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Summary: Bella feels like she has settled for the ordinary in her life. Her best friend Alice tries to help her broaden her horizons. Will it work?

Chapter 26

Bella's POV

I wasn't happy.

I wasn't happy at all.

But my father is extremely stubborn and there wasn't anything I could say to talk him out of going back to the house in Forks. I knew it was beyond time for us to get back to our normal lives but the fear was still within me that something was going to happen that I had no control over. I would seriously lose it if something happened to my father. He was my rock.

Edward assured me that the company would keep looking for the perpetrator but I knew he didn't have high hopes of discovering anything new. Every lead that they followed dried up quickly which didn't ease my fears in the least. I was happy that Sue would be with my dad but I still worried.

I was going to have a hard time getting back to the old routine, well the somewhat old routine. Edward would be a part of my life now. I don't think I could get rid of him if I tried and I definitely didn't even want to try.

Seeing him take care of me and my father the way he had over the past weeks, I knew he more than cared a little about me. I cared about him as well. I just haven't told him in so many words yet. The words were on the tip of my tongue. I just wasn't sure how he'd feel about them. Was he falling for me as I was falling for him? My father and Alice seemed to think so. I wasn't quite sure. He was very solicit, very respectful, very careful. The problem was I wanted him to be passionate, aggressive, take me by storm.

I knew he could be that way. There was no way a man that looked like him, sang like him and had the wealth that he did had been a monk until I came into his life. I couldn't understand why he wasn't moving our relationship to the next level. I thought I was giving out all the right signals. I wasn't overly experienced but don't men pick up on when a woman was interested in them? Did I have to smack him upside the head to give him a clue. And when did I start thinking of him as Edward and not Anthony. Maybe it had something to do with seeing him in "security / bodyguard" mode. He acted totally different from when he was on stage playing his music.

I sighed and grabbed my to go cup for my coffee and headed out the door. I was expecting Edward to finally tell me about what had happened on that weekend he stood me up tonight and I still had to get through the work day. Dad was on his way home with Sue, nothing I could do about that. Damn stubborn old man.

The day went as usual. The office staff still didn't know that I was friends with Edward, if that's what we are. I still wasn't sure what our designation was in that area. Probably a pretty good idea since in the past, most of the secretarial pool had pretty much swooned over every picture they saw of him in the papers with whatever blond eye candy he had on his arm at the time. The women wanted to be her, and the men wanted to be him. Okay, so maybe some of the men wanted to be her as well. The jury was still out on that front.

Coffee break came. I checked my phone for messages or missed calls. Nothing.

Lunch came. Again I checked my phone. Still nothing. I was a little concerned at this point. I would have thought my father would have at least phoned to say he was home safely. He knew I couldn't answer the phone while working but a voice mail message would have been nice.

By the end of the day, I was dithering between being pissed and being worried. I realize my father is an adult and can take care of himself but with the attack, the perpetrator not being found and him being back in Forks, how could I not worry? I headed out to my car, pulling my phone out of my purse as I walked when my forward momentum came to a screeching halt as I hit the solid mass in front of me, who grabbed my arms tightly. Granted, if they hadn't, I'd have landed quite solidly on my ass. Looking up, my eyes widened as I saw a very handsome, blonde haired man standing before my. My nerves started pinging. I'd seen this person before but I didn't know from where.

"I'm sorry! I wasn't watching where I was going." I apologized quickly, hoping he'd let me go so I could step back away from him.

He started at me for what seemed like forever before finally letting go. I stepped quickly back, keeping my eyes on his face. I saw an emotion I couldn't identify rush through his eyes before they were nothing but cold, dark pools. Feeling rather uncomfortable, I stepped further away and to the side of him.

He stood there staring at me, saying nothing.

"Well, thanks for catching me before I fell. I'm really sorry." I apologized once again before quickly walking to my car, my hand speed dialling my father as I went. I could feel those cold eyes boring into my back as I went. Resisting the urge to turn around, I practically sprinted to the car, hitting the unlock button on my remote until I finally was close enough to hear the click of the door.

I threw myself inside and relocked the door, glancing around to see if the man had followed me with more than just his eyes. Seeing no one, I sighed and held the phone to my ear. I was just about to give up when I heard my father's voice.

"Hello Bella."

"DAD! Why didn't you call me to let me know you were home safe! I've been worried all day!"

"I'm sorry Bella, honey. Sue and I have been stuck at the precinct all day. We just walked in the door. We were helping the guys go through the evidence again to see if fresh eyes could catch something the boys didn't. I'm sorry you were worried. That's the last thing I'd have wanted."

"It's okay Dad. But please, next time you say you'll call me, please do. I was imagining the worst things all day.!

"Are you heading home now?"

"Yes Dad. I'm seeing Edward later so I'm going to go home and try to relax now that I know you're safe."

"Okay Bella. I promise I won't forget to call next time. Be safe and say Hi to Edward for me."

"I will. Love you Dad." Charlie and I weren't normally verbally demonstrative with our love for each other, but since the break in and the fact he had almost died it had become important to me for him to know exactly how much I did love him.

I headed home, planning to relax until it was time to get ready for Edward to show up.

The time seemed to pass quickly, almost more quickly than I wanted it too. Not that I wasn't looking forward to spending time with Edward, I just wasn't sure what he was going to tell me and how it was going to affect us.

No one was perfect and I couldn't imagine he could ever tell me something so awful that I wouldn't have anything to do with him. The one thing about being raised by Charlie was that he had always taught me to be tolerant of other people's mistakes and the choices that they had made. I was positive that it had something to do with an event that happened long before I even knew him. Who was I to criticize what he had done in the past. I really wanted to make sure he knew that.

I got ready and nervously waited for Edward. The door buzzer rang and I almost jumped out of my skin. Laughing softly to myself, I walked to the panel to buzz him in. Within moments, the door bell rang and I literally ran to the door to let him in. He smiled at me as I peeked around the door.

I walked into his arms as he came into the entry way and gave him a quick hug. As I stepped back, he gave me a kiss on the cheek, which of course, made me blush bright red. I'm sure it was my upbringing that made me react that way to any type of physical affection but it was extremely annoying.

"Would you like a drink or do we have to leave right away?"

His eyes tightened slightly as he looked at me. "Can we sit for a few minutes? Maybe I should tell you what happened that weekend before we get to dinner and get it out of the way. I didn't make reservations anywhere so we don't have a time restraint. I figured, if you still wanted to have dinner after we talk, we could just go down the street to the pub on the corner. If that works for you, that is."

"Sound great! I love pub food. It reminds me of dinners with my Dad after I was legal age. Before that we could only go to the diner." I laughed a little remembering the first time Charlie had taken me to the pub and the bartender had given me a hard time, making me show ID and acting surprised that I was 21.

"Something amusing?" Edward enquired.

"I was just remembering the first time Dad took me out when I reached 21." I said, shrugging.

"Can't be as bad as when Dad took me out to the bar for the first time. Emmett had to tag along even though he got his own night with Dad when he turned 21. It turned out to be a fun night in spite of his presences and it was hilarious to see him get drunk in front of Dad. I never have drank that much, even when we were teenagers and everyone was partying behind their parents back and that didn't really change when I turned of age. Emmett, on the other hand, was always into the party scene in high school. I am actually still shocked that he never got caught."

"I'm sure having Emmett as a brother was extremely challenging." I laughed with him. "Anyway, where do you want to talk? Is this a living room or a kitchen table sort of discussion?"

"Either is fine with me. Wherever you're comfortable."

"Let's go with the living room, more comfortable. Do you want a drink? We can walk down to the pub. I've got some beer and wine."

"Beer sounds good. Thanks."

I grabbed 2 bottles of Heineken while he headed into the living room and followed him to the couch. Handing him a bottle, I sat down at the other end and turned to face him. Smiling encouragingly, I nodded for him to begin, taking a sip as I did so. I wasn't sure if I needed the liquid courage but it never hurt anyone to be prepared.

He sighed deeply, taking a long pull at his beer and put it down on the table as he turned to face me.

"This story starts a few years ago when I met a young girl and became what I thought was friends with. At least, that is all I felt towards her. She, apparently, felt something a whole lot more and became somewhat obsessed with me. At first, she started showing up at my apartment unannounced usually when I had company over and create a scene in front of them. Remember, I only considered her a friend, nothing more. Then it started to get worse. She started getting access to my home and I would find her inside with dinner waiting when I came home from the office. Eventually, when I told her that I couldn't be her friend anymore, something my father recommended I do, she went absolutely crazy. She would show up unexpectedly in places I was at and create a huge scene. My father finally contacted her parents who admitted that she had had some psychiatric problems in the past but were surprised that he was telling them she was stalking me. She had told them that we were actually engaged and had even been planning the wedding with her mother over the phone. My Dad was shocked. He knew that there was something wrong with her but hadn't realized she was so delusional. When faced with what she told her parents, she tried to kill herself. At that point, she was a danger to herself and we were able to put her someplace for her to get help." He paused, taking a breathe and looking at me.

I nodded for him to continue.

"The weekend we were supposed to get together, I had an unexpected guest when I got home on Saturday night. She was in my apartment, in my bed actually, acting like she belonged there. I kept her calm and called my father. We aren't sure how she managed to get out of the hospital or how she got to my apartment but I knew if anyone would know how to handle her, it would be him. We ended up taking her to another hospital with more security. I honestly didn't have time to call you before we were on a plane." he was talking very earnestly by the time he finished, almost like he was afraid I thought he was making everything up and I wasn't going to believe him. "You can talk to Dad if you want. He can't give you any medical information but he can vouch for where I was that Sunday."

I reached over and took his hand in mine.

"Edward, it's fine."

His eyes met mine in surprise. I was starting to believe he was very insecure when it came to what was happening between us, as much as I was.

"I don't need your father to vouch for you. I believe you. Thank you for telling me about what happened. I'm sorry that you had to go through something like that. I hope she is finally getting the help she seems to need."

He seemed to relax as I spoke.

"We are still looking into how she got here and specifically my apartment. I'd moved since she had gone to the hospital and I will be moving again soon. I was going to move when we got back from the hospital but then everything with Charlie happened and I haven't had time. I spent the day going through houses in gate communities in the area with high security. I don't want anymore surprise guests."

"Well, if you need any help, let me know." I said with a smile. "Now, if that's all there is to that, can we go eat? I'm starving!"

Laughing, he grabbed my hand and helped me off the couch, giving me a brief hug before I went to grab my phone and keys off the kitchen counter. I was relieved that it was nothing more than a crazy person who had an obsession with him. I realized how funny that sounded but after Charlie was attacked, crazy people that wanted to marry the object of their affection didn't seem so scary. People that attack others in their own homes were much more so. How was I to know that they could be so closely related.

This story is not beta'd. Please forgive any errors.

Please let me know what you think

Posted on Aug 21, 2013

Words: 2,766