Parachute won two Avant Garde Awards- One for Best Bella and one for Best Kid, Jack. I want to thank you guys so much and share my adoration for each and every one of you! Whether you voted or not, reviewed or not, I still love all of you! Parachute would not have gotten the recognition that it has without your support. You guys truly are my inspiration!
This chapter contains a lemon, just to make you aware ahead of time.
Also, tissues may be needed at the end of the chapter.
August 20, 2010
Bella and Edward curled up in his bed, simply enjoying the quiet of the night and holding each other tenderly. She let out a small sigh and kissed his chest, right above his heart.
"Edward, can I ask you something?" she asked in a small voice.
He shifted slightly and brushed a strand of hair from her face. "Anything, baby."
She swallowed nervously, worried about what his response would be to her question. "The documents that James showed me, were they real?"
He took a deep breath and nodded hesitantly. Betrayal pierced her heart and she felt tears spring to her eyes.
"Ssh, don't cry," he whispered, brushing his thumbs across her cheeks. "It's not like it sounds."
"Then how is it? Why were you petitioning for custody if you're moving across the country? Or was that a lie?" she replied with a small sob, her body beginning to shake.
He clutched her to his chest tightly, silently cursing himself.
"I'm so sorry, Bell. I mentioned it to James the day after you came here. I was upset and not thinking clearly. After that, I honestly forgot all about it, until he showed up in my office on Wednesday with the papers. I told him to get rid of them, and he got angry. I'm so sorry, I should have caught onto that sooner."
She hiccuped and sniffed, discreetly trying to wipe her nose on her sleeve. His chest rumbled underneath of her, letting out a faint chuckle.
"It's my fault that you're crying, feel free to use my shirt if you need to."
She leaned up and glared at him before sitting up and walking into the bathroom. The cool tile floor shocked her toes as she walked over to the sink, intent upon washing her face. She gazed into the mirror, not quite recognizing the girl looking back at her. Her eyes were a rich chocolate color, red from crying, and her hair was wild and tangled from Edward's hands running through it. She felt an upsurging of emotion and moved to the right, sitting down on the stool and resting her forehead against the marble counter top.
After a few quiet moments, she felt his hand on her shoulder, rubbing gently.
"I'm sorry, baby."
She turned her head, not raising it from the counter and found herself looking into Edward's remorseful green eyes as he crouched next to her. His hand reached out to cup her cheek.
"I'm sorry, Bella. In my defense, I was emotional and I didn't know you. That doesn't excuse me, but it's all I can offer."
She sniffled. "I know, I get it. I would have been distrusting, too, in your position. I'm sorry that I doubted you. It was just such a shock."
He smiled sadly and kissed her cheek. "I know, baby. I'm so sorry for not listening sooner about James. Maybe all this could have been avoided."
She sat up and flung herself into his arms. "Can we stop with all of the apologies and move on?"
He kissed her temple and laughed. "That sounds like a plan to me." He stood up and took her by the hands, leading her over to the immense tub.
"How does a nice, hot bath sound?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
She grinned. "It sounds like heaven."
Not fifteen minutes later, Bella found herself neck deep in bubbles, resting against Edward's chest. Her mind was quiet and settled, for the first time in days.
"Marcus called me earlier today," Edward broke the silence with his soft voice.
"What did he want?" Bella asked, her voice laced with curiosity.
"He wanted to know if any of us would like to attend Victoria's funeral on Sunday."
She turned to face him, eyes widened in surprise. "Wow," she murmured. "I never thought of that."
His hands played with strands of hair that fell loose from the bun on top of her head. "That's understandable. You've been through quite an ordeal yourself, love."
"Do you want to go?"
His brow furrowed as he pondered the thought, before shaking his head. "No, I said my goodbyes to her a long time ago."
"Should we-" she started, then stopping for a moment to collect her thoughts. "Should we ask Jack if he wants to go?"
Edward's eyes narrowed. "Why? It'll be a media circus. He doesn't need to be a part of that."
"I know, but, shouldn't he have the choice? She was his biological mother."
He smiled sadly and touched her cheek. "I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't think it's a good idea."
"I know, but I don't want him to miss out on this and regret it later on. I'm fairly sure sure he won't want to go, but I think he should have the choice."
Edward looked pensive for a moment before nodding. "Okay, we'll talk to him in the morning."
She leaned forward and placed her lips against his in a gentle kiss. "Thank you," she whispered.
He ran his hand down her slickened side, grazing the underside of a breast, making her shudder.
"Are you cold, baby?" he whispered against her ear, eliciting yet another shiver of pleasure.
"N-no," she stuttered. "You know what you're doing."
"Do I?" he teased in his velvety voice.
She quickly turned her body and settled on his lap, her nipples barely covered by the water. His eyes took in her form hungrily.
Bella reached up and ran her wet hands through his bronze hair, tugging it almost painfully. "Two can play at that game, Edward."
He grasped the back of her neck and kissed her passionately, water and suds spilling out onto the tub's ledge and dripping to the floor. They quickly became too engrossed with each other's bodies that they failed to notice the cooling temperature of the water.
Three days later, the men arrived to transport Bella's car back to Port Angeles. The finality of the action weighed heavily on everyone's mind.
All but their essentials and a suitcase each for Bella and Jack, was packed into the car and ready to go. Jack lovingly caressed the car's hood and sighed. He narrowed his eyes at one of the two movers. "Be careful with Nevaeh, okay?"
The man smiled humorously at Jack. "Yes, sir."
Jack nodded and walked back into the house.
"Boys and their toys," Esme responded with a smile, letting out a small giggle.
Bella shook her head and smiled, following her son inside the house. She gazed around the room, saddened by the thought that they would be leaving in less than a week. As much as she enjoyed being here, she missed her bed at home and their homey little kitchen. Jack would have a week to acclimate to being back home before school started. He was eager to see his friends again, as well at their family back home.
She walked over to the piano, where Jack was on the bench, playing a soft melody. She sat down next to him and returned his welcoming smile.
"It's called Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven."
She closed her eyes and let the music flow over her. It was such a pretty, yet slightly haunting melody. When he was finished, he smiled at her sadly.
"Do you think I was wrong for not wanting to go yesterday?" he asked out of the blue.
Bella sighed. "No, Little Bit. I don't think you were wrong. I'm sure it was a difficult choice to make. Marcus, Diane and Rini are coming over to see you on Friday so they can say goodbye. They love you so much and will stay a part of your life, but you'll always have Victoria's memory popping up from time to time, but that's all it is - a memory."
He nodded. "I know that, but you'll be there to help me if I get upset, right?" he asked in a small voice.
She wrapped an arm around his shoulders, hugging him to her body. "Absolutely, sweetheart. I'll always be here for you."
A few moments later, Edward and Emmett emerged from the patio doors, looking hot and sweaty. Emmett had a basketball in one arm and a hand towel in the other. He grinned when he saw her and Jack.
"Bella! Just the person I wanted to see," he exclaimed jovially.
She narrowed her eyes at him. "What are you up to, Em?"
He blinked innocently. "Who, me?"
She laughed. "Yes, you. What do you want?"
He smirked. "I was wondering if my boy there could come over and spend the night with me and Rose for some bonding time?"
Jack looked up at her excitedly. "Please, Mom? It sounds awesome!"
She shook her head and couldn't help but smile. She looked over at Edward and raised her eyebrow, silently asking his opinion. He nodded slightly and she could almost see the wheels turning in his head.
"Okay, but," she added when Jack jumped to his feet. "Bedtime still applies and don't let Uncle Em get you into trouble, you hear?"
Jack nodded enthusiastically and ran upstairs to pack a bag.
Emmett scoffed. "Why do people always think the worst of me?"
"Because we know you, Emmet." Edward laughed, knocking his brother in the shoulder.
"Watch, when my kid gets here, I'll show you all."
He blanched and pursed his lips as soon as he realized his slip.
"Em, are you- Is Rose pregnant?" Edward asked, his eyes widening with surprise.
Emmett rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly and nodded. "Don't say anything to Mom, please. Rose wanted to tell her together."
Edward clapped him on the back and pulled him in for a hug. "Congratulations, bro! When is she due?"
"January 23rd. She's just about four months."
"Why didn't you say anything sooner?" Edward asked in curiosity.
Emmett shrugged. "We had just found out the day that Bella and Jack showed up. The timing never seemed right after that."
Bella stood up and smiled, walking over to kiss Em on the cheek. "Congratulations, Em. As much as we tease you, I'm absolutely sure that you'll make a wonderful father."
Emmett blinked and cleared his emotion-clogged throat. "Thank you, Bella. That means a lot to me."
"I'm ready, Uncle Em!" Jack shouted as he rushed back down the stairs, backpack slung over his shoulder.
"Eager, little man?" Emmett joked, reaching out to ruffle Jack's hair.
"Well, we're leaving soon, so I want to spend some time with you and Aunt Rose."
Bella bit her lip and blinked away the moisture in her eyes. Emmett smiled sadly and nodded.
"Okay then, let's hit the road, Jack."
Late that evening, long after Carlisle and Esme had gone to bed, Bella sat in the Cullen library, staring unseeingly at the book in her hands. Edward had fallen asleep on the couch a little earlier, so she sought out solace amongst the books. A well worn copy of an Edgar Allan Poe anthology sat open in her lap, the words from "A Dream Within A Dream," staring back at her.
She closed her eyes involuntarily as a velvety voice whispered in her ear.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand -
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep - while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
"Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?" she finished, closing the book before turning to face his verdant gaze, a sinful smile lighting his face.
"I've always been a great fan of Poe's," Edward murmured softly, reaching out to stroke her fingers, which curled around the anthology's spine.
"He definitely was a master of sadness and the macabre."
Edward smirked. "Indeed. Why are you sitting here all alone? You should have woken me up."
She smiled. "You were tired, I didn't want to disturb you."
He reached out to cup her cheek and she leaned into him. "You wouldn't have been disturbing me. I want to get in as much time with you as I can before Sunday."
He took the book from her lap and walked over to return it to its home. Bella stood and walked over to him, reaching for his arm. He looked down at her and his expression softened. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, breathing in her scent.
"I love you," she whispered, a lone tear falling silently.
"Ssh," he whispered against her lips. "Don't do this now. Don't say goodbye to me like this, please. Let's not waste any more time."
"I don't know what else to do," she pleaded. "I don't want to leave you, Edward."
"I know, baby, but everything will be fine. We'll be stronger for it." He leaned down and kissed her chastely. "This isn't the end, Bella. It's just a few months."
Bella ignored his words and pressed up against him. "Please, Edward. I need you."
He reached down, one hand cupping her cheek and the other gripping her bottom, and pulled her closer. His tongue delved into her mouth, tasting the sweetness of red wine still on her tongue. The kiss, which started out soft and gentle, quickly turned desperate and demanding.
Bella flung her arms out, grasping at the ledges while Edward pressed her back against the bookshelf. She let out a moan and flung her head back, ignoring the sting of pain from hitting the books behind her. She writhed and panted as his lips trailed down her jaw and settled at the base of her neck. One hand left its perch to run through his hair, lightly scratching his scalp.
"Fuck," he hissed, pressing his hips against hers, letting her feel his arousal.
"Edward," she cried out lightly when he leaned down to push her shirt and bra cup out of the way, taking one of her nipples into his mouth.
"What, Bella? What do you want?" he asked in a gravelly voice.
"You. I want you," she murmured.
"Do you want me to take you here? Up against these shelves?"
A shiver went up her spine. "Yes," she whispered hoarsely. "Just like this."
His fingers slipped under her shirt, tantalizing her skin and brushing against the waistband of her jeans. He stepped back slightly to pull her shirt and bra over her head, not bothering to unclasp it. His thumb popped the button and slid the zipper down. With his lips still attached to her breast, Edward slid his hands down her hips, removing her pants and underwear at the same time.
She let out a tiny mewling sound when his teeth grazed her tender flesh as two of his fingers slipped inside of her. She writhed under his touch, the shelves scratching against her spine.
"Edward, please," she gasped. "I need you."
His pants were swiftly pooled at his feet and her legs wrapped around his hips. In one swift movement, he thrust into her, their matching groans of pleasure were drowned out in a kiss. They stood together, giving themselves a calming moment, before Edward began to rock against her quickly, keeping her pressed against the bookshelf. Her hands gripped his hair and she pressed her lips against his throat.
Edward placed his hands under her bottom, giving himself more leverage as he pounded into her, his movements desperate. It wasn't long until he lost control, feeling Bella's inner muscles clench around him, signalling her own release. He leaned forward, against her body, breathing heavily while sweat trickled down his temple and dripped onto Bella's skin.
The pair groaned lightly as he slipped out of her and helped ease her legs to the ground, steadying her. He kissed her slowly and sweetly. She smiled and leaned into him for balance. After a few moments, Edward pulled back slightly.
"Come on, love, let's get dressed before my mother decides that she needs a midnight snack."
Bella's cheeks turned pink, embarrassed that she had completely forgotten about Carlisle and Esme in the midst of their passion.
He pulled up his pants and reached for his shirt, handing it to Bella to slip on. His eyes narrowed in concern when she grimaced while pulling the shirt over her head.
"What's wrong, love?"
She smiled at him lazily, euphoria still heady in her veins. "It's nothing really. My back is a little scratched."
"Turn around," he commanded, lifting the shirt to see a half dozen angry welts. "Oh, baby," he murmured. "Why didn't you say anything?"
She looked down shyly. "I barely noticed, trust me. That was hot, I'd definitely do it again sometime." She looked up into his eyes, showing him her sincerity.
He shook his head, but couldn't help the smile that formed on his face. After gathering up the rest of their clothes, he extended his hand to her.
"Come on, let's get cleaned up and put some cream on your back."
She placed her hand in his and let him lead the way.
August 29, 2010
Sunday came all too quickly for Bella. They spent the last few days exploring more of Chicago and revisiting some of their favorite places. Jack seemed to have a camera attached to his face at times, always clicking away. After a teary goodbye with Carlisle, Esme, Emmett and Rosalie, Bella left them with her promises to call and email on a regular basis, as well as return for frequent visits.
The drive to O'Hare was quiet in Edward's car, music softly filling the air. The strains of a familiar song began to play and Bella turned it up. With tears starting to stream down her face, she looked over at Edward, noticing that he had pulled to the side of the road. He unbuckled both of their seatbelts and leaned over the console, pulling her into a hug. Bella let out a sob when she felt Jack's arms wrap around them.
"Ssh, it's okay, Mom. I'm sad, too," he cooed into her ear.
You and I were friends from outer space
Afraid to let go
The only two who understood this place
And as far as we know
We were way before our time
As bold as we were blind
Just another perfect mistake
Another bridge to take
On the way of letting go
This ain't goodbye
This is just where love goes
When words aren't warm enough to keep away the cold
Oh no, this ain't goodbye
It's not where our story ends
But I know you can't be mine, not the way you've always been
As long as we've got time
Then this ain't goodbye
Oh no, this ain't goodbye
We were stars up in the sunlit sky
That no one else could see
Neither of us ever thought to ask why
It wasn't meant to be
Maybe we were way too high
To ever understand
Maybe we were victims of all the foolish plans
We began to devise
But this ain't goodbye
This is just the way love goes
When words aren't warm enough to keep away the cold.
Oh no, this ain't goodbye
It's not where our story ends
But I know you can't be mine
Just like the way you've always been
As long as we've got time
This ain't goodbye
Oh no, this ain't good bye, oh oh
Oh no this ain't goodbye
This ain't goodbye
At the airport, Edward one last lingering kiss from Bella and bear hug from his son, before they made their way through security and left him standing in the middle of a crowd, his heart shattered to pieces, though only temporarily. Time couldn't move fast enough for him.
Meanwhile, Bella clutched Jack's hand tightly, knowing that he was the only other person, besides his father, that understood how she felt at the moment. The next two months would be long, but they'd shoulder them together, coming out stronger in the end, just like Edward had said. She would make sure of it. After one last glance and wave, Jack and Bella sat in silence, waiting for their first class seating to be called.
The boy leaned over and rested his head on her shoulder. She put her arm around him and sighed.
"Remember, Jack," she said softly, "this isn't goodbye. He'll be home with us soon."
"I know, Ma. It's just weird how everything feels different now."
She kissed the top of his head. "I know, baby. Life is full of changes, so you need to learn to grow and rise up to the challenges."
He reached out and took her hand. "And we'll do it together, right?"
She gave him a watery smile and nodded. "Always, Little Bit. Always."
I wanted to drop a line down here to say that my previous estimate might have been a little off. We should only have another 2 or 3 chapters left of Parachute, before the Epilogue.
Media used in this chapter are up on the blog. The song was This Ain't Goodbye by Train.
The lemon scene is dedicated to the H00rs of the Butter Lounge for their Atonement inspiration and for being awesome friends, through thick and thin. I adore you guys!