"Nerves and butterflies are fine - they're a physical sign that you're mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that's the trick."

~Steve Bull

o~*~*~*~*~*~o

***********~*~*~*~*~*~Isabella~*~*~*~*~*~***********

o~*~*~*~*~*~o

"No, Bella. Not the iron, we want the shoe." Sophie held out her hand and waited for the shoe I was holding in my hand.

"But, Sophieeeee, I always get the shoe." I whined.

She shook her head. "No, that's because Marvin is usually on your team. He is on my team today and he wants the shoe."

I pouted and held the shoe out to her, eyeing the space beside her with a narrowed look.

"Don't be mean to Marvin, Bella. He will take Edward's side then."

Jasper snorted from the couch and I threw him a warning look. He just ignored me and munched on his packet of chips.

"I don't care if he takes someone else's side." I picked up the iron and rolled the dice.

Sophie huffed. "Then you will only have me and Aunt Alice left on your side."

"I'm telling you, Sophe. Switch over to us while you still have time. We are going to be the winning team at the end. Don't say later that I didn't warn you." Jasper said with a little smirk.

I turned around on the floor and faced him. "Do you even know what Edward and I are fighting about?"

"No." He answered quickly. A little too quickly.

"Then why are the rest of you picking sides? You don't know who's right or wrong unless you know the context of the fight!"

"'Cause it's fun, Izzy-boo. You two fight like an old married couple that can't stand each other," he said in a matter of fact voice, then focused back on the TV.

I sighed as I rolled my dice again.

It had been a week since I came back to LA. A week of constant bickering between Edward and I. The rest of the family didn't know what we were fighting about, but for some reason they were having a blast seeing us fight. You'd think they would be concerned about us fighting like high school kids in the beginning of a relationship, but they even had a betting system established about who would win at the end of it all.

Edward and I had agreed on one thing at least. That the family wasn't to be involved in this fight of ours. So we had kept the actual reason for the bickering behind closed doors, but then our annoyance and frustration with each other spilled over in every interaction we had otherwise.

We had been concerned with Sophie taking things the wrong way and thinking that this would somehow lead to me leaving again. But the bickering had the opposite effect on her. Since she was not fully aware of the development of our relationship other than the fact that I slept in Edward's room, she recognized our bickering as how Edward and I had always interacted before I left. This made the whole situation feel familiar to her and gave her a sense of return to normalcy in her life. The only thing she did was admonish us when our arguments got too heated or threaten to unleash the vacuum cleaner on us.

This whole week had been bizarre.

I went back to continue my residency at the hospital in LA and due to what I suspect to be a generous donation from the Cullen funds, everyone welcomed me with open arms even though I left without notice a few months ago. At home, Sophie and I spent every minute of our free time together. She still panicked at times when I left the room or when she didn't see me for too long. Edward and I took to sleeping with his door slightly open so that she could climb into the bed with us in the middle of the night whenever she wanted. It wasn't unusual for me to wake up with both Sophie and Edward draped across my body from each side.

Carlisle and I took little moments to talk whenever we had the time. We hadn't talked about Lizzie just yet, but I realized that we were all first trying to get used to the idea of me being back here before we delved into the heavy stuff. Alice and Jasper came by the house every evening and we had dinner together every night.

Things were pretty much starting to go back to how it used to be before. Except for the fact that Edward and I were no longer cooking the meals for the family.

Because we couldn't be that close to each other and interact that much for more than five minutes before a major fight broke out.

It was ridiculous. Edward and I were playing this ridiculous game of cat and mouse, except I didn't know which one of us was which. We were both frustrated at the other for holding back on what the other person wanted and we bickered about everything else because of that. Behind closed doors, we played a twisted game of trying to seduce the other without making it seem like it was an attempt at seduction. The only difference was, he was seducing me to tease, to give me a taste of what I was missing out on. And I wasn't teasing. I just wanted to reach the finish line.

Sophie and I continued our game of Monopoly for another hour. In the meantime, Jasper left to go pick up Alice from work and then go home, and a little later Carlisle came home. He said Edward had picked up dinner and was on his way and he asked me if I had had a good day. I told him that work had been tiring but I was happy about it being the weekend finally.

Then he came home.

I swear to God, he wore that white shirt this morning just because he caught me looking at him with lusty eyes three days ago when he was trying it on. And of course, he knew how much I liked the whole I-am-just-coming-home-from-work-and-am-dead-tired look on him, with his upper buttons undone, his cuffs rolled up, tie loose around the neck, and he was of course all that as he strutted into the living room.

"Dad, they didn't have the lobsters today. I brought the seafood chowder," he said to Carlisle as he made his way across the room and picked Sophie up in his arms right in the middle of our game.

"Bonsoir, princesse." He kissed her on the cheek and she kissed him back. Then he threw this steely glance towards me.

"Isabella." He nodded. He nodded!

I huffed and got up to just leave. I snatched the packet of food from his hands and went to the kitchen to serve the food up.

"Ne vous battez pas!" I heard Sophie yell at us to not fight at the same time as Edward strutted into the kitchen.

I just turned my back to him and focused on the food while he stood there and huffed.

"You know, I don't expect you to exactly jump up into my arms when I come home, but a simple "Hi. Nice to have you home" would be fucking nice at times."

I turned around to face him and gave him a level look. "Funny. I was going to say the same thing to you. Oh also, a kiss would be nice once in a while. I'm not even sure I remember what one of those feels like anymore."

He crossed his arms over his chest and rolled his eyes. "It's been a fucking week since I last kissed you. How the fuck are you a doctor with the memory span of a fucking goldfish?"

I just stood there with an unaffected look on my face. My eyes drifted for a moment to how gorgeous his torso looked in that damn white shirt and he noticed as his lips lifted in a smirk.

"You know what you have to do to get a kiss. And anything else you want." He raised an eyebrow suggestively.

I grimaced. "Go away, Edward." I turned around and focused on the food.

This is what had been going on all week. And by this point, I was ready to burst out of the sexual tension inside of me.

Remember the days when I used to know that Edward was good looking but his beauty just wasn't relevant to me? Those days were long history.

It was relevant. Very, very relevant.

In fact, it was all I thought about. All the time. All day. Even when he wasn't around.

Maybe this was what he wanted and he had played me exactly right so he had me at this point. Whatever it was, his tricks were working like magic. He had gone from touching me and kissing me insistently for three whole days in a row to touching me as little as possible and only when he had to. The problem was, now I knew what I was missing.

I constantly thought about his lips. I could write epic poems about his lips, and I couldn't even rhyme to save my life.

I wanted his jaw. I wanted to touch his hair. I wanted to take off his stupid shirts and t-shirts so I could see his torso. And I wanted to burn all his goddamn pants.

My admission last week about me liking him in his sweats had not gone to waste during this evil game of Edward's. Whenever he was in the house, he was always in sweats now. He tried to hide it from me, but I knew that he had bought a whole new collection of sweats and he had been parading around in them all week.

Don't get me wrong, I had tried my own methods of trying to get him to break his stupid resolve. I hadn't gone as far as strutting around in lingerie yet, but I was starting to consider taking up Alice on her offer of going shopping for that. So far, I'd stuck to simpler methods. Like waking up before he did in the morning and placing his hand on my body or lifting my nighty a little over my thighs before pretending to be asleep.

But the stupid boy was fixed in his resolve. He wanted me to meet his demands if I was to get anything in return.

When I finally finished dishing up dinner I called them all into the kitchen so we could eat. Edward had changed and showered by now and he chatted with Sophie during the entire length of dinner. Carlisle kept trying to engage me in conversation and I tried to keep up with him, but the tiff with Edward was starting to take its toll on me and I was in a bad mood.

After dinner, Edward didn't even look at me as he went to the living room and turned the TV back on. Carlisle offered to clean up and I picked up Sophie in my arms and we went to the living room to watch TV too. Edward was sprawled out on the couch and even though he didn't look at us when we came in, he moved his legs and made space. I considered taking the other couch just to mess with him, but I sighed as I realized being a little close to him even if we weren't touching was better than nothing.

There was a wrestling match on and Sophie and Carlisle got all excited when they saw it. But Edward put his foot down and demanded we watch a romantic comedy that was playing instead. Sophie and Carlisle looked at him like he had grown two heads and he just ignored them as we settled down for the movie.

I saw him throw glances towards me once in a while as the movie started but I just ignored him.

It was a movie about a girl and a boy who meet as teenagers and fall madly in love. Even though their early interactions were light and fun, as the movie progressed and they admitted their love for each other, their relationship became very passionate. Every time they kissed, there was a lot of fire in each kiss and each touch. I felt Edward's eyes on me the whole time now and once the boy finally threw the girl against a wall and kissed her like his life depended on it, I couldn't take it anymore. Sophie had fallen asleep in my arms by now and I gently handed her over to Carlisle before darting to the kitchen.

I took out a glass and poured myself some water to try to swallow down the clump in my throat. But as soon as I was done drinking I snapped and started to sob. I held on to the kitchen sink with one hand and put a hand over my mouth with the other as I sobbed quietly.

"Isab-" Edward's voice wavered as he walked into the kitchen. I stopped my sobs immediately but didn't turn back to look at him, hoping he'd just go away.

"You ok?" He asked, his voice laced with concern. At the sound of that, a whimper broke out of my throat. Before I knew it, he was behind me and forcing me to turn so he could see my face.

"Why the fuck are you crying?" He asked, totally perplexed.

"Don't worry about it," I tried to shove him aside so I could walk away but he just grabbed my arm.

"Tell me what the fuck is going on," he demanded in a commanding voice.

I looked down at the hand that was holding my arm then looked up at him with angry eyes. "Oh, now you touch me? Of course."

"What the fuck are you talking about?" He was very confused.

"Look at us, Edward! I throw myself at you for an entire week and you don't so much as even look at me. The only time you do touch me is when you are worried or concerned. I'm not sexually attractive to you. If someone who looked like Tanya Denali slept next to you for an entire week, would you really be able to keep your hands off her?"

He let go of my arm and looked like I had just slapped him. I sighed and looked away.

"Look, I can't blame you. I mean, you look like you and I am just…well, me. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go all melodramatic on you. It's just been a frustrating week. You obviously don't want me that way-"

Suddenly, he had once again grabbed both my upper arms and then pushed me against the door of the refrigerator.

"I don't want you?" His eyes were flashing with outrage as he looked down at me. "Were you even fucking there the night all this started? I was fucking begging you, Isabella. And you fucking said no."

"Edward-" I started but he cut me off again.

"No. You don't get to play victim. I am the one who has been going around for a fucking week feeling like the biggest loser in the world while this should have been one of the happiest weeks of my life."

Then he did something I never saw coming. He pressed me flat against the refrigerator and then pushed his lower body into mine. I gasped as I felt his physical desire for me press into my thigh for the first time.

"And don't you fucking go there. Is this me not wanting you sexually?" He spat the last word then pressed himself a little more into me, causing my breath to hitch.

"I have been going around with a fucking hard on for a week because you refuse to act rationally. So you don't get to come here and throw Tanya fucking Denali in my face. Excuse me if I wanted our relationship to be about a bit more than just fucking each other."

With that he pulled back and stomped out of the kitchen and up to his room.

I stood in the kitchen, dumbfounded for a long time. He had been just as frustrated as I was. I knew that, but didn't know that he was just as frustrated sexually too.

I had been upset this whole week because I thought that it was easy for him to put his foot down about this because his body didn't crave me as crazily as mine did him. But that wasn't it at all. He did. Just like mine did. And he still overcame that and put his foot down about this whole situation.

I turned back to the sink and poured myself another glass of water. As I drank it, I looked at my reflection on the kitchen window as I considered my fight with Edward a week ago under a whole new light.

o~*~*~*~*~*~o

It was the day Sophie had her attack. I had fallen asleep after our movie marathon and I woke up in the middle of the night to a dark room. I was lying on my back and the only thing I could see were the red dots from Sophie's nightlight that danced around the ceiling. I looked down to see that Sophie's head was on my chest and it rose and fell with my each breath. Her arms and legs were draped around me and she was pressed tightly to my side.

I smiled at the peace that enveloped her face and gently ran a hand through her messy hair that was all over the place. It had grown a lot since I last saw her and reached almost down to her waist. She hadn't let me comb it all day while we stayed in bed and watched Beauty and the Beast. Edward and I hadn't pushed her with anything at all and let her do exactly what she wanted. She had needed this day with me, with Edward, with us surrounding her and staying with her and assuring her of our presence.

Even when it was time for bed, she hadn't wanted us to leave. But her bed was too small for the three of us to actually sleep on it so Edward had brought an air mattress and lay down on the floor beside the bed while I took the bed with her. Edward had been reading a book to us when both Sophie and I had drifted off to sleep.

I lifted my head carefully so as to not disturb Sophie and looked to the floor beside us to the air mattress. It was empty.

I looked around the room and squinted my eyes to try to see through the darkness, but he was nowhere around. The light to the bathroom was not on either.

I gently untangled myself from Sophie and got out of the bed. I put Tinker into her arms and wrapped the blanket around her tightly, the way she liked it. She was in deep sleep and didn't even move.

I squinted my eyes to the light in the hallway when I came out of Sophie's room. I left her door slightly ajar as I headed towards Edward's room. It was dark everywhere in the room except for a faint light from the bathroom. I pushed on the slightly open door but he wasn't in there either. Then I noticed a slight breeze through his room and realized the door to his balcony was open.

From the doorway of the balcony I saw him standing by the railing, looking out into the dark ocean. He was still wearing his flannels and I was also in my sweats from earlier this morning since none of us had been allowed to leave Sophie long enough to shower. Edward was bent a little on the waist, leaning down with one elbow on the railing, his other hand holding a cigarette up to his lips. The bright red light from the cigarette burning was in sharp contrast to the darkness of the ocean outside.

The night breeze was kind of cold and it made me shiver slightly. I slowly walked up to stand beside Edward and pressed my front to his side. I placed one hand between his shoulder blades and wrapped the other one around his bicep that my chest pressed into. My chin rested on his shoulder.

"Why are you smoking? You only do that when you are stressed about something."

He looked down at me and smiled slightly, then removed the cigarette from his lips and flicked it into the ocean below.

"I missed you today," he said without looking at me, eyes still on the ocean.

I chuckled and pressed into him a little more. "We spent the entire day together."

He tilted his head so his cheek rested on my forehead. "Not like this."

I rubbed his back. Up and down. "No, not like this."

He turned then, placing his hands on my waist and making me move so I stood with my back resting against the railing and his body trapped me there.

"Tu es ma vie." He whispered as he looked right into my eyes. I smiled because he usually only spoke French to Sophie. And because my basic knowledge of French allowed me to understand what that meant. I am his life.

"I do understand some of that, you know." I warned him.

"Is that right?" He chuckled lightly.

"Yes. So don't be trying to say bad things about me to Sophie in French and think that I won't know what you're talking about." I said in a stern voice.

He raised an eyebrow at this. "Then I think this proficiency in French needs to be put to test. Le ciel est bleu." He pulled back and crossed his arms over his chest and made this serious face, but his eyes twinkled.

"What about it?" I asked and held the railing beside me on both sides, spreading my arms out.

"Tell me what it means," he ordered. I rolled my eyes.

"The sky is blue."

"Je détestes les tomates," he said next.

I chuckled at that, but answered anyways. "I hate tomatoes. "

He frowned slightly, amused by the extent of my knowledge of French so far. Well, he was kind of saying very basic things so far anyways, so it wasn't too difficult to keep up.

"Le diable est gras."

"The devil is…fat?" I frowned as I answered that one…why would the devil be…Oh! My eyes widened and I gave him an incredulous look. He just smirked in an evil way.

"Alice would kill you if she heard that." I told him in all honesty.

"Fuck her. Next one…Tu es meilleur que Marvin."

I let my shoulders sag and gave him a tired look. "You are not." He wanted me to say that he was better than Marvin. Yeah, right. Like I'd ever admit that.

"No?" He made this face. Very uncharacteristic of Edward. Like he was hurt. I knew he wasn't at all and he was just playing, but I went along with it anyways. I was getting tired of this pop quiz and he was standing so close to me but wasn't touching me.

So I released the railing and took a step closer to him. He kept looking down at me with that mock hurt look on his face. I placed both my hands over his forearms that were folder over his chest and leaned close to his face.

"Yes you are. You are much better than Marvin." Then I gently pressed my lips to his once, very softly. "Better than everyone and everything else." I kissed him again.

He took in a long breath and unfolded his arms, bringing them around my hips and pulling me into his chest. "Il n'y a pas d'autres pour moi,'' he whispered into my ear.

I smiled and pretended like we were still playing the game. "There's no one for me but you either.'' I breathed into his chest.

His hold around me tightened. "Tu es mon monde entier.''

"You are my entire world too.'' I sighed as my heart felt full with my love for him.

He leaned down and pressed a kiss to my neck. Then he wrapped his arms all the way around my back and pulled me flush to his chest so there was no space left between us. His face stayed hidden in my neck for a long time and he just breathed me in. My arms were trapped on his sides and I wanted to run them through his hair because I could feel that he was having some sort of a moment. Edward always put up such a strong front and it was so easy to forget while he joked or threw fits how much he and Sophie were similar. He needed to be loved and reassured just as much as she did sometimes. I tried to pull my arms out from under his to bring him closer but his already tight grip around me became even tighter, as he refused to let me go. I was getting worried now.

"Edward?" You could clearly hear my worry in my voice.

He took in another deep breath.

"Je t'aime."

And with that, his hold on me became so tight that I could barely breathe anymore.

I rubbed his back, because it was the only part of him I could reach, as I spoke to his chest.

"Baby, why are you nervous about telling me that? I told you I love you months ago."

He sucked in a deep breath and pulled his head back, still keeping a firm hold around me. His eyes were bright and frantic.

"Say that again."

"What? Baby?" I frowned.

His face relaxed and he smirked slightly. "That too. But the other thing."

I chuckled now and leaned towards him to kiss him, but he pulled back, waiting to hear the words from me again. I didn't know what the big deal was. Whether or not we loved each other had never been the issue between us. They were just words that we hadn't spoken out loud, but my love for him was as much of a given as the air I breathed.

"Isabella…" His hands on my hips gripped tightly and he growled, thinking I was doing this to tease him. I was just trying to understand him better.

"More than Marvin. Much, much more than Marvin. More than anyone else I know, I love you, Edward Cullen." I said with a smile.

His eyes were so tender, they took my breath away. Like he couldn't believe it. Like he didn't deserve it.

I saw his face change then, as it all suddenly dawned on him. He was loved. Utterly and completely loved. My actions had been screaming that to him, but the words were for some reason what it took to finally let him realize it completely.

He suddenly let me go and took a step back from me, panic etched across his face.

"Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck." He turned around and started pacing.

I went to him and touched his shoulder but he brushed me off.

"Edward!" I admonished him, but it was like he couldn't even hear me. Then suddenly he stopped pacing and walked straight up to me, his eyes wild with something.

"What happens when you decide to leave?"

Ok. I didn't see that one coming. "Why would I leave?"

He ignored that.

"And Sophie…what about her? You saw how she was today. Fuck, Isabella." He started pulling his hair frantically.

"Baby.." I tried and reached out to him. But he looked at me like he couldn't even hear me. He just grabbed the hand that I had held out and almost crushed it because he held it so hard.

"If you leave, Isabella…if you leave…" He couldn't even finish that sentence.

I frowned because I didn't understand why my telling him I loved him would cause this kind of panic in him.

"I don't understand." I told him. And I sounded just as lost as I felt.

His eyes snapped to me as he finally heard me.

"What is it you don't fucking understand? You are so fucking deep in me." He pounded the space over his heart. Then he looked away again, clutching his hair.

"So fucking deep…If she left…" He mumbled to himself and rubbed his chest, as he looked out to the ocean, like he could find some answers there.

I stood there with my arms on my sides, completely and totally lost. I didn't know what to say or do to calm him. I knew he needed reassurance and that's all I could offer him.

I took a tentative step towards him, but he didn't move. I put a hand on his bicep but he just kept his eyes on the ocean as he tried to solve some sort of problem in his head.

"Edward? I love you. I mean it. I'm not going anywhere. Why are you freaking out?"

His eyes once again snapped to mine and they were cold and accusing.

"People leave, even though they say they love you. Love isn't a guarantee that they'll stick around."

His words hit me like a bucket of cold water. This was the damage that his past had left behind. These were the wounds I would be forever licking. And I would do it as many times as it took.

I sighed and rested my head on his arm that I had been rubbing. "No, it's not."

Then he suddenly pulled away from me and looked down at me with a determined expression on his face. He took a hold of my upper arms and fixed me with his gaze.

"Marry me."

I took in a quick breath. "What!"

"You fucking heard me. Marry me."

"Edward!" I whispered in horror.

"What? If you are not planning on leaving, then why not marry me?" His face took on a suspicious expression.

I let out a sigh and shook my head in exasperation. "Are you freaking kidding me with this?" My voice was a bit louder than I intended it to be.

He let go of me and took a step back, his face taking on an angered expression.

"No, I'm not fucking kidding you, Isabella. I just asked you to fucking marry me. Most women would be jumping up and down out of joy when their boyfriends ask them to marry them, not look at me like I just asked them to jump into the fucking ocean."

I closed my eyes for a second to gather myself. Getting angry right now wouldn't be the wise way to go.

"Edward, you don't mean that."

"What don't I mean?"

"You don't want to marry me."

His face now took on an outraged expression. "Don't fucking tell me what I want. I asked you a question. Just fucking answer it."

Now my own anger flared. "You are not asking it for the right reasons."

"How the fuck would you know –" He started, but I cut him off.

"A piece of paper won't convince you that I will stay if my words and actions alone won't."

He saw that I had looked through his motives. So he abruptly turned around and left the balcony. I stood there for a few seconds, taking deep breaths, trying to steady myself. He was confused and lost and scared and that's why he was doing this. As much as it made me angry that he would bring marriage up in this way, I out of all people had to see the young boy in him that was just scared right now and needed me to confirm my love for him.

So I calmed myself down and then went back inside, to find him sitting on the edge of his bed, with his head in his hands. I immediately went to sit beside him and wrapped my arms around him.

"Look at me," I whispered to him but he didn't comply.

"Bind yourself to me, Isabella. Give me this one thing. For the sake of my fucking sanity," he said into this hands.

"Edward, the day I marry you, it won't be because you need to reassure yourself that I won't leave. On the day we get married, you won't doubt for even a fraction of a second that I will ever leave you."

He took in a deep breath and looked up with me with a defeated look.

"I don't give a fuck. Just marry me."

I smiled. That was so very him.

"I will. Once I have convinced you that I won't leave. Just let me do that for now."

He swallowed. "I can't. I can't get closer to you like this. The closer I get, the more I lose myself. And it's fucking terrifying."

I moved even closer to him then. "Baby, the closer you get, the more you will see just how completely you own me."

He kissed me then. He grabbed the back of my head and took my lips in his. Before I had a chance to respond, he pulled back and laid our foreheads together.

"Marry me anyways," he breathed.

"No. There are other ways I can reassure you in," I breathed back and moved my hands to the top button of his shirt.

He suddenly let go of my head and moved away from me, narrowing his eyes slightly. "No? I fucking proposed to you and you're actually saying "no"?

I rolled my eyes. "Edward, that wasn't a proposal. That was you freaking out and thinking it's a way to tie me down. Now stop being so dramatic and just shut up and kiss me."

He looked at me for a long second as he deliberated something, then stood up from the bed, re-buttoning his shirt meaningfully.

"No." His voice was calm but full of acid as he spat my word back at me.

"No?" I asked with raised eyebrows.

"No. Motherfucking, no. If you won't marry me, I won't kiss you. Or do anything else with you."

"Anything else?" I repeated.

"Yes. Nothing else."

I tilted my head and gave him a level look. "Oh, please. You are blackmailing me? You won't sleep with me unless I marry you? Do you even hear yourself and how crazy you sound?"

"Marrying me is crazy?" He asked, horrified.

I rolled my eyes. "No. Blackmailing me into marrying you by holding back sex is crazy."

"That's the fucking point! I shouldn't have to blackmail you!"

"Edward." I sighed. I didn't know what else to day.

He just shook his head in exasperation. "You know what, I am fucking tired. I wanna go to sleep."

"Fine." I huffed and started for the door but he run ahead of me and blocked the way.

"Don't you fucking dare. You aren't going anywhere until we figure this shit out." I saw in his face that he meant it.

"Fine." I huffed again and made for the bed.

He turned the lights off and crawled into bed next to me but didn't touch me. I lay there with my back to him and huffed for a long time in the darkness. Finally I felt him run a fingertip along my spine and I shivered slightly.

"You're really not going to marry me?" He asked in a quiet voice.

"You're really not going to have sex with me unless I say yes?" I asked back.

"No." He said.

"No." I said back.

o~*~*~*~*~*~o

And so it continued for a week. This same fight. In different versions, using different phrases and attacks and defenses. But always the same conclusion.

No matter how much I tried, I just couldn't get through to him that I was doing this for us, for the long term. I never wanted either of us to wonder whether we were only together because we used each other as crutches. I wanted our relationship to have a solid ground on its own before we made a commitment like marriage.

But it just didn't get through to him. He only saw my refusal as a rejection and was solely fixated on getting me to say yes, no matter what the price was.

Until now, I had thought that the price he was paying had been small.

Now, after he had pressed it into my lower abdomen, I realized that the price he had been paying had not been small at all. Nope. Definitely not small.

And as I stood there, looking at myself in the kitchen window, I decided that I would put a stop to all this tonight. We had both already paid more than our share of dues and I was going to see to it so that we each got what we deserved.

A/N: So I am in bed, right? All cozied up with the view of the city from my window on my side, leaning against my fluffy pillows and buried under the covers, snow falling in the background…you get the picture…I'm all comfy and don't wanna move and my eyes are droopy. Then I check my Twitter ('cause I am addicted to my phone like that) and see that jadalulu okay'd this chappy (who is incidentally my Beta and who I incidentally would LOVE to have over in Sweden so she can kiss me and take me to IKEA).

So I think…stay in bed in my cozy haven…or get up, plug on the laptop, connect internet, write an A/N and upload chappy?

My tired mind and body that have been studying the entire day for an exam this Friday say: "Stay put and go to sleep for god's sake. If you get up now and do all that you won't be able to fall asleep for hours."

But just then…like a scene from a movie…my phone chimes with this review:
"I have just started reading this fic. I dont think I am going to sleep
tonight. Yeeeeeep"

Poetic justice? Yup.

If my readers are gonna lose sleep over this story, you bet your cute little behinds that I'm gonna do the same.

So here you go…you can thank the anonymous reviewer for making me post this now instead of tomorrow

And umm…yeah…I realize I left you with a cliffie. It's 'cause I want to know what you guys think before I make the next move. It's kind of a big deal, whichever road they take now. Who should win? Him or her? You kids want in on the Cullen betting pool? Alice is the bookie…j/s.

Just so we are clear, we get a lemon in the next chappy if Isabella wins O_o