AN: Just a pair of quick reminders! There will be a Halloween Outtake popping up over the weekend and The Fandom for Preemies event starts on November 1st!
There are *over* 100 authors taking part, including a special Jack POV Outtake from Parachute. It ties into Chapters 23 & 24. If you can spare the donation, please do so! The March of Dimes is a very worthy charity! (Link to their site is on my profile and the blog!)
As always, all music used is up on the blog and reviews get a teaser on Monday!
Later that evening, after everyone had settled in for bed, Bella stood awkwardly in front of Edward's door, her hand poised to knock. She swallowed the lump in her throat and gave herself a mental shake. This was Edward and she had no reason to be nervous, she mentally chastised herself. She took a deep breath and let her knuckles tap against the wood. When lunch with the Prestons had finished, Bella and Jack opted to spend some time with Tanya while Edward headed to his office to work on a few things. After an afternoon filled with shopping and sight seeing, they dropped Tahn off at her hotel and made their way back home.
Home. Bella smiled to herself when she thought of that word. It wasn't so much the house itself, but the presences that were contained within it. She could easily see herself falling in love with Edward, if she wasn't there already. Having him come home to her and Jack every evening after work made her heart yearn for the three of them to be a conventional family, even if she knew it was impossible at the moment.
When they got back to house, Jack and Bella joined Esme and Edward for a light dinner. Afterward, Esme packed up a small basket to take to Carlisle, who was working an extra long shift at the hospital. When Bella had gone to settle Jack in for the night, Edward asked her to come up to his room when she was finished because he wanted to talk about a few things.
She was broken out of her thoughts when Edward opened his door, not even a minute after she knocked. He smiled brightly at her and motioned her to come inside. She smiled back shyly and stepped past him into the room. She had a few choices as to where to sit. A plush looking black chair in the corner of the room that she hadn't noticed before, the leather couch, or the large, inviting bed. She chose the latter, toeing her slippers off of her feet before climbing up onto his high mattress. She leaned back against his pillows and listened to the music playing softly in the background. She smiled when he recognized the voice of John Legend, and she turned to look at Edward. He was leaning against the closed bedroom door with contemplative look upon his face.
"John Legend?" she asked. He quirked an eyebrow and nodded with a smirk.
"My tastes are fairly eclectic."
She smirked right back. "Glad to know that that's another thing we have in common."
He shook his head and laughed quietly before taking a seat next to her on the bed. She shifted her body and looked up into his warm green eyes. She felt another piece of her heart slip away as she raised her hand to caress his cheek. She angled her face closer and pressed her lips to his.
Kiss. Kiss. Kiss me on my lips.
We've been dancing 'round the moment
Now we're doin' it.
A sigh of sweet relief.
We've been holding it so long,
The wait was killing me.
Oh and we, are what we, have been waiting for.
So baby, open your mind, while I close the door.
His lips caressed hers gently as their forms molded together. He shifted their bodies until they were side by side, facing each other on the bed. Edward pulled back and smiled down at Bella's closed eyes and blissful expression, before reaching out and moving a strand of hair behind her ear.
Her heart skipped a beat painfully when she opened her eyes and noticed the wary look on his face.
"What is it?" she asked quietly.
"Can you tell me about this book tour?"
She sighed and smiled slightly, relieved that it was something that was hopefully easy to fix.
"It's nothing major," she responded quietly. "Just a week or so and then I'll be back."
"Promise?" he asked in a strained voice.
"I promise. Now, less talking and more kissing, please."
Edward grinned, more at ease with her admission and resumed his previous exploration of her lips as she made a contented sound. They pulled apart, breathing heavily, a few moments later and Bella rested her head against his chest. She could hear his heart beating swiftly and she found herself soothed by the sound. She felt his hand caressing her back and she fought against purring like a kitten.
"When do you want to tell Jack about us?" Edward asked quietly. Bella remained silent in thought for a minute.
"Well, I think sooner is better than later. What exactly do we tell him? What does 'us' even entail?"
He breathed in deeply and let it out slowly. "I say we tell him that we're starting to have feelings for each other and would like to date. It's simple and the truth, for the most part anyway."
She leaned up on her elbow and gazed into his eyes.
"You have feelings for me?" she asked in a small voice. He smiled adoringly and nodded.
"I do. I'm completely falling for you, Bella Swan."
She felt tears sting her eyes and she buried her face in his shirt, before any of them had a chance to escape.
"Edward," she sighed, holding onto him tightly. "I'm right there with you."
She felt him kiss the top of her head and sigh.
"Thank god. I was worried for minute," he laughed lightly, trying to lighten the mood.
She smiled and nestled her cheek against him, before closing her eyes and letting out a small sigh.
The next morning, Bella awoke on her right side, feeling refreshed and like she had had the best night's sleep in her life. She felt something warm and soft curled up against the front of her body. She smiled sleepily and pulled Jack's familiar form closer. He shifted his body and burrowed deeper into her arms. She sighed contentedly and felt herself relax into the hard, yet relaxed form behind her.
Behind her? Her eyes shot open and she stiffened. She turned her head slowly and turned quickly back around as soon as she saw the mess of bronze hair that lay on the pillow next to hers. She bit her lip to keep from making a sound and her heart started to speed up. She had no idea when she had fallen asleep, nor how Jack had gotten in bed with them, but this was a scene that had been played out in her dreams over the past few weeks. She felt Edward's body move slightly and his arm came to rest around her waist, holding her tightly against him as he pulled her closer.
She was wondering how awkward this would end up being, when Edward splayed his fingers open across her belly and her heart started to soar.
"Good morning, beautiful," he spoke in a gravelly voice.
"Hey," she whispered back.
"Why are you whispering?" he replied in a low voice.
"We have company," she laughed quietly. She felt the bed shift and saw his bronze mop peek over her shoulder. A warm smile spread across his face as he rested his head on her arm, still watching their son.
"He's so beautiful, Bella. Sometimes, I'm scared that this is all a dream."
She turned her head and laid a kiss on the top of his head.
"I know exactly what you're feeling. I've felt it every day for the last five years."
Edward squeezed her tightly and she giggled when he inadvertently hit a ticklish spot.
Jack popped open one eye and glared at his parents.
"You know, people are still trying to sleep here," he muttered sleepily. Edward barked out a laugh and shook his head.
"You know, Little Bit, you do have your own bed," Bella replied with a smile.
Jack turned his head and cocked an eyebrow. "So do you, Mom."
She felt a fiery blush rush to her cheeks.
"I- I-" Bella stuttered while trying to think of a comeback. Edward sat up and gazed down at his newly formed family and grinned.
"It was an accident, Jack. We were talking and fell asleep."
Jack yawned and nodded. "That's what I thought. I woke up a earlier from a weird dream and Mom wasn't in her room, so I came up here."
Bella ran one of her hands through his hair. "Do you want to talk about it, baby?"
Jack shrugged. "I don't really remember most of it, but I think I was lost."
Edward reached over and touched his shoulder. Jack looked up at him and gave him a half-smile.
"You'll never be lost again, Jack. I promise."
Bella blinked away tears as she watched her son nod and try to hide his own.
"How about we go make some breakfast, kiddo?" she asked him.
"Sure, Ma. Can we have pancakes?" he asked excitedly. She laughed and nodded.
"That sounds fine."
Jack rolled away from her and landed on his feet before stopping and looking back at his parents.
"So, does this mean you two are together now or something?" he asked curiously.
Edward looked at Bella, unsure of how to proceed. She shook her head and smiled.
"Would you be okay with it, if we decided to date?" she asked.
Jack was quiet in thought for a few moments before nodding slowly.
"Yeah, I'd be cool with it. It's pretty obvious that you two like each other and are happy. I guess it kinda makes sense, but are you guys going to be all mushy and stuff?"
Edward shrugged and Jack made a face.
"Ugh, gross. Just try not to get all kissy in front of me, okay?" Jack called out as he sprinted from the room.
Bella laughed and sat up, removing her covers. Suddenly, Edward reached out and pulled her down, on top of his chest. His emerald eyes bore into hers before cupping her cheeks and pulling her in for a kiss. She made a face and covered his lips with her fingers. He quirked an eyebrow and she shrugged.
He rolled his eyes and let her clamber out of bed. He rolled over onto his side and watched as she slid on her slippers. As she walked towards the door, he definitely noticed the extra sway to her hips and stifled a groan. Once she was safely out of his room, she allowed herself thirty seconds to do a little happy dance before heading back to her room to get dressed for the day.
When she found herself in the kitchen fifteen minutes later, Jack and Esme were whispering conspiratorially while standing at the stove making pancakes. She folded her arms and watched her son for moment, reveling in his happiness. No matter what happened between her and Edward at the end of the summer, she'd never regret bringing Jack here. He had found a missing piece, and he was whole again. She felt an arm slide across her back and pull her closely. She smiled up at Edward before gazing back at their son.
Esme looked up and grinned with a twinkle in her eyes.
"Good morning, dears," she said jovially. "I hear we have some interesting developments?"
Jack turned around and shrugged sheepishly at his parents, which caused Bella to shake her head and laugh.
"You gossip worse than the church ladies back home, kiddo."
"I blame Pops, actually," he quipped back. "He always has a good scoop."
Bella's jaw dropped slightly before guffawing loudly. Surprisingly enough, that fit her dad to a tee.
"Speaking of, we should give him a call later," she said after she caught her breath. Jack nodded eagerly before putting his attention back on his cooking breakfast.
Bella grabbed some juice from the fridge before sitting down at the dining room table in the solarium. Edward sat down next to her and absentmindedly began playing with her fingers.
"What's running through that head of yours?" she asked softly.
Edward looked up and smiled. "I'd like to meet him."
Bella gave him a surprised look. "My dad? Really?"
"Yeah. I mean, he's such an important person to both of you. Plus, he's as responsible as you are for saving Jack. I'd like to show my gratitude someday."
Bella smiled at him kindly. "I'm sure he'd love to meet you as well, especially now that you're 'dating' his daughter, who's already the mother of your child," she laughed.
She took a sip of her juice before commenting again.
"Are you serious about that? I know he misses Jack something fierce and has been chomping at the bit to come and visit."
Edward nodded. "Definitely. Let me know when he wants to come, and I'll make sure to take the time off."
She leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed. She felt one of his hands cup her face and then his lips press against hers gently.
"Eww, come on! I thought I said no kissy stuff?" Jack complained as he set a platter of pancakes and bacon down on the table.
Bella looked up at him in surprise, but noted that his eyes were shining happily.
"Sorry, kid," his father laughed. "I never got my good morning kiss from your mom."
Jack nodded thoughtfully. "Okay, but I'm watching you two," he responded as he waved his pointed finger between the two adults. Bella bit her cheek trying to hold in a laugh while Edward failed and shook with laughter.
July 27, 2010
The next three weeks flew by, at what felt like lightning speed to Bella. Between visits with the Prestons to pick a venue for the Gala down to choosing caterers, she was just about exhausted. It felt like every time she turned around, either Esme or Diane were coming at her with a different idea or something that needed to be changed. She tried making it well known early on that event planning wasn't exactly her forte, but the other women wanted her to be an equal part in it. She had fervently wished that Alice had been able to come back to Chicago sooner. This would have been right up her alley, but she and Jasper weren't able to make it in until tomorrow afternoon. She was both nervous and thrilled that this Gala would be over with in three days.
The worse part about it all was that her free time to hang out with Edward had been severely diminished since he had gone back to work two weeks ago. She sighed and looked out the study's window as a gentle breeze moved through the trees. After work, he came home and spent most of his time with Jack, but they still made time to catch up with each other later in the evening. Their nightly make out sessions continued to heat up, but never really taking it too far. They also made sure to make their way back to their respective beds.
That night, after Jack had gone to bed, Bella made her way up to Edward's room. Since this had now become routine, she opened the door without knocking and slid into the room, before closing the door behind her. Looking around, she was surprised to see that the room was empty. She listened closely and heard the sound of water coming from the bathroom and assumed that he was in the shower. She felt heat rush to her belly when she pictured him naked and wet. She climbed up on the bed before reached for the remote on the night table and with a press of a button, music flowed around the room. She closed her eyes and sang softly to Muse under her breath.
Make me feel again
Slide across my skin again
Let me uncover you, to rediscover you
And I will open up
If you promise to give in
On this perfect night
Let the two of us be one
She heard the door and opened her eyes. Edward stood in the doorway wearing nothing but a surprised look and a black towel wrapped around his waist. She blinked and flushed with desire.
"Um, hey," he said nervously. "You're early."
She shrugged non-apologetically and bit her lip to stifle a groan when he ran a hand through his wet hair.
"Yeah, Jack fell asleep pretty quickly."
"Cool, just let me get dressed, and I'll be right back."
She rolled onto her hands and knees and crawled across the bed. His eyes widened as he gazed at the innocent, yet confident woman before him. She rose up so that she was sitting on her ankles, by the edge of the bed and winked at him.
"Or you could just come over like you are?"
He swallowed thickly and slowly made his way over to the bed until he was standing right in front of her. She watched in fascination as his towel tented slightly. She reached out and ran a fingertip along his length and he let out a small, strangled cry. She pulled her hand away quickly and looked up at his in concern. His eyes were tightly shut and his fists were clenched.
"I'm sorry," she croaked out in embarrassment. His eyes flew open and the heat coming from them took her breath away.
So we will be again, another time
And I will do all I need to do
To leave the others all so far behind
Just so I can be, just so I can be
"Don't be," he whispered just before reaching out and pulling her against him. His lips pressed against her passionately and his hands tangled in her hair. They slowly leaned back and soon he was covering her, while their lips worked feverishly. One of his hands slowly made its way down her neck, over her shoulder and down her arm to her hip, igniting goose bumps along the way. The other hand moved to cup the left side of her face while kissing her. Her legs fell open and he nestled in between them, almost naturally. Each time his erection rubbed against her in just the right spot, it sent shivers down her spine.
His free hand traveled up from her hip to cup her right breast and gently squeeze her nipple. She let out an involuntarily mewing sound and wrapped her legs around his waist. She felt his towel give away and the thought of him naked, grinding against her, helped catapult her over the edge of an orgasm. Bella threw her head back and shuddered as intense pleasure ripped through her. Edward continued rubbing, his motions getting more erratic as his lips trailed down her neck. Soon, he was groaning out his own release and whispering words against her skin that she couldn't understand.
He rested his head on her chest, breathing heavily, careful not to put all of his weight on top of her. Her fingers automatically began to run through his hair and gently scratch his scalp, causing him to sigh. He pushed up on his elbows and gazed lovingly down at Bella's flushed and happy face, with one hand smoothing her hair back.
"Stay with me tonight, please. I sleep better with you in my arms," he whispered entreatingly. She couldn't find it within her to deny him, so she smiled and nodded. He smiled widely and brought himself to his feet, clutching the towel modestly in front of him.
"Okay, I'm going to get dressed and I'll be right back."
When he turned and walked over to the dresser, she received a very nice view of his naked bottom. She let out a low whistle, and he smirked at her over his shoulder.
"Are you checking out my ass, Miss Swan?" he asked cheekily. She pulled back the sheets and arranged herself comfortably among his pillows and giggled.
"Yes, Mr. Cullen. Yes, I was. It's a rather nice one, too."
He laughed and pulled on a pair of boxers and pajama bottoms. He turned off the light and slid into bed and wrapped his arms around her.
"Good night, Bella," he whispered.
The room was quiet for a few moments, the pair nestled together in a spooning position, before he broke the silence.
"I love you," he said quietly, but full of emotion. She turned her body so that she was facing him and let the tears spring from her eyes as she looked up at him in astonishment.
"I truly do," he responded with a smile. She placed her lips against his in a soft, sweet kiss.
"I love you, too."
She rested her head against his chest and fell asleep listening to the steady drum of his heartbeat.
July 30, 2010
The next three days were a flurry of activity. Bella and Jack picked up their friends from the airport while Esme and Diane made last minute arrangements on a few things. Then there was shopping for accessories to match their dresses that Alice had had shipped to Chicago last week.
Bella was nervous and exhausted by the time the day of the Gala had come. By six thirty, everyone was dressed and waiting for the limo to arrive when Bella noticed that Jack was missing.
"Has anyone seen Jack?" she asked in a concerned tone.
"I think he's still in his room," Alice observed. "He's probably just a bit nervous. I'll go check on him."
Bella smiled and nodded gratefully to her friend. "Thanks, Allie."
Edward reached over and took her hand in comfort.
"It's going to be fine," he whispered and shot her a bright smile. "Tonight is a celebration of having Jack back in our lives and getting some people to lighten their wallets in the name of charity."
Bella squeezed his hand and nodded. A few moments later, she watched her son carefully as he made his way downstairs, with Alice by his side.
Something wasn't right. Sure, he was smiling and acting jovial, but there was something that was just off. Their gazes met and her worry increased exponentially. Jack's eyes were dull and missing his usual spark.
She pulled him quietly to the side and whispered in his ear.
"What's wrong, baby?"
He smiled genuinely at her and shook his head.
"Nothing, Mom. I'm just a little nervous."
She narrowed her eyes and nodded, although she wasn't convinced that he was telling the truth, but starting an argument right now wasn't really an option at the moment. She'd try and pull it out of him after the Gala was over, but for now, she smiled and reached for his hand.
Edward's words of comfort flittered around her brain, but they no longer provided her any peace. A growing feeling unease spread through her chest as she try to smile down at her son. Everything would be fine. Wouldn't it?
AN: Music used in this chapter: Cross the Line by John Legend and To Be With You by Hoobastank