Chapter 22


Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

EPOV

"Fuck!" I curse, agitated. "Lauren, get James' ass in here now!" I spit into the intercom.

"Are you alright?" Bella asks.

"I'm just peachy," I respond and instantly feel guilty for inflicting my sour mood onto her.

She's sitting comfortably on the sofa in my office, working on her laptop. I suggested that we meet here after class so that we could spend some time together. After some unmanly begging she finally agreed.

I'm working on a deadline myself and realize I won't be getting out of the office anytime soon, not to mention the day I just spent arguing with Tanya and her parents. I'm wound up like a fucking clock and there are only two things that can settle my mood…. working, running on the treadmill or fucking. Okay maybe three things. Burning the midnight oil has won out.

I'm on my cell-phone barking out orders when James barges in. I quickly finish my call and wave him over.

"You summoned me? Hello there, gorgeous." He answers me then acknowledges Bella.

"If you're done flirting with my girlfriend, would you mind taking a look at this?" I snap.

"What's up his ass?" he whispers to Bella with a wink and a smirk. I watch, annoyed as she shrugs and goes back to typing.

"Nothing is up my ass, but I will definitely put my Italian loafer up yours if you do not get over here and take a look at this."

"God, you're cranky, when was the last time you…"

"Don't." I interrupt, knowing how he would finish that sentence.

He walks over, taking up residence on the edge of my desk and takes the paper from my outstretched hand.

"There is an anonymous buyer purchasing a fuck load of stock in Cullen Oil, like it's going out of style. Were you aware of this?" I ask, exasperated.

"Of course I didn't know about this, but give me moment to check a few things out. I'll need to go to my office for a bit."

"Alright." I run my hand through my hair, and I silently curse realizing it isn't long enough to grip anymore. You just had to fucking cut it, asshole.

"Hey," I yell out before he can leave, "Chinese?"

"Hell yeah, and make sure you get extra dumplings with sauce this time. I'll be back in a minute."

"Ughhhhh!" I groan, plopping down onto the sofa next to Bella. I rest my head back and blindly grab her feet and place them in my lap. "I'm sorry baby, but it looks like this is as romantic as it gets."

"I don't mind. I love seeing you in arrogant businessman mode…it's very sexy."

"Please don't say sex…seriously." I sigh deeply when I feel her hand scratching my scalp.

"Okay, I won't say sex," she giggles."

I glance at her, and in a flash I'm on top of her and yank her pen out of her mouth.

"Oh my God, what are you doing?" she continues to giggle and squirm underneath me.

"Do you think I'm opposed to fucking you right here, in this office, on this couch, Bella? My patience is very strained when it comes to sex with you," I say slightly amused, but with a rough edge to my voice.

"You heard your brother. He'll be back in a minute," she whispers breathlessly as I raise her hands above her head.

"Do you think I'm opposed to fucking you on this very couch, knowing that he could come bursting through that door at any moment? The possibility of that makes it all the more erotic. Seeing how you would react."

I lean in to brush her lips with mine. "Would you blush profusely?'' I suck on her bottom lip, then the top one. "Mmmm…or would you be so lost and turned on that you'd let me keep drilling you from behind as he watched."

"Oh my God." She moans seductively. "Get up, Edward, before we do something that will leave us both embarrassed." She pushes me off her.

"Then don't say sex. I feel really insatiable right now, and I could fuck you up against that ceiling to floor window without a moment's hesitation."

She shakes her head, staring at me in disbelief and humor.

"You're no fun," I sigh, dragging myself off the couch.

"We can have fun later," she says, palming my ass. "Have I told you how sex…um I mean, gorgeous you look in those glasses? I'm definitely seeing my professor fantasy come to life in this office," she purrs, wrapping her arms around me from behind.

"Professor fantasy huh?" My curiosity is peaked. Me, ass naked wearing just a pair of wire frames, while Bella bends her perky little ass over my desk as I spank her cheeks bright pink for being tardy. I can definitely get into that.

"It sounds kinky to me," James says, reemerging from the hall and breaking me out of my reverie.

"Can you knock?" I ask, suddenly irritated that he interrupted a possible naughty student and strict professor quickie fuck.

"The door was open, bro. Where's the food?"

"Chinese okay for you?" I ask, turning to Bella. She smiles, giving me a thumb's up signal and goes back to typing.

"So, what did you find out?" I ask, tossing him a menu.

"It's nothing for you to worry your pretty little head over." He says sarcastically. "It's probably Mom, Dad or one of the board members. I'll handle it. You just worry about getting Victoria's family to trust in Cullen Oil."

"I know, but Tanya's parents are being difficult now that they know I called off the wedding. They're trying to do everything they can to block this deal with the Ashton group."

"I'll get Vic to convince her father that signing with Cullen Oil will be a better investment, and then the Denali's will have no choice but to jump on board."

"Let's hope you're right."

"I am, little brother, trust me." He concludes with a hand over his chest in mock sincerity.

"I'd rather trust a snake," I laugh. "But, I know you'll come through. Now, let's get to work."

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BPOV

Edward follows James into his office to have a conference call, saying that he doesn't want to disturb me. I had initially thought it would be a bad idea to study in his office after class, but it's actually worked out. I get to spend time with him and watch him in business mode. The Edward I know is sweet, sexy and sometimes a pain in the ass, but watching him work is a treat. He's a ruthless businessman and it surprises me that he's so focused and successful at his age.

I'm getting comfortable as I finish my homework. We're waiting for dinner to be delivered and it seems to be taking forever, so I decide to shut my eyes for a moment just to rest. I lean my head back on the arm of the sofa and stretch out my legs. It feels so good to have some quiet time. Living with Sadie and Angela never allows for a dull or silent moment, not to mention Rose barging in and out anytime she feels like it. I relish times like these. If I'm not careful, I'll be snoring and drooling all over his office furniture in seconds.

I'm relaxing peacefully when I hear the door close. I peer out of one eye, thinking that it's Edward and James returning, but soon realize it's someone else entirely. I immediately shoot up and apologize.

"I'm sorry. I was just taking a break from studying." I have no idea why, or to whom I'm explaining myself. I guess I just feel weird being sprawled out in Edward's office with my shoes off, the evidence of my homework strewn all over the place.

"No apologies are necessary. Although, I feel like I should apologize for startling you, I am sorry," he says with sincerity and smiles. It dawns on me that I'm speaking to Edward's father. I remember him from the photograph on his piano. Oh the piano. Shit! Focus, Bella!

"I'm Carlisle Cullen…and you must be Bella."

I nod and inwardly chastise myself for acting like a five-year old child who's afraid to talk to strangers.

"Yes, I'm Bella." I finally get out.

Great, now I sound like a damned robot.

"I've heard a lot about you, but it's nice to finally put a face to the name. My son seems to be very taken with you."

"I'm taken with him as well," I say shyly and feel my cheeks warm.

"I have to assume that you two are more than just hanging out, for a lack of better words." He makes air quotes to emphasize 'hanging out'.

"Mr. Cullen, I care very deeply for your son. I know this is a bit of a surprise to you and your family, but I can assure you that I truly care for him…I love him." I finish in a near whisper.

"Stop me if I'm being too bold, Bella, but how long have you known my son?"

I know what he's getting at, and I'm not going to back down. I love Edward even though our relationship has happened rather spontaneously.

"Edward and I have been involved for about three months now."

"Three months," he repeats and takes a seat on the edge of Edward's desk. He pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs.

"Mr. Cullen, I know I'm not the ideal choice for Edward, but I do love him, and I would love the opportunity to get to know his family, and for you all to get to know me. And I can promise you that I would never do anything to bring harm to him or your family," I respond, hoping he sees my sincerity.

He nods his approval and smiles. This doesn't seem like the same man that Edward has described to me. There's almost a hint of compassion behind his brusque exterior.

"I can see why Edward cares for you. You have fight in you. Don't lose that quality," he says sternly. "Well, since you two are official, I hope you that will be attending the banquet with Edward this weekend, Bella."

"Banquet?" I ask, bewildered.

"Yes, it's a black tie annual event for socialites and business partners. We would love to have you there," he concludes as he leaves the office.

I pace back and forth, biting my nails to the nub. Great Bella, now you know there's no way you can attend an event like that with nails that look like they've been shredded in a meat grinder. I quickly yank my fingers from my mouth as my mental berating registers.

Why the hell did he invite me to dinner? Is this all a trick…some sort of ploy to embarrass me…to prove that I'm unworthy of his son?

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My mental obsessing continues until I find myself pacing again, this time, in front of my bedroom mirror. I cautiously steal glances at my reflection, trying to picture myself in a fancy gown and deathtrap shoes. "Forget it, Bella," I snort out loud.

I walk over to my bed and throw myself backwards on it in disgust.

This is the part of Edward's life that scares me to death. Things are just starting to run smoothly for us, and now it's all going to be corrupted by fancy dinner parties and elbow rubbing with bourgeois people.

We are just getting back on track after all the lies and separation and…."drama!" I shout out loud and grip my hair roughly.

Edward's family is extremely wealthy, and I have no doubt that there will be nothing but wealthy people at this event. Edward hasn't personally asked me to attend and that worries me. I know that according to his parents, I'm not the ideal choice for him, but why didn't he ask me to the dinner? Maybe he truly believes that I wouldn't fit in. Maybe he believes that I truly do not belong in his world…that I'm not good enough.

I haven't given Edward's father an answer. Hell, it didn't really sound like a proper invite. 'I hope you will be attending the banquet with Edward this weekend, Bella. We would love to see you there.' He didn't wait for a response. He just smiled a brilliant smile and walked away, leaving me gaping.

Completely surprised and unsettled, I left Edward's office in a hurry, not waiting for him to return.

I glance over at my phone that's resting on my pillow. I grab, it ready to call him and apologize for leaving so abruptly without saying anything. I notice that there are already several missed calls from him. I huff and hit the call button.

"Hello? What happened? Where are you?" He snaps at me, his voice sounding urgent and anxious.

"I'm home. I'm sorry I left before you came back."

"Why did you leave? What did my father say to you, Bella? I swear to God if…"

"It's okay. He didn't say anything…well, he said some things but nothing disrespectful…actually, he was rather respectful. I realized that I have to head to the library to pick up some books." I lie.

"Are you sure you're okay? You sound funny."

"I'm fine. Stop worrying. I'll talk to you later."

"Hey…I love you,"he says reassuringly.

"Love you too."

I end the call and throw my arm over my eyes. I have no idea whether I should mention this to Edward or not. One would think he already knows, but he still hasn't said anything.

Why do I feel that if I attend this thing I'll be walking into an ambush?

"Let's go!" my door slams open. "Frisbee with Sadie in two minutes. I need to burn off some energy," Angela says. She's just a little too hyper for my current mood.

I raise my head a bit, peeking from under my arm. "Are you serious?"

"Well, by the look of you, it seems that you could use the distraction. Besides, I've got dirt on Mike, and I need to vent, now come on!" She yells, trotting out of my room.

At least I can forget about my problems for a minute or two by listening to somebody else's. What do they say about misery again?

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"Are you going to tell me what's wrong, or are you going to continue to stand there chewing your finger off," he asks, while effortlessly running at speed on the treadmill.

My head jerks up in his direction as I realize he's spoken. I simply wave him off.

"I'm fine."

"Okay. Have it your way, Bella."

I just focus on him; he's wearing black Adidas ball shorts, with matching running sneakers. He's drenched in sweat and exhaling rhythmically as he works out. His abdominal muscles flex and contract with each movement. What the hell was I just obsessing about?

"I love when you look at me like that…like I'm something to eat." He smirks as he catches me shamelessly ogling him.

I roll my eyes, and there's a knock at his front door.

"Can you get that? It's a surprise for you," he says, turning down the speed to a walking pace.

"What surprise…what have you done, Edward?"

"Answer the door and stop being so damned suspicious."

"Suspicious? Look at who I'm dating?" I retort sarcastically.

Stopping the treadmill, he walks over to me and wraps his towel around my neck, pulling me into a chaste kiss.

"Answer the door," he whispers against my lips, "or I'll get you soaking wet! he yells, shaking his head violently as he flings sweat at me.

"Okay!" I shriek, tearing away from him and bolting for the door.

"Have fun with your surprise!" he yells from behind me.

I reach the door and enthusiastically wrench it open. Alice is standing in the doorway, clad in dark shades and swinging car keys from her index finger.

"Surprise!" she says calmly, with that signature Cullen smirk.

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Alice convinces me to go out to lunch with her. I have no idea why Edward thought to surprise me with this, but I'm happy to be spending time with part of his family.

We decide on eating at an upscale country club that Edward and his family regularly attends. It's beautiful and elegant. Of course, I feel completely out of place.

I modestly order my lunch and probably stare way too much at the rest of the dining guests. My palms are starting to sweat, and I notice myself repeatedly gulping from my glass of water. If only that damned waiter would stop refilling the glass!

"Are you alright, Bella?" she asks inquisitively.

"Oh…yeah. I 'm okay." I lie as she pulls me from my thoughts. I watch her closely as she talks about everything at warped speed. I hope she's not asking me any questions because I'm too focused on her appearance and how sophisticated she is to register anything she's saying. I watch how she gestures with her delicate looking manicured French tipped fingers when she describes certain details about her life. I do manage to pick up that she's interested in interior design; that is, when I'm not paying attention to how beautiful and silky her hair looks. God it's like diamonds when the sun shines through it.

Instinctively, my hand goes up to blindly examine a loose lock of my own hair. "So, Bella, what do you say?"

I shake my head to clear my thoughts and look at her in confusion. " I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"You weren't paying me any attention, were you?"

"I…"

"It's okay," she interrupts, "I've been told that I talk a lot."

"No, it's me. I just have a few things on my mind…school and all," I lie again.

"Well, I was saying, since you're coming to the banquet with Edward this weekend, we could go shopping together after lunch for our gowns. Edward said to spare no expense, so we're going to swipe the magnetic strip right off of his credit card." She giggles.

My eyes widen as I realize that he's aware that his father asked me to the dinner this weekend. In fact, he basically told his family that I would be coming, and just innocently forgot to ask me if I would go. To top it off, he's told his sister to spend obscene amounts of money on me without consulting with me first. Damn you, Edward Cullen!

The last thing I want is his family thinking that I'm with him for his money, and he just committed the ultimate fuck up. I will not be bought. I will not be bullied, or charmed into being bought. The more I think about his scheming, the more pissed off I become.

I excuse myself from Alice, lying that I have some project to complete and that we'd talk about shopping later. I have a bone to pick with Edward Cullen, and it can't wait.

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I'm fuming, and I drive to his office like a mad woman. How dare he set me up! For a split second, it seems quite juvenile to be so angry at him for wanting to buy me a dress and wanting me on his arm at an important and elegant dinner. A girl could do a lot worse than having a gorgeous, sexy man wanting to give her the world and show her off. "Oh shut up!" I berate myself loudly.

I arrive at Cullen Oil offices and slam on the brakes, not caring that I'm in someone's designated parking space. I tear out of the car, slam the door without locking it and rush up to his office. His secretary looks at me like I'm deranged.

"Is he in?" I snap at her. So what… she doesn't like me anyhow!

I don't give her time to answer as I knock once and wrench the door open.

"You bastard!" I seethe. He looks up from his desk with his eyebrows knitted together. He slowly removes his glasses and opens his mouth to speak.

"Don't!" I yell, holding my hand up to stop him. "I will not be bought!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" he asks, obviously puzzled. "How did your day with Alice go?"

"My day was going fine, until I found out the true reason behind it."

"Okay," he says, emphasizing 'ay'. Smug bastard.

"Fine, you want to play games, Edward? Let's play. I am not going to be told what to do; not by you, your father or your sister. I will not be attending the dinner this weekend either, so find someone else to accompany you!" I turn to storm out of the office, but he's behind me quickly me and softly shuts the door.

"I'm sorry." He slides his arms around my waist and gently kisses my ear, and I melt at the husky tone of his voice.

"Why couldn't you just ask me to go like a normal guy?" I sigh in defeat.

"I'm not normal." He counters.

"Edward." I say, annoyed.

"I was getting around to it, I swear. I thought this way would be more romantic." He poses his response more like a question. "I wasn't trying to buy you. Alice said she was thinking about asking you out to lunch so you two could get to know each other and she thought it would be the perfect time to go shopping or whatever. She assumed that I had already asked you to the banquet and ran with it."

I feel myself relaxing into his embrace as he sways our bodies back and forth.

"Why are you really so pissed off with me, Bella? Because it seems that you're reaching for any reason to be angry with me these days. Is it about the dinner or about me spending money on you?"

"I don't want your family to think I want your money." I mumble and sniff. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

"I don't give a damned about what my family thinks. Bella, look at me." He spins me around to face him. "Bella, will you come to the banquet with me this weekend?"

My bottom lip quivers, and I immediately break into tears. "I can't!"

"That wasn't the answer I was hoping for, baby. Why can't you?"

I can't believe I'm standing here sobbing over a dinner. I've gone from happy this morning too being pissed and now to being a blubbering mess. What the hell is wrong with me? Ever since Edward's father mentioned the dinner, my emotions have been all over the place. How the hell do I explain to Edward that I feel too out of place to be around his family and the tons of uppity people that will be there? I think back to the people who were dining at the country club and how elegant and sophisticated they are. I can't compete with people like that, and I'm sure to embarrass him.

I sniff and raise my head to look at him. He's still waiting on me for an answer. I don't know what to say, so I do the next best thing. I lie.

"My legs are short," I croak.

"What?" He snorts and chuckles, taking a step back to inspect my form. "Your legs are…"

"My legs are short! She said I was short." I ramble. "I'm going to look terrible in a gown because I'm too short!"

"Wait…who said you're too short…Alice?"

I blink at him and think about my outburst. Yep, you said it idiot!

"Tanya." I answer in a mouse like voice.

"What? When the hell did you talk to Tanya? You know what, it doesn't really matter. Your legs are gorgeous and sexy, and I want you to come with me to the banquet."

"You said I was scrawny." I blurt out.

"Are you serious right now? I didn't mean it like that. I simply meant…" He pauses as if he's thinking of the right thing to say. "Who cares what I meant, I'm an idiot sometimes, you know that. I want you to come to the banquet with me, and I'm not taking no for an answer, Bella."

When I realize that my half-witted excuses didn't work, I decide finally, that I need to be honest with him. I walk over to the window and stare out.

"You deserve better," I murmur.

"Bella." He warns.

"You deserve someone who can keep up with you, Edward. Someone you can bring to a function like this and be proud of. I can't even afford to buy a dress, let alone the rest of the things I'll need to be an appropriate date for you."

I exhale and lower my head, pretending to be engrossed in the people walking by on the sidewalk.

I hear a drawer open and close, and I turn around to look at what he's doing. He's been silent during my confession and that worries me. Edward is only quiet when he's plotting and scheming, or so I thought.

He walks over to stand beside me and mimicking my position, he stares out of the window. I glance at him surreptitiously and see his jaw clenching repeatedly and a small vein visibly throbbing above his temple. He's angry. I've never witnessed him in this state, so calmly angry. Normally when he's mad, he rants and even throws things.

"You're going to that banquet with me." He says calmly and seriously.

"Edward…"

He turns and places a finger over my lips, silencing me. "You're going to that banquet, and I won't listen to anymore of you putting yourself down." He replaces his finger with his lips and kisses me softly. "There are going to be tons of events like this, and I want you next to me at each and every one of them, and not as my date, but as the woman I love."

"You can't say stuff like that to me." I tear up again. "I have no fight left in me when you say stuff like that."

"Then don't fight. Say you'll go with me?" He cups my face and brushes my tears away with his thumbs.

"Do I have a choice?" I laugh tauntingly. "You basically told me I was going."

"This is true," he quips. "But I would love to hear your concession."

I roll my eyes and massage his temple, trying to alleviate the stress vein. "Yes, Edward. I'll go with you to the banquet."

"That's my brown eyed girl," he says, kissing me quickly on the nose. "Now, I have something for you." He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a black credit card. I widen my eyes in protest.

"I want you to take this and buy whatever you need or want. Buy whatever you need or want." He reiterates when he sees me shaking my head. "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on, and now it's time to show the world. Take it."

I tentatively reach for the card and slowly withdraw it from his fingers. His smile spreads as the card slowly leaves his grasp.

"I have three words for your leg dilemma." He grins wickedly.

"What?" I ask with an arched brow.

"Fuck me heels... at least four inches." He whispers and waggles his eyebrows.

I shake my head at him incredulously as I watch him stroll confidently to the door.

"For the record, Bella, if I were trying to buy you, I would have started with replacing that beast of a truck," he says with a wink and continues out of the door.

"Hey." I whine in shock. "Don't diss the truck!" I yell after him.

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Two days later, I find myself standing in front of a mirror in what Alice refers to as the 'most elegant store in all of Chicago'. Alice and Angela have hit it off so well that she drags her out of the house, telling her that she needs her opinion on dresses. She also promises to introduce her to James if she comes along with us. That's enough to get Angela running out of the door.

We must have tried on at least fifty dresses, and I haven't found one I like. I don't know what color looks best, or if I should choose strapless or short. I'm not good at these types of things, but Alice and Angela seem to be having a ball.

Alice has chosen a black halter chiffon gown with extremely high, black heels. She twirls and bunches her long, flowing locks on top of her head as she admires the way her neck and shoulders will look if she wears her hair up. They both clap and squeal, marveling at how fabulous she looks. I'm holding up a red spaghetti strapped gown in front of me, trying desperately to make this the gown, but it isn't working. I huff and stomp my foot in irritation, which gets their attention.

"Bella! Oh my God! Red is too harsh for you, and you should definitely be going with strapless." Alice chastises and yanks the dress from my grasp.

"I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not going." I plop down on the dressing room chaise.

"You are going. My brother would have cow if you didn't. It'll be fine, Bella. We'll help you. My God, is she always like this?" she asks, turning to Angela.

"Sorry, but she is." Angela shrugs. "Oh wait, I saw a dress on the way in that looked perfect for you, Bella. I'll have the store manager bring it in," she says, bouncing out of the room.

"You're nervous aren't you?" Alice says, sitting next to me.

"Is it that obvious?" I scoff and brush a strand of hair away from her eye. "You have very beautiful hair. I bet everyone there will have beautiful, luxurious hair and long legs and…damn it! I'm so in over my head." I complain as I stand to pace in front of her.

"Is that what your issue is? You think you won't measure up?" she sighs and stands in my path. "Bella, I'm not going to lie to you. My parents are snobs. Everyone there will most likely be snobbish."

"Thanks for not sugar coating it, Alice." I interject. "You've made me feel a lot better."

"All I'm saying, is that I know it will be a different scene for you, but you'll have me with you if you start to feel awkward. I'm just a tiny bit snobbish," she finishes with a chuckle that makes me laugh as well. "Don't worry. I'm going to make sure you're beautiful. Angela seems determined to make that happen too. I like her." She whispers and nudges my shoulder. "I think she'd be perfect for James."

"Well, she's definitely asking about him."

Angela comes dancing back into the room with the most gorgeous gown and matching lingerie. My mouth falls open, and Alice squeals again.

"I know, isn't it perfect for her?" Angela joins in with the squealing. How old are we again?

"Here, Bella, and you have to try the lingerie on too." She pushes me into the dressing room. Is that even legal or sanitary?

I fumble with the device that's supposed to suck in my abdominal area completely and give me an hourglass figure. I soon realize that this is the most ridiculous contraption ever invented for a woman.

"I can't get this thing on!" I shout from behind the door.

"It's a corset." Angela confides to Alice.

Corset? What are we, in the 1800's?

"Angela, what the hell is this?" I whine. "Help me."

"Jesus, Bella, you're such a baby. Come out here."

"What? I'm practically naked"

"Bella, we're the only ones here and unless you have a penis between your legs, I'm not remotely interested in checking you out. Now come out of there and let us see." Alice snaps. Okay, so she's getting annoyed.

I stomp out of the room like a six-year old, which elicits an eye roll from the two of them. They both stand behind me and tell me to brace my hands on the wall, while one buttons and the other pulls the satin strings to tighten it. It doesn't feel as bad as I heard it does, but it definitely has my boobs sitting up on display.

As they finish buttoning and tying the corset, I'm pushed in front of the mirror to examine myself.

"Oh my Gosh!" I gasp.

"Oh my Gosh is right," Angela adds. "Are you gaining weight, Izzy B?" she asks, smiling with her hands on her hips.

I whirl around, mouth and eyes wide and gasp once more.

"Wha..what are you talking about?" I shriek, completely aghast and instinctively pat my stomach and waistline, checking for bulges.

"Calm down, Bella, I just meant your boobs look fuller, that's all."

"It's the corset right…Alice?" I panic, still groping my body and examining certain parts of myself.

"Well, the corset does give you extra lift. You look amazing."

I give a nervous laugh and turn to look at myself in the mirror.

"Yeah, but I've noticed lately that your boobs are getting fuller and your hips are spreading a little. It looks good on you though," Angela mentions.

"My hips are spreading?" I ask in confusion. For a moment, I look like Sadie chasing her tail as I try to examine myself from behind.

"Are you trying to give the girl a heart attack? Don't worry, Bella, I happen to know that my brother is an ass man."

Edward's an ass man? Wait, my ass is getting bigger too?

"Oh my God, I'm not going," I blurt out and try to duck into the dressing room, but they jump in my path.

"Put on the damned dress," they say in unison.

"Fine! Way to gang up on me, guys." I snatch the dress and step back behind the door.

Finally, I'm wearing the dress, and I have to admit that it feels amazing against my skin.

"Bella, come on, let us see," Alice sighs impatiently from behind the door.

I step out and watch as their eyes stretch in amazement. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing, so I quickly go to the mirror and assess the damage. I'm surprised to see that there's no damage at all. Actually, I think I look rather pretty.

"Oh my God you look like a princess, Bella." Alice says dreamily.

"She's right. Edward is going to die," Angela adds.

I stare in the mirror at the pale pink silk, strapless gown and agree with them. I love this dress, and I hope Edward will too.

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After selecting the perfect jewelry, shoes and getting spa treatments, Alice drops Angela and me off and tells me she'll call me in the morning. We drag our bags into the house and head to the kitchen to make a quick snack.

"So, that was fun, and I really like Alice."

"Yeah, she's great," I say, holding my stomach. I've been feeling a little nauseous ever since we left the dress store. We didn't really eat anything, so maybe I need some food.

Angela's talking is starting to sound like I'm going through a tunnel. I can feel my heart racing, and l feel faint.

"Bella, you want Sloppy Joes?"

"Oh! I'm going to be sick," I mumble through my hand and shoot up from the table, bolting up the stairs to the bathroom with Angela right on my heels.

Once I've emptied the contents from my stomach, I close the lid of the toilet and cross my arms, resting my head on top. My mind dredges up thoughts…thoughts I don't want to have. It's September, and I started having sex with Edward in July. Oh God!

"Oh no! No, no, no, no!" I gasp.

"Bella are you okay?" Angela appears at the bathroom door.

I look at her, eyes wide with anxiety and shake my head violently. I can tell by the concerned look on her face that she's made the connection and that she shares my thoughts.

"My boobs are getting bigger."

"Bella?"

"My hips are spreading?"

"Bella…"

"I'm throwing up and getting nauseous at the mere mention of food…my favorite foods, Angela!"

"Bella, you're just stressed out with everything that happened in Paris and now school…it's stress," she reasons, but she doesn't know. How could she?

"We stopped using condoms. Oh my God, how could I have been so stupid?" I whisper to myself.

"Bella, listen to me," she kneels down beside me, "it's going to be okay, but let's not jump to conclusions. The first thing we have to do is calculate. Have you missed a period?"

"No." I answer quickly.

"Okay, um… you said you and Edward stopped using condoms. How long ago did you guys stop?"

"I don't know. I don't remember. I think…" Then it dawns on me…Edward's voice asking me if I'm on the pill. Paris!

"Oh no…no, no, no!" I chant with my hand covering my mouth.

"Bella! How long?" she asks nervously.

"I know for sure we didn't use them in Paris, but I can't be sure if…damn it! I can't think, I don't remember! " I turn to her with pleading eyes. "Angela I can't be preg…"

"Don't say it. We have to get you a preg… a test," she hesitates, not wanting to say the word. "Let's go to the pharmacy right now." She tries to pull me up from the floor.

"I can't move, Angela. I can't think. I can't do this!"

"Okay, you stay here, I'll be back as quickly as I can."

"Okay."

I remain sitting on the bathroom floor, trying to understand how this could have happened. You know exactly how it happened.

"Oh God," I exhale looking up at the ceiling for some kind of sign that this is a dream that I'm trapped in. I scramble to my feet and slowly walk to my bedroom, clutching my stomach the whole time.

This is not happening. How could I have gotten so swept up in my relationship with Edward that I completely forgot about birth control? Technically, I hadn't forgotten. I had gone to see my doctor before I went to Florida with concerns about the pill I had been taking. My menstrual flow had been excessive and he told me to stop taking them. He prescribed a new pill regimen for me to start the following week. Switching up the pills must've screwed with my hormones or something and now….

"Oh my God!" I yell, gripping my hair. Thoughts of me waddling with a plump belly and swollen ankles, images of me screaming in labor and pushing a baby stroller, while trying to balance my medical books in my arms, race through my head. I cringe at the thought of me being someone's mother. I'm not ready; I'm only nineteen, for crying out loud.

I wring and shake my hands as I wear a hole in my bedroom carpet.

"Where the hell are you, Angela?" I impatiently wonder out loud, knowing full well that she hasn't even pulled out of the garage yet.

Just then, my phone buzzes, and I jump as it scares the shit out of me. Without a moment's hesitation, I snatch it up, not checking the caller id.

"Angela?" My voice sounds desperate.

"It's me, Brown Eyes. What's wrong?"

It's happening again…the nausea, the sweating, and the heart racing. Oh no!

"Edward, oh God." I retch and drop the phone, running back to the bathroom.

"Bella?" I hear him call, while I run to the bathroom.

This time I remain on the bathroom floor, clinging to that toilet bowl as if my life depends on it. I need to call Edward back. I know he's probably freaking out and is on his way, flying over here as soon as I dropped the phone. The last thing I want is him barging in and stumbling in on me peeing on a stick. Jesus Christ, how did I get into this mess?

.

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.

I hear the door slam, and I panic. Angela's hurrying up the stairs as I get up to retrieve my phone. I hurriedly dial Edward, and he answers before it even has a chance to ring.

"What the hell is going on, Bella? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine, Edward. I just..."

"I'm on my way over there."

"No! I just ate something bad, and I was feeling queasy. I'm fine."

"Bella I got the…"

"Shhh!" I silence Angela, and cover the mouthpiece of the phone so that Edward doesn't become more suspicious.

"Edward, I'm fine. I swear. I'm just going to take a warm bath and get into bed. I'll call you later. Bye." I rush him off the phone.

"Did you get it?" I ask anxiously.

"I bought three just to make sure." She hands me the bag.

I grab the bag and lock myself in the bathroom. I don't mean to be so rude, but if I know Edward, he's still on his way, and I need to hurry. I open the first box with a deep breath and swiftly read the instructions.

Three minutes have gone by since I sat the test on the sink to wait. Angela keeps asking every five seconds what it reads. Finally, I grab it without looking at it and open the door.

"Well?" she asks.

"You read it, I can't." I thrust it into her midsection.

She takes it from my hands and glances down, then slowly looks back up at me.

I can't read her eyes. I don't want to. I just wish that she'd blurt it out like ripping off a bandage.

"It's negative." She sighs with relief.

My head falls back and hits the wall with a thud. I thank the heavens and swear that for as long as I live, I will never have unprotected sex again …or until I'm married.

I'm relieved, but not completely satisfied so I take another test and the results are the same. So what the hell is wrong with me?

There's banging at the front door, and I hear Edward's voice call my name. I quickly clean up the boxes in the bathroom and send Angela to let him in. I hear him frantically asking her if I'm alright and telling her that I kept hanging up on him. Angela's tough, but I know she doesn't stand a chance if I don't save her soon. After making sure all of the evidence is safely put away, I make my way down the stairs.

"Bella, tell me what the hell is going on, right now," he says sternly.

"I told you. I ate something bad. I'm sorry I hung up on you, but I wasn't feeling well."

He walks over to me and feels my forehead. "Are you a doctor now, Edward?"

"Awww." Angela coos. I give her the death stare, and she excuses herself, saying she has homework to do.

"I'm not a doctor, but any capable person can tell when someone has a fever."

"Okay doctor, do I have a fever?" I ask sarcastically.

"No, but I'm staying the night to take care of you."" He picks up his car keys and heads to the door.

"Where are you going?" I ask, confused.

"I'm going to the grocery store. I know you probably only have boxed Mac-n-cheese and some cola in here. I'll make you some soup and get you some ginger ale. Go and get into bed."

"I'm not a baby, you know."

"Bed, Bella." He orders.

"Yes, Dad." I sigh heavily. Well, at least you know he would've been a good father.

I turn to head back up the stairs, but not before calling my doctor to make an appointment. I have to find out what the hell is going on with me.

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.

We arrive at the Cullen mansion, and I'm stunned to say the least. Edward's house is gorgeous, but there are absolutely no words for his parent's house. It's breathtaking. I guess there are words, after all.

"Have I told you how incredibly beautiful you look?" He leans down to whisper in my ear.

"Um, I think you mentioned it a few times when you picked me up," I say nervously.

"A few times huh? Then I haven't told you nearly enough." He laces his fingers with mine as we enter.

"You look amazing too," I say, squeezing his hand affectionately.

He really does look amazing in all of his Armani glory. He wears his thin wire frames, saying he doesn't feel like putting in his contacts, but I suspect he knows just how hot he looks in them. His hair is still spiky from being cut, his sideburns perfectly shaped, but he isn't completely clean-shaven, which I love.

Alice greets us as we make our way in. I'm surprised there isn't a butler or someone answering the door.

"Oh my God, you look so terrific, Bella." She grabs me in a bear hug and kisses my cheek. "You look good too, brother," she finishes dryly.

"Thanks, Smidge." He rolls his eyes and kisses her forehead. "Is James here yet?"

"No, but did you know that he's bringing Victoria?"

"Alice, are your brothers here yet?"

Before she has a chance to answer, Edward's father interrupts by walking in, looking extremely handsome; and extremely young. Like Edward, he's in a black tuxedo with his blonde hair combed back neatly.

"Edward I didn't see you there," he continues, placing a hand on Edward's shoulder. "Bella, welcome, you look extraordinary," he says with a wide smile and leans in to kiss my cheek.

Okay this is weird.

"Thank you for having me, Mr. Cullen." I reciprocate, politely.

"Please call me Carlisle," He says, scrunching his face up at my misuse of his name.

"I'm sorry…Carlisle." I correct. "You have a beautiful home."

"Thank you, Bella. Although, I can't take any of the credit, my wife did all of the decorating. I look forward to getting to know you better, Bella, and please enjoy yourself," he finishes as he goes to greet the other arriving guests.

"See, you have him wrapped around your finger," Edward says sarcastically. "Should I be worried?" He taunts.

I simply smile as he leads me into the dining area.

Everything seems to be going smoothly. I watch as guests fill the room and greet the Cullen family members, one after the other. James has finally showed up with Victoria on his arm. I'm glad Edward had prepared me for her being here. I knew that it would be awkward after the incident between them in Florida, but I reassured him that I've put it behind me. I was concerned about Tanya being here, but he told me the Denali's wouldn't be attending. Edward said there would be questions about what happened with the wedding and speculation about our relationship once people see us together. That part scares the hell out of me, and also the fact that I haven't seen or met his mother yet.

As if on cue, she comes breezing into the room. She looks like royalty in an all white, beaded gown. Her beautiful, red locks are pinned up into a twist with loose bangs tumbling just above her eyelashes. In a word, she's flawless. She's wearing a radiant smile as she approaches us, and I feel myself fidget.

"You must be Bella," she says sweetly and leans in to kiss my cheek. I realize that this must be how his entire family greets everyone.

"Bella, this is my mother, Esme," Edward adds as he kisses both of her cheeks.

"Hello. It's very nice to finally meet you. Edward has told me so much about you," I say nervously. I hope she doesn't notice.

"Well, I hope Edward was very pleasant when he spoke about us," she teases. "I can't say I know much about you, though. I hope we can rectify that this evening." She finishes with a hint of a question.

"Um, sure, I would love to know more about Edward's family."

"Good, I look forward to it. Now, have you two seen my gorgeous husband?" She asks, rubbing her lipstick off Edward's cheek.

"He's gone to greet your dinner guests. You're a bit late mother, but gorgeous as always."

"Thanks, sweetheart. I'll see you two later." She walks gracefully into the next room.

"Relax, Bella."

"She's so beautiful, Edward. Everyone here is."

"Including you, Brown Eyes. Now stop crushing my hand and come with me. I have some people I want to introduce you to."

Oh crap!

.

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EPOV

I arrive at Bella's apartment, and I'm nearly floored when she answers the door. She's a beautiful woman, but there are no words to articulate what she looks like right now. My eyes roam over her entire form, and I realize that there's much more to my ponytail, converse-wearing girlfriend than meets the eye.

I was worried that she wouldn't be able to attend the dinner after being sick, but she insisted that it was just a stomach bug and nothing major. I'm glad, because I really want everyone to know that we're together. She's already met my father, and it's time for my mother to meet her as well.

It takes every ounce of gentlemen in me to not say 'let's go to my place and fuck each other's brains out instead of going to dinner at my parents'. I want her that badly.

And she bought the fucking four-inch heels!

We'll definitely be making plans for after dinner.

She was a nervous wreck when I told her that Victoria would be here. I could fucking kill James for bringing her, although what happened back in Florida is not his fault, it doesn't make it any less awkward. Surprisingly, Bella is okay with it, and says that she's put it behind her. She seems to be more worried about how people will accept her and having to face questions about Tanya and the cancellation of the wedding. Tanya will not be attending the banquet, and I'm sure her parents are so pissed off with me that they won't be attending either. That's one bullet I get to dodge tonight.

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Bella is talking with Alice and some of the other guest. It's a relief that she's starting to relax. I was sure she was going to jump out of her skin when my mother approached us. She had a death grip on my fingers and would not stop squeezing. Surprisingly pleasant, my mother kissed her and said she looked forward to getting to know her better as the night progressed. I hope she continues to act like a human being.

As I'm eying Bella to make sure she's having a good time, James and Victoria make their way over to me.

"Hey bro," he greets, and we share a quick, manly handshake.

"You had to bring her didn't you?" I say in a low voice, through clenched teeth.

"Don't worry, Eddie, I won't tell your little girlfriend about our past," Victoria purrs. "I have to say, she does clean up rather well. Now she doesn't look so much like you're going to get yourself arrested for statutory rape."

"You're a bitch." I snap.

"Okay you two, not tonight," James warns. "Shit, you're both like two little kids. Grow the fuck up," he finishes as he grabs two champagne glasses from the waiter, handing me one and drinking the other.

"Hey where's mine?" Victoria whines.

"Are your fingers broken? Get your own," he scoffs and walks over to where Alice and Bella are standing.

"So, where's Tanya?"

"Who the fuck knows?" I answer, disinterested.

"Don't you even care, Edward? I mean, she is your fiancée."

"Not particularly, and she was my fiancée. In case you haven't noticed, I'm with someone else now, and why the fuck are you so interested in my love life, anyway?"

"I'm not, but no matter how much you dress her up, she will never be one of us, Edward." She nods in Bella's direction.

"Thank God for that," I respond bitterly and walk away.

I approach Bella, who is now standing alone. I stand closely behind her and wrap my arms around her waist, kissing her sweet smelling neck.

"You smell so good." I breathe.

"Edward, this is highly inappropriate behavior for a banquet." She spins out of my grasp. We're standing on our own in the foyer, while everyone mingles in the family room.

"Why are you standing here by yourself?" I ask, stroking her collarbone with the back of my index finger. I watch her inhale a sharp breath and hesitate before she answers.

"I just don't want to say the wrong thing to someone and embarrass you."

"Bella, you could never embarrass me. I thought I made this clear to you the other day."

"I know, but…" She pauses and grabs a couple of hors d'oeuvres from the waiter and begins eating. "All of these people are wealthy and set for life. They are extremely intelligent people, Edward. What am I going to say if someone asks me what I do for living, tell him or her that I work at Starbucks?" she mumbles with her mouth full.

"That's exactly what you'll tell them. I'm not ashamed of who you are and what you do, Bella. If it wasn't for that place I would never have met you, and I'd be trapped in a loveless marriage."

She winces at my statement and continues passing appetizers through her plump lips.

"Come here, I want you to see something." I spin her so her back is against my chest, and we're both looking into the room where people are talking, dancing and drinking champagne.

"Do you see that woman right there in the red dress with the enormous diamond on her finger? Her name is Irina Ashton. She's Victoria's mother. And do you see the guy dancing with the curvy blonde?"

"You mean the one with the fake looking boobs?" she asks.

"Yeah that's the one. Well, that man is Irina Ashton's husband, and they are swingers." I take one of the appetizers from her hand and pop it into my mouth.

"You mean…"

"Yeah, basically, they swap husbands and wives. They have parties and fuck other people…sometimes in front of each other.

"No way!" she gasps in astonishment.

And look to your far right, next to the piano. That's Mrs. Cope, who was formally known as Mr. Cope." I whisper the last part in her ear, and she gasps and giggles. I wanted to get her to relax and that seems to do the trick.

"Oh my God! You're so bad." She keeps giggling.

"Do you feel better now?"

"Yes, and thank you." She reaches for more hors d'oeuvres. I watch her in amusement, realizing that she must eat when she's nervous.

"Okay, so what I want from you is to go in there with your head held high and show those people the beautiful, coffee pouring, future doctor I fell in love with. I'll take those," I say, retrieving the food from her hands. "Now go dazzle." I give her a gentle swat on her ass to move her in the direction of the party.

After dinner and having to schmooze with more people than I would ever want to, I find Bella talking to Ms. Brandon. She's an elderly woman with a ton of money, no husband, no children and three dogs that she treats like her kids. I know that once Bella tells her about her plans to become a veterinarian she'll totally be in love with her. I'm sure by now she's trying to get Bella to move in with her and become a permanent nanny to those dogs. I decide I need to go over and save her. Ms. Brandon can be very persistent.

"Hello, Ms. Brandon. I see that you and Bella are getting along well," I say, kissing her cheek.

"Oh! Edward, sweetheart your Bella is a delight. A vast improvement on that conceited ex fiancée of yours."

"Thank you, Ms. Brandon." I reply dryly. "Do you mind if I steal Bella for a moment?"

"I most certainly don't. I encourage you to keep your eyes open. Mr. Ashton seems to have his sights on her, and who could blame him? She is a lovely girl."

"Well, I'll keep that in mind, Ms. Brandon." I say kindly and lead Bella away and onto the middle of the floor to dance.

"So, Mr. Ashton was eyeing you?"

"Ms. Brandon is a sweet old lady, but she's um, very…delusional." She wraps her arms around my neck as we sway to the music.

"Oh, she's far from delusional, and I'll break his neck if he looks at you again."

"Down boy, I only have eyes for you." She kisses me softly.

I see my mother watching us from across the room, and her expression is not a pleasant one. She'd been tolerable throughout dinner, and it shocked the hell out of me. It's all a show though. I know it's eating away at her that people are talking and bonding with Bella, especially my father. He seems to genuinely be blown away by her. He took interest in the fact that she handled herself beautifully with the other guests. Even when the paparazzi took photos of the family, he encouraged her to be in every one of the pictures. I know my mother will flip after the banquet. She's just putting on a front for her friends. We'll definitely feel her wrath tomorrow.

"You've been magnificent tonight. Everyone is impressed with you," I pull her closer to me, and I feel her body go rigid. "Baby, what's wrong, did I hurt you?"

She shakes her head violently and pushes away from me, her hand covering her mouth.

"I need the bathroom." She mumbles.

I place my hand on the small of her back and quickly, yet discreetly usher her to the restroom on the other side of the house.

I hear her vomiting, over and over and start to worry. She was sick yesterday and is obviously not feeling any better. I feel like a bastard for not recognizing it and dragging her out tonight when she clearly isn't up to it.

"Bella, can I come in?"

"Yeah." She rasps.

I enter and see her sitting on the floor, looking as white as a sheet. She has a thin sheen of sweat on her forehead and some wisps of hair sticking to her face.

"Some date I'm turning out to be. I think it was all those crab things I ate." She tries to reassure me, but to no avail.

"Bella, you've been throwing up since yesterday. It wasn't the food. I'm worried." I kneel down beside her and brush her hair out of her face.

"Edward, I've called my doctor and he said he's sure it's just some stomach virus that's going around. I'm fine."

"When did you speak with him?"

"I spoke with him yesterday after you went to the grocery store. I have an appointment with him tomorrow."

"Okay, I'm going to make sure you're at that appointment on time." I pick her up off the floor and cradle her in my arms. "You want to go home?"

"Yes, but I want to go home with you and preferably walking on my own, so put me down."

"Are you sure you're fine to walk? Do you feel faint?"

"I feel fine. I actually feel a lot better since I uh…well you know." She gestures toward the toilet.

"Well, your color does appear to be coming back. Wait here, I'll go and tell my parents we're leaving, and you can freshen up a bit, then we'll go."

"Alright." She says simply and runs water and splashes it on her face.

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.

I say goodnight to everyone on Bella's behalf and apologize for having to leave early. We arrive back at my house and curl up on the couch, still in our dinner attire.

"How are you feeling?"

"I feel a lot better. I'm sorry I ruined the evening."

"Are you kidding me? I think my father, as well as every other man attending tonight, is in love with you, probably the majority of the women as well. You didn't ruin anything. Everyone was very concerned about you and said that they hoped you felt better."

"What about you mother? I can see that she hates me."

"She'll come around. She has no choice. You are the woman I choose to be with. Bella, when I saw you in this dress and how breathtaking you looked, I fell in love with you all over again. I watched you in awe tonight, laughing and fitting in with everyone. I have never been more certain of anything in my life. I want a future with you…marriage, dogs, kids and all. I want all of it with you."

I feel her body stiffen, and she turns to examine my expression.

"Um I…I…Edward…" She stammers.

"I don't mean today, but I do want it, with you. I'm certain of this, and I think you feel the same way."

She smiles and nods slowly. Her eyes tell me everything. She wants a future with me too, and we'll have it. I'll give her everything, and when that isn't enough, I'll give her more.

She sighs and turns back around to rest her head on my chest. She removes the pins from her head to let it down.

"Allow me to do that," I say, covering her hand with mine. I slowly drag the pins out, one by one, fascinated with every silky lock that falls to her bare shoulders. She hums in appreciation.

"So, um, you do want kids?" she asks hesitantly.

"Yes." I answer without any hesitation. "I'm sort of vain, in case you haven't noticed. I have to have a green eyed 'mini-me' running around." I joke.

She laughs and we both comb through her waves with our fingers. "So just one would suffice?"

"I'm greedy too, in case you haven't noticed that either, so no, one wouldn't suffice." I say truthfully. I can sense her reluctance to elaborate on the subject and think maybe I've gone too far talking about marriage and children. It's just a conversation, but I feel strongly about family. The truth is, I want a large family, and I plan on raising my kids differently to the way I was raised. They'll be able to make their own choices and live their lives the way they want. There'll be no manipulation or scheming, only support from a father who loves them and wants to see them happy. I know it's premature to be talking about this with Bella, but I simply want her to know that she's the one. I've only needed the short time we've spent together to know it.

"What are you thinking?" I whisper in her ear.

"I was just wondering about a few things," she says shyly, twirling one of my cufflinks.

"What were you thinking about?"

"I was thinking that you're the brains and looks in this relationship. Hell, you're the domestic one too. What can I possibly give you?"

I continue running my fingers through her hair and think about what she's just said. She truly doesn't understand my feelings for her. I'm most likely at fault for that. I have to show her.

"Move in with me."

"Excuse me…what did you just say?" she asks, turning around to see my face.

"Move. In. With. Me." I enunciate. "I don't want to wake up another morning without you, Brown Eyes. Move in with me." I brush my mouth against hers, allowing our lips to linger.

"No," she murmurs.

"Why?"

"Because I have my own place," Kiss. "And I have a roommate," Kiss. "And a dog."

"They're all small obstacles."

"Edward…"

"Shut up, Bella." I cut her off and slip my tongue into her warm mouth. Our tongues stroke and twist together as our soft moans flood the air.

I carry her upstairs and place her on her feet. She looks up at me with lustful eyes as I undo my tie and unbutton my shirt. Tonight, I'll show her just how serious I am about our relationship.

I step toward her with my shirt undone and reach for her hands, guiding her toward the bed. I stop once we reach the side, and I turn her back to me and slowly drag the zipper on her dress down, kissing along her back.

I notice the black satin ribbon laced in crisscross pattern. I pause for a brief moment, marveling at how her skin contrasts with the color. I eagerly push the dress over her hips and to the floor, anticipating what else I'd find under that dress.

My hands roam over her back and down to her ass. I caress her and gently pull her hips back to meet my erection. We both moan quietly from the sensation, as I brush back and forth across her ass.

"Don't tease." She pants heavily.

"You're the one wearing the fucking lingerie," I breathe in her ear and trace it with my tongue.

"Then take it off."

My hands obey her request, and she's left standing in only a pair of matching black satin and lace panties. I palm her breasts and her hands cover mine, mimicking my movements. I lace one of our hands together and trail it down her flat stomach, then down to the apex of her thighs. She moans seductively, and I grow harder. I know what she wants when I feel her moving our hands back up between her legs. I can feel the warmth radiating from her. Her hand nudges mine a little, making me stroke her. Her head lolls back, getting lost in the pleasure of what our fingers are doing.

"You like that? Does it feel good?" My voice is deep and wanting. I need to feel more. Pushing the lacy fabric aside, I stroke her slickness back and forth; my other hand kneads her breast. She whimpers and grinds her ass into my cock, which causes my hand to move faster. I feel her legs start to buckle as she leans further into my body for support.

"I..I'm going to come!" She says breathlessly. My fingers move faster over her swollen clit, plunging in and out as her head turns and captures my lips. She moans and cries softly into my mouth as I feel her tighten around my fingers. I bury my hand in her hair, holding her lips securely to mine, swallowing her cries of pleasure as her body explodes. Warmth coats my fingers and my palm as she pants into my mouth, coming down from her orgasm.

I release her lips and withdraw my hand from her panties, making her lie back onto the bed.

"I want to taste you," I say, spreading her legs.

"I want to taste you." She sits up and reaches to undo my belt. I don't respond. This is the first time she's ever expressed a desire or initiated doing that to me, and my cock twitches at her suggestion. I reach up and thread my fingers at the nape of her hair as she pulls my pants and boxers down, just enough to release me from my confinement. She looks up at me with those amazing eyes, before enveloping me in her warm, wet mouth. Heaven.

It feels like heaven as I whisper. " Isabella Swan…I love you."

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I wake to the sound of my cell-phone buzzing on the nightstand. I peek over at my watch and groan when I see the time. I'm relieved when the phone stops. I lean down and press my lips to her forehead, and she snuggles closer. My phone buzzes again, and I curse under my breath. Careful not to wake her, I slide out from underneath her warm body and sit on the edge of the bed. I grab the phone and check the caller id. Cursing again, I creep out of the room and into the bathroom to answer the call.

"Why are you calling me at seven a.m., Tanya?"

"I need to see you."

"We have no reason to see one another. It's seven a.m. and you've pulled me out of bed. I'm hanging up."

"I would advise you not to do that. I need to speak with you. It's about your precious Isabella, and if I were you, I wouldn't piss me off."

"What is this about, Tanya?"

"Meet me at your office in thirty minutes."

The call drops out, and I wonder what the hell is so important about Bella that she has to meet with me this early in the morning. I scrub my hand over my face, still staring at the phone screen.

After a few more minutes, I grab a quick shower and decide to meet Tanya.

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BPOV

I woke up alone this morning, after having an amazing night. Edward must have had some important business to attend to, since he didn't bother to wake me to let me know he was leaving. I have my doctor's appointment today, and it looks like I'll be going by myself. It's better this way. I wouldn't feel comfortable with him being there, grilling my doctor about my health.

I'm waiting in the exam room when Dr. Reese walks in.

"Good morning, Bella, how are you feeling?"

"I feel fine. I haven't thrown up today, but it's still early." I laugh nervously.

"So, tell me what's been happening." He smiles, ignoring my humor.

"I've been throwing up and having the sweats. Oh, and I've been feeling nauseous."

"When was your last period?" he asks professionally, as he scribbles on my chart.

"Um, about two weeks ago. I'm not late, and I took two pregnancy tests, they were both negative."

He nods and continues to write. "How's your appetite?"

"Um, I've been eating normally…sometimes more than normal, but school is stressful and my social life is…well…you get it."

He peers at me over the rim of his glasses and smiles. "So I guess it's safe to assume that you and your partner are being intimate, hence the pregnancy tests." He smirks.

"Um, yes." I answer uncomfortably.

"Well, Bella, I'm going to do some blood work and give you another pregnancy test as a precaution. I also want you to have a mammogram."

"Wait, a mammogram, why?"

"I don't want to alarm you, but I'm going to be honest. There is a history of breast cancer in your family and some of the things you've described to me are symptomatic of breast cancer. I can't rule it out at this point, but we're going to do the tests and see what we're dealing with, okay?"

I nod robotically, in utter shock. He pats my knee and excuses himself, telling me that the nurse would be coming back in a moment to start the tests.

I swallow the lump that feels prominent in my throat, as tears start to well up in my eyes. I hadn't even thought for a second that it might be something this serious. In this moment I have a change of mind, and wish that Edward was here with me.


~~W~~

End Note: These are reedited reposted chapters of a previously completed story, but I feel the need to say a big thank you to my Beta FoolforEdward for taking the time to tackle this. I've must've been insane when I wrote this chapter of 12,000 words. Good Lord! I'm sorry hun. LOL!

Remember, it's the calm before the storm. Now please leave me your thoughts.