Disclaimer- See chapter one. Also... I own none of these songs, even thought I desperately wish I did.

A/N: I like to think this chapter flows a lot better than the last. I want to thank my wonderful boyfriend for giving me a clue as to how Carlisle's probably feeling, and how to better characterize him. That was my stumbling block. Everyone else I had a pretty good idea of, but until a conversation the other day, Carlisle was a blind spot for me. Tell me if you like what I've done with him.

Chapter Seven

It took a while, but things eventually settled into a rhythm again at the Cullen house, and we all adjusted to our new normal. Esme helped clear out the upstairs storage room at the end of the hall, and together all of the girls and I helped to transform it into Tanya's room. It broke poor Alice's heart that the room lacked a walk in closet, and Tanya had to be stuck with a two door closet unlike everyone else in the house.

I laughed, thinking about how everyone seemed to forget that poor Carlisle didn't even have a room anymore. Just an office. I mean, logically I realized he didn't need one, never sleeping and all, but I figured it was a little sad to be denied the formality. If it bothered him, he never showed it, instead being grateful that such tumultuous events hadn't torn his family apart.

It was hard to fine the time, and my... 'affair' I guess you could call it... with Carlisle became like a hit and run. We rarely ever got to sneak away, so when we saw an opportunity we took it, wherever we are. It was often cut short, and afterward we rarely talked about what occurred.

I sat at my desk, alone, desperately trying to find inspiration for my English term paper. School was drawing to a close, and I had to hurry to finish all of the assignments I'd fallen behind on. I felt a small shift in the air, and the tell-tale tingle on the back of my neck that let me know I wasn't alone, and I was being watched. A small smile played over my lips. "You can give up on sneaking up on me. It won't happen," I said, my voice laced with laughter.

I heard him swear, and I turned around in my chair to face him. "I don't get it. You can't hear me. You can't smell me. You can't see me. What gives it away?" He asked.

I smiled. "I don't know. It's like I've become attuned to your presence. It's like something in the air shifts. And I can always feel you staring at me."

He scowled. "I'll have to work on my sneaking skills, I guess."

I grinned wickedly. "There's a certain set of skills I would appreciate right now that need no work at all," I whispered, standing. I crossed the room to meet him, and he slid his arms around my waist, pulling me to him. My lips met his in a crushing kiss, and not wanting to waste any time, I pushed him down to the bed, my hands already working at his belt. It was always like this when he touched me. It was like a switch was flipped, and no matter what I had been doing, in an instant my body was burning, and I was hopelessly wet for him.

Foreplay? There was just no time for it. I gasped, as he yanked down my pants and underwear, and with no preamble, buried himself inside me. My eyes locked onto his, and I could barely breath at the intensity in his. "Please," I begged. "Touch me."

His fingers went to the place where our bodies met, working at a speed impossible for humans. "Bella... please tell me your close," he said, and the words came out strangled. "I'm not going to last," he warned.

I held him close as his thrusts became impossibly fast, the sensation building inside me rapidly, like a coil twisting tighter and tighter. "I'm close," I promised. "So close."

And just as staring into his eyes was becoming too intense, that coil, twisted tight within me exploded. I came so hard I saw stars, and as I spasmed around him, I felt him lose it too, burying himself inside me one last time, before I felt myself filled with him.

We lay there a while, panting, before we could even begin to collect ourselves. "Do we have time?" I asked. It was rare that we did, so I'd learned to appreciate the little we got, but some days he had long enough to stick around and talk. Rarely, we'd have more than an hour. I absolutely treasured those times.

"Yes," he said, and I felt his lips curved into a smiled, where they pressed against the side of my head.

"How long?" I asked, trying to beat down the hope within me.

"Not long enough, my sweet. My guess is forty five minutes," he said.

"What do you want to do?" I asked. The grin spread across his face slow and easy, and I knew I shouldn't have bothered asking.

Always insatiable.

Grinning, I quickly scaled the tree outside of Bella's room and hopped from the branch into her room, landing quietly. I looked at Bella, sitting up, pillows propped behind her on her bed. A bowl of popcorn sitting in her lap.

"We have three hours," I announced, trying to beat down the glee in my voice.

She put a finger to her lips, silencing me. "We have nothing," she said. "I have True Blood." She pointed to the TV, in explanation before beckoning me over to the bed.

She scooted forward, and I moved to sit behind her, placing her between my legs. I looked towards the TV, wondering what could be taking away my Bella's attention. I watched on entranced, and then amused as I realized what this show was about... Vampires.

I tried to hold back a laugh at first, but as the hour progressed, I couldn't help but be intrigued at this interpretation of my race. There were few similarities between them and us, but I found myself entertained nonetheless. I thought over it and realized with a shock that I don't think I'd ever actually watched TV before.

I mean, sure, I'd watched TV before, the news, the occasional movie or stray episode of a show, but I'd never actually watched. I'd never become a fan of a show, I'd never sat and aimlessly channel surfed. It seemed so fleeting and rather immature to invest myself in the lives of fictional character on a show that would run only a few years, never more than a decade usually. It had always seemed a waste to me.

But sitting here with Bella while she watched could have been entertainment on it's own. Her little gasps when something surprised her. The sharp intake of breath when there was a cliffhanger or plot twist. The way her eyes shined when she laughed at something funny. I'd never seen someone show so much emotion in the span of one hour before.

When the end credits finally rolled, she sat down the remote, still in shock. "Oh my God," she said, eyes wide, finally turning to face me.

I laughed. "Oh, my Bella. You can be so human."

Her mouth twisted for a moment, before she gave me a light swat on the shoulder. "And you are so... old." I had to hand it to her, it was a well aimed blow, but it failed to even face me, and I drew her into a deep kiss.

"You've kept me waiting, Bella. Did you enjoy your show?" I asked.

"I did," she said, resting her head against my shoulder. "Thank you for staying with me. And more importantly not making fun of me. Please, please, please do not tell anyone else I watch this!" She begged. "I'll never hear the end of this if Emmett find out." She clasped her hands together, and looked up at me expectantly.

I mulled over my options. She was presenting me with the perfect opportunity after all. Not sure what had gotten hold of me, I smirked, bringing Bella's hands to my belt.

She bit her lip, but undid the belt, and my jeans slowly but surely, and then boldly pulled out my already hardening arousal. She gave it an experimental stroke, and I growled.

"I like that sound," she admitted quietly. "Do it again."

Her request in such an innocent voice. I was hard like steel in that moment, and she didn't even have to ask. I growled again. "Your mouth, now." Her head jerked up, and her eyes met mine, perplexed. I grinned wickedly. "Or I tell Emmett."

The look in her eyes told me that I had her, and she stroked me a few more times before I felt the first tentative swipe of her tongue. "Oh, God."

"No, just me."

The feeling of her warm breath so close to my cock nearly made me see stars, and I was entire unprepared for her tongue swirling around the head. "Yes." She did it again. "Oh, fuck. Please."

I didn't have to ask again, and carefully she took the head into her mouth. I groaned, the sensation of her hot, wet mouth was something foreign to me, and it was easily the hottest thing I'd ever felt. Encouraged, she started to take more of me in, before I felt myself reach the back of her throat and she gagged. For a second I felt her throat constrict around me, and I nearly screamed. She was playing hell with my self control. I looked down at her, and the sight of her face between my legs, those perfect pink lips wrapped around me was nearly too much.

"Stop," I begged. I pulled myself out of her mouth with a small 'pop.'

Anxiety flooded her eyes. "Did I do something wrong?" She asked. I couldn't control it, I laughed. "What, what is it?" She asked.

"Oh my God, no. You didn't do anything wrong, sweetheart. I just didn't want it to be over before it's started," I told her. Slinging an arm around her waist, I laid her gently down on the bed, helping her out of her shirt. The white tank top she wore under it was trimmed with lace, and it looked so deliciously innocent, that when she reached for the hem, I stopped her. "It stays."

She nodded, her hands already going to the button of her jeans. I unzipped them for her, tugging them down her slender but shapely legs. "Fucking Alice," I hissed, as I finally focused on the impossibly small satin thong Bella was wearing. It was deceptively innocent with a yellow and white polka dot pattern, little white bows accenting each curve of her hips. Combined with her tank top, I had a hard time remembering when I'd seen something sexier. Probably tomorrow night. I had to admit that every time I thought that, Bella's next outfit or mannerism made me eat my words.

I slipped my hand beneath the waistband of those wicked underwear, stroking her until she made those delicious sounds I loved so much. I dragged my fingers back and forth over that sweet little button of hers until she cried out. "Are you ready for me, my sweet?" I asked.

"Always," she said breathlessly.

I yanked the offending garment down to to her ankles, as she yanked down my jeans. Neither of us could be bothered to take off anything else in my rush to bury myself inside her. When I was in to the hilt, I pressed a kiss to her temple. "Have I ever told you that this is the only place I ever want to be?" I whispered.

She shook her head, tiny movements that were almost imperceptible. She knew my vampire eyes would catch the motion. She was getting good at these tiny cues. I captured her bottom lip, sucking and nibbling as I began to thrust into her. No matter how many times we did this, I could never get over how unbelievably tight and hot she felt around me, or how responsive she always was. The sounds she made, and the times she would moan my name always made my chest swell with pride, and always brought me that much closer to release.

"Carlisle," she choked out. I looked down at her, and her chocolate brown eyes met mine, as she said the words that always undid me. "I'm cumming."

And with that, I saw stars. It was as though every muscle in my body had been held taut and then suddenly let go. All the tension drained from my body, and in it's wake was this weak feeling. As a vampire, it was humbling, and glorious. It was one of the few times my barriers were down, and I owed it all to Bella.

"I think that may have been the best yet," she whispered.

"I think you might be right."

Over the next few weeks, Bella and I fell into a sort of pattern. As much of a pattern as we could have while sneaking around that is. I'd sneak off when I got the chance, and we'd have mad passionate sex, as Alice once phrased it to my horror. The rest of the time was filled with mindless banter, occasionally serious current events debates, and often, a round two, or even three if we had time. She'd sparked something inside of me, and people were noticing. It was almost nothing to hold up the charade these days, because it wasn't really a charade. I was smiling constantly. I'd often be seen at the grocery store, and it wasn't just for the weekly trip for appearances. I had been joining Bella each Sunday to watch True Blood, while telling everyone I was using the time to finish paperwork at the office, and Bella always had me pick up snacks on my way over.

Recently, Bella had been trying to get me to listen to some of her music, and when I protested, she pointed out that she wasn't even sure I'd listened to any music made after nineteen hundred. I grumbled, but I didn't think I could argue with her on this one.

"I prefer classical," I had once said, and she snorted.

"Uh-uh. Not happening, big boy. You're not getting out of this one," She said. "You're going to at least try."

So with less arguing on my part, Bella insisted that next time we see each other we were having what she referred to as an "unplugged" night. "You see, it's where I turn off everything else, and I do mean everything. Computer, TV, cell phone, lights... You name it. Everything except for my music, and I turn that way up. I can't even hear anything else. It used to drive Charlie nuts, but now he'll just go down to La Push. I find it really therapeutic. And I have a specific playlist for it. Only songs with lyrics that mean something. I don't have a whole lot of fluff on my MP3 player, but I know it has it's place. Not on these nights. It's all about feeling," she explained.

I couldn't help but be intrigued by this, and I looked forward to the next time I had an opportunity to sneak away. I guess it was noticeably, because one of the nurses at the hospital commented on my anticipation one night.

"Got a hot date, Dr. Cullen?" Teresa Holmes asked. Her smile was warm and generous, and unlike most of the nurses around here, it held no trace of flirtation. She was only a few years out of school, and when she'd started working at the hospital last year, I'd taken her under my wing, sort of guiding her until she found her rhythm. And when she had, I'd been blown away. She was going to make an incredible nurse once she got more experience under her belt, and she was already partway there.

I smiled back. "No, nothing like that. I'm not even close to ready to start dating again," I said truthfully. The concept of committing to a steady relationship, to the pursuit of love, so soon after my failure with Esme was just too much for me right now. "I was just planning something a friend of mine told me about," I explained.

Her smile changed to kind of a confused quirk of the lips. "What's that?"

"They're called 'unplugged' nights. It's where you turn off all of your electronics, except for your music. If it's all on your computer then you're required to shut down every other program except for your music player. You even turn off the lights, and you're only aloud to listen to songs that make you feel, with meaningful music, you know? And you turn it up nearly as loud as you can stand it. My friend likes to think of it as music therapy," I explained.

"That sounds nice," she said, nodding her head in agreement. "You know what, I think I'll try that sometime," she said. "It sounds like it'd be perfect after a long shift at the hospital. Just me, a bubble bath, a few candles, and a boom box in an otherwise dark room."

"I hope it helps," I told her.

"You too, Dr. Cullen. You too."

"Some of these are really sad," I warned, choosing the play list. "Lets just say I had a lot of these nights after you guys left."

I saw his face fall. "Oh, Bella..."

I smiled, even if it felt a tiny bit forced. "It's okay. The past is the past. Our family is back together again, and that's all that matters," I promised, and the words rang true. "I just... I needed these nights. Charlie couldn't hear me cry over the music," I admitted.

Carlisle pulled me against him, as the opening notes of one of my favorite songs began to play.

Slow down you crazy child, you're so ambitious for a juvenile...

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out...

Slow down, you crazy child, and take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile...

When will you realize? Vienna waits for you...

"I never had you pegged for a Billy Joel fan," Carlisle said, surprised.

"Neither did I. My teacher used the song once in a philosophy class in Phoenix. I took a liking to it. It's the song that convinced me to start these nights," I explained.

"He's a smart man."

I'll show you mine if you show me yours first,
Let's compare scars, I'll tell you whose is worse...

I've got some friends, some that I hardly know,
But we've had some times, I wouldn't trade for the world...
We chase these days down with talks of the places that we will go...

"Simpler times," I said wistfully. Carlisle nodded, pressing a kiss to the top of my head. I felt his hand trace the curve of my hip, and it sent a shiver up my spine, but I swatted his hand away. "Not tonight," I told him, smiling into his shoulder.

Is there no signal in your bedroom where you're spending all your time?

I wouldn't wish this life on anyone. Why do this to yourself?

This isn't living and this ain't dying. This isn't anything at all,

You've gone back on all your promises and hiding from the truth.

You hate the mirror like I hate the morning sunlight,

both show us for who we really are and what we have become.

In cursive letters I am calling out your name,

Hear me? Did I spell this right?

Even months later, this still hit a little close to home for me. Even though I believe what I told Carlisle, I was well and truly broken when they'd left me. And even though the pain was beaten down to bearable, often forgotten, and lessening little by little, it was still there. There were still days I felt fragile.

I felt Carlisle tracing circles along my back, as though he could read my mind. And then... there were days like this. On days like this, I could just be. No trying. No thinking. It was like a vacation away from reality.

People talking like they don't even know where they're walking,
Hurricane girl,
About to explode,
Pieces missing, like they don't even know how to listen,
Hurricane girl, hurricane girl,
About to explode...

While they were gone I felt like that girl. And when they came back, I thought I might be able to walk away from that. But tonight... Tonight I knew that I had. I was walking away from that girl.

Just wanted to give credit for the songs. The first is Vienna by Billy Joel, of course. The second is Swing Life Away by Rage Against the Machine. The third is Cursive, by one of my favorite small time bands The Intel, who unfortunately broke up... *sad face* The last is Hurricane Girl by Alexz Johnson. Also, Bella's tank top and underwear are on my profile.