The Hideaway…

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~Chapter 5 - Deal


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I walk alone and I
I ride alone and I
I rock myself to sleep
Baby, there ain't enough room in this world
For people like you
And horrors like me

A time of darkness
There lived a girl in a cave in the woods
Disguised as a bee
At night she would fly into the city
Sting the cause
And sting the cost
And she would hover over me
Whispering
And so we sing
We're surfacing
We're surfacing

I stand alone and I
I fight alone and I
Stay clean by feeling cheap
And baby, there ain't enough room in this world
For perfection's like you
And monsters like me

A time of darkness
You will look absurd and you will feel inert
And you will go looking to blame somebody
You see I used to think that I'd get over everything
But everything just got
over me

I'm some of it
You're some of it
We're some of it
I'm certain of it

I walk alone and I
I ride alone and you know
That's all right by me
See baby cause
here ain't enough room in this world
For a great, great many things
(Matthew Good Band - The fine art of falling apart)

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{BELLA-POV}

I don't know what to say… Every time Alice crosses my line of vision she's making obnoxious faces. I know she thinks Edward is this great guy, I mean - that's what I built him up to be… Now I'm not so sure and I wish she'd back the fuck off.

"Come on, I'll give you a ride home…" I grab my purse and keys, Edward quietly follows behind me. We get in the car and the ride is pretty quiet and uneventful. My stomach churns, knowing he now knows where I live…

"I don't want you just coming over like that, ever…" I shake my head softly as I turn the corner.

"Bella," Edward speaks with his head low… It makes me incredibly nervous.

"Are you going to be sick? Do I need to pull over?" When his eyes meet mine, I must look horrified.

"No…" He speaks quietly and shifts his head to intensely stare out the window…

"I'm sorry Edward, I just… Fuck! Nothing, I'll shut up." I don't know what the fuck to do anymore. I don't know the man sitting in my passenger seat. I know his body, the softness of his hands as they dance across my skin, the tone of his voice… But I don't know who he is - I don't know him, he's so foreign to me…

"Will you come inside?" He asks as I pull into the drive along the side of his building. I drive around to the back and park the car near the door.

"I don't know if that's such a good idea," I muster in an unsteady breath. Leave, leave now - while you still have the resolve to run…

"Now, suddenly - it's not such a good idea?" There's a hint of anger mixed with disappointment in his trembling bitter tone.

"What do you want from me?" I find myself shaking my head softly as I twiddle my fingers in my lap. I can't bear to look at him - to see his disappointment. Truthfully, I'm disappointed too. Reality can be such a bitch…

"You said I was the first person you wanted to see…" he notes softly, nearly under his breath. If he's asking what changed - everything. Why, I don't know… It just an arrangement…

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I pull the keys from the ignition and we both slowly get out. Eyeballing one another, I don't think either of us have quite figured out who's the hunter or who's the prey; but it sure feels like that. We enter his building and move slowly but fluidly up the steps to his apartment, neither getting ahead of the other. Awkward, it feels incredibly awkward. I've never felt so awkward in his presence, not even when I propositioned him nor shed my clothing for the very first time…

He gestures for me to go in first, I immediately drop my bag and keys on his counter out of habit…

"Once upon a time, on a day that looked like any other day. Someone like no one else came along and made my life into something that would never be the same."

"That's actually really cute…" Try as I might, I can't help but smile a little. He's always been so sweet to me… This, right here - is why I shouldn't have come inside. My hard exterior is all a façade...

"That's why you'll always be the only one for me," the sincerity in his eyes scares me…

"Edward," I chastise. He hardly knows me…

"It is what it is… I know I don't know too much about you, but I know how you make me feel. You make me want to be a better person, if only for you." There's a distance between us that neither of us seem comfortable enough to close. We remain guarded at opposing ends of the counter, trying to make sense of our time spent together.

"Edward, you were there when I needed you most," I admit unapologetically. I'm not proud of the journey - but I wouldn't take it back, and I did reach my destination. I may be poor, but I'm free…

"I still need you," he confesses - appearing and sounding more sober than he has in days.

"You don't know me."

"I want to know you," he argues.

"You don't… Trust me." We continue to talk round and round in circles. Edward moves past me and plops down on the couch, he tries to coax me over with a pat on the leather cushion beside him…

"I'm sorry… I don't think I'll ever be able to sit on that couch again." Watching him sit on it sends shivers down my spine. It's going to take a hell of a lot of brain bleach to distort the images of the orgy-fest…

"Fuck!" His escalated tone puts me on edge; he throws himself off the couch angrily and stands up at warp speed. "I'm sorry, it's not you…" he runs his hands over his face… I pity the fact that he's all over the place, yet envious at how he can forget such disgusting details with an alcohol induced fog.

"Is that how you remember me? Bits and pieces; selective memory?" My tone rolls off my tongue so methodically; like the closing song in a tragic play.

"Bella…"

"Edward," I shake my head softly. It's over - it's really over.

"I saw a beautiful girl, too smart - too perfect to be messing around with the likes of me. My only advantage was that you approached me; and if not me - it would surely be some other lucky fool. I know what we have isn't conventional, but we do have something… Say we have something…" I know we have something and for the first time I'm afraid to actually pursue it.

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{EDWARD POV}

Fuck, I'm begging! Her lips quiver like the words are right on the edge of her tongue. False starts; I can see her thought process - leaning toward how to break it to me gently. A pause too long to mean anything good…

"I've had plenty of people use me for money, alcohol, drugs, the use of my apartment, and my talents. Even that only makes relationships tolerable for a period… I don't need you to sugar coat anything, I'm used to it. So… Thanks, it was fun while it lasted." My tone is angry and bitter, it's so hard not to be. The evil bastard comes out when things don't go my way, there's no reason to question why she'll be leaving - those statements alone should send her running far, far away. I think of all the women I've used, abused, and discarded - I'd like to believe Bella never fell into that category. Never ever…

With that I close myself off in my bedroom. I'm sure she can see herself out… I can't bear to watch her walk away - knowing it will be for good. My mind races with all the things I should or could have said, it's too late. Her mind was already made up before she offered to drive me home…

Twenty years from now and I'm still going to be thinking about her. Worried for her well being even if she doesn't give a shit about mine… Her game, well played… The karma bus has finally come full circle to run me over, only to back up and run me down a few more times.

Reaching for the bottle on the nightstand, I realize it's empty… "Fuck!"

"Edward," her small voice resonates through the tiny crack she's created within the door frame. I rise from the edge of the bed to pull the door open full swing… There's so many things I want to scream; to make her understand, to penetrate her in so many ways - just like she did me in. I have to believe she knows what she's doing and I was just a vessel to get her from point A to point B.

"Maybe we're more alike than we realize… I'm a mess, you're a mess - don't you get the feeling that to stay together would just be a disaster in the making? Everything within my being is telling me to walk away, but I can't…"

"I promise, I'll take care of you." Before she can speak I capture her face in my hands and steal the sweetest of kisses; each sweeter than the last. That is, until she steps back and brushes me off.

"Let's not go making any promises… One chance, just to say we tried," she offers.

"Bet you think I'm going to fuck it up?"

"I honestly don't know what to think, or where to start…"

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Kissing - touching - fucking; it's all we know.

"Tell me you only have eyes for me…" I whisper, winding her hair tightly around my fingers with purpose - to force her eyes to meet mine. Her eyes; spitfire brown and spattered with amber flecks… At least while we fuck. Depending on her mood they could shift to the darkest of brown, nearly black on a dreary day.

"Tell me you want me and only me," she groans above me. Strangely enough it feels like the first time, but there's that rising fear that it may be our last.

"Always you… I love you…" As soon as the words leave my mouth, they're greeted with a hardened bewildered stare. I regret those three words as soon as they fly off my tongue, but there's no taking them back… "You don't have to say anything…" I forcibly lock my mouth onto hers, tugging at her lips until she offers me the warmth of her tongue… She remains a little stiff and I can't help but wonder what's going through her head. I don't want this to end, but I can't continue knowing she's uncomfortable. With a few quick fluid movements, I roll us into the missionary position and halt all thrusting…

"Don't stop," she whines… I offer a few guilt laced thrusts. She's so tense, I find it much easier to exit than enter… And if I'm going to be completely honest with myself, I'm not going to last much longer under these conditions.

"I don't want you to do anything just to appease me. I can't continue if you don't relax…" I chuckle softly trying to keep the mood lighthearted; but I can't help but wonder if she just wants me to finish so this can all be over.

"I'm sorry," she breathes heavy… Exasperated, frustrated, annoyed - I can't tell which.

"Don't be sorry," I try to comfort her. "It's okay…" God did give me two hands and ten fingers…

"This guy, I love him… I can't imagine a day without him kissing, touching, and goosing me…" she smiles. I have been known to goose and grope, it's beyond my control.

"And you love it," I grin…

"I'm just afraid of what happens after," she admits. "You know…what happens outside of the bedroom…" Her tone takes a serious turn, which I'm not quite ready to face.

"I'll continue to goose and grope, I have very little control over my impulses," I assure her with a hearty laugh.

"You know what I mean?" She playfully bites at my lower lip.

"I do…" We get back to kissing and touching and fucking…

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{BELLA POV}

Apparently it takes one good fuck to clear my mind of the possibility of body fluids resonating within his couch, because I had completely forgotten… and now that I'm half naked and already curled up in his arms under a throw blanket - I'm trying not to focus on it.

Edward keeps flipping through the channels, asking my opinion on what I'd like to watch. We don't have cable so I'm unfamiliar with most of the programming. He offers to take me out, but I don't have anywhere in mind. I feel like perhaps I'm being too difficult even though I'm trying to be anything but.

"I don't want you to go," he admits. "I don't care what we do, but you can't leave…" he gives me a firm squeeze.

"Eventually, I'm going to have to…" I remind him in a playful tone.

"I don't want to push, but when I offered for you to move in - I meant it."

"I don't know if it's such a good idea. Besides, Alice can't afford the apartment on her own and I needed to find a new job yesterday…" I don't know if this is going to work out… I can't leave Alice after I was the one to drag her out from the shelter. It's so surreal to have Edward offering everything I wanted and more, but now I can't accept it.

"Job - schmob, I want to continue to take care of you Bella. I'll clean out the spare bedroom and Alice can move in too. I'm serious…" I know he is…

"What if this - us, doesn't work out?"

"There will be other apartments and by then you'll at least be in a better financial position to get a nicer one. That apartment is in a bad neighborhood… I have only your best interests in mind and mine too. Hell, if this doesn't work out I'd hope to at least remain on good terms; friends with benefits?" I playfully smack him and he likes it a little too much. He's almost the kind of the guy I'd imagined he'd be…

"See, that's why I need a woman around to rationalize things. I'm more of a do than don't kind of guy and it's been known to get me in trouble in the past…"

"Every mistake I made, I did so willingly… I knew even then it was wrong," I muster apologetically.

"Was I a mistake, then… I won't be mad. Help me understand. I know you're not that girl…"

"Oh, how do you know what type of girl I am?" I quip.

"I just know," he smiles - leaning in to place a soft kiss upon my temple.

"No… But by then I'd already hit rock bottom and I don't think anything I could have done would have been seen as a mistake. Though I sure made plenty to get to that point. You saved me, even if it was only for a few hours…" I nod softly.

"Did he make you… You know, do that often - go home with random men for money? I don't mean to offend… That sounds terrible," he laughs at himself - I appreciate it.

"No, you were the first…" While that answer seemed to appease him on some level, the conversation quickly faded…

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{EDWARD POV}

"Where is she?" Emmett bursts into my apartment and starts searching for a she…

"She, who?" I close the door and blankly follow him around, knowing my apartment is empty. At least he's not bitching about me ditching band practice, again…

"Bella, that chick… How come Jasper got to meet her first?" Realizing there's nobody else here, he moves to my fridge and starts looking for a beer… I'm not sure if there are any left, only because with Bella occupying my time, I didn't have a chance to get to the store…

"You're out of beer," he groans… Then settles for drinking orange juice straight out of the carton…

"Yeah…" I throw myself back onto the couch and kick my feet up on the coffee table, flipping through the stations…

"So about this Bella chick," he flops down beside me - still clutching my carton of orange juice…

"Nothing," I laugh softly… "I'm not talking about her like that, with you…"

"Come on dude, we always tell… You have a dick right? Right, so come on… Jasper says this shit is getting serious. You know how I feel about serious bro…"

"I asked her to move in," rolls off my tongue without a care in the world. I don't give a fuck what Emmett thinks… If he'd quick fucking around and playing games, he could have what I have. I'm not even quite sure what I have, but it's wonderful… Instead he's more interested in making Rose jealous than actually being with her.

"You what? Bad idea, bad, bad, bad mother-fucking idea…" With the way he bitches, you'd think we were dating…

"It's too late, already done." I grab my carton of orange juice from his hands and take a nice long gulp while he stares me down with a wild look on his face…

"Does she tell you what color panties to wear too? You're such a bitch…" he groans.

"You fuck this up for me and I swear to God Em - I'll quit the band… No, I'll fucking kill you…"

"You're so damn violent…"

"That bros before hoes shit doesn't exist anymore…She's the one…" That's that…

"Yeah, yeah - whatever bitch… Where the fuck is Jasper?"

"How the fuck should I know?" I shrug and jab my elbow into his ribs for sitting too fucking close… He sits like a fucking girl when he gossips, all up in your shit…

"Isn't he dating that Alexia, Athena… Whatever the fuck her name is…"

"Alice," I correct him.

"Whatever, is he still banging that bitch or what?"

"I guess…" I shrug

"Don't you know shit?"

"I know I'm STD free, how about you Em?"

"Fuck you!" He pushes my shoulder hard, using me for leverage to get his big ass off my couch…

"Dude, it was crabs… Nothing that a little hot butter and a fly swatter couldn't fix. So shut the fuck up about what you don't know." I can't stop laughing…

"Fuck off, I'm out…" It's about time…

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{BELLA POV}

"Everything with Edward always sounds too good to be true, but he always comes through…" I continue packing what little clothing I have, shoving it carelessly into a duffel bag.

"I guess we don't have much to lose… Except for the deposit," Alice groans…

"You can stay if you want, I'll still pay my share of the rent. I'm going to find a job… Alice, I really want you to come with me… Edward doesn't think it's safe here."

"I can tell you've just been fucked and once the glow wears off… - if this doesn't work out and I have to go back to the shelter, you're coming with me." Alice crosses her arms over her chest, dead serious… I've led her this far…

"Fine, deal…" I begrudgingly agree. We pinky swear on it and get back to packing…

Edward and Jasper show up with a truck. Edward is thrilled beyond compare - he can't get our shit out fast enough. Jasper seems a little taken back and he keeps commenting under his breath so only Edward can hear…

"What's his problem?" I corner Edward near the side of the truck… "Is he making fun of our shit? I know it's not the nicest, but…"

I'm defensive and ready to fight when Edward cuts me off… "He's pissed, because Alice is moving in with us and not him."

"She hardly knows him," I shake my head softly… Then sink my teeth into my bottom lip when I realize Edward and I are in the same boat…

"Yeah well, Emmett wouldn't go for that shit anyway…" He throws another box into the truck…

"Emmett?" I inquire.

"Jasper's roommate, the guy that was fucking on my couch … He's kind of a big oaf, short on brain cells - don't ever take anything he says too seriously… Nobody else does."

"Okay…" I nod…

We all cram into the truck and nobody complains, nobody says much of anything… Jasper still seems hurt, but anytime Alice smiles at him he pretends like everything is all good…

Edward's apartment is a mess, he threw everything from the spare room into a big heap in the corner of the living room, typical male… Alice insists most of the stuff we brought with us, we won't need until we get another apartment. Edward starts scratching his head, running his hand roughly through his hair. I can tell he's irritated to hear that - after tracking all of our shit upstairs…

"There's storage on the first floor, we'll have to go through the pile and see what will fit," Edward exhales deeply… I move in to wrap my arms around his waist. I appreciate everything he's done for us…

"Eww, have you seen his bathroom!" Alice shrieks from the hall… Edward doesn't know what to say, immediately I get the feeling he thinks he bit off more than he could chew…

"I'll clean it," I speak up hoping to resolve the second conflict of the day.

"No, I'll clean it… Just not right now," Edward announces. "Jasper, start grabbing shit…" They each grab a few of Edwards boxes and start moving toward the door. Edward grumbles and Jasper laughs, I'm well aware they're discussing Alice…

I pull her aside and tell her what little I know about Edward… It's going to take time to get adjusted, but we all have to compromise for this to work. I've seen the bathroom attached to Edward's room and it's the epitome of OCD clean. I can only assume the guest bath was overlooked… It's probably the bathroom his asshole friends use…

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We get as settled as we're going to get for the night… Just as I'd expected, Edward thinks I'm going to be bunking up with him. I apologize, but I refuse to leave Alice in a new strange apartment alone… I'm almost afraid this may be a deal breaker, but to my surprise he seems to understand.

"Take the bed, I'll sleep on the couch…" He insists.

"Why? We're all set up in the other room... It'll be fine."

"For camping… We'll get some mattresses tomorrow. No guest of mine is going to sleep on the floor."

"Unless they have a dick," Jasper chimes in and Edward starts laughing.

"Yeah, I'm the only dick allowed in my bed - chicks are fine…" Jasper extends an arm like he's going to punch Edward in the shoulder at that reply, but falls short.

"I'm going to get out of here…" Jasper announces.

Alice says goodbye to Jasper while I kiss Edward goodnight. He gooses me several times and I know exactly what he's up to… He's trying to convince me to stay on the couch with him. "Goodnight…" I peck him on the lips softly one last time.

I get in the bedroom and the bed has already been made, it usually is - but with everything going on, I'm surprised it was still a priority. Alice walks in and stands off to the side of the bed, looking disgusted - like she'd rather sleep on an air mattress than in a strangers bed…

"Seriously? Our couch came from Goodwill Alice…There's probably enough DNA on it to conduct multiple science experiments," I remind her. "It's no worse than a hotel bed, he washes his sheets…" After I climb in Alice follows.

"It's just; you and him and ugh… I don't want to think about it." I snicker softly at her reply…

"Goodnight Al, I love you…" I fluff my pillow before leaning over to brush the hair from her face…

"I love you too Bell," she scoots in so our knees touch under the sheets. We sleep with the light on, just the way Alice likes it… After a few minutes I pull the comforter over my head to shield myself in darkness…

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~End Chapter 5 - Deal

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