when a sign stopped me and an idea hit me.

Free to good homes. The sign read.

I looked in the box and there was about six, sleeping little mutt puppies.

"Take them all if you want" laughed Jim, the feed store owner.

"Naw." I laughed. "Just one, thanks."

I picked up the fattest, fluffiest puppy there and Jim handed me a box.

"Thanks," I told him as I shoved the fat fur-ball in the box and placed him in the passenger seat.

Jim waved goodbye and I started my journey back home. I shared my jerky with my new copilot and decided that the pup was a good idea after all.

When the pup grew quiet and the radio station no longer got reception, I let the planning of the next few day enter my head. It took precise actions and clear mind and I would share my plan with Carlisle as soon as I got home. My heart raced with the impending future as I laid out my plans of revenge in my head.

It seemed to go by faster, the time as I pulled up to the ranch driveway. I looked over to the pup who had slept almost the entire ride home, waking up only to nag me for more jerky.

"Were home," I said to the fat pup as I lifted his box up and walked into the house.

I was relieved no one was inside the house as I brought the gift to Bella's door. I knocked a few times but there was no response or even noise to indicate there was someone in there. I opened the door quietly and walked in. The bathroom door was shut and the shower was on. I quickly set the box down and gave the puppy a quick pat on the head.

"Be good," I whispered to him. "And look cute," I added as I walked to the door. I quickly turned around to the pup, he was watching me leave. "And don't piss on anything!"

I closed the door behind me and jumped when I saw Carlisle standing almost right behind me.

"We need to talk," I whispered to him.