For Jennifer.

The Club

Chapter 13

Time and Tides

I sat frozen while I waited for his reaction. He stood suddenly and ran his fingers through his copper hair and looked down at me, his mouth in a straight line.

"I need to talk to someone."

"Who, Edward? Why don't you talk to me?"

"No, Emmett. I need to talk to Emmett."

He had made up his mind, it seems. He walked into the bathroom and I heard the shower going so I slipped out into the kitchen and set the coffee machine up. What to have for breakfast? What does the condemned man eat? Whatever the hell he wants.

I pulled out half a cheesecake and cut it in half again and slapped the oversized serving onto a plate and collected a cake fork as I walked outside.

Yum, cheesecake. My last meal as the pretend Mrs Edward Cullen.

Edward walked outside and stood looking at me. I couldn't decipher his emotions. He looked calm enough, but maybe I should still alert Carlisle.

"I'm going." he announced and promptly left.

"I will be here when you return " I said into the air behind him.

I was not running this time. Whatever happens, I face it front on.

I cleaned the house and found an old toothbrush to get into every crevice of the kitchen bench.

Whoever rented this place once we moved out would have nothing to whinge about when it came to cleanliness. I scrubbed and scoured until I noticed the benchtop was looking a little dim and scratched. Overkill. I stopped and wiped the cleaning products away and dried the benches.

By lunchtime, I was a nervous wreck and imagining all kinds of scenarios.

He had gone, left town, run away. He hated me, us, whatever. He rejected me again.

Would never speak to me again.

Damn it to hell.

Why didn't I leave him in his state of ignorant bliss? We could have gone through life with him assuming Sabel was just some woman he had fucked in the past, like the blond. She didn't have to be significant. Surely I could have been all things to him. All that he needed. Once he accepted he had 'broken me in", we surely would have moved on to wild sex. If only I had not been so needy and impatient. No wonder he has left me again.

As the sun started to set, I couldn't take any more. A whole day with nothing to occupy my mind but doubts and worries, and it wasn't ending. I couldn't bear to climb into our bed alone.

A walk. I needed to walk. I put my phone in my pocket on silent. If I have to call Alice or Rose and beg them to find me and take me to their places, I would use it. I looked sadly at the screen. No missed calls, no text messages. He had not even said Goodbye.

Not that I wanted to hear or read that saddest of all words, but it would have been nice to have closure. To know I had done all I could. To know he at least understood I loved him and needed to say Goodbye.

x x x x x x x x

Edward's POV

Sabel. Bella. Sabel. Bella.

One I loved fucking, one I just loved completely.

And she was both?

Something nagged at the back of my mind, like I knew this already.

I have to talk to Emmett.

I can't have a conversation with Bella about things I don't remember and don't understand.

Emmett was surprised to see me and when I explained my problem, he stood and looked at me.

"Shit man. You thought she was DEAD. Dead, Edward. Dead and fucking gone forever. Now she isn't fucking dead so you immediately want to whine like a little girl about her going to a fucking club where you fucking met her and fucking fucked her. Are you insane?"

"I hope not. Just confused."

"Well, if you would like to turn your mind back to when Bella was DEAD, did you give a fuck about her past history or where you met her or did you collapse and want to DIE because she was gone and you could never have her back? If you choose not to be with her over this, please allow me to help you next time you are feeling all like a damn emo and want to cut yourself."

This confused me further.

I had cut myself?

I picked at the scars and memories flooded my brain.

I gasped as I recalled being in the ER, seeing the mangled dead body of Bella, seeing her newly cut hair hang over the side of the trolley as the doctors worked pointlessly to try and revive her. Attending the service, walking to the front in the middle of it and taking the photo of Bella and I off the stand and holding it to my chest, clasping her image because that was all I had left. Pain ripped through my body as it all flooded back to me. I recalled attending the wedding on the beach when Rose and Emmett got married, standing beside Jasper, looking at a lone Alice crying because she was the only bridesmaid and she wanted Bella beside her,then deliberately planning my own death. The bathroom, the scalpel, the welcome pain, the blackness, the siren, the noise, the fight to stay while they dragged me back, the disappointment when my heart stopped and no Bella came forward to claim me. Giving up, letting them revive me because she wasn't there. Hearing voices as they cried and raged over me as I lay sleeping but fully aware of my surroundings. Bella coming to me, alive. Sabel sitting on my bed at night, me being with her.

God, those two dragged me back from Hell, from a pointless existence. I had been plotting another way to die until they came back.

A car accident, hoping maybe the reason Bella wasn't there was because accident victims went somewhere else, so I had planned to die in the same manner she had. I had to find her and instead she found me.

I turned and shook Emmett's hand, resisting the urge to kiss him in thanks for waking up my senses.

I had to do something to show my Bella how much I love her and Sabel. I have to face it, I want and need Sabel too. My emotional ties may lie with Bella but my body calls for Sabel and this way I get them both and can be guilt free about it.

If we werent married already, I would begin to woo her properly. Then it hits me, I never did woo her, not really. There is no reason I cant do it now.

I spent the day driving from one destination to another, buying flowers, rose petals, candles, ingredients for the perfect meal. I even went into a lingerie shop and chose a couple of stunnungly sexy outfits that were sexy but also feminine and hoped she would accept them in the spirit they were bought.

I love my Bella but her body does things to me that are not necessarily assosciated with love. But in our case, the two feelings are both there.

I used Emmett's kitchen to prepare the meal and by the time I drove home to our little house, twilight had fallen.

The sun was setting behind the ocean and the colors reflected on the waves gave a whole magical, other world feel.

Bella was nowhere to be seen so I quickly put the meal in the oven to keep warm and went to our bedroom to make up the bed with the new linens Rose had helped me choose then washed for me so I could use them tonight.

I placed the dozens of different sized candles on every surface in the bedroom and sitting room and dimmed the lights so we could see but were in a romantic ambiance. I placed the many flowers in vases until I had to resort to other containers, anything that would hold water and support the blooms. Every surface was covered in flowers and candles and the mixture of aromas from both were subtle but perfect. A mix of gentle scents hovered in the air.

The bags of fresh rose petals held way more than I expected and I covered the bed and the floor, just leaving a clear path for us to walk on

My Bella should be here.

Its now dark outside so I grab my phone and call her.

I got diverted to voice mail and for the first time, I started to think about how my behavior today may have appeared to her. I had barely spoken to her, after the night we had finally made love. As Bella and Edward. As a proper couple. Then I had also had sex with Sabel and had finally figured out the truth.

And I had left her last time I realized that same truth.

Was she thinking I wasn't coming home?

I hadn't contacted her all day and I should have done that. When Emmett made me really think and open my mind to the truth, I should have come straight back to her.

I opened the fridge. The plate that had held the cheesecake was completely empty and a lone cake fork sat on it. So, she had been comfort eating.

But where was she now?

Had something happened? Oh God, memories of the car accident flooded my head. What if this time she was gone for real? Forever?

I tried ringing Alice, but she had not spoken to Bella today. Apart from anything else, that saddened me. She should have turned to her friends. She had not rung Rose all day. I would have known.

Who else could I call? Surely she hadn't gone back to Charlie's? I rang and tried to pass the call off as merely keeping in contact and checking on his progress as he fully recovered, but by his voice I knew he wasn't fooled.

I rang Renee as a last resort but she flew into an instant panic and didn't help matters. I should have thought before I phoned. They had gone through a lot of dramatic emotional stuff over the accident. And Charlie's health.

God, what was wrong with me?

I sat at the table and held my head in my hands.

Maybe she just gave up on me.

Who would blame her?

Who in their right mind rejects the woman he loves for something as stupid as finding out she was also the woman you most like to fuck? And she had never slept with anyone else at the club. And she had never thrown a hissy fit over the blond I had used to test my emotions on. How would I react if she came home and casually told me, she had slept with some random just to see if it was me she wanted? I was many types of fool but lately, my foolishness was ruining my life.

"Hi."

I looked up and there in the doorway, looking lost and uncertain was my Bella. My Sabel. My world.

"Hi yourself. I cooked dinner."

"Okay. Are you alright?"

"Am I sane, have I come to my senses, yes."

"Are you staying?"

"With you? Forever."

I stood and took a couple of hesitant steps towards her. I wanted her forever but did she still want me?

I smiled ruefully and opened my arms and she smiled back and stepped into them.

"Bella, I have been a monumental idiot from that day at the beach onwards. I don't deserve you at all."

"I am not going to argue. I just wish you had spoken to me. So much of this could have been avoided."

"From now on, I swear I will talk to you first, before running off. That's all I can offer."

"I love you so much, Edward. You have my heart so please take care of it."

"I can promise to do that, from this day forward."

My words triggered something in her.

"Do you now remember everything?'

"Yes. I had the horrible experience of reliving my betrayal of you, your death, your return, my suicide attempt, the vast emptiness of being in this world without you. The way we met, both times. The love I have always felt for you and the need for Sabel. Its all clear and now its all fitted together like puzzle pieces. We are perfect for each other. Nobody can deny that. We will make this work because we both have what we want the most. Right? We will stay married and get our happy ever after."

"I think we will get that, now. But I have to confess. We are not legally married. It was a set up Carlisle and I agreed to do because we both love you and feared you were still teetering on self destruction if we didn't."

I was sorry to hear this revelation but on the other hand, it meant we could do it all the right way.

We could date, get engaged, fall even more in love if possible, marry, maybe even have children some day.

I wanted it all.

I wanted it to be right.

I wanted my Bella, all of her.

I want our future together and our happy ever after.

And it starts tonight.